He wants to see if the money can make people happier.
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In September 2018, Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa made a "significant deposit" toward a ticket to the Moon aboard a SpaceX rocket. By May 2019, the fashion tycoon was claiming that he was broke.
And now, he apparently has so much money that he can give away $9 million to his Twitter followers — all so he can test the theory that a basic income could increase recipients' happiness.
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On January 1, Maezawa first tweeted about the experiment. Now he plans to give 1,000 people who retweet that post each receive 1 million yen ($9,000), according to a Reuters report.
Reuters doesn't say exactly when those payouts will take place, but it does note that the recipients will be tasked with completing follow-up surveys designed to explore how the money impacts their lives.
In February 2019, the Finnish government revealed that a two-year-long basic income experiment did appear to increase recipients' happiness. However, Toshihiro Nagahama, a senior economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute, doubts that Maezawa's experiment will have the same impact.
"Basic means a regular minimum amount offering a sense of security," he told Reuters. "[W]hat Maezawa is offering is totally different."
Still, it's hard to imagine any downsides to Maesawa's giveaway — and it might even spur Japan to consider exploring the potential benefits of basic income through a longer-term trial.
READ MORE: Japanese billionaire Maezawa in $9 million 'social experiment' giveaway [Reuters]
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