Victor Tangermann
Free Money

Japanese Billionaire Giving Out $9 Million in Basic Income Trial

byKristin Houser
1. 8. 20
Victor Tangermann

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.

Retweet to Enter

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.

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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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More on Maezawa: The Guy Who Bought a SpaceX Ticket to the Moon Is Broke


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