In his first major speech since leaving office, former President Barack Obama endorsed the idea of providing a universal basic income.
Speaking at the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in South Africa on Tuesday, Obama raised the notion of guaranteed income as a way to reduce what he called "yawning disparities" in wealth, education, and security across different socioeconomic groups.
"It's not just money that a job provides," said Obama. "It provides dignity and structure and a sense of place and a sense of purpose. So we're going to have to consider new ways of thinking about these problems, like a universal income, review of our workweek, how we retrain our young people, how we make everybody an entrepreneur at some level. But we're going have to worry about economics if we want to get democracy back on track."
He additionally called on the rich to support higher taxation, saying that "you don't have to take a vow of poverty just to say 'let me help out a few of these folks.'"
Watch the moment, along with Obama's other suggestions for improving on these "strange and uncertain" times below, via NBC News. Summer Meza
Former President Barack Obama said that these "strange and uncertain" times can only be combated with an effort to "keep marching" and "keep building" away from discrimination and institutional inequality.
Obama made his first major speech since leaving office at the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in South Africa on Tuesday. He warned of "strongman politics" that are ascendant, "whereby elections and some pretense of democracy is maintained, but those in power seek to undermine every institution or norm that gives democracy meaning." He additionally condemned "far-right" political parties that "are based not just on platforms of protectionism and closed borders, but also on barely hidden racial nationalism."
The former president voiced concern that the world is "threatening to return to a more dangerous, more brutal way of doing business," and worried that social media is helping spread "hatred, and paranoia, and propaganda, and conspiracy theories." He said that humanity is at a crossroads, and hoped that people would be willing to work towards accepting a single "objective reality" in order to keep politicians honest.
Watch his full speech below, via the Obama Foundation. Summer Meza