Conference Cause


This year, Berkeley Model United Nations is excited to announce a partnership with GiveDirectly with the goal of empowering underprivileged communities by providing a universal basic income.

Universal basic income is an approach to economic security in which the government provides everyone with some money, regardless of work, no strings attached. Advocates say the system could be a smart and straightforward way to lift millions out of poverty. Doubters argue that recipients will waste the money, or stop working.

Several studies have shown that when people receive cash, they don't blow it on alcohol or stop working. Instead, they invest it in things that improve their incomes, security, and psychological well-being. These results suggest that this is a serious idea, but we've only just begun evaluating its potential. Now we need to test universal basic income at an unprecedented level of rigor and ambition.

GiveDirectly is working with leading economists to organize an ambitious experiment that will rigorously test the impact of different models of basic income over 12 years in Kenya. GiveDirectly uses mobile payments technology to send your donations to extremely poor families in the developing world in the most capital efficient way currently possible.

This is an historic opportunity – at a minimum we'll help thousands of the poorest families on the planet significantly improve their lives. At best, we can help find a path to ending extreme poverty in our generation.