The Stockton project has its roots in Silicon Valley, too. Its financial backers include Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes’ organization, the Economic Security Project — a fund to support research and cultural engagement around Universal Basic Income. It contributed $1 million to the Stockton initiative.
In an interview with CNNMoney earlier this year, Hughes said being part of the country’s top 1% helped him realize the great inequities in the economy.
“It is such a fundamental idea behind America that if you work hard, you can get ahead — and you certainly don’t live in poverty. But that isn’t true today, and it hasn’t been true in the country for decades,” Hughes said. “I believe that unless we make significant changes today, the income inequality in our country will continue to grow and call into question the very nature of our social contract.”
With a population of more than 300,000, with one in four people living in poverty, Stockton was considered a great testing ground for Universal Basic Income.
“Stockton is a city that looks a lot like the rest of America,” said Natalie Foster, co-founder and co-chair of the Economic Security Project.