Bootstraps (working title)
Twenty Americans from all walks of life have just won a lottery: a guaranteed check every week that's big enough to cover basic living expenses. What will they do with this opportunity? What if this weren't a lottery for a few, but a government policy for all? What would you do with it?
If you had the freedom to be independent of and unbeholden to any other person or employer for a source of life-sustaining income - the freedom from fear of homelessness and hunger - what would you dare to pursue?
BOOTSTRAPS investigates the concept of universal basic income and the realities and impacts it would have on everyday America.
A basic income is a periodic cash payment unconditionally delivered to all on an individual basis, without means test or work requirement.
– from Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN)
Our goal with this film is to humanize and clarify for the public the effects of and possibilities within the concept of Universal Basic Income. The aim is to spur introspection into what exactly it might mean for each viewer as well as their friends, families, and countrymen, hopefully inspiring them to either become supporters of the idea, or to at least be interested in learning more and following its progress in the political discourse. The film’s approach will take on two different angles:
To delve into the logistics of, possibilities in, and counterarguments to the concept of Universal Basic Income with expert interviews representing a diversity of perspectives.
To humanize the effects of the concept by focusing on a small sampling (10-20) of individuals and families from different walks of life who are receiving funds through an existing Basic Income Test Program, and documenting the effect it has on their lives during the process. These people will be our characters. We will balance and support these case studies with statistics from previous and current large scale community experiments, of which many have taken place or are in the works. For example, startup company Y Combinator is funding an upcoming such experiment in Oakland, and there are others being implemented or planned around the globe (Ontario, Alaska, Brazil, Netherlands, Finland, etc).
Why a UBI movie?
Such a fundamentally different system as UBI would have far reaching impacts on society as a whole and would put into question something as simple yet profound as our very definition of freedom. It would make us rethink our conception of basic human rights and social justice. It would also make us reconsider the economic and social benefit systems currently in place, asking “should government be directly involved in determining the way in which we lead our lives, or should it rather exercise trust in its people and serve to facilitate us in pursuit of our own free wills and ambitions?”
Why a UBI movie now?
Wealth inequality is at an all time high and growing, poverty is rampant, job loss due to globalization and automation are accelerating, bipartisan squabbling is more fierce than ever, and it would be wonderful to get UBI into the national dialogue before the next election cycle.