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Venture Capitalist Albert Wenger on Basic Income and World After Capital

Albert WengerAlbert Wenger is a venture capitalist and partner at Union Square Ventures. He was the president of del.icio.us and oversaw the company’s sale to Yahoo eventually becoming investor in a number of companies such as Etsy, Tumblr and Twitter. Not only that but he is a venture capitalist who supports basic income, argues for rolling back of intellectual property rights and foresees a World After Capital. All in all a perfect guest for my Singularity 1on1 podcast.

During our 1 hour discussion with Albert Wenger we cover a variety of interesting topics such as: his take on the technological singularity and whether AI is an opportunity to make money; the agrarian, the industrial and the knowledge age; universal computation and zero marginal cost; knowledge, wisdom and philosophy; intellectual property rights, creative commons and progress; universal basic income, how to pay for it and the recent Swiss referendum; the limits of capitalism; technological unemployment.

As always you can listen to or download the audio file above or scroll down and watch the video interview in full. To show your support you can write a review on iTunes or make a donation.

Who is Albert Wenger?

Albert Wenger is a managing partner at Union Square Ventures (USV), a New York-based thesis-driven venture capital firm investing in networks, infrastructure for the new economy, and enablers of open, decentralized data. His wife Susan Danziger co-founded and runs Ziggeo. Together, they have three wonderful children.

Before joining USV, Albert was the President of del.icio.us from founding through the company’s sale to Yahoo. Albert graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College in economics and computer science and holds a Ph.D. in Information Technology from MIT.


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  • Dan Vasii

    Diamandis sounded to me as a pure theorist. This is more realistic and feasible, and I agree with all his ideas. However, the politicians are not able to comprehend them, and even if, to put up the public policies he talked about. A really enjoyable talk!

  • Steve Morris

    I want to believe this is possible, but I haven’t yet seen any believable model of how it would be funded. Most writers skip this question entirely. Wenger brushes over it without any details. The problem is not an incremental adjustment to our existing tax system; it is a matter of replacing our entire economy.

    Secondly, although the idea is to empower citizens with choice, the logic inevitably progresses towards communism. If a basic income is good, wouldn’t a larger income be better? This logically progresses towards maximum income for everyone, resulting in 100% taxation, and an end to private ownership. The 20th century gave us countless real-world examples of where that leads.

  • marion

    Hi Albert,
    Was just reading the National Review article about UBI in which you were quoted. My question is what is to prevent people from spending this money on “wants” rather than “needs”? I taught my 1st graders an extensive lesson on the distinctio between needs and wants. For example if just a check was issued what would prevent some irresponsible people from using it to buy a large screen tv, designer clothes, trips, etc. while becoming late on the rent, eating cheap junk food, and ignoring health care? I would prefer to advocate for vouchers coming from this UBI to cover the basics and any money left over could be discretionary. Your thoughts?

  • Travis

    I agree, either way it just might boost the economy?

  • I think people also want to feel good and have less worries on a longer time scale. The problem remains we have a whole propaganda industry (advertising) that make people choose the wants over the needs.

  • marion

    People feel good having the latest”toys” rather than paying rent, medical premiums, car payments etc. They rack up credit card debt and become late paying basic bills with their own money or money given to them. Most people live beyond their means.

  • Pingback: UBET: A Practical Answer to Technological Unemployment()

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