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Economics

Paul Williams and Basic Income

Paul Revere Williams was one of the most prolific and pioneering architects in Los Angeles. Though most of his over 3000 buildings are in his home town, his work spans the globe.

He also started his career as a young black man in deeply racist 1910s LA. After graduating Polytechnic High School, at a time when LA had exactly zero black architects, Williams contacted every architectural firm in LA, often offering his services for free. Three firms offered him paid work as an “errand boy”. Instead he chose the one which offered him an intern position, unpaid. Though he needed the money, he had confidence in his abilities and his undeniable skill meant he was soon getting paid. This put him on the path to designing the LAX Theme building, and homes for the likes of Frank Sinatra and Lucille Ball.

Paul Williams succeeded without a basic income. Unfortunately, we are not all Paul Williams. There are many talented people who might not have quite the confidence or even the shoestring budget he did. For them, refusing a better paying option with little growth, over a lesser paying position with a future, might not be an option.

With a basic income, it would.

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