Exploring Basic Income in a Changing Economy Teach-Out


The United States social safety net is a complex system with many programs and often difficult eligibility requirements. Many of these programs only deliver in-kind aid (not cash) to people living in poverty, a lot of whom can fall through the cracks and can’t make ends meet.

Basic income, the idea of providing people with a minimal level of cash support on a consistent basis, remains a point of debate in the United States and beyond. In this Teach-Out, you will join leading experts to explore the emerging idea of basic income and other associated social safety net programs.

The Teach-Out will address the following questions:
What is basic income?
What is the difference between basic income and universal basic income?
Why is basic income generating so much interest now?
How does basic income work? What are the benefits and the challenges?
How might basic income help create an inclusive economy?
What is the social safety net? Who does it help and who does it leave out?
How do we currently measure poverty and determine who is eligible for safety net programs?
How do automation and a changing economy affect the basic income conversation?

A Teach-Out is:

-an event – it takes place over a fixed, short period of time

-an opportunity – it is open for free participation to everyone around the world

-a community – it will be joined by a large number of diverse individuals

-a conversation – an opportunity to give and take ideas and information from people

The University of Michigan Teach-Out Series provides just-in-time community learning events for participants around the world to come together in conversation with the U-M campus community, including faculty experts. The U-M Teach-Out Series is part of our deep commitment to engage the public in exploring and understanding the problems, events, and phenomena most important to society.

Teach-Outs are short learning experiences, each focused on a specific current issue. Attendees will come together over a few days not only to learn about a subject or event but also to gain skills. Teach-Outs are open to the world and are designed to bring together individuals with wide-ranging perspectives in respectful and deep conversation. These events are an opportunity for diverse learners and a multitude of experts to come together to ask questions of one another and explore new solutions to the pressing concerns of our global community. Come, join the conversation!

Find new opportunities at Teach-Out.org.


  • Luke Shaefer

    Luke Shaefer

    Associate Professor

    School of Social Work


5 out of 5 stars

June 25, 2018

Thank you for making this class available.

1 out of 5 stars

June 23, 2018

Thank you for organizing teach out on wonderful topics.

5 out of 5 stars

June 22, 2018

Thanks for this free course. I am grateful to understand the issues of poverty and pretty alarmed by the number of people under poverty despite the country is considered wealthy. This course kind of inspire me to help in my own ways if I can in the community I am in.