Note: The grand prize winner will receive $12,000 over the next year and the story will be published on IO9
Note: name should be removed from the manuscript for anonymous judging
The future of work has never seemed so uncertain. Automation is knocking on the door and already too many Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, unable to meet their monthly expenses and unable to envision a different fate for themselves. The Economic Security Project is looking for new, bold ways to bring all Americans into a place of economic stability; out of the red and into the black. To do this, we are launching a short story contest like no other?—?one that uses speculative fiction as a tool to imagine a future of economic security and rewards the winner with financial stability of their own. What might a world look like where all of our most basic needs are met? In 5,000 words or less, we want you to explore the impacts of a basic income on individual lives and on society at large. To be clear, we are not expecting you to draft economic policy, but hope to ignite debate around new economies with stories that offer nuanced critique and evidence of impact. Writers may want to address how this economic policy could shift relationships of power, or if economic liberation is even possible without first addressing racial and gender justice. Writers may consider universality (i.e., whether this benefit applies to everyone), investigate the community impact, and even give this economic idea a new name. The most compelling story will change hearts and minds, and ultimately the life of the author; the grand prize winner will receive a basic income of $12,000 over the next year. People are turning to the idea of a basic income both to fight against poverty and joblessness, and to provide a springboard to opportunity, with all the potential societal benefits that would come with it. While academics, politicians, and journalists debate the specifics of policy, we need to reach beyond bar graphs. Into the Black is a short story contest that asks you, the writer, to use your imagination to reach beyond the data. We will be looking for stories that satisfy a few criteria: Unconditional Funds?—?no one should be able to tell a recipient how to spend the money Basic Needs?—?the money should be enough to cover one’s basic needs The criteria are vague for a reason: we want you to define what basic needs are and examine the conditions under which they could be met. We are not looking for a simple utopia in which basic income solves all of our problems. We want compelling stories. We recognize that any social change as fundamental as this one will be both complicated and complex. We want the best story to win.
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