During MSNBC’s Climate Forum 2020 — available on YouTube — Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang addressed the purported distrust of science that impedes action on climate change. He discussed his belief that fighting American’s “mindset of scarcity” would help, citing his proposal of a universal basic income (UBI) as a solution to this scarcity. He made the comment in response to a question on his plan to increase science literacy so that Americans understand the importance of combating climate change.
The 44-year-old entrepreneur said that it’s a challenge to move forward in a way that Americans can agree on facts, highlighting that many Americans currently have trouble agreeing on “basic facts.” Yang suggests that part of the problem is the “media silos” that people operate in and the mistrust people have for institutions, citing the average person’s mistrust of Congress.
“One of the things that helps reconstitute trust is when you have a lower stress level, when you actually feel like — and we’ve seen this in the studies when people have frankly received a universal basic income is that their actual trust in each other goes up,” Yang said.
He added that “mindset of scarcity” is currently harming the economy and also fueling skepticism in the realm of science.
“If you replace that with a mindset of abundance and possibility — which you can’t do entirely but you can certainly reverse the dominance of scarcity and make it more balanced — than you can increase people’s acceptance of science.”
Yang has previously spoken on the mindset of scarcity and how he believes it pits people against each other. He suggests that it makes people believe that if others are doing well, they are somehow “losing out.” He has also highlighted data that found 78 percent of are living paycheck to paycheck, noting that approximately half the country can’t afford an unexpected $500 bill.
Per The Hill, Yang recently spoke about the War on Drugs, saying that America should follow Portugal’s lead and focus on decriminalization and treatment. In particular, he says that decriminalizing opiates for personal use and marijuana is something he would do as president. He pointed to the current opioid epidemic that has gripped America, saying that people who are prescribed medication like OxyContin and become addicted sometimes end up turning to fentanyl heroin, which is often cheaper and less expensive.
Yang is currently in sixth place in the polls at 3 percent support, tied with Beto O’Rourke. He made headlines at the third debate when he announced he would be giving 10 American families $1,000 per month for one year — similar to what his UBI proposal would do.