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Parsons MS Data Visualization, Thesis Repository for Major Studio 2, taught by Daniel Sauter (Spring 2019)
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Universal Income Guarantees. An opportunity to rethink welfare?

Thesis and research repository

See the written thesis


A presidential candidate currently running his campaign on a universal basic income (UBI) platform in the United States shows how much traction the idea of a guaranteed, unconditional income as a government transfer to all citizens has gained in recent years. While it is definitely a highly controversial topic, it seems remarkable that in an increasingly polarized political environment support for this idea can be found across in other regards antagonistic ideological camps. Analysis of the debate around UBI might find that its appeal originates in the fact that in the core idea does not promote a full political program but rather is a strategy of rethinking welfare – with different political perspectives leading to an assemblage of specific UBI plans. Perplexion in this debate arises when these particular concepts are considered or suggested to be inherently equivalent policies.

In order to enable readers to engage in a more nuanced debate around universal income guarantees, I want to identify and explore strategies to avoid escalation and demarcation in the presentation of a political proposition. In this paper, I want to discuss how a combination of a data-driven essay and open-ended user interaction can help enhance engagement in exploring a balanced argument.

Visualization project

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This project was realized by Felix Buchholz in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Data Visualization, at Parsons The New School for Design. The advisor was Daniel Sauter.

Thesis Advisors

Daniel Sauter
Aaron Hill
Justin Bakse
David Howell


To my colleagues at the Data Visualization program @Parsons School of Design. This community was an integral part of the realization of this project.

Special thanks for the amazing inspiration and support to:
Batool Akbar
Andrew Levinson
Mikaela Ergas Lenett
Emily Chu
Simone Rachelle Betito
Alonso Alcocer Guemez
Michael Wolf

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