Japanese Billionaire Gives Away $7 Million for “Social Experiment”

Japanese billionaire and fashion industry icon Yusaku Maezawa is engaging in an unusual “social experiment,” where he gives away millions of dollars to randomly selected people who retweeted a post he made on January 1. The experiment, according to Maezawa, is attempting to track how much regular, no-strings attached payments affect mood.

Yusaku Maezawa poses with Elon Musk
Business Insider

Universal Basic Income Experiment

Those who are randomly selected for participation in this experiment will be given periodic payments of the money. Maezawa has stated that the intention of the experiment is to track how differently people feel when they get monthly checks from a benefactor to help them cover their basic needs. This mirrors the concept of a universal basic income, which has become a popular idea in many progressive circles.

A notable proponent of the UBI, Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang is running on a progressive platform that includes a provision that he will oversee the creation of an American UBI. Essentially, the UBI would mean that every American receives $1,000 every month to help them cover their basic needs, with the intent of helping combat poverty.

Yusaku Maezawa

Maezawa is a very wealthy man: he is Japan’s 18th richest person, and became wealthy off of his fashion website, ZoZo Town. In 2018, he launched his own high fashion line, ZoZo, and it has proven to be a very popular status symbol in his native Japan. Maezawa is well-liked by many due to his easygoing attitude and history as a skateboarder and rock and roll drummer.

In 2023, Maezawa is set to become the first person to go for a commercial space flight with Elon Musk’s SpaceX shuttle. Neither Maezawa or Musk have announced how much the SpaceX ticket cost, but Musk did confide in reporters that Maezawa paid “a lot of money” for the space flight.

The trip is set to take place in 2023, and will carry Maezawa and a few guests around the moon. The Japanese fashion mogul is an avid art collector, so he plans to have several of his favorite artists join him on the space flight, making them the first commercial passengers to make a flyby of the moon.