Japanese fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa is giving away US$9 million to his Twitter followers in what he says is a “social experiment” to see if the payment boosts their happiness. Maezawa will give 1 million yen (US$9,000) to 1,000 followers selected at random from those who retweeted a January 1 post, with the impact of the money to be tracked through regular surveys. What are these 8 billionaire bosses in California really worth? “It’s a serious social experiment,” said Maezawa on YouTube, adding he hopes to attract interest from academics and economists. 【本日23:59で締め切り】 前代未聞の歴史的な社会実験になりそうです。フォロー＆リツイートで参加できる最後のチャンスです。傍観者ではなく当事者として、日本の未来を一緒に考えませんか。是非ご参加ください！ https://t.co/nxXFxQgMs0 — Yusaku Maezawa (MZ) 前澤友作 (@yousuck2020) January 6, 2020 Maezawa, who is to be the first private passenger to fly around the moon with Elon Musk’s SpaceX, is known for his big spending on art and sports cars. He also has a predilection for musing on ideas like a world without money. He tied the giveaway to the idea of basic income, or the theory of providing a periodic no-strings-attached payment to all citizens, that has gained traction in some political circles and is backed by Democratic US presidential candidate Andrew Yang. 15 people who became billionaires in 2019 – and 14 who lost their spot “Basic means a regular minimum amount offering a sense of security, what Maezawa is offering is totally different,” said Toshihiro Nagahama, senior economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute. View this post on Instagram タイガーウッズ選手と孫さんとゴルフ回らせてもらった。。。夢のような時間でした。ゾゾチャンピオンシップは明日からいよいよ本戦です！ I played golf with Tiger Woods today in Japan. It was dream dream dream!!! ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP will start tomorrow. #tigerwoods #zozochampionship #前澤友作 @zozochamp A post shared by Yusaku Maezawa (MZ) (@yusaku2020) on Oct 23, 2019 at 3:32am PDT Maezawa said that given that he “has the money and free time” to make the payments, he felt the need to try and inspire greater debate over the merits of the theory in Japan. The idea of a universal basic income has gained support over fears technology such as artificial intelligence will wipe out large numbers of jobs but that concern is for now less pronounced in Japan with its tight labour market, said Nagahama. China is now home to more wealthy people than the US It’s the second, larger, giveaway by the entrepreneur, who in November secured a US$900 million payday through the sale of his online fashion business Zozo Inc to SoftBank Group Corp. Maezawa, who recently grabbed headlines after his split from actress girlfriend Ayame Goriki, has gathered almost 7 million followers on Twitter with his mix of displays of conspicuous consumption and folksy pronouncements on the meaning of life. View this post on Instagram A post shared by 剛力彩芽 (@ayame_goriki_official) on Jun 30, 2019 at 5:48am PDT YouTube is the latest online outlet for the businessman, with videos including a tour of his private jet, a visit to the barber to dye his hair and updating his bank book after November’s windfall. The debate over basic income comes as income inequality continues to grow in the United States, where some of its wealthiest entrepreneurs, from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates to investor Warren Buffett, have pledged to give away most of their wealth. Want more stories like this? Sign up here . Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .