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The Fourteenth Annual North American Basic Income Guarantee Congress

was videotaped: sessions can be viewed here 

New York, NY
Thursday, February 26 – Sunday March 1, 2015

Most Events at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers

Full schedule here


The Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) is suddenly a major topic of conversation in America and around the world. Activist movements have sprung up to push for it. Recent articles in the popular press have discussed it as a part of strategies to address recession, poverty, inequality, carbon pollution, and technological unemployment. In an economy forcing increasing numbers of people into precarious employment situations, is BIG a necessary and achievable part of efforts to retrieve democratic social stability? Can we afford it? How will it affect the economy? Will the new activist movements for BIG take off?

More than forty scholars and activists will address these and other questions at the Fourteenth Annual North American Basic Income Guarantee (NABIG) Congress, which will take place in New York City starting Thursday, February 26 – Sunday March 1, 2015. The congress is organized by the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network (USBIG) in cooperation with the Basic Income Canada Network (BICN/RCRG). Most events will be held in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Economic Association (EEA) at the New York Sheraton Hotel and Towers, 811 7th Avenue, New York, NY‎. It will also include free events including a public discussion at the Hunter School of Social Work on Thursday, February 26 and an activists meeting at the Brooklyn Commons on Sunday March 1.


Conference participants include


1.    Alanna Hartzok, the Earth Rights institute, 2014 Democratic Nominee for Cognress

2.    Ann Withorn, Professor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts Boston, author of Serving the People: Social Services and Social Change

3.    Ashley Engel, University College Dublin

4.    Bill DiFazio, St. John’s University

5.    Brigid Reynolds, Social Justice Ireland

6.    Diane Dujon, University of Massachusetts Boston

7.    Diane Pagen, Rutgers University School of Social Work

8.    Eduardo Suplicy, former member of the Brazilian Federal Senate

9.    Eri Noguchi, the Association to Benefit Children

10.    Felix Coeln, the German Pirate Party

11.    Frances Fox Piven, the City University of New York

12.    Frederick H. (Harry) Pitts, University of Bath

13.    Ian Shlakman, 2014 Green Party Nominee for Congress

14.    James Green-Armytage, Bard College

15.    James Jennings, Tufts University

16.    Jim Bryan, Ryan/Bacardi Professor of Economics, Manhattanville College

17.    Jim Mulvale, Dean of the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Manitoba

18.    Jonathan Brun, Basic Income Canada Network

19.    Jude Thomas, Freelance writer

20.    Jurgen De Wispelaere, McGill University

21.    Karl Widerquist, SFS-Qatar, Georgetown University

22.    Marshall Brain, author of How Stuff Works and Manna

23.    Mary Bricker Jenkins, Professor of Social Work, Temple University, and US Welfare Rights Union leader

24.    Michael Lewis, Hunter School of Social Work

25.    Michael Howard, University of Maine

26.    Michaelann Berwitz, activist

27.    Mimi Abramovitz, Hunter College

28.    Oliver Heydorn, The Clifford Hugh Douglas Institute for the Study and Promotion of Social Credit

29.    Paul B. Siegel, the World Bank

30.    Peter Barnes, author of Who Owns the Sky?, With Liberty and Dividends For All, and Capitalism 3.0

31.    Preston Smith, activist

32.    Roy Morrison, Greater Boston Capital Partners

33.    Seán Healy, Social Justice Ireland

34.    Sid Frankel, University of Manitoba

35.    Stanley Aranowitz, the City University of New York

36.    Steven Pressman, Monmouth College

37.    Steven Shafarman, author, activist

38.    Suezanne Bruce, activist

39.    Valerie J. Carter, University of Maine

40.    Willie Baptist, the Poverty Initiative




Thursday, February 26, 2015

6:30 pm to 9pm: Public Discussion: “New Possibilities for the Basic Income Movement”

LIC Art Center / LIC Academy of Music
44-02 23rd St., Studio 204 (second floor)
Long Island City, NY 11101


Friday, February 27, 2015

8am to 7pm: Sessions at the Sheraton Hotel

Evening: social event to be announced


Saturday, February 28, 2015

8am to 6:30pm: Sessions at the Sheraton Hotel

Evening: social event to be announced


Sunday, March 1, 2015

8am to 12:30pm: Sessions at the Sheraton Hotel

12:45-m-2:15: Lunch meeting: organizational meeting of the USBIG Network 

6:30pm: Activists Meeting: “Are we ready to start an activists movement for BIG in the United States?” We’ll chip in for pizza and drinks, but we’ll share the food and drink unconditionally with everyone who comes—without means test or any requirement to make a reciprocal contribution. We will discuss this question without any more specific agenda. Karl Widerquist will moderate the discussion, but will not lead the discussion or any effort that might come out of it. 

at  the Commons Brooklyn , near the Hoyt-Shermerhorn subway stop in downtown Brooklyn.


Everyone attending the events at the Sheraton must register with the EEA and pay their registration fee (all events outside the Sheraton are free and open to everyone). If you register as a USBIG participant, you can register for the EEA members’ price of $110 without paying the EEA’s membership fee—saving $65. All registered attendees of the NABIG Congress are welcome to attend any of the EEA’s events.

Register for the NABIG reduced fee by going to this website:

Reduced price admission for low-income people and students is available (contact the organizers). Reporters with press passes reporting on the conference can bypass registration.

 (Economists must pay the full registration fee of $175, which includes membership in the EEA. Economists can register at the main website:

The onsite registration fee will be $185.)

 For more information about the Eastern Economics Association Annual Meeting, visit the EEA website:


Essential information:

Conference dates: Thursday, February 26 – Sunday, March 1, 2015
Locations: New York, Queens, and Brooklyn, NY: The Sheraton Hotel and Towers, LIC Art Center, and the Brooklyn Commons
Organizing committee: Karl Widerquist <> (organizer), Ann Withorn <>, Shawn Cassiman <>, and Jurgen De Wispelaere <>


News on Basic Income

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What is a BIG?

The basic income guarantee (BIG) is a government insured guarantee that no citizen's income will fall below some minimal level for any reason. All citizens would receive a BIG without means test or work requirement. BIG is an efficient and effective solution to poverty that preserves individual autonomy and work incentives while simplifying government social policy. Some researchers estimate that a small BIG, sufficient to cut the poverty rate in half could be financed without an increase in taxes by redirecting funds from spending programs and tax deductions aimed at maintaining incomes. Click here for more information.

A Belorussian translation

The USBIG Network

The U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network (The USBIG Network) is an informal group promoting the discussion of the basic income guarantee in the United States. USBIG (pronounced "U.S big") publishes an email newsletter (subscription 500) every two months, maintains an on-line discussion paper series, and has yearly conferences.

USBIG was founded in December 1999 by Fred Block of University of California-Davis, Charles M. A. Clark of St. John's University, Pamela Donovan of the City University of New York, Michael Lewis of the State University of New York-Stony Brook, and Karl Widerquist then of the Levy Economics Institute. The USBIG Coordinating Committee has thirteen members: Michael Howard of the University of Maine (Coordinator),;  Steve Shafarman, author (Activist Coordinator,; Michael Lewis, Silberman School of Social Work, Hunter College; Eri Noguchi of Columbia University; Dan O'Sullivan of Rise Up Economics;  Jason Murphy ; Jeff Smith, Forum on Geonomics,, Dianne Pagen; Mark Witham,; Shawn Cassiman, Ann Withorn, withorn.ann@gmail.comAlanna Hartzok, alanna@centurylink.netClick here for more information, or email (

Last updated - 15.03.2015-21:17

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