This is the Newsletter of the USBIG Network (, which promotes the discussion of the basic income guarantee (BIG) in the United States. BIG is a policy that would unconditionally guarantee at least a subsistence-level income for everyone. If you would like to be added to or removed from this list please email:


1. USBIG Congress tentative schedule online
2. Alaska’s BIG parodied in The Simpson’s Movie while Albertans call for their own Dividend
3. Hillary Clinton endorses a baby bond
4. Call for Papers: 12th BIEN Congress, Dublin, June 2008
5. Sociologist and Communitarian Leader, Amitai Etzioni, Endorses BIG
6. BIG Pilot Project in Namibia
7. Mexico: Basic Income on The Agenda?
8. South African BIG Activist, Margret, Legum dies
9. British Economist and BIG advocate, Hermione Parker, dies
10. BIG News From Around the World
11. Recent Publications
12. Recent Events
13. New Links
14. Links and Other Info

1. USBIG Congress tentative schedule online

The tentative program for the Seventh Congress of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network: What Next: Framing a BIG Discussion for the Next Election and Beyond is now online. A direct link to the Congress Program is

The conference will take place at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel, Boston, MA, on March 7-9, 2008. The Conference will be held in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Economic Association, which will hold hundreds of sessions on a wide variety of topics. Attendees of either conference are welcome to attend the sessions of the other.

At the Congress, academics and activists from the United States, Canada, Britain, and several other countries will discuss issues such as Occupational Citizenship, the Ethics of BIG, the Politics of Basic Income, Economic Insecurity and Poverty, the Relationship between BIG and Work, the Meaning of Freedom, Distribution and Redistribution, and the Institutional Context for Progressive Policy.

Featured speakers include Philippe Van Parijs, Eduardo Suplicy, Yannick Vanderborght, Jurgen de Wispelaere, Guy Standing, Sean Healy, and Brigid Reynolds. Philippe Van Parijs is a professor of philosophy at both Harvard University and the Catholic University of Louvain; he is author of Real Freedom for All: What (if Anything) Can Justify Capitalism? and a large number of articles on basic income. Suplicy is member of the Brazilian Senate, author of Citizens’ Income. The exit is through the Door, and a tireless campaigner for BIG. Vanderborght is Lecturer in Political Science at the Facultés Universitaires Saint Louis in Brussels, and co-author (with Van Parijs) of L'allocation Universelle, which will be out next year in English as the Universal Basic Income (Harvard University Press). De Wispelaere, of Trinity College Dublin, is editor of Basic Income Studies and co-editor of the Ethics of Stakeholding. Standing is Professor of Economic Security at the University of Bath and Professor of Labour Economics at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. He has written a large number of books and articles on BIG including Beyond the New Paternalism: Basic Security as Equality (London: Verso, 2002). Healy and Reynolds are co-directors of the Justice Commission of the Council of the Religious of Ireland. Together, they have written or edited 21 books on topics such as public policy and social engagement. Their work has also been published in a wide range of other books and journals. Their book, Social Policy in Ireland, (1998, 2nd edition 2006) has become a standard textbook on social policy in Ireland.

Other participants include Al Sheahen, Almaz Zelleke, Buford Farris, Charles Clark, Christian Roy, Cynthia Holder Rich, Eri Noguchi, Ernie Lightman, Hyong Yeom,

Ingrid Van Niekerk, James Mulvale, Jeff Smith, Karl Widerquist, Mathias Risse, Michael Howard, Michael Lewis, Micheál Collins, Nien-hê Hsieh, Nir Eyal, Phil Harvey, Rabbi Carla Theodore, Richard Caputo, Richard Wamai, Robert Jubb, Roy Morrison, Samuel Butler, Seong Gee Um, Stephen Clark, Stephen Nathanson, Steve Schnapp, and Steve Shafarman.

Everyone welcome to attend the conference. All attendees must register with the Eastern Economic Association. Registration information will be on the USBIG website soon. USBIG Attendees (who are not economists) can register for half the regular conference fee ($45 instead of $90) by following instructions that will be posted in the USBIG website. There is a further reduced fee available to students and people with low income. Contact the organizers for details.

The 2008 USBIG Conference is organized by a committee of Michael Lewis (chair), Eri Noguchi, and Almaz Zelleke. For more information go to or contact Michael Lewis at

2. Alaska’s BIG parodied in The Simpson’s Movie while Albertans call for their own Dividend

Public awareness of BIG took a small step forward this summer when the Simpsons Movie made a joke about it. Homer and his family are greeted at the Alaskan border by an official who says, “Welcome to Alaska. Here’s a thousand dollars. We pay everyone in Alaska to let us destroy the environment.” It’s not the most flattering joke, but it makes a fair point about the oil-based dividend. Although taxes on the extraction of fossil fuels might be a good way to give firms an incentive not to over-exploit them, and although a BIG might be a good thing to do with those revenues for many reasons, a resource-linked BIG might make people more willing to accept environmentally damaging resource exploitation—thus partially counter-acting the exploitation-discouraging effects of the taxes. This is underlying moral behind the Simpsons’ joke, but it was funnier when they said it.

12.5% of state oil taxes go into the APF, which is invested in stocks and bonds. A portion of the returns on the fund are distributed to Alaskans each year. Of course, the Alaskan government does not pay people when they arrive in the state; Individuals must be residents in the state for a full year to be eligible for to receive dividends from the Alaska Permanent Fund (APF). But this is fairly within the confines of the writers’ license for a cartoon.

In one way the cartoon significantly understates the generosity of the APF Dividend. The APF gives the same dividend to every man, woman, and child in the state. Because of recent increases in the stock market to nearly 40 billion dollars, the principal of the APF grew by more than 17.1% for the fiscal year, according to Scripps Howard News Service. Because of this and recent years’ gains, the APF Dividend went up significantly again this year. APF checks this October and November were for $1,654, according to the Juneau Empire. The Simpsons arrived in Alaska with a family of five, and so the border guard could well have said, “Welcome to Alaska. Here’s $8,270.” In other words, the actual figure is eight times more generous the figure mentioned in the movie.

According to the Associated Press, “for many residents, the check is no joke. It means getting caught up on bills and supplementing income that for some is a week-to-week living in Alaska, where the cost of living is high in part because of its distance from shipping centers in the Lower 48 states.” People who have lived in Alaska since the first Dividends went out in 1982 have received a lifetime total of $27,536 in APF Dividends.

It is doubtful that mention in the Simpsons Movie will spark a campaign for a National Permanent Fund based on resource use throughout the United States. However, Albertans have been eyeing the APF with envy for years. Alberta is a Canadian Province a few hundred miles southeast of Alaska. Alberta has also had large oil revenues, but it lacks a mechanism like the APF to ensure that all Albertans benefit from them.

Allan A. Warrack, of the University of Alberta, writing in The Edmonton Journal on October 15, 2007, called for an Alaska-style dividend for Alberta. The province has a fund based on oil revenues, called the Heritage Fund, which was set up for similar reasons as the APF—to smooth out the province’s gains from the boom-and-bust oil industry. But there is one important difference. The Heritage Fund pays no dividends to individuals. Its earning go solely into the province’s general revenues. According to Warrack, this fact has caused Albertans to take much less interest in their fund than Alaskans. Much less has been invested in the Heritage Fund than in the APF, and Warrack argues, it has been less well managed. Warrack writes, “For about a quarter-century, the Alberta Heritage Fund was static in nominal value, [and] fell in purchasing power due to inflation.” The APF has steadily increased in both real and nominal value.

Warrack mentions that Alberta actually had a social dividend in the 1930s, under the government of the Social Credit party. Although it was short lived, the dividend was popular. Alberta tried it again with a one-time payment in 2005. Warrack writes, “Some right-leaning citizens viewed the government cash payments favourably because it meant there would be ‘less for the government to waste.’ Some left-leaning citizens favoured the payments on grounds of social equity—equal payment amounts meant the needy would get the same amount as the rich, though the value to the needy would be much higher. Still others said: ‘Just gimme the dough!’” Perhaps someday the joke will be, “Welcome to Alberta. Here’s 10,000 Canadian Dollars, eh?”

But even as Albertans envy the Alaska Dividend, Alaska lawmakers are coming under increasing pressure to divert dividend funds into general state spending. Each U.S. state receives a significant amount of funding from the U.S. Federal government based partly on the perceived needs of the state. According to Hal Spence, writing for the Peninsula Clarion and Morris News Service-Alaska, Federal lawmakers are reluctant to give money to the Alaska, when they perceive that it can afford to give large amounts of money away to residents each year. Spence believes this pressure will grow as the APF increases.

Warrack’s editorial can be found online at:
Information on the APF can be found on line at:
Hal Spence’s story is on line at:
And he can be reached at

3. Hillary Clinton endorses a baby bond

The leading contender in U.S. Presidential Race, Hillary Clinton, has endorsed the “baby bond.” That’s a small one-time universal income grant. A baby bond is not a basic income guarantee, but it is based on the same idea of a universal claim to resources. The baby bond idea has already been put into practice in Britain, where the Labour Government introduced it in 2005. The idea is to give every new born child a bond that matures when the child comes of age.

According to the Washington Post, Clinton “floated the idea of giving $5,000 to every newborn American child.” Devlin Barrett, of the Associated Press, quoted Clinton as saying, “I like the idea of giving every baby born in America a $5,000 account that will grow over time, so that when that young person turns 18 if they have finished high school they will be able to access it to go to college or maybe they will be able to make that down payment on their first home.” One of Clinton’s rationales for the proposal was that wealthy people “get to have all kinds of tax incentives to save, but most people can't afford to do that.”

Clinton’s endorsement followed an article in Time Magazine making a similar proposal. Her statement was followed by the usual Republican criticism that it is too costly. Clinton has not yet come out with a formal proposal for a baby bond in the weeks since she made her statements, and she might not come out with one at all. However, Bruce Ackerman and Ann Alstott, who’s book the Stakeholder Society proposed a much larger baby bond, praised Clinton’s statements. They wrote in the American Prospect, “By the time the child reaches 18, this bond will grow to $10,000 or more, depending on the interest rate, providing a citizen inheritance at a crucial moment of transition to adult life.”

For complete reports on the issue, go to:

4. Call for Papers: 12th BIEN Congress, Dublin, June 2008

The 12th International Congress of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) will be held on 20-21 June 2008 in Dublin, Ireland. The theme of this Congress is: Inequality and Development in a Globalised Economy - The Basic Income Option. The Congress will combine plenary sessions featuring invited speakers and parallel workshops with volunteered papers. Proposals for papers, workshops etc. are now invited. Details of the call for papers are available at Proposals are invited on a very wide range of related topics which are listed in the call for papers. All proposals should be emailed to The deadline for submissions is 1 February, 2008.

5. Sociologist and Communitarian Leader, Amitai Etzioni, Endorses BIG

Amitai Etzioni is a former Senior Advisor to the White House and a former President of the American Sociological Association. He is the founder of the Communitarian Network. He is the author of two dozen books, including the Monochrome Society (Princeton University Press, 2001).

Etzioni endorsed the basic income guarantee on October 10th in his keynote address at the Foundation for Law, Justice and Society’s conference ‘The Contract for Income Support and Pension in the Modern Welfare State’ at Oxford University. The address opened the two-day conference on, attended by an international panel of government officials, policymakers, academics, economists, and political scientists.

Etzioni argued that everyone should be entitled to a guaranteed basic income ‘as a reflection of our basic humanity’. He outlined his proposal for a BIG that is not means tested and not contingent on people’s ability to work. Etzioni argued that we are not complete human beings when deprived of lasting, meaningful human relationships, and that we have basic obligations toward one another that BIG can help to engender.

The conference also included an assessment of the feasibility of BIG by the sociologist Michael Opielka, and Charles Murray’s proposal for GBI as a replacement for the welfare state.

The Foundation for Law, Justice and Society is an independent institution affiliated with the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Oxford. For more information on the Foundation, please contact Phil Dines at For information about Etzioni, go to For information about the Communitarian Network, go to

6. BIG Pilot Project in Namibia

The Namibia BIG Coalition has announced that it will launch a BIG pilot project in early 2008. The project will take place in the village of Otjivero in the Omitara area of Namibia about 100 kilometers from the capital Windhoek. The grant will be given to every resident below the retirement age of 60. The 1000 or so eligible residents of Otjivero will each receive a basic income grant of 100 Namibian Dollars per month. At current exchange rates, this amount is less than 15 U.S. dollars, but it is still a significant amount in such a poor area. The project is planned for two years, so that each resident will receive a total of $2400 (Namibian).

According to, “The BIG Coalition will need N$3 million to cover the costs of the grants and administration of the pilot project. The coalition comprises the Council of Churches, the umbrella bodies of NGOs (NANGOF), AIDS organizations (NANASO), the Union Federation (NUNW), the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) and the Labour Resource and Research Institute (LaRRI). It is spearheaded by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia.”

“Through the pilot project, the BIG coalition wants to demonstrate that the project is feasible. The project abides by the principles of the BIG proposal, which advocates for a universal grant based on cash entitlement that provides some form of income security and is built on redistributive justice. The pilot project was launched last night together with the BIG fund into which Namibians can contribute to make the grant a reality for the residents of Otjivero.”

Bishop Zephaniah Kameeta, of the BIG Coalition spearheaded the project. He discussed the idea at the 2006 BIEN Congress in Cape Town South Africa, saying that we’ve had enough “Words! Words! Words!” and that it is time to take action. The BIG coalition wants most of the funds to come from donations from Namibians, and hopes that the government will eventually provide a BIG for all Namibians. Kameeta sees BIG as essential to Namibian democracy, “How can we sustain democracy when we know that half of the population has nothing to eat?”

Donations to the fund can be made by electronic funds transfer to ELCRN - BIG Namibia, First National Bank's Windhoek Commercial Suite, account number 62146088457, branch number 281972. For more information on now to do so, contact the Namibian BIG Coalition, email

According to the BIG Coalition website, Namibia is not only very poor (the average person in Namibia spends only US$ 1.5 per day), but also it is the most unequal society, meaning that most Namibians are getting by on much less than $1.5 per day.

Source articles:
BIG Coalition website:
Pilot project website:

7. Mexico: Basic Income on The Agenda?

BIEN reports, political prospects of Basic Income in Mexico are advancing by leaps and bounds. On June 6 and 7, Universidad Autónoma de la Ciudad de México (UACM) and the Department for Social Development of the Government of Mexico City organised the First International Conference on Basic Income ever held in Mexico. A great number of academics, politicians and practitioners both from Mexico and other countries like Argentina, Brazil, Spain and United Kingdom attended the Conference and engaged into very vivid discussions with its more than 100 delegates.

The Conference was the result of the effort to foster the study of Basic Income made by an active and plural local group of people who will now constitute a network called “Red Mexicana del Ingreso Ciudadano Universal” (Mexican Network for the Universal Basic Income). This new network will submit an application to BIEN’s Dublin General Assembly asking for official recognition. The participants in the Conference underlined the importance of the Universal Citizen Pension (for those above 70) that has already been implemented in Mexico City as an opportunity to open the debate on Basic Income and make crucial moves towards its introduction on a national level.

On this matter, the most important news is that on July 4, PRD (Partido de la Revolución Democrática), which is exploring the possibility of including Basic Income into its programme, put a bill for a Basic Income in Mexico before the Permanent Commission of the Mexican Congress (the text of that bill can be found at

It is a bill that suggests the introduction of a fully universal and unconditional Basic Income aiming to fight urban and rural poverty, large inequalities and social exclusion, and to grant everybody the necessary socioeconomic security that is needed to access the sphere of work without having to accept degrading labour conditions. The text of the bill establishes that full universality must be reached within a three-year period. It also points out that existing conditional cash transfer schemes have proved to be inefficient, costly, and a source of corruption. The proponents of the bill assert that in a political context in which the possibility of a reform of the taxation system is being discussed, the introduction of a Basic Income pretending to build social policies from a rights-based perspective and to enhance the freedom of the vast majority of the population makes the best of the senses.

Another left-wing party, Alternativa Socialdemócrata, which organised a public lecture with Daniel Raventós, has also endorsed Basic Income by including it into its programme.

As a result of all these events, a great number of articles on Basic Income were published in important newspapers like La Jornada, El Universal, La Crónica, and El Financiero. Some of these articles can be found at:

For more information on the state of the Basic Income debate in Mexico, contact Pablo Yanes ( or send an email to Ingreso Ciudadano Universal – México (
-From BIEN

8. South African BIG Activist, Margret, Legum dies

Margaret Legum, 74, was an economist, a human rights advocate, and co-founder of the South African New Economics Foundation. According to Business Day (South Africa), Legum died in Cape Town on November 1, following surgery for cancer. Legum spent 30 years in exile beginning in 1962 because of her activism against Apartheid.

She was the author of South Africa: Crisis for the West (1964), which was influential in the imposition of international sanctions against the Apartheid regime.

When she returned to South Africa, she campaigned against racism and for a fair economic system, an important component of which she believed was a Basic Income Grant (BIG). She hosted an event at the 2006 Congress of the Basic Income Earth Network in Cape Town, South Africa.

According to Business Day, George Ellis, speaking at a memorial service for Legum said that a campaign for BIG would be a fitting memorial for her “unrelenting” support for BIG.

For detailed reports on her remarkable life, go to:

9. British Economist and BIG advocate, Hermione Parker, dies

Hermione Parker was a political economist and cofounder of Britain’s Basic Income Research Group 1984, which later became the Citizen’s Income Trust. The following is from Susan Raven’s obituary of Parker for the Citizen’s Income Newsletter:

Born in Quetta in 1928, she was at St. Andrew's University. In 1989 she published a book on the subject of the integration of the tax and benefit systems, Instead of the Dole. It put forward the idea of a Basic Income Guarantee as a feasible alternative to our present welfare state. In 1987 she also founded the Family Budget Unit and thereafter served for many years as its director and driving force. She was responsible for reports on budget standards for families in 1998, for pensioners in 2000, and subsequently for Muslim families and low paid families in the East End of London in 2001. She was a person of impressive energy and intelligence and her contribution to any cause she supported was always invaluable.

The Citizen’s Income Newsletter is online at:

10. BIG News From Around the World

According to Helsingin Sanomat’s International Edition, Finnish Minister of Labour, Tarja Cronberg (of the Green Party) foresees a basic income as the model for longer-term reform of Finland’s pension, disability, and unemployment systems. “She expects that the first steps toward basic income will be taken in a year. She envisions a simplified social welfare system that would combine incentives to work with a guarantee of subsistence for all.”

Finland is one country where basic income is on the agenda and is widely discussed by the major parties. However, officials from most other major parties in Finland are less sympathetic to it. According to NewsRoom Finland, Jari Koskinen, the deputy chair of the National Coalition party and Päivi Räsänen, chair of the Christian Democrats, said, “a basic income would encourage passivity in the ranks of long-term jobless people and especially among the young.” Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen is on record as saying, "basic income is a wage for those interested more in partying than working.” Timo Soini, the chairman of the True Finns, however, is known as a proponent of basic income. Martti Korhonen, the head of the pro-basic income Left Alliance, said he doubted the claims about BIG’s impact on the activity of jobseekers.

An article on the Labour Minister is online at:
The NewsRoom Finland article is omline at:

According to Deutsche Welle (, the German Green Party rejected a proposal that would have endorsed a basic income guarantee for all at a party congress in Nuremberg that ended on November 25, 2007. The party did, however, vote in favor of extending social benefits including payments to the unemployed, and on education and on child support. A substantial majority, 59 percent of delegates voted against the BIG proposal. The motion was apparently an insurgent proposal from grassroots supporters, and its defeat was a relief to party leaders, who dropped BIG from German Green Party platform several years ago before they entered a governing coalition for the first time. The Deutsche Welle report on the congress go to:,2144,2971335,00.html

Under the impulse of its President Debbie Frost and its new Executive Director Rob Rainer, the Canadian National Anti-Poverty Organization (NAPO) has launched a nation-wide campaign in favour of a "guaranteed adequate income", or basic income. NAPO had already been in favour of basic income since the early eighties, and saw it as one crucial component of any coherent anti-poverty strategy. “Looking at the big picture”, Rainer writes in a recent issue of NAPO NEWS (Spring 2007), “one may conclude that over the past few decades Canada has made little progress in combating poverty in this country. This is not a case of seeing the glass half empty. It is a case of seeing the glass for what it is, or rather the number of food banks and the number of homeless for what they reflect about the state of the country (...) Against this backdrop, the option of a guaranteed (or “basic”) income is re-emerging for policy makers to consider”. Rainer gave a talk on this issue during a Conference at the University of Regina, Saskatchewan in June 2007. On July 6, 2007, NAPO organized a workshop on “Guaranteed Adequate Income” at the Cartier Place Hotel, Ottawa, Ontario.
For further information, see, or contact Rob Rainer at
-From BIEN

During a meeting convened by Prime Minister Dieter Althaus on June 6, Nobel Laureate Yunus discussed the proposed policy of guaranteed basic income for the state of Thuringen with Gotz Werner of Karlsruhe University and co-chair of BIEN Eduardo Suplicy (Brazil). Gotz and Senator Suplicy, both proponents of guaranteed basic income, have been working with the Government of Thuringen on adopting this policy for the state. Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank, argued that welfare systems were important for those in distress, but these should be designed in a way that gives incentives. He said traditional welfare kept people trapped, as if in a zoo. Yunus made it clear that he was against any kind of handout programme, and advised that the issue for the state government should not be providing guaranteed basic income; rather it should be to consider a programme of guaranteed employment for the unemployed. He proposed that the unemployed people should be given a choice between receiving guaranteed employment or micro-credit, or receiving both. Source: The Financial Express (
-From BIEN

The Youth Section of Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) aims to participate into the elaboration of the programme for the 2008 parliamentary election. “Juventudes Socialistas” stress the need to promote new proposals so as to “consolidate the political change” that began in 2004 and “raise young people hopes again”. For this reason, they have made public a document including 10 propositions to be analysed and discussed as possible measures to be put into practice during the next term of office in case PSOE wins the election. Among them, Young Socialists suggest the legalisation of euthanasia, the lowering of the right to vote to the age of 16 and the establishment of a “Renta Básica de Ciudadanía” (a Citizens’ Basic Income).
-From BIEN

11. Recent Publications

Guy Standing
UN's Department of Economic and Social Affairs Working Paper No. 58, October 2007
ABSTRACT: There has long been a minority view that providing people with cash is an effective way of combating poverty and economic insecurity while promoting livelihoods and work. The mainstream view has been that giving people money, without conditions or obligations, promotes idleness and dependency, while being unnecessarily costly. Better, they contend, would be to allocate the available money to schemes that create jobs and/or human capital and that produce infrastructure. This paper reviews recent evidence on various types of scheme and on several pilot cash transfer schemes, assessing them by reference to principles of social justice.
The entire article can be downloaded at:

Members of Social Agenda, a nonprofit group that supports BIG and caregiver grants, spoke about BIG on UN News Radio this summer. If you go to the UN Radio News website: or, you can download the interview from their home page.

WERU-FM, Blue Hill, Maine:
Larry Dansinger
In an edition of "Outside the Box," on WERU radio, Larry Dansinger discussed how a BIG can end poverty. According to Dansinger, BIG would be a simple, one-stop system similar to a proposed national single payer health care system. Little red tape, no social workers, no eligibility, no maze of programs to get lost in. The money saved from running these many systems could go into direct payments to those who need them. If you want to comment on this feature, send an email to with "outside the box" in the subject line.

by Orio Giarini and Patrick M. Liedtke
Paper No.6, European Papers on the New Welfare
Originally published in 1996, this article discusses basic income among alternatives about the future of work and how to organize the socio-economic system.

Richard Cook. Global research.
Richard Cook has written a series of articles on BIG and Monetary Reform in the past few months. These include:
-“Market Fundamentalism” and the Tyranny of Money:
Recommendations for Reform of the US Monetary System
Global Research, November 25, 2007
-Crisis in the U.S.: “Plan B”?
Global Research, November 11, 2007
-Perilous Times
Global Research, October 8, 2007
-Inflation and the Federal Reserve
Global Research, October 2, 2007
-C.H. Douglas: Pioneer of Monetary Reform
Global Research, September 24, 2007
-The Morality of Economics: The Key Issue of the Twenty-First Century
Global Research, July 29, 2007

Katrin Pinetzki (
ABSTRACT: Researchers urge freedom instead of full employment. With a basic income, the unemployed of today would have the freedom to seek for employment that suits them. No one would force them to accept any work. A basic income is a way to solve the dilemma of jobs destroyed by productivity
[This article is translated from the original German article.]

Rolf Künnemann, 21 August 2007
Foodfirst Information and Action Network, the New School of Athens
Basic food income is a universal payment by the state unconditionally to each member of society with an amount sufficient to cover elementary food needs.

DE WISPELAERE, Jurgen & STIRTON, Lindsay (2007), ‘The Public Administration Case against Participation Income’, Social Service Review, 81 (3), pp. 523-549, available at
Anthony Atkinson’s proposal for a participation income (PI) has been acclaimed as a workable compromise between the aspirations of unconditional basic income proposals and the political acceptability of the workfare model. This article argues that PI functions poorly in terms of a number of essential administrative tasks that any welfare scheme must perform. This leads to a trilemma of participation income, which suggests that PI can only retain its apparent ability to satisfy the requirements of universalist and client-activation approaches to welfare at the cost of imposing a substantial burden on administrators and welfare clients alike. Consequently, the main apparent strength of PI, its capacity to garner support across different factions within welfare reform debates, is shown to be illusory.
-From BIEN

SUPLICY Eduardo Matarazzo (2007), Citizen's basic income, Washington: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, March 2007, 27pp.
Eduardo Matarazzo Suplicy was a Woodrow Wilson Center Public Policy Scholar in 2005. He is currently the co-chair of BIEN, and a Brazilian Senator for the State of São Paulo. Suplicy is also a professor of Economics at the School of Business Administration of the Fundação Getúlio Vargas in São Paulo. He is the author of “The Effects of Mini devaluations in the Brazilian Economy”, his 1973 Ph.D thesis, published in 1974, by Fundação Getúlio Vargas; “International and Brazilian Economic Policies”, 1979; “Citizen’s Income. The exit is through the Door”, 2002; and “Citizen’s Basic Income: The Answer is Blowin´ in the Wind”, 2006.This special report is an updated and synthesized version in English of these two last books. It can be downloaded at
-From BIEN

TOMLINSON, John (2006), ' "The self-made man: admiring his creator”: Basic Income beats targeted welfare', New Community Quarterly, 4 (4), Summer 2006, pp. 52-55,
This article looks at some of the reasons why Australia perseveres with income maintenance policies which are targeted, categorical, means-tested, piecemeal and lacking in generosity. The author suggests that the introduction of a universal Basic Income would go some considerable way to providing increased income security for all permanent residents, removing stigma, and ending our centuries old preoccupation with a poor law system of welfare assistance. He reflects upon the current debate about “social inclusion” arguing that the mechanisms enforced by governments’ to facilitate “social inclusion” actually result in the marginalisation and social exclusion of many poor people. The article concludes with a brief summary of the advantages of a Basic Income over other forms of income maintenance.
-From BIEN

TOMLINSON, John (2007), 'Australia: Basic Income and Decency', New Community Quarterly, 5 (1), Autumn 2007, pp.33-41,
Some have attempted to argue the case for the introduction of a Basic Income because of the ease with which it could be allocated to citizens. Others recognise its capacity to invigorate the economy. Amongst these writers, some believe the economy would expand following the introduction of a Basic Income because it would free up entrepreneurial imagining, provide opportunities for workers to engage in new occupations and remove many obstacles to further production. Others argue that the economy would contract if a Basic Income was introduced because many people would choose to live more sustainably and would work fewer hours. Some writers suggest that the presence of a Basic Income would lead to more people joining the labour force because of the greater flexibility in the work place and because a Basic Income removes welfare benefit poverty traps. While others contend that many employees would leave work because they would no longer experience the economic necessity which forces them to seek employment. This article discusses these different positions in the Australian context.
-From BIEN

12. Recent Events

University of Oxford, 26-27 October 2007

On 26 and 27 October, the Centre for the Study of Social Justice at Oxford University  held a two-day conference on basic income. The conference brought together 15 invited speakers and 60 delegates to discuss a number of issues surrounding the idea of the basic income society. The organizers of this conference, David Cassassas (University of Oxford), Jurgen De Wispelaere (Trinity College Dublin) and Stuart White (University of Oxford) explicitly wanted to question the notion of a basic income society, its likely form and limitations, and how pathways towards its achievement could be conceived.

The first day of the conference comprised a roundtable debating the normative justification of basic income schemes from a republican perspective. Building on recent work in republican political theory, David Casassas (University of Oxford), Daniel Raventós (University of Barcelona), Carole Pateman (University of Cardiff/UCLA), Stuart White (University of Oxford) and Karl Widerquist (University of Reading) discussed various aspects of republican political thought and whether this perspective can offer a robust philosophical justification for the basic income society. Most of the contributions of the roundtable will be published in a special debate section, guest-edited by David Casassas of Basic Income Studies, forthcoming December 2007.

The second day of the conference offered a set of panels discussing the normative justification and political feasibility of the basic income society. Tony Fitzpatrick (University of Nottingham) offered an assessment of the current state of the basic income debate. The next panel included three speakers. Bill Jordan (University of Plymouth) challenged the strong individualist focus of much of the basic income debate, suggesting that advocates and researchers instead should be more concerned with social value. José Antonio Noguera (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) then questioned the very idea of a basic income society, arguing that basic income advocates should not overstate the role and importance of these policies in current welfare arrangements. Louise Haagh offered an institutionalist account of basic income.

After lunch the conference moved from the ideal of the basic income society to examining some aspects of the political feasibility of basic income schemes, and how these insights might impact on the form of the proposed basic income society. The first contribution by David Purdy (
University of Manchester) posed the question whether basic income could be viable, taking into account the dynamics of basic income schemes once introduced. Jurgen De Wispelaere suggested that a governance perspective might offer important insights on the design of basic income schemes. Yannick Vanderborght (Facultés Universitaires St.Louis, Brussels) offered some critical comments on both papers. The conference ended with a roundtable with the main participants of the second day, giving the audience another opportunity to engage with the speakers.

13. New Links

DEVELOPMENTS BY COUNTRY: Within the Vivant (Belgium) website, Paul Nollen posts updates on the development of the basic income debate in various countries. It can be found at:

This new website proposes to dramatically raise the price of fuel, while giving everyone enough to pay for it in the form of BIG, without the obligation to use the BIG on fuel. Thus, it gives people an incentive to save fuel without costing the average person more money. Those who continue to spend the most on fuel will pay more and those who consume the least on fuel will benefit.

14. Links and Other Info

For links to dozens of BIG websites around the world, go to These links are to any website with information about BIG, but USBIG does not necessarily endorse their content or their agendas.

The USBIG Network Newsletter
Editor: Karl Widerquist
Research: Paul Nollen

The U.S. Basic Income Guarantee (USBIG) Network publishes this newsletter. The Network is a discussion group on basic income guarantee (BIG) in the United States. BIG is a generic name for any proposal to create a minimum income level, below which no citizen's income can fall. Information on BIG and USBIG can be found on the web at:

You may copy and circulate articles from this newsletter, but please mention the source and include a link to If you know any BIG news; if you know anyone who would like to be added to this list; or if you would like to be removed from this list; please send me an email:

As always, your comments on this newsletter and the USBIG website are gladly welcomed.

Thank you,
-Karl Widerquist, USBIG Coordinator.