This is the Newsletter of the USBIG Network (www.usbig.net), 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: Karl@Widerquist.com.
CONGRESS: Deadline for
Proposals October 31
2. This Year’s Alaska BIG is By Far the Largest in its History
3. EDITORIAL: The Alaska Dividend and the Presidential Election
4. New Income Security Institute Promotes BIG in the USA
5. Big Pilot Project in Namibia Has Positive Impact
6. French National Assembly Passes Bill Called “Effectively a Negative Income Tax”
7. Brazil and Libya Might Consider Oil Dividends
8. Several Minor Parties in the U.S. And Canada Support BIG
9. Permanent Radio Show on Basic Income in Mexico
10. Upcoming Evenings
11. Recent Events
12. Recent Publications
13. New Links
14. Links and Other Info
only a few days remaining to submit a presentation proposal for the
Congress. The deadline is Oct 31, 2008. The conference will take place
27 – March 1, 2009 at Sheraton New York Hotel on 811 Seventh Avenue at
Street, New York, NY. The congress will bring together academics,
activists, policy analysts, and others interested to explore the pros
of the basic income proposal.
Participants include Mathias Risse, of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. His articles have appeared in journals such as Ethics; Philosophy and Public Affairs; Nous; the Journal of Political Philosophy; and Social Choice and Welfare. Steve Pressman, of Monmouth University, is an economist with interest in poverty, public finance, and macroeconomics. He is co-editor of The Ethics and Economics of the Basic Income Guarantee and author of Fifty Major Economists. Brian Steensland, of Indiana University, is a sociologist and author of The Failed Welfare Revolution. Jeff Manza, of New York University, is a professor of sociology and author of Why Welfare States Persist: Public Opinion and the Future of Social Provision. Pablo Yannes is the head of the Mexican affiliate of the Basic Income Earth Network. Brazilian Senator Eduardo Suplicy is a third-term Senator representing the state of Sao Paolo in the Brazilian Federal Senate and one of the founding members of Brazil’s ruling Workers’ Party. We have tentative interest from and hope soon to confirm participation by Canadian Senator Hugh Segal and Member of the Canadian House of Commons Tony Martin.
Scholars, activists, and others are invited to propose papers, and organize panel discussions. Proposals and panel discussions are welcome on BIG or topics related to the distribution of wealth and income. Proposals from any discipline and with any point of view are welcome. Anyone interested in making a presenting or organizing a panel should contact the chair of the organizing committee: Karl Widerquist: Karl@Widerquist.com.
More information about the conference is available at the USBIG website: www.usbig.net.
every Alaska resident will receive an unconditional basic income of
That payment works out to $16,345 for a family of five. This figure is
double last year’s payout of $1,654 per person and it far exceeds the
payment that Alaskans have ever received, $1,964 in the year 2000. More
$600,000 Alaskans will receive the basic income.
This year’s Alaska basic income is composed of two parts. One part is the regular Alaska Permanent Fund (APF) Dividend, which is paid to Alaskans every year from their share in past state oil revenues that have been invested in diversified assets. The payout from this investment was already the highest in the APF’s history, $2,069. This summer (the-then-not-nationally-known) governor Sarah Palin pushed through a measure to add an additional one-time energy rebate of $1200. As reported in the summer issue, the reasons for the energy rebate are that recent high oil prices have give the state government a large revenue windfall, but they have also hurt average Alaskans who consume more fuel than most Americans. Faced with an enormous budget surplus and a difficult year for residents, the supplement to the dividend was popular in the legislature and with ordinary Alaskans.
Prospects for future dividends do not look as good. The APF’s portfolio has suffered in the current financial crisis. These losses will begin to affect the dividend only next year. Oil prices have dropped so that there is less likely to be money or motivation for a second resource rebate next year.
For more information about this year’s record-high Alaska basic income go to.
A video of Governor Palin saying "the oil companies don't own the resources"
An opinion article about the fund’s investment strategy:
“Special session yields energy relief deal”
An opinion piece speculating that employers might reduces wages in response to the APF:
“A Conservative Voice for Alaskans” opinion opposing the energy rebate:
$2 BILLION: Boost to Alaska economy is a bit overwhelming:
Lawmakers dole out $1,200 energy relief rebate:
Resource Rebate, AGIA Top Special Session Accomplishments
expressed in this editorial are my own and do not represent the views
or its membership. -Karl Widerquist
Most people will be surprised to learn that the Republican Vice-Presidential nominee and the Democratic Presidential nominee have both endorsed the basic income guarantee (BIG). In one form or another both support policies to guarantee a small government-provided income for everyone. As reported in the USBIG Newsletter earlier this year, Obama has voiced support for reducing carbon emissions with the cap-and-dividend strategy, which includes a small BIG.
Sarah Palin, like most Alaskan politicians, supports the Alaska Permanent Fund (APF). Existing rules caused the APF dividend to reach a new high of $2,069 this year. That much had nothing to do with Palin. But, whatever else you might think of her, she deserves credited for adding $1200 more to this year’s dividend (see the story above and another in issue 49). She proposed it to the legislature, and pushed it through, resisting counter proposals to reduce the supplement to $1000 or $250.
Most people who learned about Palin at the Republican National Convention in August would probably be surprised to learn that such a hard-line conservative supports handing out $16,345 checks to even the poorest families. Actually, families the size of Palin’s will receive $19,416—no conditions imposed besides residency, no judgments made.
The support of politicians like Palin’s provides evidence against the belief that BIG is some kind of leftist utopian fantasy with no political viability. In the one place BIG exists it is one of the most popular government programs and it is endorsed by people across the political spectrum.
The APF has not become an issue in the campaign, and I doubt she has Palin plans to introduce a similar plan at the national level, but when the issue has come up, Palin has taken credit for it as a conservative policy. In an interview on the Fox News Network, Sean Hannity confirmed that Palin increased the Alaska dividend by $1200 this year. Hannity comment, “I have to move to Alaska. New York taxes are killing me.”
Sounding like some kind of progressive-era land reformer, Palin replied, “What we're doing up there is returning a share of resource development dollars back to the people who own the resources. And our constitution up there mandates that as you develop resources it’s to be for the maximum benefit of the people, not the corporations, not the government, but the people of Alaska.”
Tim Graham, writing for the conservative website Newsbuster.com criticized NPR’s Terry Gross for asking questioning that implied opposition to the APF in an interview with Alaska public broadcasting host, Michael Carey. Graham writes, “Gross walked Carey through the idea that it’s not hard for Palin to be popular in Alaska when she’s handing every family a $1200 check from all the oil business. She then elbowed Carey about how that money could have been better ‘invested’ (as Obama would say) in government programs.’ Suddenly conservatives are ridiculing people they assume do not support unconditional grants.
Palin justified a tax increase on the oil companies to support higher BIG on the PBS Now program before she was nominated for vice-president. “This is a big darn deal for Alaska. That non-renewable resource, of course, is so valuable …. And of course [the oil companies] they’re fighting us every step of the way when we say, ‘Well we wanna make sure, especially as it's being sold for a premium, that we're receiving appropriate value.’ … The oil companies don't own the resources. They have leases and the right to develop our resources for us. And we share a value, we're partners there, because they do the producing for us. But we own the resources.”
It is tempting to dismiss all of this conservative praise for BIG as election year insincerity. No doubt if a democratic candidate had handed out an unconditional grant of $3,269 to every citizen of their state, many conservatives would jump on it as socialist class war. Indeed some of Obama’s tax credit proposals, which are not nearly as far reaching as the APF have received just this treatment.
Speaking at a recent rally in Virginia, McCain took issue with Obama’s refundable tax credits saying, his tax plan “is not a tax cut; it’s just another government giveaway …. I won’t let that happen to you. You’re paying enough taxes. … Obama raises taxes on seniors, hardworking families to give ‘welfare’ to those who pay none." McCain often invokes Joe the Plumber to label such policies as “socialism.” Ruth Marcus noted that only minutes later John McCain touted his own “refundable tax credit” and that McCain vilifies Obama for wanting to reverse the Bush tax cuts McCain voted against. I have little doubt that McCain would give the APF the same treatment if his opponent rather than his running mate had expanded it.
Politicians who call themselves strait-talkers and don’t talk straight are nothing new, and they exist in all parties. But this doesn’t meant that we can dismiss all conservative support for the APF as insincere. There are limits to what people will accept even from leader of their own party. Many conservatives would not accept, for example, a leader who had proposed public funding to help rape victims obtain abortions, but they will support a leader who endorses $16,345 in no-questions-asked grants to every family of five.
The lesson here is that the APF is a model ready for export. Readers of this newsletter will know that governments in places as diverse as Alberta, Brazil, Iraq, Libya, and Mongolia have recently thought seriously about imitating the Alaska model.
Some might be tempted to think that the APF isn’t a true BIG and it isn’t motivated to help the poor. Not so: Jay Hammond, the Republican governor of Alaska who created the APF, came all the way to Washington, DC to speak at the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network conference in 2004. He told me that his intention was to create a BIG to help everyone—most especially the disadvantaged. If he had his way the APF fund would now be producing dividends 4 to 8 times the current individual level of $2,069.
Others might dismiss the Alaska model saying that it is a unique case because Alaska has so much oil wealth. Again, not so: Alaska ranks only sixth in U.S. states in terms of per capita GDP, with an average income just over $43,000 in 2006, more than $15,000 per year less than number-one Delaware, and only $6,000 per year ahead of the national average. Any other state or the federal government can afford to do what Alaska has done.
Alaska has oil wealth; other states have mining, fishing, hydroelectric, or real estate wealth. Governments give away resources to corporations all the time. The U.S. government recently gave away a large chunk of the broadcast spectrum to HDTV broadcasters at no charge. Offshore oil drilling will soon be expanded on three coasts. Everyone who emits green house gases and other pollutants into the atmosphere takes something we all value and—so far—pays nothing.
What was different about the Alaskan situation was that Jay Hammond was there to take advantage of the opportunity. With the Alaska model in place, it will be just a little easier for next person at the next opportunity.
University of Reading, October 23, 2008
For the Newsbusters article go to:
For the Hannity Interview go to:
For the Now program report go to:
[The quoted exchange occurs about 18 to 20 minutes into a 25 minute report titled “Alaska: The Senator and the Oil Man.”] (Thanks to Paul A. Martin)
For U.S. GDP figures by state go to:
Ruth Marcus’s editorial on McCain is online at:
promotes discussion of BIG in the
United States, but until now there has been no U.S. organization
promoting BIG. To support research and educate people about basic
income, a new
organization is being formed in Washington DC. The Income Security
like USBIG, will promote all versions of basic income. The Institute
nonpartisan and nonprofit.
The institute invites everyone to participate. Within the next few weeks, the web site will go up at www.IncomeSecurityForAll.org. The site will include blogs where you’ll be able to post ideas, join discussions, comment on and link to news items. There will also be places to post papers and articles. The institute will also sponsor and publish research, often in conjunction with universities and other organizations. And it will support USBIG by providing funds for speakers and participants with limited incomes.
If there are research projects you want to pursue, papers and articles you’re writing and looking for a place to publish, the Income Security Institute can help. The institute is also looking for financial contributions. Funds are needed immediately for legal fees and web site construction. Please contact Steven Shafarman, steve@CitizenPolicies.org, 202-319-9279.
In January 2008, a Basic Income Grant (BIG) pilot project began in the Otjivero-Omitara area in Namibia. All residents below the age of 60 years receive a Basic Income Grant of 100 Namibian dollars per person per month, without any conditions attached. According to BIEN, the grant is being given to every person registered as living there in July 2007, whatever their social and economic status. This BIG pilot project is designed and implemented by the Namibian Basic Income Grant Coalition (established in 2004) and is the first universal cash-transfer pilot project in the world. The BIG Coalition has just published its first assessment report on the project, which compares the results of a baseline study and a panel survey after the first six months of implementation.
1. The community
itself responded to the introduction of the BIG by
establishing its own 18-member committee to mobilize the community and
residents on how they could improve their lives with the money. This
that the introduction of a BIG can effectively assist with community
mobilisation and empowerment.
2. Since the introduction of the BIG child malnutrition in the settlement has dropped remarkably. Using a WHO measurement technique, the data shows that children's weight-for-age has improved significantly in just six months from 42% of underweight children to only 17%.
3. Since the introduction of the BIG, the majority of people have been able to increase their work both for pay, profit or family gain as well as self-employment. This finding is contrary to critics' claims that the BIG would lead to laziness and dependency.
4. Income has risen in the community since the introduction of the BIG by more than the amount of the grants. There is strong evidence that more people are now able to engage in more productive activities and that the BIG fosters local economic growth and development. Several small enterprises started in Otjivero, making use of the BIG money being spent in the community.
5. More than double the number of parents paid school fees and the parents prioritized the buying of school uniforms. More children are now attending school and the stronger financial situation has enabled the school to improve teaching material for the pupils (eg. buying paper and toner). The school principal reported that drop-out rates at her school were 30-40% before the introduction of the BIG. By July 2008, these rates were reduced to a mere 5%.
6. The BIG supports and strengthens Government's efforts to provide ARV treatment to people suffering from HIV/AIDS by enabling them to access governments services and afford nutrition.
7. The residents have been using the settlement's health clinic much more since the introduction of the BIG. Residents now pay the N$4 payment for each visit and the income of the clinic has increased fivefold.
8. The criticism that the grants are apparently leading to more alcoholism is not supported by evidence from the community. On the contrary, the introduction of the BIG has induced the community to set up a committee that is trying to curb alcoholism and that has worked with local shebeen [unlicensed tavern] owners not to sell alcohol on the day of the pay-out of the grants.
9. The introduction of the Basic Income Grant has helped young women recipients to take charge of their economic affairs. Several cases document that young women have been freed from having to engage in transactional sex.
10. Economic and poverty-related crime (illegal hunting, theft and trespassing) has fallen by over 20%.
11. The BIG has helped to achieve progress towards all eight Millenium Development Goals.
In brief, according to the report the initial results of this pilot project are very encouraging and by far exceed the expectations of the BIG Coalition. The local community has embraced the pilot project and is engaged in efforts to make it work well. According to BIEN, as commented by one of the community's residents: "Generally, the BIG has brought life to our place. Everyone can afford food and one does not see any more people coming to beg for food as in the past. What I can say is that people have gained their human dignity and have become responsible.” (Jonas Damaseb, June 2008) Bishop Dr. Z. Kameeta, speaking at the report launch on October 2nd, said: “We, as a Nation, cannot wait to address poverty head on. We cannot wait to implement a universal Basic Income Grant nation wide. This is a challenge for the whole country.”
Further information about the project is available on www.bignam.org.
Including a video of the presentation of the report at http://www.bignam.org/page4.html.
An article on the report published by "The Namibian" (October 3, 2008) in online at http://allafrica.com/stories/200810030605.html
National Assembly passed a new welfare reform bill, which is being
“effectively a negative income tax.” According to Tax-News.com, “The
announces an anti-poverty back-to-work program designed to mark an end
welfare trap by ensuring that it is no longer unprofitable for the
to return to work and guaranteeing a minimum level of income.” The
found immediate approval with the vast majority of MPs, although there
considerable controversy about its financing. The allowance reduces
progressively as income received from the work increases so that those
back to work immediately earn more than by remaining on benefits. The
begins deliberation of the bill on October 20.
For further information see:
Thursday, October 09, 2008
BBC news article reports that Brazilian President Lula has “vowed” to
revenue from newly discovered offshore oil fields to eradicate poverty.
discovered offshore oil could as much as triple Brazil’s oil reserves
possibly make Brazil one of the biggest oil producers in the world.
promised not to squander the profits but to open “a direct bridge
natural wealth and the eradication of poverty.” He added, “We won't
ourselves to be dazzled and go spending money that we still don’t have
This effort may lead to the creation of an Alaska-style dividend system. Senator Eduardo Suplicy, a founding member of Lula’s Worker’s Party, has been pushing for BIG in the form of an Alaska-style dividend for years, and has successfully pushed policy in that direction. New potential oil revenue could help make Suplicy’s proposal a reality.
Reuters reports that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi called for reforms to the nation’s bureaucracy to distribute oil-wealth directly to the people. The details of the idea are unclear. But Gaddafi, who has ruled Libya since taking power in a coup 39 years ago, said, “The implementation will start at the beginning of next year.”
See the BBC News story on Brazil at:
See the Reuters story on Libya at:
Canadian Green Party, which won nearly a million votes (6.8% of the
total) in recent elections, endorse BIG in its campaign. Green Party
Elizabeth May said, “Current welfare and employment insurance policies
failed to eradicate poverty in Canada and we believe it is time for a
innovative approach.” She outlined the Green Party position, saying,
eliminate poverty and hunger, the Green Party would look at introducing
Guaranteed Livable Income for Canadians. As a regular annual payment,
with the provinces could allow Guaranteed Livable Income supplements to
regionally. Setting the payment at a level adequate for subsistence
encourage additional income generation.”
Many minor parties participating in the current U.S. elections have also endorsed BIG. These include the Green Party, the Socialist Party, and others. The Green Party platform states, “We call for a graduated supplemental income, or negative income tax, that would maintain all individual adult incomes above the poverty level, regardless of employment or marital status.”
The vice-presidential candidate of the Socialist Party, Stewart A. Alexander, has proposed a common U.S.-Mexican currency and establishing a Basic Income Guarantee for working people on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Mountain Party Gubernatorial candidate, Jesse Johnson, has also endorsed BIG. The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports, “He would like to see the emergence of a citizen’s dividend, a policy based upon the principle that the natural world is the common property of everyone and that each person should receive regular payments from revenue raised through the leasing or selling of those natural resources.”
For more information on the Canadian Greens go to:
For article on Jesse Johnson go to:
For article on the Socialist Party go to:
Thursday October 23, 2008 at 8:30am (14:30 GMT) the Mexican affiliate
will have a radio show dedicated to promoting, analyzing and spreading
basic income proposal. The show will be on the air every Thursday and
live on www.radiociudadana.imer.gob.mx ('Radio Ciudadana' section). The
will be hosted by Pablo Yanes and Karen Makieze, members of the Mexican
affiliate and will include guests and permanent correspondents. A
invitation is extended to all of those who wish to participate in the
to get in contact through www.icu.org.mx.
For further information contact: Pablo Yanes at email@example.com.
CITIZEN’S INCOME SESSIONS AT THE SOCIAL POLICY ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE
The University of Edinburgh
June 29 –July 1, 2009
The Citizen’s Income Trust—BIEN’s affiliate in the United Kingdom—is attempting to organize several sessions on BIG at the Social Policy Association’s 43rd annual Conference at the University of Edinburgh June 29 –July 1, 2009. The conference will provide a great opportunity for presentations on all aspects of BIG. Now that BIEN has become a worldwide network, it only has conferences in Europe every once every four years. The CIT sessions may provide an opportunity for English-language meetings on BIG in Europe in between BIEN meetings.
To participate in one of the CIT’s sessions, send a title, an abstract of 300-400 words, together with full contact information and affiliation, to Annie Miller at the CIT office, firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, 16 January 2009. These papers will be grouped by topic and sent to the SPA for their approval. For more information email the CIT or go to their website: www.citizensincome.org.
BERLIN, October 24 – 26, 2008
The Third German Basic Income Congress
“On the Way to Basic Income – Unconditional and Viable” (“Auf dem Weg zum Grundeinkommen – bedingungslos und existenzsichernd”). Under this title, the Berlin Congress will discuss a wide range of approaches to basic income, from philosophical concepts to practical policy proposals. Current congress plans are published on the German Basic Income Network's website www.grundeinkommen.de. Presently, the schedule offers more than ten main events such as lectures and panel discussions as well as 36 workshops to be held in two blocks of two hours each.
For further information: http://www.grundeinkommen.de
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, November 6-7, 2008
Conference on Basic income
A Basic Income Ibero-American Conference, organized by the Red Argentina de Ingreso Ciudadano, will take place November 6th and 7th at the Centro Cultural de la Cooperacion, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The participation of numerous experts from Spain and Latin America is expected. Discussion will focus on the following issues: BI and tax reforms, BI vs employment programs, BI vs conditioned cash transfer programs, BI and democracy, BI and the local level, BI and social movements. More information at: www.ingresociudadano.org.
MADRID, Spain November 27-28, 2008
Eighth Symposium of Red Renta Basica
BIEN reports that the 8th Symposium of the Red Renta Basica (the Spanish Basic Income Network) will take place in Madrid on 27th and 28th November, within the framework of the 4th Seminar about Contemporary Visions of Human Rights organized by the Institute of Human Rights of Universidad Carlos III and the Universidad P. Comillas of Madrid. The conference will be held at University Pontificia Comillas. Symposium is organised around the topics of the Social State, the crisis of labour, Minimum Insertion Incomes, the reciprocity principle, human rights and ways to finance basic income.
For further information: José Luis Rey email@example.com.
WEEK IN GERMANY, AUSTRIA, AND SWITZERLAND
September 12-21, 2008
reports: The first “International Basic Income Week” turned out to be a
successful tool to gain publicity all over Austria, Germany and
Initiated by the Basic Income Networks of these three countries
the ATTAC groups, “Basic Income Week” mobilized new organizations,
and people, that had not been involved in the basic income discussion
actively before. In Austria, these included organizations in the field
development cooperation, art and culture, as well as representatives of
green party and the liberal party. More than twenty events took place
“International Basic Income Week” ended with a conference-day in
“on the way to Berlin”, where the 3rd Basic Income-Congress will take
to 26th October, 2008. For more information see:
COVENTRY, United Kingdom, August 12, 2008
Green Party Meeting on the Citizen's Income
BEIN Reports: Coventry's local section of the Green Party of England and Wales organized a meeting on basic income, which was held at the Coventry Peace House on August 12th, 2008. The Citizen's income is currently part of the Green Party platform. For further information, see "Coventry Green Voice", the blog of Scott Redding (local party coordinator for the Coventry Green Party), at http://coventrygreenparty.blogspot.com/
likelihood of a basic income in Germany
International Social Security Review, 61(3), 73-94.
paper, Michael Opielka (Faculty of Social Welfare, University of
Sciences, Jena) discusses whether the likelihood of Germany introducing
income policy — that is independent of labor market participation — has
increased in recent years. A brief description of the main elements of
German welfare state is followed by a critical analysis of more recent
developments in guaranteeing a basic income, not least with the 2003
unemployment benefits and social assistance. Since then the resulting
downward mobility felt even by the middle classes have reignited the
debate about a basic income. Two models (the “basic income guarantee”
“solidarity citizen’s income”) are used to discuss practical system
problems and the chances of realizing a basic income policy.
The Earth Belongs to Everyone
Publisher: Institute for Economic Democracy, August 2008, ISBN-13: 9781933567044, 368pp
Belongs to Everyone by Alanna Hartzok, co-director of Earth Rights
sets forth the vision and policy foundation for no less than a new form
democracy -- "earth rights democracy." Following an introduction
containing glimpses of the author's fascinating journey through life,
compilation of her articles and essays describes how to establish
political-economic systems based on the human right to the planet as a
birthright. Her main point is that earth rights democracy is an
ethical basis necessary to secure other economic human rights and to
world of peace and plenty for all. She places this core perspective
integrated local-to-global framework that balances the need for global
cooperation with the necessity for building demilitarized,
sustainable local-based economies. Many of the essays discuss BIG
name Citizens Dividend). This book will be the subject of a panel at
Congress of the USBIG Network in New York, February 2009
The Physical Basis of Voluntary Trade
Karl Widerquist1, University of Reading
Human Rights Review, Online First, August 30, 2008
ABSTRACT: The article discusses the conditions under which can we say that people enter the economic system voluntarily. “The Need for an Exit Option” briefly explains the philosophical argument that voluntary interaction requires an exit option—a reasonable alternative to participation in the projects of others. “The Treatment of Effective Forced Labor in Economic and Political Theory” considers the treatment of effectively forced interaction in economic and political theory. “Human Need” discusses theories of human need to determine the capabilities a person requires to have an acceptable exit option. “Capability in Cash, Kind, or Raw Resources” considers what form access to that level of capability should come, concluding that a basic income guarantee is the most effective method to ensure an exit option in a modern, industrial economy.
SWISSINFO Report on the Ethical Case for Basic Income
A report on SwissInfo.ch outlines ethicist, Hans Ruh’s case for basic income. Ruh is a former professor at Zurich University and founder of the social ethics institute he founded there. He is the chairman of Blue Value, a centre that aims to bring more ethics to the business world, and he has supported a basic income for all Swiss adults for years. He says basic income is likely to become a hot political topic in the coming years. The article entitled, “Ethicist puts the case for basic income” is online at:
The Heretical Political Discourse. A Discourse Analysis of the Danish Debate on Basic Income
CHRISTENSEN, Eric (2008), Aalborg University Press, 164p., http://forlag.hum.aau.dk/
BIEN reports: In this anthology about the basic income debate in Denmark, author Eric Christensen proposes a discourse analysis of Denmark's development from a universal welfare state to a workfare state. With its analysis of metaphors, narratives and key concepts in the debate, it unveils how the basic income discourse ended up being both heretical and excluded. Lastly, it provides a global ecological argument for a basic income and discusses the conditions for bringing back the basic income question on the political agenda.
Author’s address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Publisher’s website: http://forlag.hum.aau.dk/
Towards a Basic Income Grant for All
HAARMAN, Claudia & al. (2008), Basic Income Grant Pilot Project Assessment Report, September 2008, ISBN: 978-99916-842-3-9.
According to BIEN, this report compares the results of the baseline study and panel data after the first six months of implementation of the BIG Pilot Project in Namibia. Findings include are summarized in the report on Namibia above. The research of the Basic Income Grant Pilot Project is designed and carried out jointly by the Desk for Social Development and the Labour Resource and Research Institute on behalf of the BIG Coalition. The authors of this report are Claudia Haarmann, Dirk Haarmann, Herbert Jauch, Hilma Shindondola-Mote, Nicoli Nattrass, Michael Samson and Guy Standing.
For further information: email@example.com. Coalition web page: www.bignam.org
Discrete choice models of labour supply, behavioural microsimulation and the Spanish tax reforms
LABEAGA, José M., OLIVER, X. & SPADARO, A. (2008), Journal of Economic Inequality, 6 (3), pp. 247-273.
Reports: This article explores the potential of behavioural
models as powerful tools for evaluation of public policies which affect
benefit systems. In the context of an evaluation of recent Spanish
reforms, the article studies the effects of a basic income-flat tax
(among others) on efficiency and household and social welfare. The
microsimulation model takes labour supply explicitly into account. The
show that the proposed basic income scheme would only have a minor
economic efficiency and labour market supply, but, by contrast, would
significantly improve social welfare. According to the authors, “the
contribution of this paper consists of highlighting the potential of a
Income Flat Tax scheme as an institutional redistribution mechanism
both reduce inequality and increase social welfare in Spain. Its
depends on the associated efficiency costs (in terms of reductions in
supply) it may produce, although the results of our econometric
indicate that such costs are minor”.
Social Justice Through Universal Benefits
VANDERBORGHT, Yannick (2008), Revista de Estudos Universitarios (Brazil), 34 (1), 2008, pp.71-84.
Since the late 1990s, the reform of income transfer programs has become a hot topic in several developing countries. Among the proposals being debated, the idea of giving all citizens the right to an unconditional and universal basic income has attracted renewed attention. This introductory paper briefly tackles some of the main questions raised by this idea: would the introduction of such a basic income represent an improvement in terms of economic security for countries like Brazil? Would it be superior to existing targeted schemes? How should it be implemented? Even if basic income is not to be seen as magic bullet against all social problems, it is argued that it can be considered as a crucial component of any coherent strategy designed to foster social justice in developing countries.
Basic income and productivity in cognitive capitalism
FUMAGALLI, Andrea & LUCARELLI, Stefano
Review of Social Economics, Vol. LXVI, issue 1, March 2008: 14-37.
In this article basic income (BI) is not considered merely as a measure to raise both living standards and social well-being. Rather, the authors argue that it should be seen as an indispensable structural policy for achieving a healthier social order governed by a more equitable compromise between capital and labor. Embracing the French Regulation School approach, Fumagalli (University of Pavia) & Lucarelli (University of Bergamo) maintain that such a compromise is founded on the redistribution of the gains of productivity. In advancing the argument, they focus on the socio-economic transformation that has overtaken the Fordist paradigm within Western Countries and propose the term Cognitive Capitalism (CC) to describe the economic system. The authors address the relationship between the exploitation of knowledge and the accumulation of surplus, pointing out that such a process is based on the exploitation of dynamic scale economies. Their analysis highlight the ambiguity concerning the growth circle of contemporary capitalism. According to Fumagalli & Lucarelli, BI is compatible with the present form(s) of accumulation, as it increases productivity, through network and learning processes whilst increasing demand via levels of consumption. Such a result is not always guaranteed. It depends, on the one hand, upon how much BI positively affects productivity; the greater this probability, the lower the role played by intellectual property rights and the higher the diffusion of network economies (general intellect and social cooperation) and on the other, it depends upon the way BI is financed.
Authors' addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
GROUP ON EXTREME INEQUALITY has launched a new website. Hosted by the
for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C., the website aims to build
public policies that can address the concentration of wealth and, at
time, raise badly needed revenue for social investments that foster
economic opportunity. It can be found online at:
BLOGGER DISCUSSES CITIZENS DIVIDENDS: British blogger Mark Wadsworth, a libertarian activist, argues for a Citizens Dividend with his many readers. One Line: http://anti-citizen-one.blogspot.com/2008/05/geonomics-geonomics-is.html
For links to
dozens of BIG websites around the world, go to
These links are to any website with information about BIG, but USBIG
necessarily endorse their content or their agendas.
The USBIG Network Newsletter
Editor: Karl Widerquist
Research: Paul Nollen; and Yannick Vanderborght of the BIEN NewsFlash
Special help on this issue was provided by Jeff Smith and Paul A. Martin of the Georgist News.
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: http://www.usbig.net.
You may copy and circulate articles from this newsletter, but please mention the source and include a link to http://www.usbig.net. 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: Karl@Widerquist.com.
As always, your comments on this newsletter and the USBIG website are gladly welcomed.
-Karl Widerquist, editor