USBIG NEWSLETTER Vol. 12, No. 59 Winter 2011

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.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Tenth Annual North American Basic Income Guarantee Congress: New York February 25-27, 2011
2. Editorial: USBIG Unveils Two BIG Blogs
3. Basic Income Book Series: Call for Proposals
4. Opinion: Two Memoirs Tell the History of the Alaska Dividend
5. American Political Science Association Task Force Will Discuss BIG
6. Call for papers: Citizen's Income Sessions at the Social Policy Association Annual Conference in the UK
7. Iran Begins Distributing a Partial BIG
8. Other BIG News From Around the World
9.
Group seeks volunteers to help produce a study guide on BIG
10. Basic Income Studies Releases Volume 5, Issue 2, December 2010
11. Recent Publications
12.
Recent events
13.
New Members
14.
New Links
15. Links and Other Info

1. Tenth Annual North American Basic Income Guarantee Congress: New York February 25-27, 2011

The Tenth Annual North American Basic Income Guarantee Congress: Models for Social Transformation will take place in just a few weeks. The “NA-BIG Congress” is a joint event combining the conferences of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network and BIEN Canada. It will be held in conjunction with the Eastern Economics Association’s Annual Meeting at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers New York, NY on February 25-27, 2011.

This year’s conference will include a plenary dialogue on “left and right views of the basic income guarantee,” featuring Stanley Aronowitz, of the City University of New York, author of The Jobless Future; and Charles Murray, of the American Enterprise Institute, author of In Our Hands: A Plan to Replace the Welfare State. Other speakers confirmed so far include Brazilian Senator Eduardo Suplicy; Ovide Mercredi, Chief, Misipawistik Cree Nation, Former National Chief, Assembly of First Nations (Canada); Rob Rainer, Executive Director, Canada Without Poverty; and Alfredo L. De Romana, of the University of Paris I (the Sorbonne).

The conference will include three sessions (nine presentations) on the upcoming book Exporting the Alaska Model: How the Permanent Fund Dividend Can Be Adapted as a Reform Model for the World (edited by Karl Widerquist and Michael Howard). Other topics to be discussed at the conference include “The Financial Cost of Eliminating Poverty,” “Libertarianism and Basic Income,” “Creating an Equitable Economic System,” “Basic Income and the Global Recession,” and three sessions on “The Political Economy of Income Support.”

At the close of the conference, USBIG and BIEN Canada will hold their organizational meetings.

For more information and for instructions for registering for the conference go to http://www.usbig.net, or email the conference organizer, Karl Widerquist <karl@widerquist.com>.


2. Editorial: USBIG Unveils Two BIG Blogs

It has occurred to me that I have essentially been blogging regularly about BIG and about the Alaska Dividend since I started writing this newsletter. But past entries aren’t very accessible. Opinion and blogs are mixed with news and announcements on past newsletters section of the USBIG website. So to remedy this, the USBIG Network has added two blogs to its website: the Alaska Dividend Blog and the Basic Income Guarantee Blog. Both have news and opinion on those topics going back to 2000, and both will continue to be updated periodically. Both allow for reader comments and feedback. They’re online at:
http://www.usbig.net/blogs.php

3. Basic Income Book Series: Call for Proposals

Palgrave-MacMillan Publishers has announced a new book series on the Basic Income Guarantee. They expect to publish two or three books per year starting within the next year or so. Books will be nonfiction monographs and edited volumes. They are currently accepting proposals from authors and editors with ideas for books for the series. The series announcement is repeated in full below:

Basic Income Guarantee Series

Series Editors: Karl Widerquist, Visiting Associate Professor at Georgetown University-Qatar James Bryan, Professor of Economics at Manhattanville College, Michael A. Lewis, Associate Professor at Hunter College School of Social Work

Basic income is one of the most innovative, powerful, straightforward, and controversial proposals for addressing poverty and growing inequalities. A Basic Income Guarantee is designed to be an unconditional, government-ensured guarantee that all citizens will have enough income to meet their basic needs. The concept of basic, or guaranteed, income is a form of social provision and this series examines the arguments for and against it from an interdisciplinary perspective with special focus on the economic and social factors. There will be contributions from individuals in the fields of economics, philosophy, sociology, history, and social policy studies as well as from activists and practitioners in the field. By systematically connecting abstract philosophical debates over competing principles of basic income guarantee to the empirical analysis of concrete policy proposals, this series contributes to the fields of economics, politics, social policy, and philosophy and establishes a theoretical framework for interdisciplinary research.

The series will publish both high-quality monographs and edited collections. It will bring together international and national scholars and activists to provide a comparative look at the main efforts to date to pass unconditional basic income guarantee legislation across regions of the globe and will identify commonalities and differences across countries, drawing lessons for advancing social policies in general and BIG policies in particular. The series editors additionally are open to considering proposals that address other policy approaches to poverty and income inequality that relate to the Basic Income debate.

Karl Widerquist is a Visiting Associate Professor in philosophy at Georgetown University-Qatar. He is co-editor of The Ethics and Economics of the Basic Income Guarantee and co-author of Economics for Social Workers. He has published more than a dozen scholarly articles in the fields of economics, political theory, and philosophy. He is also an editor of the journal, Basic Income Studies. James Bryan is Associate Professor of Economics at Manhattanville College specializing in Microeconomic analysis of public policy, public finance, and economic education. Michael A. Lewis is Associate Professor at Hunter College School of Social Work with specific expertise in Quantitative Methods, Social Policy, and Civic Engagement. He is co-editor of The Ethics and Economics of the Basic Income Guarantee and co-author of Economics for Social Workers.

We strongly encourage scholars, practitioners, and activists to send us proposals for books to be added to the series. Contact the series editors for the series proposal guidelines.

 

Karl Widerquist

karl@widerquits.com

Laurie Harting

Executive Editor Palgrave Macmillan 175 Fifth Avenue New York, New York 10010 (USA) Laurie.Harting@palgrave-usa.com

Distributor of Berg Publishers, I.B.Tauris, Manchester University Press, Pluto Press and Zed Books

 

4. Opinion: Two Memoirs Tell the History of the Alaska Dividend

A Review Essay by
Karl Widerquist, Visiting Associate Professor Georgetown University-Qatar

                        Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend is closer to a basic income than almost any other policy in the world today. The lessons of how it was created and how it became so popular and successful are extremely important to the basic income movement. Two autobiographies available now tell different parts of the story of the Alaska Dividend. One is by Jay Hammond, the governor who, more than anyone else, is responsible for creating the fund and dividend. The other is by Dave Rose, the first executive director of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation.

                        Each book tells the story of its author’s life. These stories are interesting in their own right, reflecting the experience of many latter-day pioneers who came to Alaska from the lower 48 states before or in the early years of statehood. Hammond moved to Alaska after being a World War II pilot, and he lived the Alaskan experience as a “bush” pilot, a wilderness guide, a homesteader, a legislator, a small-town Borough President, and governor. Followers of current U.S. politics will be interested to know that Sarah Palin took the name of her television show from “Jay Hammond’s Alaska,” which ran for seven years in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

                        But followers of the basic income movement will be most interested in the inside accounts of how the Alaska Dividend was created and became the sound and solidly supported program that exists today. Although the Alaska Permanent Fund (APF) is the source of revenue for the Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD), many non-Alaskans are unaware that the two are different programs created at different times by different kinds of legislation.

                        The events leading up to the creation of the fund began in 1955 when Alaska called a constitutional convention in advance of statehood. The constitution that was finally adopted proclaims that all the natural resources of Alaska belong to the state for the benefit of the people.

                        One of the most important events toward the development of the fund and dividend happened quietly in an office in Juneau in 1963. At that time, negotiations with the federal government over which lands would be transferred to full state ownership and which would remain federally owned had dragged on for several years. A geologist named Tom Marshall (according to Hammond) and/or the commissioner of natural resources, Phil Holdsworth (according to Rose), persuaded then-governor Bill Egan that there might be oil in far-northern Alaska. Egan then finished the land negotiations with the federal government by agreeing to take a “large, barren and unpopulated wasteland on Alaska’s Arctic Slope, near remote Prudhoe Bay.” In 1967, oil was discovered under that barren, unpopulated wasteland.

                        Jay Hammond was elected governor in 1974, when, he says, “the scent of anticipated oil revenues wafted like musk in the halls of the state legislature.” Hammond was possessed with the idea of putting as much of that money as possible into a permanent fund that would pay dividends to Alaskans. The concept had been with him for a long time. Years earlier, as mayor of the small municipality of Bristol Bay Borough he had tried unsuccessfully to create a similar program at the local level using fisheries revenue.

                        Hammond had many reasons for favoring the fund and dividend. He thought that the temporary windfall should be saved rather than spent as it came in. He was afraid that the government would waste the windfall on poorly designed programs or projects that would benefit only special interests or favored constituents. He wanted to make sure that every Alaskan would benefit from their jointly owned oil resources. And he hoped the dividend would help the poor.

                        The time was right not only because money was beginning to flow, but also because of public perception. Five years before Hammond took office, in 1969, the state government had received an initial windfall of $900 million (six times the size of the state budget at that time) from the sale of leases for the right to drill. Some people at the time, including then-governor Keith Miller, argued that the state should invest the money and spend only the interest. But by 1974 all of that money was gone, and there was a widespread (if exaggerated) belief that most of it had been wasted. Thus, there was strong support for saving at least part of the expected oil windfall when Hammond began discussing the ideas of a fund and a dividend with the legislature.

                        In 1976, after a series of compromises, Alaskans passed an amendment to the state constitution dedicating at least 25 percent of each year’s oil royalties to the new APF. It was a fraction of what Hammond wanted. Although he discussed many different figures, he at one time had hopes of dedicating 50 percent of all oil revenue to the fund. Royalties make up only about half of the state’s oil revenues. Therefore, the APF is only one-fourth as large has Hammond had wanted.

                        The biggest missing piece, from Hammond’s perspective, was the dividend. There as no mention of it in the amendment, which simply states that at least a minimum amount of certain kinds of mineral revenue would go into a fund of “income producing investments.” It did not specify what these investments should be or how the returns would be used. Although these omissions were a disappointment to Hammond, according to Rose, the vagueness of the APF amendment was instrumental to its passage. It drew support from diverse groups that would not all have supported a more clearly defined plan dedicating the returns to a dividend or anything else.

                        By both Rose and Hammond’s account the dividend proposal was not popular with the public or with members of the legislature when Hammond started pushing for it in the late 1970s. The dividend got through thanks both to the strength of governor’s office and to a long series of compromises made by a few dedicated legislators.

                        After a court challenge about how dividends were to be distributed, the final version of the dividend bill was passed and went into effect in 1982. It dedicated roughly half of the APF’s returns to the PFD. Unlike the fund itself, the dividend is not protected by a constitutional amendment. It is created by a simple majority vote of the state legislature. It is protected today, mostly, by its enormous popularity. According to Rose, a legislator proposed to do away with the PFD only six months after the first dividends went out. Rose writes, “His proposal had ample support in the Legislature, but when the public heard about it, everyone ran for cover.” After one dividend check the PFD has a strong political constituency. After three or four checks, it became politically inviolable.

                        But the fund was still not fully secure from diversion. The principal only had to be held in “income producing investments.” There are many risky, politically motivated projects that can count as income producing investments. Many politicians wanted to use it for subsidized loans or infrastructure projects. Some wanted to restrict the APF to invest only in Alaskan assets. The legislature still has the power to intervene on any of these issues, but for the most part they have not. These issues have been resolved largely by the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation (APFC), a body that was created in 1980 to manage the fund and dividend.

                        David Rose became the first executive director of the APFC in 1982. He made it his goal to follow the “prudent investor rule,” a legal doctrine in which those who invest on behalf of others must seek the highest returns consistent with the safety of the investment. Investments with almost any other political goal are ruled out by the prudent investor rule, because they tend not to be the safest and most profitable. This rule was nominally established in APF legislation in 1980, but the law has little teeth. It takes discipline of the managers and the oversight of public opinion to keep it in place. The state set up other programs for subsidized loans and development projects. By the time Rose left office in 1992, the prudent investor rule was well established in precedent. The Alaskan public, weary that some bureaucrat might be blowing the source of their future dividends, paid close attention to the fund’s performance.

                        Even Rose felt the temptation to use the fund for political objectives. He tells one story from the late 1980s when the manager of Kuwait’s sovereign wealth fund came to him privately and suggested that the Kuwait fund, the APF, and two pension funds from the lower 48 states should pool their assets and buy a controlling interest in British Petroleum (BP). Rose turned it down, of course, but not without some hesitation and daydreaming. It would have been a political move—not the move of a prudent investor.

                        These two books together lay out the long series of events between 1955 and 1992 that led to the place in which the APF is established in the Alaskan state constitution; the PFD is established by law; the prudent investor rule is established by law and precedent; and all are protected by public opinion.

Postscript

                        At the time of this writing (January 2011), the APF is at more than $38.4 billion. The most recent PFD (October 2010) was $1,281 for every man, woman, and child in Alaska. The story the led to this point is long and complex. After reading Hammond’s book and speaking to him at the 2005 USBIG Congress, I still cannot say for sure how this idea came to Hammond and how he came to be so obsessed by it. He appears to have been influenced by the guaranteed income movement of the 1960s, but this does not fully explain where he got the idea tying dividends to a permanent state-owned fund.

                        Although Hammond was not the only person responsible for the creation of the fund and dividend, it is clear that it would not have happened without his single-minded pursuit of it for his entire eight years as governor. He made it his top priority. It was the object seemingly of every budget compromise he made from 1974 to 1982. To some extent the Alaska Dividend owes its existence to the right person being in the right office at the right time. But with a working model in place, it will be a little easier at the next opportunity.

                        The dividend is safe for now because it continues to be one of the most popular programs in Alaska, but that might not be true forever. The legislature has recently made several attempts to redirect the principal of the fund toward political projects, such as infrastructure investments, which show reduced commitment to the prudent investor rule. Alaskans were surprisingly resigned to the $12 billion the fund lost in the financial crisis of 2008-2009.

                        Furthermore, Alaska faces difficult budgetary times ahead thanks to decisions made when the oil started flowing. Back when Hammond was trying to create the dividend, he reluctantly and regretfully signed a bill to eliminate the state income tax. Looking at short-term effects only, the elimination of the income tax seemed like a great idea. The state simply didn’t need the tax; it was making far more money in oil revenue than it needed to run the state budget. Hammond thought it would be much better to dedicate more oil revenues to the permanent fund and continue to finance most government spending through regular taxes. Eliminating the income tax would benefit Alaskans unevenly and temporarily. Dedicating an equal amount of additional money to the APF (and an accompanying dividend) would benefit all Alaskans permanently. Instead the state decided to live off temporary oil revenue.

                        Today nearly 85% of the Alaska state budget is funded by oil. When those revenues run out there will be enormous pressure to redirect the PFD and perhaps even APF principal toward supporting the state budget. Furthermore, the state will be in the position of needing to find new tax sources just when the industry that dominates the state economy will be contracting. Perhaps, natural gas will create a new resource boom just as the oil money begins to run out. Perhaps some other part of the Alaskan economy will take over. But it is clear that Alaska is in a more precarious position than it would have been if the state had saved more of its oil revenues.

                        It’s tempting to think what might have been, in a best-case scenario, if Alaska had saved all of its oil revenue. Suppose the state had kept the income tax, put all its oil revenues into the APF, and spent only the interest. The APF would now be something in the neighborhood of eight-to-ten times its actual current size of $38.4 billion. For a best-case scenario, say $400 billion. Most financial analysts agree that one can withdraw up to 4% or 5% per year from an investment fund and still expect it to grow over time in real terms. Suppose the state was able to withdraw 5% each year, using half of it for dividends and half for the state’s operating budget. That would produce a dividend of $15,000 per person per year and $10 billion for the state budget. Current total state spending is only $10.5 billion per year. Thus, the state would only need to raise $0.5 billion from other sources this year, and it would be able to envision the day when returns to the fund financed the entire state budget.

                        Enticing, but it is a best-case scenario, relying on the most optimistic assumptions on every issue. It ignores all the financial risks and political, economic, and demographic barriers to maintaining such a system. It also ignores the state’s need to spend some of the oil money as soon as it came in. It was a poor state with weak infrastructure and poor schools; it no longer is—thanks to the oil boom. Although some of the oil money was wasted, some of it was well spent. As Rose argues, “Until basic needs are met, such as education and public safety, the government has no business saving for the future.” Alaska had to spend a lot to meet its needs at the time, but it could have saved much more than it has. If Hammond had gotten his way, the fund and dividend would be four times the size they are now.

                        The APF and PFD give us a model on which we can improve. The memoirs of Hammond and Rose help us understand how we can get it done.
-Karl Widerquist, Doha, Qatar, January 25, 2011

The two books discussed above are:
Dave Rose and Charles Wohlforth. 2008. Saving For the Future: My Life and the Alaska Permanent Fund. Kenmore, WA: Epicenter Press.
Hammond, Jay S. 1994. Tales of Alaska’s Bush Rat Governor. Kenmore, WA: Epicenter Press.


5. American Political Science Association Task Force Will Discuss BIG

The American Political Science Association (APSA) has created a “Task Force on Democracy, Economic Security, and Social Justice in a Volatile World.” This task force is charged to rethink some of the familiar assumptions about democracy, economic security, and social justice in light of recent social and economic trends. In particular, the Task Force will assess recent policy innovations in three broad, related areas: Basic Income, participatory budgeting and planning, and rights-based models of welfare and development.

According to the task force’s statement of purpose, Basic Income will fit into the study in the following way. “The task force will focus on the democracy-enhancing elements of the program and assess its potential as a tool for stimulating economic and democratic development [including as a model for foreign aid]. It will also address concerns about cost and implementation.”

On completion, the task force will produce a 20-30 page summary report (written for a broad audience,) op-ed pieces, press releases, other public outreach and an interactive web-site featuring in-depth research, working papers, discussion forums, wikis, relevant links, and other resources that will allow for meaningful public input from around the world. Thus the initial findings of the Task Force will mark the beginning rather than the end of its deliberations.

For more information about the task force, go to: http://www.apsanet.org/content_74160.cfm
For questions & comments about the task force, contact: Robert Hauck <rhauck@apsanet.org>, APSA deputy director and liaison to this task force.


6. Call for papers: Citizen's Income Sessions at the Social Policy Association Annual Conference in the UK

Call for papers: Citizen's Income Sessions at the Social Policy Association Annual Conference

July 4-6, 2011

University of Lincoln

Lincoln, England

 

The Citizen's Income Trust (CIT), the British BIG Network, is organizing several sessions at the Social Policy Association Conference. These sessions will be on all aspects of BIG, including one or two sessions that aim to provide a coherent social policy in which a BIG scheme provides a core. To participate in any of the CIT sessions, please send a title, an abstract of 300-400 words for your paper proposal, together with full contact information and affiliation to Annie Miller at the CIT office, info@citizensincome.org by Friday, February 18, 2011. These papers will be grouped by topic and sent to the SPA for their approval. Decisions will be conveyed after March 21. All participants must register with the SPA. Further details of the conference are available on www.lincoln.ac.uk/conferences/SPA2011. This conference fee, which goes entirely to the SPA, includes coffees, teas and lunches, and a year's subscription to the SPA. The conference starts with lunch on Monday July 4 and ends with lunch on Wednesday July 6.
For more information, contact Annie Miller at: info@citizensincome.org


7. Iran Begins Distributing a Partial BIG

In December 2010, Iran sent the first payments of $80 per person to all Iranian citizens who have applied for it. More than 80 percent of Iranians have applied. The payment is in compensation for a decrease in government subsidies for gasoline, heating oil, and other commodities that also went into effect recently. According to the plan, the dividends will be distributed once every two months (totaling $480 per person per year at this stage). The plan is intended to be permanent, and the payments are supposed to be gradually increased as subsidies are gradually eliminated.

For articles on the Iranian partial BIG see:
The Energy Bulletin: Peak Oil Review, December 20, 2010: 2. Iran:
http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2010-12-20/peak-oil-review-dec-20
The BBC News: Middle East: Fears of unrest after Iran cuts food and fuel subsidies, December 23, 2010:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12061715
International Institute for Environment and Development: Is Iran sleepwalking towards a universal income grant?:
http://www.iied.org/sustainable-markets/blog/iran-sleepwalking-towards-universal-income-grant


8. Other BIG News From Around the World

CANADA: BIG on Legislative Agenda in Yukon British Columbia

The Green Party of British Columbia has announced that it will release a white paper on the Guaranteed Livable Income (another name for BIG) in early 2011. The press release was optimistic that BIG is feasible at the provincial level.

In addition, BIEN reports, the leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP) in Yukon (one of Canada's three Federal territories), Steve Cardiff, has put forward a notice of motion for the Yukon Government to introduce a Guaranteed Minimum Annual Income Allowance. According to the official report from Yukon's legislative assembly, he urged "the Yukon government to implement a guaranteed minimum annual income allowance for all eligible Yukon citizens as recommended by Conservative Party Senator Hugh Segal, the Royal Commission on the Status of Women, the Macdonald Commission, the National Council of Welfare, the Special Senate Committee on Poverty and the federal working paper on social security, which would: (1) expand human dignity; (2) end poverty; (3) save on the costs of hospitals, prisons and police work; (4) eliminate or significantly reduce the burden on the social assistance system; (5) be recoverable through the personal income tax systems for those earning over a certain amount; and (6) simplify administration and reduce administrative costs."

For more info on the white paper, see the Green Party’s website:
http://www.greenparty.bc.ca/news/green-party-bc-calls-basic-income-plan
Further information about the bill in the Yukon go to:
http://www.legassembly.gov.yk.ca

CANADA: Two Major National Newspapers Discuss Different Aspects of BIG

Two major national daily newspapers in Canada have recently published lengthy (and unrelated) articles on BIG. Erin Anderssen wrote a length piece in the focus section of The Globe and Mail, Nov. 19, 2010, entitled, “To End Poverty, Guarantee Everyone in Canada $20,000 a Year: But are you willing to trust the poor?” This article is very positive, and since it’s publication on the web, it has inspired more than 1,400 comments so far. The article describes all the red tape needy Canadians have to go through to claim benefits that they are eligible for and discusses how a guaranteed income could simplify the system.

Carol Goar, a member of the editorial board of the Toronto Star, recently wrote two articles with positive stories about BIG. In one, she reports on new findings that have come out from an old study of BIG, showing that it had a major positive impact on quality of life. In the 1970s, the Canadian government conducted a BIG experiment called “Mincome” in the small town of Dauphin, Manitoba, but cancelled the program, leaving most of the collected data unexamined. Evelyn Forget, of the University of Manitoba, has recently gained access to 2,000 boxes of information from the experiment.

Going through it will take years. But according to Goar, Forget’s preliminary findings show: During the experiment, Dauphin had a dramatically lower rate of hospital admissions than similar communities in Manitoba. Its high-school dropout rate fell and stayed down for a generation. It had fewer accidents, serious injuries, arrests and convictions. Consultations for mental illness declined. And, contrary to policy-makers’ fears, people in Dauphin did not stop working or reduce their hours.

In the other article, Goar reports on Ken Battle’s discussion paper for the Caledon Institute, entitled “A Basic Income Plan for Canadians with Severe Disabilities.” Carrying on from the success of Canada’s National Child Benefit (proposed by Battle in the 1990s and adopted in 2007), the new plan would provide universal benefits for Canadians who were too disabled to work.

Erin Anderssen’s article is online at:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/to-end-poverty-guarantee-everyone-in-canada-20000-a-year-but-are-you-willing-to-trust-the-poor/article1806904/
Goar’s article on Mincome is online at: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/920145--goar-anti-poverty-success-airbrushed-out
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research has additional information about Forget’s study online at: http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/40308.html
Goar’s article on disability benefits is online at:
http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/895763--goar-a-smart-social-policy-innovation-for-lean-times

BRAZIL: Basic Income Guarantee Bank (the BIG Bank) Established

ReCivitas is an NGO funded by private donations. It distributes a small Basic Income to residents of the village of Quatinga Velho in southeastern Brazil. It is now expanding to become a social bank as well. ReCivitas received legal authorization to establish the Basic Income Guarantee Bank (the BIG Bank). This designation will help ReCivitas expand in two ways. First, instead of directly putting donations into operating funds, they will deposit them into a fund and use the interest to finance regular operations. They will also take deposits and make loans and investments like any other bank, but as a nonprofit social bank, they will use the returns to finance their provision of Basic Income to an expanding number of people. The organizers hope that this model will allow them to expand significantly and to replicate the Basic Income project in other parts of Brazil and elsewhere in the world.
To donate or invest, or for more information contact: recivitas@recivitas.org.br.

LATIN AMERICA: Head of UN Commission Says Several Latin America Countries Could Implement BIG

Martin Hopenhayn, head of the Social Development Division of the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) said that several Latin American countries are in the position in which they could introduce a universal basic income (UBI) for all citizens. In a recent interview with Dario Montero of Inter Press Service News Agency, Hopenhayn said that UBI would be an effective tool in fighting poverty and inequality. Although he believes that many conditions have to come together to make UBI feasible, and he believes it would take a major reform of the social benefit system to install it, he said that Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Costa Rica are in position to do so and Brazil is not far off.

Montero’s interview with Hoopenhayn is online at:
http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=53793

EUROPEAN UNION: Significant Support for a Minimum Income Guarantee in the European Parliament

For a few years, the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) has been actively supporting EU-legislation in favor of a (means-tested) minimum income in all EU member-states. Three Member States currently do not have Minimum Income schemes in place: Greece, Italy, and Hungary. In September 2010, EAPN launched a concrete proposal for an EU framework Directive on "Adequate Minimum Income". Article 1 of the draft proposal states that “The purpose of this framework directive is to set out minimum requirements and provisions for establishing the right of every person, residing within the territory of the Member States, to an adequate income” According to Article 2, an adequate minimum income is set “at a level that is sufficient to live in a manner compatible with human dignity as a part of a comprehensive and consistent drive to combat social exclusion and to fulfill the basic needs of people to physical health and autonomy, necessary to be able to participate in society”. On October 20, 2010, the proposal had received support from 262 Members of the European Parliament, from 7 different political groupings, in the European Parliament. “The fact that, at this stage, the proposal received such large support from the Members of the Parliament gives us great encouragement to continue this campaign on Adequate Minimum Income”, said Ludo Horemans, President of EAPN. Within the EU Parliament, pressure in favour of this EU framework Directive came from the socialist and democrat MEPs.
-From BIEN

For more information see:

EAPN Campaign: http://www.adequateincome.eu/en

EAPN Website: http://www.eapn.org

Socialists and Democrats on Adequate Minimum Income:

http://www.socialistsanddemocrats.eu/gpes/public/detail.htm?id=134808&request_locale=EN&section=NER&category=NEWS

EUROPEAN UNION: Network Promotes EU-Wide Referendum on Basic Income

On June 17, 2010, Netzwerk Grundeinkommen in Germany together with the Austrian basic income network and Attac-Austria launched their European Citizens Initiative for Basic Income project and website. The main goal of the project is to find potential supporters for a future EU referendum for the introduction of a basic income. More countries are expected to join the project and all basic income organizations are invited to do so. To date, more than 9.000 supporters have signed the declaration: "I support the introduction of an unconditional, generalized, individual basic income high enough to ensure an existence in dignity and participation in society", where "high enough" means that the income should at a minimum be at the poverty-risk level according to EU standards, which corresponds to 60 % of the so-called national median net equivalent income.
-From BIEN

For more information go to: http://www.basicincomeinitiative.eu/

UNITED KINGDOM: Government Considers Universal Credit

The British Government is considering combining six different support programs (income support, jobseeker's allowance, employment and support allowance, housing benefit, working tax credit and child tax credit) into one program that will be called “Universal Credit.” It is something like a negative income tax with significant conditions attached. The Conservative-Liberal-Democratic coalition has released a white paper on the Universal Credit. Annie Miller, who reviewed the white paper for the Citizen’s Income Newsletter, writes that the Universal Credit is far from universal; the changes are positive as far as they go, but they retain most of the major faults with the current system. She argues that the white paper mostly represents a lost opportunity to embrace a true reform of the system on the Citizens Income Model.

For a news story on the white paper (“Universal Credit to simplify benefits”) go to:
http://www.accountingweb.co.uk/topic/tax/universal-credit-simplify-benefits/461369
For the white paper itself, go to:
http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/universal-credit-full-document.pdf
For Annie Miller’s review of the white paper, go to:
http://www.citizensincome.org/resources/newsletter%20issue%201%202011.shtml#MainArticle
For a different critical perspective go to: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/joepublic/2011/jan/19/universal-credit-half-baked

BELGIUM: A New Basic Income Network?

Although the first BIEN conference took place in Belgium in 1982, and although several Belgian researchers have played an active role in BIEN ever since, there is still no Belgian basic income network. Activist J. Lochten has decided to gather people interested in launching such a network. He can be contacted by e-mail at: jlochten@ulb.ac.be

GERMANY: Pirate Party Endorses BIG

The German Pirate Party has recently endorsed BIG. The Pirate Party is a small new political party that opposes artificial monopolies, the dismantlement of civil rights on the internet, and the surveillance of citizens. It favors information privacy, enhanced transparency in government, and reforms of copyright, education, and patents. It received 2% of the vote in recent elections, not enough to win a seat in the Bundestag, but more than any other party that failed to win a seat. The party endorsed BIG at a recent party congress, writing, “[T]he German pirates postulate a right for secure existence and involvement in society. The basic income, which [allows] a self-determined life in dignity, has to be direct and unconditional. This provides chances for self-organized education, voluntary work and economic innovation. The pirates call into question the traditional definition of work and the often-heard ideal of full employment, which is as seen an anachronism that is inadequate for a 21st century society. See:
http://www.piratenpartei.de/Presse-release-101123-German-Pirate-Party-sailing-on-to-new-shores-chemnitz-pirates-new-key-demands

GERMANY: Green Party Leader Proposes Basic Income

BIEN reports, a recent decision of the Federal Constitutional Court in Germany demanded the provision of a decent minimum for all. In response, the ruling German Government has proposed a modest increase for the means-tested minimum income scheme. In a reaction to the government's plan, Sven Lehmann – chairman of the Greens in the Region of Nordrhein-Westfalen – proposed the introduction of a basic income of Ř850, which should replace welfare and unemployment benefits as well as the student loan. Lehmann expects enormous savings (approximately 7 billion Euros) in government spending because of a reduction in administrative costs. He proposes that a first step to a basic income for all would be a 330Ř basic income for children.
Further information:
http://www.fr-online.de/politik/nrw-gruener-fordert-850-euro-grundeinkommen/-/1472596/4691604/-/index.html

GERMANY: Commission to Study BIG

BIEN reports, four years ago the former Governor of the Free State of Thuringia, Christian-Democrat Dieter Althaus, proposed his concept of Solidarisches Bürgergeld (solidary citizen's income). The concept is based on an individual and unconditional basic income of EUR 600 per month for every citizen aged 14 or more (and EUR 300 per child paid to the parents), coupled with a basic health insurance voucher of EUR 200 per person, and funded by an income tax of 50% from the first Euro earned (but falling to 25% for higher income slices). This citizen's income would be administered under the form of a negative income tax. Althaus has set up a commission to evaluate the solidarity citizen’s income. More information about it is online at: http://www.insa-online.de/aktuelles/aktuelles.php.

GERMANY: Protest for BIG

On November 6, 2010, two thousand people in Berlin protested for an unconditional basic income paid by the state which is high enough to give people the choice whether to work or not. Pictures of the demonstration are online at:
http://www.demotix.com/news/499055/protest-unconditionally-basic-income-berlin-germany

SWITZERLAND: Basic Income on the Agenda of Major Political Party and Trade Union


BIEN reports, the Socialist Party of Switzerland (the second largest party in terms of seats in the Federal House of Representatives) has decided to include basic income in its new long-term platform, a platform which should inspire its action for the next decades. Furthermore, and independently, one of Switzerland's main trade-unions, SYNA, has also adopted a resolution asking for the implementation of an "unconditional basic income".

For further information see:

The Socialist Party of Switzerland website: http://www.sp-ps.ch/fre
SYNA: http://www.syna.ch/actualite/message/article/498/oui-au-reven.html
And the following article in the daily Le Courrier: http://www.lecourrier.ch/index.php?name=NewsPaper&file=article&sid=447334

ITALY: Activist Movement for BIG

The Basic Income Network of Italy (BIN Italia) reports on recent struggles for a minimum guaranteed income in Italy. According to BIN Italia, the local government of the Lazio Region (which includes Rome) recently approved a law for an income guarantee for the unemployed and precarious. Funding for the new program has been inadequate, and there were demonstrations in Rome during November and December in favor of the measure.

For more information, go to: http://www.bin-italia.org/informa.php?ID_NEWS=252.
This website can translate the text into more than a dozen languages

GREECE Basic Pension Introduced

On July 8, 2010, the Greek Parliament approved a basic pension. It is fixed at Ř360 per month in 2010 prices, paid 12 times a year, will be available with no means test to all those who lived in the country for 35 years between the ages of 15 and 65. It will be pro-rated for those who have lived in the country for less than that time, and available on a means-tested basis for others. The new program, of course, falls short of full universality, but this move could be a step toward a universal basic pension. An article on the creation of a basic pension in Greece will be published in the April 2011 issue of Basic Income Studies. Entitled, “Pathways to a Universal Basic Pension in Greece.” It is written by Manos Matsaganis and Chrysa Leventi, both of the Athens University of Economics and Business.

IRAQ Militant, Muqtada al-Sadr, Endorses Alaskan Policy

Muqtada al-Sadr, the militant Iraqi leader, has endorsed sharing Iraq’s oil revenue among all Iraqis. Some observers speculate that he has been influenced by the idea, discussed widely by Americans early in the occupation, of establishing a program in Iraq based on Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend.

An article on Sadr’s demand is online at:
www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27257.htm

KUWAIT: A Temporary, Partial BIG for Citizens Only

According to Yahoo News, the Kuwaiti parliament has voted to distribute an unconditional cash grant of 1,000 dinars ($3,580) and free essential food items to each of Kuwait’s 1.155 million citizens for the next 14 months. The total cost of the package will be over $5 billion. The cash will be paid on February 24. The distribution of food begins February 1 and lasts until March 31, 2012.

This policy decision sounds more generous than it actually is. More than two-thirds of Kuwait’s residents are not citizens and have no path to citizenship. The cash and food will not be distributed to the 2.4 million foreign residents in the country, and the needier residents tend to be among the foreigners working the country.

For an article on the Kuwait grant, see:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110126/wl_mideast_afp/kuwaiteconomygrant_20110126110550

9. Group seeks volunteers to help produce a study guide on BIG

Richa, a member of the USBIG Network, is working on producing a small group study guide on the Basic Income Guarantee concept, and is seeking collaborators, submissions for the study guide, and any other help people wish to provide. For a detailed proposal see Richa's personal website: http://richa.dod.net/bigstudyguideprop.htm. Or contact, Richa <richa@dod.net>.

10. Basic Income Studies Releases Volume 5, Issue 2, December 2010


Basic Income Studies (BIS) is the first peer-reviewed academic journal of research on Basic Income. The current issue of BIS contains three Research Articles, a research note, and two book reviews:

“Behavioral Economics and the Basic Income Guarantee”

Wesley J. Pech
Abstract: This article provides a critical discussion of the potential contributions behavioral economics makes to the idea of a Basic Income Guarantee (BIG). Behavioral economics suggests that the consequences of a basic income may be significantly different from the ones predicted by the Standard Economic Model. Three topics from this literature are analyzed and linked to the BIG idea: Prospect Theory, Motivation Crowding Theory, and Conspicuous Consumption. The article argues that a basic income may be efficiency enhancing under some conditions, but at the same time incentives related to positional concerns may increase wasteful expenditure following its implementation.

“Working Through the Work Disincentive”
Chandra Pasma
Abstract: The work disincentive appears to be one of the biggest obstacles to basic income. There are concerns about paying people for doing nothing and fears of people withdrawing from the labor market because they have income security. It is important therefore for basic income advocates to understand the arguments and assumptions underlying the work disincentive concerns in order to successfully counter them. This article considers the primary assumptions, including those about what motivates people to work, what activities count as good, job availability, the distinction between the disabled and those able to work, and whether it is wrong to pay people for doing nothing; this article also provides a critical assessment.

“Basic Income and Social Value”
Bill Jordan
Abstract: This article suggests that the justification of basic income should take account of the evidence of a divergence between growing incomes and stagnating subjective well-being (SWB) in the affluent countries. It argues that this implies taking the debate outside the orthodox model of economic development and the strict methodological individualism adopted by Van Parijs and others. This demands more attention to social relations and an analysis in terms of the production of social value rather than utility and culture rather than contract.

Research Note: “Seigniorage as a Source for a Basic Income Guarantee”

Nicolaus Tideman and Kwok Ping Tsang
Abstract: A basic income guarantee should be financed from a source to which all persons have equal rights. One such source is seigniorage, the profit from printing paper money. This article reports real seigniorage, measured in 2009 dollars, for the U.S. for the past 50 years. It averaged about $175 per year per person over the age of 20. Thus seigniorage would not have been a major source for a basic income guarantee. But three caveats are in order. First, a practice of giving every adult an equal share of money would have meant a lifetime, interest-free loan of about $4,000 per adult. Second, the Federal Reserve’s response to the crisis at the end of 2008 would have meant an additional loan of about $3,400 per adult for the duration of the crisis. Third, a monetary system without fractional reserve banking would probably entail much greater seigniorage.

“Review of Robert F. Clark, Giving Credit Where Due: A Path to Global Poverty Reduction

Edward Laws

“Review of Loek Groot, Basic Income, Unemployment and Compensatory Justice”
David J. Marjoribanks

 

11. Recent Publications

“A Fair Way to Prevent Climate Change and End Poverty”
René Heeskens, Thin Africa Press, January 6, 2011
In this article, René Heeskens, Managing Director of the Global Basic Income Foundation, discusses the ‘earth dividend’ idea as a way to change the seemingly conflicting goals of poverty eradication and climate protection to a mutually reinforcing partnership.
http://www.thinkafricapress.com/article/fair-way-prevent-climate-change-and-end-poverty


The Citizen's Income Newsletter, Issue 1, 2011
The first issue of the Citizens Income Newsletter for 2011 is online at the Citizens Income Trust website. It contains an editorial, an article on Iran's establishment of a de facto Citizen's Income, a review by Annie Miller of the Government's white paper Universal Credit: Welfare that Works, book reviews, a viewpoint by Mary Mellor, and other items. It is online at:
http://www.citizensincome.org/resources/newsletter%20issue%201%202011.shtml


The Citizen's Income Newsletter, Issue 3, 2010

The third issue of the Citizens Income Newsletter for 2010 is available at the Citizens Income Trust website. It contains among other things, editorials on the September 2010 Conservative Party conference Child Benefit announcement and on the October 2010 Citizen's Pension announcement, a summary and response to the government paper 21st Century Welfare, a conference report, news, book reviews, and a Viewpoint, entitled, “Lessons of the Alaska Dividend,” by Karl Widerquist
It is online at: http://www.citizensincome.org/resources/newsletter%20issue%203%202010.shtml


 “An idea for India”

Sunil Khilnani, Mint, November 19, 2010

This op-ed piece appeared in Mint, the Indian partner of the Wall Street Journal. It argues for a state-sponsored scheme of universal cash payments for all Indian citizens. Sunil Khilnani is the author of the book, the Idea of India.

http://www.livemint.com/2010/11/19212508/An-idea-for-India.html?h=B


 

“A Simple Market Mechanism to Clean Up Our Economy”
Peter Barnes & Bill McKibben (2009) Solutions for a Sustainable and Desirable Future 1 (1), 30-38: Jan 14, 2009, online at: http://www.thesolutionsjournal.com/
Direct link to the paper: http://www.thesolutionsjournal.com/feature_article/2009-01-14-simple-market-mechanism-can-clean-our-economy
The problem of global climate change is far more severe and immediate than we understood a few years ago, the authors argue. As the newest scientific data demonstrate, we have a narrow and fast-closing window in which to reduce carbon loads in the atmosphere. In order to do so, two things need to happen: first, the passage of dramatic legislation in the United States so that the largest source of the greenhouse effect begins to clean up its act; second, the subsequent rapid adoption of a powerful international accord that experts currently consider impossible. This will likely require the elimination of coal and tar sands as energy sources. According to Barnes (Senior fellow at the Tomales Bay Institute in Point Reyes Station, California) and McKibben (Founder of the international climate campaign 350.org and scholar in residence at Middlebury College), this paper offers a game-changing political solution: create a trust to manage the sale of a declining number of carbon permits within the U.S., with dividends from the trust distributed equally to all Americans. The dividends would be wired monthly to bank accounts until the country solves its climate crisis. The advantage of this simple, market-based mechanism is that it creates a level playing field for clean technologies, avoids giveaways to industries with political clout, and assures broad, long-term political support for emission reductions. Using the U.S. as a model, world organizations could create a similar international system that would cap carbon globally and distribute revenue to each nation in proportion to its population and developmental needs.
-From BIEN


“To Beat Back Poverty, Pay the Poor”
Tina Rosenberg, The New York Times, January 3, 2011
This opinion piece discusses the success of conditional cash transfer programs and the efficiency advantages of direct cash payments to the poor. Rosenburg writes, “Here are programs that help the people who most need help, and do so with very little waste, corruption or political interference.” The article has inspired more than 400 comments on the New York Times website. It’s online at:
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/03/to-beat-back-poverty-pay-the-poor/?ref=opinion


“The Continuing Politics of Basic Income in South Africa”
Jeremy Seekings and Heidi Matisonn, Centre for Social Science Research Working Paper No. 286, November 2010.
This paper is online at:
http://www.cssr.uct.ac.za/sites/cssr.uct.ac.za/files/pubs/WP286.pdf


“Utopia means free money for everyone”
Michael Hoffman, the Japan Times, October 17, 2010, available at http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fd20101017bj.html

According to the author of this column, the idea of a basic income is startling, but not really new — only its slowly growing respectability is. "Cranks and visionaries have been playing with it for centuries. The name by which it's lately known is not calculated to grab your attention. It almost seems calculated not to. "Basic income": Who would see a potential revolution in that? And yet it's there, scarcely a centimeter beneath the surface."
-From BIEN


“Beyond the market: The case for a citizen’s income”
Colin C. Williams and Sara Nadin, Re-Public, November 23rd, 2010
http://www.re-public.gr/en/?p=3070
This article argues, “Given that the needs of the poor and unemployed are currently being met so inadequately by the conventional job creation model, which seeks to enable everybody to secure their livelihood solely through the formal labor market, it is obvious that new models of social and economic integration are required. Provision of a citizen’s income, therefore, may well be an idea whose time has come.” Colin C Williams and Sara Nadin are both faculty members of the University of Sheffield. Re-Public is an online journal focusing on innovative developments in contemporary political theory and practice.


Envisioning Real Utopias

Erik Olin Wright, Verso, 2010

This book discusses the potential of the universal basic income to come to the foreground of mainstream political debate. According to the publisher, “A leading sociologist proposes a new framework for a socialist alternative.  Rising inequality of income and power, along with recent convulsions in the finance sector, have made the search for alternatives to unbridled capitalism more urgent than ever. Yet few are attempting this task—most analysts argue that any attempt to rethink our social and economic relations is utopian. Erik Olin Wright’s major new work is a comprehensive assault on the quietism of contemporary social theory. A systematic reconstruction of the core values and feasible goals for Left theorists and political actors, Envisioning Real Utopias lays the foundations for a set of concrete, emancipatory alternatives to the capitalist system. Characteristically rigorous and engaging, this will become a landmark of social thought for the twenty-first century.”
A review of this book by Tom Cutterham, entitled “A Rough Guide to Utopia,” is online at:

http://www.oxonianreview.org/wp/a-rough-guide-to-utopia/


“Neoliberals And The Radical Left Are In The Same Basic Income Boat: Is The Debate In Japan An Exception Or Is There A Universal Rationale Behind It?”
Toru Yamamori (2010), EASP & Graduate School of Theology, Sogang University, South Korea. The abstract is available at: http://7th.welfareasia.org/blog/. Author’s address: toruyamamori@gmail.com
This paper by Toru Yamamori (Doshisha University, Kyoto, and Basic Income Network Japan) was presented at the 7th East Asian Social Policy research network (EASP) international conference (Sogang University, Seoul, Korea, August 20-21, 2010). The first section provides an overview of Japan's system of income security over the past half century and shows the various causes of the current system's dysfunction. In the second section, the author points out the lack of a vocabulary used to describe the new direction gradually being taken under the Democratic Party of Japan. After briefly outlining the debate surrounding Basic Income in the third section, he uses the fourth section to propose using the vocabulary accumulated in the basic income debate to fill the explanatory gap in discussions of current economic and social policies.
-From BIEN


 “Efficient Redistribution: Comparing Basic Income with Unemployment Benefits”
Felix FitzRoy and Jim Jin
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Bonn, Discussion Paper No. 5236, October 2010
http://econpapers.repec.org/scripts/redir.pf?u=http%3A%2F%2Fftp.iza.org%2Fdp5236.pdf;h=repec:iza:izadps:dp5236
NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: We show that majority of the working population gains from switching from unemployment benefits to a universal basic income, with given unemployment and essentially any wage distribution, although the tax rate will increase.
ABSTRACT: We compare two systems of income redistribution: unemployment benefits (UB) and basic income (BI). First, for a simple utility function, with both intensive and extensive margins, the unemployed are likely better off with pure BI than pure UB, regardless of labour supply elasticity and wage distribution. Then we allow a general utility function and ignore intensive margins. For given unemployment, lowering UB and raising BI always benefits the unemployed, raises utilitarian welfare and benefits a poor majority. Reducing unemployment and UB simultaneously can benefit a majority of the employed as well as all unemployed, again for any wage distribution.


“Relative Income, Redistribution and Well-being”
Felix FitzRoy and Michael Nolan
The Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Bonn Discussion Paper No. 5241 October 2010
http://ftp.iza.org/dp5241.pdf
ABSTRACT: In a model with heterogeneous workers and both intensive and extensive margins of employment, we consider two systems of redistribution: a universal basic income, and a categorical unemployment benefit. Well-being depends on own-consumption relative to average employed workers’ consumption, and concern for relativity is a parameter that affects model outcomes. While labor supply incurs positive marginal disutility, we allow negative welfare effects of unemployment. We also compare Rawlsian and utilitarian welfare in general equilibrium under the polar opposite transfer systems, with varying concern for relativity. Basic income Pareto dominates categorical benefits with moderate concern for relativity in both cases.


Special Issue: Basic Income
Jurgen De Wispelaere Tony Fitzpatrick (eds.) Policy & Politics Volume 39, Number 1, January 2011
This issue contains the following eight articles on Basic Income.

“Changing Times: The Radical Pragmatism of Basic Income Proposals”
Jurgen De Wispelaere Tony Fitzpatrick, pp. 5-8

“Responding to The Crisis: Economic Stabilisation Grants”
Guy Standing, pp. 9-25

“Feminist Political Theory and the Argument for an Unconditional Basic Income”
Almaz Zelleke, pp. 27-42

“Basic Income, Social Democracy and Control Over Time”
Louise Haagh, pp. 43-66

“Basic Income Versus Basic Capital: Can We Resolve the Disagreement?
Stuart White, pp. 67-81

“Social Paternalism and Basic Income”
Tony Fitzpatrick, pp. 83-100

“The Perils of Basic Income: Ambiguous Opportunities for the Implementation of a Utopian Proposal”
Bill Jordan, pp. 101-114

“The Administrative Efficiency of Basic Income”
Jurgen De Wispelaere and Lindsay Stirton, pp. 115-132


“Sharing the (Natural) Wealth”
Christopher Shea, the Wall Street Journal, November 27, 2010
This article discusses the possibility of reducing world poverty through global system similar the Alaska Permanent Fund & Dividend. The plan was original proposed by Paul Segal, of Oxford University, in his paper “Resource Rents, Redistribution, and Halving Global Poverty: The Resource Dividend,” in the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies paper series.
The Wall Street Journal Article is online at:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704243904575630950195449486.html
Paul Segal’s study is online at:
www.oxfordenergy.org/pdfs/SP22.pdf


“The War Against Social and Working Rights: Basic Income in Times of Economic Crisis”
Ruben Lo Vuolo, Daniel Raventos, & Pablo Yanes, (2010), Counterpunch, November 5-7 2010, online at http://www.counterpunch.org/vuolo11052010.html
This article vigorous plea for basic income in times of economic crisis, published by the left-radical newsletter (US-based) Counterpunch.
-From BIEN


 “Mining has a cost, so let's make it pay”
William Dustin, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, November 29, 2010
In response to current plans to increase mining in Minnesota, this op-ed piece in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune calls for setting up an Alaska-style Permanent Fund paying dividends to Minnesotans to compensate them for the costs that increased mining will impose on them. It is online at:
http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentary/111004804.html?elr=KArksc8P:Pc:U0ckkD:aEyKUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aULPQL7PQLanchO7DiUr

12. Recent events

Basic income week
Germany-Austria-Switzerland, September 20-26, 2010
According to BIEN, the three basic income networks in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, held the third "Basic Income Week" in late September 2010. More than 70 events in 28 cities took place during the week. The appeal for this year was signed by more than 1000 people and 100 organizations. Next year’s Basic Income Week is planned for Sept. 19-Sept. 25, and the organizers hope to involve even more countries.
Further information: http://www.woche-des-grundeinkommens.eu/


Tenth Symposium of Red Renta Basica: “The Right to Work and Basic Income”
Gijon, Spain, November, 5-6, 2010
According to BIEN, Red Renta Básica (the Spanish affiliate of BIEN) held its tenth symposium in Gijon, Spain in November 2010. Speakers included David Casassas, (Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona), Ramon Gorri, Gorka Moreno Marquez (Observatorio Vasco de Inmigracion), Francisco Ramos (Servei d'Ocupacio de la Generalitat de Catalunya), Daniel Raventos (Universitat de Barcelona), and Jose Luis Rey (Universidad Pontificia de Comillas, Madrid), among others. Further details are on the web at: http://www.nodo50.org/redrentabasica/descargas/S2010.pdf


Lessons from a Brazilian BI experiment
Kyoto, Japan, November 28, 2010
BIEN reports, the Brazilian Instituto pela Revitalizacao da Cidadania (ReCivitas) has been distributing a modest Basic Income in a small agricultural community in Brazil since 2008. Prof. Toru Yamamori (Doshisha University, Kyoto), who visited the village in July 2010, organized a conference on this experiment at his home university in Japan. It was followed by workshops with NGOs and rural communities, at Nakaga village (November 27th) and Tokyo (December 1st). Academic conferences were also held at Ritsumeikan University, Shiga, on November 23 and at Sophia University, Tokyo, on November 29.
For further information contact:  toruyamamori@googlemail.com


Second Ibero-American meeting on Basic Income in Mexico City
Mexico City, November 25-26, 2010
BIEN’s Mexican affiliate hosted the Second Ibero-American meeting on Basic Income in Mexico City on November 25 and 26, 2010. Delegates from Spain, Argentina, Colombia, Peru and Mexico participated. According to the organizer, Pablo Yannes, much of the discussion at the conference had to do with the causes and appropriate response to the current economic crisis. Delegates also discussed the possibility of smoothing differences between the union agenda and the basic income agenda and the need for a political and philosophical critique of the current basis for social policies and programs in Latin America. They discussed whether new transfers programs (such as Bolsa Familia, Oportunidades, Familias en Acción, Juntos, Jefas y Jefes de Hogar, etc.) have the potential to transform into basic income. Some thought that recent moves towards universal pensions in Latin America (such as Renta Dignidad in Bolivia, Pensión Ciudadana Universal in Mexico, Pensión Rural in Brazil and others) represent a more substantial step in the direction of Basic Income. At the meeting the first proposal for a Central American regional Basic Income was made. According to Pablo Yannes, it is evident that Basic Income is having an important effect on the debate over government transfers in Latin America, but it has a long way to go to end the mentality that “The poor must be given (little) and watched (much).”

For more about the Ibero-American Basic Income meeting, or for a full report on it, contact: Pablo Yanes <pyanes2007@gmail.com>

 

13. New Members

Ten new members have joined the USBIG Network in the last six months. The USBIG Network now has 222 members from 33 U.S. states and 28 other countries. Membership in USBIG is free and open to anyone who shares its goals. To become a member of USBIG go to www.usbig.net, and click on “membership.”

The new members of the USBIG Network are: James Smith, Venice, CA; Arfst Wagner, Tetenhusen, Germany; Sharon Hurley, Philadelphia, PA; Howard Adams, Azuay, Ecuador; Angela Lydia Cummine, Oxford, UK; Christian S. Miller, Saratoga, CA; Brian A. Jones; Brooklyn, NY; Donald R. Arthur, Glenmont, NY; and Scott Terry, Oneonta, NY.


14. New Links

THE CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF DEMOCRATIC SOCIETIES NEW WEBSITE

 

The Center For the Study of Democratic Societies (CSDS), which advocates both a basic income and a maximum wealth, has a new website with many new features. It is online at: http://www.CenterSDS.com. The new features include:
Information about the book, Socioeconomic Democracy: An Advanced Socioeconomic System: www.centersds.com/thebook.htm
The essay, “A Democratic Socioeconomic Platform, in search of a Democratic Political Party:” centersds.com/dsep.html
A list of the historical development of the ideas of Socioeconomic Democracy: www.centersds.com/biblio.htm
A Biography of Robley E. George, the writer and director of CSDS: www.centersds.com/bio.htm
The essay, “Socioeconomic Democracy: A Nonkilling, Life-Affirming and Enhancing Psycho-Politico-Socio-Economic System” by Robley George, is also online at: www.nonkilling.org/node/20


Martin Luther King Speech on BIG
This YouTube video has a speech in which Martin Luther King, Jr. endorses BIG under the name of the guaranteed income:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6zVj3nBmNs


Earth Dividend Brochure

The Global Basic Income Foundation has a new brochure on its plan for an Earth dividend. It can be downloaded or ordered online at: http://www.globalincome.org/English/Brochure.html


StandardsOfLife.org

StandardsOfLife.org advocates an in-kind Basic Income, under the name of Universal Services. According to the website, “If you take all the income taxes in your society and spend them exclusively on providing the basic services that sustain life for everyone in your society, you have Universal Services. Food, shelter, local transport, healthcare, education and access to information and legal services for everyone, free at the point of need. Just whatever services can be afforded from a reasonable tax, nothing more and no cash. That is Universal Services.”

http://www.standardsoflife.org/

The website also includes an “Open letter to the Basic Income community” arguing that Basic Income supporters should see the free, in-kind provision of Universal Services as a better mechanism to achieve their goals. The letter is online at: http://standardsoflife.wordpress.com/2010/12/20/open-letter-basic-income/


The Peoples' Capitalism Website
This website advocates achieving something very much like a basic income guarantee by universal stock ownership in the means of production. It has information about how the system would work and what its benefits would be online at: http://www.peoplescapitalism.org/.


BIEN Canada website
BIEN Canada, USBIG’s sister network north of the border, is online with news and info on Basic Income from a Canadian perspective. The website address is http://biencanada.wordpress.com/

15. LINKS AND OTHER INFO

For links to dozens of BIG websites around the world, go to http://www.usbig.net/links.html. 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
Copyeditor: Mike Murray and the USBIG Committee
Research: Paul Nollen
Special help on this issue was provided by: Philippe Van Parijs, Jeff Smith, Mike O’Mara, Joerg Drescher, Hamid Tabatabai, Jim Mulvale, and Steve Winter.

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.

Thank you,
-Karl Widerquist, editor
Karl@Widerquist.com