USBIG NEWSLETTER Vol. 12, No. 62 Fall 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.
CALL FOR PAPERS: Eleventh North American Basic Income Guarantee Congress
2. EDITORIAL: No Time for Austerity
3.
ALASKA makes thirtieth annual dividend payment
4. OCCUPY WALL STREET sparks interest in policies like BIG
5. BIEN recognizes its 25th anniversary
6. KUCINICH’S NEED ACT calls for a Citizens Dividend plan
7. INDIANA GOVERNOR endorses BIG
8. SURVEY asks Americans about BIG
9. BIG NEWS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
10. BASIC INCOME STUDIES releases new issue
11. RECENT PUBLICATIONS
12. UPCOMING EVENTS
13. RECENT EVENTS
14. BASIC INCOME NEWS needs writers and volunteers
15. NEW LINKS
16. LINKS AND OTHER INFO

1. CALL FOR PAPERS: Eleventh North American Basic Income Guarantee Congress


Toronto, Canada, May 3-5, 2012

The Eleventh Annual North American Basic Income Guarantee Congress will take place May 3-5, 2012 at the University of Toronto on the theme of “Putting Equality Back on the Agenda: Basic Income and Other Approaches to Economic Security for All”. Featured Speakers include Richard Wilkinson (Co-Author of The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better) and Armine Yalnizyan (Senior Economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives).

Over the past 30 years, Canada, the United States, and many other OECD countries have grown increasingly unequal.  While the rich pull farther and farther ahead, the poor and the middle class are struggling just to maintain their income level.  Evidence regarding economic disparity suggests that income inequality is accompanied by a range of significant negative consequences, and that these consequences are present in greater numbers at every income level of a less equal society when compared with a more equal society.  In January, the World Economic Forum named economic disparity one of the most significant global risks.
Putting Equality Back on the Agenda will consider three central questions:

1.     To what degree is there a common public good in reducing economic disparity among all citizens?

2.     Is a basic income the best way to provide this public good?

3.     How could a basic income best be structured and funded to meet these goals?

The Eleventh North American Basic Income Guarantee Congress is organized by Basic Income Canada Network in cooperation with the USBIG Network. These North American affiliates of the Basic Income Earth Network promote the option of a basic income, an unconditional government transfer that would provide a basic but decent standard of living to all. The congress brings together academics, students, activists, policy analysts, government officials, low-income people, and others interested in exploring the merits of this proposal.

Plenary Speakers Include:

Š      Richard Wilkinson, Professor Emeritus of Social Epidemiology at the University of Nottingham Medical School and co-author of The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better;

Š      Armine Yalnizyan, Senior Economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives;

Š      John Rook, Chair of the National Council of Welfare, Senior Associate with Housing Strategies, Inc;

Š      Evelyn Forget, Professor, University of Manitoba Faculty of Medicine; and

Š      Trish Hennessey, Director of Strategic Issues for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.


Scholars, activists, and others are invited to propose papers or presentations, organize panel discussions, or submit posters. Proposals are welcome on the following topics:

Š      What are the costs of economic disparity (economic, social and political)?

Š      What are the implications for pursuing (or not pursuing) basic income options?

Š      What are possible models for generating revenue to sustain a basic income and what are their implications for economic disparity?

Š      What are the practical issues for implementing a basic income policy and what are their implications for economic disparity?

Š      What communication and engagement strategies are necessary to raise awareness about economic disparity and basic income in the public sphere?


All points of view are welcome. Anyone interested in presenting, organizing a panel, or displaying a poster should submit an abstract of their proposal to the chair of the organizing committee at
basicincome2012@gmail.com.

Please include the following information with your proposal:

1. Name(s)
2. Affiliation(s)
3. Address
4. City, Province/State, Postal/Zip Code, and Country
5. Telephone
6. Email Address(es)
7. Paper/Presentation/Panel/Poster Title
8. Abstract of 50-150 words

DEADLINE FOR PROPOSALS: January 13th, 2012

Proposals for panel discussions should include a title, topic, and description of the panel and the information above for each participant. If the participants are not presenting formal papers, the title of the paper and abstract may be omitted. Panels should be limited to four presentations.
More info email: basicincome2012@gmail.com.

2. EDITORIAL: No Time for Austerity

            I can’t believe the news. We are in the midst of the worst global depression in 70 years, and the governments of almost every major industrialized country are talking about austerity. They’re cutting government services; laying off public sector workers; cutting pay, pensions, and benefits for public employees—all in the name of austerity and balanced budgets.
            This astounds me because we’ve been through it before. We’ve seen what works; and we know that austerity is not the way out of a major depression. Austerity makes depressions worse. To get out of a depression, the government needs to spend money and lots of it. The lessons of history are clear, and the reading of history I’m going to discuss to make my point is not terribly controversial among economists. Let me explain.
            In a depression (or a deep recession or whatever you want to call it), we get stuck at the bottom. People can’t spend as much because they’re not making as much, but people aren’t making as much, because people aren’t spending as much. Debt is a related problem, and so, I believe, is the real estate market, but there’s no room in this editorial for a full explanation. If you understand the idea of getting stuck at the bottom because of the feedback between spending and income, you get the essence of it. This kind of unemployment is pure waste. Human resources (not to mention idle shops and factories) are simply going to waste unused. We can wait for all that to work itself out on its own—as Japan has been waiting since 1989—or the government can take action.
            We learned how to take action in a big way at the outset of World War II. I wrote a few years ago about “the economic lesson of 1938.” Today’s editorial could as well be called the economic lesson of 1941. The following graph shows U.S. per capita GDP for the years 1929 to 1947—from the stock market crash at the beginning of the Great Depression to the bottom of the post-war recession. Per capita GDP is the income of the average American. The figures are in “inflation-adjusted” 2008 dollars, meaning they’re adjusted to show the purchasing power that the incomes of the time would have at today’s prices. No inflation adjustment is perfect, but it gives you a rough idea. In general the graph shows we were much poorer then than we are now, but it shows much more about the times.

U.S. per capita GDP in inflation-adjusted 2008 dollars, 1929-1947

SOURCE: author’s plot of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.


            The austerity years were 1929 to 1933. In addition to many other mistakes, the government responded to reduced tax revenue caused by declining economic activity by reducing its own activity to match. Average income went down from over $11,000 to less than $8,000—a loss of more than 25 percent. You can think of everybody getting a 25 percent pay cut at the same time or of 75 percent of people keeping their entire income while 25 percent of people lose their entire incomes. What actually happened was somewhere in between, a little bit of both. Unemployment went up to 20 percent, so the depression was roughly twice as bad as what we’re going through now.
            In 1933, Franklin Roosevelt was elected and we started spending money to stimulate the economy. He called it “priming the pump.” He took what, at the time, looked like a big action, spending money trying to help people, to get the economy moving again. And he had several years of success until he returned to austerity measures in 1937 and 1938, suddenly trying to balance the budget. I wrote about that problem in my earlier editorial. Except for that year progress was slow but steady. Yet, by 1941 unemployment was still at 9.67%. After 12 years of waiting for an end to the depression more Americans were unemployed then than they are now in the third year of our depression.
            But in 1941 the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. The United States entered World War II. And the depression ended virtually over night. We went from a 10-percent labor surplus to a labor shortage in a matter of months. The demand for labor was so great that women entered the labor force in unprecedented numbers. They found good high-pay jobs waiting for them. Income shot up to $20,000 per year, double what it was in the austerity year of 1938.
            The depression disappeared because the government spent money and massive amounts of it. The government hired the idle labor (and more) mostly as soldiers. The government hired the idle shipyards to build boats, the automobile plants to build jeeps and tanks, and so on. It was good for people, and it was good for business. The entire New Deal—it turned out—was far too small.
            There are dangers to stimulating the economy in the wrong way, at the wrong time, or in the wrong amounts. You can end up with unacceptable debt, inflation, or a delayed depression. But none of these dangers manifest themselves in this case. Except for the obvious losses to war, the spending was good for people. After the war people got married and used the money they saved during the war to make down payments on houses, start families, and build better lives than they had in the 1930s.
            The depression never came back. This is why I end the graph in the recession year of 1947. That year was as bad as the economy got after the war, but yet, per capita income was still nearly $15,000, not quite twice what it was after four years of austerity in 1933 and still 25 percent higher than it was in the boom year of 1929. After 1947 we got good healthy growth punctuated by short, forgettable, recessions. It was one of the best periods of economic growth in American history. Government spending worked, and there was no post-stimulus hangover. The most massive government stimulus we’ve ever had—perhaps the largest in world history—did not cause any significant problems with debt, inflation, or delayed depression.

            You can look at the income and unemployment figures for almost every industrialized, capitalist nation at the time, and you will see the same pattern: as soon as they began massive war spending, the depression ended in their country. But we don’t need a war to stimulate the economy. We just need to break the political obsession with austerity and start spending some money.
            Without the need to spend a stimulus on war, we can spend on schools, road, infrastructure, or on services to help the needy through a basic income guarantee or something else. What we spend it on is less important right now than the need to stimulate. The basic income guarantee movement now needs to be part of broader movement around the world against the austerity craze. This is why I am fully behind movements such as Occupy Wall Street in the United States and the anti-austerity protests in Europe. We must focus the world’s attention on the need for government to spend money to help people. Once we open that door the possibilities are great. But until then, we practice austerity against the lessons of our history.
-Karl Widerquist (karl@widerquist.com), the Second Cup Café, Doha, Qatar, December 2011

 

3. ALASKA makes thirtieth annual dividend payment


USBIG
Alaska paid its 30th annual Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) this October. The PFD is Alaska’s small and irregularly sized Basic Income. It has been paid to all citizens who meet the residency requirement since 1982. This year’s payment of $1174 went out to 647,549 eligible residents on October 6, 2011. A few PFD applications are still pending, and so the final number of recipients might increase.

The dividend is a bit smaller than usual thanks to the weak stock market over the last few years. The size of the dividend depends on the average returns to the Alaska Permanent Fund over the previous five years. The dividend of $1174 translates into $4,896 for a family of four. The poor performance of the fund has continued this year. After recovering to over $40 billion, it now stands at $38.2 billion, according to the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation. The weakness of the fund’s investments over the past few years will necessarily affect the dividend for years to come. Some editorials have applauded the fund’s performance for being able to deliver a dividend of $1174 during such difficult economic times.

The dividend has been credited with helping the state maintain one of the lowest poverty rates in the United States, with helping Alaska become the most economically equal of all U.S. states, and even with lowering the foreclosure rate on homes. Yet, as a recent Alaska Public Radio report discusses, little good data exists about how Alaskans spend their dividends. They often buy big things when they get the dividend, but in many cases they buy things they would have bought at some time during the year anyway. It is very hard to tell just how their spending differs from what it would be if there were no dividend.

The Alaska Public Radio report (by Annie Feidt, October 6, 2011) is online at:
http://www.alaskapublic.org/2011/10/06/few-studies-track-pfd-impact/

For articles on this year’s dividend see:
http://www.ktva.com/home/top-stories/Alaska-Permanent-Fund-Dividend-130214183.html?m=y
http://www.alaska-native-news.com/article/State_News/State_News/Alaska_Permanent_Fund_Takes_a_31_Billion_Hit/23580
http://juneauempire.com/local/2011-11-03/permanent-fund-takes-early-beating#.Trl4QnKApck
http://www.ktoonews.org/2011/10/05/alaskans-pfd-checks-will-be-in-the-bank-tomorrow/
http://www.adn.com/2011/10/06/2107280/permanent-fund-deposits-1174-in.html

For an article on Alaska’s relative low poverty rate, go to:
http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/despite-expense-alaskas-poverty-rate-among-lowest-us

An editorial (Scott Woodham, the Alaska Dispatch) on how individuals ought to spend their dividends is online at:
http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/concerned-whats-so-permanent-about-alaska-permanent-fund

An editorial (by the Fairbanks News-Minter) against the dividend is online at:
http://newsminer.com/bookmark/15669221-Dividend-debates-Alaskans-should-recall-permanent-fund%E2%80%99s-origin-

4. OCCUPY WALL STREET sparks interest in policies like BIG


USBIG
The Occupy Wall Street movement has spread around the country and around the world in the last few months. It is made up of a diverse group of people with diverse goals, united by one simple idea: to reverse the last 30 years of increasing inequality. The increase in inequality has not only been relative but also absolute. The top 1 percent of the U.S. income distribution has seen enormous growth in income and wealth over the last 30 years, while the bottom 80 to 90 percent have seen almost no real growth in income, wealth, or standard of living.

Within that general focus Occupy Wall Street protestors are talking about many different specific policies, and among them is the Basic Income Guarantee. One blog, which managed to get quoted in Forbes Magazine listed BIG as one of the key demands of protestors. This appears to be an exaggeration, but a lively discussion of BIG is underway on the Occupy Wall Street website.

For the BIG discussion on the OWS Website, go to:
http://occupywallst.org/forum/basic-income-guarantee-for-the-us/
The blog post mentioned above is, "Parsing the Data and Ideology of the We Are 99% Tumblr:"
http://rortybomb.wordpress.com/2011/10/09/parsing-the-data-and-ideology-of-the-we-are-99-tumblr/
The Forbes article about the protestors’ demands is, "Understanding What the Occupy Wall Street Protesters Want":
http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/10/11/understanding-what-the-occupy-wall-street-protesters-want/

5. BIEN recognizes its 25th anniversary


USBIG
The Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) was founded on September 6, 1986 under its original name, the Basic Income European Network. Therefore, it marked its 25th Anniversary last September. Guy Standing, one of the honorary Presidents and someone who has been involved in the organization since it was founded, wrote an editorial for Basic Income News reflecting on BIEN’s first 25 years.

Standing writes, “Anniversaries are poignant human moments, points on a journey, never an end in themselves. Twenty-five years ago, on September 4-6, 1986, a small group of us held a workshop on basic income, and on September 6 decided to set up a network, BIEN. The memory is blurred; the documentation is scattered. However, this 25th anniversary is a testament to several aspects of BIEN, and it is perhaps acceptable to reflect on the journey so far. …”

Read the full editorial at:
http://binews.org/2011/09/anniversary-note-biens-25th/

6. KUCINICH’S NEED ACT calls for a Citizens Dividend plan


USBIG
Representative Dennis  Kucinich introduced the NEED Act into the U.S. House of Representatives several months ago. The act is mostly aimed at reforming the U.S. banking system, but it includes a provision for outlining a plan to create a Citizens Dividend (another name for Basic Income). The exact wording of the relevant section of the bill is, “. . .  the Secretary [of the Treasury], in cooperation with the Monetary Authority, shall make recommendations to the Congress for payment of a Citizens Dividend as a tax-free grant to all United States citizens residing in the United States in order to provide liquidity to the banking system at the commencement of this Act, before governmental infrastructure expenditures have had a chance to work into circulation. . . . The Secretary shall maintain a thorough study of the effects of the Citizens Dividend observing its effects on production and consumption, prices, morale, and other economic and fiscal factors.”
An article about the act is online at:
http://www.progress.org/2011/hueylong.htm
The text of the bill is online at:
kucinich.house.gov/UploadedFiles/NEED_ACT.pdf

7. INDIANA GOVERNOR endorses BIG


USBIG
Mitch Daniels, the Conservative Republican governor of Indiana, has endorsed BIG. An entire chapter of his new book, Keeping the Republic: Saving America by Trusting Americans, is dedicated to the negative income tax. The governor defended the idea to skeptical conservatives saying, "If you believe as I do that Americans — whether poor, or minority, or young — are capable of making their own decisions and that society will work better if we treat them that way, then the negative income tax, it seemed to me, is a real good example of that,"
An article about Daniels book is online at:
http://www.nwitimes.com/business/jobs-and-employment/article_73fac313-af44-5bd3-a2b3-638a4da92405.html#ixzz1fOEX8T6k
The book’s website is:
http://keeping-the-republic.com/

8. SURVEY asks Americans about BIG


USBIG
A telephone survey finds 11 percent of U.S. voters favor a Basic Income Grant. The survey was conducted by Rasmussen Reports and published on Thursday, September 1, 2011. Rasmussen found that 82 percent of respondents opposed the idea. Rasmussen surveyed 1000 people and claims a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent with 95 percent confidence.

The exact question was, “Another proposal has been made for the federal government to provide every single American with a basic income grant. The idea would be to provide enough money for everyone to enjoy a modest living regardless of whether or not they choose to work. Do you favor or oppose having the federal government provide every single American with a basic income grant?”

Although the percentage is very small, 11 percent of Americans is 33 million people, who answered yes to question asked out of the blue about a policy that has been no part of the public discussion in U.S. politics for 30 years. One surprising fact is that someone is actually surveying Americans about this issue.

The same survey found that 49% of American adults think government programs increase the level of poverty in the United States. Adding to that 19 percent who believe government programs do nothing to help poverty shows that nearly as many Americans (68 percent) oppose nearly anything the government is doing to fight poverty as oppose BIG (80 percent). Only 20 percent of respondents said that current government programs decrease the poverty.
-USBIG

For the Rasmusson report on the survey go to:
http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/august_2011/11_think_government_should_provide_basic_income_grant_for_all

9. BIG NEWS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

GERMANY: Party with Basic Income Platform wins 15 Seats in Berlin State Parliament


Wolfgang Muller - BI News
On September 18th, 2011, the German Pirate Party gained 8.9 percent in their first participation in the Berlin state election and far surpassed the required five percent to receive representation in the state parliament. They finished in fifth place and received 15 seats. In their election manifesto they promoted an unconditional basic income as part of their economic and social policy. According to the Pirate Party, basic income should secure the existence of any citizen with permanent residence or unrestricted right of residence in Germany without any further requirements. Post-election polls have attributed much of the Pirate Party’s success to its social policy agenda.

The Pirate Party was founded in 2006 on the basis of a claim for internet freedom. Direct democracy and transparency have developed as further parts of its themes. Since its foundation the Pirate Party has been growing and participated in several German state elections as well as in the German federal election and European Parliament election in 2009. This achievement marks the first time the Pirate Party will participate in a state parliament.

Another party that participated in Berlin state election and stands for an unconditional basic income is the Socialist Equality Party (Partei für Soziale Gleichheit, PSG). Its candidate Christopher Vandreier underpinned the party's claim for an unconditional basic income of Ř1.500 as a requirement for equal participation in society in an election broadcast shown during the election according to the World Socialist Web Site. The PSG got only 0.1 percent in the election and therefore clearly missed the required five percent.

For more information about Berlin state election, Pirate Party and Socialist Equality Party see:
http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/sep2011/pira-s10.shtml
http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,787044,00.html
http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/sep2011/berl-s06.shtml
http://berlin.piratenpartei.de/ (German only)
http://www.gleichheit.de/ (German only)
http://www.wahlen-berlin.de/wahlen/BE2011/ergebnis/karten/zweitstimmen/ErgebnisUeberblick.asp?sel1=1052&sel2=0651 (German only)
http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/sep2011/pira-s10.shtml
http://falkvinge.net/2011/03/18/should-pirate-parties-include-the-swarm-economy/

GERMANY: Pirate Party endorses Basic Income in its national campaign

Joerg Drescher - BI News
According to the press release of the Pirate Party from the December 3, 2011, the party argued about and adopted a resolution in support of Basic Income and minimum wages at its party convention in Offenbach.

After a debate, which took about two hours, the motion “Unconditional Basic Income and Minimum Wages” was carried by 66.9 percent and reached the necessary supermajority. The result shows the long, engaged and controversial discussion. Now the motion is part of the election manifesto for the next federal elections in 2013 in Germany.

The party understands the Unconditional Basic Income as: Insurance for the existence and social participation, as well as a guaranteed individual legal title without means test, compulsion to work or any other reward. Because its implementation will be a change of the paradigm in welfare policy, the launch of a public discussion beforehand is necessary. For that reason, the Pirate Party wants to fund an enquiry commission within the German Bundestag to workout new and evaluate existing models. One of the models should be elected by a national referendum. Until the implementation of an Unconditional Basic Income, the Pirate Party endorses a federal legal minimum wage.

According to GoogleNews more than 600 articles were published on this topic, including by leading nationwide newspapers. One of them, the Süddeutsche, spoke with Sebastian Nerz, the party leader, about Basic Income. He said, he was not convinced, even if he know, that it might be possible. But he wished, that the Party would have dealt with a more concrete model beforehand.

This article says further that Nerz is not alone with his opinion, because a few other members were concerned that the motion was too universal. On the one hand, it says nothing about the amount of the Basic Income (could be 500 or 2.000 Euro). On the other hand, it is not clear how to fund the scheme and which influence it would have on the political economy.

In another interview with Christian Engström, Member of the European Parliament for the Swedish Pirate Party, from the 15th November 2011 with EurActiv.com he was asked, which issues are especially important to be addressed on a supranational level and which issues are more relevant for the national level. He answered, that topics as a Basic Income, possession of soft drugs and free public transport, are more national and even regional issues of the German Pirates.

For articles on this topic go to:
Press release of the Pirate Party: http://www.piratenpartei.de/Pressemitteilung/piraten-sprechen-sich-f%C3%BCr-bedingungsloses-grundeinkommen-und-mindestlohn-aus
Article in the Süddeutsche: http://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/piraten-votieren-fuer-grundeinkommen-vage-statt-gewagt-1.1225882
Interview with Christian Engström: http://www.euractiv.com/infosociety/pirate-mep-expect-party-grow-interview-508952

GERMANY: Movement toward a basic pension?


BIEN
Old age poverty increasingly becomes a political issue in Germany. All scientific forecasts predict rising old age poverty in Germany. The Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Ursula von der Leyen just presented a proposal for a minimum pension. However the access to the proposed minimum pension shall be limited to people who have been insured in the pay-as-you-go pension insurance for 45 years and have paid additionally for 35 years into a funded pension scheme. While the socialist party “Die Linke” proposes a means-tested minimum pension, the BIEN life member and member of parliament for the Greens, Dr. Wolfgang Strengmann-Kuhn, followed the Swedish example and proposes a guaranteed basic pension for all who have been insured for 30 years in the pay-as-you-go pension insurance. Years dedicated to child-rearing or care of relatives count just as well as attendance of school.
Proposal of the Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs:
http://www.bmas.de/DE/Service/Presse/Pressemitteilungen/regierungsdialog-rente-2011.html
Proposal of the Greens: http://www.strengmann-kuhn.de/2011/09/15/die-grune-garantierente/

ITALY: Demonstration in Bologna turns into riot


BIEN
On October 12, 2011, hundreds of protesters demonstrated in Bologna within the framework of the “Indignados” movement, against the effects of the financial crisis. Among the claims was the idea of a guaranteed income (“Reddito per tutti”). Most participants were precarious workers. The demonstration turned violent with the intervention of police forces, as several protesters were beaten and even injured.
Further information: http://www.bin-italia.org/

ITALY: BIN-Italia open letter to Italy’s President and Welfare Minister


USBIG
The Basic Income Network of Italy (BIN-Italia), has released an open letter to the President of Italy Mario Monti and the Minister for Welfare. The letter is entitled, "Hurry!" It calls for the introduction of an unconditional guaranteed income. In the letter, BIN-Italia appeals for haste in implementing effective measures to fight the social emergency in Italy. BIN-Italia argues, to avoid the risk of “default of citizenship rights” and to allow Italy to adapt to European standard protection of human dignity it is essential to realize an individual basic income.
The full text of the letter (in English and in Italian) is on the BIN-Italia website:
http://www.bin-italia.org/UP/pubb/Pamphlet%20Labour2_low%20res.pdf

FRANCE: “Young leaders” in favour of basic income


BIEN
Founded in 1938, the “Centre des Jeunes Dirigeants” (“Centre for young leaders”) is France’s oldest representative organization for employers. With its 4000 active members, it remains an influential group. It recently published a document entitled “Oēkos”, which contains several reform proposals to be submitted to the candidates at France’s next Presidential election (2012). Among the proposals is the idea of an unconditional universal grant (“allocation universelle”).

For further information:
http://www.comitebastille.org/2011/10/objectif-oikos-le-livre-blanc-2012-du.html

BELGIUM: Philippe Van Parijs Recives Belgian Ark Award


BIEN
The Belgian Ark Award for Free Speech was created in 1951 by Flemish intellectuals who were opposing restrictions to freedom of expression. In the past decades, it was awarded to several prominent intellectuals, mainly Flemish writers and artists. On May 25, the 2011 Prize was awarded to Philippe Van Parijs (UCLouvain), one of the most prominent advocates of basic income, and a founder of BIEN. In his "Laudatio", Professor Rik Coolsaet (Ghent University) mentioned Van Parijs's defence of basic income as one of the best examples of his lifelong commitment to social justice.
Coolsaet's "Laudatio" was published in the Flemish daily 'De Standaard':
http://www.standaard.be/artikel/detail.aspx?artikelid=GP3AI60C
Van Parijs's speech (in Dutch) is available at: http://www.uclouvain.be/8611.html
The list of past laureates is at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ark_Prize_of_the_Free_Word

BRAZIL: Suplicy campaigns for basic income.


USBIG
Senator Eduardo Suplicy spent three months campaigning as a “pre-candidate” for the Workers Party nomination for Mayor of Sao Paulo. He based his campaign almost entirely on the idea of creating a Basic Income at the municipal level. On November 6, 2011 he secured a promise from another pre-candidate Fernando Haddad, the current Minister of Education, that he would incorporate some of Suplicy’s proposal into his own plan. Although Haddad did not offer any specifics, Suplicy, who has three years left to go in his Senate term, agreed to drop out of the race and endorse Haddad.

FRANCE: Three Presidential Candidates to propose Basic Income


Stanislas Jourdan - BI News
The idea of basic income seeps slowly into the French political scene. Following former prime minister Dominique De Villepin’s announcement that he will propose a citizen income to the next presidential elections, two others candidates are preparing their own proposals.

Christine Boutin still favors basic income
Last week, Christine Boutin, president of the Christian Democratic Party, renewed her support for a basic income, in the move of her campaign towards the next presidential elections in 2012. She said at a meeting that she supported a “basic income” for all the French from birth to replace “the hundreds of benefits to which no one understands anything”. She claims a basic income at 400 Euros for every adult while 200 Euros would be given to children. “This is not a sacrament for idleness or a poverty trap, but an asset to escape poverty,” she added. Back in 2006, Christine Boutin was the first major political figure to propose a “universal dividend.” Very inspired by Yolland Bresson’s work, she even filed a bill at the French National Assembly (which was never debated in the end).

“Key measure” of the Green Party
More encouraging news is coming to us that Europe Ecologie – Les Verts (Former Green Party) is currently working on its own proposal for a basic income. According to internal sources from the Party, this will be a “key measure” of their election campaign. Eva Joly, the leader of the party who will be running the election, yet made allusions that she favors a “subsistence income”, and the basic income was already in their political platform in the last elections back in 2007 and 2009. But some doubts remained among observers, still waiting for a concrete proposal in view of the next election.

Villepin under fire
Meanwhile, Villepin’s proposal has been highly criticized by his opponent, arguing that the measure was “demagogic” or “unrealistic”. Even some of his own supporters were destabilized by the idea and left his movement. Other French basic income supporters heavily criticized the nature of the proposal. Indeed, while he suggests a high-valued citizen income of 850 Euros a month, this grant could not be drawn concurrently with other income. But Villepin keeps the line. On his blog he answers critics from President Sarkozy, arguing that “This so called ‘thing’ is no magic nor demagogy, this is simply citizenship.”

For more info about BIG in France go to:
Yolland Bresson's envision of the basic income: http://owni.fr/2011/03/18/yolland-bresson-revenu-existence/
Christine Boutin's statements: http://www.lepoint.fr/fil-info-reuters/christine-boutin-pour-un-revenu-de-base-11-09-2011-1372084_240.php
One critic of Villepin's proposal: http://www.creationmonetaire.info/2011/04/revenu-citoyen-attention-danger.html

LIBYA: CNN editorial suggests “Alaska Solution” to the resource curse


USBIG
Libya has been a classic case of the resource curse: enormous resource wealth (even on a per-person basis), but instead of prosperity, the windfall has coincided with poverty and political oppression. The new government now has the job of finding a way to lift the curse on Libya. A recent editorial by Kevin Voigt of CNN suggests that one of the best ways to do so would be to embrace, what he calls, the “Alaska solution:” distribute some of the oil revenue directly to the people. The article examines other cases such as Norway, Mongolia, and Bolivia to find lessons for how to avoid the resource curse and to bolster the case for the Alaska solution.

The editorial, “The 'resource curse': An Alaskan solution for Libya?” by Kevin Voigt of CNN
September 6, 2011, is online at:
http://edition.cnn.com/2011/BUSINESS/09/05/libya.oil.resource.curse/index.html

SENEGAL: Presidential candidate in favour of basic income


BIEN
Presidential elections will take place in Senegal in February 2012. One of the candidates, Abdoulaye Taye, has announced that his electoral platform would include a strong plea in favour of the implementation of an unconditional basic income in Senegal.

For further information:
Dedicated website (in French): http://www.rbg-amo.com/
Email address of the candidate: layetaye@yahoo.fr
The 44 proposals of Taye’s platform summarized at http://www.nettali.net/Les-44-propositions-du-Docteur.html (in French)

CANADA: Prince Edward Island Green Party Endorses BIG


Wolfgang Muller - BI News
Sharon Labchuck, the leader of the Green Party of Prince Edward Island, finds interest on the idea of a "guaranteed liveable income". According to the Canadian Guardian, she described it as "a bold idea but one worth pursuing". The Green Party and their tax suggestions became subject of discussion in an all-candidates debate for the election in the beginning of October 2011. In particular Robert Ghiz, leader of the winning Liberals, found some of the suggested tax policies interesting and considerable.  The Green Party, however, could not gain any of the seats in October.

http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Decision-11/Decision-11/2011-09-19/article-2753391/Ghiz-endorses-Green-Party-tax-suggestions-/1
http://results.electionspei.ca/

CANADA: Manitoba Green Party Leader endorses BIG


USBIG
The leader of the provincial Green Party of Canada has endorsed BIG. According to CARP online, the leader writes, “If elected we would work towards the creation of a universal basic income for all Manitobans.” An article about the statement is online at:
http://www.carp.ca/2011/09/29/green-party-of-manitoba-leader-james-beddomes-statment/

EUROPEAN UNION: EU-Wide Initiative for an Unconditional Basic Income


USBIG
At the world action day, an international initiative group announced plans to prepare and launch a European Citizens’ Initiative on the implementation of an unconditional basic income in Europe. Hosted by the Internationaler Runder Tisch Grundeinkommen (international German-speaking round table on basic income), the symposium was held in Vienna on 14/15th October 2011. In the end, 60 scientists, activists and representatives from NGOs adopted a declaration in favor of this initiative. For more information on the initiative, please contact:
Klaus Sambor <klaus.sambor@aon.at> and
Ronald Blaschke <blaschke@grundeinkommen.de>

UNITED NATIONS: UN Report Calls for Social Protection Floor


USBIG
On October 27, 2011, a high-level United Nations panel released a report calling for guaranteeing basic “income and services” for all. The report, entitled Social Protection Floor for a Fair and Inclusive Globalization, did not specifically call for basic income but the “ floor would guarantee basic income in the form of social transfers in cash or kind, such as pensions, child benefits, employment guarantees and services for the unemployed and working poor, while providing universal access to essential affordable social services in health, water and sanitation, education, food, housing, and other services defined according to national priorities.”
UN Story on the report with a link to the full text of the report is online at:
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=40218&Cr=social+protection&Cr1

GERMANY (CORRECTION): Basic Income Facebook in German obtains 50,000 followers


USBIG
Bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen, a Facebook page in German, obtained its 50,000th follower in the summer of 2012. The page was created
by Daniel Häni and Benjamin Hohlmann in Basel, Switzerland. The popularity of this site is just a small sign of the extent to which the BIG movement is taking off in German-speaking countries from the grass roots to the highest levels. Five of the six major parties in Germany have Basic Income factions. Dozens of members of the German Parliament have endorsed Basic Income. The national German BIG network is a large and growing organization, which has regular events often in cooperation with Swiss and Austrian groups. The German BIG Network will host the 2012 BIEN Congress in Munich. German-speaking countries have something that few other countries have: local Basic Income groups with regular activities in many German cities. Daniel Häni and Enno Schmidt founded a Swiss group in 2006 in Basel. They produced the documentary "Basic Income. A Cultural Impulse" (released in 2008), which is the most popular movie about BI in Germany and Switzerland

The Bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen Facebook is online at: http://www.facebook.com/bedingungsloses.grundeinkommen.
For information (in German) about the German BIG network, go to their website:
http://www.grundeinkommen.de/
An English (dubbed) version of "Basic Income. A Cultural Impulse" is online at: http://dotsub.com/view/26520150-1acc-4fd0-9acd-169d95c9abe1

CORRECTION: The original version of this article misidentified the page as being created by the German BIG Network

10. BASIC INCOME STUDIES releases New Issue


USBIG
Basic Income Studies (BIS), the only academic journal focused entirely on Basic Income, has released volume 6, issue 1, 2011. BIS issues are available for free sampling at http://www.bepress.com/bis.

Research Articles

The Basic Income Road to Reforming Iran's Price Subsidies
Hamid Tabatabai
ABSTRACT: Iran has become the first country in the world to provide a de facto basic income to all its citizens. This article reviews the development of the main component of Iran’s economic reform plan – the replacement of fuel and food subsidies with direct cash transfers to the population – and shows how a system of universal, regular and unconditional cash transfers emerged almost by default as a by-product of an attempt to transform an inefficient and unfair system of price subsidies. The main features of the cash subsidy system are compared with those of a basic income; then some lessons from this experience are drawn that may enhance the prospects of basic income as a realistic proposition.

Overcoming Dividend Skepticism: Why the World's Sovereign Wealth Funds Are Not Paying Basic Income Dividends
Angela L. Cummine
ABSTRACT: More than 50 states around the world now possess a Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF), yet only the Alaska Permanent Fund (APF) directly distributes profits to national citizens. SWFs are government-owned investment vehicles, more than two-thirds of which have been established since the year 2000. This article seeks to discover why this recent proliferation of SWFs has not been matched with a similar increase in their use as a financing source for Basic Income schemes.

Pathways to a Universal Basic Pension in Greece
Manos Matsaganis and Chrysa Leventi
ABSTRACT: Although basic pension had failed for years to catch the imagination of policy makers in Greece, the severe crisis raging since November 2009 has caused it to be quickly put on the agenda. In May 2010 the government committed to a harsh austerity programme, aimed at fiscal consolidation, in return for a rescue package easing the sovereign debt crisis. The July 2010 pension reform, a key provision of the austerity programme, provided for the introduction of a near-universal basic pension starting in 2015. This paper explains why, paradoxically, the crisis made a universal basic pension in Greece more realistic. We argue, first, that social insurance pensions may be ripe for path-breaking reform if heavily subsidised in a non-transparent way, and, second, that any progress towards basic income is likely to be gradual, uneven and specific to the national policy context.

Basic Income From the Bottom Up? Allocating Jobs and Incomes With the Job Sharing Doodle
Manfred Fullsack
ABSTRACT: The paper presents a proposal for allocating jobs and incomes through using an internet auction that is based on the idea of tradable job quotas. Auction participants are enabled to self-organize for a BI. A smart phone application for conducting the auction is presented, and some results of experiments with multi-agent simulations are discussed.

Research Note

The Case for a Global Pension and Youth Grant
Robin Blackburn
ABSTRACT: This research note argues that, in the age of globalisation, the old age pension should be installed at a global level, by means of a pension paid at a modest rate to all older persons on the planet, to be financed by a light tax on global financial transactions and corporate wealth.

Book Reviews

Review of Peter Baldwin, The Narcissism of Minor Differences: How America and Europe Are Alike
Tord Skogedal Lindén

Review of Joseph Hanlon, David Hulme and Armando Barrientos, Just Give Money to the Poor: The Development Revolution From the Global South
Cecilia T. Lanata Briones

11. RECENT PUBLICATIONS

 

Gosseries, Axel & Vanderborght, Yannick (editors), Arguing About Justice: Essays for Philippe Van Parijs


Louvain-la-Neuve: Presses universitaires de Louvain (2011).

USBIG
Publisher’s description: A collective volume, entitled Arguing About Justice, has just been published on the occasion of Philippe Van Parijs’s 60th birthday. The book was launched on October 28th, 2011, during the celebrations of the Hoover Chair (Louvain University) 20th anniversary, and remained a complete surprise for Van Parijs himself. The editors Axel Gosseries and Yannick Vanderborght had managed to convince almost 50 authors from all over the world, who all respect Philippe’s ideas and like him as a person, to join this secret project. The authors were asked to write pieces trying out new ideas, taking risks if possible, without knowing anything about who the other authors were, their number, the publisher’s name, the venue for the gift-giving, etc.
            The diversity of Van Parijs’s research interests is reflected in the volume, with contributors from various disciplines covering a wide array of issues. Papers on basic income are of course well represented. They consider how and to what extent such a basic income can be justified (Christian Arnsperger & Warren A. Johnson, Samuel Bowles, Paul-Marie Boulanger, Ian Carter, Robert van der Veen, and Karl Widerquist) as well as the prospects of its implementation, based on experiences from France (Denis Clerc), the United Kingdom (Bill Jordan), Brazil (Eduardo Suplicy), or at a more general level (Almaz Zelleke). Among the other authors are Anne Alstott, Bruce Ackerman, John Baker, Joshua Cohen, Jon Elster, Robert Goodin, Claus Offe, John Roemer, Erik Olin Wright, and many others.
            The endorsement by Amartya Sen reads as follows: “A book of quick and sharp thoughts on a grand theme is a novel way of paying tribute to a leading philosopher. But it has worked beautifully here, both as a stimulating book of ideas on justice, and as a fitting recognition of the intellectual contributions of Philippe Van Parijs, who is one of the most original and most creative thinkers of our time”.
Further details about the book (including all abstracts) and how to order it online are available at: http://www.uclouvain.be/394650.html

Alstott, Anne, “Marriages as assets? Real freedom and relational freedom”

In Gosseries, Axel & Vanderborght, Yannick (editors), Arguing About Justice. Essays for Philippe Van Parijs. Louvain-la-Neuve: Presses universitaires de Louvain (2011).

USBIG
Abstract: In Real Freedom for All, Ph. Van Parijs characterizes jobs as scarce, external resources that may justifiably be taxed in order to fund a basic income.  Surprisingly, Van Parijs notes, in passing, that a tax on scarce marriage partners might possibly be justified on similar grounds. This essay revisits the analogy between jobs and marriages and concludes that marriage partners are not in principle scarce, although in practice they are. It follows that the first-best course of action is for the state to take measures (including basic income, national service, online dating regulation, and liberalization of marriage laws) to ensure fair access to marriage partners for those who wish to marry. In the absence of such reforms, a tax on marriage partners might be a defensible second-best measure.

Carter, Ian, “Distributing freedom over whole lives”

In Gosseries, Axel & Vanderborght, Yannick (editors), Arguing About Justice. Essays for Philippe Van Parijs. Louvain-la-Neuve: Presses universitaires de Louvain (2011).

USBIG
ABSTRACT: Many egalitarians, among whom "real libertarians" like Ph. Van Parijs, wish to assess distributions of freedom in a way that takes into account each person's whole life. Is the policy outcome of such a normative stance basic income (an income allocated at regular intervals during each person's life), or basic capital (a lump sum allocated only once to each person, at the beginning of her life)? The former answer depends on an "end state" interpretation of the concept of "freedom over whole lives"; the latter depends on a "starting gate" interpretation of that concept. On the basis of a reductionist conception of the person (due to D. Parfit), together with a particular idea of respect for persons (called "opacity respect"), it is possible to justify a combination of these two interpretations, and with this, the libertarian prescription of a combination of basic capital and basic income.

Clerc, Denis “Why big ideas never change society”

In Gosseries, Axel & Vanderborght, Yannick (editors), Arguing About Justice. Essays for Philippe Van Parijs. Louvain-la-Neuve: Presses universitaires de Louvain (2011).

USBIG
ABSTRACT: Ph. Van Parijs has shown that basic income allows to combine social justice and individual freedom, two goals that are often considered to be incompatible. Why, then, does it remain so low on the political agenda? Probably because its implementation would generate such a big bang in our complex societies, a risk that no government is ready to take. This is why we should rather try to approach this goal gradually, be it through very small steps.

Jordan, Bill “Prospects for basic income: a British Perspective”


In Gosseries, Axel & Vanderborght, Yannick (editors), Arguing About Justice. Essays for Philippe Van Parijs. Louvain-la-Neuve: Presses universitaires de Louvain (2011).

USBIG
ABSTRACT: As the idea of Basic Income becomes more of a practical possibility, the political basis for its implementation grows in importance. Among the available rationales for its introduction are to combat the polarisation of incomes through globalisation and to curb the perverse effects of tax-benefit interactions. This paper argues that the proposal should be linked with a global social movement to address the precarious future of the young generation.

Suplicy, Eduardo Matarazzo, “Towards an unconditional basic income in Brazil?”

In Gosseries, Axel & Vanderborght, Yannick (editors), Arguing About Justice. Essays for Philippe Van Parijs. Louvain-la-Neuve: Presses universitaires de Louvain (2011).

USBIG
ABSTRACT: In this chapter, I reflect on the history of basic income in Brazil, based on first hand political experience. First, I detail how basic income came to inspire concrete policies in my home country. Second, I focus on the main social assistance program in Brazil today, the Bolsa Família, which is widely regarded as one of the examples to be followed by other developing countries. Third, I explain why I think that a Citizen’s Basic Income (CBI) remains superior, in many ways, to such a conditional scheme. Finally, I try to show how we can move towards a true CBI in Brazil.

van der Veen, Robert, “Why auntie's boring tea parties matter for the fair distribution of gifts”

In Gosseries, Axel & Vanderborght, Yannick (editors), Arguing About Justice. Essays for Philippe Van Parijs. Louvain-la-Neuve: Presses universitaires de Louvain (2011).

USBIG
ABSTRACT: Van Parijs’s case for the highest unconditional basic income asserts that the benefits of unequally held gifts - such as inheritances and scarce jobs - should be redistributed by means of taxation, to serve the goal of maximizing the real freedom of the least advantaged. Invoking Dworkin’s egalitarian auction model, Van Parijs argues that the fairest way of sharing the tax yield is to give all an equal share, regardless of willingness to work. In this chapter, however, I show that some gifts command auction prices which reflect a reward for the work required to obtain their benefits. If this outcome of the auction is properly taken aboard, then a fair redistribution of the tax yield must - at least in part - be conditional on people’s willingness to work.

Widerquist Karl, “Why we demand an unconditional basic income: the ECSO freedom case”

In Gosseries, Axel & Vanderborght, Yannick (editors), Arguing About Justice. Essays for Philippe Van Parijs. Louvain-la-Neuve: Presses universitaires de Louvain (2011).

USBIG
ABSTRACT: This essay argues that Van Parijs’s notion of “real freedom” does not capture the most important reasons why an adequate social protection system must include an unconditional income. “Real freedom,” the freedom to do whatever one might want to do, is neither the most important freedom for people to have nor a freedom that necessarily explains why benefits must be unconditional and large enough to meet a person’s basic needs. It might not be possible to determine what kind of redistribution plan gives people the most “real freedom.” Instead society must focus on protecting the most important freedoms, especially the freedom of voluntary interaction and the freedom to refuse involuntary interaction: the power to say 'no'. This understanding of freedom provides a compelling reason why basic income must be unconditional.

Zelleke, Almaz, “The capitalist road to communism: are we there yet?”

In Gosseries, Axel & Vanderborght, Yannick (editors), Arguing About Justice. Essays for Philippe Van Parijs. Louvain-la-Neuve: Presses universitaires de Louvain (2011).

USBIG
ABSTRACT: Twenty-five years after the publication of Van Parijs and van der Veen’s provocative “Capitalist Road to Communism,” the global economy has achieved the abundance necessary for communism. The means and relations of production have evolved in a way that makes the elimination of the division of labor, private property, and class divisions—conditions critical to Marx’s vision of communism—possible. A basic income in the context of a global, networked economy, championed by a new and unexpected vanguard class, could fulfill Van Parijs and van der Veen’s original and ambitious claim.

Robert Auerbach: “The U. S. Government's Largest Means-Tested Anti-Poverty Program Has Severe Problems”

In The Huffington Post Politics, September 12, 2011

USBIG
This opinion piece discusses the relevance for today’s politics of the Negative Income Tax proposal, as discussed in the 1970s by Milton Friedman and Daniel Patrick Moynihan. The author is Professor of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-auerbach/the-u-s-governments-large_b_958329.html

Gareth Morgan, “Tax revamp not about pulling rich down” and “Battle lines drawn over NZ economy”

In The New Zealand Herald, September 13 and November 8, 2011

USBIG
In two editorials, economist Gareth Morgan defends his proposal for what he calls “the Big Kahuna,” a proposal for comprehensive reform of New Zealand’s tax and welfare system, including a basic income.
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10751357
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10764433

West, Johnny, “Iraq’s Last Window: Diffusing the Risks of a Petro-State”

Center for Global Development Working Paper. Washington, D.C.: Center for Global Development.
http://www.cgdev.org/content/publications/detail/1425433/

USBIG
ABSTRACT: Although Iraq’s oil industry is 80 years old, it has an opportunity to introduce an oil dividend based on the expansion of production currently being undertaken. Even assuming a conservative price for crude, the resulting predicted rise in revenues will allow the government to allocate a significant dividend which halves poverty, helps diversify the economy by creating demand at all income levels for goods and services, and stimulates capital formation—all without cutting into the government’s capital spending plans. A dividend, starting at $220 per capita in October 2012 and rising with expanded production, could also cement the affiliation of all citizens to Iraqi territorial integrity, act as a powerful disincentive to secession in oil-producing regions, and create popular pressure among all sections of the population to discourage acts by the ongoing insurgency which disrupt economic reconstruction. Logistically, dividends could be mapped onto the nationwide and universal rationing system, as the electoral roll has been, and combined with Iraq’s ubiquitous mobile phone networks and new biometric ID cards. A partial dividend would create a strong domestic political constituency for transparency to reinforce international technical efforts to help the government manage oil revenues and create efficient management structures. It would also help Iraq develop an alternative economic model to a future, which the country’s present trajectory now threatens, of a bloated state as the country’s only significant employer, with all the attendant problems of patronage networks, politicization of the civil service, and outright corruption. Support for an oil dividend policy is growing among some politicians, notably those seeking votes among the Iraqi poor such as the Sadrists and Fadhila party. International support could help the government structure a dividend which functions well and in the public interest.

Johnny West is a former journalist for Reuters in the Middle East and the founder of OpenOil, a consultancy which advises the UN on the public policy implications of the oil industry in the Middle East, and which seeks market solutions to resource-curse issues.

MacDonald, Lawrence, “Oil 2 Cash in Iraq: Johnny West”

Global Prosperity Wonkcast, September 12, 2011

USBIG
This website has a written introduction and an half-hour interview with Johnny West who discusses the possibility of an Alaska-style oil dividend for Iraq. According to West, if one takes into account the potential oil revenue of Iraq, the country is capable of generating a much larger dividend than most observers have realized. The reason is that Iraqi oil fields are underexplored and under exploited. It has far more potential to drill than has currently been realized. A livable dividend might well be possible.

Daniels, Mitch, Keeping the Republic: Saving America by Trusting Americans

New York: Sentinel HC, September 20, 2011.

USBIG
This book, by the Conservative Republican governor of Indiana, includes an entire chapter on the negative income tax. The publisher’s website for the book is online at:
http://us.penguingroup.com/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9781101552148,00.html?Keeping_the_Republic_Mitch_Daniels

Kundig, Bernard, “The Basic Income in a Crisis”

In Economics NewsPaper,


USBIG
In this article, Bernard Kundig, makes a diagnosis of the Greek crisis and shows how Basic Income can be used to help rationalize and clean up public finance in Greece without stifling economic activity.
http://economicsnewspaper.com/economics/the-basic-income-in-a-crisis-67068.html

 

Tarifi, Mohamad, “A Better System of Economics”

In Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technologies, September 8, 2011

USBIG
In this article, Mohamad Tarifi argues for a Basic Income Guarantee as part of a wider social reform meant to deal with the emergence of new technologies.
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/tarifi20110908

Belik, Vivian, “A Town Without Poverty?”

In The Dominion: news from the grassroots. September 5, 2011

USBIG
http://www.dominionpaper.ca/articles/4100
This newspaper editorial reports and comments on Evelyn Forget’s reexamination of Canada's Negative Income Tax Experiment in Dauphin, Manitoba in the 1970s.

Smith, Jeff, “It’s August. Do You Know Where Your Vacation Is?” and  “The Jobs Mirage: How Much More Work Do Humans Really Need?”

In TruthOut, Op-Ed page, August 26 and September 5, 2011

USBIG
In these two successive articles, Jeff Smith argues that Americans need to learn from Europeans to work to live rather than to live to work. He argues that U.S. leisure time is squeezed and that BIG in the form of a Citizens Dividend would help. Jeffery J. Smith in the editor of The Progress Report and The Geonomist.
http://www.truth-out.org/its-august-do-you-know-where-your-vacation/1314291256

`Khariseb Petrus, “BIG still the best option”

Informante (Namibia), September 28, 2011

USBIG
This opinion piece discusses the state of poverty in Namibia and argues that “Basic Income Grant (BIG) Coalition is still convinced that the BIG remains the best option and the best tool to lighten the burden of the increasing rate of unemployment and to change the ugly face of poverty in Namibia.”
It’s online at:
http://www.informante.web.na/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=8781&Itemid=102

12. UPCOMING EVENTS

BELFAST, Northern Ireland, 2012: “Justice through unconditional basic income?”


USBIG
The 2012 European Foundation Centre conference will hold a session entitled, “Justice through unconditional basic income? A debate on European Social Policy” The conference website describes the session as follows:

The social question and the issue of solidarity are among the core issues of the European agenda. The European Commission has focused its Europe 2020 strategy almost exclusively on them and a whole civil society movement on equality and social justice has emerged during the last couple of years throughout the continent. The session will deal with the issue of an unconditional basic income as a possible perspective on European social policy. Should every citizen get the amount of 700 Euro a month with few or no conditions attached? Is that simply utopia? Or is it a real European idea that could lead to the abolishment of other official political welfare systems? And if the unconditional basic income is not the solution for inequality and injustice that exists throughout Europe, what other strategies do we have to improve the economic perspectives of European citizens and explicitly the young generation? Which answers and solutions can we provide in order to achieve social justice, taking into account the historical youth unemployment and the sovereign debt that the young generation will inherit? And what is the role of foundations, i.e. the third sector, in all this?

More information about the conference is online at:
http://www.efc.be/AgaConference/Pages/2012SessionDescriptions.aspx

MUNICH, Germany, September 14-16, 2012. Fourteenth BIEN Congress


USBIG
The Fourteenth BIEN Congress will take place in Munich Germany in September 2012. The call for papers and more information will appear on BIEN’s website soon.
http://www.basicincome.org/bien/

13. RECENT EVENTS

ROME, Italy November 24th 2011 “Precarity and guaranteed income”


USBIG
A public meeting about “Precarity and guaranteed income” was held in Rome on 24th of November 2011. It was organized by Confederazione Generale Italia Lavoro (the Italian general confederation of work) of the Lazio region. Participants included Tina Bali (Secretary of CGIL Roma and Lazio), Sandro Gobetti (Bin Italy) and Michele Raitano (La Sapienza University, Rome) took part at the meeting. Meeting Coordinator was Martha Bonafoni (Director of Radio Popolare Roma). The meeting started at 5 pm and took place at the Detour Urban Oasis, Via Urbana 107 Rome.

The discussion focused on Precarity condition and the need for a guaranteed income in Italy within a broader context such as the European social model. The connection between precarity and guaranteed income has become a focal point in the debate especially for Italy, a country where more than 2.5 million young people are out of work and without any kind of income support.

More information (in Italian) about the meeting is online at: http://www.bin-italia.org/informa.php?ID_NEWS=313

PISA, Italy, November 26th, 2011 “Welfare and guaranteed income”.


BIN-Italia
An organization called Tilt Camp held a public meeting, entitled "Welfare and guaranteed income for tomorrow's Italy," in Pisa from 3 to 6pm on Saturday 26th of November. Speakers included: Giulio Marcon (Sbilanciamoci), Luca Santini (BIN Italy), Arturo di Corinto (journalist), Claudia Pratelli (Il nostro tempo Ź adesso. La vita non aspetta), Roberto Ciccarelli (Manifesto), Maria La Porta (Sportello Donna), Vincenzo Bavaro (labor law, University of Bari), Ylenia Daniello (Million Marijuana March), Michele DePalma (FIOM CGIL), Lorenzo Misuraca (Ass. DaSud), Jacopo Pisacreta (Experience-Lab), Valentina Meconi (Fabbrica di Nichi - Fermo). This event is part of a three-day meeting called "Money makes you happy.”

More info in Italian and a link to the “Tilt camp” meeting is online at: http://www.bin-italia.org/informa.php?ID_NEWS=314

BRUSSELS (Belgium), 30 November 2011: European Congress for Change


BIEN
This Congress is organized by “European Alternatives” at the European Parliament. It will bring together activists, citizens and organisations active throughout the continent and sharing a common vision for rebuilding Europe. The Congress aims to clearly spell out that real alternatives to Europe’s social, economic, and political status quo exist, and to work towards the construction of a platform of transnational coordination to better bring those alternatives to fruition over the course of 2012 through a series of transnational campaigns, forums, and assemblies. Basic Income will be among the alternatives to be discussed by the participants.
Further information: http://www.euroalter.com/ppp/events/424/
Important note: It is necessary to register by November 27th for this event to receive a pass to access the European Parliament.

DUBLIN, Ireland, September 14, 2011: Social Justice Ireland’s annual Social Policy Conference


BIEN
This one-day conference addressed the issue of “Sharing responsibility in Shaping the Future”. The full text of the book containing the papers underpinning the presentations at this conference may be accessed free of charge at:
http://www.socialjustice.ie/content/sharing-responsibility-shaping-future-full-text
Each individual paper may also be downloaded separately. Basic Income is named in a number of these papers as being an essential component of a viable, sustainable future.

VIENNA, Austria October 14-15, 2011: International Symposium “From a compensatory to an emancipatory social policy in Europe”


BIEN
This conference was organized by Internationaler Runder Tisch Grundeinkommen (basic income networks in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy), and Attac (BI-groups in Austria and Germany). It was held at the Haus der Europaischen Union. For further information please contact: grundeinkommen@ksoe.at

COLOGNE, Germany: Conference: "Basic Income at the Elections for the German Parliament on 2013"


BIEN
Organized by the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Cologne University of Applied Sciences and the local Basic Income Association in Cologne on Saturday November 12, 2012. Participants discussed whether the success of the Pirate Party will make Basic Income a central topic. According to polls, 45% of those who voted for the Pirate Party did that because of the social fairness. The Pirate Party is the first party in a German parliament, that has a "Right to a safe existence and participation" in their party manifesto.

Additional information (in German) is available online at:
http://bgekoeln.ning.com/profiles/blogs/fachtagung

RIVIERA MAYA, Mexico, September 20, 2011 "Seeing Through the Illusion of Money: From Barter to the Gaia Plan"


USBIG
This session at the International Reciprocal Trade Association at the Aventura Spa Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico featured Richard Cook discussing, in part, a proposal for a worldwide BIG to be administered by the UN and IMF. Cook argued that a Basic Income Guarantee is necessary not only for humanitarian, social, and political reasons, but it is also needed to inject consumer purchasing power into a world economy where it has collapsed due to a fatally flawed monetary system. For more information see:
www.richardccook.com.

14. BASIC INCOME NEWS needs writers and volunteers

The USBIG Newsletter is now a part of BI News. Most of our stories are posted on the BI News website, and many of stories that begin on BI News are reposted here. BI News was founded only a few months ago. It has a growing body of news reports on Basic Income—reports originating all around the world. We are in great need of volunteers to write for BI News and to do other work to keep it growing. If you are interested, contact BInews at: desk@binews.org, or simply contact me: Karl@widerquist.com
-Karl Widerquist, USBIG

15. NEW LINKS

WEB DISCUSSION OF BIG


The TED website, which includes web discussions on various topics, has begun a discussion of BIG. It’s online at:
http://www.ted.com/conversations/6479/basic_income_guarantee_1.html

“WORD MOB” VIDEO FOR BIG

During the international week for BIG in September 2011 the local Basic Income Network in Hamburg Germany (www.grundeinkommen-hamburg.de) created a special performance they call "WortMob" (Word mob). The group spelling the words "BIG" and "human dignity". It ends by asking "what kind of work would you choose if you'd get BIG?"
It can be found online at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i53m63yplRs

BIG KAHUNA Basic Income Plan for New Zealand

The Big Kahuna website outlines a detailed proposal for reform of New Zealand’s tax and welfare system. The proposal includes a basic income.
http://www.gmi.co.nz/bigkahuna/

OCCUPY WALL STREET discussion forum on BIG

A discussion of BIG on the Occupy Wall Street Website, go is online at:
http://occupywallst.org/forum/basic-income-guarantee-for-the-us/

INDIAN BIG PILOT PROJECTS introductory slideshow

Gwang-eun Choi has created a slide show introducing the Basic Income pilot projects that have been taking place in India since January 2011:
http://prezi.com/-n3ms0jriljj/two-basic-income-pilot-projects-in-india/

NEW VIDEO: Large demonstration for BIG in Rome, 2003

The BIN-Italia website has a short video of a demonstration on November 22, 2003 when more than 50.000 people in Rome demonstrated for a guaranteed income. According to BIN-Italian, “Usually in all the demonstration the guaranteed income are one of the request from the people, social movement, precarious worker etc. But this short movie shows the largest demonstration in Italy just for a guaranteed income.”
http://www.livestream.com/binitalia/video?clipId=flv_1ce0092c-3f5d-434b-840b

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16. 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: Michael W. Howard, Jeff Smith, Felix Coeln, Grundeinkommen-Hamburg, and Jim Mulvale

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. More news about BIG is online at BInews.org.

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