USBIG NewsFlash Vol. 15, No. 74, July-August 2014

The USBIG NewsFlash is both the newsletter of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee (USBIG) Network and the U.S. edition of the Basic Income Earth Network’s NewsFlash. The USBIG Network (www.usbig.net) 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 go to: http://www.usbig.net/newsletters.php.
For questions, contact the editor, Karl Widerquist <Karl@Widerquist.com>.

 

Table of Contents

1. Editorials
     Report from the 15th Congress of the Basic Income Earth Network
     Open Letter To All Candidates For The European Parliament
2. BIG News from the United States
3.
BIG News from around the world
4. Events
5.
BI Literature
6.
Audio-video
7.
New Links
8. More news, links and other info

1. Editorials

EDITORIAL: Report from the 15th Congress of the Basic Income Earth Network

Karl Widerquist, co-chair of the Basic Income Earth Network

The 15th International Congress of the Basic Income Earth Network was held in Montreal at McGill University from June 27 to June 29, 2014, and a pre-conference North American day was held on June 26. The event was sold out with well over 200 people attending.

Two of the central topics at the conference were the recent basic income pilot projects the recent petition drives for basic income. Renana Jhabvala, of Self-Employed Women’s Association and Guy Standing, of School of Oriental and African Studies discussed the recent pilot project in India. Among other results, basic income was found to increase health and employment.

Enno Schmidt, Co-founder of the Initiative Basic Income in Switzerland and president of the Cultural Impulse Switzerland Foundation, and Stanislas Jourdan, Co-founder of the French Movement for Basic Income and Coordinator for Unconditional Basic Income Europe, talked with Barbara Jacobson, of Basic Income UK, and Philippe Van Parijs, of BIEN, about the citizens initiatives of basic income in Switzerland and the European Union (EU). Between the two initiatives, activists raises more than 400,000 signatures, enough to trigger a vote in Switzerland to take place in 2015 or 2016. Although the EU movement did not receive enough signatures to trigger a vote, it created headlines across the continent, sparked a pan-European movement for BIG (UBIEurope), and organized national movements in all of the EU’s member states.

Joe Soss, of University of Minnesota, gave the NABIG (North American Basic Income Guarantee) lecture, which was surprisingly optimistic despite its depressing title, "Disciplining the Poor, Downsizing Democracy?" He discussed how many recent social policies from welfare "reform" to the 500% increase in the incarceration rate are part of an international trend toward treating poverty as willful misbehavior curable only by discipline. The optimism came from his belief that people are coming to recognize what's been happening, and they're fighting back through various movements.

The conference included a good mix of academics and activists. The Congress generated press around Canada and to some extent around the world. Some of the attendees started an international youth activist organization for the basic income, called Basic Income Generation. The Basic Income Canada Network furthered its push for a $20,000 basic income for all Canadians. The theme of technological unemployment recurred through many of the sessions—much more than it has in any past BIEN Congress. Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twentieth Century, was discussed by many of the academics at the Congress. And discussion of the Great Recession was frequent.

The Congress closed with BIEN’s General Assembly (GA) meeting. The GA voted to recognize five new affiliates from Norway, France, Portugal, Europe (UBIEurope) and the Southern African Development Community (the SADC BIG Coalition). UBIEurope and the SADC BIG Coalition have become BIEN’s first transnational affiliates.

A new Executive Committee (EC) was elected by the GA, including Louise Haagh and Karl Widerquist as Co-Chairs, Anja Askeland as Secretary, Borja Barragué as Treasurer, and Andrea Fumagalli, Toru Yamamori, Pablo Yanes Rizo, and Jason Murphy as EC members for News and Outreach.

Several issues were tabled (delayed) due to lack of time. These included some proposed amendments to BIEN’s statutes and a proposal to change BIEN’s definition of unconditional basic income to include a clause that it must be high enough to allow individuals to live in dignity.

The GA ended with a bit of drama. Before we could give up the room to the cleaning crew, which had been waiting much longer than they expected, the GA had to decide the location of the next Congress between three impressive proposals from affiliates in Finland, the Netherlands, and South Korea. As time was running out, the representatives of Netherlands and Finland both dropped their bid in favor of Seoul, Korea, and the motion was quickly passed unanimously.

I think I speak for all of BIEN’s leadership when I write that we are looking forward to working with Korea on the 2016 Congress and to working with UBIE and all of BIEN’s European affiliates to help build on the political moment for basic income has developed on that continent.
-Karl Widerquist, Cru Coffee House, Beaufort, North Carolina, July 13, 2014

Some of the press coverage of the BIEN Congress:

Ahn Hyo-sang, “[Special report] Basic income movement gaining momentum worldwide.The Hankyoreh, July12, 2014.

Benjamin Shingler, “$20,000 per person: Activists push for guaranteed minimum income for CanadiansThe Globe and Mail, 29 June 2014.

Beryl Wajsman, “The fierce urgency for a guaranteed national income”, The Metropolitain, 30 June 2014.

The Canadian Press, “Guaranteed $20K income for all Canadians endorsed by academics”, CBC News, 30 June 2014.

Deirdre Fulton, "New Campaign Pushes for 'Basic Income Guarantee' in Canada", Common Dreams, 3 July 2014.

Dan Delmar, “The Exchange Podcast with Dan Delmar,” CJAD 800AM Radio, 2 July 2014. [Discussion of BIG begins about 18 minutes into the broadcast.]

Jacob Kearey-Moreland, “Universal Income Worth a Look”, Orilla Packet, 4 July 2014.

Mélanie Loisel, “Le revenu garanti est la voie de l’avenir, croit Blais”, Le Devoir, 30 June 2014.

 

EDITORIAL: Open Letter To All Candidates For The European Parliament

Karl Widerquist, co-chair of the Basic Income Earth Network

During the 2014 elections for the European Parliament, the Basic Income Earth Network, at the request of its partner, Unconditional Basic Income Europe, signed an open letter to all candidates for the European parliament. The full text of the open letter follows.

Open Letter To All Candidates For The European Parliament

Given the commitment by the EU to reduce poverty by 20 million by 2020, most people want to know: What will you do to deliver results for people in the European Union? Did you know that according to the most recent data available, around one fourth of the EU population, that is about 120 million people, are at risk of poverty? However, given the prolonged economic crisis since 2008 and increasing automation of production permanently eliminating many jobs, there are reasons to believe that the situation will get even worse in the future if nothing changes.

Unconditional Basic Income Europe, which represents basic income networks and organisations in 25 EU countries, along with Basic Income Earth Network, with members all around the globe, would like to underline the current threat which income inequality represents to a peaceful, democratic and social Europe. Therefore we expect our newly elected representatives to support those strategies which will promote social cohesion and ensure sustainable and inclusive development in Europe. Our representatives should see the crisis as a wake-up call.

Unconditional Basic Income (UBI) is an amount of money, paid on a regular basis to each individual unconditionally and universally, high enough to ensure a material existence and participation in society. It differs from traditional guaranteed minimum income (GMI) / social security schemes by removing the bureaucracy and its costs as well as the stigma of means-testing. UBI also eliminates the disincentive to work caused by the high marginal tax rates (65-95%) imposed by these schemes.

Pilot studies throughout the world have proved that UBI is a far more effective tool for reducing poverty and inequality than traditional social security schemes and subsidies, with more positive effects on local economies, health, societal cohesion, public safety and education. An unconditional basic income implemented throughout Europe could also reduce tensions created by intra-EU immigration forced by lack of economic opportunity. It may seem like a radical proposal, but the current ‘business as usual’ attitude is not sustainable and endangers the EU itself.

We expect our representatives and the European Commission to take further serious and practical steps on the European Parliament resolution 2010/2039(INI) of 20 October 2010 on the role of minimum income in combating poverty and promoting an inclusive society in Europe.

Considering that the unemployment rate will gradually increase due to technological advancement while productivity increases, ordinary Guaranteed Minimum Income schemes are becoming less and less effective, leading to rising inequality and social exclusion - all these lead to conclusion that we need culture change to tackle these problems. If you are elected, will you raise a debate about unconditional basic income in the European Parliament and will you stand for implementing it in the EU?

The 9th of May is celebrated as Europe Day because of the Schuman Declaration of 9 May 1950 by French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman. He had a strong vision of a Europe which was  peaceful and prosperous for everybody without exception. Europe has become peaceful and prosperous, but not for everybody. Letęs finish the job Robert Schuman has started. What are we waiting for?

Undersigned by:

Unconditional Basic Income Europe
Basic Income Earth Network

The  open letter was originally posted at: http://one-europe.info/initiative/open-letter-to-all-candidates-for-the-european-parliament


Sources about poverty in Europe and Unconditional Basic Income:

Ending Poverty is a Political Choice! http://www.eapn.eu/en/news-and-publications/press-room/eapn-press-releases/ending-poverty-is-a-political-choice

Short movie: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zru79jcVTt4

Recent interview with Prof. Philippe van Parijs, Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL): “Van Parijs: An unconditional basic income in Europe will help end the crisis“ http://www.euractiv.com/sections/social-europe-jobs/van-parijs-unconditional-basic-income-europe-will-help-end-crisis-301503

For more profound insight, please watch the movie "Basic Income – a Cultural Impulse“ http://dotsub.com/view/26520150-1acc-4fd0-9acd-169d95c9abe1

Unconditional Basic Income Europe: http://basicincome-europe.org/
Basic Income Earth Network:
http://www.basicincome.org

 

 

2. BIG News from the United States

 

UNITED STATES: New Political Party Endorses Basic Income Guarantee

 [Josh Martin]

A new political party, named the After Party, has declared its support for a basic income guarantee in the United States.  Founded in May of this year, the party hopes to push its candidates into positions at every level of government.

For more on the After Party see the following links:
Occupy Wall St.
Alliance of Activists to Launch New Populist Political Party in Detroit,” Occupy Wall St. 30 April 2014.
After Party Official Website (http://www.afterpartyusa.org/)

 

UNITED STATES: MoveOn Petition Created for an American Basic Income Guarantee

[Josh Martin]

A new petition has been started on MoveOn.org to establish a basic income guarantee for all Americans, similar to what is being proposed in Switzerland. 

To view and sign this petition, follow this link. http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/establish-a-basic-income.fb47?source=s.fb&r_by=9732631

 

UNITED STATES: Candidate for the Socialist Party Nomination for President makes Basic Income a central issue in his campaign

Dean Capone, an active member of the Socialist Party of the United States of America, has announced his intention to seek the Party's nomination for President of the United States with the intention of making Basic Income a major issue in his platform. Capone told BI News, “The Basic Income Guarantee is a crux of my proposed candidacy.”

A proponent of public ownership of primary heavy industry, a strong and unionized workforce, a National Basic Income and advocacy of civil and human rights at home and abroad, Capone considers himself part of a new generation in democratic socialist leadership. In an interview with the Independent Political Report, Capone said, “Implementation of an unqualified basic income would foster economic growth by leveling the playing field to a degree, and provide stability to meet the needs of every adult, while replacing most other entitlements.”

More information about Capone’s candidacy is on the campaign’s webpage at: deancapone.com.

See also: Joshua Fauver, “Interview With Declared 2016 Socialist Party USA Presidential Candidate Dean Capone.the Independent Political Report, July 8, 2014.

 

UNITED STATES: Citizens Climate Lobby unveils a plan for Fee-and-Dividend Carbon Strategy

The Citizens Climate Lobby, a California-based environmental group, has released a report advocating a plan involving a small basic income as part of its strategy to address global warming. The plan is to tax carbon and redistribute the proceeds to every citizen in the form of an unconditional dividend. They would introduce $10 tax on each ton of carbon dioxide in the plan’s first. It would raise an estimated $56 billion in the first year, enough to provide a family of four with $44 in monthly rebates. The tax would rise by $10 a year over twenty years, so that ton of carbon would eventually cost $200. Every adult would receive $96 a month within ten years and $132 a month after 20 years. That would be an annual rate of $1,584. Children under 18 would receive half a rebate. Thus, a family of four would receive $4,752.

For more information see: “A climate solution that’s also good for the economy.” Citizens Climate Lobby, June 9, 2015.

The complete report is also online:

Scott Nystrom and Patrick Luckow, “The Economic, Climate, Fiscal, Power, and Demographic Impact of a National Fee-and-Dividend Carbon Tax.” Washington, DC: Regional Economic Models, and Coronado, CA: Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

Or contact: Steve Valk <mailto:steve.valk@citizensclimatelobby.org>, 1-404-769-7461.

 

UNITED STATES: Former Secretary of Labor endorses introducing a carbon tax and using the revenue to support BIG.

[Karl Widerquist]

Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor (under the Clinton Administration), is already on record as saying that some form of basic income guarantee is “almost inevitable” in response to the changes in the labor market brought about by changing technology. He has now release a statement endorsing BIG as a part of a strategy to address climate change. Without using the term BIG, or any of its common synonyms, Reich argues that we should tax carbon and redistribute the revenue equally to every citizen—that is in the form of a universal basic income. He made the statement on June 10th, 2014 on his Facebook page. We reproduce the entire statement below:

“The single best way to reduce climate change is to put a price on carbon. The big fossil fuel companies say this will hurt the economy, but they said the same when we put a price on sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide – the pollutants causing acid rain -- in the 1970s. We did it anyway, all but eliminating acid rain, and the economy did fine. As to carbon, we’d start with a low price – say $10 for every ton put into the air – with the price gradually rising over time. This would give energy companies an incentive to save money by reducing carbon pollution – and also spend and invest more in non-carbon energies like solar, wind and hydro power. Our electricity bills might rise, but there’s an easy fix: The money polluters pay would go into a big fund that’s then divided up and sent to every American. So even if your electricity bill goes up $10 a month, you get back at least $10 if not more. Are you with me?”

For info see: https://www.facebook.com/RBReich/posts/809307552415176?fref=nf

 

UNITED STATES: Bernie Sanders asked about BIG, but doesn’t answer the question

[Karl Widerquist]

Bernie Sanders, the only socialist in the United States Senate, evaded a question about BIG. The question came up during an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on the popular website, Reddit. During an AMA, a prominent person agrees to be available online for a given period time to and to answer whatever questions Reddit members ask. Although Sanders is known as one of the strongest defenders of the poor in high-level U.S. politics, he would not give a direct answer to the following question asked by Reddit member using the name, LoveAllHarmNone, “What do you think of a Basic Income Guarantee if/when unemployment rises due to automation?”

Sanders replied, “I think that as a nation we should be deeply troubled by the fact that we have more people living in poverty today than ever before and that millions of seniors are finding it difficult to survive on about $1,200 a month from Social Security. I think we need to take a very hard look at why real income has gone down for millions of Americans despite a huge increase in productivity. In my view, every American is entitled to at least a minimum standard of living. There are different ways to get to that goal, but that's the goal that we should strive to reach.”

Although some of the comments in the thread expressed frustration at the lack of clarity in the answer, there was no follow up by Sanders.

The entire AMA is online at: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/24zdnn/i_am_senator_bernie_sanders_ivt_ama/

 

3. BIG News from around the world

 

SPAIN: New political party that endorses BIG takes five seats in European Parliament

Podemos, a new Spanish political party that includes unconditional basic income (UBI) as one of its main economic policy objectives, has one five seats in the European Parliament. Organized barely three months before elections for the European, the party seemed to come out of nowhere to a win nearly 8% of the vote (1.2 million votes) and finish in fourth place in the elections held on May 25, 2014.

Podemos (which means “we can”) grew out of the anti-austerity protest movement known as Indignados. It claims to be a party of ordinary citizens who desire a fundamental change in the political process toward greater democracy, freedom, and social protection. The Guardian quoted the Party’s leader, Pablo Iglesias, "It's citizens doing politics. If the citizens don't get involved in politics, others will. And that opens the door to them robbing you of democracy, your rights and your wallet." Party leaders promise to accept a salary of no more than three times the Spanish minimum wage.

The party also supports doing away with tax havens, a maximum salary, the reduction of the working week to 35 hours, more protection for workers against dismissal, and lowering the retirement age to 60. According to Global Voices, “The objective [of Podemos] is to dismantle the austerity measures put in place by the different governments that have been in power. To strengthen and increase citizens’ rights to political participation, education, housing, health and the fight against corruption are the core elements of the party's programme.”

For more on Podemos, see the following articles:

Thomas G. Clarke, “How the rise of Podemos in Spain should be an inspiration for the progressive left in the UK.Another Angry Voice. May 28, 2014

Ashifa Kassam, “Podemos hopes to cement rise of citizen politics in Spain after election success.The Guardian, 27 May 2014

Cristina Flesher Fominaya, “‘Spain is Different’: Podemos and 15-M.OpenDemocracy. 29 May 2014

Elena Arrontes. “The Rise of ‘Podemos’ in Spain, the Citizen's Party.GlobalVoices. Translated by Kitty Garden, 1 June 2014

 

 

INTERNATIONAL: Press React to BIEN Congress in Montreal

[Josh Martin]

The 2014 BIEN International Congress took place in Montreal at McGill University from June 27 to June 29.  Among the hundreds of attendees were academics from a variety of disciplines—economics, social work, development studies, philosophy, and many others—as well as community activists, politicians, and others simply interested in the idea of a basic income for all.  The Congress generated press around the world for a few major reasons: some of the attendees started an international youth activist organization for the basic income, numerous papers were presented on the basic income, and, perhaps most significantly, the Basic Income Canada Network furthered its push for a $20,000 basic income for all Canadians.

Here are some of the news stories run around the world about the Congress:

Benjamin Shingler, “$20,000 per person: Activists push for guaranteed minimum income for CanadiansThe Globe and Mail, 29 June 2014.

The Canadian Press, “Guaranteed $20K income for all Canadians endorsed by academics”, CBC News, 30 June 2014.

Beryl Wajsman, “The fierce urgency for a guaranteed national income”, The Metropolitain, 30 June 2014.

Dan Delmar, “The Exchange Podcast with Dan Delmar,” CJAD 800AM Radio, 2 July 2014. [Discussion of BIG begins about 18 minutes into the broadcast.]

Mélanie Loisel, “Le revenu garanti est la voie de l’avenir, croit Blais”, Le Devoir, 30 June 2014.

Deirdre Fulton, "New Campaign Pushes for 'Basic Income Guarantee' in Canada", Common Dreams, 3 July 2014.

Jacob Kearey-Moreland, “Universal Income Worth a Look”, Orilla Packet, 4 July 2014.

 

INTERNATIONAL: Youth Activist Movement for Basic Income Forms at BIEN Congress

A new group, called Basic Income Generation (BIG), formed at the 2014 BIEN Congress in Montreal. Although the group began as a youth movement, Basic Income Generation is a Basic Income activist collective with open-ended membership (without age, occupational, or locational restriction). Basic Income Generation aims to facilitate the direct support of BIEN to movements and actions in support of unconditional basic income around the world.

Basic Income Generation is the product of a process started in late 2012 by two Korean Basic Income activists, Juon Kim and Kieun Song, who first proposed that a Basic Income Global Youth Network (BIGYN). After a few exchange of emails and a Skype meeting, it was decided that activists would gather up all the young people present at the next BIEN General Assembly to ask them what they thought of the idea and how to move it forward. The group thus organized two informal gatherings in Montreal, which led the group to turn into Basic Income Generation (on a proposal from Stanislas Jourdan), on the Swiss model of 'Generation Basic Income' that was created to support their national citizen initiative, and lead it to succeed.

Part of the reason for the choice of its name, is that Basic Income Generation is not defined by some trait of its membership, but by its objectives: Helping BIEN to be more present and efficient in its support of Basic Income activism worldwide, as well as helping BIEN to develop new communication strategies and material, while facilitating exchanges between Basic Income activist from all over the world.

More information about Basic Income Generation (including information on how to get involved) is on its Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/248926788642187/

 

UNITED KINGDOM: Shadow Secretary of State Responds to Basic Income Query

Rachel Reeves, the Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, reaffirmed the Labour Party’s position on proposals for a basic income this week, in response to a query from a constituent of the Selly Oak MP Steve McCabe. Noting that the Labour Party had discussed the possibility of a basic income in the past, Reeves stated that it had been concluded the measure was riddled with ‘severe difficulties’. The principal concerns expressed by Reeves regarding such reforms are that public support would be lacking, and that it would undermine the obligation to work.

See a copy of Reeves’s letter here: http://imgur.com/byKvB0c

 

CANADA: UBI Supporter Kari Polanyi Levitt Becomes Member of the Order of Canada

Kari Polanyi Levitt, an active colleague of the Basic Income Earth Network, has received the honor of becoming a Member of the Order of Canada. Her citation reads as follows: “For her contributions to the establishment of international development studies as an interdisciplinary academic field, and for her research on political economy in the Caribbean.” Kari Polanyi Levitt is the daughter of famous economic historian, Karl Polanyi.

The full list of new recipients can be viewed here. http://www.gg.ca/document.aspx?id=15694&lan=eng

 

UNITED STATES: Call to Action for Citizens to Write to Congress Supporting a Basic Income

[Josh Martin]

The moderator of the Basic Income page on Reddit, under the username 2noame, has called on all Americans to write to their representatives in Congress encouraging them to consider supporting a universal basic income.  He also includes an available template he constructed that others can use. 

Here is the template:

Dear Senator Last Name, (or Congressman/Congresswoman Last Name)

I am writing to you as one of your constituents about something that is not yet on the map of the political landscape but what I guarantee will become increasingly discussed as current conversations amplify around ongoing inequality, an increasingly strained welfare system, and ongoing automation of human labor through innovations in software and hardware. I'm talking about unconditional basic income.

I don't know how familiar with this idea you are, but it is the idea that every U.S. citizen should receive an unconditional cash grant, given with the same regularity as a paycheck, regardless of any conditions other than citizenship, and set at a level sufficient to cover our most basic needs such as food and housing. Think of it as a Social Security check for every citizen, in the amount of about $1,000 per month per adult and perhaps $333 per child, for nothing other than being a citizen.

If this idea is new to you, I admit it can sound crazy on its face, but once you actually look into it and learn all the evidence of where forms of it exist or have been tried, including our own state of Alaska, it really starts to not only make sense, but becomes the policy option that makes the most sense of all. I understand you keep a busy schedule but please consider reading the following article as a primer to the idea. It'll take about 12 minutes.

Article: https://medium.com/working-life/why-should-we-support-the-idea-of-an-unconditional-basic-income-8a2680c73dd3[3] (leave as is or insert your own favorite link)

I write this letter to urge you to consider looking into basic income as an idea for new legislation. If you are aware of the Oxford study that estimated 47% of all current jobs are at risk of being eliminated by technology in 20 years, and you are also aware of Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century calling for redistributive taxation to prevent capitalism from endangering our democracy, and you are also aware of the inefficiencies and inadequacies of our current safety nets, and you also recognize the need to provide stimulus to our economy to allow consumers to return to consuming and the vital importance of regrowing our middle class, then the idea of unconditional basic income will no doubt make a lot of sense to you. The question will become what is the best way of funding it.

If you get out ahead of the curve on this matter, you will be seen as having real vision, and a real understanding of where we are headed. Bill Gates himself has warned of the inevitability of labor demand being reduced by software and that he thinks people don't "have that in their mental model." Meanwhile Robert Reich when recently asked about basic income directly, replied that he sees it as "almost inevitable." We need to start seriously looking into this as actively debated legislation as support for it will only continue to increase. Of this, I have no doubt. Please consider leading the way in this matter, and begin personally working towards the introduction of legislation for basic income to be voted on in Congress.

Thank you so much for your time, and if you have any questions about basic income, now or at any point in the future, please feel free to contact me.

Sincerely,

Your Name

His full post is available here.

 

CANADA: Author John Ralston Saul endorses BIG

John Ralston Saul, (born June 19, 1947) is a Canadian author and essayist recently endorsed BIG. His comments can in response to a question about the “Guaranteed Annual Income” the name by which the Basic Income Guarantee in most commonly known in Canada. Saul replied in plane and highly supportive language, “In order to save public money, I’m in favor of it, and also to bring a certain level of dignity. It’s clear that the managerial approach is to have multitude of programs, which have to be managed, and which give them power over individuals. Whereas a Guaranteed Annual Income would be very cheap, and would remove that power from them.”

To see a video of Saul’s endorsement, go to: Jack Saturday, “John Ralston Saul's View of Basic Income,” June 11, 2014.

 

CANADA: New Leader for the BIG Push Campaign

The Basic Income Canada Network (BICN) and The BIG Push campaign have announced the following leadership changes. Rob Rainer, the founder of The BIG Push in April 2013 and its volunteer director since that time, has taken on the role of Interim Executive Director of the Green Party of Canada (covering a maternity leave until the end of March). Rob will continue to serve for BICN, volunteering primarily on building the national campaign network and on fundraising. Rob can continue to be reached at rob.causeworth@gmail.com.

Kelly Ernst has accepted the role of Secretary General for BICN and will take over the campaign director role, continue to co-chair the 2014 International BIEN Congress, and take on overall leadership of BICN. Kelly was the Chairperson of BICN for the past two years. He was also Senior Program Director of the Sheldon Chumir Foundation for Ethics in Leadership for five years and President and CEO of the Canadian Outcomes Research Institute for six years. For BICN and BIG Push-related information, Kelly can now be contacted at kernst@biencanada.ca.

Sheila Regehr
is the new Chairperson of BICN, having been a member of the board for two years. Sheila is the previous Executive Director of the National Council of Welfare, a former, longstanding federal advisory body. She has 29 years of extensive policy development experience related to income security. Sheila can now also be reached at
sregehr@biencanada.ca.

See also the BICN website: http://biencanada.ca/
And the BIG Push Campaign website:
http://www.thebigpush.net/

 

 

UNITED KINGDOM: Pirate Party announces qualified support for BIG

The Pirate Party is a movement that has been making gains in European elections. Its main goals involve the freedom of information and the freedom from surveillance, but Pirate Party platforms also usually involve strong support for the freedom of the underprivileged. Most, if not all, Pirate Party’s support BIG. The Pirate Party of the UK has followed suit, but its support has been highly qualified. The Party website gives many arguments in favor of bit, but announces support for it only as a long-term goal and then heavily qualifies that support, “However there are significant hurdles to the implementation of such a system, including the need for comprehensive research into the social and economic impact it would have and whether it can be affordable. We think it is likely that such a programme is possible but would have to be reached incrementally. As such we propose funding trials to establish how such a system could be implemented.”

For more info go to: Pirate Party UK: “Moving toward a Citizen's Income.”

 

4. Events

 

 

INTERNATIONAL: 7th International Basic Income Week, across Europe, September 15-21

This year’s International Basic Income Week is scheduled to run from September 15–21, 2014. Preparations are already under way in Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the Netherlands. The organizers invite all basic income initiatives and activists to spread the efforts within Europe and beyond.

In 2008 basic income initiatives from German speaking countries initiated the first International Week for a Basic Income (
http://www.woche-des-grundeinkommens.eu/) with the aim of creating visibility for this simple and beautiful idea by bundling events and actions during the 38th week of the year.

In 2014 the international website
http://basicincomeweek.org was created. This reflects the Europeanization of the Basic Income Week based on the citizen initiatives in the European Union and Switzerland that led to the creation of the new European alliance called UBIE (Unconditional Basic Income Europe). Building on these recent developments, the 7th International Basic Income Week will have more countries participating than ever before.

The first confirmed events for Austria have already been announced (http://basicincomeweek.org/preliminary-programme-austria/). Groups in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Romania, Slovenia and the UK are thinking about how to get involved.

In the call for participation, UBIE draws attention to the fact that Europe is facing increasingly violent conflicts, both within EU countries and on the EU periphery. According to the organizers, “Considering this explosive context, we want to highlight the current social and democratic significance of Unconditional Basic Income: it can become the basis for ‘Building Social Cohesion in Europe.’ This is the motto of this year’s Basic Income Week.”

Of course the issue of conflicts and the need for social cohesion is not limited to Europe, and so the organizers give the following message:

“We want you to be a part of the 7th International Basic Income Week.
Organize an event.
Coordinate the efforts in your country.
Show the world that you are a part of it on
http://basicincomeweek.org.
Contact us:
7th@basicincomeweek.org.
Let’s make this a truly international effort.”

 

 

MONTREAL: Worldwide Basic Income Congress gets underway at McGill University, June 26-29

The Basic Income Earth Network’s (BIEN’s) 15th International Congress gets underway today, June 26, 2014 with the pre-conference day dedicated to the 13th Annual North American Basic Income Guarantee (NABIG) Congress, a joint meeting of the Basic Income Canada Network and the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network. The NABIG Day is focusing on strategies to activate and implement a basic income policy in Canadian and United States jurisdictions.

The BIEN Congress is the oldest and largest basic income conference in the world. He has taken place every two years since 1986, when it was known as the Basic Income European Network Congress. It expanded to become the Basic Income Earth Network Congress in 2004. This year’s Congress takes place at McGill University in Montreal under the theme of “Re-democratizing the Economy.” The registration has sold out with about 250 attendees. Participants will be discussing all aspects of BIG from the effects in terms of economics, philosophy, and sociology to the effort to build a successful political movement for BIG.

The 15th International Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) Congress will take place on 27-29 June 2014 in Montreal. The Congress brings together academics, activists, policy makers, political representatives, NGOs, and interested members of the general public to discuss and debate how introducing a universal and unconditional basic income relates.

Click here for more information on the BIEN and the NABIG Congresses.

See also the following article from the Montreal Gazette:

Peggy Curran, “Idea of flat income to be hot topic at McGill on Friday,” The Gazette [Montreal, Quebec, Canada], June 26, 2014.

 

MONTREAL: Anna Reid to speak at free public lecture connected the BIEN Congress, June 26, 2014

Dr Anna Reid, past president of the Canadian Medical Association, will talk about health and basic income at BIEN Congress 2014 on June 26. This is a free event, entitled “The Health Case for a Basic Income Guarantee,” sponsored by the Institute for Health and Social Policy. All welcome.

More info at http://biencanada.ca/congress/keynote-speakers - reid.

 

5. BI Literature

 

Albert Wenger, “A Basic Income Experiment I would Like To See (Detroit)”

[Craig Axford]

The author of this blog suggests the City of Detroit should select around 1,000 individuals living within the same area, offer them $400 a month without any strings attached, improve basic services such as internet access, and then see what happens to their community.

Albert Wenger, “A Basic Income Experiment I would Like To See (Detroit)”, Continuations, June 24, 2014

 

Baldur Friggjar Odinsson, "A nation breaks the shackles of a fiat currency"

[Craig Axford]

SUMMARY: Using the Bitcoin protocol as a model, citizens of Iceland are being offered Aurocoin as an alternative to the Krona.  Citing a steady decline in the Krona's value and the collapse of 2008 as the reasoning behind this alternative, each Icelander became entitled to access their share of the new "cryptocurrency" in March of 2014.

Baldur Friggjar Odinsson, A nation breaks the shackles of a fiat currency, Auroracoin, March, 25, 2014

 

Bill Jordan, “Authoritarianism and the precariat.”

ABSTRACT: “This article traces present-day policy debates on precarious employment to the nineteenth century. Liberal and paternalist versions of state authority emerged as responses to early capitalist development, and precariousness was an issue that contributed to the differentiation between them. The author argues that these connections with the bases of state power help explain why radical alternative approaches [such as basic income] find it so hard to get a hearing in mainstream political circles.”

Bill Jordan, “Authoritarianism and the precariat.Global Discourse: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Current Affairs and Applied Contemporary Thought, Volume 3, Issue 3-4, 2013, pages 388-403

 

 

Carl Gibson, “The Case for a Basic Guaranteed Income for All”

Carl Gibson, “The Case for a Basic Guaranteed Income for All”, Huffington Post, 13th May 2014.

 

Christopher Blattman, “Let Them Eat Cash”

[Josh Martin]

In this opinion piece in the New York Times, Associate Professor of Political Science Christopher Blattman of Columbia University discusses the viability of directly giving cash with no conditions to homeless people.  While the subject of handouts to the poor often raises concerns about funding substance abuse, Blattman highlights multiple studies that found no correlation between unconditional cash transfers like the basic income and expenses that would be categorized as wasteful.  To Blattman, unconditional cash transfers must continued to be used.

Christopher Blattman, “Let Them Eat Cash.” The New York Times, 29 June 2014.

 

Clive Menzies, “Viewpoints: What should capitalism do?”

The BBC asked four writer to discuss what we should do to renew the capitalist system. One of them, Clive Menzies, argued that the system has become unequal because of priviledged ownership of natural resources, which should be reversed by a Citizens Dividend (a basic income financed by resource and rent taxes). Clive Menzies is a political economist with a background in business and investment management. He founded the Critical Thinking research project at the Free University and is a member of the Occupy London Economics Working Group

Clive Menzies, “Viewpoints: What should capitalism do?BBC News, 26 May 2014.

 

David Vognar, “The Case for a Guaranteed Minimum Income”

[Josh Martin]

In this post, Vognar jumps into a discussion on government guarantees, claiming that a minimum income guarantee like a universal basic income would be less heavy-handed than a job guarantee or other types of guarantees.  An income floor would provide stability in the lives of those in poverty and would allow low-income workers to break away from unfair labor agreements with their employers.  Vognar cites Martin Luther King Jr. and Charles Murray as ideologically opposed thinkers who both agree on supporting a minimum income; Vognar then goes on to claim that implementing a guaranteed minimum income will unleash a new wave of innovation and creativity in our individual passions that had been stifled by the current nine-to-five labor market structure.

David Vognar, “The Case for a Guaranteed Minimum Income”, Huffington Post, 8 July 2014.

 

Dylan Matthews, “Mexico tired giving poor people cash instead of food. It worked.”

[Craig Axford]

A study looking into Mexico's Programa de Apoyo Alimentario food aid program finds that giving those in need food is more costly and no more effective than simply giving people direct financial aid and allowing them to buy food on their own.  In addition to using the money to buy food as intended, direct assistance reduces the cost of the program by nearly 20% compared to the traditional food distribution system. This finding adds to the growing body of research showing people spend unconditional assistance responsibly, contrary to what many BIG opponents claim.

Dylan Matthews,
"Mexico tried giving poor people cash instead of food.  It worked.", Vox, June 26, 2014

 

Dylan Matthews, “More evidence that giving poor people money is a great cure for poverty”

[Josh Martin]

SUMMARY: This post examines the common objection to the basic income that people will spend the cash on alcohol and cigarettes.  The article discusses a new paper from the World Bank that found that transfers are not consistently used for alcohol or tobacco.

Dylan Matthews, “More evidence that giving poor people money is a great cure for poverty”, Vox, 7 June 2014.

 

E. Jane Costello, Scott N. Compton, Gordon Keeler, and Adrian Angold, “Relationships Between Poverty and Psychopathology: A Natural Experiment.”

This article shows that an Indian Tribe’s introduction of a policy along the lines of a Basic Income Guarantee reduced the incidence of mental illness in children.

E. Jane Costello, Scott N. Compton, Gordon Keeler, and Adrian Angold, “Relationships Between Poverty and Psychopathology: A Natural Experiment.JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association. 2003: Volume 290, No. 15, pages 2023-2029.

 

Elliot Sperber, “Preconditions for an Actually Democratic Society”

[Josh Martin]

In this post, Sperber discusses the issues in democracy in the US and how the US does not fully constitute a democracy.  After a discussion of the issues regarding democracy in the US, Sperber proposes a basic income law as a pathway to a more democratic society.

Elliot Sperber, “Preconditions for an Actually Democratic Society”, Counterpunch, 4 July 2014.

Enno Schmidt, “How a ‘stupid painter from Switzerland’ is revolutionizing work”

Enno Schmidt, “How a ‘stupid painter from Switzerland’ is revolutionizing work”, PBS Newshour, 9th April 2014.

 

Frances Coppola, "Hounding the Poor"

[Josh Martin]

Coppola dissects issues in the tax credits system in the UK, claiming that it fails to reflect the flexibility of the labor market, especially for self-employed individuals.  Coppola then goes on to say that the Universal Credit will not make things any better and that the ideal solution would be a universal basic income.

Frances Coppola, "Hounding the Poor", Pieria, 30 May 2014.

 

Federico Pistono, Robots Will Steal Your Job, But That's OK: How to Survive the Economic Collapse and Be Happy.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: You are about to become obsolete. You think you are special, unique, and that whatever it is that you are doing is impossible to replace. You are wrong. As we speak, millions of algorithms created by computer scientists are frantically running on servers all over the world, with one sole purpose: do whatever humans can do, but better. That is the argument for a phenomenon called technological unemployment, one that is pervading modern society. But is that really the case? Or is it just a futuristic fantasy? What will become of us in the coming years, and what can we do to prevent a catastrophic collapse of society? Robots Will Steal Your Job, But That's OK: How to Survive the Economic Collapse and Be Happy explores the impact of technological advances on our lives, what it means to be happy, and provides suggestions on how to avoid a systemic collapse.

One of the solutions discussed in this book is an unconditional basic income (a federal stipend guarantee).

Federico Pistono, Robots Will Steal Your Job, But That's OK: How to Survive the Economic Collapse and Be Happy, Second Edition. CreateSpace, January 14, 2014.

 

Federico Pistono, “Get ready, robots are going to steal your job.”

SUMMARY: This article argues that robots are replace a significant amount of human labor and concludes that government need to introduce new policies in response. “These can include tax reforms to provide a safety net for those who become unemployed, smaller government, programs to stimulate start-up innovation, sharing and open source and providing citizens with an unconditional basic income (a federal stipend guarantee).”

Federico Pistono, founder and CEO of the online learning start-up Esplori, is a computer scientist, activist and social entrepreneur. He is also the author of the book Robots Will Steal Your Job, But That's OK: How to Survive the Economic Collapse and Be Happy.

Federico Pistono, “Get ready, robots are going to steal your job.CNBC, 9 Jun 2014

 

Gaura Rader, “Imagine a World Without Poverty”

[Josh Martin]

Rader calls upon the reader’s imagination in his introduction, to imagine a world where children are not forced into work, where there is no poverty.  He believes this world is attainable if a basic income is established, and he calls the reader to action in supporting such a policy.

Gaura Rader, “Imagine a World Without Poverty”, The Socratic Diablogs, 6 July 2014.

Other recent articles about BIG by Gaura Rader are:

Gaura Rader, "The Democracy Argument for Basic Income", The Socratic Diablogs, June 25, 2014.

Gaura Rader, "Democracy and Basic Income Part II", The Socratic Diablogs, June 26, 2014

Gaura Rader, “11 Arguments for a Universal Basic Income”, The Socratic Diablogs, 19th June 2014.

 

Guy Standing, “How To Combat Inequalities Produced By Global Capitalism”

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: Rising inequality is one of the most salient issues in global and European politics. Guy Standing writes that what we have witnessed in recent decades is not simply an increase in inequality, but also the emergence of a new globalised class structure. A key component of this structure is what he terms ‘The Precariat’: a new class comprising those who lack economic security and stable occupational identities, which has systematically been deprived of some of the fundamental rights afforded to citizens. He argues that a new ‘Precariat Charter’ is required to combat these insecurities, including provision for a basic income as a right of citizenship.

Guy Standing, “How To Combat Inequalities Produced By Global Capitalism”, Social Europe Journal, 12th May 2014.

 

Guy Standing, “I am Guy Standing, co-president of the Basic Income Earth Network and author of The Precariat, ask me anything”

The Basic Income Community on Reddit has more than 12,000 thousand members. This online community amounts to a continuous discussion in which people post articles, ask questions, make comments, and debate basic income. One of Reddit's tools is the AMA (Ask Me Anything), in which a well-known figure promises to be available to answer questions for a given amount of time. On DATE, Guy Standing became the first major author to host an AMA on the topic of Basic Income. Guy Standing is a Professor of X at Y, the author of more than a dozen books, many on basic income including The Precariat: A New and Dangerous Class.

 

The questions, answers, and follow-up comments from Guy Standing's AMA are online.

 

Guy Standing, “I am Guy Standing, co-president of the Basic Income Earth Network and author of The Precariat, ask me anything”, Reddit, 5th May 2014.

 

James Hansen, “Too Little, Too Late? Oops?”

[Josh Martin]

In this opinion piece, Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences James Hansen of Columbia University discusses climate action in the United States.  In his post he throws his support behind the Citizens Climate Lobby’s (CCL) recent proposal for a carbon fee-and-dividend proposal with 100% of the revenue going towards a dividend equally distributed to each citizen, culminating in a variant of an unconditional basic income.

For more information on the CCL’s proposal, click here.

James Hansen, “Too Little, Too Late? Oops?” Available on James Hansen’s university page, 19 June 2014.

 

Jessica Flanigan, “Is Living on the Dole Bad for You?”

 [Craig Axford]
Jessica Flanigan challenges some fundamental objections to a basic income guarantee found within Brink Lindsey's book Human Capitalism.  Brink Lindsey responds in a second post that followed on June 27, 2014.  Links to both the initial challenge and the follow-up response are provided below.

Jessica Flanigan, "Is Living on the Dole Bad For You?",
Bleeding Heart Libertarians, June 19, 2014
Response: Brink Lindsey, "Why Living on the Dole Is Bad for You",
Bleeding Heart Libertarians, June 27, 2014

 

Jehu “Basic Income: Which class will be writing the legislation?”

SUMMARY: This article is a communist criticism of basic income, concluding, “Basic income will be designed and implemented by the other class — your enemy — to meet its interests, not yours.”

Jehu “Basic Income: Which class will be writing the legislation?The Real Movement: Communism is free time and nothing else, May 19, 2014

 

Jehu, “How the basic income scheme could become the Left’s worst nightmare”

[Josh Martin]

SUMMARY: In this post Jehu discusses the basic income’s effect on real and nominal wages as a product of the combination of Keynesian system and the Speenhamland System.  Jehu then argues that this basic income could be funded by a consumption tax.

Jehu, “How the basic income scheme could become the Left’s worst nightmare”, The Real Movement, 27 April 2014

 

Jeremiah Luttrell, “Fair Tax and Negative Income Tax.”

SUMMARY: This article is a continuation of the Basic Income article from a previous post on Common Progress, this time discussing two specific programs the Negative Income Tax and the Fair Tax. The author endorses Basic Income in name, but actually supports a policy with a work requirement.

Jeremiah Luttrell, “Fair Tax and Negative Income Tax.Common Progress. 27 May 2014

 

Jeremiah Luttrell, “Basic Income in America: Welfare Aid in Direct Cash.”

Jeremiah Luttrell writes the Common Progress blog which is dedicated “to politically balance progressivism with right-libertarianism in the United States.” In this article, he endorses the name “basic income” but not the policy, opting instead for a work-conditional program, writing “Even though by definition the Basic Income is given unconditionally, we believe it’s strategically wise to include a work requirement or professional development requirement so there’s no disincentive to work.”

Jeremiah Luttrell, “Basic Income in America: Welfare Aid in Direct Cash.Common Progress, May 20, 2014.

 

 

John Aziz, “Prepare yourselves for the robot economy revolution.”

SUMMARY: According to this article, “We are at the beginning of a tidal wave of new economic innovation and growth that will change the way we think about the economy forever.” The author concludes, “But on a rising tide of growth, it will be possible to redistribute wealth from richer to poorer, if the political will to do so exists. In fact, high levels of job displacement will probably make it necessary to do so, perhaps through the implementation of a universal income program, where the government taxes the owners of the robots, and pays each citizen a guaranteed basic income.” John Aziz is the economics and business correspondent at TheWeek.com. He is also an associate editor at Pieria.co.uk, and his work has appeared on Business Insider, Zero Hedge, and Noahpinion.

John Aziz, “Prepare yourselves for the robot economy revolution.TheWeek.com, June 2, 2014.

 

 

John Aziz, “Could a robot do my job? Probably, but I'm still optimistic.”

SUMMARY: This article discusses technological unemployment and concludes optimistically, “If the economy is disemboweled by a lack of consumer spending, corporations fat off the self-perpetuating riches of automation and plentiful, cheap energy will likely be all too happy to support generous redistributive programs to support the spending of the hordes of out-of-work people, like a universal basic income.”

The author, John Aziz, is the economics and business correspondent at TheWeek.com. He is also an associate editor at Pieria.co.uk. Previously his work has appeared on Business Insider, Zero Hedge, and Noahpinion.

John Aziz, “Could a robot do my job? Probably, but I'm still optimistic.TheWeek, May 20, 2014.

 

John Harris, “A Precariat Charter: From Denizens to Citizens – review”

EXCERPT: ‘By way of addressing security beyond the workplace, [Standing’s] most compelling suggestion is a basic citizen's income, payable to all, which would increase the bargaining power of people at the low end, and by cutting across the orthodox benefit systems' serial poverty traps, actually increase the incentive to work. This idea has been circulating for at least 40 years, and may take just as long to arrive in mainstream debate. But if it seems outlandish by contemporary standards, that actually only heightens its appeal: the same, after all, was once said of the most basic aspects of the welfare state; and even the weekend.’

John Harris, A Precariat Charter: From Denizens to Citizens – review”, The Guardian, 9th April 2014.

 

Jon Evans, “Welcome to Extremistan! Please Check Your Career At The Door.”

[Craig Axford]

Technology is increasingly replacing more jobs than it is creating.  This trend favors extreme jobs that a few superstars get paid extremely well to do, leaving everyone else either unemployed or underemployed. Jon Evans concludes that a basic income guarantee is the only kind of strong social safety net that can catch everyone and enable people to do the kind of fulfilling things they want to at the same time.

Jon Evans, “Welcome to Extremistan! Please Check Your Career At The Door”, Tech Crunch, June 21, 2014

 

Jon Evans, “After Technology Destroys Capitalism.”

This article discusses the current movement of basic income in context of technology replacing employment.

Jon Evans, “After Technology Destroys Capitalism.TechCrunch, May 3, 2014.

 

Katarzyna Gajewska, “Technological Unemployment but Still a Lot of Work: Towards Prosumerist Services of General Interest”

Abstract: “This article explores the impact of both technological unemployment and a basic income on the provision of services of general interest. A basic income may promote the restructuring of production into postcapitalist forms and projects involving peer production. This change, as well as technological unemployment, will result in lower state and market capacities to provide services. Instead, people will create various forms of self-organization to meet their needs. The paper presents examples of such models. Some ideas about the new forms of inequalities in this system will be presented to inspire a further study of this scenario.”

Katarzyna Gajewska, “Technological Unemployment but Still a Lot of Work: Towards Prosumerist Services of General Interest”, Journal of Evolution and Technology, 24(1), February 2014, 104-112.

 

Benjamin Shingler, “Are Canadians worth $20K a year, guaranteed?”

[Craig Axford]

The Basic Income Earth Network's 15th annual conference in Montreal raises the profile of the basic income guarantee in Canada.  A CTV News reports on discussions at the BIEN conference points out that press coverage for BIG has been steadily increasing across North America recently. In addition, there has been recent positive movement on the issue within two of Canada's opposition parties.

Benjamin Shingler, "Are Canadians worth $20k a year, guaranteed?", CTV News, June 29, 2014

 

Kyle McCarthy, “The ‘Basic Income’ Trap”

[Josh Martin]

SUMMARY: In this post McCarthy analyzes the choice of the After Party to support a basic income, claiming that the basic income movement is, "at best a waste of time, and at worst a trap that will feed our rights to Wall Street."  He attacks Charles Murray's basic income proposal and urges his readers to see through this novel economic theorem.

Kyle McCarthy, "The 'Basic Income' Trap", Against Austerity, 2 June 2014.

 

Matthew Johnson (editor), “Special Issue: The Precariat.”

SUMMARY: Guy Standing’s book, The Precariat: A New and Dangerous Class, addresses labor market insecurity and argues for basic income as a solution. The journal, Global Discourse, devotes an entire issue to the Precariat. According Matthew Johnson, who was the guest editor of the special issue, “This issue of Global Discourse seeks to explore the nature, shape and context of precariat, evaluating the internal consistency and application of the concept, particularly with regard to: changes in the sociology of class; democracy, participation and representation; the relationship between precariat and multitude; the means by which precariat might become a ‘class-for-itself’; place, migration and globalization; poverty and precarity; the subjective experience of precarity, and forms of resistance. The articles published reflect the extent, both with regard to paradigmatic engagement and site of study, to which the concept has permeated the consciousness of academics and those subject to precariousness (indeed, the former appear increasingly to be included in the latter).”

Matthew Johnson (editor), “Special Issue: The Precariat.” Global Discourse: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Current Affairs and Applied Contemporary Thought, Volume 3, Issue 3-4, 2013

 

Mike Ludwig, “Report: A Carbon Tax That Would Create Jobs, Cut Emissions and Put Money in Your Pocket.”

SUMMARY: “Giving taxpayers $250 per month, reducing carbon emissions and boosting the economy. This is what the future could hold if the United States imposed a revenue-neutral carbon tax on fossil fuel production.”

Mike Ludwig, “Report: A Carbon Tax That Would Create Jobs, Cut Emissions and Put Money in Your Pocket.” Truthout, 12 June 2014.

 

Peggy Curran, “Idea of flat income to be hot topic at McGill on Friday.”

SUMMARY: According to this article, “On Friday, more than 100 academics, economists and activists for social change from around the world will gather at McGill University’s Law Faculty for the 15th International Congress of the Basic Income Earth Network. Over three days of talks and workshops, they will weigh the pros and cons of replacing existing programs with a flat income that would not be contingent on a means test or a work requirement.” The article discusses the conference in context of recent developments on basic income in Canada.

Peggy Curran, “Idea of flat income to be hot topic at McGill on Friday.” The Gazette [Montreal, Quebec, Canada], June 26, 2014.

 

Peter Moore, “Poll Results: Guaranteed Jobs and Income”

[Josh Martin]

YouGov and the Huffington Post conducted a survey of 1000 US adults in early January of this year.  Here is the question they asked about a basic income:

Would you favor or oppose expanding Social Security to every American, regardless of age, to guarantee a basic income to every American?

Strongly favor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18%

Somewhat favor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17%

Somewhat oppose . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16%

Strongly oppose . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38%

Not sure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11%

Peter Moore, “Poll Results: Guaranteed Jobs and Income”, YouGov, 9 January 2014.

 

Philip Pilkington, “Money for nothing”

[Josh Martin]

SUMMARY: Pilkington’s article covers many of his objections to the basic income guarantee (BIG).  While he appreciates the buzz the BIG is generating right now, he sees many potential issues including labor shortages and immigration policy dilemmas.  Instead, he recommends a Jobs Guarantee program as a replacement for the BIG.

Philip Pilkington, “Money for nothing”, Al Jazeera, 6 June 2014.

 

Philippe Van Parijs, “The Eurodividend: Why the EU should introduce a basic income for all”

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: ‘Philippe Van Parijs argues for a basic income for all legal residents of the European Union to be financed by Value Added Tax. Unlike the US, the EU lacks automatic inter-state transfers and migration between states is much less common. A universal basic income would serve as a buffering mechanism and enable a stronger recovery from economic downturns. It would also help the Union overcome the pressures of competitiveness, while the EU may also be seen as more legitimate and less of a heartless bureaucracy in the eyes of its residents.’

Philippe Van Parijs, “The Eurodividend: Why the EU should introduce a basic income for all”, LSE EUROPP Blog, 24th July 2013

 

The Pieces Fit, “Debunking the Top 5 Myths About the Universal Basic Income”

SUMMARY: The article addresses the following common arguments against UBI:
1) Isn't that Communism?
2) You can't make up new rights!
3) If people get a basic income nobody would want to work anymore!
4) Employment is a voluntary exchange between consenting parties
5) Basic Income sounds great, but we can't afford it.

The Pieces Fit, “Debunking the Top 5 Myths About the Universal Basic Income”, The Pieces Fit, 12th June 2014.

 

Reihan Salam, “Unconditional basic income? You're kidding: Slate opinion”

SUMMARY: The author argues, “I think that no-strings-attached money is a dangerously bad idea and that it would do far more to undermine poverty-fighting efforts than it would to strengthen them. I also think that meddlesome caseworkers are the unsung heroes of the fight against poverty. … New York City is on the cusp of a grand experiment to increase the flow of no-strings-attached money to its poor citizens. This will end badly. … There is far more to say about how we can fix America's social welfare programs. But before we can expand them or shrink them or modernize them, we must first ensure that they rest on a solid moral foundation. And that, ultimately, is what work requirements are all about.”

Reihan Salam, writes for Slate and the National Review. He is the co-author, with Ross Douthat, of Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream.

Reihan Salam, “Unconditional basic income? You're kidding: Slate opinion,” The Oregonian, June 5, 2014.

 

Richa, "A Basic Income Guarantee as Reparations for Group Injustice"

SUMMARY: This paper looks at the issue of reparations for group injustice, mainly in the USA, and suggests a basic income guarantee as a possible means of addressing that issue. The need for and legitimacy of such reparations are first established. The author details some personal experience with the issue, which includes encountering frequent resistance to the idea. A basic income guarantee as a means of getting past much of that resistance is then discussed. That is followed by a brief discussion of benefits and limitations. The paper concludes that implementation of a basic income guarantee is the single best way to right the injustices suffered by people due to their inclusion in certain cultural/ethnic groups.

Richa, "A Basic Income Guarantee as Reparations for Group Injustice", USBIG, December 2009.

 

Sandra Kilhof, “Why unconditional basic income is no more than a socialist fairytale.”

SUMMARY: The author argues, unconditional basic income is being heralded as the solution to all of Europe’s financial problems, but the salary for everyone is not all it’s cracked up to be, because UBI fails most financial feasibility tests. She concludes, “An unconditional basic income discourages career progression and innovation, could potentially have detrimental economic effects and relies on a non-binding social contract. This leaves many questions unanswered on the possible effects of UBI, suggesting a basic income is not so much a solution to all our problems, but a utopian nightmare we’d do best to wake up from soon.”

Sandra Kilhof, “Why unconditional basic income is no more than a socialist fairytale.The New Economy, June 11th, 2014.

 

Scott Santens, "Why Should We Support the Idea of an Unconditional Basic Income? - An answer to a growing question of the 21st century"

SUMMARY: This article argues, “Capitalism can be improved, and basic income is how it can be accomplished.” It has received over 40,000 views so far on the publisher’s website, Medium. It has been tweeted by Medium on Twitter to their 600,000 followers. And it has received more retweets than any other tweets of theirs this month.

Scott Santens, “Why Should We Support the Idea of an Unconditional Basic Income? - An answer to a growing question of the 21st century”, Medium, 2nd June 2014

 

Scott Santens, "A Brief History of Basic Income Ideas"

[Josh Martin]

Santens provides a thorough timeline of basic income ideas dating from 1776 to now, including details on major thinkers and publications related to the basic income.

Scott Santens, "A Brief History of Basic Income Ideas", 2noame on Tumblr, 1 May 2014.

 

Shane Greenup, “Surviving as an entrepreneur.”

SUMMARY: This article address the question of how difficult it is for most people to pursue entrepreneurial activities. It concludes by arguing for a Universal Basic Income, “If everyone had access to a guaranteed income which would be sufficient to ensure food and rent, then you would empower innumerable people to take the risks necessary to chase their startup dreams, and push forward on them relentlessly until they succeeded, or at least exhausted their own confidence. You would empower the exploration of ideas which may seem crazy, but also might just change the world. … No human has ever made it all on their own. We are a social species, and we depend on each other for everything. Let’s accept that fact and empower as many people as possible, and make the world a better place for everyone.”

Shane Greenup, “Surviving as an entrepreneur.Shane’s Soapbox, Jun 11, 2014

 

Stanislas Jourdan, “A Way to Get Healthy: Basic Income Experiments in Canada”

Stanislas Jourdan, “A Way to Get Healthy: Basic Income Experiments in Canada”, Basic Income UK: Towards an emancipatory welfare, 7th August 2013.

 

Zacqary Adam Xeper, “You Can Only Be Against Basic Income Based On Morals, Not Evidence.”

SUMMARY: The author draws on evidence from pilot projects and other sources to argue, “There are all sorts of arguments against an unconditional, universal basic income — that is, the idea of giving everyone a minimum income regardless of whether they work, whether they’re disabled, or whether they’re poor. The problem with these arguments is that the only one that actually stands up to reality is, ‘I don’t like it.’”

Zacqary is an activist in the New York Pirate Party, where his official title is "Cat Herder." He is an open source game developer, and the Chief Executive Plankhead of Plankhead, a free culture arts collective. Despite believing that money is a superfluous social construct, he has a Gittip profile.

Zacqary Adam Xeper, “You Can Only Be Against Basic Income Based On Morals, Not Evidence.” Falkvinge & Co. on Infopolicy, July 11, 2014.

 

6. Audio-video

 

AUDIO: Joe Humphres, “How equal should we strive to become? (Interview with John Bakery”

In this interview political philosopher John Baker reacts to French economist Thomas Piketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, which has fuelled fierce debate about inequality. Baker makes the case for ‘equality of condition’ and a basic income. The interview is available both in text and in audio.

Joe Humphres, “How equal should we strive to become? (Interview with John Baker).” The Irish Times, Fri, May 16, 2014.

 

AUDIO: Pharao and Yara, “Het Goeie Leven‏ (The Good Life)”

David Jenkins, Het Goeie Leven‏ (The Good Life)”, Basic Income UK: Towards an emancipatory welfare, 7th May 2014.

 

SLIDESHOW: Basic Income Masterclass

According to Eoin Rooney of the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA), NICVA's first “Masterclass” of 2014 examined the idea of a Basic Income. This would replace the current system of social security with a standard, regular payment for all citizens - as of right. Two slideshows from the Masterclass are online. In the first, Micheál Collins, Senior Research Officer with the Nevin Economic Research Institute, discussed the practicalities of a Basic Income, including what level it could be set at and how it could be funded. In the second, Maureen O'Reilly, an economic consultant, explored the potential wider implications of a Basic Income on the labour market and public finances.

Micheál Collins, “Practicalities of a Basic Income: Levels, Costs, Funding, & Some questions,” NICVA: 16 May 2014.

Maureen O'Reilly, “Implications of a Basic Income: Cutting out the Middleman” NICVA: 16 May 2014.

 

SLIDESHOW: kaneix, "Low Maintenance Lifestyles"

[Josh Martin]

In this slide show the blogger kaneix discusses low maintenance lifestyles and the necessity for a citizen's entitlement grant, also known as a basic income grant.

kaneix, "Low Maintenance Lifestyles", emaze.

 

SLIDESHOW: kaneix, "An Unconditional, Universal Basic Income"

[Josh Martin]

This slide show by the blogger kaneix covers the arguments for a universal basic income.

kaneix, "An Unconditional, Universal Basic Income", emaze.

 

VIDEO: The Basic Income Works!

[Craig Axford]

Juhi Bhatt, “Basic Income Works!”, Youtube, June 22, 2014


VIDEO: David Selig and Thom Hartmann debate Basic Income on the RT Network’s show “The Big Picture RT .

Thom Hartmann, “The Big Picture: Basic Income...Hartmann vs. Selig.” The RT Network, June 10, 2014.

 

VIDEO: “Unconditional basic income: Green Party’s Natalie Bennett debates its merits with David Orrell.”

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: “All around Europe, people are fighting for unconditional basic income: a system which many believe will instill equilibrium where there is financial inequality. World Finance invites Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett and writer and mathematician David Orrell to discuss whether unconditional basic income will live up to the revolutionaries’ expectations.”

VIDEO: “Unconditional basic income: Green Party’s Natalie Bennett debates its merits with David Orrell.World Finance, May 19th, 2014

 

AUDIO: Jian Ghomeshi, “Giving money directly to poor mothers: lessons from Brazil.”

Ten years ago, Brazil introduced a radical plan to fight poverty -- give cash, every month, directly to mothers. It was self-consciously introduced as a first step toward phasing in an unconditional basic income. In audio segment, Jian Ghomeshi “speaks with Olga Khazan, associate editor for The Atlantic, about the program's successes and shortcomings, and what it has meant in a country with a checkered history with women's issues.”

Jian Ghomeshi, “Giving money directly to poor mothers: lessons from Brazil.Q Blog: CBC Radio, June 10, 2014.

 

VIDEO: Citizen’s Income Trust Conference 2014: Livestream

The Ctitizen’s Income Trusts 2014 Conference, “Citizen's Income: a solid foundation for tomorrow's society,” held on Friday 6th June 2014 at the British Library, has been captured on video and posted on the Occupy London website. A report will be will follow later.

The main speakers included: Natalie Bennett (Leader of the Green Party), Dr. Tony Fitzpatrick (Nottingham University), John McDonnell MP, and Professor Guy Standing (SOAS); the panel members: Neal Lawson (Compass), Bert Schouwenberg (GMB), Kat Wall (New Economics Foundation), Natalie Bennett (Green Party), and Chris Goulden (Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Eight videos from the conference are available at:

Citizens Income Trust, “Citizen’s Income Trust Conference 2014: Livestream,” Occupy London. recorded June 6, 2013, posted June 8, 2014

 

VIDEO: World Finance, “Unconditional basic income roundup.”

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: Here we round up World Finance’s pursuit of today’s ascendant economic star: unconditional basic income. We take a look at just what unconditional basic income might mean for economies on both a micro and macro level.

World Finance, “Unconditional basic income roundup. World Finance, .

 

VIDEO: Recivitas, a Basic Income Experiment Project in Brazil

Zoom hicham, "Recivitas, a Basic Income Experiment Project in Brazil", YouTube, 25 April 2014.

VIDEO: Guy Standing, Liam Halligan and Frances Coppola, “‘Wrong-headed economics’: for and against unconditional basic income”

Guy Standing, Liam Halligan and Frances Coppola, ‘Wrong-headed economics’: for and against unconditional basic income”, World Finance, 14th May 2014.

 

7. New Links

 

LINKS: At least 32 established Facebook pages on Basic Income:

There are now at least 32 established Facebook pages on Basic income. They are listed below with international pages first, continent-wide pages second, and national or regional pages three (group in alphabetical order):

1.     International: https://www.facebook.com/Basic.Income.Earth.Network

2.     International: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Basic-Income-News/146808728715113

3.     International: https://www.facebook.com/basic.income

4.     Europe: https://www.facebook.com/ECI.BasicIncome

5.     Germany/Switzerland: https://www.facebook.com/bedingungsloses.grundeinkommen

6.     Belgium: https://facebook.com/BelgianNetworkForBasicIncome

7.     Bulgaria: https://www.facebook.com/EGIBBD

8.     Croatia: https://www.facebook.com/temeljnidohodakhrvatska

9.     Czech Republic: https://www.facebook.com/EOI.ZakladniPrijem

10.  Denmark: https://www.facebook.com/UbetingetBasisindkomst

11.  Estonia: https://www.facebook.com/KodanikupalkEuroopasse

12.  Finland: https://facebook.com/perustulo

13.  France: https://facebook.com/RevenudeBase

14.  Germany: https://www.facebook.com/NetzwerkGrundeinkommen

15.  Greece: https://www.facebook.com/basicincomegr

16.  Hungary: https://www.facebook.com/FNA.hu

17.  Ireland: https://www.facebook.com/BasicIncomeIreland

18.  Italia: https://www.facebook.com/RedditoBaseIncondizionato

19.  Latvia: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eiropas-iniciat%C4%ABva-par-pamatien%C4%81kumiem/1438566166359282

20.  Lithuania: https://www.facebook.com/BasicIncomeLithuania

21.  Luxembourg: https://www.facebook.com/Grondakommes

22.  Netherlands: https://facebook.com/pages/Vereniging-Basisinkomen/165488696805185

23.  Norway: https://facebook.com/BorgerlonnBienNorge

24.  Poland: https://www.facebook.com/bezwarunkowydochodpodstawowy

25.  Portugal: https://www.facebook.com/RendimentoBasicoPortugal

26.  Romania: https://www.facebook.com/UBI.Romania

27.  Slovenia: https://facebook.com/pages/Univerzalni-temeljni-dohodek/493981737287209

28.  Spain: https://www.facebook.com/RentaBasicaUniversal

29.  Sweden: https://facebook.com/BasinkomstMedborgarlon

30.  Switzerland (FR): https://facebook.com/Pour.1Revenu.inconditionnel.de.base

31.  United Kingdom: https://facebook.com/BasicIncomeUK

32.  United States of America: https://www.facebook.com/pages/US-Basic-Income-Guarantee-Network/206792926015200

 

LINK: Universal Basic Income as the Foundation of Freedom

 

[Craig Axford]

 

P.A.P Blog, “Universal Basic Income as the Foundation of Freedom”, June 24, 2014

 

LINK: Netokratia discussion of Basic Income

The website, “Netokratia - a brand new political platform” is attempting to create a community of knowledgeable people who like discussing politics. It provides a platform with the tools to create voting and discussion threads, add new records to the database, and so on. We also encourage people to post more ambitious content. Their page on basic income is entitled, “Do you support the implementation of a Basic Income?”

It’s online at: http://netokratia.com/discuss/179953/Do_you_support_the_implementation_of_a_Basic_Income

 

LINK: Global Resource Bank

This website advocates creating a Global Resource Bank (GRB), which would own all of the Earth’s resources. Everyone would own one share in the back and would receive a credit (essentially an unconditional basic income) from the bank’s income. The creators of the website ask readers to consider the GRB as a solution to poverty and pollution.

The Global Resource Bank is online at: http://www.grb.net/.

 

8. More news, links and other info

For up-to-the-day news on BIG, see Basic Income News at www.BInews.org. 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 NewsFlash
Editor: Karl Widerquist
Thanks to everyone who helped this issue.

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 NewsFlash, 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 NewsFlash and the USBIG website are gladly welcomed.

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