Denver (US), 15-21 August 2012: Unconditional basic income for American sociologists
Drawing thousands of participants, the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association took place in Denver (Colorado) on 15-21 August 2012. At the initiative of its current President, Erik Olin Wright (University of Wisconsin Madison), the theme chosen for this years’s plenary sessions and for a sequence of thematic sessions was “Real Utopias”. The idea of a universal basic income was given a prominent place. Philippe Van Parijs (Louvain and Oxford) gave the opening plenary lecture on the importance of utopian thinking and the ways in which sociologists could contribute to intelligent utopian thinking on basic income. Erik Olin Wright’s massively attended presidental address emphasized the special importance of basic income in supporting the sustainability of other real utopias. And the idea of basic income kept coming up at other sessions, for example in Claus Offe’s (Berlin) intervention on “What does it mean to be a progressive in the 21st century?”, or in Yochai Benkler’s (Harvard) session on “Practical anarcism in networked societies”.