Events; News & Events

BROOKLYN, NY & ONLINE: Public Meeting Tonight: “Are we ready to start a political movement for BIG in the United States?” March 1, 2015

Tonight at 6pm a group of citizens are gathering in Brooklyn to discuss whether the United States is ready to start a political movement for basic income. Discussion and interest in Basic Income—an unconditional cash income for all citizens without means test or work requirement—has taking off around the world. Other countries have increasingly active political movements for basic income. It’s time to discuss whether the Untied States is ready to start a similar movement.

The Commons Brooklyn

Everyone is welcome to attend this meeting and take part in this discussion. All points of view are encouraged. It will be an open discussion with no pre-set agenda and no list of speakers. We’ll be using an open format that gives everyone opportunities to participate actively, equally.

Anyone who can’t be there in person is invited to participate online. A live video stream will be broadcast by the Basic Income Project. Text of the discussion will be posted on Reddit and Twitter. Online comments on Reddit and Twitter will be monitored and read aloud to the meeting, so that people can participate in the meeting even if they can’t be present.

Let’s get together; talk it over; and see what happens.

We’ll have pizza and drinks. We’ll take up a collection to pay for them, but they’ll be distributed unconditionally—even to those unwilling or unable to contribute to the costs.

Time & date: 6:00pm, Sunday March 1, 2015
Location: The Commons Brooklyn, 388 Atlantic Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11217 (easy to get to by subway from the rest of New York City)
By email: Karl Widerquist <>
By phone: Michael Lewis, USBIG Committee, +1(646) 270-0911
Directions: from Google Maps
Video: the Basic Income Project.
Interactive text: Reddit and Twitter.

BIG Congress

BIG Congress


About Karl Widerquist

Karl Widerquist has written 950 articles.

Karl Widerquist is an Associate Professor of political philosophy at SFS-Qatar, Georgetown University, specializing in distributive justice—the ethics of who has what. Much of his work involves Universal Basic Income (UBI). He is a co-founder of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network (USBIG). He served as co-chair of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) for 7 years, and now serves as vice-chair. He was the Editor of the USBIG NewsFlash for 15 years and of the BIEN NewsFlash for 4 years. He is a cofounder of BIEN’s news website, Basic Income News, the main source of just-the-facts reporting on UBI worldwide. He is a cofounder and editor of the journal Basic Income Studies, the only academic journal devoted to research on UBI. Widerquist has published several books and many articles on UBI both in academic journals and in the popular media. He has appeared on or been quoted by many major media outlets, such as NPR’s On Point, NPR’s Marketplace, PRI’s the World, CNBC, Al-Jazeera, 538, Vice, Dissent, the New York Times, Forbes, the Financial Times, and the Atlantic Monthly, which called him “a leader of the worldwide basic income movement.” Widerquist holds two doctorates—one in Political Theory form Oxford University (2006) and one in Economics from the City University of New York (1996). He has published seven books, including Prehistoric Myths in Modern Political Philosophy (Edinburgh University Press 2017, coauthored by Grant S. McCall) and Independence, Propertylessness, and Basic Income: A Theory of Freedom as the Power to Say No (Palgrave Macmillan 2013). He has published more than a twenty scholarly articles and book chapters. Most Karl Widerquist’s writing is available on his “Selected Works” website ( More information about him is available on his BIEN profile and on Wikipedia. He writes the blog "the Indepentarian" for Basic Income News.

The views expressed in this Op-Ed piece are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of Basic Income News or BIEN. BIEN and Basic Income News do not endorse any particular policy, but Basic Income News welcomes discussion from all points of view in its Op-Ed section.

One comment

  • I know that a job guarantee is not viewed favorably by BI advocates whose support for a BIG is grounded mainly on its libertarian potential, but BIEN members whose interest in an income guarantee is based on its attractiveness as a remedy for the problems of poverty and unemployment may be curious about the relative cost of the two strategies.

    Rep. John Conyers has introduced legislation in Congress (HR 1000) that is designed to secure the right to work recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Drafted with my assistance, the bill would guarantee jobs paying public sector wages to all job seekers. The commitment would be fully funded with a financial transactions tax of 20 basis points on stock transactions and 6 basis points on bond transactions. (That’s 20/100ths of one percent and 6/100ths of one percent respectively.) Moreover, this does not take into account ANY of the the additional tax revenue or savings the job guarantee program would generate. It’s entirely possible that with a full accounting of these additional revenues and savings, the HR 1000 job guarantee would end up saving tax payers money.

    As I argued in my first paper addressing the BI idea back in 2005 , the low cost of a job guarantee means that BI advocates don’t have to choose between the two strategies. They can support a job guarantee in addition to a BI guarantee without adding significantly to the cost of the latter.

    The current version of HR 1000 was filed in Congress a couple of weeks ago but is not yet available for downloading because we’re waiting for the GPO to publish an official copy. Anyone who is interested in more information about it can contact me at

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