BASIC INCOME EARTH NETWORK
NewsFlash Volume 27, no. 73, Mar.-Apr. 2013
This is the newsletter of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN), which was founded in 1986 as the Basic Income European Network and expanded to become an Earth-wide Network in 2004. It serves as a link between individuals and groups committed to or interested in basic income. It fosters informed discussion on this topic throughout the world.
This NewsFlash, below, can also be downloaded as a PDF document on our website www.basicincome.org.
This NewsFlash goes out to more than 2,000 subscribers four times a year. If you would like to be added or removed from the subscription list, please go to: http://www.basicincome.org/bien/subscribe.php.
For up-to-date information about basic income, see:
1. Editorial: The Goals of BI News
8. New links
Basic Income is suddenly the subject of much more discussion around the world. Political movements are growing. The media, social networks, and blogs have suddenly devoted more attention to basic income. Basic Income News (BI News) suddenly has much more news to report. The website is running two-to-five stories a day, and its accompanying NewsFlashes have more news than they can fit. This is a good time to talk about the goals of BI News and the accompanying NewsFlashes.
BI News has three main goals: Most importantly, it keeps readers informed about all the news directly relevant to the Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) around the word. Secondly, it keeps readers informed about events organized about BIG and publications written about BIG. Thirdly, it includes features providing a mouthpiece for members of BIEN and its affiliates to write blogs, opinion pieces, and book reviews about BIG.
The first goal of BI News is important because activists, researchers, and anyone interested in BIG need a place where they can find out what is happening around the world that is relevant to BIG. No one other website is doing it, and no others are likely to start. You can’t just search Google News for “basic income” and expect to find all the news about BIG. There are more than a dozen, perhaps dozens, of terms for BIG in English alone. There are policies and programs that are forms of BIG or that share some of the characteristics of BIG but that are not discussed in terms of BIG: the Alaska Dividend, some cash transfers, the Earned Income Tax Credit, dividends from casino revenue on U.S. Indian Reservations, the Bolsa Familia in Brazil, GiveDirectly in Uganda, and many, many more. There are also policies that are described in the words “basic income” or words very similar to terms for BIG but aren’t BIG or aren’t very closely related to it. The news section of BI News shows readers what proposals, policies, and social activism around the world related to BIG and explains that connection.
This effort requires consistent monitoring of mainstream news, social media, blogs, and other sources of information. It involves original reporting to make the necessary connections to BIG as well as meta-reporting—reporting about reporting. Articles in this section of BI News are written from a neutral perspective, because the goal of this section is not to persuade but to inform. There are many arguments going around about BIG, but only one news source dedicated to informing people about BIG. This service is valuable to activists, researchers, and anyone interested in BIG.
This section reports only on issues directly relating to BIG. It doesn’t report on other social policies or on the economic and social conditions that create a need for BIG unless there is some direct connection to BIG in the news on these issues. The reason is that news indirectly relating to BIG outnumbers the news about BIG by orders of magnitude. If BI News reported on all these other things, its focus on BIG would be lost.
Stories from the news section of BI News can be found at this link: http://binews.org/category/latest-news/.
The second goal of BI News is to keep people informed about events being held and literature being written about BIG around the world. The goal of publicizing events is obvious. It helps our members, our affiliates, other networks, and hosting institutions to publicize events related to BIG. The goal of keeping up with the literature is important because of the dispersion and the diversity of the BIG literature today. So many different terms for BIG are used that there simply is no easy way to find it on a search. As far as we know, no other group is keeping a comprehensive bibliography of the literature on BIG as BI News attempts to do.
BI News posts summaries of the more important publications and attempts to post at least the publication information and a link to all publications, even the less important ones. We do this because, even if one individual publication is not terribly importantly by itself, the dialogue as a whole is important. If you want to know what is being said about BIG at a given time or what has been said over a given period, BI News has collected and organized that information. We’re doing a fairly good job of that for English-language publications right now, and hopefully, as we expand we will do it for more and more languages.
Articles in these sections are also written from a neutral perspective, because as with the goal of reporting the news, the goal of reporting on events and publications is also to inform, not to persuade. The literature and events in this section also must directly relate to BIG, again because reporting on wider literature would sacrifice our focus on BIG.
The BI literature posts on BI News are here: http://binews.org/category/bi-literature/.
Events posts are here: http://binews.org/category/events/. Links are here: http://binews.org/category/links/.
Persuasion is the third goal of BI News. The features section, which includes blogs, opinion pieces, book reviews, and occasional podcasts and interviews, performs this function. This section provides an outlet for BIEN members to write their opinions about BIG, sometimes directed at other supporters, sometimes directed at a wider audience. Arguing for the cause of BIG has obvious value, but there are several reasons why this goal ranks third. The readership of BI News is overwhelmingly made up of people who already support BIG. They’re already convinced; their primary need is for information. Another reason this is a lesser important goal is that there are many places around the world where people can publish features having to do with BIG, but only BI News is pursuing the first two goals. However, making the case for BIG is valuable. BI News provides a place for BIEN members and supporters to become a part of that dialogue. Right now we’re running an average of about one feature per week, but we are hoping to increase that substantially, perhaps eventually to one feature per day.
A list of the latest features can be found on the homepage of BI News: http://binews.org/. Blogs can be found by going to the Features dropdown list and selecting blogs.
To keep up with these goals, BI News maintains a website, updated at least once a day, and a regular newsletter, collecting the recent stories from the website. As we expand our volunteer base, we will expand what we do.
-Karl Widerquist, Doha, Qatar, March 2014
The discussion of BIG is growing and BI News is fighting hard to keep up. We need volunteers to help us keep pace. Primarily we need people with one of two skills. We need writers to help us report the news and we need people with website-design skills to help us improve how we present it. Among our writers, we need people with language skills. The languages we need most are English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, and Italian, but if news is happening in any language, we need writers to report on it. If you would like to help spread the word about BIG, please contact the editor of BI News, Karl Widerquist <Karl@widerquist.com>.
[Rob Rainer, BICN]
At the Liberal Party of Canada's biennial convention February 20-23, 2014, held in Montreal, party members voted in favour of two policy resolutions in support of basic income. Resolution #100 was passed as one of 18 "priority" resolutions: see Creating a Basic Annual Income to be Designed and Implemented for a Fair Economy. Resolution #97 was passed as one of 14 resolutions stemming from convention workshops: see . The passed at the convention (out of more than 160 brought to the floor) are not binding upon the Party's leadership. However, there is a requirement for the leadership to respond to them. At the least, it is apparent that within the Liberal Party of Canada, as also within the , there is explicit openness to and support for basic income. We are aware, too, of degrees of support for basic income within the Conservative and New Democratic parties. This demonstrates once again basic income's appeal across the political spectrum.
Representatives from 20 organizations across 10 southern
African countries have initiated a campaign for a Basic Income Grant (BIG)
across the entire Southern African Development Community (SADC). The campaign
got officially under way at a two-day “Campaign Strategy Workshop” in
Johannesburg on November 18 and 19, 2013. The SADC is an inter-governmental
organization comprised of 15 southern African nations. One motivation for an
SADC-wide BIG is that although the region has extremely valuable resource
extraction industries, it also has great poverty. A BIG will ensure that every
person in southern Africa receives a share in the region’s mineral wealth.
The SADC-wide BIG Campaign Workshop had four goals: First, it finalized a draft Campaign Strategy. Second, it discussed the principles of the SADC BIG Coalition. Third, it provided a form to present the economic research on the cost, affordability and financing of the SADC-wide BIG. Fourth, the workshop nominated the SADC BIG Coalition Steering Committee and discussed its functions. The Workshop summed up the coalition’s goal as, “To ensure the roll-out of a universal SADC BIG to all SADC citizens including refugees, economic migrants and asylum seekers by 2020.”
For more information on the workshop see: http://takuspii.wordpress.com/projects/ser-programme-2/sadc-big/
For more on the coming campaign, and for several reports on BIG in the SADC, go to: http://takuspii.wordpress.com/category/sadc-basic-income-grant/
For a report on the Campaign Strategy Workshop go to: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&ved=0CEIQFjAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fspii.org.za%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2014%2F02%2FSADC-WIDE-BIG-REPORT.pdf&ei=4uj8UoK-NMfSyAGtu4GIBw&usg=AFQjCNHkTLfZSVSZFdtCZrVsSD4rvZNpvg&sig2=_XpW5-YLJL5ihLcOu20YYg&bvm=bv.61190604,d.aWc
Robert Reich, Former Secretary U.S. Secretary of Labor and now a popular author and commentator, recently endorsed a basic income guarantee (BIG) in response to a question from the floor during a talk about San Francisco State University. His first answer to the question of whether he would support a basic income large enough to eliminate poverty was simple, “yeah.” He then went on to discuss how technology is replacing so many jobs that they are making some level of income guarantee “almost inevitable.”
Reich’s remarks on BIG can be seen at the 46-minute mark of this video: San Francisco State University. “Inequality for All: A Q & A with Robert Reich” YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImXjgdIVsWE
A few years ago, the U.S. State of Utah introduced a program called Housing First, which fights homelessness by giving homeless people free housing. According to Jenny Swank of Nation Swell, recent reports estimate that Housing First “has reduced its rate of chronic homelessness by 74 percent over the past eight years, moving 2000 people off the street and putting the state on track to eradicate homelessness altogether by 2015.” Although the housing grant is in kind (meaning in goods) rather than in cash (as the BIG model would have it), and although it is granted only to those in need rather than to everyone, this program is a step toward a basic income guarantee because it is unconditional. Recipients are not required to work or to be available to work or to prove that they are unable to work or even to enter substance abuse treatment if they are abusers. Also, for the first time in the state, Housing First creates a legal right to housing. The apparent rational is: whatever other problems individuals might have, they are better off with homes. Assessments indicate the program is cost-effective, and other states are looking at the program and considering imitating it.
For more on the Utah program see:
David Weigel “Republican State Gives Free Houses to Moochers, Cuts Homelessness by 74 Percent,” Slate, Dec. 20 2013. http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2013/12/20/republican_state_gives_free_houses_to_moochers_cuts_homelessness_by_74_percent.html
Terrance Heath, “Utah ending homelessness by giving people homes,” Nation of Change, 23 January 2014. http://www.nationofchange.org/utah-ending-homelessness-giving-people-homes-1390056183
Jenny Shank, “Utah Is on Track to End Homelessness by 2015 With This One Simple Idea,” Nation Swell. December 19, 2013. http://www.nationswell.com/one-state-track-become-first-end-homelessness-2015/
Utah’s “Housing Works” website has information about the Housing First approach: http://housingworks.utah.gov/solution/index.html
From the Initiative for a Basic Income in Europe: After one year of campaigning for the European Citizens’ Initiative for Unconditional Basic Income, we are still actively continuing on the path towards finding an intelligent approach to European citizens’ real needs, particularly those generated by poverty. The Initiative won the support of over 300,000 people in less than a year. Since then, a network involving people and organisations from 25 countries has come together to carry on the Initiative’s aims.
At this conference we would like to consolidate this network by reflecting both on what has happened in the past year and on our future aspirations. Our main aim is for unconditional basic income to be implemented throughout the EU. There are also moves underway to get UBI recognised as a human right under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (Article 1: Human Dignity).
We hope that you will be able to attend our conference on 10 April 2014, and actively participate in the discussion of ideas which will be presented there. We would be grateful if we could receive your confirmation by 25 March. Please RSVP by e-mail: email@example.com.
=== AGENDA ===
9:30 – 9:40 am: Welcome from European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)
9.40 – 9.50: Welcome from Barb Jacobson, Chair, Unconditional Basic Income Europe (UBIE)
9:50 – 10:05: Jones Sian, European Anti Poverty Network: Situation with income poverty and hidden poverty in Europe
10:05 – 10:15: Questions & Answers
10.15 - 10.30: Ronald Blaschke, Co-Founder and Member of the Board of Netzwerk Grundeinkommen Germany: Unconditional Basic Income - Consistently against (hidden) poverty and for real freedom for everyone
10:30 – 10:40: Q&A
10:40 – 11:00: Coffee Break
11:00 – 11:15: Elena Dalibot: European Alternatives, Project Coordinator: Citizens Manifesto for European Democracy, Solidarity and Equality – Different Needs and Solutions
11:15 – 11:25: Q&A
11:25 – 11:40: Gerald Häfner, MEP, Greens: Development of ECI and EU-Referendum - tools for more democracy in the EU
11:40 - 11:50 Q&A
11:50 – 12:05 David Casassas, Member of BIEN, Universitat Autėnoma de Barcelona: Democracy and Unconditional Basic Income
12:05 – 12:15 Q&A
12:15 – 12:30: Werner Rätz, Attac Germany, Working Group Enough for all and Working Group Beyond the Growth: Degrowth, Health and Unconditional Basic Income
12:30 – 1:00 pm Q&A (ten minutes) and General Discussion
1.00 – 2:00 pm: Lunch Break
2:00 – 2:15 - Philippe Van Parijs, Chair of Advisory Board of BIEN: Euro- Dividend - An example for an partial basic income in Europe
2:15 – 2:25: Q&A
2:25 – 2:40: Guy Standing, Honorary Co-President of BIEN: What can we learn from Namibian and Indian experiments with unconditional cash transfers?
2:40- 2:50: Q&A
2:50 – 3:20: BREAK
3:20 – 5:20: Building the European Movement for an UBI - Panel
• Stanislas Jourdan, French Movement for UBI: How the ECI woke up the European movement
• Valerija Korosec, UBI Slovenia: Running in the EU elections for UBI
• Vahur Luhtsalu, UBI Estonia: Learning-by-doing: How we jumped on the ECI-UBI train (and what are the lessons learned)
• Plamen Dimitrov (Bulgarian Trade Union president - CITUB)
• Spanish speaker on the National Popular Initiative
• Speaker from UBI Poland or Czech Rep (Marek Hrubec): Perspectives from Eastern Europe
• Speaker from Scandinavia (Denmark, Sweden...): UBI in the context of advanced welfare countries
• Klaus Sambor, Runder Tisch Grundeinkommen Austria: The movement for UBI as part of wider social movements in Europe
5:20 - 5.30: - Closing address
The 15th BIEN Congress will take place on 27-29 June 2014 at McGill University (Montreal) on the theme of “Re-democratizing the Economy.” A pre-conference workshop focusing on political strategies for pushing BIG on the agenda in Canada and the United States will take place on 26 June as part of the 13th annual North American Basic Income Guarantee (NABIG) conference.
Featured speakers for the BIEN Congress 2014 include:
Š Alicia Bárcena Ibarra, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), United Nations
Š Roberto Gargarella, Professor of Constitutional Theory and Political Philosophy at the Universidad de Buenos Aires and Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professor at University College London
Š Renana Jhabvala, President of the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), Bharat, India
Š Joe Soss, Cowles Chair for the Study of Public Service at the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota
Š Guy Standing, Professor in Development Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London and Co-President, BIEN
Š David Stuckler, Senior Research Leader at University of Oxford and Research Fellow of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Chatham House
A full congress program will be available mid-March. For all info visit http://biencanada.ca/congress/registration.
A lecture by Adrienne Goehler in collaboration with the Women's Network.
For more information, go to: http://www.badische-zeitung.de/lahr/adrienne-goehler-spricht-ueber-grundeinkommen
Place: Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung in Berlin, Franz-Mehring-Platz 1.
Time: 1400 – 1600
For more information, go to: http://care-revolution.site36.net/
Analysis and comparison of Basic Income alongside a reduced full-time working week, with Prof. Beate Zimpelmann (Bremen University) and Prof. Sascha Liebermann (Alami's College of Arts and Social Sciences).
For more information, go to:
Programme discussing Basic Income, with Götz Werner, DM drugstore founder, Daniel Häni, initiator of the Swiss Basic Income referendum, Dr. Verena Di Pasquale, The 2nd Chairman of the DGB Bavaria, Prof. Dr. Karlheinz Ruckriegel, economist and happiness researcher at the University of Nuremberg.
For more information, go to:
All BI News features are online at: http://binews.org/ (click “features”).
BOOK REVIEW: Nathalie Morel, Bruno Palier and Joakim Palme (eds), Towards a Social Investment Welfare State? Ideas, policies and challenges
By Malcom Torry, March 14, 2014. http://binews.org/2014/03/nathalie-morel-bruno-palier-and-joakim-palme-eds-towards-a-social-investment-welfare-state-ideas-policies-and-challenges/
OPINION: The Goals of BI News
By Karl Widerquist, March 19, 2014. http://usbig.net/bigblog/2014/03/the-goals-of-bi-news/
BOOK REVIEW: Robert A. Becker (ed.), The Economic Theory of Income Inequality
By Malcom Torry, March 7, 2014. http://binews.org/2014/03/robert-a-becker-ed-the-economic-theory-of-income-inequality/
OPINION: The political feasibility of a Citizen’s Income in the UK
By Malcom Torry, March 3, 2014. http://binews.org/category/opinion/
BOOK REVIEW: Karl Widerquist and Michael W. Howard (eds), Exporting the Alaska Model: Adapting the Permanent Fund Dividend for reform around the world
By Malcom Torry, February 28, 2014. http://binews.org/2014/02/karl-widerquist-and-michael-w-howard-eds-exporting-the-alaska-model-adapting-the-permanent-fund-dividend-for-reform-around-the-world/
OPINION: Complexity in the benefits system
By Malcom Torry, February 17, 2014. http://binews.org/2014/02/opinion-complexity-in-the-benefits-system/
OPINION: The Basic Income Guarantee Becomes a Rorschach Test in the U.S. Media
By Karl Widerquist, February 10, 2014. http://binews.org/2014/02/opinion-the-basic-income-guarantee-becomes-a-rorschach-test-in-the-u-s-media/
OPINION: On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: Basic Income – A Struggle for Values
By Rob Rainer, February 3, 2014. http://binews.org/2014/02/opinion-on-martin-luther-king-jr-day-basic-income-a-struggle-for-values/
EXCERPT: The question is a simple one: if in the future robots take most people’s jobs, how will human beings eat? The answer that has been more or less obvious to most of those who have taken the prospect seriously has been that society’s wealth would need to be re-distributed to support everyone as a citizen’s right. That is the proposition we used to frame this special issue of the journal, and the contributors have explored new and important dimensions of the equation.
Publication information for the issue: James J. Hughes, (editor) “Technological Unemployment and the Basic Income Guarantee”: special issue of the Journal of Evolution and Technology (Volume 24 Issue 1), March 7, 2014. http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/jet201403
This issue contains the following articles:
James J. Hughes “[Introduction] Are Technological Unemployment and a Basic Income Guarantee Inevitable or Desirable?” Journal of Evolution and Technology 24 Issue 1, February 2014, pages 1-4. http://jetpress.org/v24/hughes1.htm
Mark Walker, “BIG and Technological Unemployment: Chicken Little Versus the Economists,” Journal of Evolution and Technology 24 Issue 1, February 2014, pages 5-25. http://jetpress.org/v24/walker.htm
ABSTRACT: The paper rehearses arguments for and against the prediction of massive technological unemployment. The main argument in favor is that robots are entering a large number of industries, making more expensive human labor redundant. The main argument against the prediction is that for two hundred years we have seen a massive increase in productivity with no long term structural unemployment caused by automation. The paper attempts to move past this argumentative impasse by asking what humans contribute to the supply side of the economy. Historically, humans have contributed muscle and brains to production but we are now being outcompeted by machinery, in both areas, in many jobs. It is argued that this supports the conjecture that massive unemployment is a likely result. It is also argued that a basic income guarantee is a minimal remedial measure to mitigate the worst effects of technological unemployment.
Gary E. Marchant, Yvonne A. Stevens and James M. Hennessy, “Technology, Unemployment & Policy Options: Navigating the Transition to a Better World,” Journal of Evolution and Technology 24 Issue 1, February 2014, pages 26-44. http://jetpress.org/v24/marchant.htm
ABSTRACT: There is growing concern that emerging technologies such as computers, robotics and artificial intelligence are displacing human jobs, creating an epidemic of “technological unemployment.” While this projection has yet to be confirmed, if true it will have major economic and social repercussions for our future. It is therefore appropriate to begin identifying policy options to address this potential problem. This article offers an economic and social framework for addressing this problem, and then provides an inventory of possible policy options organized into the following six categories: (a) slowing innovation and change; (b) sharing work; (c) making new work; (d) redistribution; (e) education; and (f) fostering a new social contract.
James J. Hughes, “A Strategic Opening for a Basic Income Guarantee: in the Global Crisis Being Created by AI, Robots, Desktop Manufacturing and BioMedicine,” Journal of Evolution and Technology 24, Issue 1. February 2014, pages 45-61. http://jetpress.org/v24/hughes2.htm
ABSTRACT: Robotics and artificial intelligence are beginning to fundamentally change the relative profitability and productivity of investments in capital versus human labor, creating technological unemployment at all levels of the workforce, from the North to the developing world. As robotics and expert systems become cheaper and more capable the percentage of the population that can find employment will also fall, stressing economies already trying to curtail "entitlements" and adopt austerity. Two additional technology-driven trends will exacerbate the structural unemployment crisis in the coming decades, desktop manufacturing and anti-aging medicine. Desktop manufacturing threatens to disintermediate the half of all workers involved in translating ideas into products in the hands of consumers, while anti-aging therapies will increase the old age dependency ratio of retirees to tax-paying workers. Policies that are being proposed to protect or create employment will have only a temporary moderating effect on job loss. Over time these policies, which will impose raise costs, lower the quality of goods and services, and lower competitiveness, will become fiscally impossible and lose political support. In order to enjoy the benefits of technological innovation and longer, healthier lives we will need to combine policies that control the pace of replacing paid human labor with a universal basic income guarantee (BIG) provided through taxation and the public ownership of wealth. The intensifying debate over the reform of "entitlements" will be the strategic opening for a campaign for BIG to replace disability and unemployment insurance, Social Security, and other elements of the welfare state.
Jamie Bronstein, “A History of the BIG Idea: Winstanley, Paine, Skidmore and Bellamy,” Journal of Evolution and Technology 24, Issue 1. February 2014 , pages 62-69. http://jetpress.org/v24/bronstein.htm
ABSTRACT: The notion that humans have a right to basic capital or to a basic income guarantee by virtue of their existence can be traced to the Enlightenment. Many of the suggestions inherent in modern proposals for basic income or basic capital originated with four forerunners in the Anglo-American tradition: Gerrard Winstanley, Thomas Paine, Thomas Skidmore, and Edward Bellamy. All four embraced the notion that the equal moral considerability of all humans implied an equal right to the resources needed to survive, and were subjected to withering criticism of their ideals on the grounds that the provision of basic resources conflicted with rather than enhanced freedom.
Riccardo Campa, “Workers and Automata: A Sociological Analysis of the Italian Case,” Journal of Evolution and Technology 24, Issue 1. February 2014, pages 70-85. http://jetpress.org/v24/campa1.htm
ABSTRACT: The aim of this investigation is to determine if there is a relation between automation and unemployment within the Italian socio-economic system. Italy is Europe’s second nation and the fourth in the world in terms of robot density, and among the G7 it is the nation with the highest rate of youth unemployment. Establishing the ultimate causes of unemployment is a very difficult task, and the notion itself of ‘technological unemployment’ is controversial. Mainstream economics tends to relate the high rate of unemployment that characterises Italian society with the low flexibility of the labour market and the high cost of manpower. Little attention is paid to the impact of artificial intelligence on the level of employment. With reference to statistical data, we will try to show that automation can be seen at least as a contributory cause of unemployment. In addition, we will argue that both Luddism and anti-Luddism are two faces of the same coin. In both cases attention is focused on technology itself (the means of production) instead of on the system (the mode of production). Banning robots or denying the problems of robotisation are not effective solutions. A better approach would consist in combining growing automation with a more rational redistribution of income.
Riccardo Campa, “Technological Growth and Unemployment: A Global Scenario Analysis,” Journal of Evolution and Technology 24, Issue 1. February 2014, pages 86-103. http://jetpress.org/v24/campa2.htm
ABSTRACT: The aim of this article is to explore the possible futures generated by the development of artificial intelligence. Our focus will be on the social consequences of automation and robotisation, with special attention being paid to the problem of unemployment. In spite of the fact that this investigation is mainly speculative in character, we will try to develop our analysis in a methodologically sound way. To start, we will make clear that the relation between technology and structural unemployment is still controversial. Therefore, the hypothetical character of this relation must be fully recognized. Secondly, as proper scenario analysis requires, we will not limit ourselves to predict a unique future, but we will extrapolate from present data at least four different possible developments: 1) unplanned end of work scenario; 2) planned end of robots scenario; 3) unplanned end of robots scenario, and 4) planned end of work scenario. Finally, we will relate the possible developments not just to observed trends but also to social and industrial policies presently at work in our society which may change the course of these trends.
Katarzyna Gajewska, “Technological Unemployment but Still a Lot of Work: Towards Prosumerist Services of General Interest.” Journal of Evolution and Technology 24, Issue 1. February 2014, pages 104-112. http://jetpress.org/v24/gajewski.htm
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.
John Danaher, “Sex Work, Technological Unemployment and the Basic Income Guarantee,” Journal of Evolution and Technology 24, Issue 1, February 2014, pages 113-130. http://jetpress.org/v24/danaher.htm
ABSTRACT: Is sex work (specifically, prostitution) vulnerable to technological unemployment? Several authors have argued that it is. They claim that the advent of sophisticated sexual robots will lead to the displacement of human prostitutes, just as, say, the advent of sophisticated manufacturing robots have displaced many traditional forms of factory labour. But are they right? In this article, I critically assess the argument that has been made in favour of this displacement hypothesis. Although I grant the argument a degree of credibility, I argue that the opposing hypothesis -- that prostitution will be resilient to technological unemployment -- is also worth considering. Indeed, I argue that increasing levels of technological unemployment in other fields may well drive more people into the sex work industry. Furthermore, I argue that no matter which hypothesis you prefer -- displacement or resilience -- you can make a good argument for the necessity of a basic income guarantee, either as an obvious way to correct for the precarity of sex work, or as a way to disincentivise those who may be drawn to prostitution.
PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: In the second of our series on welfare and the independence referendum, Professor Ailsa McKay of Glasgow Caledonian University argues that the constitutional debate provides a valuable opportunity to redesign our welfare system and redefine the values of the ‘good society’, and proposes a Scottish Citizens Basic Income to promote opportunities for all.
Ailsa McKay, “Being Radical – Arguing For a Citizens Basic Income in the New Scotland,” The University of Edinburgh: Scotland's Referendum: Informing the Debate, 21/02/2013.
SUMMARY: Citing Virginia
Woolf's famous essay, A Room of One's Own,
the author of this article makes the feminist case for a basic income
guarantee. A guaranteed income would, according to the author, enable
"women to make an authentic choice as to where on the spectrum their
preference lies between paid work and any caring responsibilities women
might choose to undertake."
Dr. Anna Hedge, "Basic Income and a Room of One's Own", Pieria, February 26, 2014. http://www.pieria.co.uk/articles/basic_income_and_a_room_of_ones_own
Liu's article focuses on Brazil's "Bolsa Familia" program, which began 10 years ago and was essentially a conditional cash transfer to Brazilian families. Its success has left many optimistic about the future of (un)conditional cash transfers.
Alec Liu, “How Giving Cash Directly to the Poor Paid Off in Brazil,” Vice, January 2014. http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/how-giving-cash-directly-to-the-poor-paid-off-in-brazil
SUMMARY: This article makes the case that the recent announcement that the Affordable Care Act is allowing people to leave jobs they previously held on to just for the healthcare benefits is good news. Accessibility to a basic income, as well as healthcare, would give people even more freedom to escape tedious jobs they really don’t want to be doing.
Alex Pareene, “Down with work! A pro-freedom agenda liberals should embrace”, Salon, February 7, 2014. http://www.salon.com/2014/02/07/obamacare_discourages_working_great/
Coyne’s article largely serves as a critique of raising the minimum wage as a policy to combat poverty. Debates over how high the minimum wage ought to be seem arbitrary, and Coyne argues that those in poverty face employment issues from a lack of hours, not wages. Coyne classifies raising the minimum wage as trying to do “social justice on the cheap” and instead calls for efforts to enact a minimum income.
Andrew Coyne, “Raising minimum wage won’t help end poverty but giving the poor more money will,” National Post, January 27, 2014. http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/01/27/andrew-coyne-raising-minimum-wage-wont-help-end-poverty-but-giving-the-poor-more-money-will/
PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: “The Universal Basic Income (UBI)
– sometimes called the Unconditional Basic Income, Citizens’ Income or
Social Wage – has in recent times become a focus of economic discussion
across the political spectrum. While column inches in the Financial Times and
The Economist have been racking up, academics such as Stuart White have been
articulating how valid cases for the UBI can be made from communist, liberal
and republican perspectives. Here Andrew Dolan offers 7 reasons why the UBI
should matter to people who want to move beyond capitalism.”
Andrew Dolan, “Do They Owe Us a Living? 7 Reasons the Universal Basic Income is Worth Fighting For,” Novara Wire, 17-02-2014. http://wire.novaramedia.com/2014/02/do-they-owe-us-a-living-7-reasons-the-universal-basic-income-is-worth-fighting-for/
SUMMARY: There are a number of ways to successfully deal with the issue of inequality, and they are not mutually exclusive. Among them, a guaranteed livable income, which comes in as recommendation number 8 in this article.
Andrew MacLeod, "Eighteen Ways to Shrink Inequality", The Tyee, February 4, 2014. http://thetyee.ca/News/2014/02/04/Shrink-BC-Inequality/
This Blog reacts enthusiastically to remarks by Adrienne
Goehler, who called for a basic income grant as a universal right in her
concluding keynote for Staging Sustainability 2014.
Arlene Goldbard, “Deceleration & Sustainability,” Arlene’s Blog. February 21, 2014. http://arlenegoldbard.com/2014/02/21/deceleration-sustainability/
This essay praises some aspects of basic income, but argues that the proposal has disadvantages from the leftist point of view, including that it doesn’t move toward a leftist vision and that it is “nationalism in disguise.”
Original in Dutch. Translated into English.
Dutch version: Bart de Baan, “Hoe bevrijdend is de ‘eis’ van een onvoorwaardelijk basisinkomen? [A Leftist critique on Basic Income].” Doorbraak.eu, 24, January 2014. http://www.doorbraak.eu/hoe-bevrijdend-de-eis-van-een-onvoorwaardelijke-basisinkomen/
Translated into English by Revolution News, February 1, 2014. http://revolution-news.com/leftist-critique-basic-income/
SUMMARY: President Obama is proposing to significantly
expand the Earned Income Tax Credit
(EITC). This program arose out of
conservative economist Milton Friedman’s idea of a negative income tax (a form
of BIG) and has traditionally enjoyed bipartisan support.
Bloomberg View, “The Working Poor Get Their 15 Minutes”, Bloomberg View, March 4, 2014. http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2014-03-04/the-working-poor-get-their-15-minutes
SUMMARY: Carol Goar argues that by endorsing a basic annual income, delegates of the Liberal Party of Canada have forced their leader Justin Trudeau to choose between social justice and fiscal rectitude.
Carol Goar “‘Basic annual income’ loaded with pitfalls” The Toronto Star, Feb 25 2014. http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2014/02/25/basic_annual_income_loaded_with_pitfalls_goar.html
SUMMARY: In this 13-page report, Ottawa-based social policy analyst, basic income expert and The BIG Push campaign executive team member Chandra Pasma summarizes a number of basic income and basic income-like programs and pilots in Canada, the United States and overseas. The report provides evidence of basic income's promise as a transformational public policy whose time has come. Click on the link at right to access the report in PDF format.
Chandra Pasma, “Basic Income Programs and Pilots,” the BIG Push Campaign, February 3, 2014. http://www.thebigpush.net/campaign-reports.html
The first issue of the United Kingdom’s Citizen’s Income Newsletter contains: A notice of a meeting at the Houses of Parliament on the 4th March, 2014, Editorials on the complexity of the benefits system and on the Citizen’s Income Trust’s 30th anniversary, a main article on the political feasibility of a Citizen’s Income in the UK, news items, a notice about BIEN’s 2014 conference in Montreal, and book reviews
Citizen’s Income Trust, Citizen’s Income Newsletter, Issue 1, 2014. http://www.citizensincome.org/resources/Newsletter20141.htm
SUMMARY: Citing a 2009 report by the Canadian Centre for
Policy Alternatives (CPPA), this author argues that a basic income guarantee
wouldn’t necessarily involve a huge expenditure by government to
implement. Providing a greater
degree of separation between work and income might, as Eric Fromm argued, also
greatly enhance personal freedom.
Duncan Cameron, “A living minimum”, rabble.ca, February 4, 2014. http://rabble.ca/columnists/2014/02/living-minimum#.UvWUqkqP9tc.twitter
Dolan’s article, the third in a series on the universal basic income (UBI), covers the multiple ideological arguments for a UBI. By describing the conservative, progressive, and libertarian perspectives on the UBI, Dolan shows that there is room for compromise between the three camps and that a coalition could emerge if such a compromise is reached.
Ed Dolan, “A Universal Basic Income: Conservative, Progressive, and Libertarian Perspectives,” Economonitor, January 27, 2014. http://www.economonitor.com/dolanecon/2014/01/27/a-universal-basic-income-conservative-progressive-and-libertarian-perspectives-part-3-of-a-series/#sthash.JRNW20BT.dpuf
SUMMARY: The entrepreneur and owner of German drugstore DM,
Götz Werner, talks about his wish for an unconditional basic income.
Enita Vogel and Armin Müller, “Wirtschaft ist eine Kulturveranstaltung [Economy is a cultural event]”, Handels Zeitung, February 26 2014. :http://www.handelszeitung.ch/unternehmen/wirtschaft-ist-eine-kulturveranstaltung-573400
This article contains four detailed responses to an article written by Chris Armstrong about Sovereign Wealth Funds and global justice. The responses are by Oliviero Angeli, Andreas Follesdal, Angela Cummine, and Paul Segal. Some of the discussion involves the possibility of distributing oil revenue in the form of a dividend basic income guarantee.
The Editors, "Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund and Global Justice: An Exchange," Ethics & International Affairs, January 24, 2014. http://www.ethicsandinternationalaffairs.org/2014/norways-sovereign-wealth-fund-and-global-justice-an-exchange/
SUMMARY: In this excerpted chapter, scholar Frances Fox Piven argues that the guarantee of a universal income would facilitate a new economic fairness and stability to a financial system careening out of control. This article is an excerpt from her chapter in a book entitled, Imagine Living in a Socialist USA, a new book from edited by Frances Goldin, Debby Smith and Michael Steven Smith; published by HarperCollins, 2014.
Frances Fox Piven, “Extreme Poverty Has Been Used to Divide and Terrify Working People for Centuries,” TruthOut. 23 February 2014.
GleninCA, “Instead Of Raising The Minimum Wage, Progressives Should Push For A Universal Basic Income.” Daily Kos, Feb 26, 2014. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/02/26/1280330/-Instead-Of-Raising-The-Minimum-Wage-Progressives-Should-Push-For-A-Universal-Basic-Income
SUMMARY: In this post the author argues that a basic income
would allow artists to focus on creativity and fulfilment instead of
necessities such as food and shelter.
Graham Kent, “The Necessities of the Soul”, The Big Push Campaign, January 2014. http://www.thebigpush.net/testimonial-graham-kent-toronto-on.html
A major Danish print journal has published a cover story on Basic Income.
Heidi Laura, “Er det bare blåŅjet? [Is it really so naive?].” Weekendavisen, pp. 1-3, March 7, 2014. Print. http://www.weekendavisen.dk/
FROM THE ABSTRACT: Given the low job creation of recent
years, the persistence of poverty, and stagnating wages for so many, it is time
to think of cash grants to Americans, according to the author. He offers us a
historical review of past proposals and some practical new ideas of his own.
Herbert J. Gans, “Basic Income: A Remedy for a Sick Labor Market?” Challenge, Volume 57, Number 2, March-April 2014. http://www.afscmeinfocenter.org/blog/2014/02/basic-income-a-remedy-for-a-sick-labor-market.htm
SUMMARY: This article discusses how the charity, Give Directly, which has an extremely simple model find poor people and give them money, has grown in success. Although GiveDirectly has received increasing attention, this article, like most other articles on GiveDriectly does not make the connection GiveDirectly essentially give recipients a one-time basic income. The success of GiveDriectly provides favorable evidence for basic income.
Hollie Slade Staff, “Give Directly's Breakthrough 'Free Money' Model Grows As Evidence Mounts.” Forbes, 2/10/2014. http://www.forbes.com/sites/hollieslade/2014/02/10/give-directlys-breakthrough-free-money-model-grows-as-evidence-mounts/
SUMMARY: Basic Income for Children (BIC) is a universal income transfer unconditionally granted to all families with children, without means test or work requirement. The authors use the European tax-benefit micro simulation model to estimate the effects of their version of BIC. Their model computes tax liabilities and benefit entitlements for all households in European Union (EU) member states based on representative household survey data from each country. Fixing the poverty threshold at 60% of the median income, they find that a Europe-wide BIC-scheme not adjusted for price differences would reduce the number of children in poverty by 14.2% and the poverty gap by 6.2%. The scheme modeled in the paper, paying Ř50 per month per child, would cost around Ř18 billion. That is approximately 13% of the current EU budget, or 0.15% of the combined GDP of all EU member states.
Horacio Levy, Manos Matsaganis, and Holly Sutherland “Child Poverty Insights: Simulating the costs and benefits of a Europe-wide Basic Income scheme for Children,” UNICEF Policy and Strategy, 2014. http://www.unicef.org/socialpolicy/index_71776.html
SUMMARY: The key question this book aims to answer is
whether Basic Income can solve the crisis of digital copyright and
democratization of creativity.
Ilja Braun, “Grundeinkommen statt Urheberrecht? Zum kreativen Schaffen in der digitalen Welt [Basic Income instead of copyright? For creative work in the digital world ]”, Transcript Verlag, published March 28, 2014. www.transcript-verlag.de/978-3-8376-2680-3/grundeinkommen-statt-urheberrecht
This blog post excellently outlines some of the key benefits of the universal basic income (UBI). It especially focuses on the UBI’s ability to ease the transition into an economy where the production of wealth is done largely by machines.
Infidel 753, “Basic income and the technological transition,” Blogspot, January 29, 2014. http://infidel753.blogspot.be/2014/01/basic-income-and-technological.html
SUMMARY: A case for unconditional basic income is argued and
backed up by statistics. The German constitution and Federal courts rule that a
subsistence level must be assured for all citizens at all times. There are also
millions of people who are entitled to benefits but choose not to apply out of
shame or ignorance, so the number of unemployed is much higher than official government
figures. Very few vacant jobs exist, and it will only worsen as technology is
making jobs and skills redundant through automation and computerization.
James Morris, "Bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen: 1.000 Euro im Monat für Jeden! [Unconditional Basic Income: 1000 Euros per month for everyone!]", Neopresse, February 6, 2014. http://www.neopresse.com/gesellschaft/bedingungsloses-grundeinkommen-1-000-euro-im-monat-fuer-jeden/
SUMMARY: This article cites research indicating that even a
basic income guarantee of as little as $2,920 a year to every American, whether
they are of working age or not, could reduce poverty by as much as 50%, and it
would cost about what the US is spending on anti-poverty programs right now.
Jillian Corriera, Universal basic income could lower poverty”, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian, February 13, 2014. http://dailycollegian.com/2014/02/13/universal-basic-income-could-lower-poverty/
Jill Segger, “Living by bread alone: economic growth and the citizen’s income”, Ekklesia, February 7, 2014. http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/20112
SUMMARY: This report examines the potentials of basic income to serve as a new tool for social and development policy, drawing from the recent experiences from recent pilot projects. The structure of the report is as follows: Chapter two provides a brief literature review of cash transfer policies currently in place in many developing countries and assesses the potential advantages of universal and unconditional transfers over targeted and conditional ones. Chapter three presents the three country cases where universal cash transfer policies have been tested or gradually implemented. Chapter four concludes and explores the prospects of basic income as a part of the new development policy agenda. The empirical material regarding basic income experiments is collected from the projects’ own research reports and newsletters, as well as relevant academic and non-academic articles.
Johanna Perkio, “Universal Basic Income: A New Tool for Development Policy?” Kansainvalinen Solidaarisuutyo: International Solidarity Work, January 31, 2014. http://kvsolidaarisuustyo.fi/universal-basic-income-a-new-tool-for-development-policy/
This article uses the term “guaranteed minimum income” for the first of its ten ways to get serious about inequality , and it mentions John Kenneth Galbraith's and Milton Friedman's endorsement of the idea. But in its elaboration it talks only about expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit. It never elaborates what common definition of a guaranteed minimum income is, leaving it unclear whether the author recommends guaranteeing a minimum income to all Americans.
John Cassidy, “Ten Ways to Get Serious About Rising Inequality,”
The New Yorker, January 28, 2014. http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/johncassidy/2014/01/ten-ways-to-tackle-rising-inequality.html
SUMMARY: Canadian government changes to Employment Insurance (EI) program make a guaranteed income more attractive to some on Prince Edward Island.
Journal Pioneer, “EI manipulation further cements need for basic income guarantee – Redmond”, The Journal Pioneer, February 25, 2014. http://www.journalpioneer.com/News/Local/2014-02-25/article-3627485/EI-manipulation-further-cements-need-for-basic-income-guarantee-%26ndash%3B-Redmond/1
SUMMARY: The German Pirate Party held its first national convention of the year, choosing their top three candidates to enter the European Parliament. They need 3% of the vote in May's elections to have representation there. The party achieved 2.2% of the vote in the German general elections in September. One of their key policies is for a Europe-wide unconditional basic income.
Kay-Alexander Scholz, "Piraten wollen ins Europa-Parlament [Pirates want into the European Parliament]", Deutsche Welle, January 5 2014. www.dw.de/piraten-wollen-ins-europa-parlament/a-17342451
Klaus Fürst, “Bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen – die nächste Stufe der Evolution? [Basic Income - the next stage of evolution?], neopresse, February 28 2014:http://www.neopresse.com/gesellschaft/bedingungsloses-grundeinkommen-die-naechste-stufe-der-evolution/
L. Randall Wray writes extensively on the idea of a job guarantee. Wray mentions the Basic Income Guarantee supports as among those claiming that job guarantee workers wouldn’t do anything useful. Wray respond by using the WPA of the New Deal as a major example of a successful job guarantee program.
L. Randall Wray, “Bop a Mole #2: JG Workers Will Do Nothing Useful, The JG Program Will Not Be Manageable,” Economonitor, January 7, 2014. http://www.economonitor.com/lrwray/2014/01/07/bop-a-mole-2-jg-workers-will-do-nothing-useful-the-jg-program-will-not-be-manageable/#sthash.hTGjdehW.dpuf
Wray’s article compares his job guarantee plan to the basic income guarantee (BIG). Through his analysis, he finds that the job guarantee does a much better job at combating poverty than the BIG.
L. Randall Wray, “Let’s Compare the Job Guarantee to the Alternatives, NOT Against Some Distant Utopian Vision,” Economonitor, January 27, 2014. http://www.economonitor.com/lrwray/2014/01/27/lets-compare-the-job-guarantee-to-the-alternatives-not-against-some-distant-utopian-vision/#sthash.CjP7b5FI.dpuf
SUMMMARY, Leon Neyfakh writes, “It sounds radical, but the ‘guaranteed basic income’ almost became law in the United States—and it’s having a revival now, with some surprising supporters.” This article traces some of the history of the Basic Income Guarantee in the United States going back to the Negative Income Tax issue in the 1970s and connecting to how social activism and the Great Recession have brought the issue back into mainstream political discussion. The piece quotes from Steve Pressman and Philippe Van Parijs, two prominent members of the BIG movement.
Leon Neyfakh, “Should the government pay you to be alive?” The Boston Globe, February 09, 2014. http://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2014/02/09/should-government-pay-you-alive/aaLVJsUAc5pKh0iYTFrXpI/story.html
Luigi Narni Mancinelli, “Il Basic Income e il diritto di fuga dal mercato del lavoro” [The Basic Income and the right to escape from the labor market], Basic Income Network Italia. January 29, 2014. http://www.bin-italia.org/article.php?id=1943
SUMMARY: Most proposals for funding a basic income guarantee
rely upon some kind of traditional taxation mechanism. In this post the idea of a negative
interest rate that is deposited back into a pool to finance BIG and encourage
money’s circulation through the economy is offered as another possible means.
Malcolm Henry, “How To Fund A Universal Basic Income (Without Scaring The Horses)”, Basic Income UK, February 11, 2014. http://basicincome.org.uk/opinions/2014/02/fund-universal-basic-income-without-scaring-horses/
SUMMARY: In November of 1969, the President's Commission on Income Maintenance Programs issued a report titled "Poverty Amid Plenty: the American Paradox." The purpose of the report was to assess the current slate of anti-poverty programs and make recommendations for how to make more headway on poverty reduction. Bruenig reviews this report showing the pedigree of the current basic income guarantee proposal in the United States.
Matt Bruenig, “Poverty Amid Plenty: A 1969 Basic Income Proposal,” PolicyShop, February 3, 2014. http://www.demos.org/blog/2/3/14/poverty-amid-plenty-1969-basic-income-proposal
SUMMARY: Europe’s inflexible labour markets are in need of a structural overhaul, which can perhaps be found in the shape of an unconditional basic income. With many commentators calling for widespread reform, members of the EU parliament have a busy year ahead. Could unconditional basic income be exactly what the union needs to boost employment and reduce poverty?
Matthew Timms, “Is unconditional basic income the reform Europe needs?
Business & Management,” European CEO. January 29th, 2014. http://www.europeanceo.com/business-and-management/2014/01/is-unconditional-basic-income-the-reform-europe-needs/
AUTHOR’S SUMMARY: “I argued previously in a Feb. 4 BDN OpEd that unconditional cash transfers funded by a carbon tax could bring about substantial reductions in extreme poverty globally. But what about the less-than-extreme poverty in developed countries? Is there a case to be made for unconditional cash transfers for them?”
Michael Howard, “Guaranteed income for every adult? It’s not as far-fetched as you might think,” Bangor Daily News (Maine, USA), March 04, 2014. http://bangordailynews.com/2014/03/04/opinion/guaranteed-income-for-every-adult-its-not-as-far-fetched-as-you-might-think/?ref=OpinionBox
[Michael W. Howard]
One partial solution to global extreme poverty could also help to mitigate the growing impacts of climate change: the development of a universal dividend funded by a universal carbon fee.
Michael W. Howard, “One solution could fight both global extreme poverty and climate change,” Bangor Daily News, February 5, 2014. http://bangordailynews.com/2014/02/04/opinion/one-solution-could-fight-both-global-extreme-poverty-and-climate-change/
SUMMARY: Are wage subsidies
a viable alternative to both raising the minimum wage and the Earned Income Tax
Credit (EITC)? This author thinks they might be.
Noah Smith, "Wage subsidies", Noahpinion, December 7, 2013. http://noahpinionblog.blogspot.ca/2013/12/wage-subsidies.html
Higher Perspective, “Switzerland To Pay Basic Income 2,500 Francs Per Month To Every Adult,” Higher Perspective. March 2014. http://higherperspective.com/2014/03/switzerland-pay-basic-income-2500-francs-per-month-every-adult.html
SUMMARY. This article discusses a policy that is essentially
a very small basic income guarantee. The author writes, “A 1990s plan to create
nest eggs using federal grants and tax credits was never enacted, but with a
few small tweaks, it's an even better idea today.”
Norm Ornstein, “A Plan to Reduce Inequality: Give $1,000 to Every Newborn Baby.” The Atlantic, Feb 13 2014. http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/02/a-plan-to-reduce-inequality-give-1-000-to-every-newborn-baby/283819/
SUMMARY: Is the reason solutions like a basic income guarantee are so often overlooked or ignored because they are just too obvious? This author thinks perhaps we tend to find the less obvious and more complex “solutions” more alluring, the growing list of studies supporting ideas like BIG not withstanding.
Oliver Burkeman, “This column will change your life: obvious answers”, The Guardian, February 8, 2014. http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/feb/08/obvious-answer-oliver-burkeman
Tchnerneva writes in response to a post by Matt Yglesias where Yglesias criticizes the idea of a job guarantee. Tchnerneva’s article focuses on defending the job guarantee and, in the process, attacking the basic income guarantee.
Pavlina Tcherneva, “16 Reasons Matt Yglesias is Wrong about the Job Guarantee vs. Basic Income,” New Economic Perspectives, January 16, 2014. http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2014/01/16-reasons-matt-yglesias-wrong-job-guarantee-vs-basic-income.html#sthash.Yvd1g4aq.dpuf
The recent poll from the Trudeau Foundation found that 46% of Canadians are in favor of a guaranteed annual income, while 42% of Canadians are opposed. Rainer, however, raises caution over these numbers because the poll’s question suggested that the guaranteed annual income would replace current economic assistance programs. Rainer strongly believes in the necessity to continue economic assistance programs like unemployment insurance, among others, while using the guaranteed annual income as the foundation of Canadian social security.
Rob Rainer, “The Trudeau Foundation Poll: A Closer Look
1.0,” The BIG Push Campaign, January
29, 2014. http://www.thebigpush.net/1/post/2014/01/the-trudeau-foundation-poll-a-closer-look-10.html
SUMMARY: Economist and Chairman of the Catholic Workers' Movement in Aachen, Ralf Welter, discusses his fight for unconditional Basic Income for everyone.
Rauke Xenia Bornefeld, "Das Grundeinkommen ist eine Pflicht [The basic income is a duty]”, Aachener Zeitung, February 21 2014. http://www.aachener-zeitung.de/lokales/aachen/ralf-welter-das-grundeinkommen-ist-eine-pflicht-1.766604
Revolution News, “A Leftist critique on Basic Income,” Revolution News, February 1, 2014. http://revolution-news.com/leftist-critique-basic-income/
SUMMARY: Rob Rainer is the founder and director of The BIG Push campaign of Basic Income Canada Network. Kelly Ernst is the Chair of the Board of Basic Income Canada Network. In this article they argue that what is most needed now in Canada is a basic income guarantee for working-age adults.
Rob Rainer and Kelly Ernst, “How can we not afford a ‘basic annual income’?” the Toronto Star, Feb 27 2014. http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2014/02/27/how_can_we_not_afford_a_basic_annual_income.html
SUMMARY: In January of 2014 the United States marked the 50th
anniversary of Lyndon Johnson’s War on
Poverty. The author of this
article contends this “war’s” failure is due to its focus on the symptoms of
poverty rather than the roots of poverty.
A basic income guarantee, he contends, would attack the roots.
Sam Ross-Brown, “How to Win the War on Poverty”, Utne Reader, February 3, 2014. http://www.utne.com/fugitive-moments/how-to-win-the-war-on-poverty.aspx
SUMMARY: This article focuses on poverty and inequality, discussing how poverty puts people in a condition in which they cannot make meaningful choices. “Instead, we might look to policies like a guaranteed basic income or a negative income tax, in which we give people money and treat them with the dignity their humanity entitles them to. … Not only would it help those who are suffering get by, but rather than treating them like social degenerates, it would trust and empower them to make their own financial decisions. Given how much responsibility the more fortunate among us have for the problems plaguing the poor, it is the least our society can do.” The author, Shamus Khan is an associate professor of sociology at Columbia University. He is the author of Privilege: The Making of an Adolescent Elite at St. Paul’s School.
Shamus Khan, “The marriage of poverty and inequality: Who is responsible when people don't have enough?” Al Jazeera America. February 20, 2014. http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/2/the-marriage-of-povertyandinequality.html
SUMMARY: A guaranteed annual income targeting the 100,000 citizens of Manitoba that are currently living below the after tax low-income cutoff would cost about $1.2 billion. According to this article, with a willing federal partner the province that was home to the 1970s Minicome experiment could make it happen.
Shaun Loney, "Minimum income can end poverty", Winnipeg Free Press, March 1, 2014. http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/analysis/minimum-income-can-end-poverty-247991711.html
Social Justice Ireland, “Basic Income – Why and How in Difficult Economic Times: Financing a BI in Ireland,” Social Justice Ireland, September 14, 2012. http://socialjustice.ie/sites/default/files/file/BIEN/2012-09-11%20-%20BI%20%20How%20and%20Why%20in%20Ireland%20BIEN%20Congress%20Munich%202012.pdf
SUMMARY: Despite high levels of mineral resources that exist
in most countries within SADC, SADC states are characterised by high levels of
poverty and some of the highest levels of inequality globally. It is against
this background that the Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute (SPII)
initiated a campaign for the introduction of a Southern African Development
Community (SADC) – wide universal cash transfer (Basic Income Grant
– BIG) to be funded by a tax on extractive industries.
SPII, “Making the case for a SADC BIG”, Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute, October 9, 2013. http://takuspii.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/making-the-case-for-a-sadc-big/
SUMMARY: The argument of this policy brief develops from the facts that: The case is now established internationally that forms of international taxation may be needed to help fund social development in low income countries, The case is also established that migration pressures are making national states increasingly reluctant to meet the social needs of migrants. The case is accepted at the UN level that a global social protection floor should be provided everywhere to meet the basis needs of all residents. Precedents exist to use sovereign wealth funds financed out of mineral resources to meet social needs.
SPII, “SADC BIG Idea policy brief,” Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute, 12/09/2013. http://takuspii.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/sadc-big-idea-policy-brief/
SUMMARY: Canada’s 1970s experiment with a basic income
guarantee in a small town in Manitoba is revisited in this article. Though the Mincome pilot program came to
an end in 1978 without the impacts of the program receiving much analysis, that
changed when Evelyn Forget, professor of health sciences at the University of
Manitoba gained access to the data in 2009.
Vivian Belik, “A Town Without Poverty?” The Dominion, September 5, 2011. http://www.dominionpaper.ca/articles/4100
Watson voices his take on the guaranteed income by citing a recent study from Laval University that evaluated the labor market effects of multiple economic proposals such as a guarantee of 100% of Statistics Canada’s “Market-basket Measure” of low income. Under this guaranteed income, this study suggests that labor market participation would significantly drop (22% for single men, 19% for single women) and that those in poverty would actually have less income than they do under the current welfare system.
William Watson, “Guaranteed income guarantees poverty,” Financial Post, January 24, 2014. http://opinion.financialpost.com/2014/01/24/william-watson-guaranteed-income-guarantees-poverty/
SUMMARY: Singapore has one of the highest inequality rates
in the world. Could a basic income
guarantee help increase equality in a manner that would be palatable to the
city-state’s business community?
Yap Shiwen, “Basic Income: Resolving Wealth Inequality”, The Online Citizen: A Community of Singapore, January 30, 2014. http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2014/01/basic-income-resolving-wealth-inequality/
More recent literature on BIG can be found on BI News at: http://binews.org/category/bi-literature/
SUMMARY: In an interview with Politicized Radio, Karl Widerquist, philosopher and editor of Basic Income News, introduces us to the concept of a universal basic income, an unconditionally guaranteed payment for everyone. He explains how such a simple program has the potential to eradicate poverty by guaranteeing economic security and giving people more freedom and control in their lives. A guaranteed income has been proven to reduce inequality and free people from exploitation in work, housing and relationships. Without the fear of being hungry and homeless, we can choose the type of work we enjoy, spend less time working, focus on community and personal projects, and take time off for the many valid reasons for not doing paid work. That all makes for a healthier society. Politicized radio asks, “Let me know what you think about this interview. Do you have questions or other perspectives on basic income? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment [on their website].”
Politicized Radio: “Episode 16: Guaranteed Basic Income with Karl Widerquist,” Politicized Radio, January 30, 2014. http://www.theunconventionist.com/2014/01/30/episode-16-guaranteed-basic-income-with-karl-widerquist/
Mike McCarron, “Audio Chatcast: Citizen’s Basic Income: time for Scotland to take a lead.” Centre for Human Ecology, February 10, 2014. http://www.che.ac.uk/2014/02/audio-chatcast-citizens-basic-income-time-for-scotland-to-take-a-lead/
SUMMARY: Co-founder of the Basic Income Initiative in Switzerland Enno Schmidt talks about Basic Income in Germany.
In this slideshow, the European Citizen's Initiative for Universal Basic Income shows the progress it has made in the past year and a half.
Stanislas Jourdan, “2013: The year basic income made it back to the table,” Basic Income Europe, February 3, 2014.
Susanne Wiest, “Wir machen Demokratie [We make democracy]”, Bedingungsloses
Grundeinkommen in Japan und in der Schweiz, January 25 2014. http://www.grundeinkommen.ch/susanne-wiest-wir-machen-demokratie/
Andreas Gross, “Grundeinkommen und Demokratie [Basic Income and Democracy]”, Bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen in Japan und in der Schweiz, January 25 2014. http://www.grundeinkommen.ch/andreas-gross-grundeinkommen-und-demokratie/
SUMMARY: Many people are dissatisfied with their jobs.
Students are pressured into picking a career. Instead of improving quality of
life, we have an 'elbow society', one that prioritises economic growth,
competition and quantity. As this happens, technology is increasing
productivity and making human labour redundant. Enough food can be produced for
nearly double the world's population, yet thousands die of hunger every hour.
“Grundeinkommen - ein Kulturimpuls” is a fast-moving yet thorough analysis of Basic Income, documenting its history, economics, politics and philosophy. The film is peppered with statistics and diagrams, while opinions are shared from sociologists to supermarket workers, bankers to artists, business leaders to the man on the street.
Who would do the dirty work? Who would get out of bed? How would it be paid for? These questions are discussed, along with proposals for a single consumption tax. Income tax could be abolished while value added tax could be made more social. Victories against inequality such as child labour and the vote for women are compared to the struggle for Basic Income. The film concludes that Basic Income will encourage greater creativity, collaboration and meaning in life.
LANGUAGE: German, with English subtitles
Daniel Häni und Enno Schmidt, “Grundeinkommen - ein Kulturimpuls [Basic Income – a cultural impulse]”, September 17 2008. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExRs75isitw&feature=youtu.be
This short video from the early days of the basic income signature gathering campaign within the EU provides an excellent overview of the basic income idea.
MarlenLife, “Not Enough Money for a Living Income?”, Films For Action, February 14, 2014. http://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/basic_income_a_new_human_right/
This video demonstrates home much welfare goes to those who are already well off and discusses the need for a new social contract including a basic income guarantee.
Ananya Roy: "Who is Dependent on Welfare," The GlobalPOV Project, YouTube. Dec 3, 2013. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rtySUhuokM
Yannick Vanderborght (Saint Louis University Brussels, and Basic Income Earth Network) briefly presents the idea of an Unconditional Basic Income at a conference on social cohesion, held at the EU Parliament on February 19, 2014. The audio is dubbed into English. The video includes some PowerPoint slides in French.
Yannick Vanderborght, “Universal basic income and the tensions in social protection,” Basic Income Europe. YouTube. Video From "Social Cohesion in Times of Recession" Conference at the European Parliament, 19 February 2014. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujvTQWpE7c0
Professor Philippe Van Parijs, “UBI – Beautifully, disarmingly simple idea”, Youtube, October 29, 2012. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7nY0UWrSIA
IDEMBasel, “Basic Income The Movie (English subtitles)”, Youtube, December 20, 2013. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViywrpAyVdY#t=51.
An online petition calling for a referendum on a global
carbon tax with a dividend (a form of basic income guarantee) is online on the
Care2 Petition website. The author is Keith McNeill and it is targeted at the
secretary-general of the United Nations.
To see the petition, go to: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/286/384/042/petition-for-a-referendum-on-a-global-carbon-tax/
According to Stan Journal, this link on Reddit.com, List of all established Facebook pages in European Countries as of February 2014: http://www.reddit.com/r/BasicIncome/comments/1xin4z/list_of_all_established_facebook_pages_in/
Editor: Karl Widerquist
The BIEN NewsFlash is the newsletter of the Basic Income Earth Network. It is mailed electronically every two months to over 2,000 subscribers throughout the world. If you would like to be added or removed from the subscription list, please go to: http://www.basicincome.org/bien/subscribe.php.
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Thanks for help with this issue to Cindy L’Hirondelle, Guy Standing, Steve Shafarman, Michael Howard, and others.
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