Seoul, on June 3, 2011, the Basic Income Korean Network(BIKN), in conjunction with Cultural Action and the Institute of Land and Liberty, held a symposium titled Ecology, Land Tax, Culture, and Basic Income as a part of the 5th Marx Communale that took place in Seoul National University.
Part I of the symposium, Culture Society and Basic Income, began with the presentation of Basic Income, a Virtuous Circle of Labor and Culture by Prof. Kwang-Hyun Shim of Korea National University of Arts. Despite admitting that basic income is the only perceived medium of making a radical change in an ever-automating society, Shim argued that an incomplete implementation of basic income – one without a strong, organized cultural movement – is risky, since it might merely augment market fundamentalism by granting more purchasing power. Debated topics included how basic income will/should change the boundary of labor and creative activity.
Part II (Ecology, Land Tax, and Basic Income) approached one of the most notorious social problems of South Korea – the land price. Begun with a presentation titled Ecological Society and Basic Income by Prof. Jeong-Im Kwon of the University of Seoul, it proceeded to the argument for land value taxation by Gi-Up Nam, president of the Institute of Land and Liberty. Laying a moral and economic foundation to taxing one of the largest unearned income in South Korea, Nam claimed the scheme to be an alternative to basic income. Nam-Hoon Kang, professor of economics at Hanshin University and the representative of BIKN, asserted a model where the positive effects of land value taxation and basic income is seamlessly combined, simply by funding basic income with land value taxation.
The event was a success, with the venue packed by an eager audience for five hours. Marx Communale is a biennial academic festival held by South Korean researchers and artists studying various theories originated by Karl Marx. The fifth Communale, Contemporary Capitalism and Life, was a three-day event from June 2 to June 4.
-Report by Han Don-Son, for the Basic Income Korean Network (BIKN)