Norbert Klein, the leader of the Vrijzinnige Partij (a small Cultural Liberal Party), has organized a debate about basic income in cooperation with the Vereniging Basisinkomen (the Dutch branch of BIEN). The event is scheduled for Thursday, September 1, 2016 from 13:30 to 17:30 in café Dudok, Hofweg 1a, The Hague.

Earlier this year, Norman Klein (pictured) initiated a memorandum for the Members of the Tweede Kamer (Second Chamber of Parliament). “The labour market is changed fundamentally. The introduction of new, innovative concepts like a basic income is urgently needed to prevent large scale social inequality and social unrest by providing everyone of a secure, adequate income,” he argues in his memo called Zeker Flexibel (Security and Flexibility).

On September 19 (the first day of the 9th International Basic Income Week), this memorandum will be discussed with the Minister for Social Affairs and Employment, Lodewijk Asscher (of the Partij van de Arbeid or Labour Party) and the members of the Committee for Social Affairs and Employment of the Second Chamber of Parliament. The discussion is open to the public, and all are encouraged to attend.

Before this meeting, Mr. Klein wishes to discuss the “sense and nonsense” of an unconditional basic income with the general public. Thus, he organized the debate at café Dudok, which will feature the following participants:

  • Reinier Castelein, chairman of the union De Unie (The Union). Castelein recently published a book entitled Welzijn is de nieuwe welvaart (Well-Being is the New Prosperity), in which he argues for the introduction of a basic income.
  • Ben Ligteringen, secretary of the Economy Working Group of GreenLeft (a green political party). In a recent statement on policy advice, the Working Group expresses strong opposition to the idea of a basic income, out of both financial and social reasons. Mr. Ligteringen instead supports the idea that municipalities should create “basic jobs” for the unemployed and that such workers should be paid the minimum legal wage. These jobs would bring benefit claimants back into the world of work and allow them to participate in society. The Economy Working Group fears that the costs of a basic income are too high, and that it will provide less benefit for society at large in comparison to a “basic jobs” program.
  • Alexander de Roo, new chairman of the Vereniging Basisinkomen (The Dutch branch of BIEN). Along with Philippe van Parijs and Guy Standing, De Roo was one of the co-founders of BIEN in 1986. He proceeded to serve as BIEN’s Treasurer until 2004. De Roo was also a founding member of GreenLeft (the Dutch Green Party) in The Netherlands during the 1980s. From 1999 to 2004 he was a Member of the GreenLeft section of the European Parliament.
  • Raymond Gradus, professor of Public Economics and Administration at the Free University (VU University) in Amsterdam and former Director of the Research institute for the CDA (Christian Democratic Appeal). Gradus has published several articles in which he argues against basic income from the principle that each individual has the obligation to contribute to society “according to his ability”. He is convinced that the basic income does the opposite and is therefore a bad instrument to inspire participation in society. Mr. Gradus advocates a “participation income” instead.

About Florie Barnhoorn

Florie Barnhoorn has written 11 articles.