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NEW BOOK: Guy Standing, Basic Income: And How We Can Make it Happen

BIEN co-founder and honorary co-president Guy Standing (also Professorial Research Associate at SOAS) has written a new introduction to basic income, Basic Income: And How We Can Make It Happen. The book has been published by Pelican Books, a well-known publisher of nonfiction works intended to be accessible to a broad audience in both content and cost.

As the publisher describes the book: “Guy Standing has been at the forefront of thought about Basic Income for the past thirty years, and in this book he covers in authoritative detail its effects on the economy, poverty, work and labour; dissects and disproves the standard arguments against Basic Income; explains what we can learn from pilots across the world and illustrates exactly why a Basic Income has now become such an urgent necessity.”

Commenting on Standing’s latest book, journalist Paul Mason states, “Guy Standing has pioneered our understanding of [basic income] — not just of the concept but of the challenges it is designed to meet: rapid automation and the emergence of a precarious workforce for whom wages derived from work will never be enough. As we move into an age where work and leisure become blurred, and work dissociated from incomes, Standing’s analysis is vital.”

Basic Income: And How We Can Make It Happen will be released on May 4, with a free launch event to be held at the London School of Economics (LSE) on May 8. The event will be chaired by Mike Savage of the LSE’s International Inequalities Institute.

Standing’s last book, The Corruption of Capitalism (July 2016), generated widespread global attention, as did his previous works on the precariat.

Reviewed by Cameron McLeod

Guy Standing photo, credit: Enno Schmidt.

About Kate McFarland

Kate McFarland has written 512 articles.

Former lead writer and editor of 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.


  • Serf Jester

    Excellent book concept! It moves the discussion from “why” to “it’s on.. bitches!” Hehe.

    • Serf Jester

      I mean– this new human right would liberate so much. It would be so liberating. The right to say ‘no’ takes away so much baggage and gives real freedom in a way that is unfathomable. But it goes even beyond that, because it enables people to be socialist in spirit. And that would definitely solve this apathy/disingenuity/nihilism crisis which has plagued at least the aspects of American life I’ve encountered. And that is a thing that exists parallel to the precariat, I think. Guy Standing and Robert Reich are on the right side of history. Count. Me. In. Too.

  • Mike van Wyk

    Congratulations Professor Guy Standing
    Your new book will take the conversation in the right direction – that is to bring practical solutions to the fore, with the emphasis on an economic model that proves the workability of UBI in what can best be described as the ‘stagnant pond’ of current economic thinking. Practical, workable economic solutions began in the early 1920’s with the work of Major C.H. Douglas and his ideas surrounding Social Credit, which were based on his experience researching what was already then emerging as a problem – in-balance between wages, profit taking and price of goods being generated with the economy. He determined that if the purchasing parity gap continued increasing between the purchasing power of real wages in relation to profit taking and the price of goods at the other end, would not be economically sustainable. His model presented a very practical way to correct flow of money within the economy which still hold true today. The economic problem he had the insight to recognise as a major problem in 1920’s, continues unabated in the 21 century. BIEN, as had C.H. Douglas, brings a solution to the economics that has merit – as did Social Credit. What is required, is a workable model that can be justified in economic terms in that it works for the majority as well as the elite within society. Practical insights based on your work and observations on UBI pilots, will go a long way in providing sensible solutions into how UBI can be successfully implemented into the current economic landscape. The present state of economic stagnation and the lack of sensible, practicable solutions from governments and capitalists alike, have created a situation that if not addressed soon, will create a humanitarian crisis the world last witnessed in the 1930’s – this could have been avoided, if economists took CH Douglas serious in the 1920’s. The Great Depression would not have occurred with all the suffering it brought throughout the world. ‘QE’ in Japan, USA and Europe has demonstrated that extra-ordinary monetary stimulus can be workable, so as to prevent an economic ‘melt-down’ – however ‘QE’ was applied at the wrong end of the economic spectrum – it should have been applied to the base of the economy. UBI if implemented correctly, will have a far reaching stabilising effect on economic stability and social stability – giving real meaning and power to the term ‘citizen’. UBI will re-orientate economic power back in the hands of the citizen – where it should be. At the moment we have an economic elite that have absolute control over the citizen without any benefit stemming from such power of control. UBI addresses a human rights issue, not just a economic issue. As governments proved that they do have the will and power to decree extra-ordinary economic solutions, such as ‘QE’ – gives credence that if governments work together, they do have the power to decree implementation of a credible solution such as UBI. To support the base of each economy globally. UBI must become a global economic construct, applied to the base of all economies as an new economic norm. A new workable global economic model needs to be envisioned, that has a citizens first approach – anything less than that will not be workable or moral.

  • Ciarán Carroll


    I’ve written a proposal for a variant of UBI that is testable, implementable and politically tenable:

    I would greatly appreciate feedback.

    Thanks & Regards,

    • Ciaran:

      Having written a book (“Fixing Everything”) and gotten little feedback [one person mentioned a spelling error but otherwise no comment], I read your article with the intention of giving feedback because you requested it.

      I call myself a “practical libertarian” and believe a UBI must be limited to poverty level support only. Too many people leave it undefined, which is a mistake, because once you pass beyond the sweet spot of getting people out of poverty, support disappears from those who matter. Fear of total redistribution of wealth is the primary reason a UBI will fail.

      But let’s get to my comments.

      First of all, I think your view of capitalism and its failures is limited. Capitalism should not be viewed as big corporation vs. little guy. Capitalism is much more personal. One person has knowledge, skill, or a product that the other party needs. They mutually agree on a price. If both parties do not gain from the transaction, no transaction occurs. Frequently, when a transaction takes place, both thank the other for improving their relative position.

      One of the advantages of a poverty level UBI is that neither party is destitute and forced to take a bad deal.

      Your proposal indicates that there are things that “need” to be done, and to accomplish those tasks there should be a second system where parties barter for services. This would be managed by some third party (government?) who would make sure contributions are equalized.

      In effect you are setting up a competing system to the capitalist system. Rather than a monetary exchange for services, you expect people to supply their services with the expectation that somehow their efforts will be later rewarded. Not going to happen.

      Money replaces barter in every exchange, because a fair price can be agreed upon. It is far more difficult to value cutting ones lawn by how much hamburger you receive in exchange. The individual monitoring all the transactions effectively become a central planner, and we know how well that has worked out. Even a communist system has assigned prices that relate to market prices, but are often distorted by the planner’s sense of what is “needed”. The free market determines what is needed by how much people are willing to pay. If no one wants your service at the price you request, you must modify the price or improve the service.

      Keep trying. My views have changed a lot since I started writing 10 years ago.

  • Patrick Carey.

    Thank you Guy.It is a reassurance much needed that the voice of educated truth be heard and read once again rather than the, “Once upon a time,long before the great post truth epoch began”.

  • Juan Botero

    This is so ironic: ”
    Basic Income: And How We Can Make It Happen (Pelican Introductions)4 May 2017 | Kindle eBook
    by Guy Standing
    This title is available to UK customers only.

  • Wallace Nevin

    I would like to meet Prof. Guy Standing to discuss the Basic Income Supplement and how it would help the Mi’kmaq of Canada. Here in our region of Eastern Canada our income are small, a single person in our First Nation Communities receives $4,160.00 per year. This income has not changed in 30 years. In some areas of Canada they get more and other areas they get less. Many of political leaders get tax free six figure salaries and the salaries for Aboriginal Affairs unionized civil servants is so disproportionate to the poor aboriginal population. The natural resources of this land is still considered ours’, but mistreatment in our country has left us a beggars.

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