Jamie Cooke, Head of RSA Scotland, will deliver a TEDx talk titled “Basic income – Scotland’s radical chance to lead the world (again)” in Glasgow on June 2, 2017.

TEDxGlasgow provides the following summary:

The welfare state, built for a different age, is crumbling.

As films such as I, Daniel Blake’ have vividly demonstrated, a system designed to support and protect people at moments of vulnerability in their lives has been warped into one which uses sanctions to punish and control. As wages have stagnated, jobs have changed and incomes have been unpredictable, we have seen the growth of a section of society which Guy Standing calls the ‘Precariat’, living precarious, insecure lives. In turn, we have seen dangerous forces start to harness these insecurities, fuelling the rise of the far right in various parts of the world.

It’s a depressing picture, but there is hope – and Scotland, once again, has a chance to act as a beacon of enlightenment.

Glasgow is leading the way on developing basic income pilots, radical schemes to change the way we envisage work, income and our place in society; and in which we fundamentally shift the relationship between the citizen and state.

In this talk, Jamie will outline some of the positive paths we could take, and the role that basic income could play in creating a radically different Glasgow and Scotland.

For more information about the upcoming TEDxGlasgow event, including biographies and talk summaries of other speakers, see: https://www.tedxglasgow.com/speakers/.


Scotland is already becoming a hotbed of interest in basic income.

Earlier in the year, the City Council of Glasgow partnered with the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) to investigate designs for a basic income pilot program. At present, the Council and RSA are working on a study of the financial, administrative, and constitutional feasibility of a pilot in Glasgow. Workshops on the topics are planned in June and July 2017, with a report to follow in September.

Other regions in Scotland, including the council areas of Fife and North Ayrshire, are also exploring the possibility of basic income pilot programs.

A Scottish affiliate of BIEN, Citizen’s Basic Income Network Scotland, was launched in November 2016.

Reviewed by Genevieve Shanahan

Photo: Sunrise over Glasgow, CC BY 2.0 john mcsporran