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Karl Widerquist: “Basic Income’s Third Wave”

Street Art From Wales -OpenDemocracy

According to this article from OpenDemocracy, the drive toward a basic income isn’t new. It’s a 100-year-old movement that has gotten stronger each time inequality has returned to the public discussion.

Originally published as: Karl Widerquist, “Basic Income’s Third Wave,” OpenDemocracy, October 18, 2017

Republished by Basic Income News as: Karl Widerquist, “Basic Income’s Third Wave,” Basic Income News, October 27, 2017



Karl Widerquist

About Karl Widerquist

Karl Widerquist has written 929 articles.

Karl Widerquist is an Associate Professor of political philosophy at SFS-Qatar, Georgetown University, specializing in distributive justice—the ethics of who has what. Much of his work involves Universal Basic Income (UBI). He is a co-founder of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network (USBIG). He served as co-chair of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) for 7 years, and now serves as vice-chair. He was the Editor of the USBIG NewsFlash for 15 years and of the BIEN NewsFlash for 4 years. He is a cofounder of BIEN’s news website, Basic Income News, the main source of just-the-facts reporting on UBI worldwide. He is a cofounder and editor of the journal Basic Income Studies, the only academic journal devoted to research on UBI. Widerquist has published several books and many articles on UBI both in academic journals and in the popular media. He has appeared on or been quoted by many major media outlets, such as NPR’s On Point, NPR’s Marketplace, PRI’s the World, CNBC, Al-Jazeera, 538, Vice, Dissent, the New York Times, Forbes, the Financial Times, and the Atlantic Monthly, which called him “a leader of the worldwide basic income movement.” Widerquist holds two doctorates—one in Political Theory form Oxford University (2006) and one in Economics from the City University of New York (1996). He has published seven books, including Prehistoric Myths in Modern Political Philosophy (Edinburgh University Press 2017, coauthored by Grant S. McCall) and Independence, Propertylessness, and Basic Income: A Theory of Freedom as the Power to Say No (Palgrave Macmillan 2013). He has published more than a twenty scholarly articles and book chapters. Most Karl Widerquist’s writing is available on his “Selected Works” website ( More information about him is available on his BIEN profile and on Wikipedia. He writes the blog "the Indepentarian" for Basic Income News.

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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.


  • Stephen Stillwell

    “Two additional proposals, called ‘quantitative easing for the people’ and ‘helicopter money’, are pushing central banks to stop giving money away to private banks and start giving it directly to every citizen. They believe their proposal would constitute a more equitable and effective economic stimulus programme. Although they do not use the term, distributing money directly to the people is essentially a temporary UBI.”

    This is your treatment of money creation, after the extensive history lesson?

    “Giving” money to private banks, (at near zero interest) is giving money to the people who own the banks… certain people…

    ..distributing the interest paid to create and maintain money directly to the people is a stable, sustainable, and far more valid structure.

    Money, however created, is a claim on the labor of each, the property of each…

    ..neither government nor bank owns the labor of each, so creation of a claim without compensation is theft, and fraud…

    ..that interest is the rightful property of each, and that is the simple claim you refuse to address.. along with the question about why the full faith and credit of white people is more valuable…


  • Yes, I’m aware that people own banks and giving money to them is giving money to their owners, and that’s one reason I’d prefer it to go to every citizen. This is a short article that doesn’t go deeply into any of the topics it mentions in its effort to review 100 years of history in 2800 words . You seem angry about something, but you haven’t said anything I disagree with or that I’m unaware of.

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