The North American Basic Income Guarantee (NABIG) Congress will take place in New York, June 15-16, 2019. The deadline for presentation proposals has been extended to March 1. Asked about the Congress, former coordinator Karl Widerquist said, “I’m going for the 18th time in a row. If you can make it to New York this summer, meet me there.”
Karl Widerquist, co-chair of the Basic Income Earth Network and long time Basic Income advocate, will give six talks in five days in the United Kingdom.
He will discuss Basic Income at a graduate student seminar at the University of Edinburgh, in Edinburgh Scotland from 11:00 to 12:00 on January 26. This event is invitation only.
At 16:00 to 18:00 that day, Widerquist will participate in a launch of his new book, Prehistoric Myths in Modern Political Philosophy (Edinburgh University Press, 2017, coauthored by Grant S. McCall of Tulane University). Widerquist will offer an overview of the book, followed by comments from Dr Leila Sinclair Bright (Anthropology, University of Edinburgh), Dr Simon Hope (Philosophy, University of Stirling) and a Q and A. The event is sponsored by the Foundations of Normativity Project at at University of Edinburgh. It will take place at S1 in 7 George Square, Edinburgh and will be followed by a wine reception sponsored by Edinburgh University Press. More information and preregistration is available online at Eventbrite.
On Saturday, January 28, Widerquist will speak twice at the Conference, “Basic Income: Real Social Security,” Kelty Community Centre, Kelty, 10:30 – 14:00. This event will be the launch of the Citizens Basic Income Network Scotland (CBINS) and will investigate the feasibility of a citizen’s income for local politics in Fife. It will be attended by more than 100 people. Other speakers at the event include Ronnie Cowan and Alex Rowley, both members of the Scottish National Parliament; Professor Mike Danson, Heriot-Watt University; Maggie Chapman, of Scottish Green Party; Paul Vaughn, Head of Community and Corporate Development, Fife; and many others. A news report at Common Space, entitled “Fife to open investigation into citizen’s income as MP attends launch event,” has additional information about the upcoming event.
On Monday, January 30, Widerquist will deliver a public lecture entitled, “Basic Income: the centrepiece of a just society,” as part of an event from 13:00 to 15:00 at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). The event is hosted by Steady State Manchester and the Research Center for Social Change and Community Wellbeing at MMU. Details about Widerquist’s lecture, including registration information, are available on EventBrite. The event is free and open on the public.
Finally, Widerquist will present again on his latest book, Prehistoric Myths in Modern Political Philosophy, at the Politics department in the Arthur Lewis Building at Manchester University from 16:00 to 17:30. This event is invitation only.
This book only mentions Basic Income once, but it’s on the last page of the book, and in a way, the entire book leads up to an argument for Basic Income. The name, Prehistoric Myths in Modern Political Philosophy, refers to the belief that everyone is better off in a society with government and/or private land- and resource-ownership. The book shows that this claim is an essential premise in the social contract justification of the state and most Lockean, liberal or libertarian justifications of private property. It shows how theorists have repeated this claim for hundreds of years, but they seldom if ever provide any evidence of it. The widespread belief in this claim seems to stem from the colonial prejudice that all “civilized men” are better off than all “savages.”
Grant S. McCall
This book then examines anthropological and archaeological evidence to show that this claim is false. Some people in contemporary capitalist states are worse off than they would likely be in a small-scale society with neither government nor private landownership. The promise of the social contract and the so-called “Lockean proviso” is unfulfilled, not because people in small-scale societies are well off—their lives are poor and difficult—but because the lives of the most disadvantaged people in capitalist states are even poorer and more difficult. As long as this is so, the state and the property rights system are unjust in terms of the main theories that have been used to justify them for the last 350 years. The book concludes that the best way to right this wrong and to justify government and property rights is to introduce a basic income.
This book will be released in January 2017 by Edinburgh University press. But a preliminary draft is online now.
Karl Widerquist and Grant S. McCall. Prehistoric Myths in Modern Political Philosophy. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, January 2017
This article, originally published in 2006, has been re-released on the author because of the renewed importance of automation in the basic income debate
Abstract: This article draws lessons about the automation revolution by looking back at predictions John Maynard Keynes made back in 1928 about what technological innovation could do for humanity. Keynes rightly predicted the enormous economic growth the economy would experience for the rest of the twentieth century but wrongly predicted that it would greatly reduce the work week. This article examines how he got it so right and so wrong, and uses that examination to draw lessons about dealing with the automation revolution today. Automation is nothing new. Its potential—both to improve life and to disrupt people’s lives—as been accumulating for hundreds of years. Far too often we have allowed technological innovation to disrupt the labor market without allowing most people to take full advantage of the benefits it makes possible.