A New Play about Thomas Paine

A New Play about Thomas Paine

Guest Contributor: Jeffery J. Smith, co-founder of the US Green Party and author of the play

Thomas Paine—not Tom Paine as his detractors addressed him—added his voice to the chorus of prominent thinkers calling for an extra income for everyone sourced from ground rent. In the 18th century, Paine’s was a popular voice, inspiring revolt everywhere. His opponents dubbed his career “the Age of Paine”.

Leading reformers advanced “physiocracy” (nature’s rule). To them, it was obvious that the distribution of natural rent created class, decided one’s wealth vs one’s poverty, and conferred political power as consistently as a natural law. Physiocrats dominated debate in the three nations where Paine promoted justice.

In France, Quesnay and Turgot formulated “l’impot unique” (the single tax) on land. Mirabeau the Elder prophesied their discovery would be a “social advance equal to the inventions of writing and money.” (The equal of fire, too?) Voltaire’s character Candide declared, “The fruits of the earth are a common heritage of all, to which each man has equal right.” Rousseau added, “You are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to no one.” The first French Republic used land rent exclusively until the cost of war impelled them to tax commerce, too.

In Britain, Adam Smith wrote, “Ground rents seem a more proper subject of peculiar taxation.” William Blackstone judged “The earth, therefore, and all things therein, are the general property of all mankind.”

In America, two famous friends of Paine shared the same belief. Thomas Jefferson: “Everyone may have land to labor for himself may exact for it such compensation as not only to afford a comfortable subsistence, but wherewith to provide for a cessation from labor in old age.” Benjamin Franklin, bankrupted by his speculation in land (bailed out by friends), converted to physiocracy. Today, the US Social Security Administration recognizes Paine’s proposal as the precursor of the Social Security pension. 

Paine’s Common Sense spurred the American colonies to rebel, his American Crisis kept them at it while the war went against them. For these achievements—plus Rights of Man, Age of Reason, and Agrarian Justice—the US Congress bestows the Thomas Paine Award upon authors of clear, inspiring political prose.

In our era, it’d not be books but other media that’d shift a popular paradigm, likely entertainment media. Recall how Gandhi helped the anti-nuclear weapons movement, what Malcolm X did for civil rights, what Milk did for gay marriage, etc. A movie about Paine could do the same for an extra income for all.

A step toward the silver screen is a new stage play, Tom Paine’s Bones, which unlike previous attempts, relates his exciting life—he faced death seven times—in order to reveal his humanitarian ethics as a way to convey his geonomic policies. That is, entertain to enlighten.

To bring the play to your town and enjoy a night at the theater, please get in touch. To help make its premiere in Portland Oregon a success, join the crowd funding campaign. Thanks for you consideration.

2023 BIEN Congress: Call for papers

2023 BIEN Congress: Call for papers

Article by Minseo Cho

The 22nd BIEN Congress will be held in Seoul and Jeonnam, Korea in an online and offline hybrid form, from August 23 to 26, 2023. We invite academics, researchers, policy makers, advocates and activists interested in UBI.

The theme of the Congress is “Basic Income in Reality”. With this theme, we want to make it a contest to look at the lessons left by the basic income movement and agenda, such as the various basic income pilots and institutionalization efforts that have been attempted so far, and to seek a future directions for a new start.

We hope the 22nd BIEN Congress could serve as a forum for rich discussions with academics, researchers, policy makers, activists, and supporters interested in basic income. Please mark your calendars, spread the word, and consider submitting a proposal. Application deadline for the papers to be presented is March 31, 2023. You could apply here: https://biencongress2023.org/call-for-papers

Videos of two lectures at the 2022 FRIBIS Annual Conference

Videos of two lectures at the 2022 FRIBIS Annual Conference

Enno Schmidt filmed two outstanding presentations at the 2022 Freiburg Institute for Basic Income Studies (FRIBIS) Conference “Basic Income and Development” this past October. He has prepared two summaries together with a video link for each of them:

Sarath Davala, BIEN Chair, gave the opening keynote address,Towards a Basic Income Society: what humankind needs to do before we get there.

Miriam Laker-Oketta, research director of GiveDirectly, the world’s largest basic income project, made a presentation entitled Basic Income and its role in addressing climate change and biodiversity loss.

2023 BIG Conference Call for Proposals

2023 BIG Conference Call for Proposals

The 21st annual BIG Conference will be held in Chicago, June 8-9, 2023. The theme for the 2023 BIG Conference is Building Momentum Across the Movement, with a focus on the following areas: Building Intersectional Coalitions, Shifting Culture and Narratives, and Nurturing a Diverse Policy Landscape.
Please mark your calendars, spread the word, and consider submitting a proposal.

Submit your proposal by 20 January 2023: to do so start by clicking here.

Here is the conference website: https://www.thebigconference.org/

Hybrid Evening Lecture by Prof. Dr. Philippe van Parijs: 19 January 2023

Hybrid Evening Lecture by Prof. Dr. Philippe van Parijs: 19 January 2023

On Thursday, the 19th of January 2023, Prof. Dr. Philippe van Parijs (UCLouvain) gives an evening lecture in the FRIBIS Lecture Series on “A world in crisis: boost or damper for basic income?“

Abstract: Some argue that global warming, the Covid pandemic and the war in Ukraine strengthen the case in favour of the introduction of an unconditional basic income. Others argue instead that they shatter the prospect of introducing it in the foreseeable future. Who is right?

Find more information and a Zoom link click here.

FRIBIS Winter School with Phillipe van Parijs

FRIBIS Winter School with Phillipe van Parijs

The Freiburg Institute for Basic Income Studies (FRIBIS) is inviting you to the first FRIBIS winter school, entitled “Today’s global challenges and the UBI debate”, and under the guidance of Philippe van Parijs, from January 16th to 20th 2023. Over the five days, the participants will focus on whether today’s big challenges, such as the climate crisis, the pandemic and international tensions and conflicts, put UBI on the back burner or provide grounds for its growth.

Read more and apply here.