An Interview with Tim Dunlop (Part Two)

An Interview with Tim Dunlop (Part Two)

Interview by Scott Jacobsen

*Conducted via email with minor edits.*

 

The economy has shifted into high gear for knowledge and ability, the currently labeled Knowledge Economy concomitant with the Fourth Industrial Revolution. How has this affected inequality based on standard metrics of knowledge and ability, such as credentials from post-secondary institutions in relevant disciplines?

 

It has pretty much always been the case that an education will help you get a better job, with better pay and conditions. This is still basically true, though we are seeing even amongst the highly educated longer periods of unemployment, a failure to get “good” jobs, and increasing insecurity in the work that they do get. Why? Because we just don’t need the same number of people employed in order to make the economy work. By all means, get a great education, but look at it as much as an investment in developing yourself so that you will have a meaningful life as in getting a good job. Because maybe there is no job to be got.

 

You have argued for some form of Universal Basic Income (UBI) as fundamental to the “progressive civic” and “economic reinvention.” What are other terms or phrases for ideas associated with, but not the same as, UBI? What characterizes them?

 

There are a number forms of basic income, not all of them universal. A common one is the idea of a negative income tax. So instead of paying tax, you are paid an allowance, but as you move back into work, get a job, the amount you are paid tapers, until finally you are back to paying tax. The real difference between this and a UBI is that it tries to integrate the allowance with the labor market whereas UBI tries to establish an income independent of it.

 

What makes the UBI plan of action unique?

 

I guess at heart it is the way it has the potential to break the nexus between remuneration and a job. It recognizes that many of the things we do as citizens and individuals fall outside the normal parameters of paid work but that nonetheless those things we do — from caring for children to volunteering with community organizations or political parties or sports groups — are valuable to society and so it makes sense to recognize that contribution. It also empowers workers to be able to say no to crap jobs offered on a take-it-or-leave-it basis.

 

What are the most common success stories of UBI or similar programs? Any failures? 

 

Every trial of UBI I know of has been successful in that it has dispelled one of the biggest myths about giving people a no-strings-attached income, namely, that people become lazy and do nothing. Every trial shows almost the exact opposite. One of the most comprehensive trials is the one I talk about in my book, run by UNICEF in India. But similar positive results have been shown in other trials, including the one in New Jersey run by the Nixon Administration.

 

What city seems the most progressive and forward-thinking in its implementation of UBI?

 

Hard to say. A number of cities, including Utrecht in the Netherlands, are running trials, as are a couple of cities in Canada and Finland. I think this is great. It builds momentum and adds to the data supporting implementation on a larger scale.

 

What country seems the most progressive and forward-thinking in its implementation of UBI?

 

I guess Finland, but I think there are some issues with the route they have decided to take. They have chosen to test a partial rather than a full version. Still, it is good to see a national government move in this direction, however tentatively.

 

Any advice for would-be policymakers or activists about strategies for the implementation of UBI?

 

Gather data through trials. With trials, implement them with populations that will receive conservative support. In Australia, that might include rural communities, including farmers. Don’t pitch it as “free money” because it isn’t. Don’t let that description stand. Educate people about the notion of universality and why, in a democracy, it is important that everyone is entitled to certain benefits. Reach out across ideological divides, right and left. Involve business in discussions. Lobby for corporations to set aside a percentage of stock to be held by the government as part of the common wealth. It’s going to be a hard sell, so the sooner you start, the better!

And this raises the major piece of advice I would give: don’t oversell the idea of Universal Basic Income.  As important a tool as it is likely to be for dealing with technological unemployment, it will not by itself solve the various social and economic problems that beset us and we should be careful not to suggest that it will.

This is the Korean version of the text.

An Interview with Tim Dunlop (Part Two)

An Interview with Tim Dunlop (Part One)

Interview by Scott Jacobsen

*Conducted via email with minor edits.*

 

You write on the future of work. What is the future of work? Where will humans find meaningful and fulfilling lives with or without work?

 

The future of work will see continued technological pressure on the paying jobs that humans do. This will change the nature of work, it will eliminate many jobs, and create some new ones. Humans will continue to do the things that only humans can do well — being creative, imaginative, empathetic, playful and social — and do less of the things that machines can do better than us. That will include everything from building things, digging things, and driving things, to researching and data crunching.

 

People are already involved in much meaningful work, and that meaningful work is not always their job. Sometimes it is, however, and the loss of such jobs — and therefore meaning — from people’s lives will be difficult to deal with. What we have to ensure is that people are financially supported even if they don’t have a job so that they can continue not just to exist but to engage in work that is meaningful to them. We have to destroy this notion that you are only a good citizen if you have a job: before it destroys us. I have enormous faith in our ability to find meaning even in a world where technology does a lot of the jobs we do now.

 

Your new book, Why the Future is Workless, describes a workless future. One powerful collective force (aside from potential nuclear catastrophe and climate change) looms into the immediate future: the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Your book is about technology, and the social and political effects of such technology in a world after work. What probable outcomes will emerge from the Fourth Industrial Revolution by 2025 and 2045?

 

We’ll see not just a change in the nature of work but in social relations. Services will replace products, something that has already happened with movies and music. This will likely happen with cars too, amongst other things. People will look to have experiences rather than to own things. Many everyday things will become cheaper, almost to the point of being free: zero marginal cost, as the economists say. Technology will get smarter and we will move from dealing with the web via direct questions typed into a search engine to talking with the tech on an ongoing basis, as we are seeing with services like Amazon Echo and Google Home. Whether this will all be a boon or a burden for people will depend on how we deal with these changes politically. We have to make choices to create a fair world: it won’t just happen.

 

What is happening now, especially with things like Amazon Go?

 

We are seeing the start of a lot of this stuff already, as with Amazon Go. So we are right at the bottom of the change curve, entering a change of era, not merely an era of change. The real change will happen when powerful, cheap processors are embedded in things — fridges, sidewalks — and they are all networked. It will be a different world. Again, though, it’s important to stress: this might be heaven or hell, depending on how we handle the politics.

 

How can automation and machines release human beings from the drudgery of hard labour, whether physical (open to the elements) or mental (repetitive, simple tasks)?

 

They will make things cheaper and more ubiquitous. We will move from scarcity to plenty.  Technology will turn products into services. It will create enormous wealth. The question becomes: how do we distribute that wealth, especially if a lot of paying jobs disappear.

 

How do you propose to deal with growing inequality in the world?

 

Via a reinvention of distribution. We will need taxes on global financial flows and the implementation of systems that require corporations to stop freeloading off the social wealth created by governments and citizens (this is an idea put forward by Yanis Varoufakis). Corporations will be required to provide a percentage of their capital value as a kind of common stock, revenue from which is then distributed to all of us, probably in the form of some sort of basic income. We will also need shorter working hours, without loss of pay or conditions.

 

Neoliberal economists assume the creation of new jobs as a given, but you disagree. That is, some neoliberal economists assert ‘if jobs go, they will come back’ – while you think this is not necessarily so. Why?

 

The nature of the economy is changing. We are shifting from scarcity to plenty, from industrial to knowledge, and from long working hours to short. In such an economy, we simply don’t need as many people doing things — jobs — as we did in the past in order to create the stuff we need. Sure, there will be new jobs, they just won’t need many people to do them. We already have huge populations surplus to the requirements of the economy (as the economists say) and they are refugees, prisoners, the unemployed, the under-employed, and the 800 million people subsisting in the slums on the edges of some of our great cities. Paid employment is already becoming a really bad way of distributing wealth and we should stop pretending that the jobs will “come back” and make everything all right again. We have to come up with a better idea than “jobs”.

This is the Korean version of the text.

BIEN Stories: Louise Haagh

BIEN Stories: Louise Haagh

Louise Haagh (BIEN Co-Chair)

I first came across basic income in summer of 2001 when instructed about it by Workers’ Party Senator Eduardo Suplicy, at his home in São Paulo. I was doing research on workers’ rights, at the same time undertaking a survey of economic security among residents in poor and middle-income districts (published in World Development, 2011a). Eduardo famously played a key role in the drive to legalise a basic income as a policy goal in Brazil, and in presenting the extension of targeted cash grants as a step towards it (Suplicy, 2002). Eduardo was insistent that I do not go home that evening till I mastered all there was to know about reasons for basic income and how the path towards it was being paved in Brazil. Night fell. I remember enjoying more than a few helpings of food and tea, before Eduardo was satisfied I understood, after which – the gentleman that he is – he accompanied me to somewhere I could hail a cab, making sure to have a long friendly chat with the driver before we were sent off into the night.

The basic income appealed to me then primarily as a necessary foundation for consolidating workers’ rights – and in many ways that is still how I see it, but in a broader context of rights to human development. I had been working on workers’ rights and issues of economic citizenship since the early 1990s, during my PhD on Chile and later work on South Korea, both places I spent a lot of time and in which I did surveys of workers’ condition of precarity and their institutional sources of power. Against this background I was struck by the sanity – the immediately obvious justification for basic income. It seemed to me evident that the most important justification was a basic humanist and democratic one – and I still think that today.

Coming to the BI proposal from the perspective of workers’ movements, and in general the problem of the democratisation of everyday institutions, gives a different perspective on the political character of a BI reform. Above all, it makes it evident that BI intersects with other institutional and political challenges. This is something I am very conscious of when thinking about the question of how a BI might extend the social bases of freedom.

The sense in which I first found BI intuitively important was in relation to occupational freedom. I had been studying the economic liberalisation and institutional restructuring of the Chilean economy during the years of Pinochet and found that the precariousness among workers it generated, both economically and institutionally, had become embedded in a way that the new democratic regime of 1990 could not overturn (Haagh 2002a, 1999). The result, I argued (Haagh, 2002b), was that Chile deepened political rights without this leading to the expected deepening of social rights, given the absence of economic rights. This marked an evident contrast to the formation of welfare states in Europe in the 20th century, as discussed in T.H. Marshall (1949). Before I knew about basic income – during the mid-1990s – I had been working on a concept of ‘occupational citizenship’ – first in my PhD and then during a later British Academy post-doctoral fellowship at Oxford University. Essentially, what sparked my enquiry was the contradiction within liberal economic theory – so manifest in the labour market outcomes I studied in Chile – between the expectation of worker mobility– and the lack of underlying forms of economic security – in the forms both of money and services – that would make this sustainable.

I argued the atomised labour market regime not only predictably led to weak investment in skills, and thus a low-wage, low–skill equilibrium economy (Haagh 1999). In addition, it undermined workers’ freedom in a way that denied them effective citizenship within the polity at large (Haagh 2002a,b).

Having theorised a ‘gap’ in terms of absence of occupational citizenship (Haagh 1999, 2002a), it seemed obvious to me that basic income (BI) would be a necessary but not sufficient element in improving persons’ control of their lives.

There are important lessons from Latin America about the political conditions for a BI reform that are important to consider as the debate on BI is gaining force in Europe today. These are of both a practical and analytical kind. Like the case of Chile’s in part stunted democratization, the story of BI in Latin America is not a straightforward one of cash grants turning into rights (Lo Vuolo 2013). Similarly, one cannot be sure prospective transitions into partial forms of basic income through experimentation in Europe will turn into secure bastions of freedom, given the overall context of austerity and preceding roll-back of public sector protections (Haagh 2015).

It is ironic to think that Friedman – who advocated a form of constant basic security in the shape of the Negative Income Tax essentially on freedom grounds as rooted in an idea of independence – also indirectly was architect of Chile’s economic experiment.[1] The irony lies in the fact that that experiment was not complemented with a set of basic rights outside the market. On the contrary, deregulation of unions’ functions – detailed in Haagh (2002a,b) – along with other mechanisms of economic security, was paralleled with the implementation a state organised system of individual insurance, too weakly subsidized to afford real protection (Haagh 2002a, 2006). Given the underlying precarity of workers’ income streams, the individual insurance model was unable to offer effective cover.

The case of Chile shows why basic income has moral appeal, yet the basis of that appeal that lie in destabilisation, precarity, inequality, and loss of workers’ democratic rights may not be a likely political basis for a sustainable BI reform. Moreover, time has shown that in conditions of high inequality and weaker public finances, such as in Latin America, political preferences are likely to continue to be for targeted and conditional benefits (Lo Vuolo 2013, Haagh 2007, 2011a, 2013, Haagh and Helgø 2002).

The practical contradiction – as demonstrated in Chile – between the two seemingly symbiotic elements of Friedman’s advocacy, for economic liberalisation, and for basic security, is then not that surprising from a political and institutional perspective.

This is because the destabilisation of institutions that the first project entails destroys the basis for everyday cooperation within society that gives legitimacy to the second project to extend universal rights. Although Friedman did not see the Negative Income Tax as a welfare right, but as a kind of money mechanism to promote agency and ensure against basic risk, even something ostensibly simple like the NIT, depends on quite complex institutional development and political agreements. The fact that Friedman did not like the welfare state does not mean it did and does not exist in the United States. It is its more hierarchical – interclass-distributive- form that makes it more incoherent and punitive (Haagh 2012, 2015).

In short, the conditions of precarity in Latin America – now more common in the developed world – showed me why basic income is morally necessary for the market economy (as Friedman knew), but not itself sufficient for freedom in a democratic polity.

The Chilean case also showed me that the moral appeal of basic income is not the same as a political foundation for basic income reform. The two may even be contradictory if moral appeal is linked with conditions of crisis and compensation, as distinct from equality as equal standing in a more complex sense, which gives to BI a key but partial role in democratising institutions’ form.

For me it is very important to stress the compatibility of basic income and the interests of workers’ movements. The demands made by workers’ organisations historically can be argued to have played a transitional role in a process of democratisation to consolidate more universal rights. At the same time, the interests they channel in terms of institutions’ stability and democratic form represents something constant and deeper. This is important to remember today when – in a context of growing precarity in the developed world – there is a risk that the defence of basic income comes to be thought about as compensation for loss of – or an exchange for – other rights.

Coming back to that evening in 2001, it was not at all a surprise to me then that it was a Senator of a Workers’ Party advocating for basic income who was trying to convince me of the. To me, it was intuitive that workers’ movements should and would embrace the idea – at least in the context of a family of rights-based institutional changes. Having come to BI via work on unions, I was therefore quite surprised when – after going to the BIEN Congress in Geneva in 2002 – I became aware of the polemical nature of the BI debate concerning the relationship of that proposal and the established welfare state – hereunder social democracy and the union movement. Although it is painful to acknowledge, I think an important basis for that real life tension lies in the academic basis of the BI proposal as couched in fairly abstract and idealistic terms (Haagh 2011b).

In short, coming from the comparative institutional tradition of historical enquiry it seems evident to me that basic income is an element in a wider process of democratisation of institutions in society. The success, substance, form, and stability of that proposal is likely to stand or fall with the level of democratisation of society as a whole.

That is why we should not be surprised that BI experiments and debates are happening today in some of the most institutionally developed welfare states in Europe. It is far from given however how they will turn out.

 

[1] Explaining the purpose of the Negative Income Tax that closely resembles a basic income, Friedman (1979, 120) argued that the ‘basic amount’  (or ’personal allowance’) would “..provide an assured minimum to all persons in need regardless of the reasons for their need, while doing as little harm as possible to their character, their independence, or their incentive to better their own condition” (italics added) 120 He further (ibid. 121) noted, “[t]he negative income tax would allow for fluctuating income… but that is not its main purpose. Its main purpose is rather to provide a straightforward means of assuring every family a minimum amount…”

 

Friedman, M., 1990[1979/1980], Free to Choose, San Diego: Harvest.

Haagh, L. (2015) Alternative Social States and the Basic Income Debate: Institutions, Inequality and Human Development,’ in Basic Income Studies, Special Issue on Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, August, ISSN (Online) 1932-0183, ISSN (Print) 2194-6094, DOI: 10.1515/bis-2015-0002, August 2015, https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/bis.ahead-of-print/bis-2015-0002/bis-2015-0002.xml

Haagh, L. (2013) ‘The Citizens’ Income and Democratization in Latin America – A Multi-Institutional Perspective‘ in Rubén Lo Vuolo (Ed.) Citizen’s Income and Welfare Regimes in Latin America. From Cash Transfers to Rights, Exploring the Basic Income Guarantee Series, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Haagh, L. (2012) ‘Democracy, Public Finance, and Property Rights in Economic Stability: How More Horizontal Capitalism Upscales Freedom for All’ in Polity, October, Volume 44, No. 4. pp.542-587.

Haagh, L. (2011a) ‘Working Life, Well-Being and Welfare Reform: Motivation and Institutions Revisited’, World Development, March, Vol. 39, No.3.  pp.450-573. Also available Basic Income, Social Democracy and Control over Time at: https://econpapers.repec.org/article/eeewdevel/v_3a39_3ay_3a2011_3ai_3a3_3ap_3a450-473.htm

Haagh, L. (2011b) , Policy and Politics, January, Vol. 39, No.1, pp. 41-64.

Haagh, L. (2007) ‘Basic Income, Occupational Freedom and Anti-Poverty Policy’ in Basic Income Studies, Vol. 2, Issue, 1, June.

Haagh, L. (2006) ‘Equality and Income Security in Market Economies: What’s Wrong with Insurance?’’ in Social Policy and Administration, Vol. 40:4, 385-424.

Haagh, L. (2002a) Citizenship, Labour Markets and Democratization – Chile and the Modern Sequence, Basingstoke: Palgrave, St. Antony’s Series.

Haagh, L. and Camilla Helgø (2002) (Eds), Social Policy Reform and Market Governance in Latin America, Basingstoke: Palgrave. St. Antony’s Series.

Haagh, L. (2002b)  ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes: Labor Reform and Social Democratization in Chile’, Studies in Comparative International Development, Vol. 37, No.1, Spring, pp. 86-115.

Haagh L (1999) ‘Training Policy and the Property Rights of Labour in Chile (1990-1997): Social Citizenship in the Atomised Market Regime, Journal of Latin American Studies, Cambridge University Press, 31, 429-472.

Lo Vuolo, R. (Ed.)Citizen’s Income and Welfare Regimes in Latin America. From Cash Transfers to Rights, Exploring the Basic Income Guarantee Series, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Marshall, Thomas, H., 1949, Citizenship and Social Class, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Suplicy, E. (2002), Renda de Cidadania – A Saída é Pela Porta, Cortez Editora

 

Photo credit: Enno Schmidt


At the end of 2016, the year in which BIEN celebrated the 30th anniversary of its birth, all Life Members were invited to reflect on their own personal journeys with the organization. See other contributions to the feature edition here.

Looking Back on 30 Years of BIEN: Stories from Life Members

Looking Back on 30 Years of BIEN: Stories from Life Members

This year, BIEN celebrated the 30th anniversary of its birth. In commemoration of the occasion, founding members reunited at its birthplace–the Université Catholique de Louvain in Louvain-la-Neuve, Beglium–for a series of talks on the past and future of BIEN and the basic income movement.

At the end of the year, all Life Members of BIEN were invited to reflect on their own personal histories with the organization and movement. Read their stories here:

Hyosang Ahn (Director of Basic Income Korea Network; South Korea): “The first time I encountered the idea of basic income was the summer of 2007. I was at the time the vice president of a small party on the left, rather imaginatively named the ‘Socialist Party’, and was preparing for the coming presidential election…”

Jan Otto Andersson (Life Member; Finland): “… In 1986 I took part in the international congress on Basic Income in Louvain-la-Neuve. My contribution was called “Basic Income in Three Social Visions”: a Red-Blue mixed society, a Blue-Green dual society and a Red-Green combined society. …”

• Christopher Balfour (Life Member; UK): “… Having been adopted as a Conservative Parliamentary Candidate in the mid-1960s…, I began to talk with already-elected Members of Parliament who shared my concerns. In this way I met Brandon Rhys Williams and then his mother, Dame Juliet. They introduced me to this concept of a small payment as of right, no strings attached, to all citizens. …”

Richard Caputo (Life Member; US): “… I was not taken in by the idea of an unconditional basic income (UBI) guarantee whole cloth. It did not square well with my sense of social justice, nor with my concerns about poverty reduction, though it did address what I saw as the diminished value of wage-based labor in an increasingly global economy and seemed compatible with the social work value of self-determination. …”

André Coehlo (News Editor-in-Chief; Portugal): “For me to contribute to BIEN…was kind of a natural progression in my personal activism, after the Zeitgeist Movement. I naturally accepted the basic income concept, after defending a resource based economy, as the former can be seen as an intermediate step towards the latter. …”

Louise Haagh (Co-Chair of BIEN): “I first came across basic income in summer of 2001 when instructed about it by Workers’ Party Senator Eduardo Suplicy, at his home in São Paulo. I was doing research on workers’ rights, at the same time undertaking a survey of economic security among residents in poor and middle-income district …”

Michael Howard (Coordinator of USBIG Network; US): “I can remember the moment when I first took a keen interest in basic income. I was familiar with the idea, having spent a research leave at the European University Institute in Fiesole, when Philippe Van Parijs was there writing Real Freedom for All. …”

Julio Linares (“Life Member 252”; Guatemala): “I first heard about BIEN at a conference in Switzerland about the future of work and basic income. I went to that conference because of a hunch. …”

• José A. Noguera (International Advisory Board of BIEN; Spain): “I still remember quite clearly the first time I read something about the idea of ​​a Basic Income: it was back in 1991, when I was finishing my degree in Sociology in Barcelona, and spent most of my time reading abstruse texts of social theory. …”

Steven Shafarman (Coordinating Committee of USBIG; US): “My drive to enact a basic income – and most of my ideas about how to attract, educate, organize, and mobilize allies – arose from exploring the way young children learn to walk and talk. …”

Malcolm Torry (Director of Citizen’s Income Trust, Co-Secretary of BIEN; UK): “Almost exactly forty years ago, I left university, got married, and started work in Brixton, in South London, administering means-tested benefits. … [I]t didn’t take long to understand how inefficient, degrading, and disincentivising means-tested benefits were. …”

Jenna van Draanen (Outreach Coordinator and News Editor; Canada): “Working with BIEN has been a wonderful experience for me. Not only are there extremely dedicated people here, but they are also talented and kind. …”

Philippe van Parijs (Co-Founder of BIEN; Belgium): “It is hard for young people today to imagine what it meant to run an international network when all communication between its members had to happen through the post. The newsletter needed to be typed, then printed, then photocopied, then stapled. …”

Martine Mary Waltho (Life Member; UK): “I first came across the idea of a basic income when I was at university in 1984. There was an article in a magazine; it might have been the New Society. …”

Karl Widerquist (Co-Chair of BIEN; US): “When I first attended a BIEN Congress in 1998, I’d already been a Basic Income supporter for 18 years, but it was exhilarating for me just to find out that there were enough dedicated Basic Income supporters to fill an auditorium. …”

Toru Yamamori (News Editor; Japan): “My encounter to the idea of a basic income was around 1991-2. I was involved in solidarity activism with a casual worker’s trade union, in which many of the members were homeless construction workers. …”


Photo: Participants at BIEN’s 2016 Congress in Seoul (bien2016.org/en).

BIEN Stories: Karl Widerquist

BIEN Stories: Karl Widerquist

(photo credit: Enno Schmidt)

 

Karl Widerquist (Co-Chair)

When I first attended a BIEN Congress in 1998, I’d already been a Basic Income supporter for 18 years, but it was exhilarating for me just to find out that there were enough dedicated Basic Income supporters to fill an auditorium. I was a young researcher looking to get noticed. I sent my proposal in months before the deadline. The leaders of BIEN, especially Robert van der Veen, made me feel that my work was notable. I’ve been involved ever since, and I’ve watched the Basic Income movement growth, slowly, barely noticeably until about 2010 or 2011, but very quickly since then. I don’t think BIEN should try to grab credit for the takeoff. We should all just be happy it’s happening and do what we can to build on it.

It’s exciting to see BIEN growing along with the movement. We now have affiliates all around the world, some of which have been instrumental in activism and research about Basic Income. Our news service has grown from a quarterly snail mail newsletter with a few dozen subscribers to a daily updated news website and an email newsletter with over 4,000 subscribers. We have moved from conferences every two-years to conferences every year. Our membership and interest just continues to grow.


At the end of 2016, the year in which BIEN celebrated the 30th anniversary of its birth, all Life Members were invited to reflect on their own personal journeys with the organization. See other contributions to the feature edition here.

Feature coordinator: Kate McFarland.

BIEN Stories: Jenna van Draanen

BIEN Stories: Jenna van Draanen

Jenna van Draanen (News Editor and Outreach Coordinator)

Working with BIEN has been a wonderful experience for me. Not only are there extremely dedicated people here, but they are also talented and kind. With BIEN, I get to talk to people all over the world who are working on basic income in their respective countries and policy contexts – and learn from what they are doing.

This year, we started a new Outreach Task Force. The goal of the Outreach Task Force, which is evolving, is broadly to have more connections between affiliates and more communication between BIEN and the affiliates. We plan to organize a session at the next BIEN congress, where all of the affiliates can meet each other and update each other on activities and strategies in their countries. As a group, we will also develop some shared projects to work on this year.

I am personally excited about the energy already forming with this task force of people. It is neat to have so much participation from groups around the world.

Jenna van Draanen is a PhD student at University of California – Los Angeles. She has been writing for Basic Income News for over five years, and is now a member of the Executive Committee and Outreach Coordinator. 


At the end of 2016, the year in which BIEN celebrated the 30th anniversary of its birth, all Life Members were invited to reflect on their own personal journeys with the organization. See other contributions to the feature edition here.

Feature coordinator: Kate McFarland.