Portugal: Conference on pilot projects in July

Portugal: Conference on pilot projects in July

From the 1st to the 3rd of July, 2020, at the University of Minho (Braga, Portugal), a conference on Basic Income experiments will occur, focused on its political and social policy implications. From the conference website it can be read:

The debate about basic income requires our attention, especially when a growing number of countries and cities are conducting experiments to test out new schemes of cash transfer. This conference aims to evaluate experiments from both normative and empirical perspectives, drawing on the insights of philosophy, political science, and economics, amongst others. It seeks to bring together those who are engaged in experiments both at a theoretical and practical levels to foster the debate between those involved in designing and implementing pilots with scholars in the fields of political philosophy, social sciences and policy analysis. We are particularly interested in assessing the political and the philosophical implications of these pilots and their results, the nature of those experiments, the epistemic status of the data and the impacts it generates, the manner in which the results can be translated into a real policy, to what extent they might inform other social policies, and which are the main limitations and challenges when conducting them.

The call for papers is online. Confirmed speakers include Guy Standing, Jamie Cooke, Rebecca Hasdell, Stuart White, Juliana Bidadanure and Karl Widerquist.

The conference will include a Book Symposium on Karl Widerquist, 2018’s book, A Critical Analysis of Basic Income Experiments for Researchers, Policymakers, and Citizens. If you would like to participate in that symposium or the conference in general, contact the organizers, Roberto Merrill at: nrbmerrill@gmail.com and Bru Laín Scandell at: bgrafic@gmail.com.

Kela Conference on Social Security 2019 – Equality and wellbeing through sustainable social security system

Kela Conference on Social Security 2019 – Equality and wellbeing through sustainable social security system

Kela Conference 2019 will occur on the 10th December 2019, between 9.00 and 16.30h, at Kela’s Main office building in Helsinki. It will be a gathering of experts on social protection, and will include four main themes – Investing in the future, Reforming social security, Customer services in the globalizing and diversifying world and Customer experience by digital transformation.

The main idea behind the Conference is to think about a social security system for Finland which can face the challenges of the present and future in a sustainable way. Issues with delivering wellbeing and usage of artificial intelligence to distributing benefits are important aspects to consider in an ever-increasing globalized and diverse social world.

Signing up for the event can be done here, up until the 3rd of December 2019. Keynotes can be watched online (streamed), without registration.

More information at:

Kela Conference 2019 webpage

Reykjavik, Iceland: International Conference of Europeanist – Panel on Politics of Universal Basic Income

Reykjavik, Iceland: International Conference of Europeanist – Panel on Politics of Universal Basic Income

A panel on Politics of Universal Basic Income is being summoned at the next 27th International Conference of Europeanists, which will be held in Reykjavik (Iceland), on the 22-24th of June 2020. For that purpose, a Call for Papers has been launched, and submissions are being accepted up until the 10th of October, according to these instructions.

In this panel, there is an interest in empirical studies that look at the social and political processes surrounding UBIs discussions, including pilot test and experiment designs and implementations, either at the local, national or supranational level, in Europe and elsewhere.

The specific panel is being orgazined by César Guzmán-Concha (Marie Skłodowska Curie Fellow, Université de Genève; Visiting Fellow, European University Institute)

Cryptocurrencies: GoodDollar – The first blockchain-related UBI conference talk

Cryptocurrencies: GoodDollar – The first blockchain-related UBI conference talk

Yoni Assia. Picture credit to: CCN

The recent international basic income conference “Visions for a Brighter Future,” UBI-Nordic 2019 was held in Oslo from April 5–7; at it, Nir Yaacobi and Gilad Barner became the first representatives of a universal basic income (UBI)-related blockchain project to present at a UBI conference. Their not-for-profit research organization, GoodDollar, aims to develop an open-source method for implementing UBI through blockchain. Blockchain technology was popularized by cryptocurrencies, but is, in general terms, a distributed ledger (i.e., a database hosted by numerous servers rather than one central authority) where all transactions are verified publicly, rather than being controlled by a single administrator. Blockchain protocols can allow for the execution of smart contracts, or an encoded agreement that auto-executes once its terms are fulfilled. Due to the nature of the type of encryption that blockchain uses, each encrypted transaction includes information from the one that occurs before it, making transactions, once verified, theoretically impossible to change or erase. Some blockchain projects, like GoodDollar, aim to eventually create Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) that eschew classical governance for a public, distributed, social and financial system based on blockchain.

The idea of GoodDollar was born over ten years ago in a paper called “The Visible Hand,” which outlined a framework for a monetary system where smaller investments are granted the same interest rates as larger ones in order to combat extreme wealth inequality. The organization’s current mission is to “build open-source solutions for efficient allocation of resources according to principles informed by research on UBI and related policy proposals.”

Other UBI-related blockchain and cryptocurrency initiatives reported by Basic Income News have included SwiftDemand, Grantcoin, and a BitNation exploration of the concept of UBI and cryptocurrency.

More information at:

Yoni Assia and Omri Ross, “Good Dollar Experiment: Wealth Distribution Position Paper,” July 11th 2018

Yoni Assia, “Good Dollar – The Visible Hand,” November 28th 2008

Cameron McLeod, “BitNation: Recent Advances in Cryptocurrency See Basic Income Tested,” March 30th 2017

UBI-Nordic, “Basic Income: ‘Visions for a Brighter Future’ UBI-Nordic 2019—Oslo, April 5–7”, Accessed May 13th 2019

UBI Taiwan aims to be ‘tipping point’ for basic income

UBI Taiwan aims to be ‘tipping point’ for basic income

A nearly-packed auditorium of mostly young Taiwanese arrived on an early Saturday morning to learn about Universal Basic Income and its role in addressing key trends for the next generation.

This is the third year UBI Taiwan held its international summit in Taipei to push discussion of basic income on March 16. This year’s conference focused on the challenges Taiwan and the global economy is facing in the coming decade and what steps could be taken to make basic income a feasible solution.

Dr. Sarath Davala, vice chair of Basic Income Earth Network, was the keynote speaker for the second year in a row. Davala said this year’s attendees were even more enthusiastic.

“UBI Taiwan exudes unique energy and dedication to the idea of basic income. This kind of energy is perhaps rare in the basic income movement. Nowhere in the world, have I seen such critical mass of students collectively excited about basic income,” Davala said.

Dr. Ryan Engen, an economic officer at the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the unofficial U.S. embassy in Taiwan, gave the opening speech for the conference. Engen said basic income is “perhaps the most promising policy” to address Taiwan and the world’s economic transformations.

“If you can succeed in what you are trying to do, I actually think it has the potential to be the tipping point that changes the direction for the rest of the world, and that’s not an exaggeration,” Engen said.

In justifying the need to explore basic income, Engen discussed how the return on capital has outstripped income, which has exacerbated global income inequality.

The world is moving toward nationalism as a result of globalization and automation, which requires “creating a new global social contract that leaves nobody behind,” Engen said.

Guy Standing, BIEN’s co-founder, provided a video message for the conference Taiwan. He said Taiwan’s activists should frame basic income primarily in human rights terms, rather than as just an economic policy.

“Basic income is a matter of social justice,” Standing said. “We believe every man, woman, and child has a right to a share of the public wealth of the Commons from the wealth generated over generations, whether it is in Taiwan, China, Britain or anywhere else.”

Standing said while basic income would reduce poverty, this should not be the primary focus of Taiwan’s UBI movement.

“We must constantly stress the ethical basis of the campaign for basic income,” Standing said.

In the final round-table discussion, Ta-Ching Shih, a Taiwanese economic specialist at AIT, said basic income activists in Taiwan must first get attention to the idea and then focus on the policy specifics later.

Peter Knight, a former World Bank economist and a member of Fernand Braudel Institute of World Economics, also produced a video message for the conference where he discussed the economic rationale for basic income.

Knight said Taiwan is likely to face high levels of job automation in the coming years, along with Japan, Singapore, and South Korea. Taiwan’s coming status as a super-aged society may also induce consideration of whether basic income could help alleviate this issue, he said.

“UBI and progressive taxation to finance it, and the use of advanced labor-saving technologies are the key policies for Taiwan to achieve economic, social, political, and ecological sustainability,” Knight said.

Professor Ku Yun-wen from National Taiwan University’s Social Work Department went through a detailed analysis of Taiwan’s welfare policies and discussed how basic income may fit into the system.

Ku had previously written a report on UBI for Taiwan’s National Development Council, Taiwan’s Executive Yuan policy planning agency.

Professor Fong from National Taiwan University’s Economic’s Department provided insight into some of the relevant economic trends to basic income, such as increasing automation and its potential impact in Taiwan.

The conference was assisted in funding from the U.S. State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship through the Alumni Development Fund (ADF).

Before Alan Krueger passed away, he discussed the prospects of basic income in Taiwan with James Davis, one of the managers for this ADF project. Krueger was the former chair of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers.

Krueger agreed Taiwan implementing basic income would likely inspire conversation around the world. However, Krueger said “there is a lot of work to be done.”

Professor Hou-ming Huang, the director of National Chengchi University’s Sociology Department, presented on the economic and philosophical transitions of humanity throughout history.

A journalist from Taiwan’s magazine The Reporter spoke on the misinformation that is often spread in Taiwan and global media regarding basic income.

Despite this misinformation, Davala said he is optimistic about the future of basic income’s development in Taiwan.

“I am sure that the debate in Taiwan will progress beyond conference halls and to the policy corridors,” Davala said.

Engen ended his remarks by noting Taiwan could play a very important role in the global UBI movement.

Taiwan is a “melting pot” of international influence and is at the center of global supply chains, Engen pointed out. Taiwan is also the “most progressive example in all of the Indo-Pacific,” he said.

“UBI happening here in Taiwan is very different than it happening anywhere else because Taiwan is a fully developed market democracy that is a technology epicenter of the world,” Engen said. “If UBI happened here it would send ripple effects around the world.”

In the run-up to the conference, Elyse Mark and Brian Anderson, who were also managers of the ADF project, produced interviews with U.S. scholars. Mark interviewed a legislative director for a councilmember of the District of Columbia council who produced a policy report on implementing minimum income in DC. Anderson interviewed an economist to understand the benefits of basic income across Taiwan and the United States. Davis also worked with Stanford’s Basic Income Lab to understand the context for how research there could help propel basic income frameworks for Taiwan.