A discussion on “the basic income experiment” was the focus of an episode of Al Jazeera’s The Stream, with Femi Oke and Malika Bilal, in January 2017.
The debate, which centred around the Finnish BI experiment, included perspectives from both sides of the issue: those concerned basic income will eliminate incentives to work and those who see BI as a path to reducing unemployment.
The debate included Marjukka Turunen, head of Kela’s legal unit (Finland’s Social Insurance Institution); Guy Standing, co-founder of Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN); Oren Cass, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute; as well as Scott Santens, writer and advocate for basic income.
The discussion began by asking what life will be like going forward for the 2,000 who were randomly selected by Kela for Finland’s first BI experiment: one man selected described his new sense of freedom on Facebook. Marjukka described how those selected could now do “whatever they want,” and will be studied only “in the background.”
Guy Standing was asked, with regard to his experiments in India, how people reacted when they were told they would receive an unconditional basic income. Guy discussed awareness days hosted before launch where the villages were told how the program worked, and where its unconditionality was emphasized. Guy also talked about the nutrition and health improvements, increased work, and “equity effects.” There were gains for the disabled, and the pilots had an “emancipatory effect.”
Also involved in the discussion was Scott Santens, who designed his own scheme: in 2015 he built up a crowd fund on Patreon and was able to receive 1,000 dollars a month, in what was meant to be his own personal basic income. Santens calls BI, “money that enables people to pursue what they wish to pursue.” He notes that he had not realized just how insecure he was until he found the security his basic income provided.
Oren Cass argued during the debate that that what happened in India was in fact not a basic income, because it did not undermine the principle that it is important to work for a living and similarly that Santens’ BI was not truly a basic income. The problem for Oren with Scott Santens’ scheme was that it does not indicate anything about whether or not we want society “to be a place where everybody receives a check no matter what they do.”
The discussion also touched on intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, and the broken income distribution systems of the 20th century. Guy claimed that the share of the economy going to labor is no longer constant: it is disproportionately going to capital. He noted the rise of political extremes and his theory of the precariat.
Oren stated that the rationale for a basic income had a number of “conflicting explanations” and he suggested a wage subsidy instead of BI. Scott argued this only benefits corporations, and that the BI provides employees with bargaining power. Marjukka noted later on that “we can’t know” whether BI is the solution “unless we experiment.”
In the brief post-show, the issue of automation, and the replacement of labour with capital, alongside Elon Musk’s position, were briefly touched upon. More information at:
Armando F. Sanchez, CEO, broadcaster and writer hosted this 35-minute webcast “Jobless Future: Fact or Fiction?”, from Los Angeles, transmitted live in April 2016. Armando’s guests were Basic Income News editors André Coelho, Dario Figueria and Kate McFarland, invited to this webcast, which is a part of the series entitled “The Future of Today”. In this short and informal conversation, the central debated issues were permanent unemployment, industrial robots, AI in white collar professions and basic income initiatives around the world.
Moreover, Neopolis has made videos of particular sessions available on YouTube. Keynote addresses available for online viewing include those of former Greek Minister of Finance Yanis Varoufakis, former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, MIT economist Erik Brynjolfsson, and the RSA’s Direct of Policy and Strategy Anthony Painter.
Panel discussions include the Experiments Panel (Guy Standing, Michael Faye of GiveDirectly, Ville-Veikko Pulkka of Kela, Amira Jehia of Mein Grundeinkommen), Labor Panel, (Andy Stern, Nell Abernathy, Vania Alleva, Dorian Warren), and Entrepreneurs Panel(Albert Wenger, Natalie Foster, Robin Chase, Betsy Masiello).
This short clip, with clear attractive drawings and without spoken words, depicts the basic income financing scheme presented by Jordi Arcarons, Antoni Doménech, Daniel Raventós and Lluís Torrens, which in Spain would result in 645 €/month for every citizen. This is an initiative of the Podemos Renta Básica group, which has remained very active, even though the Podemos political party no longer officially supports basic income.
Basic Income was the focus of the March 5 episode of BBC’s Newshour Extra, a weekly podcast hosted by British journalist Owen Bennett Jones.
The episode, entitled “Money For Nothing?”, features a distinguished panel of four experts on the topic: Guy Standing, professor at the University of London and founder of the Basic Income Earth Network; Rutger Bregman, Dutch reporter and author on Basic Income; Francine Mestrum, consultant and researcher at the Université Libre de Bruxelles; and Linda Yueh, former BBC correspondent and current professor of economics at Oxford and the London Business School.
During the panel discussion, Bregman and Standing deliver arguments for a universal basic income (UBI), while Mestrum and Yueh pose critical questions. For example, Mestrum charges that, due to its universality, a UBI would perpetuate inequality rather than promote equality, and Yueh broaches the practical issue of whether a UBI is affordable. This leads to valuable exchanges concerning the financing of a UBI, as well as the question of whether a UBI would replace the welfare state or supplement it – with Standing and Bregman defending the affordability and effectiveness of a UBI.
Other topics of discussion include the recent BI initiatives in Finland and Canada, automation, and the nature of work. The broadcast ends on what seems to be a point of agreement between the four panelists: people are motivated to contribute usefully to society, whether or not they rely on a job for money; thus, if there is any worry about a Basic Income, it is not that it would undermine the incentive to work.
The 2020 BIEN Congress was to be held in Brisbane in Australia from the 28th to the 30th September 2020. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the event has been cancelled. BIEN’s Executive Committee and the Scottish and Australian congress Local Organising Committees have agreed the following statement: ‘The Scottish and Australian Congress Local Organisation Committees have agreed that the current plan is to hold the 2021 BIEN congress in Scotland and the 2022 BIEN congress in Australia.’
A Basic Income is a periodic cash payment unconditionally delivered to all on an individual basis, without means-test or work requirement. Read more
A series of conversations from around the world that explore the relationship between the Covid-19 pandemic and Basic Income. Read more