USBIG NewsFlash Vol. 14, No. 69, Summer 2013
The USBIG NewsFlash is both the newsletter of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee (USBIG) Network and the U.S. edition of the Basic Income Earth Network’s NewsFlash. The USBIG Network (www.usbig.net) promotes the discussion of the basic income guarantee (BIG) in the United States. BIG is a policy that would unconditionally guarantee at least a subsistence-level income for everyone. If you would like to be added to or removed from this list please go to: http://www.usbig.net/newsletters.php.
For questions, contact the editor, Karl Widerquist
1. ALASKA: Future of the state’s dividend in the balance during oil tax fight
2. Opinion: Important study finds that giving money to the poor increases both employment and wages
3. UNITED STATES: Allan Sheahen tours to promote his book, the Basic Income Guarantee: Your right to economic security
4. BIG news from around the world (India, Switzerland, Germany, Malaysia, Venezuela, and international)
5. Events (Alaska, New York, California, Namibia, Montreal)
9. The NewsFlash and BI News request volunteers
10. Links and other info
1. ALASKA: Future of the state’s dividend in the balance during oil tax fight
The future of Alaska’s small basic income guarantee, the Alaska Dividend, is in the background while a fight is going on over the state’s oil tax policy.
The Alaska Dividend is a small basic income guarantee financed out of the Alaska Permanent Fund (APF), a pool of investments, accumulated from savings from Alaska’s state oil revenue. The future financing of the Alaska Dividend is indirectly related to all state government financing, for two reasons. First, if tax revenue ever falls short, the government could dip into the APF to finance state spending instead of the dividend. Many experts think the government is very likely to do this if and when oil revenues run short. It has in the past done so in surreptitious ways. For example it gives the penal system dividends for each prison inmate to help pay the cost of incarceration. Second, when revenue is high the state can (and often does) add either to the fund or directly to the dividend.
This spring, the Alaska state legislature passed—and the governor signed into law—a bill to greatly reduce taxes on Alaska’s oil industry, claiming that it will stimulate greater oil production in the state. The hope of greater oil exports comes at an enormous cost. The new law reduces taxes on oil to 20 to 25 percent below the international average. Oil taxes account for most of the states income, and because of this bill the state budget will go into deficit spending for the first time in years. Yet, the bill has no provisions requiring oil companies to increase production to get the cuts. The oil companies get an unconditional increase in their share of revenue, and Alaska residents get oil the hope that oil companies might respond by increasing production.
A petition movement, called “Vote Yes — Repeal the Giveaway,” has begun in the state to force a vote to repeal the tax cut. The movement has turned in nearly 50,000 signatures to state authorities. If the state certifies that at least 30,169 of the signatures are valid, a referendum on the issue will be held in August of 2014—eight months after the law goes into affect.
Bella Hammond, former first lady of Alaska and widow of Jay Hammond, the father of the Alaska Dividend, has campaigned and written editorials in favor of repealing the cut. She and several other commentators argue that the cut is a significant threat to the future of the Alaska Dividend.
-Karl Widerquist, Beaufort, NC July 31, 2013
For more information, see the following articles and opinion pieces about the issue:
Hammond, Bella, “My Turn: Protecting our legacy and future,” the Juneau Empire, June 19, 2013: http://juneauempire.com/state/2013-06-19/my-turn-protecting-our-legacy-and-future#.UdqzZ-tZibM
Gutierrez, Alexandra, “Oil Tax Referendum Meets Ballot Requirements,” Alaska Public Radio Network, July 29, 2013: http://www.alaskapublic.org/2013/07/29/oil-tax-referendum-meets-ballot-requirements/
Dischner Molly, “Parnell spares budget vetoes, signs SB21,” Morris News Service – Alaska, May 29, 2013: http://homernews.com/homer-news/business/2013-05-29/parnell-spares-budget-vetoes-signs-sb21
Forgey, Pat, “With stroke of governor’s pen, Alaska back in deficit spending,” the Alaska Dispatch, May 21, 2013: http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/20130521/alaska-governor-signs-laws-immediately-creating-state-deficit-spending
Metcalfe, Ray, “Give away Alaska’s fair share of oil wealth, give away Alaskans’ PFD checks,” the Alaska Dispatch, May 20, 2013: http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/20130520/give-away-alaska-s-fair-share-oil-wealth-give-away-alaskans-pfd-checks
2. Opinion: Important study finds that giving money to the poor increases both employment and wages
A randomized field study recently conducted in Uganda found that giving money to people without conditions actually increases both how much they work and how much they earn per hour. The study gave a $400 one-time grant to 20 young people, chosen randomly out of a group of rural Ugandans who applied to be a part of the study. Essentially, this grant amount is a one-time basic income, sometimes called a basic capital grant.
Perhaps, $400 doesn’t sound like much, but because poverty is so high in rural Kenya, the $400 grant is equivalent to an entire year’s income for the people in the study. Researchers then followed the recipients for two and a half years to see how they behaved relative to rural Ugandans who did not receive the grant. What they found might surprise some readers.
Two-and-a-half years later, receipts of the grant worked 17% more hours than similar Ugandans who did not receive the grant, and they earned higher wages and salaries, so that their incomes increased by even more than the hours the worked for a total increase of 50%. If those who did not receive the grant were making $400 per year, recipients were making $600 per year. No one knows yet how long the differential will last, but it is likely to accumulate for at least several years, perhaps many years.
The reasons for the increase in wages and hours worked are not yet certain, but possible explanations stem back to the extreme poverty experienced by so many people in developing nations. People who face such low wages have very little time to spend either improving their skills or looking for better work. They simply must spend their time focusing on getting enough food for the next day. A basic income gives them the opportunity to step back, improve their skills and/or look for a better job.
The theoretical possibility that basic income could have a positive affect on wages and hours worked (especially among the poorest people) has been understood for a long time. But this study provides an extremely important piece of empirical confirmation.
The basic income debate should take these results seriously. These results challenge the widely-held (yet rarely-empirically-investigated) belief that poor people are poor because they are too lazy either to work hard or to learn better skills. There are billions of people around the world living on less than two dollars per day. Perhaps unconditional cash is what they need most.
-Karl Widerquist, begun in Aberdeen, Shetland, Scotland, completed in Beaufort, North Carolina, USA
See BI News stories about this study: http://binews.org/2013/08/blattman-chris-%E2%80%9Cdear-governments-want-to-help-the-poor-and-transform-your-economy-give-people-cash%E2%80%9D/
For more on this study see this blog post by one of the authors of the study: Blattman, Chris, “Dear governments: Want to help the poor and transform your economy? Give people cash,” Chris Blattman: International development, politics, economics, and policy, 23 May 2013
See also the original study: Blattman, Christopher, Nathan Fiala, and Sebastian Martinez “Credit Constraints, Occupational Choice, and the Process of Development: Long Run Evidence from Cash Transfers in Uganda,” the Social Science Research Network, May 20, 2013
And the following editorial: Yglesias, Matthew, “Good News About Unconditional Transfers to the Global Poor,” Slate May 29, 2013
3. UNITED STATES: Allan Sheahen tours to promote his book, the Basic Income Guarantee: Your right to economic security
Allan Sheahen, an author and an activist for basic income, is touring the United States making television, radio, and personal appearances to promote his book, the Basic Income Guarantee: Your right to economic security. He has also published several Op-ed pieces related to the book. His proposal for BIG has recently stirred up controversy from economists (See related story: Wray, L. Randall, two articles criticizing of BIG)
Sheahen is making the following radio appearances:
1. June 4. WWNC. Ashville, NC. Peter Kaliner show.
2. June 10. KBYR. Anchorage, AK Glen Biegel show.
3. June 13. WBAL, Baltimore. Jimmy Mathis Show.
4. June 19. WGN. Chicago. Carol Roth show.
5. June 27. WILS, Lansing MI. Michael Cohen Show.
6. July 2. WKBN, Youngstown OH. Dan Rivers Show
7. July 3. WTCM. Traverse City, MI Norm Jones show.
8. July 10. WCUB, Manitowic, WI. The Breakfast Club.
9. July 12. KAHA, Auburn CA. Shea Cullen Show for Seniors.
10. July 15., WFBK, Fort Mill, SC, “Jack Anthony Show”
11. July 18., RTT, Rochester, NY, “Debra Reuther”
12. July 22., KFWB, Los Angeles, CA, “AM Drive”
Sheahen is making the following person appearance at a civic group:
1. July 16, 7PM to 9PM, Valley United Democrats, 6150 Van Nuys Blvd. Van Nuys, CA, 91401
Sheahen is making the following television appearance:
1. Monday July 22, Bloomberg National TV, “Bottom Line with Mark Crumpton,” 7:40pm Eastern Time, 4:40 pm Pacific Time
Sheahen has published the following Op-ed pieces:
1. Allan Sheahen, “Jobs Are Not the Answer,” Lima News (Lima, Ohio), Thursday, June 13, 2013: http://www.limaohio.com/opinion/columns/article_60d99fac-d420-11e2-adfa-001a4bcf6878.html
2. Allan Sheahen, Guest Columnist, “Basic income, not jobs, is the answer” On Your Mind, Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio), Monday, June 17, 2013: http://www.mydaytondailynews.com/news/news/opinion/basic-income-not-jobs-is-the-answer/nYKbw/
3. Allan Sheahen, “Jobs Are Not the Answer,” Public Comment, Berkeley Daily Planet (Berkeley, CA), Monday June 17, 2013: http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2013-06-13/article/41173?headline=Jobs-Are-Not-the-Answer–by-Allan-Sheahen
4. Allan Sheahen, “Jobs Are Not the Answer,” Tikkun, Truthout, Thursday, 20 June 2013: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/17104-jobs-are-not-the-answer
Allan Sheahen is a board member of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee (USBIG) Network and the author of several books and articles including his most recent book, Basic Income Guarantee: Your Right to Economic Security, which is now out on paperback from Palgrave-Macmillan. Sheahen can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about his book is online at: http://www.basicincomeguarantee.com/
The publisher’s website for his book is: http://us.macmillan.com/basicincomeguarantee/AllanSheahen
4. BIG news from around the world
INDIA: Basic Income Pilot Project releases an impressive list of findings.
Several NGOs in India have conducted a pilot project on basic income over the last two years. At a conference this May, the researchers released an impressive list of findings below. (Acronyms used below: IES, Interim Evaluation Survey; FES, Final Evaluation Survey; MPUCT, Madhya Pradesh Unconditional Cash Transfer pilot; TVUCT, Tribal Village Unconditional Cash Transfer pilot)
Implementation and Financial Inclusion
Take-up of the basic income grants was rapid, with 93% receiving them in the first month in cash form.
Bank account opening was challenging work for SEWA officials, but within a few months almost everybody had had bank or cooperative accounts.
However, a majority of the villagers reported in the IES and FES that they had experienced no major problems opening bank accounts.
Women found it easier to access and operate SEWA Co-operative accounts than the Nationalised Bank Accounts.
The project has led to financial inclusion: Savings increased and households began using their accounts for saving, rather than keeping money at home.
Housing and sanitation
Recipients of basic income grants were significantly more likely to make improvements to their dwellings. The main improvements were to walls and roofs, although improvement to latrines was also widespread. The basic income grants led to a switch to more preferred sources of energy for cooking. In the tribal village, cash grants were used by the recipients to construct new dwellings (10%), repair old houses, switch to better drinking water sources, such as getting own tube-well, and shift to better lighting.
Nutrition and Diet
Using the WHO’s z-score index, income grants were associated with an improvement in children’s weight-for-age, with the main effect being among young girls.
Cash grant recipients were significantly more likely than others to have enough income for their daily food needs.
Cash grants led to more varied diets, with greater relative consumption of fruit and vegetables, rather than simple reliance on subsidised staples.
In the tribal villages, cash grant recipients reported a sharp rise in food sufficiency. In the cash transfer village, households that reported that their income was sufficient for their food needs increased from about 50% in the baseline to 78% in the IES, and further to 82% in the FES. Correspondingly, the incidence of having insufficient food fell.
In the MPUCT, an increase in food sufficiency was most pronounced for scheduled caste households.
Those receiving cash grants were not more likely than others to increase spending on “private bads”, such as alcohol or tobacco. Reasons for that will be presented in the conference.
Health and healthcare
During the course of the pilots, cash grant households reported a lower incidence of common illnesses.
Cash grants led to more regular medical treatment and more regular taking of medicines. This was particularly observable in the TVUCT.
Cash grants were associated with increased spending on medical treatment.
Improved health was attributed most to an increased ability to afford medicines, although many families also mentioned it was due to more or better food and reduced anxiety. Scheduled Tribe households were relatively likely to attribute better health to the acquisition of more or better food.
The public health system has achieved impressively high levels of immunization.
Cash grants were associated with more resort to private healthcare, and in particular a shift from government hospitals to private hospitals.
Although the number acquiring health insurance was small, significantly more cash grant households did so during the course of the experiments.
Impact on the Disabled
Cash grants benefited those with disabilities even more than others, by enabling them to have more access to food and to medical assistance.
Individualised cash grants gave household members with disabilities greater voice in how money was spent.
Case studies showed that the cash grants enabled some disabled to become economically active, overcoming constraints to their full membership in village society.
Cash grants were associated with improvement in school enrolment. Although initially there was no significant difference in enrolment, by the FES the enrolment rates of children from 4 to 18 years was 12% higher in the cash transfer villages.
Transfers led to increased spending on essentials for school, including stationery, shoes, uniforms and basic equipment.
Cash grants were associated with more regular school attendance, with 29% of cash transfer households reporting an improvement, compared with 13% in control villages.
Income Grants were associated with improved school performance. Grades over time taken from actual registers of schools showed that more children from cash transfer families were doing better than children of non-grant families. Scheduled-tribe households were the most likely to show an improvement in performance in terms of grades.
By the end of the pilots, households in cash grant villages were more likely to be sending their children to private schools. Almost half of all cash-grant village children were enrolled in private school, compared with 30% in control villages.
Cash transfers were associated with families spending more on transport to school. Grant-receiving households were more likely to send their children to schools located at a greater distance from their homes, and so spent more on transport.
In the period covered, cash transfers were associated with an increase in private tuition. Most social categories in cash transfer villages spent more on private tuition than in other villages, except scheduled-caste families.
Cash grants helped families to ensure that their children did non-school work that was less disruptive to their schooling. This was particularly observed in the tribal village.
Economic activity, work and production
Contrary to a common criticism of cash transfers, cash grants were associated with an increase in labour and work.
Cash grant households were twice as likely to have increased their production work as non-transfer households.
Cash grants led to an increase in own-account work, and a relative switch from wage labour to own-account farming and small-scale business. This was especially true for scheduled caste households and for women workers.
The shift from labour to own farm work was especially marked in the tribal villages.
Many families used cash grants to buy small items for production, such as sewing machines and seeds and fertiliser.
Cash grants were associated with the purchase of more livestock to increase production. Households in the cash-grant tribal village increased their livestock by 70%.
Cash grant households more likely to increase their income from work, in spite of it being a difficult year due to weather conditions in the area.
Cash grant households were three times as likely to start a new business or production activity as others, with a majority attributing that to the cash grants.
In tribal village, farmers have increased their spending in good quality seeds, fertilisers and pesticides.
Debt and Savings
Severe indebtedness was found in over three-quarters of all households.
Cash grants were associated with a significant reduction in indebtedness, both because recipients used the money to reduce existing debt and because they used the money to avoid going into further debt. Those receiving cash grants were more than twice as likely to reduce debt.
Cash grants led to a significant increase in savings, even in households with debt. Households often used the money to give themselves vital liquidity.
Only a minority of low-income households in all 20 of the villages had a BPL (Below Poverty Line) or Antyodaya Card. Some of the poorest households had no poverty card at all.
Only a minority (14%) of households in the 20 villages had ever participated in MGNREGS, the government scheme supposedly guaranteeing every rural household 100 days of employment.
For more on the India Pilot projects see the following articles:
Seetha, “Bite this: Survey proves cash transfer critics wrong,” FirstPost: Economy, May 31, 2013: http://www.firstpost.com/economy/bite-this-survey-proves-cash-transfer-critics-wrong-829793.html
Standing, Guy, “The poor are responsible too,” the Financial Express, June 6, 2013: http://www.financialexpress.com/news/column-the-poor-are-responsible-too/1125548/0
Fernandez, Benjamin, “Rupees in your pocket,” The Morung Express, 2013: http://www.morungexpress.com/Perspective/95572.html
Guy Standing, “Can Basic Income Cash Transfers Transform India?” BI News, May 28, 2013: http://binews.org/2013/05/guy-standing-%e2%80%9ccan-basic-income-cash-transfers-transform-india%e2%80%9d/
INTERNATIONAL: Google gives $2.5 Million to a Direct Cash Transfer Charity
Business Press has been praising GiveDirectly, a direct cash transfer charity. The business press has been reporting very positively on a charity that transfers cash directly to Kenya’s poorest residents. In Kenya, cellphones work like debit cards and it is easy to infer who is poor and who is not by their address or other data. GiveDirectly uses that data and simply sends money to poor people in two low-income districts. Those without a phone can pick up cards and use them in other ways. Google Giving has donated two and a half million dollars to this charity. They cite the efficiency of it. There may be a few people who aren’t as needy as one would prefer and the phone companies do take some of the transfer but even then, it is more efficient than paying someone to assess every recipient. Also, cash aid creates market demand for food and other needs that could be met by entrepreneurs. Some recipients will use the money to start small businesses or pay school fees.
Intriguingly, the rationale for GiveDirectly that Facebook and Google figures have adopted, mirrors the rationale for a basic income and for projects like ReCivitas’ BIG QUATINGA VELHO and BIG Otjivero. ReCivitas has even less administrative costs than those faced by GiveDirectly. We have also discussed on this page BIG experiments in India. This could beat back the weird perception that a BIG is “impossible”.
For More info see:
Kerry Dolan, “Why Facebook Cofounder Chris Hughes And Google Are Giving Cash Directly To The Poorest,” Forbes, 5/28/2013
Jacqueline Fuller, “Want to Help People? Just Give Them Money,” Harvard Business Review, March 28, 2013 http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2013/03/want_to_help_people_just_give.html
Matthew Yglesias’ article in Slate (see separate BI News report) gives a detailed account of GiveDirectly and its reception: http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2013/05/unconditional_cash_transfers_giving_money_to_the_poor_may_be_the_best_tool.html?wpisrc=most_viral
SWITZERLAND: Initiative claims enough signatures to trigger a referendum on BIG
A Swiss petition drive has collected more than the 100,000 signatures necessary to trigger a referendum on introducing Basic Income in Switzerland. If the government certifies 100,000 of the signatures as valid, a referendum will be held within two years. The proposal does not specify the amount of the basic income, but it would enshrine the principle in Switzerland’s constitution. The proposal is controversial. Even some unions and left organizations have dismissed basic income as a “bonus for laziness.” This proposal is one of several petition drives for basic income in Europe this year, some have been waged nationally and some at level of the European Union as a whole.
For more information see:
Jourdan, Stanislas, “Will the basic income revolution come from Switzerland?” Boiling Frogs, Alternatives, June 3, 2013: http://boilingfrogs.info/2013/06/03/basic-income-initiative-switzerland/
Vogele, Wolfgang G., “Swiss parliament may soon debate unconditional basic income,” NNA: News with a difference, 30 Apr 2013: http://www.nna-news.org/index.php?id=9&tx_ttnews%5Byear%5D=2013&tx_ttnews%5Bmonth%5D=04&tx_ttnews%5Bday%5D=30&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=1054&cHash=77e5ad1fba7d00dc0923dcbddf4fe97e
Geiser, Urs “Basic income for all. Old utopian revived on Swiss streets,” swissinfo.ch, June 13, 2013
GERMANY: BIG Petition given 30 Seconds by Bundestag
[BI News – July 2013]
In the beginning of 2009 more than 50,000 people supported the petition of Susanne Wiest, who demanded a Basic Income for Germany. Almost 2 years later a public hearing on the issue took place. And almost another 2 years later, on 28th June 2013, the topic was closed after 30 seconds without a further discussion. The left-wing online journal “Neues Deutschland” commented in an article: “From a political point of view this was a clandestinely funeral of an objective which some years ago attracted great attention – and which actually can not be eliminated with a usual form of ticking off.”
The factions of the Green and Left Party voted against the finishing. In a statement of the Green Party they explain: “It is important for the subscribers to combine the general principle of justice and emancipating social policy with the importance of public institutions and financial feasibility. Considering the increasing growth problem and broad restructuring of the economy by processes of rationalization we need in the long term a transformation of the social state.”
Katja Kipping, the leader of the Left Party published also a personal statement against the finishing of the petition, because “the principle objection and the social importance of a discussion on the Unconditional Basic Income is not taken into account. Considering the increasing social division in Germany and Europe I consider it for necessary to discuss alternative ideas and practical approaches seriously also in the German Bundestag to improve the social situation of the people.”
Both parties, Left and Green, as well as the Pirate Party, suggest in their election manifestos an enquiry commission to continue the discussion on Basic Income within the German Bundestag. The petition brought this discussion into the parliament and the mentioned parties refuse a finishing of the petition in the meaning to end the discussion. The elections on 22nd September 2013 will show what is going to happen further.
THE INTERNET: WikiProject Basic Income aims to improve basic income’s presence on Wikipedia
A new group, called “WikiProject Basic Income,” aims to improve the coverage of topics related to basic income in Wikipedia. One of the main goals of this project is to bridge the gap between researchers who have been publishing about basic income and the general public, while simultaneously improving the number of authoritative references in basic income articles on Wikipedia. The organizers of the project request any help they can get from interested people, writing, “If you have any suggestions or questions about how to get started, feel free to leave a message in the talk page or join the associated Facebook group where further discussion and coordination occurs.”
The group’s homepage is:
The talk page is: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Basic_Income&action=edit§ion=new
The associated Facebook group is: http://www.facebook.com/groups/605548516131965/
MALAYSIA: Is Malaysia introducing a BIG?”
Malaysia’s new program called Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) that has some elements of the negative income tax (NIT) variant of the basic income guarantee. Receipt of benefits is not automatic, but those who are eligible need to apply by filling out a from. There has been little discussion of the connection between BR1M and NIT, but a recent commentary by Kang Beng Ho discusses BR1M in context of the NIT.
Kang Beng, Ho, “Is BR1M a negative income tax?” the Star Online [Malaysia], Monday May 20, 2013
VENEZUELA: A Citizen’s Income for Full-Time Mothers
[BICN – Jenna van Draanen – June 2013]
A recently published news article describes a new pension for full-time mothers in Venezuela. According to Chew, a labor law has been passed to allow mothers to collect pensions for the work they perform in the household. The article describes the Chavistas’ new labor law as anti-sexist in the way that it recognizes the “monetary value of housework.” The idea of a pension for mothers is similar to some conceptualizations of basic income because of its universality and because it operates on the fundamental premise that an individual is entitled to an income based on something other than their participation in the labour market. The article written by Kristina Chew can be found at: http://www.care2.com/causes/venezuela-to-pay-pensions-to-full-time-mothers.html#ixzz2VNVHamfr
ANCHORAGE ALASKA: “How the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend Could Work in Iraq and Other Countries: A Conversation with Todd Moss,” June 3, 2013
Monday, June 3, 2013 – 3:00pm to 5:00pm
As part of the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Institute of Social and Economic Research series of lunchtime talks, “Understanding Alaska,” Todd Moss discussed whether something like Alaska’s Basic Income, the Permanent Fund and Dividend, could work in Iraq and other countries. Todd Moss, editor of The Governor’s Solution and vice president of the Center for Global Development. The Governor’s Solution features the firsthand account of Governor Jay Hammond that describes, with brutal honesty and piercing humor, the birth of the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend, which has been paid to each resident every year since 1982.
The event was held at the University of Alaska Anchorage, 3211 Providence Drive Room 307, Consortium Library, Anchorage, Alaska 99508
More information about the event can be found at the following two websites:
More information about Todd Moss is online at:
Todd Moss’s email address is: email@example.com
New York: “A Basic Income for All?” New Left Forum, June 9, 2013
The New Left Forum include a panel session on BIG in its meeting on June 9, 2013 in New York City. The panel examined the feasibility and desirability of basic income proposals from a number of disciplinary viewpoints, including history, economics, and comparative political science. Panelists included Frances Fox Piven, Lena Lavinas, Almaz Zelleke, and Benjamin Kunkel.
More information about the event is online at: http://www.leftforum.org/content/basic-income-all-0
VAN NUYS, CA, UNITED STATES: “Can the U.S. afford a Basic Income Guarantee?” Valley Democrats United July meeting, Tuesday, July 16th 2013
Al Sheahen, author of Basic Income Guarantee: Your Right To Economic Security, leads a discussion of the Basic Income Guarantee at the July meeting of Valley United Democrats. He is joined by Mark Pash of the Center for Progressive Economics for a Round Table Discussion. The organizers write, “Be on time and bring an open mind…”
The meeting will take place:
Tuesday, July 16th 2013, 7PM to 9PM
Van Nuys State Building Auditorium
6150 Van Nuys Blvd. (corner of Calvert and Van Nuys Blvd.) Van Nuys, CA, 91401
WINDHOEK, Namibia, “Social safety nets in Namibia: Assessing current programmes and future options,” September 26, 2013.
Karl Widerquist will discuss the basic income guarantee as a way to provide a more effective social safety net in Namibia at a conference in Windhoek on September 26, 2013. He will discuss the experience in Alaska with its dividend program as well as pilot projects in Namibia, Indian, Uganda, and other places. The conference is hosted by the Namibian central bank.
Karl Widerquist is an Associate Professor at SFS-Qatar, Georgetown University. He holds two doctorates—one in Political Theory from Oxford University (2006) and one in Economics from the City University of New York (1996). He has published six books, the most recent of which is Independence, Propertylessness, and Basic Income: A theory of freedom as the power to say no.
Karl Widerquist, “Social safety nets in Namibia: Assessing current programmes and future options,” Featured Speaker, Windhoek, Namibia, Bank of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia, September 26, 2013. For more information, see the following two websites:
MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA, BIEN Congress: June 26-29, 2014
The Fifteenth International Congress of the Basic Income Earth Network will take place in Montreal, Quebec on June 26-29, 2014. The Basic Income Canada Network (BICN) (known in French as Reseau Canadien Pour Le Revenu Garanti) will host the Congress. The theme of the Congress will be “Re-Democratizing the Economy.” More details about the Congress will be released gradually over the coming months. United then, conference organizer recommend, “Save the date.”
More details of the Congress will first appear on the BICN website: http://biencanada.ca/BIEN2014_Congress.html
MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA: Keynote Speakers Announced for the 15th BIEN Congress in June, 2014
[July 26, 2013 – The Basic Income Canada Network / Reseau Canadien Pour Le Revenu Garanti]
The Basic Income Canada Network / Reseau Canadien Pour Le Revenu Garanti (BICN) has announced some of the keynote speakers for the Fifteenth Congress of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN). BIEN has held a Congress every second year since 1986. The 2014 congress will take place at the McGill Faculty of Law in Montreal, Quebec from June 26th to June 29th, 2014. The theme of the 2014 BIEN Congress is “Re-democratizing the Economy”. The congress aims to engage BIEN’s affiliate networks and the public in a sustained discussion about the role of a basic income guarantee in re-democratizing the economy, nationally and globally. The following speakers have so far agreed to join the discussion:
Roberto Gargarella, Professor at the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, Argentina and Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professor at University College London, author of The Legal Foundation of Inequality: Constitutionalism in the Americas, 1776-1860 (Cambridge University Press, 2010) and Latin American Constitutionalism,1810-2010: The Engine Room of the Constitution (Oxford University Press, 2013).
1. Renana Jhabvala, President of the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), Bharat, India, and author of The Idea of Work (Indian Academy For Self Employed Women, 2012) and Social Income and Insecurity: A Study in Gujarat (Routledge, 2010)
2. Linda McQuaig, Journalist, columnist, social critic, and best-selling author of, most recently, The Trouble with Billionaires (Viking Canada, 2010) and Billionaires’ Ball: Gluttony and Hubris in an Age of Epic Inequality (Beacon Press, 2012)
3. Guy Standing, Professor in Development Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London and Co-President, Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN), author of Work After Globalization: Building Occupational Citizenship (Edward Elgar, 2009) and The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class (Bloomsbury, 2011)
The Congress will also include the 2014 General Assembly meeting of BIEN. The call for papers will be announced early in the fall of 2013. Updates about the congress can be obtained from the Canadian network’s website at: http://biencanada.ca/BIEN2014_Congress.html.
See also BIEN’s website: http://www.basicincome.org
Call for Papers: Special Issue of the Journal of Evolution and Technology, “Technological Unemployment and Universal Basic Income Guarantee”
Submissions are invited for a special issue of the journal on the topic of the impending global decline of employment due to automation, disintermediation and other effects of emerging technologies, and the need for reform and expansion of state income support such as a universal basic income guarantee (BIG). Papers questioning the premises of technological unemployment or the desirability of a BIG are also welcome.
Guest editor: James J. Hughes, Ph.D., Public Policy Studies, Trinity College, Hartford Connecticut firstname.lastname@example.org
Expected publication: Winter/Spring 2014
Submission deadline: Oct 1, 2013
Notification of acceptance/rejection: Jan 1, 2014
Final revision deadline: Feb 1, 2014
Publication: Winter/Spring 2014
For more information contact: James J. Hughes
Blattman, Christopher, “Dear governments: Want to help the poor and transform your economy? Give people cash”
In this blog post, author and political scientists, Chris Blattman, reports on a study he helped to organize, which shows that giving cash to poor people in a very poor country significantly increases both their employment rate and their employment income. The study was a randomized field experiment conducted in Uganda.
Blattman, Chris, “Dear governments: Want to help the poor and transform your economy? Give people cash,” Chris Blattman: International development, politics, economics, and policy, 23 May 2013
Blattman, Christopher, Nathan Fiala, and Sebastian Martinez “Credit Constraints, Occupational Choice, and the Process of Development: Long Run Evidence from Cash Transfers in Uganda”
Abstract: How to stimulate employment and the shift from agriculture to industry in developing countries, with their young, poor, and underemployed populations? A widespread view is the poor have high returns to investment but are credit constrained. If so, infusions of capital should expand occupational choice, self-employment, and earnings. Existing evidence from established entrepreneurs shows that grants lead to business growth on the intrinsic margin. Little of this evidence, however, speaks to the young and unemployed, and how to grow employment on the extensive margin — especially transitions from agriculture to cottage industry. We study a large, randomized, relatively unconditional cash transfer program in Uganda, one designed to stimulate such structural change. We follow thousands of young adults two and four years after receiving grants equal to annual incomes. Most start new skilled trades. Labor supply increases 17%. Earnings rise nearly 50%, especially women’s. Patterns of treatment heterogeneity are consistent with credit constraints being relieved. These constraints appear less binding on men, as male controls catch up over time. Female controls do not, partly due to greater capital constraints. Finally, we go beyond economic returns and look for social externalities. Poor, unemployed men are commonly associated with social dislocation and unrest, and governments routinely justify employment programs on reducing such risks. Despite huge economic effects, we see little impact on cohesion, aggression, and collective action (Peaceful or violent). This challenges a body of theory and rationale for employment programs, but suggest the impacts on poverty and structural change alone justify public investment.
Blattman, Christopher, Nathan Fiala, and Sebastian Martinez “Credit Constraints, Occupational Choice, and the Process of Development: Long Run Evidence from Cash Transfers in Uganda,” the Social Science Research Network, May 20, 2013
This paper can be downloaded at: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2268552
Bloomberg BusinessWeek, For Fighting Poverty, Cash Is Surprisingly Effective, Global Economics
For Fighting Poverty, Cash Is Surprisingly Effective, By Charles Kenny
June 03, 2013
Worldwide, richer people express fears about handing money to poorer people. Giving poor people money is no way to stop them being poor, the thinking goes: Surely they will just waste it. Instead, we design complex, bureaucratic programs like SNAP, the supplemental nutrition assistance program (formerly known as food stamps), to help poor families buy food and only food. That way, they can’t buy a trip to Disney World with our tax dollars.
Brady, Michael, “Basic income in Norway?”
This article argues that Norway should introduce a basic income, and considers the Alaska model as a financing strategy.
Brady, Michael, “Basic income in Norway?” The Foreigner: Norwegian News In English, Sunday, 26th May, 2013
Broadbent, Ed, “Begin by hiking tax credits for working poor”
In this opinion piece, Ed Broadbent, former leader of the New Democratic Party, argues that Canada should take a small step in the direction of a basic income or a negative income tax by increasing the federal Working Income Tax Benefit, which provides a very modest tax credit to Canadians who work but still have very low incomes.
Broadbent, Ed, “Begin by hiking tax credits for working poor,” the Chronicle Herald, June 28, 2013.
Coppola, Francis. “Economic equivalence: job guarantee and basic income”
This article argues in support of the Basic Income Guarantee (BIG), relative to another proposed reform, the Job Guarantee (JG). Responding to two recent articles by L. Randall Wray criticizing basic income as inflationary, Francis Coppola castes doubt that Wray’s claims that BIG and JG would have very different effects on inflation. She concludes, “It seems to me that the fundamental difference between JG proponents and supporters of basic income lies not in their economics but in their view of human nature. JG proponents are essentially managerialist. They think that people have to be told what to do or they won’t do anything useful. Basic income supporters, on the other hand, are liberals: they believe that if people are supported and their basic needs are met, they will find useful and productive things to do. … Personally I would prefer a basic income, and I admit that is because I am shockingly liberal and really don’t like being told what to do.”
Coppola, Francis. “Economic equivalence: job guarantee and basic income,” Coppola Comment, Thursday, 11 July 2013
Fernandez, Benjamin “Rupees in your pocket”
This story begins, “A new pilot study at Panthbadodiya could significantly change living conditions for the poor, and India’s approach to fighting poverty. The village is taking part in the Madhya Pradesh Unconditional Cash Transfer Initiative, a project run by the Self Employed Women’s Association (Sewa; a trade union that has defended the rights of women with low incomes in India for 40 years), with subsidies from Unicef (United Nations Children’s Fund) India. The research director, Sarath Dewala, explained: ‘The experiment involves giving individuals a small sum of money, at regular intervals, as a supplement to all other forms of income, and observing what happens to their families if this sum is given unconditionally.’ …”
Fernandez, Benjamin “Rupees in your pocket,” the Morung Express, 2013
Geiser, Urs “Basic income for all. Old utopian revived on Swiss streets”
Wolfgang Müller – BI News
A campaign for an unconditional basic income in Switzerland claims to have achieved the required signatures for a nationwide vote. This article illustrates the work of the campaigners and their experiences along with some of the controversy about the issue in Switzerland.
Geiser, Urs “Basic income for all. Old utopian revived on Swiss streets,” swissinfo.ch, June 13, 2013
Giannelli, Silvia, “Pray Again to Saint Precarious”
[Sabrina Del Pico – July 2013]
Saint Precarious (San Precario) is an iconic image created back in 2004 by a network of Italian activists who dealt with the concept of “precarity” since 2001. This unusual saint was declared patron of all precarious workers and used to recall Catholic saints believed to protect the faithful. This article not only explains the beginnings of San Precario movement and its early connections to international grassroots movements but also the reasons behind the failure of an international movement of precarious workers. For the introduction of a minimum income is one of the core battles for San Precario, the article also deals with this topic highlighting those campaigns which aim to such a measure both at national and European level.
Silvia Giannelli, “Pray Again to Saint Precarious”, Inter Press Service, July 19th, 2013
Harford, Tim, “The Undercover Economist: How to give money away”
A commentator for the Financial Times, Britain’s leading business newspaper, has tentatively endorsed BIG. Tim Harford writes, “Helping the poor in the most obvious way of all is starting to look attractive.”
Harford, Tim, ” The Undercover Economist: How to give money away,” the Financial Times, July 12, 2013. http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/a1101f00-e8fd-11e2-aead-00144feabdc0.html
Hern, Alex: two articles on Basic Income
Alex Hern has published two articles in the New Statesman, “Basic income versus the robots: An economic all-stars match-up,” 17 June 2013 and “The most universal benefit of them all: While the UK debates ending universality, economists in America are talking about making income itself universal, 5 June 2013.
The two articles are online at:
Kenny, “For Fighting Poverty, Cash Is Surprisingly Effective”
Charles Kenny “For Fighting Poverty, Cash Is Surprisingly Effective”
[BICN – Jenna van Draanen – June 2013]
Kenny writes an article for Bloomberg Business Week that challenges prevalent attitudes about alleviating poverty with cash transfers. He cites two particular studies that involved grants given to people living in Uganda and also gives examples from the United States.
Kenny discusses the US 1970s negative income tax experiments that guaranteed an income to thousands of low-income recipients and cites outcomes of improved test scores and school attendance for the children of recipients, reduced prevalence of low-birth-weight infants, and increased homeownership.
He argues that many studies of cash transfers in both developed and developing countries have led to a variety of impacts and that these studies have shown that impacts are not correlated with any conditions applied. He also argues for the cost-efficacy of administering such unconditional programs. The author is critical of the argument that poverty is a result of moral failings of the poor and believes this is a justification for taking a paternalistic approach to poverty relief.
Charles Kenny “For Fighting Poverty, Cash Is Surprisingly Effective,” Bloomberg Business Week. June 3, 2013. The original article can be found here: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-06-03/for-fighting-poverty-cash-is-surprisingly-effective#r=rss
Krugman, Paul, “Sympathy for the Luddites”
Nobel Laureate, Paul Krugman endorsed a “minimum income” in his edition of his regular Op-ed column in the New York Times. The column is mostly about technological unemployment, but Krugman concludes that the solution requires, “a strong social safety net, one that guarantees not just health care but a minimum income, too.” The term minimum income is a bit vague and is not spelled out by Krguman, but among economists the term minimum income is usually used to mean some kind of basic income guarantee, usually along the lines of a negative income tax.
Krugman, Paul, “Sympathy for the Luddites,” The New York Times, June 13, 2013
Latimer, Paul, “An alternative to welfare may help Canadians”
“One idea that warrants further investigation is a guaranteed annual income or negative income tax. This would replace our current welfare system and would ensure Canadians had a certain minimum income.…”
Paul Latimer, “An alternative to welfare may help Canadians,” Kelowna Capital News (British Columbia), May 23, 2013
L’Hirondelle, C.A., “Job Fairy or Universal Livable Income: What is More Realistic?”
This article response to the allegation that basic income is unrealistic by arguing that the idea of full employment at a living wage is far less realistic.
L’Hirondelle, C.A., “Job Fairy or Universal Livable Income: What is More Realistic?” June 7, 2013
L’Hirondelle, C.A., Frederik Schenk, and Eric Manneschmidt, “Why Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend is a bad idea”
Written as response to the article, “Six Lessons from the Alaska Model,” by Karl Widerquist (http://binews.org/2013/07/opinion-six-lesson-from-the-alaska-model/), C.A. L’Hirondelle, Frederik Schenk, and Eric Manneschmidt argue that resource dividends are not a good source of funding for a basic income because,
“The Alaska Permanent Fund and concepts like it are created to corrupt people into accepting a business that they might otherwise strongly oppose.” The authors support BIG, but not this method of financing.
L’Hirondelle, C.A., Frederik Schenk, and Eric Manneschmidt, “Why Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend is a bad idea,” Livable4all, July 12, 2013:
Moase, Godfrey “Why Australians deserve a universal minimum income”
The author writes, “I’d like to see every citizen receive a basic income of AUD$30,000 per year. No exceptions, no means testing. This is why.”
Moase, Godfrey “Why Australians deserve a universal minimum income,” The Guardian, Wednesday 19 June 2013
Moss, Todd (editor) The Governor’s Solution: How Alaska’s Oil Dividend Could Work in Iraq and Other Oil-Rich Countries
The Governor’s Solution features his firsthand account (PDF) that describes, with brutal honesty and piercing humor, the birth of the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend, which has been paid each year to every citizen-resident of Alaska since 1982. This book, part of the Center for Global Development’s Oil-to-Cash initiative, includes recent scholarly work examining Alaska’s experience and how other oil-rich societies, particularly Iraq, might apply some of the lessons.
Contributors to the book include: Todd Moss (Center for Global Development), Jay Hammond (governor of Alaska 1974–1982 and creator of the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend), Scott Goldsmith (University of Alaska-Anchorage), Nancy Birdsall (Center for Global Development), Arvind Subramanian (Peterson Institute for International Economics and Center for Global Development), and Johnny West (journalist and founder of Open Oil).
Moss, Todd (editor) The Governor’s Solution: How Alaska’s Oil Dividend Could Work in Iraq and Other Oil-Rich Countries, London: Center for Global Development, November 5, 2012
More info about the book is online at: http://www.cgdev.org/publication/9781933286709-governor%E2%80%99s-solution-how-alaska%E2%80%99s-oil-dividend-could-work-iraq-and-other-oil-rich
Perkio, Johanna, “Basic Income Proposals in Finland, Germany and Spain”
This paper compares BI models and discussion in Finland, Germany and Spain.
Perkio, Johanna, “Basic Income Proposals in Finland, Germany and Spain,” Discussion Paper No. 2, Transform! European network for alternative thinking and political dialogue, 2013, online at: http://transform-network.net/programmes/discussion-papers/news/detail/Programm/basic-income-proposals-in-finland-germany-and-spain.html
It’s also online as a PDF at: http://transform-network.net/uploads/tx_news/Paper_no2_perkioe_EN.pdf
The appendix is online at: http://transform-network.net/uploads/tx_news/Basic_Income_in_Europe.Tabellen.corr_mitangenommenenAenderungen.pdf
Robertson, James, James Robertson’s Newsletter: Working for a Sane Alternative
[USBIG June 2013]
The latest issue of James Robertson’s Newsletter (No. 41, May 2013) is online. The newsletter regularly contains discussion of BIG as part of a larger monetary reform.
James Robertson, James Robertson Newsletter: Working for a Sane Alternative, No. 41, May 2013.
Ryan, Anne, “Universal Basic Income: A brief overview of a support for intelligent economies, quality of life and a caring society”
This article argues for basic income in the Irish context. It argues that the current social security system in Ireland is not working, and it discusses how basic income would impact businesses, workers, young people, low-paid individuals, workers, and taxpayers.
Anne B Ryan is an adult educator, an active member of Basic Income Ireland, a trustee of Feasta and a founder member of Cultivate Celbridge, a resilience and mutual help network in her home town. Her most recent book is Enough is Plenty: Public and Private Policies for the 21st Century (O Books, 2009).
Ryan, Anne, “Universal Basic Income: A brief overview of a support for intelligent economies, quality of life and a caring society,” Feasta, the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability, Apr 17, 2013:
Sheahan, Allan, “Jobs are not the answer”
Wolfgang Müller – BI News
In this article, Al Sheahen argues that the labor market has changed. Full employment is very unlikely in the future. Globalization and improvement of technology will eliminate more jobs. This development demands a break of “the link between work and income” in order to avoid poverty. We need to recognize that people do not need jobs but income. Sheahen concludes that one useful tool is a basic income guarantee, which would provide income security but also economic freedom and other advantages.
Al Sheahen is the author of The Basic Income Guarantee: Your Right to Economic Security.
Sheahan, Allan, “Jobs are not the answer,” The Gilmer Mirror, June, 2013
Simulacrum, “Three trends that will create demand for an Unconditional Basic Income”
In a post at the blog Simulacrum, “Liu” discusses three trends that will create a demand for an unconditional basic income: The fall of the middle class, the long term decline in demand for human labor, and the detachment of cultural production from the market. According to Timothy Roscoe Carter, “This is an excellent post, and my only complaint is that Liu does not explicitly note that trend #2, the decline in demand for human labor, is the primary cause of the other two. The section on the detachment of cultural production from the market is probably the best due to originality. This trend is important, and this is the first time I have seen a discussion of it that links it to a demand for basic income. My favorite quote from this post: ‘Don’t dismiss this as socialism, it involves a complete rejection of the Stakhanovite work ethic and a full-throttle embrace of consumer culture.’”
Simulacrum: Media, technology, and anthropology. “Three trends that will create demand for an Unconditional Basic Income,” posted 2013-07-10, in a Blog by Lui.
Torry, Malcolm, “Why it’s the right time for a Citizen’s Income”
Malcolm Torry, author of Money for Everyone, writes in this article, “A Citizen’s Income is an unconditional, nonwithdrawable income for every individual as a right of citizenship. …”
Torry, Malcolm, “Why it’s the right time for a Citizen’s Income” Policy Press Blog, June 14, 2013
Torry, Malcolm, Money for Everyone: Why we need a Citizen’s Income
Malcolm Torry, the head of Britain’s BIEN affiliate, the Citizen’s Income Trust, has released a book entitled, Money for Everyone: Why we need a Citizen’s Income. The publisher provides the following information about the book and the author:
About This Book: Due to government cuts, the benefits system is currently a hot topic. In this timely book, a Citizen’s Income (sometimes called a Basic Income) is defined as an unconditional, non-withdrawable income for every individual as a right of citizenship. This much-needed book, written by an experienced researcher and author, is the first for over a decade to analyse the social, economic and labour market advantages of a Citizen’s Income in the UK. It demonstrates that it would be simple and cheap to administer, would reduce inequality, enhance individual freedom and would be good for the economy, social cohesion, families, and the employment market. It also contains international comparisons and links with broader issues around the meaning of poverty and inequality, making a valuable contribution to the debate around benefits. Accessibly written, this is essential reading for policy-makers, researchers, teachers, students, and anyone interested in the future of our society and our economy
About the author: Dr. Malcolm Torry is Director of the Citizen’s Income Trust; he has first degrees in mathematics, theology, philosophy, and economics and management; and higher degrees in social policy and in theology. He has recently completed an honorary research fellowship in the Social Policy Department at the London School of Economics. He is Team Rector of the Church of England Parish of East Greenwich.
Torry, Malcolm, Money for Everyone: Why we need a Citizen’s Income, London: Policy Press, 27th June, 2013.
More details about the book can be found on the Citizen’s income Trust website (www.citizensincome.org.uk) and the publisher’s website (www.policypress.co.uk/display.asp?K=9781447311256).
Torry, Malcolm “There are many convincing arguments in favour of a Citizen’s Income”
In this blog, Malcolm Torry discusses a new book, Money for Everyone: Why we need a Citizen’s Income, which argues for a Universal Basic Income, or as it is termed here, a Citizen’s Income. He discusses the different approaches the book uses in arguing for the policy, concluding that every mainstream political ideology generates arguments for a Citizen’s Income.
Malcolm Torry is honorary Director of the Citizen’s Income Trust, BIEN’s affiliate in the United Kingdom. He has first degrees in mathematics, theology, philosophy, and economics and management, and higher degrees in social policy and in theology. From May 2011 to April 2012 he was an honorary Visiting Research Fellow at the London School of Economics. He is Vicar of Holy Trinity, Greenwich Peninsula.
Torry, Malcolm “There are many convincing arguments in favour of a Citizen’s Income,” British Politics and Policy at LSE, 2013: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/archives/34269?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BritishPoliticsAndPolicyAtLse+(British+politics+and+policy+at+LSE
Van Parijs, Philippe “The Euro Dividend”
In this short article, Philippe Van Parijs proposes a Euro-dividend, which he describes as “one, simple and radical, yet … reasonable and urgent” proposal. The Euro-dividend is a modest basic income for every legal resident of the European Union. According to Van Parijs, “This income provides each resident with a universal and unconditional floor that can be supplemented at will by labour income, capital income and social benefits. Its level can vary from country to country to track the cost of living, and it can be lower for the young and higher for the elderly.”
Van Parijs is a professor at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium and the author Real Freedom for All: what (if anything) can justify capitalism.
Van Parijs, Philippe, “The Euro-Dividend,” Social Europe Journal, July 3, 2013
Weisenthal, Joe, “There’s A Way To Give Everyone In America An Income That Conservatives And Liberals Can Both Love”
“Here’s an idea for stimulating the economy: Free money for everyone, all the time, with no exceptions or conditions. …”
Joe Weisenthal, “There’s A Way To Give Everyone In America An Income That Conservatives And Liberals Can Both Love,” Business Insider May 13, 2013
Worstall, Tim, “An Unconditional Basic Income Is The Solution But The Important Word Here Is Basic”
Forbes, one of the top business magazines in the United States is now discussing Basic Income (BI). Tim Worstall, a regular contributor to Forbes on business and Technology writes “a universal basic income … would solve many of our economic problems. It’s not quite the miracle panacea but it is still pretty good all the same.” He argues against the claim that technological unemployment will make BI a necessity, but argues in favor of it on the basis of eliminating the huge effective marginal tax rates experienced by people with little or no private income.
Tim Worstall, “An Unconditional Basic Income Is The Solution But The Important Word Here Is Basic” Forbes, July 12, 2013
Wray, L. Randall, two articles criticizing of BIG
“Are More Jobs the Answer? The ‘BIG’ Bait and Switch” and “How BIG is BIG Enough: Would The Basic Income Guarantee Satisfy The Unemployed?”
In two articles, L. Randall Wray compares the Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) to the Job Guarantee / Employer of Last Resort (JG/ELR). A Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Senior Scholar at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College, NY, Wray has been writing about the benefits of the JG/ELR approach since the 1990s. He is one of the leading scholars of what is now called “modern monetary theory,” which stresses the need to prevent inflation by using a JG/ELR as an anchor for the currency.
Wray opposes the BIG mostly because he believes it will cause inflation. He simply believes that some of the goals of BIG are unsustainable: attempts to provide everyone with a descent income without requiring them to work will, according to Wray, necessarily cause an inflation spiral. He also argues that many of the goals of BIG are good and sustainable, but that they can be achieved better through a JG/ELR than through BIG.
Wray’s starting point is a response to a recent editorial by Al Sheahen (author of the recent book, Basic Income Guarantee: Your Right to Economic Security), but he cites a wide range of BIG authors including Philippe Van Parijs, Guy Standing, Charles M.A. Clark and others.
L. Randall Wray, “Are More Jobs the Answer? The ‘BIG’ Bait and Switch,” Economonitor, June 25th, 2013: http://www.economonitor.com/lrwray/2013/06/25/are-more-jobs-the-answer-the-big-bait-and-switch/#sthash.AWm9RZFN.dpuf
L. Randall Wray, “How BIG is BIG Enough: Would The Basic Income Guarantee Satisfy The Unemployed?,” Economonitor, July 9th, 2013
– See more at: http://www.economonitor.com/blog/2013/07/how-big-is-big-enough-would-the-basic-income-guarantee-satisfy-the-unemployed/#sthash.dDSXay3l.dpuf
Yglesias, Matthew: for articles on BIG in Slate magazine
Aynur Bashirova – BI News – 2013.
Basic Income has a new advocate at a major U.S. publication. Since December 2012, Matthew Yglesias has published four articles in Slate magazine, each arguing for basic income, either on the basis that it would speed up the economic activity and that it would reduce poverty. He argues that the current system of getting out of economic crisis and ending poverty is too complex and it does not work. Instead, he says, we should find a simpler and faster approach, which is to print money and distribute it to everyone, regardless of his or her income. If people had more money, they would be buying more things. Increasing the size of savings would reduce the borrowing costs of firms and this will push up the value of stocks and other financial assets. Yglesias accepts that there is one downside to this approach, which is the risk of inflation due to printing too much money. However, the central bank has promised it is temporarily capable of tolerating 2.5% of inflation, until unemployment falls below 6.5%. Currently, inflation is just below 2%, which means that there is a room to implement Yglesias’ plan, which should help the US get out of the crisis. On the issue of poverty, Yglesias draws the simple conclusion, “I’ve come to think that directly transfering [sic] cash money to people in need is the most underrated tool around for fighting poverty.” He makes the connection between his two goals for basic income clear from his first article. Specifically discussing international poverty relief in Kenya, he writes, “when you give a poor household stuff that helps them but in some ways may undercut local businesses involved in the production and distribution of stuff. Transferring purchasing power (i.e. money) to a high-poverty community not only helps the recipient, but creates economic opportunities for others to obtain that money by providing useful goods and services.” Matthew Yglesias is Slate’s business and economics correspondent. Before joining the magazine he worked for ThinkProgress, the Atlantic, TPM Media, and the American Prospect. His first book, Heads in the Sand, was published in 2008. His second, The Rent Is Too Damn High, was published in March.
All four articles are online at Slate:
Yglesias, Matthew. (2013). “The Best and Simplest Way to Fight Global Poverty.” Slate. May 29, 2013.
Yglesias, Matthew. (2013). “EITC Isn’t the Alternative to a Minimum Wage. This Is.”
Yglesias, Matthew. (2013). “Print Money. Mail Everybody a Check.” Slate, April 1, 2013.
Yglesias, Matthew, “Fighting Poverty By Giving Poor People Money” Slate Magazine, Dec. 25, 2012
Yglesias, Matthew, “Good News About Unconditional Transfers to the Global Poor”
In the latest of several articles on Basic Income for Slate magazine, Matthew Yglesias reports on a pilot project in Uganda. The project found “recipients of one-off lump-sum cash transfers earn substantially higher annual incomes two and four years after the intervention.”
Yglesias, Matthew, “Good News About Unconditional Transfers to the Global Poor,” Slate May 29, 2013
Zeese, Kevin and Margaret Flowers, Time for an Economy Of, By and For the People
Zeese, Kevin and Margaret Flowers, “Time for an Economy Of, By and For the People,” Global Research, June 25, 2013
This article argues for basic income as a response to technological unemployment, The authors write, “because of increases in technology that replace workers, we need to face a very important reality that is never discussed – there may never be enough jobs.”
The Basic Income Project
The Basic Income Project is to build a smart phone application that uses a type of digital currency which gets injections of unconditional basic income for communities and individuals to start using in their initiatives. http://basicincomeproject.org/
AUDIO: Discussion of eleven one-minute cases for Basic Income
[USBIG – June 2013]
BlogTalkRadio interviews Timothy Roscoe Carter about his recent opinion piece on BI News, entitled “The One Minute Case for a Basic Income.” Carter’s piece actually has eleven different one-minute arguments for basic income, each focused to appeal to a different ideology. BlogTalkRadio and Carter discuss at least half of them and several other aspects of basic income. The interview was originally posted on June 9, 2013.
The interview is online at: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/tzmsacdavis/2013/06/09/a-basic-unconditial-income-for-everyone#.UbULZ1gZTZg.facebook
Carter’s original opinion piece is on BI News at: http://binews.org/2013/02/opinion-the-one-minute-case-for-a-basic-income/
SLIDE SHOW: Basic Income Grant Pilot Project in Namibia
This PowerPoint slideshow by Uhuru Dempers summarizes some of the results of the Basic Income Pilot Project in Otjivero, Namibia.
It’s online at: http://www.slideshare.net/SIANIAgri/basic-income-grant-pilot-project-in-namibiasentationatstockholmseminar11thsept2012
VIDEO: Bloomberg national Television discusses BIG
Al Sheahen, author of the Basic Income Guarantee: Your Right to Economic Security, discussed BIG on Bloomberg Television. His interview, by Mark Crumpton on Bloomberg Television’s “Bottom Line,” was broadcast nationally live on July 22 and is now available online at the following link.
VIDEO: Basic Income, a new human right
The European Citizens Initiative for Basic Income has produced a 3-minute cartoon video (published on Mar 28, 2013) introducing the idea of basic income and encouraging Europeans to sign the petition for basic income in the European Union.
The video is online here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zru79jcVTt4
Sign the petition here: http://sign.basicincome2013.eu
Follow us on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ECI.BasicIncome
VIDEO: Guy Standing, “Why the Precariat Requires a Basic Income.”
In this 37-minute video, Guy Standing explains what the precariat class is, why it is so important to contemporary politics, and why solving the problem of a class of people with a precarious existence requires a basic income.
It’s online at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WaA8zqjBSk
VIDEOS: Politics in an Equal Money System
This YouTube video channel has more than a dozen different videos discussing different aspects of BIG. According to the channel’s introduction, “Politics in an Equal Money System will essentially not exist as it does now, where you have a small portion of the population given all the power to make decisions for the rest of the population, that the population must live by, whether not they agree with them. In an Equal Money System, Politicians will have no power to make decisions. Everyone will participate in the decision making.”
The channel is online at: http://www.youtube.com/user/EqualMoneyWiki
VIDEO: Andrew MacAfee recommends BIG in a TED talk
BIG has been recommended in a TED talk by MIT’s Andrew McAfee, who cites arguments similar to ones presented at earlier NABIG Congresses. “The New Machine Age” brings on the possibility of a very good or very bad future. He only mentions BIG 9:55 seconds into the talk but it is well set up.
It’s online at: http://www.ted.com/talks/andrew_mcafee_what_will_future_jobs_look_like.html
VIDEO: Sustainable Basic Income Proposal
This video is a live discussion with Anna Brix, Darryl Thomas, and Marlen Vargas on the latest developments on basic income to make it a sustainable system that works for everyone in every country in the world. Published on YouTube on June 16, 2013
It’s online at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmWv-0zcLy4&feature=youtu.be
VIDEO: “A town without poverty”
This YouTube video is a 7-minute Canadian Broadcasting Company interview with Evelyn Forget on her examination of the results of the guaranteed income experiment conducted in Dauphin, Manitoba in the 1970s. Forget found many positive effects including an 8 percent reduction in hospital emissions. She explains that when you work in a hospital, “a lot of what you’re treating is the effects of poverty.”
It’s online at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=pQ1CapAOu7M
9. The NewsFlash and BI News request volunteers
The USBIG NewsFlash and the Basic Income News Website (binews.org) are entirely written, edited, and maintained by volunteers. We need help from volunteers. We need people to write articles, to translate articles, and to help improve the appearance of website and the email newsletter. If you’re interested in helping, please contact the editor, Karl Widerquist
10. Links and other info
For links to dozens of BIG websites around the world, go to http://www.usbig.net/links.html. These links are to any website with information about BIG, but USBIG does not necessarily endorse their content or their agendas.
The USBIG NewsFlash
Editor: Karl Widerquist
Research: Paul Nollen
Thanks to everyone who helped this issue.
The U.S. Basic Income Guarantee (USBIG) Network publishes this newsletter. The Network is a discussion group on basic income guarantee (BIG) in the United States. BIG is a generic name for any proposal to create a minimum income level, below which no citizen’s income can fall. Information on BIG and USBIG can be found on the web at: http://www.usbig.net. More news about BIG is online at BInews.org.
You may copy and circulate articles from this newsletter, but please mention the source and include a link to http://www.usbig.net. If you know any BIG news; if you know anyone who would like to be added to this list; or if you would like to be removed from this list; please send me an email: Karl@Widerquist.com. As always, your comments on this newsletter and the USBIG website are gladly welcomed.
-Karl Widerquist, editor