BI News Expands with the UBI Movement


Unconditional Basic Income is a movement. Five or ten years ago the idea was little discussed outside of a few limited—mostly academic—circles. Now activists are campaigning for it all over the world. The mainstream media is writing about it. It is becoming a part of the political debate.

When I agreed to write the USBIG NewsFlash in 1999, Basic Income was so far out of the popular mindset, I didn’t think there would be enough news to fill a newsletter every two months, but even in those pre-Great-Recession days, there was always something to report. The expansion of worldwide attention to basic income has been great for the movement, but it’s created a difficult task for BI News. There is so much Basic Income-related news that Basic Income News (the website) and its accompanying NewsFlashes (email newsletters) will have to expand along with the movement. With this issue, both the BIEN and the USBIG NewsFlashes will become monthly (instead of bi-monthly) publications.

Basic Income News—once mostly written by one or two people—is now written by a growing team of volunteer reporters. Toby Rane and Jenna van Draanen have recently completed training to join Josh Martin, Craig Axford, F. H. Pitts, and me as members of the group of rotating volunteers who keep up with all the BIG news—as best we can—making sure Basic Income News is updated daily. Four others (Pablo E. Yanes Rizo, Andrea Fumagalli, Jason Burke Murphy, and Toru Yamamori) are currently in the training process. Yanes and Fumagalli are far enough in the process that they have already contributed pieces to the website and the accompanying NewsFlashes.

We have found that a rotating team of about five or six people can keep up with most of the English-language news leads that come up. Usually a different reporter takes full responsibility for the news section of the website each week. We now have a functioning, rotating English-language team, and we hope to have similar teams in Spanish, French, German, and other languages. We hope also to expand our features section as well to include regular blogs, interviews, and opinion pieces.

Since the retirement of two past editors, Philippe Van Parijs and Yannick Vanderborght, both of whom had great multi-lingual skills, Basic Income News has fallen behind in our coverage of news from non-English-language sources. We hope that to expand the team in ways that will also allow us to cover many more languages. We have currently have a few volunteers with knowledge of Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Japanese. We could certainly use more volunteers with skills in those and other languages (including English). If you would like to volunteer for Basic Income News, please send me an email: Karl@Widerquist.com.

-Karl Widerquist, Mojo Coffee House, October 7; revised the Rook Café, Freret Street, New Orleans, Louisiana, October 8, 2014

About Karl Widerquist

Karl Widerquist is an Associate Professor of political philosophy at SFS-Qatar, Georgetown University, specializing in distributive justice—the ethics of who has what. Much of his work involves Universal Basic Income (UBI). He is a co-founder of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network (USBIG). He served as co-chair of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) for 7 years, and now serves as vice-chair. He was the Editor of the USBIG NewsFlash for 15 years and of the BIEN NewsFlash for 4 years. He is a cofounder of BIEN’s news website, Basic Income News, the main source of just-the-facts reporting on UBI worldwide. He is a cofounder and editor of the journal Basic Income Studies, the only academic journal devoted to research on UBI. Widerquist has published several books and many articles on UBI both in academic journals and in the popular media. He has appeared on or been quoted by many major media outlets, such as NPR’s On Point, NPR’s Marketplace, PRI’s the World, CNBC, Al-Jazeera, 538, Vice, Dissent, the New York Times, Forbes, the Financial Times, and the Atlantic Monthly, which called him “a leader of the worldwide basic income movement.” Widerquist holds two doctorates—one in Political Theory form Oxford University (2006) and one in Economics from the City University of New York (1996). He has published seven books, including Prehistoric Myths in Modern Political Philosophy (Edinburgh University Press 2017, coauthored by Grant S. McCall) and Independence, Propertylessness, and Basic Income: A Theory of Freedom as the Power to Say No (Palgrave Macmillan 2013). He has published more than a twenty scholarly articles and book chapters. Most Karl Widerquist’s writing is available on his “Selected Works” website (works.bepress.com/widerquist/). He writes the blog "the Indepentarian" for Basic Income News, and he is grantually moving content from this blog to there.
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One Response to BI News Expands with the UBI Movement

  1. BB Banks says:

    Great newsletter. What if as a group we did a fundraiser so we could do a couple of billboards in some of the big markets . Thanks. And for some reason I stopped getting your newsletter

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