The U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network (The USBIG Network) is an informal network promoting discussion of the basic income guarantee in the United States.

Read a history of the first five years of USBIG.

Martin Luther King on BIG

MARTIN LUTHER KING’S ENDORSEMENT OF THE BASIC INCOME GUARANTEE has been addressed twice by Jordan Weissmann in articles in the online version of The Atlantic MagazineMartin Luther King’s Economic Dream: A Guaranteed Income for All Americans and Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Solution to Poverty.

Desmond Tutu on BIG

DESMOND TUTU’S ENDORSEMENT OF THE BASIC INCOME GUARANTEE in a videotaped address that Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Nobel Laureate and one of the great figures of the anti-apartheid struggle) made at the Eleventh BIEN Congress is on the web on For a direct link go to:

USBIG was founded in December 1999 by Fred Block of University of California-Davis, Charles M. A. Clark of St. John’s University, Pamela Donovan of the City University of New York, Michael Lewis of the State University of New York-Stony Brook, and Karl Widerquist, then of the Levy Economics Institute.

The USBIG Network, which was for almost two decades an informal group, has now incorporated as USBIG, Inc., a non-profit 501c3 corporation. It remains an all-volunteer organization, with no paid employees. The goal of USBIG is to increase discussion of BIG in the United States. Its activities include annual conferences, a monthly newsflash, a blog series, and a discussion paper series. Membership is free and open to anyone who shares its goals.

USBIG Boards

USBIG Board of Directors

Chelsea Wilkinson (Interim President) is a seasoned grassroots organizer in the basic income movement. She is the Direct Action Campaign Manager at Income Movement.

Outside of her economic justice work, she fosters dogs and is the artist behind HELLSEA.

Eri Noguchi (Secretary, website) is an Adjunct Lecturer in Sociology at Columbia University and the Director of Programs at the Association to Benefit Children. She is an Associate Editor of Basic Income Studies: The International Journal of Basic Income Research.

Robert Taylor, M.P.A. (Treasurer) has worked as a consultant for non-profits and was active in the NOLA Yang Gang.

Larry Cohen (Vice President) is a Los Angeles based activist and founder of, which works to build coalitions and create advocates across the country to support the concept of Universal Basic Income (UBI). He also is a founding signatory of the Economic Security Project. Larry has presented on NPR, various podcasts, and at universities and local activist events across the US.

Aleeza Howitt is the publisher of UBI Research, a think tank focused on the potential of a UBI created without governmental auspices. Aspects examined include alternative currencies, technology, governance, law, and economic theory. She is a research scholar at the Ronin Institute and a graduate of Tufts University. Aleeza is also an active member of “OpenUBI”, an informal network of scholars and activists pursuing alternative UBI initiatives.

Amy Hughes (Volunteer Coordinator) has worked for several years in non-profit organizations, including Challenge Unlimited and Ironstone Farm, with expertise in fundraising and volunteer organizing.

USBIG Advisory Board

Stanley Aronowitz (website) is a Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Urban Education at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He has been a union organizer for the Amalgamated Clothing Workers and the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers and the CUNY and is a leader of the Professional Staff Congress (the CUNY faculty and staff union). He is the author of 15 books including The Jobless Future.

Fred Block was a founder of USBIG. He is a Research Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley.

William DiFazio, St. John’s University.

Nancy Folbre (website) is a Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts. Her work explores the interface between economics and feminist theory, focusing on non-market work and the evolution of social institutions governing public support for child rearing. She is the author of The Invisible Heart: Economics and Family Value and Who Pays for the Kids? Gender and the Structures of Constraint.

Michael Howard (website ) is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Maine and co-editor of  Basic Income Studies: The International Journal of Basic Income Research. He is the author of Self-Management and the Crisis of Socialism, editor of Socialism, and author of numerous articles on basic income. He is the coeditor of Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend: Examining Its Suitability as a Model, and Exporting the Alaska Model.

Kate McFarland, former editor and lead writer of Basic Income News.

Annie Miller (Citizen’s Basic Income Network Scotland), author of A Basic Income Handbook, which will be published by Luath Press Limited, 2017

Carole Pateman (website) is a Political Science Professor at UCLA. She is recognized as one of the world’s leading political theorists specializing in the areas of democratic theory and feminist theory. Among her publications are Participation and Democratic Theory and The Sexual Contract.

Francis Fox Piven (website) is a Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is the author of several books including Regulating the Poor and Poor Peoples’ Movements.

Guy Standing (website) is director of the socioeconomic security program for the International Labor Organization, and author of Beyond the New Paternalism and Global Labour Flexibility: Seeking Distributive Justice.

Eduardo Suplicy (website) has been a member of the Brazilian Senate since 1990. He is one of the founders of Brazil’s now ruling labor party. He has been an activist for the Basic Income Guarantee throughout his political career and introduced the bill which has recently become law authorizing the phase-in of BIG. He is the author of Renda de Cidadania: A Saída é pela (Citizens Income: the Exit is through the door).

Philippe Van Parijs (website) is a philosopher and social scientist at the Catholic University of Louvain. He is the author of several books including What’s Wrong With a Free Lunch? and Real Freedom for All: What (if anything) Can Justify Capitalism?, which has been extremely influential in political theory. He has been recognized as a leader of the movement for Basic Income in Europe for almost 20 years.

Karl Widerquist (website) holds a Ph.D. in economics from the City University of New York and a Ph.D. in political theory from Oxford University. He is the coauthor of Economics for Social Workers and co-editor of The Ethics and Economics of the Basic Income Guarantee, and former editor of Basic Income Studies: The International Journal of Basic Income Research ($). He is the coeditor of Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend: Examining Its Suitability as a Model, and Exporting the Alaska Model.

J. Philip Wogaman (Wikipedia) is Professor of Christian Ethics, Emeritus, at Wesley Theological Seminary, President of the American Theological Society, and author of many books including Guaranteed Income: The Moral Issues.

Almaz Zelleke (website) is a political scientist who is writing a book about basic income in the United States.  She is a member of the executive committee of BIEN (the Basic Income Earth Network) and an Associate Editor of Basic Income Studies: The International Journal of Basic Income Research.

Scott Santens (former treasurer, website) has a crowdfunded basic income and has been a moderator of the basic income community on Reddit since 2013. As a writer and blogger, his pieces advocating universal basic income have appeared on such sites as The Huffington Post, the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET), and Quartz among others.

Michael Lewis (former Vice President, website ) is a professor in the Silberman School of Social Work, Hunter College. He is the coauthor of Economics for Social Workers and co-editor of The Ethics and Economics of the Basic Income Guarantee, and an Associate Editor of Basic Income Studies: The International Journal of Basic Income Research.

Jason Murphy is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Elms College, Springfield, MA. He was a lead organizer for Arkansas ACORN and served as Co-Coordinator for the Green Party of Missouri. He wrote “Baby Steps: on the need for incremental organizational development” for the journal Basic Income Studies: The International Journal of Basic Income Research.

USBIG Committees

Committee of At-Large Volunteers

Shawn Cassiman

David Thomas (former website team coordinator)

Alanna Hartzok of the Earth Rights Institute, 2014 Democratic Nominee for Congress.

Dan O’Sullivan of Rise Up Economics is a communications specialist and former community organizer and a founding member of Basic Income Action, a new non-profit organization whose mission is to win a basic income for all by educating and organizing people to take action.

Diane R. Pagen is a social worker in New York City and a policy analyst. She teaches social policy as a part-time lecturer at Rutgers University Graduate School of Social Work. She is co-author with Theresa Funiciello of The Adventures of Carrie Giver: The Cost of Caring, a policy comic book about the economic value of unpaid caregiving, and an author of articles on social problems and potential solutions.

Steven Shafarman (Activist Coordinator) is the author of We the People: Healing our Democracy and Saving our WorldHealing Politics: Citizen Policies and the Pursuit of HappinessHealing Americans: a New Vision for Politics, Economics, and Pursuing HappinessPractical Feldenkrais for Dynamic Health: Relieve Pain, Recover from Stress, Enhance Pleasure, and Awareness Heals.

Jeffery Smith Forum on Geonomics, US Society for Ecological Economics

Ann Withorn Professor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts Boston, author of Serving the People: Social Services and Social Change.

NewsFlash and Media Committee

Josh Martin (Newsflash Editor)

Jason Murphy (Facebook Page Editor)

Eddie Gao (Facebook, Twitter)

Eric Fortune (Facebook)

Scott Witte (Twitter)

Trevor O’Meara (podcasting)

Website Team

Brent Ranalli (content and review)

Amanda Wray (design/dev)

Jude Thomas (content and review)

Judith Lipman (content and review)

L. Katalinich (content and review)

Michael Howard (content and review)

Sara Bizarro  (content and review)

Andrew Witham (content and review)

Soomi Lee (blog series)

Former members

Robert Harris, former Executive Director of the President’s Commission on Income Maintenance and former Vice President of the Urban Institute, was a member of the USBIG Committee from 2001 until his death in 2006.

Al Sheahen was a member of the USBIG Committee and Public Relations Coordinator until his death in 2013. He is the author of  Guaranteed Income: The Right to Economic Security, revised and reprinted as Basic Income Guarantee: Your Right to Economic Security.