This is the Newsletter of USBIG, ( a network promoting the basic income guarantee (BIG) in the United States. If you'd like to be added to or removed from this list please email:















The publication of this newsletter was disrupted by the attack on the World Trade Center. It’s hard to describe how it felt watching the World Trade Center towers collapse while I was getting ready to leave for work on the morning, and seeing my office building completely enveloped by smoke from the towers. Two weeks later we finally got back in, and found no real damage inside. No one from my office was hurt; none of us were even there at the time. Even two weeks later that horrible smell is still in the air, you have to show proof that you work here to get into this neighborhood, and the streets are filled with police officers, construction workers and military personnel. Outside our back window you can see the still-burning wreckage, and it’s hard to comprehend how many people died there. But businesses are reopening and a slowly new work routine is being established in lower Manhattan.

-Karl Widerquist, the Educational Priorities Panel, Sep. 26th, 2001





THE DEADLINE FOR PAPER SUBMISSIONS for the first USBIG Congress has been set at December 8th, 2001 (3 months before the conference), but early submissions are certainly welcome. All those who submit abstracts will be notified by early January; those who submit early will be notified as early as possible. Keep an eye on the USBIG website ( for information about registration and hotels, which will be posted soon. Submissions are already arriving from as far away as Europe and South Africa, and speakers such as Anne Alstott, Sumner Rosen, and Stanley Aronowitz have already been confirmed. A tentative schedule and with list of conference participants, titles, and abstracts will be posted on the USBIG in December.


Submissions should go to the conference coordinator, Michael Lewis. He has a new email address (, but emails sent to his old address (which was listed in the original call for papers) are being forwarded to his new email box.


Please help spread the word about the conference.




THE FIRST CONGRESS OF THE U.S. BASIC INCOME GUARANTEE NETWORK: FUNDAMENTAL INSECURITY OR BASIC INCOME GUARANTEE will take place on March 8-9, 2002 at The CUNY Graduate Center (365 Fifth Avenue between 34th and 35th Streets in New York City). The Congress will be sponsored by the Center for Social Justice of the SUNY School of Social Welfare at Stony Brook and the Cultural Studies Department of the City University of New York. The purpose of the Congress is to bring together a wide group of academics, policy analysts, students, activists, and others interested in exploring the merits of BIG. It will consist of a series of panels, discussion groups, and speakers and it will include an organizational meeting for USBIG. We invite proposals for papers and panels on topics related to the Basic Income Guarantee, including but not limited to the following:


1. BIG history: The movement for a Negative Income Tax or a Guaranteed Income in the United States and lessons for the future

2. The ethics of BIG

3. The politics of BIG

4. The Alaska Permanent Fund: the existing Basic Income Guarantee

5. The impact of a Basic Income Guarantee on civil society

6. The efficiency-equity tradeoff and the Basic Income Guarantee

7. The Basic Income Guarantee and the family: Effects on marital status, domestic violence, child poverty, and unpaid carework

8. The Basic Income Guarantee outside the United States

9. The labor market effects of BIG

10. Funding a Basic Income Guarantee

11. Substitutes or compliments? The relationship between the Basic Income Guarantee, government as employer of last resort, wage subsidies, the living wage movement, and other alternatives.

12. The problem at hand: recent trends in poverty and child poverty in the U.S. and possibility of increased employment insecurity in the next recession


All discussion of BIG is welcome whether for or against. Papers that do not directly relate to BIG will only be accepted if they fit into topic 12, “the problem at hand.” Anyone interested in presenting a paper or organizing a session should submit a proposal. Paper proposals should include the following:

1. Name

2. University/Organization

3. Address

4. City, State, Zip Code (Postal Code), and Country

5. Telephone, FAX

6. Email Address

7. Paper Title

8. Abstract


Proposals for panels should include all of the above information for each paper in the panel as well as the title for the panel itself. Electronic submissions are preferred and should be sent to Michael A. Lewis at: Submissions can also be made by regular mail to: Michael A. Lewis, Assistant Professor of Social Welfare, School of Social Welfare, Stony Brook University, Health Sciences Center, Level 2, Rm. 093, Stony Brook, NY 11794-8231.




THE CITIZENS INCOME STUDY CENTRE, which has been a very visible advocate of the basic income guarantee in Britain, and which had recently been in charge of publications for BIEN, has recently lost its funding and its office at the London School of Economics. However, the organization has a new director, Dr. Malcolm Torry, and it promises to continue to publicize the basic income guarantee in the future. The new contact information is:

Citizens Income Trust, P.O. Box 26586, London SE3 7WY, UK, tel. +44 (0)20 8305 1222, fax +44 (0)20 8305 9944




RED RENTA BASICA (the Spanish Basic Income Guarantee Network) held its first symposium in Barelona June 8-9, with over one hundred participants and a significant newspaper, radio and TV coverage (e.g. A book based on the symposium is being planned by the Fundacion Bofill. On the following day, the founding meeting of the network took place. The newly founded Spanish network has decided to apply for an official recognition by BIEN as an affiliate organization (on a par with the Dutch, British and Irish networks). It has also elected its first executive committee: Chairman: Daniel Raventós, Deputy chairmen: Rafael Pinilla and José Antonio Noguera, Secretaries: David Casassas & Anna París, treasurer: Jorge Calero, members:  Albert Demetrio, Rocío Martínez, Luis Sanzo. For further information: or Daniel Raventos (From BIEN).



BELGIUM: PRIZE STRENGTHENS CREDIBILITY OF BASIC INCOME. On 28 June, Philippe Van Parijs (professor at the Université catholique de Louvain) was given by Crown Prince Philippe of Blgium the Francqui Prize for 2001. The Francqui Prize is Belgium's main scientific distinction. Worth EUR 100.000 tax-free, it is awarded once a year to a Belgian scholar aged less than 50. The international jury awarded the 2001 prize to Van Parijs for his work as "one of the main philosophers of social justice in today's world". But a significant part of the considerable press coverage focused on Van Parijs's advocacy of basic income. Thus the French-language daily Le Soir (29/06/01) carried a full-page interview entitled "Basic income is a weapon against exclusion", while the main Dutch-language dailies's titles were "BEF 10.000 per month for everyone, scientifically crowned" (De Standaard, 29/06/01), "Francqui Prize for basic income theorist: 'It is an academic's task to be right too early.'" (De Morgen, 29/06/01) and "Universal basic income, a perfect response to neo-liberalism" (De Financieel-economische Tijd, 29/06/01). As to The Bulletin, the English-language "newsweekly of the capital of Europe" and the main medium of Brussels's Eurocrat community, it published a long interview under the heading "Free Lunch for Everyone. Charlie Onians meets an academic whose radical views on the redistribution of wealth have won him a prestigious prize and a place in high-level political debates (19/07/01). Van Parijs's "acceptance speech" (which indicates, among other things, what he intends doing with the money!) can be found on (From BIEN)





For those who have been following the USBIG newsletter, there seems to be news from Canada in every issue, but the news seems to come from a different source each time—the ruling party floated a trial balloon and then dropped it; authors in Ontario, Quebec, and Manitoba have been writing on it; a member of parliament called for a conference on the idea, etc. There seems to be a great deal of interest in a basic income guarantee in Canada but supporters are widely dispersed. Most recently, in Quebec, the most significant party to the left of the two official parties [Rassemblement pour l'Alternative progressiste (RAP)] adopted the proposal of a universal "citizenship income" at the level of the official poverty line. At the next elections for Québec's provincial Parliament, the RAP will be part of a broader front (Union Forces progressistes). For further information contact Jean Lambert ( For information on the Canadian Basic Income network contact Sally Lerner (





SAMUEL BRITTAN, “In praise of free lunches.” The (London) Times Literary Supplement, Aug. 24, 2001


In a review of two books on the Basic Income Guarantee, a well-known British author and columnist gave a strong endorsement to the idea. The following is an excerpt:


One of the myths of New Labour is that paid work is the answer to most social problems. There is no need to argue about the miseries that arise when people able and willing to work are not able to find a job that makes them better off than being on the dole. Nor need anyone deny that people have become disheartened and in the fashionable jargon felt socially excluded through lack of work other than dead end jobs. Some of these have had their self respect and whole outlook on life transformed by appropriate job opportunities.


But it is a fatal logical slide to move from here to insisting that as many people as possible should work for cash, even if that is not what they want to do or that is not the best way of using their enthusiasms and skills. The obvious vulnerability of current policies is in the pressure placed on unmarried mothers to take up paid employment when in many cases the most useful thing they can do would be to look after their children.


The issue is wider. The mistake of Karl Marx was to thunder against private capital and investment income. The problem with them is not that they exist but that too few of us have them. One of the great advantages of the old professional classes is that they had some personal funds on which to fall back and were not completely dependent on wages and salaries. This gave them a degree of independence in dealing with employers or clients as well as a nest egg on which to fall back on difficult times. Last but by no means least, it was possible for younger or more unconventional people to take time off before or during their careers to travel round the world, follow an artistic bent on a modest income, give their time and energy to good causes, or engage in a little riotous living. Unfortunately most defenders of market capitalism have chosen to ignore the existence of unearned income and shut their eyes to the ample evidence of its existence among affluent Americans as well as in the European upper middle class…


For the full text of this article go to:



KARL WIDERQUIST, “Perspectives on the Guaranteed Income, Part I” The Journal of Economic Issues 35, No. 3: 749-757. September 2001


It is clear from the number of books on the basic income guarantee that have been released in the last 10 years that interest in the topic is picking up. This article discusses and compares six books on the topic that were released between 1991 and 1998, including Arguing for Basic Income: Ethical Foundations for a Radical Reform, edited by Philippe Van Parijs, Real Freedom for All: What (if anything) can justify capitalism? by Philippe Van Parijs, The $30,000 Solution: A guaranteed annual income for every American, by Robert R. Schutz, The Benefit of Another’s Pains: Parasitism, Scarcity, Basic Income by Gijs Van Donselaar, “...And Economic Justice for All” Welfare Reform for the 21st Century by Michael L. Murray, and The National Tax Rebate: A New America with Less Government by Leonard M. Greene. “Part II” of this article will follow in December reviewing nine more books on BIG that have been released since 1998.



MIMI ABRAMOVITZ, “Under Attack, Fighting Back: Women and Welfare in the United States,” New edition, Monthly Review Press.


According to the publisher, this book updates a highly acclaimed work with an analysis of the most recent developments in welfare  "reform" and activism. Drawing on first-hand reports of women forced to  leave welfare and the newly available data, Mimi Abramovitz documents the impact  of this historic change in public policy on the lives of poor single mothers and their children. She punctures the highly-publicized claims that equate successful reform with shrunken rolls and reveals how, in too many cases, reform has translated into greater stress and hardship for many families. Abramovitz argues that welfare reform has penalized single motherhood; exposed poor  families to greater risk of hunger and homelessness; and swept them into low-paid jobs where they remain impoverished, lacking healthcare or adequate  childcare. Under Attack, Fighting Back also highlights the latest strategies, tools, and collaborative actions undertaken by welfare rights activists, scholars, advocacy organizations, and various networks to challenge current policy. Additional information on this book can be found at:



STEVE SHAFARMAN, “We the People: Healing Our Democracy and Saving our World,” 2001. Van Nuys, CA: GAIN publications.


This political pamphlet is a shorter version of Shafarman’s book, “Healing Politics: Citizen Policies and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Both the book and the pamphlet are designed to build a movement for two “Citizen Policies:” “Citizen Dividends” and “Citizen Service.” “Citizen Dividends” is Shafarman’s term for the basic income guarantee. “Citizen Service” is the government mandated—but unenforced—obligation for all citizens to perform eight hours per month of service to the community. Shafarman argues that everyone would be happier in a healthier society without the extremes of deprivation that exist today and with a feeling that we have all contributed to making our society into a better place. The book includes a forward by “Granny D” Doris Haddock, who in February 2000, at the age of 90, completed her 3,200-mile (5000km), 14-month walk across the United States (from Pasadena, CA to Washington, DC) for campaign finance reform. In her forward she says that her journal taught her about the immediacy of poverty in America and the need for Citizen’s Dividends. About “We the People” she says, “Everyone should read this book and think about it. Then act on it.”



JOHN CUNLIFFE and GUIDO ERREYGERS, "The Enigmatic Legacy of Charles Fourier: Joseph Charlier and Basic Income", History of Political Economy 33(3), Fall 2001, 459-484. (Secons author's address: Department of Economics, Faculty of Applied Economics, University of Antwerp, Prinsstraat 13, 2000 Antwerpen 1, Belgium, This paper explores a completely neglected early formulation of the basic income idea - conventionally defined as an income unconditionally granted to all on an individual basis, without means test or work requirement. Until now it was believed that the first fully-fledged basic income proposal, known as 'State Bonus', was formulated in 1919, while some core aspects of the basic income approach can be traced back to Thomas Paine and Charles Fourier. In our paper we focus upon the Fourierist tradition. First we demonstrate that Fourier's own idea of the 'right to the minimum' differs considerably from the modern 'basic income'. Fourier held a physical concept of the minimum, and in addition he stressed that its introduction could only take place under certain conditions, of which the most important was the availability of 'attractive labour'. Next we review how the idea of the minimum was associated with the 'right to work' by some of Fourier's disciples, notably Victor Considérant. Finally, we concentrated on the writings of the Belgian writer Joseph Charlier, strongly inspired by the Fourierist tradition and soon almost entirely forgotten. He unambiguously transformed Fourier's "minimum" into a genuine basic income scheme, which he first proposed in great detail in 1848, and continued to defend for half a century.



ROBERT E. GOODIN. "Work and Welfare. Towards a Post-Productivist Welfare Regime", in British Journal of Political Science 31, 2001, 13-39. (Author's address: RSSS, Australian National University, Canberra ACT 0200, Australia, A sustained argument for the actual existence and the normative desirability of a welfare regime distinct from those commonly identified (e.g. by Gosta Esping-Andersen): a "post-productivist" regime which "combines generous social benefits and a relaxed attitude towards work requirements, aiming at 'autonomy' as its core value". According to Goodin, this model, of which a universal basic income would be a paradigmatic component, is best approximated in the real world by the social policy pattern of the Netherlands.



IAN GOUGH. “Global Capital, Human Needs and Social Policies.” Basingstoke & New York: Palgrave, 2000, 242p., paperback, ISBN 0-333-92687-0. (Author's address: <>) A renowned political economist ever since the publication of The Political Economy of the Welfare State (1979), Ian Gough took part in the founding conference of BIEN (1986). He is now professor of social policy at the University of Bath and editor of the Journal of European Social Policy. The whole of the final chapter of his new book ("Real Freedom and Basic Income", pp. 203-217) is devoted to basic income, in the form of an in-depth critical discussion of Philippe Van Parijs's Real Freedom for All. Towards the end of his introductory chapter (pp. 26-27), he states succinctly his fundamental objections to the "best articulated alternative to existing post-war welfare states", i.e. a "basic income welfare state" characterised as "replacing all government transfers and some services with un unconditional income paid to all citizens, irrespective of present income, commitment to work or household membership". There are two reasons why Gough believe that this is "the wrong way forward". One is that it rests on " fundamentally individualist, libertarian world view", rather than on one which "recognises the social bases of our individuality" and therefore requires that "all persons who can should have the right - and the duty - to contribute in some way to the common wealth." The second reason is that "Basic Income is historically and institutionally naive": "it does not recognize the role of institutions and path dependency in shaping social policies and their welfare outcomes". Unconditional cash benefits to certain groups may still be sound, "but these packages will vary according to welfare regime and form of capitalism."



BILL JORDAN (with CHARLIE JORDAN), Social Work and the Third Way. Tough Love as Social Policy. London: Sage Publications (, 2000, 242p., ISBN 0-7619-6721-4. (First author's address: Perriton Farm House, Whimple, Exeter EX5 2QY, England, <>) Ever since his striking little book on Paupers. The Making of the New Claiming Class (1973), Bill Jordan, now professor of social policy at the Universities of Huddersfield and Exeter and member of the Board of Trustees of the Citizen's Income Trust, has been among the most vigorous advocates of basic income. In this new book, written jointly with his brother, he takes on New Labour's social policies and argues that they are plagued by fundamental tensions which can be resolved only through pushing them further towards a universal citizen's income: "a movement for a citizen's income is likely to be generated by criticism of the tax credit approach, and would have as its natural constituent carers, volunteers, the community sector, and many others who recognize the shortcomings of the Third Way's version of distributive justice." (p. 198) A CI, he argues, would be more effective than tax credits or a negative income tax, as a means of combating social exclusion, inequality of opportunity and disempowerment, and as a means of promoting trust and co-operation, democratic voice, lifelong learning and social cohesion.



JUAN LUIS VIVES. On the Assistance to the Poor. Translated with an Introduction and Commentary by Alice Tobriner, Toronto & London: University of Toronto Press ("Renaissance Society of America Reprints Texts"), 62p., ISBN 0-8020-8289-0. A welcome English translation of De Subventione Pauperum (1526), the earliest detailed formulation and defence of a guaranteed minimum income scheme by the Valencia-born humanist and Louvain University professor J.L. Vives. A right to subsistence, even to those who have deserved to become poor, but not to those who refuse to do the work they are asked to perform.





THE JUSTICE COMMISSION OF THE COUNCIL OF THE RELIGIOUS OF IRELAND (CORI), which has pushed for the adoption of basic income in Ireland, has a new website. It is not complete but it will be developed further in the months ahead. It can be found at:



CORRECTION: The link to Rend Renta Basica (The Spanish Basic Income Guarantee Network) was listed incorrectly in the last newsletter. The correct link is:





THE BASIC INCOME EUROPEAN NETWORK (BIEN) maintains a website, publishes a newsletter, and organizes conferences promoting basic income in Europe and around the world. The Coordinator is Philippe Van Parijs and the Conference Coordinator is Guy Standing. The BIEN website can be found at either:




BASIC INCOME/CANADA (BI/Canada) maintains a web site and an email discussion group. Their Coordinator is Sally Lerner. To be included on the BI/Canada email list to receive periodic newsletters email <>. BI/Canada’s website (maintained by Tim Rourke) features essays and commentary on basic income in a Canadian context. It can be found at:

Also affiliated with BI/Canada is FUTUREWORK: an international e-mail forum for discussion of how to deal with the new realities created by economic globalization and technological change. It can be found on the web at:



The Citizens' Income STUDY CENTRE of Britain publishes a newsletter and maintains a website; both have news on citizen's income (the British version of BIG) from the United Kingdom and around the world:



OASIS (ORGANISATION ADVOCATING SUPPORT INCOME STUDIES IN AUSTRALIA), The Australian Basic Income group, publishes an email newsletter and maintains a website with literature about basic income in Australia and around the world. Anyone interested in receiving a copy of their newsletter should contact: Allan McDonald at: or see their website:



UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME NEW ZEALAND (UBINZ) promotes basic income in New Zealand. Their coordinator is Ian Ritchie. They can be found on the web at:

Or reached by email at:



THE SOUTH AFRICAN NEW ECONOMICS FOUNDATION (SANE) promotes BIG in South Africa and Worldwide. It can be found at:



VERENIGING BASINKOMEN promotes in Basic Income Guarantee in the Netherlands. Coordinator: Emiel Schäfer





GRUNDEINKOMMEN OSTERREICH promotes Basic Income in Austria. Its Coordinator is Michael Striebel ( They can be contacted by email at:

Or found on the web at:






BIEN IRELAND promotes the Basic Income Guarantee in Ireland. Their coordinator is John Baker. They can be reached by email at:



BIEN BRASIL (BASIC INCOME EARTH NETWORK) promotes the basic income guarantee in Brazil. The Coordinator, Eduardo Suplicy, is a member of the Brazilian Senate. He can be reached by email at:



THE SPANISH NETWORK ON THE BASIC INCOME GUARANTEE is known by three names in three languages: Red Renta Básica (in Castillan), Xarxa Renda Bàsica (in Catalan) and Oinarrizko Errenta Sarea (in Basque). It can be found on the web at:

Also in Spain, Rafael Pinilla Palleja coordinates a Spanish email list on Basic Income:

Its coordinator is José Iglesias Fernández (

Secretary: David Casassas (

President: Daniel Raventós (



THE SWEDEN BASIC INCOME GUARANTEE NETWORK, Folkrorelsen for medborgarlon, is coordinated by Kicki Bobacka, who can be reached by email at:



THE GERMAN BASIC INCOME GUARANTEE NETWORK is Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft der Sozialhilfeinitiativen (BAG-SHI).

Contact: Wolfram Otto





THE BOSTON REVIEW included seventeen articles on the basic income guarantee by Philippe Van Parijs and others in its October-November 2000 issue. These articles have been jointly published as a book entitled, “What’s Wrong with a Free Lunch?” The full text of the articles can be found on line at:



the Center for the Study of Democratic Societies (CSDS) has been talking about some form of BIG for 30 years. More information can be found at:



VIVANT is a movement (mainly Belgian, but with some activity in France and Switzerland) that promotes Basic Income by participating in elections. It can be found on the web at



THE INSTITUTE FOR SOCIOECONOMIC STUDIES (ISES) is a private foundation that examines issues relating to economic development, poverty, health care reform, and the quality of life. ISES promotes a version of BIG known as the National Tax Rebate. It can be found on the web at:



MATS HOGLUND’s maintains two BIG web sites with information in English and Swedish:



The Geonomy Society, which promotes using land taxes to support a universal basic income guarantee, can be reached at:



MANFRED FUELLSACK maintains a BIG bibliography on line at:



SOCIAL AGENDA sponsors a Caregivers Tax Credit Campaign. Although it isn't a universal basic income guarantee, it will distribute income to anyone caring for (directly or indirectly) another human in need. Their website is:



THE ALASKA PERMANENT FUND pays a partial Basic Income Guarantee to all Alaska residents funded from oil revenue. For information see:




Steve Shafarman’s book on the Citizens’ Dividend can be ordered on line at:



CLAWS (CREATING LIVABLE ALTERNATIVES TO WAGE SLAVERY) actively promotes alternatives to the wage slavery mindset and what they call "The Cult of the Job" which equates a job with "making a living". The website includes essays, book excerpts and articles by Bob Black, Robert Anton Wilson, Bertrand Russell, Buckminster Fuller, Jean Liedloff and others who are critical of the cult of the job. CLAWS can be found on the web at:




FINALLY, THE U.S. BASIC INCOME GUARANTEE NETWORK (USBIG), which publishes this newsletter, is dedicated to promoting the discussion basic income guarantee in the United States. USBIG supports a regular seminar series, a newsletter, a website, and is organizing a conference that will be held in New York on March 15-16, 2002. The conference organizer is Michael A. Lewis, who can be reached at The USBIG Network coordinator is Karl Widerquist who can be reached at ( Information on USBIG can be found on the web at: If you know any BIG news; if you have any comments on the newsletter or the web site; 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, coordinator, USBIG.