This is the Newsletter of the USBIG Network (, which promotes the discussion of the basic income guarantee (BIG) in the United States--a policy that would unconditionally guarantee a subsistence-level income for everyone. If you would like to be added to or removed from this list please email:


1. The sixth USBIG Congress
2. Robert Harris dies
3. Basic Income Studies, inaugural issue
4. Upcoming events
5. BIG news from around the world
6. Recent publications
7. New links
8. Links and other info


The U.S. Basic Income Guarantee (USBIG) Network will hold its Sixth Annual Congress in conjunction with the Eastern Economics Association Annual Meeting, February 23-25, 2007 at the Crowne Plaza Times Square Manhattan Hotel in New York City. Featured speakers include: Dalton Conley is the director of the Center for Advanced Social Science Research and professor of sociology and public policy at New York University, and he is the author of “Honky, Being Black—Living in the Red,” and “the Starting Gate.” Stanley Aronowitz is a Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the City University of New York and author or editor of twenty-three books including, “Just Around Corner,” “How Class Works,” and “The Jobless Future.” William DiFazio is Professor of Sociology at St. John’s University. His most recent book, Ordinary Poverty, presents the results of welfare reform—from ending entitlements to diminished welfare benefits—through the eyes and voices of those who were most directly affected by it.

Scholars, activists, and others are invited to attend, to propose papers & presentations, and to organize panel discussions. Deadline for Submissions: Oct 27, 2006. Proposals for presentations should include the following information:
1. Name
2. Affiliation (if applicable), including job title and employer
3. Address including City, State, Zip Code (Postal Code), and Country
4. Telephone number
5. Email Address
6. Title of the presentation
7. Abstract (summary of 50 to 150 words)

Proposals for panel discussions should include a title, topic, and description of the panel and the information above for each participant. If the participants are not presenting formal papers, the title of the paper and abstract may be omitted. Panels with formal paper presentations should be limited to four presentations, although discussions without formal papers can include more. Please send submission to the conference organizer, Karl Widerquist ( More information is available on the USBIG website ( Instructions for registration will be on the USBIG website by November 2006.


Robert Harris, member of the USBIG Committee, died at his home in New York on August 20th. He had been an advocate of the Guaranteed Income for most of his life. Harris worked at the Department of Health Education and Welfare when the idea of a Negative Income Tax Experiment was first Proposed in the mid 1960s. He was the Executive Director of the President's Commission on Income Maintenance in the early 1970s. He fought for the Family Assistance Program, which included a basic income guarantee, when it was proposed before Congress in 1971. He saw it pass the House of Representatives and lose by only ten votes in the Senate. He later described his disappointment at seeing it lose by such a narrow margin and said that with the right kind of political pressure it could easily have passed.

Harris went on to become Vice President of the Urban Institute. He was a private economics consultant in New York City for most of the 1980s and 90s. He continued to work for the basic income guarantee including occasional projects for the Institute for SocioEconomic Studies. He became a member of the USBIG Committee in 2001. He organized a session at the first USBIG Congress in 2002, which reunited several of the researchers who conducted the Negative Income Tax experiments to discuss the relevance of the findings 30 years on. He suffered two strokes in 2004 and 2005, but he continued to write and contribute to USBIG. His last publication on the basic income guarantee was “The Guaranteed Income movement of the 1960s and 1970s” in The Ethics and Economics of the Basic Income (2005). His passing was viewed with great sadness by the other members of the USBIG Committee. A memorial is tentatively scheduled for October 1, 2006.


Basic Income Studies, the first peer-reviewed journal devoted to basic income and related issues of poverty relief and universal welfare, released its first issue in June 2006. Articles discuss the design and implementation of basic income schemes, and address the theory and practice of universal welfare in clear, non-technical language that engages the wider policy community.

The first issue  Volume 1, Issue 1 (2006) is available at, It includes a retrospective on "A Capitalist Road to Communism," the article that put basic income firmly on the map in academic and policy circles when it was first published in 1986. The original article is reprinted with a set of six new comments and a specially written reply by the authors, Robert van der Veen and Philippe Van Parijs.

Table of contents:

Research Articles

Joel Handler and Amanda Sheely Babcock (2006) "The Failure of Workfare: Another Reason for a Basic Income Guarantee," Basic Income Studies: Vol. 1: No. 1, Article 3. Available at:

Michael W. Howard (2006) "Basic Income and Migration Policy: A Moral Dilemma?," Basic Income Studies: Vol. 1: No. 1, Article 4. Available at:

Yannick Vanderborght (2006) "Why Trade Unions Oppose Basic Income," Basic Income Studies: Vol. 1: No. 1, Article 5. Available at:

Robert J. van der Veen and Philippe Van Parijs (2006) "A Capitalist Road to Communism," Basic Income Studies: Vol. 1: No. 1, Article 6. Available at:


G.A. Cohen (2006) "Notes on the Universal Grant Proposal," Basic Income Studies: Vol. 1: No. 1, Article 7. Available at:

Andrew Williams (2006) "Basic Income and the Value of Occupational Choice," Basic Income Studies: Vol. 1: No. 1, Article 8. Available at:

Doris Schroeder (2006) "How Global Is the Capitalist Road to Communism?," Basic Income Studies: Vol. 1: No. 1, Article 9. Available at:

Catriona McKinnon (2006) "A Scandalous Proposal: Ethical Attractions of Basic Income," Basic Income Studies: Vol. 1: No. 1, Article 10. Available at:

Harry F. Dahms (2006) "Capitalism Unbound? Peril and Promise of Basic Income," Basic Income Studies: Vol. 1: No. 1, Article 11. Available at:

Erik Olin Wright (2006) "Basic Income as a Socialist Project," Basic Income Studies: Vol. 1: No. 1, Article 12. Available at:

Robert J. van der Veen and Philippe Van Parijs (2006) "A Capitalist Road to Global Justice: Reply to Another Six Critics," Basic Income Studies: Vol. 1: No. 1, Article 13. Available at:

Book Reviews

Richard K. Caputo (2006) "Review of John Cunliffe and Guido Erreygers, The Origins of Universal Grants," Basic Income Studies: Vol. 1: No. 1, Article 14. Available at:

Alexandra Couto (2006) "Review of Tony Fitzpatrick and Michael Cahill, Environment and Welfare: Towards a Green Social Policy," Basic Income Studies: Vol. 1: No. 1, Article 15. Available at:

Colin Farrelly (2006) "Review of Brian Barry, Why Social Justice Matters," Basic Income Studies: Vol. 1: No. 1, Article 16. Available at:

Cristian Pérez Muñoz (2006) "Review of Guy Standing, Beyond the New Paternalism: Basic Security as Equality," Basic Income Studies: Vol. 1: No. 1, Article 17. Available at:

Editorial Board
Editor-in-Chief: Rafael Pinilla-Pallejà, Ministry of Public Affairs, Spain
Editors: Jurgen De Wispelaere, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, and Karl Widerquist, Tulane University, USA
Book Review Editor: Sandra González Bailón, University of Oxford, UK
Managing Editor: Xavier Fontcuberta Estrada, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium
Consultant Editors: Carole Pateman, University of California, Los Angeles, Keith Dowding, London School of Economics, UK, Remedios Melero Melero, CSIC, Spain, and Steve Pressman, Monmouth University, USA


Eleventh Congress of BIEN
November, 2-4 2006, Cape Town, South Africa
The Economic Policy Research Institute (EPRI) is hosting the Eleventh BIEN Congress on 2-4 November 2006 at the University of Cape Town in Cape Town, South Africa. All information and forms are available on the website: (also accessible via Please forward any questions to:

Conference on the guaranteed minimum income
Quebec, Quebec, Canada April 12, 2006
BIEN reports, the CIRPEE Research Network (Centre interuniversitaire sur le risque, les politiques economiques et l'emploi) organized large conference on basic income and related schemes was at the Laval University. It was attended by more than 150 participants. Under the title "A Guaranteed Minimum Income: realistic or utopian?" it was aimed at discussing the feasibility and desirability of introducing a basic income scheme in the Province of Quebec or in Canada. Participants included Yannick Vanderborght, Bernard Fortin (Université Laval), François Blais (Université Laval), Jean-Pierre Aubry (Association des economistes quebecois), Alain Noël (Université de Montréal), Jean-Yves Duclos (Université Laval), and Gérard Lescot (from the Ministry of Employment of the Province of Quebec).
Conference Website:
For further information: Évelyne Joyal

Kyoto, Japan, July 7, 2006
A Japanese translation of Philippe Van Parijs's Real Freedom for All (Oxford, 1995) was recently completed at the initiative of Professor Reiko Gotoh (Ritsumeikan University). This provided an opportunity for a workshop on the book and the philosophical justification of basic income it claims to provide, attended by over sixty people from various Japanese Universities. The keynote address by Philippe Van Parijs was followed by comments by Taku Saito, Shinji Murakami, Shinya Tateiwa , Reiko Gotoh and Paul Dumouchel (Ritsumeikan University) and by Naoki Yoshihara (Hitotsubashi University). For further information: "Reiko Gotoh"
-From BIEN

"Ending the Welfare State as We Know It? Politics, Citizenship and Welfare Reform"
Fukuoka, Japan, July 11, 2006
BIEN reports, a number of half-day special sessions of the 20th Congress of the International Political Science Association (IPSA) were reserved for initiatives by the Japanese organizers. One of them, conceived by Professors Taro Miyamoto and Jiro Yamaguchi (Department of Public Policy, Hokkaido University), was devoted to possible futures for the Japanese welfare state. The initiative was motivated by the Koizumi Government's neo-liberal reform projects in the domain of social policy. Concerned to work out an alternative vision for the future, the organizers invited Jonas Hinnfors (Göteborg University, Sweden) to present the state and prospects of the Swedish model and Philippe Van Parijs (Louvain and Harvard) to present the basic income alternative. For further information: Taro Miyamoto

Conference on the Crisis of the Work Society
Frankfurt, Germany, July 14-15, 2006
This well-attended two-day workshop on the "Crisis of the Work Society - Transformation into a Basic Income Society?"was organized by the sociology department of the University of Frankfurt. It consisted partly in presentations of interview-based case studies on the experience of unemployment and the relationship to paid employment it reveals. The workshop itself was coupled with a three-hour public panel discussion on the first evening, which attracted an audience of several hundred people. The panelists were Ulrich Oevermann (professor of sociology at the University of Frankfurt and main organizer of the event), Georg Vobruba (professor of social policy at the University of Leipzig and author, most recently, of Entkoppelung von Arbeit und Einkommen. Das Grundeinkommen in der Arbeitsgesellschaft), Philippe Van Parijs (professor of philosophy at Louvain and Harvard and chair of BIEN's International Board), and Götz Werner (CEO of the drugstore chain dm, which employs 23.000 people, and part-time professor of entrepreneurship at the University of Karlsruhe).

Part of the panel discussion can be viewed on
For further information on the workshop: Manuel Franzmann
For further information on Götz Werner's ideas and campaign see or get in touch with André Presse

Swedish Green Party's Seminar on Basic Income
Stockholm, August 19, 2006:
Carl Schlyter, member of the European Parliament from the Swedish Green Party organized this one-day workshop on basic income. Speakers included Carole Pateman (of UCLA and Cardiff University, Wales), Stuart White (of Oxford University) and Karl Widerquist (of Tulane University, New Orleans). Speakers discussed the argument for and against basic income and its political and economic feasibility in Sweden and in the European Union. For further information contact Valter Mutt at:


Brazil takes steps toward phasing-in BIG

The Brazilian Government, as announced on June 29th, 2006, has reached the target of 11.1 million families enrolled in the Bolsa Família Program. All families with monthly income per capita below R$ 120.00 in Brazil have the right to receive a complement of income so defined: For families with per capita income up to R$ 60.00 per month, R$ 50.00 plus R$ 15.00, R$ 30.00 or R$ 45.00, depending if the family has one, two, three or more children; b) For families with per capita income from R$ 60.00 to R$ 120.00 per month, R$ 15.00, R$ 30.00 or R$ 45.00 per month, depending if the family has one, two or more children. The parents must show that their children from 0 to 6 years of age are taking the vaccines recommended by the Health Ministry, and that the children from 7 to 16 years of age are attending at least 85% of classes at school. It is estimated that approximately 44 million Brazilians are benefited by the Bolsa Família program. This is almost one fourth of the 186 million inhabitants of Brazil in 2006. It is important to notice that the several laws in the direction of the introduction of a Minimum Income, Bolsa Escola, Bolsa Família and the Renda Básica de Cidadania were approved by all political parties in Brazil.

In its first published newsletter, the Brazilian Basic Income Network announced that during a meeting with co-Chair of BIEN Eduardo Matarazzo Suplicy on July 3, 2006, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio da Silva has been given two new books on basic income recently published in Brazil: Suplicy's own Renda Básica de Cidadania. A Resposta dada pelo Vento and Vanderborght and Van Parijs' Renda Basica de Cidadania. Argumentos éticos e econômicos. The book is the translation of Van Parijs and Vanderborght’s original book “L’Allocation Universelle”, published in French in 2005. The Brazilian edition has the preface of Eduardo Matarazzo Suplicy. According to BIEN, during the meeting, Senator Suplicy emphasized the fact that President Lula is the first head of State in the world that has sanctioned a law that introduces, be it gradually, a basic income. For further information, or to get a copy of this newsletter (in Portuguese), please send an e-mail to

Austrian BIG network attracts media attention
Two of Austria’s main daily newspapers reported, among others, about the press conference of the Austrian Basic Income Network and the presentation of its position paper end of May 2006. One of the headlines was "900 Euro for beggars as well as for millionaires", while the other newspaper titled "900 Euro without employment. Network urges basic income." This position paper will be used in further discussions with political parties, trade unions, and NGOs. On October 1st 2006 parliamentary elections will take place in Austria. The paper should also be used for the dialogue with all initiatives supporting the idea of an unconditional basic income. The first part of the paper deals with the view of the Austrian BI-Network with regard to the current social and economic situation, and the criteria for introducing an unconditional BI. The second part of the paper shows the difference between the BI and means-tested forms of social security, and ends with "first concrete steps" towards an unconditional BI.
For further information:
-From BIEN

Party advocates introduction of BIG in Congo
BIEN reports the new "Parti Réformateur pour un Congo Vivant" PRPC-Vivant has launched a new website. Supported by the Belgian-based party Vivant, which has advocated basic income in Belgian elections, Congo Vivant advocates the gradual introduction of a basic income in Congo. The first step would be the implementation of a basic income for women under the age of 20, provided they have a certificate from secondary school.
-From BIEN

New French liberal party has basic income platform
On June 10, 2006, a small political party called "Alternative Libérale" (Liberal Alternative) has presented its platform in the prestigious surroundings of the Institut d'Etudes Politiques (IEP) in Paris. The platform includes a strong plea for a "revenu d'existence" (existence income), presented as a "bouclier social" (a "social shield"). During the meeting, several participants have argued in favour of a basic income.
For further information, see the party's website at
The meeting itself can be viewed at
-From BIEN

Prime minister of one of the German states proposes a BIG
Dieter Althaus is a member of the German Christian Democratic Party (the party of the federal prime Minister Angela Merkel) and the Prime Minister of the Free State of Thuringen (a state of 2.5 million inhabitants in former East Germany, with Erfurt as its capital). Under the label "solidarisches Bürgergeld" ("solidarity citizen's income"), he has been proposing on his website since at least July 2006 an individual and unconditional basic income of EUR 600 per month for every citizen aged 14 or more (and EUR 300 per child paid to the parents), coupled with a basic health insurance voucher of EUR 200 per person, and funded by an income tax of 50% from the first Euro earned (but falling to 25% for higher income slices). This citizen's income would be administered in the form of a negative income tax. Its amount would be deducted from each person's tax liability: if the difference is negative, it is refunded to the citizen; if the difference is positive, the citizen pays a reduced amount in tax. "The solidarity citizen's income creates social security and reliability for everyone, with the result that the market economy is not experienced as a threat. The solidarity citizen's income and the social market economy belong together. Security and freedom are the two faces of a same coin."
For further information, see and
-From BIEN

European Green Party supports EU-wide BIG
In a resolution entitled "Towards a more Social Europe - Towards more Social Justice in Europe", which was adopted at its 4th Council Meeting (Helsinki, 5-7th May 2006), the European Green Party advocates the development of a basic income scheme at European level. According to this document, the European Greens "strongly support the development of European union policies in the following domains: ... Setting a minimum level of subsistence or "basic income", taking into account national differences, e.g. set as a fixed percentage of the average income in each Member State. This could be developed through a system of negative income tax. ... This system must however not encourage Member States to keep their social protection on this minimum level".
-From BIEN

Italian demonstration for BIG
BIEN reports, on the night of 28 June 2006, 5 to 6,000 people walked and danced in the center of the city of Rome, in a demonstration against the increasing number of low-paid jobs in Italy. One of the most prominent slogans was the claim for "a basic income for all". Fifteen trucks with sound systems played techno, reggae, or disco. Activists took place on the trucks to detail the main goals of the protest. All trucks were equipped with banners about basic income ("reddito x tutti", "reclaim the money", "vogliamo reddito", etc.). This so-called "Pop Parade" started at 7 pm from Porta San Paolo and went to the centre of the city at the Coliseum, where it finished at 1,30 am. The parade went through the center, where a lot of low-paid workers are employed in pubs, restaurants, hotels, etc. The parade attracted a lot of media attention, as the culmination of five years of demonstration by the low-paid in Italy. For further information on the Pop Parade, see, or contact Sandro Gobetti


BAMBRICK, Laura (2006), "Wollstonecraft's Dilemma: Is a Citizen's Income the Answer?", Citizen's Income Newsletter, Issue 2, 2006.
How should the state incorporate women into its policies? Should it recognize them as being different from men? Or should it treat them the same as men? This is Wollstonecraft's Dilemma. The male breadwinner welfare state encourages gender differences whereas the adult worker model adopts a gender-neutral approach. Relying on women's position in either the family or in the workforce as a conduit for promoting female welfare has had mixed results. Could a Citizen's Income (CI) improve on this? Commentators are divided. This paper presents these critiques in an attempt to ascertain the potential of a CI to resolve Wollstonecraft's Dilemma. It accepts that welfare models are designed to secure more than the right to work in the home or labour market. Accordingly, it considers the impact of a CI on each of the six normative reasons for providing welfare - to promote autonomy, social equality, social integration, social stability, and economic efficiency, as well as to prevent poverty - focusing on how this interplay might affect women's welfare in particular. The article can be found at

MCDONALD Allan (2006), Do Economists Care? Economics and Social Responsibility in the Labor Market, unpublished booklet, 44p.
This booklet includes a series of essays prepared by Allan McDonald for OASIS-Australia (Organization Advocating Support Income Studies in Australia), focusing on the implications of the Australian Government's Workplace Relations Amendments (Work Choices) Act, 2005. The essays are being presented by McDonald to question the continual drive for economic growth. "Is this drive for growth seen as a means to an end, or is it seen as the end in itself?" It is in the hands of economists, McDonald argues, "to determine or to support our long term social objectives". This objectives should include a National Dividend. For further information:

WOMEN'S ECONOMIC JUSTICE PROJECT (2006), Women's Economic Justice Report on Guaranteed Livable Income, Victoria (BC): SWAG, 72p.
This report was released on April 29th, 2006, by the Women's Economic Justice Project (based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada). It documents over 40 interviews with Canadian women, held between September 2005 to April 2006. The aim was to examine several aspects of basic income, with particular attention to its impact on women's lives. The Women's Economic Justice Project also published a short reader called "GLI Reader", including quotations from prominent and less prominent advocates of basic income. For comments and further info, please write to Cindy L'Hirondelle, project coordinator at See also the website:
-From BIEN


The Free Lunch
Charles Bazlinton, author of "The Free Lunch", a book focusing on the "valuable benefits that flow from gifts of nature or which arise solely because society exists" has launched a website exposing his views.

UK Indymedia endorses BIG.
In an article entitled, “Gobal Social Rights Worldwide Sink the G8!,” UK Indymedia endorses BIG saying, "Global social rights everywhere stand for a self-determined life in dignity for everyone. This self-determined life is only possible through the guaranteed assurance of material needs, that is through independence from the pressure to estranged work. On the way there, an unconditional basic income could be a central instrument for honoring global social rights." UK Indymedia a network of individuals, independent and alternative media activists that offers noncommercial coverage of social and political issues.
The LIFE Newsletter contributed to this report.

Crooked Timber has a discussion of Charles Murray’s BIG proposal
This on-line discussion website has an explanation of Murray’s plan and a large number of comments (of varying quality) on it. The discussion on line is at:

The Ultimate Field Guide to the U.S. Economy has an article on BIG
The article, “Economic Alternatives: Basic Income Guarantee” (6/14/06) is by Thomas Masterson, Staff Economist for the Center for Popular Economics. The article explains BIG and discusses the recent debate on the issues including Charles Murray’s proposal, the “Malibu surfer” objection, and the success of the Alaska Permanent Income. The article can be found on line at:

Paper from the First Muslim Convention on Sustainable Development discusses the Islamic case for BIG. The article, entitled “poverty eradication,” by Shamshad Begum Sayed is now on-line at: Sayed argues on this website, “The idea behind the concept of the basic income grant to assist the indigent is a very Islamic one. In a practicing Muslim State, the central treasury or Baitul Maal is utilized to alleviate poverty and avoid begging (which causes a 'scar' for the beggars). The State's generosity does not stop there, Compulsory charity (Zakaat) ensures that the gap between the rich and the poor are narrowed. Failing to do so is a sin.”


For links to dozens of BIG websites around the world, go to These links are to any website with information about BIG, but USBIG does not necessarily endorse their content or their agendas.

The USBIG Network Newsletter
Editor: Karl Widerquist
Research: Paul Nollen
Copyediting: Mike Murray and the USBIG Committee
Thanks for help with this issue to: Al Sheahen, Diane Pagen, Theresa Funiciello, Yannick Vanderborght, Carlos César Marques Frausino, Senator Eduardo Matarazzo Suplicy, and Patrick S. O'Donnell.

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:

You may copy and circulate articles from this newsletter, but please mention the source and include a link to 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:

As always, your comments on this newsletter and the USBIG website are gladly welcomed.

-Karl Widerquist, USBIG Coordinator.