This is the Newsletter of the USBIG Network (, which promotes the discussion of the basic income guarantee (BIG) in the United States. BIG is 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:





The tentative schedule for the 2007 USBIG Network Congress is attached to this email. The Congress will included dozens of participants from around the United States and as far away as Ireland and Australia. The conference will have sessions on the politics of BIG; economic issues of BIG; Family, Care Work, and Gender; a tribute to the work of Robert Harris; and a debate between Phil Harvey, of Rutgers University and Karl Widerquist, of Tulane University, over the relative merits of income guarantees and job guarantees. Speakers include Fred Block, of UC-Davis; Dalton Conley, of NYU; Nicolaus Tideman, of Virginia Tech; William DiFazio, of St. John’s; Senator Eduardo Suplicy, of the Brazilian federal government, and Stanley Aronowitz, of CUNY.

The conference will be held in conjunction with the Eastern Economics Association (EEA) Annual Meeting at the Crowne Plaza Manhattan Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. All USBIG participants are welcome to attend any of the EEA’s hundreds sessions. All USBIG participants must register for the EEA, but USBIG participants are entitled to register for the members price of $45 without paying the EEA membership fee, saving more than half of the registration price. Instructions for registration will be on the USBIG website soon.


Four basic income advocates died in November 2006. Noble-Laureate Milton Friedman (Nov. 16), Brazilian economist Antonio Maria da Silveira (Nov.21), former director of the Citizens Income Trust (Britain) Richard Clements (Nov. 23), and inventor and philanthropist Leonard Greene (Nov. 30). Below is a short discussion of the role of each in the debate over the basic income guarantee.

Milton Friedman

Milton Friedman, the economist who most popularized BIG in the United States, died November 16, 2006. Friedman was on the most influential economists of the Twentieth Century. His work has been influential in diverse areas of economic theory, but most particularly in the area of monetary economics. Although his proposal of a strict rule for increasing the money supply each year by a given percentage has been largely discarded, his critical work on the mistakes made by the central bank that led to the Great Depression and other economic downturns has simply become part of common knowledge.

More than his contribution to the science of economics, Friedman is known for popularization of free market libertarianism in numerous books, articles, and a television show on the Public Broadcasting System. He opposed government regulation of industry and the privatization of state-owned industries right up to and including the Post Office. He was an early advocate of public school choice and of the privatization of Social Security. Thus, he became known as a spokesperson for conservative republicanism, but his libertarianism was never quite in line with traditional American conservatism. As early as the 1960s, he opposed the military draft and supported the legalization of drugs. None of his proposals seemed more out-of-line with the 1980-2006 conservative revolution than his advocacy of the basic income guarantee under the name of the negative income tax (NIT).

Welfare state policy in the United States, and to some extent across the industrialized world, has been dominated by an uneasy marriage of the liberal desire to help the poor with the conservative desire to force the poor to become better people. So, we have a hugely complex system that is stingy with some of the people who need it most, generous with people who fit into arbitrary categories, and makes everyone jump through hoops to meet the conditions of eligibility. One might expect a free-market libertarian to oppose using the tax system either to help or to improve the poor, but to a free market libertarian it is clear which of the two is the greater danger.

To a libertarian, government interference, control, and humiliation of the poor is a waste of time and money and whatever it might do to improve the poor, it does not make them more free. Through this kind of reasoning, Friedman became a supporter of the basic income guarantee.

“He believed that if you wanted to fight poverty you should give the poor more money and let them figure out how to use it,” as Renée Montagne of National Public radio summarized his thinking. He, therefore, advocated BIG in the form of the NIT: a small in-cash grant to everyone who had a low income with a low “marginal tax” rate that would give them plenty of incentive to earn money on the private market if they could.

Friedman did so much to popularize BIG that many BIG supporters today tend to forget that he never lost his free market attraction to the idea that perhaps the government should do nothing for the poor. Friedman’s support for the NIT almost always came with the disclaimer to the effect that as long as we are spending money to help the poor, we might as well use the most efficient method to help them. He even sometimes described the negative income tax as a transitional program toward the complete abolition of all government assistance to the poor—not quite what most BIG advocates hope for.

Nevertheless there is good reason to think of Friedman as a champion of the BIG movement. Friedman’s NIT was broad and generous to those who needed it most. Daine Pagen, of the Caregivers Credit Campaign complained that many recent articles on Friedman treated the NIT as the precursor to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Although the EITC is a form of negative tax that was an outgrowth of the NIT movement, it is actually a very narrow and water-down alternative. Friedman’s NIT was a comprehensive solution to poverty aimed at everyone, not only at low-income workers as the EITC is.

Under the NIT, the government would make no judgment about why a person was poor. It would help everyone in need, and create an incentive system so that everyone who worked more had more a higher take-home pay. It would leave it up to the individual to decide whether that was in their best interest. This kind of thinking is diametrically opposed to “welfare reform” under Temporary Assistance to Needed Families, which is designed to force ever single parent into the labor market whether or not she believes the needs of her children make that impossible.

Friedman wrote extensively on the NIT between 1960 and 1980, but he paid less attention to the topic in the last 25 years of his life. However, in an interview with Brazilian Senator and economist Eduardo Suplicy in 2000, Friedman reiterated his support for BIG. When Suplicy asked what Friedman thought of basic income as an alternative to the NIT, Friedman responded, “A basic or citizen's income is not an alternative to a negative income tax. It is simply another way to introduce a negative income tax.”

A quick web search will produce thousands of articles on Friedman. For a broad view of his career and contributions, see Samuel Brittan in the Financial Times:


Antonio Maria da Silveira

Antonio Maria da Silveira, professor of economics at Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, died on November 21. According to his long-time friend, Eduardo Suplicy, “Antonio Maria was the first Brazilian economist who proposed the institution of a guaranteed minimum income program through a negative income tax. It was in the article Redistribuição de Renda (Redistribution of Income), published in Revista Brasileira de Economia, in April 1975.” Drawing inspiration from Economists as diverse as J. M. Keyns and F. A. Hayek, Antonio Maria argued that it would soon become feasible for the government to secure a decent living for everyone. Suplicy credits him with being a consistent voice in favor of a basic income guarantee right through the passage of a bill to gradually phase in a basic income in Brazil. Suplicy’s tribute to Antonio Maria da Silveira is in the December issue of the BIEN NewsFlash (

Richard Clements

Richard Clements, former director of the Citizens Income Trust (CIT), died November 23, 2006. According to the CIT, “The Citizen's Income Trust has been sorry to hear of the death of Richard Clements. After being editor of Tribune and running Neil Kinnock's office, Richard was Director of the Citizen's Income Trust from 1993 to 1996, when sadly he had to retire because of his own ill health and to look after his wife Bridget. He was a most effective Director, and we were very sorry when he had to leave. Not surprisingly, he was particularly good at raising the profile of the Citizen's Income debate in the press.” Clements was also a campaigner against nuclear weapons and editor of the British left-wing newspaper, the Tribune. The British newspaper the Guardian article on Clements is on the web at:,,1955580,00.html.

Leonard Greene

Can you imagine a better way to make a fortune than to invent a product that saves lives? Can you imagine a better thing to do with a fortune than use to fight poverty and disease? Leonard Greene made his fortune inventing safety products for airplanes. His stall warning device (a safety feature that is now standard equipment on commercial aircraft) has saved an uncountable number of lives. After Greene was a well established business owner with dozens of patents and a multimillion-dollar business to his credit, he founded the Institute for SocioEconomic Studies, which funded research on healthcare policy and on the Basic Income Guarantee. Greene wrote two books on the Basic Income Guarantee, Free Enterprise Without Poverty and The National Tax Rebate. Greene’s BIG idea was simple: What if they United States replaced everything it is now doing to maintain someone’s income and replaced it with a basic income in the form of a tax credit or tax rebate? Greene found that the revenue currently devoted to tax deductions, welfare policies, farm subsidies, and many other programs could be redirected to a basic income large enough to virtually eliminate poverty in the United States. His ideas have not caught on with mainstream politicians, but they have continuing appeal. His idea for redirecting all U.S. income support spending into a basic income has been virtually reinvented by Charles Murray in his latest book, In Our Hands, and the idea of BIG in the form of a tax credit is very much the idea behind the BIG bill submitted in the 109th Congress by Representative Robert Filner. He is survived by eight children. He son, Donald Greene died in United Flight 93 on September 11, 2001. Leonard Greene died November 30, 2006 at the age of 88.

Editor’s Note

When I volunteered to write the USBIG Newsletter in 2000, I did no realize how many obituaries I would have to write. It is a particularly sad duty that I have never quite gotten used to. Friedman’s death, following Herbert Simon in 2001, James Tobin in 2002, John Kenneth Galbraith early this year, marks the end of an era when the great economists who seemed to disagree on everything else, all seemed united behind the guaranteed income as the best way to reform anti-poverty policy. Friedman was first among these because of long-term efforts to popularize the idea. Although Friedman considered himself a liberal (or libertarian) who believed freedom was the overriding value that should guide policy and who believed that freedom conflicted with egalitarianism and economic equality, he had something to teach egalitarians. His logic (if you really want to help the poor, give them money and let them decide how to use it) leads me inevitably to the belief that unconditional assistance, in the form of some kind of basic income guarantee, must be the centerpiece of any truly egalitarian program. It has also made me suspicious of anyone who calls himself egalitarian but advocates conditional assistance to the poor. There can’t be egalitarianism without respect for the poor, and how can we say we respect the poor if we advocate policies designed to promote “equality but...”? For example, I support equality but only for the truly needed. I support equality but only if they are willing to work. I support equality but not one of them is going to get their hands on one red cent of my tax dollars if they’ve ever refused a job. I can’t help but be suspicious. I can’t help but come back that that idea, if you really care about the poor, if you really want to help them, you will give them money unconditionally, with no supervision, without asking for anything in return. Sometimes it takes a libertarian spot a true egalitarian.
-Karl Widerquist


Cape Town South Africa was host to the Eleventh Congress of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) held on November 2-4, 2006. It was sponsored by the Economic Policy Research Institute and principally organized by Ingrid Van Niekerk of EPRI. It was held on the campus of the University of Cape Town on the side of Table Mountain overlooking the city and the cape.

This conference was a big moment for BIEN. It is the first conference held outside of Europe and the first conference since it made the decision to expand to a worldwide network in 2006, and it proved to be a success. A good number of BIEN’s base membership from the north made the trip and there were a large number of participants from South America, Southern Africa, and Australia. There were more than 100 participants from all the continents except Antarctica, which unfortunately has gone unrepresented again this year.

A popular topic at the conference was the advantages of BIG in the third world. Developing countries with poor government infrastructure and accountability and with large black market economies have a great deal of difficulty administering conditional income support systems or supervising make-work programs. A small but universal grant is one way these countries can effectively aid the least advantaged.
Other issues discussed at the Congress included universal child support grants, global or regional basic income guarantees, and trade union and feminist support for BI.

Philippe Van Parijs noted that one of the most striking features of this conference compared to its predecessors was the presence of religion. Plenary speakers included one of leaders of the South African Council of Churches, and Namibia's Lutheran bishop and SWAPO member of parliament, Zephania Kameeta, who implored the participants to create a fund to begin a small fund out of private donations that could someday lead to a basic income. Desmond Tutu, Noble Peace Prize Laureate and Archbishop Emeritus of the South African Anglican Church, addressed the Congress by video tape and gave a forceful plea for BIG. Tutu’s address can be viewed on YouTube at: Islam was also represented at the Congress. Shamshad Sayed discussed the relationship between basic income and the Islamic responsibility of Sakah, or mandatory charity, in which each Moslem is responsible to give 2.5 percent of her wealth each year toward poverty eradication.

At close of the Congress, BIEN members held their Eleventh General Assembly meeting, at which new statutes were approved, and the Australian Basic Income Network (BIGA) was approved as BIEN’s eleventh national affiliate. Most members of BIEN’s Executive Committee were re-elected, except for Jurgen De Wispelaere, who chose to step down. Dublin was approved for the 2008 conference venue, and Sean Healy will join the committee as conference organizer.


Tutu’s address and the BIEN Congress (see preceding article) received considerable attention in the national media and among government officials. South Africa's Minister for social development Zola Skweyiya endorsed the basic income grant (as BIG is known in South Africa). This endorsement is an important moment because, although there is strong grassroots support for BIG in South Africa, this is the first time that a cabinet-level member of the ruling ANC party has endorsed it. However, under South Africa’s party-driven electoral system, Skweyiya had to stress that this endorsement was his personal view and to the ANC’s view. The Congress of South African Trade Unions welcomed and applauded the statement by Social Development Minister Zola Skweyiya in support of BIG. According to, the opposition Democratic Alliance party renewed its effort to push for BIG after Skweyiya’s endorsement. Skweyiya faced considerable criticism in the press for his endorsement, and substantial opposition in the treasury department persists. However, Linda Daniels, of the Pretoria News, speculated that this round of debate could lead to the introduction of a cash grant for HIV-positive people and other chronically ill individuals.

South African newspaper and magazine articles on BIG following the conference included: (1) Cape Town's Sunday paper's headline read: "Tutu pleads for Basic Income Grant", (2) Business Day, “Skweyiya calls for basic income grant for the poor” (3) Business Report (South Africa), “Nature's bounty is an asset for all, forever” December 5, 2006. This editorial by Margaret Legum of the South African New Economics Network, argued for following the Alaska model in Africa, (4) Independent (Cape Town, South Africa), “Deal with extreme poverty, Da Silva tells SA”,, (6) Donwald Pressly, Cape Town, South Africa, “Skweyiya sticks by his call for basic income grant,” November 20, 2006 02:03, and (7) Linda Daniels, Pretoria News, “Social grants on cards for chronically ill” November 21, 2006,

5. BASIC INCOME STUDIES: Essay Prize and Second Issue

Basic Income Studies Essay Prize 2006

Basic Income Studies (BIS) awarded its first Essay Prize at the Eleventh Congress of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) in Cape Town, South Africa, November 4, 2006. The award is designed to encourage promising research on basic income and related policies. The BIS Essay Prize is awarded to an essay that exemplifies the high standard of quality and original basic income research that BIS hopes to promote. The winning essay will be published in BIS. The 2006 Essay Prize was awarded to Michael Howard’s article entitled, “A NAFTA Dividend: A proposal for a guaranteed minimum income for North America.” In his article, Michael Howard of the University of Maine, applies Thomas Pogge’s argument for a global resource dividend on a regional basis in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Three other essays were awarded an Honourable Mention: “Good for women? Advantages and risks of basic income from a gender perspective” by Julieta Elgarte (Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina); “Why Switzerland? Basic Income and the Development Potential of Swiss Republicanism” by Eric Patry (University of St. Gallen, Switzerland); and “Australia's Disabling Income Support System” by Jennifer Mays (Queensland University of Technology, Australia). These essays made important contributions to the examination of the argument over basic income from the perspective of feminism, republicanism, and the disabled rights movement respectively.

Announcement Basic Income Studies, Volume 1, Issue 2


Basic Income Studies (BIS) will release its second issue in December 2006, with new research articles by Stuart White on basic income and reciprocity, Simon Wigley on basic income and cumulative advantage, and Philip Harvey on the cost of a basic income compared to a negative income tax scheme. Volume 1, Issue 2 also carries a research note by economic historians Guido Erreygers and John Cunliffe, in which they introduce a virtually unknown social constitution drafted in Brussels in 1848, in which an unconditional basic income figured prominently. In the debate section, guest-editor Loek Groot presents five short comments by an interdisciplinary group of scholars discussing the possibility of using experimental research design in the study of basic income proposals. Contributions to this debate discuss the reasons for conducting a basic income experiment (Loek Groot), the questions such a design needs to answer (Karl Widerquist), and the comparative advantage and disadvantages of social experiments over the study of natural experiments (Hans Peeters and Axel Marx) or laboratory experiments (José Noguera and Jurgen De Wispelaere), and a critical comment on the entire debate (add Ilka Virjo). The book review section features critical reflections on recent books by Ailsa McKay (reviewed by Almaz Zelleke), Clive Lord (reviewed by Laura Bambrick) and Russell Muirhead (reviewed by José Noguera). BIS is published by The Berkeley Electronic Press (bepress), sponsored by Red Renta Basica (RRB) and BIEN and supported USBIG.


The US Green Party has reaffirmed its support for the basic income guarantee in its challenge to the new Democratic leaders in Congress issued November 27, 2006. Quoting Jim Coplen, a co-chair of the national Green Party, the Green Party writes, "The Democrats' proposed 75 cent increase is just a minimal improvement over the Republicans. Working Americans need a living wage, and all Americans deserve the basic income guarantee."


In view of the campaign for the Federal elections of October 1st, 2006, the Austrian basic income network was invited to a meeting with the head of the Social Department of the City of Vienna, Renate Brauner (Social Democratic Party). Brauner tried to convince the representatives of the network, that though she shares the analysis regarding the raising poverty in Austria and the failing distribution of wealth the Social Democrats are not ready to give up work as the cornerstone of their social policy. She urged basic income supporters not to argue against the policy of full employment, by referring to the network's statement that full employment has to be called "a myth".


During the election campaign the Social Democrats and the Green Party both pleaded for a means tested basic income (“Grundsicherung”): 800 Euros for everyone who works or is not able to work and whose income or social benefits is less than this amount. The Social Democrats, who won the majority of the votes and are leading the coalition talks, surprisingly declared the “Grundsicherung” to be a condition for any coalition government with the conservative “People’s party”. With the help of the mass media whose interest suddenly increased dramatically (TV, large daily newspapers and their online issues) a lively discussion about “Grundsicherung”, basic income, taxes, the future of work and “Leistung” (effort) is on the way. Different members of our network have been asked for interviews in the actual debate and use the possibility to point out the basic income idea.


A means tested basic income, as it is favoured by the Social Democrats, would certainly be helpful to stop the rising poverty in Austria. There are 460.000 poor people in Austria and another 600.000 who are threatened by poverty. But the concrete concept is not acceptable, in the view of the Austrian BI-network as well as in the view of the Austrian Green party. The critic concentrates on three main points: 1) the concept contains the condition, that available wealth has to be utilized, 2) further it has to be proofed that there is no job (with no regards to the job conditions) available and moreover 3) social insurance benefits like unemployment benefits or the Austrian “Notstandshilfe” are partly turned into social benefits without the desirable legal framework. 


Despite the fact that the Green party pleads for another form of means tested basic income, like the majority of the Non-Profit Organisations in the Social Sector, organised in the Austrian Anti-Poverty-Network, it is not possible to gain “official” political support for the Basic Income idea. The Green spokesman for Social Affairs, Karl Öllinger, recently conceded that it would be “exciting to think about the separation of work and income in our time” but he doesn’t believe that it is possible to finance a basic income.
-From BIEN


BIEN NewsFlash 41 (September 2006) reported that in its recent "Country Report" on Namibia (No. 06/153 April 2006), the International Monetary Fund indicated that the recent proposal to introduce a Basic Income Grant (BIG) providing a monthly cash grant to all Namibians below 60 years old would be very costly, and may jeopardize macroeconomic stability. The Namibian Basic Income Grant Coalition responded to the IMF, in a detailed letter which was printed in the Namibian Insight Magazine. The BIG Coalition stated that the IMF's calculations were deliberately flawed. The IMF responded that they were apparently not aware that a recuperation of the money through the tax system forms part of Namibia's BIG proposal. And yet the tax recuperation was always part of the proposal, and is well documented, Claudia and Dirk Haarmann from the Namibian BIG coalition argue. In their letter, they explicitly referred to the Brazilian law on basic income: "The IMF points to Brazil as a possible role model in terms of its cash-transfer programme. We could not agree more! The Bolsa Familia programme, which the IMF refers to, has in itself already universalised and replaced four previous fragmented cash-transfer systems. It is currently extended to 11.2 million families. Moreover, the latest developments seem to have gone by unnoticed in the IMF’s recommendations. President Lula has signed a law (10.835/2004), which - addressing the shortcomings of the current conditional cash-grant system - enacts the gradual implementation of a BIG in Brazil! Thereby Brazil is the first country to have taken this bold empowerment step for the poor. The question is, when is Namibia ready to follow this role model and introduce a BIG?" For further information and to get a copy of the letter to Insight Magazine, please send an e-mail to Claudia & Dirk Haarmann <>
-From BIEN

Recent newspaper and magazine articles on BIG in Namibia include: (1) Namibian Broadcasting Corporation Today’s News, “KAMEETA BIG: The fight to eradicate poverty is not a privilege, but an obligation.” November 13, 2006, (2) Denver Isaacs, The Namibian (Windhoek) November 16, 2006, (3) Denver Isaacs, The Namibian, “BIG Coalition Takes Aim At the IMF,” November 21, 2006, and (4) New Era (Windhoek), “Namibia: Churches Challenge IMF On BIG,” November 21, 2006,


On November 11, 2006, Jean-Claude Juncker, the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, gave an interview to the prominent German daily "Frankfurter Rundschau". The article was entitled "Europe needs a basic income for all", and in the interview Juncker made a strong plea for minimum standards in the whole EU. He seems to think every EU-citizen is entitled to a minimum standard of living, but remains unclear whether this would have all the other features BIEN normally associated with an unconditional basic income.
The interview has been posted at
-From BIEN


Saturday, Dec. 16, 2006
1:00-3:30 pm Central Library seminar room
735 Broughton St. Victoria BC, Canada
Sponsored by Livable Income for Everyone. For full background information for this event go to:

Berlin, Germany December 16-17, 2006:
The German Basic Income Network (Netzwerk Gruindeinkommen) will hold its General Assembly at the Humboldt-Universität in Berlin on December 16-17, 2006. An opening discussion forum on "Working differently and living better with a basic income" shall take place on the evening of December 15 (7pm), with the participation of Götz Werner and Wolfgang Engler. During the next two days, talks and workshops shall provide further opportunities to foster the German debate on basic income.
For further information:
-From BIEN


New York, NY, May 6-8, 2007:
Within the framework of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Yeshiva University (New York City), Richard Caputo organizes a session on “The basic income guarantee in international perspective”. The Conference is scheduled for 6-8 May 2007 at the Sheraton New York. Interested persons should contact Richard Caputo at


The third edition of 2006 Citizen’s Income Newsletter, including the main article, “Why we Ought to Listen to Zygmunt Bauman,” by Ian Orton. It also contains book reviews, a review article of Welfare Reform and Political Theory edited by Lawrence Mead and Christopher Beem. The article is on the web at:

BAY, Ann-Helén and PEDERSEN, Axel West
The Limits of Social Solidarity: Basic Income, Immigration and the Legitimacy of the Universal Welfare State
 Acta Sociologica, Vol. 49, No. 4, 419-436 (2006)
Abstract: Does mass immigration and increasing ethnic diversity challenge the legitimacy of the universal welfare state? Assuming that basic income can be seen as a radical extension of the universal welfare state, we pursue this question by investigating whether popular reactions towards a basic income proposal are susceptible to persuasion that invokes attitudes towards immigration. The study is based on survey data covering a representative sample of the Norwegian electorate. We find that a comfortable majority express sympathy with the idea of a basic income, and that the structure of initial support for the basic income proposal is well in line with established findings concerning attitudes towards welfare state institutions and redistributive policies more generally. However, by applying a persuasion experiment, we show that negative attitudes towards immigration can be mobilized to significantly reduce the scope of support for a basic income proposal among the Norwegian electorate.

SHEAHEN, Allan, Security of Income Should be US Right
Guest Columnist, the Los Angeles Tribute
Partly in remembrance to Milton Friedman, the author argues for taking $1 billion Los Angeles County currently spends on homeless and converting it into a negative income tax. Authors’ address:

HARMAN, Eva Can It Start Small, But End BIG? Expanding Social Assistance in South Africa.
Human Rights Review (2006) Vol. 7 issue 4. p 81-99.

Abstract: Generating heated politics in South Africa is a proposal to introduce a universal basic income grant, known as "BIG." The "gaps" in the existing system of social assistance grants have caught the attention of activists and politicians across the political spectrum. Most concur on the need to expand the system, but the issue of how its "gaps" should be closed is a matter of great political divergence. To cast light on the significance of these debates, I show how the system's "gaps" are more complicated than measurements of poverty and inequality may suggest. Following the social and economic relations that develop around social grants, my analysis foregrounds a tension in the existing assistance system. Social grants provide a critical source of income for recipients and their kin, assisting them to confront the challenging realities of current labor market conditions. At the same time, social grants act as conduits for historical forces to articulate with local conditions and reshape relationships between citizens, the state, and the market. This tension points to the ambiguity of the BIG proposal and of its potential to engender a larger transformation.
Author's email:

LEVY, Horacio & SUTHERLAND, Holly (2006), 'A Basic Income for Europe's Children?', University of Essex: Institute for Social and Economic Research, EUROMOD Working Paper em4/06, September 2006, 30p. Downloadable at
This paper explores the prospects for a guaranteed income for every child in the European Union and its potential effects on child poverty, taking as one starting point the ideas set out by economist Anthony Atkinson. It examines the extent to which existing levels of financial support for children through national taxes and benefits fall short of a series of illustrative minimum levels of income corresponding to proportions of median income. It estimates the cost of bringing the amount of support up to these levels for all children as well as the corresponding impacts on income poverty among EU children. From this the cost in each country of providing basic incomes for children is estimated such that potential EU child poverty reduction targets are met. This cost could be met at national level or, alternatively, at EU level. The effect of financing the guaranteed child income using a European flat tax is investigated. The analysis uses EUROMOD, the European tax-benefit microsimulation model and illustrates the implications of the choices that must be made when designing such a scheme for the extent of redistribution between countries and towards children.
-From BIEN

VAN PARIJS, Philippe (2006), Bottom-up Social Europe. From subsidiarity to Euro-Dividend, Plenary address at the conference organized at the initiative of the Finnish presidency of the European Union, The EU's evolving Social Policy and National Models. Seeking a New Balance, Helsinki, 9-10/11/2006, available as DOCH 165, Université catholique de Louvain: Chaire Hoover d'éthique économique et sociale, November 2006.
In matters of social policy, the subsidiarity principle makes a lot of sense, but direct EU involvement is indispensable to prevent Europe ending up doing worse than the US in terms of social solidarity. Imposing minimum standards will be insufficient. EU-level funding of the most redistributive component of the social transfer system will be required. There are three models for organizing such funding: a means-tested "Euro-Stipend" as proposed by P. Schmitter and M. Bauer; co-payment as often practised for social assistance by member states and their local authorities; and a EU-wide universal basic income or Euro-Dividend, be it initially restricted to a specific age group, such as children. Only the third model is consistent with the preservation of healthy and diverse national welfare states. The conditions for the political feasibility of such an active EU involvement in social policy are not yet fulfilled, however. They include the thickening of an EU-wide civil society, EU-level electoral institutions that foster the construction and defence of an EU-wide general interest and the democratization of competence in English as the EU's lingua franca.
-From BIEN




The Public Administration Case Against Participation Income
Jurgen De Wispelaere and Lindsay Stirton
No. 157, November 2006

“The possible Transition from the Bolsa-Família Program towards a Citizen's Basic Income”
Senator Eduardo Matarazzo Suplicy
No. 158 November 2006




The Australian website, Democracy at risk, includes a section with papers on the National Dividend (a version of the basic income guarantee).

Livable Income For Everyone has made a major updated to its website with a large number of new articles on the web at:

The 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:
available here:

Vivant, a Belgian political party that supports basic income, has launched a new website entitled "Enjoy Living". English version is on the web at
-From BIEN

This group initiated by Lisinka Ulatowska supports a plan for a Basic Income for all funded by the United Nations . The plan includes four phases.
1. Create a Draft Plan consisting of basic income approaches from around the world, how to implement them and endorsements by interested world leaders.
2. Circulate this among all Heads of State and Government, world leaders, experts and grass roots and insert feedback into the document; combine this with a lobby via the UN until informed world public opinion is buzzing in support and several Governments decide to go ahead.
3. Create a universal structure to implement the basic income, which can eventually accommodate all governments as they are ready. This would include helping Governments and communities to decide on an approach and training people to implement it, and the necessary financial consultants and banking facilities. Consult with and lobby Governments via the UN.
4. When sufficient governments have joined, apply for status as a Specialized Agency of the UN.

See or or contact Lisinka Ulatowska: <>
-From BIEN


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

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.

Thank you,
-Karl Widerquist, USBIG Coordinator.