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 at least a subsistence-level income for everyone. If you would like to be added to or removed from this list please email:

Table of Contents

1. USBIG Congress takes place later this week
2. Conservative U.S. presidential candidate endorses a small BIG
3. Editorial: A Basic Income Supporter’s view of the sales tax movement
4. BIG News from Around the World
5. Upcoming Events
6. Recent Events
7. Basic Income Studies releases its fourth issue
8. New Publications
9. New Discussion Papers
10. New Members
11. New Links
12. Links and Other Info

1. USBIG Congress takes place later this week

The Seventh Congress of the USBIG Network: What Next: Framing a BIG Discussion for the Next Election and Beyond will take place later this week at the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts. The congress brings together academics, students, activists, policy analysts, and others interested in exploring the merits of the basic income guarantee. It will be held in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Economic Association. Attendees of the USBIG Congress are welcome to attend any events and the EEA meeting.

Featured Speakers, include Philippe Van Parijs, of Harvard University, author of Real Freedom for All: What (if anything) can justify capitalism?; Senator Eduardo Suplicy, of the Brazilian Federal Senate, author of The Citizen’s Basic Income. The Answer is Blowin’ the Wind, Guy Standing, of the University of Bath, author of Beyond the New Paternalism; Yannick Vanderborght, of the University of Brussels, coauthor (with Van Parijs) of L’allocation universelle (an introduction to BIG soon to be translated into English); Jurgen De Wispelaere, of Trinity College-Dublin, and Sean Healy and Brigid Reynolds, both of the Council of the Religious of Ireland and authors of several books on social policy.

The conference will take place over three days Friday March 7 through Sunday March 9, 2008. In the opening session at 9am on Friday Standing will discuss the new BIG pilot program in Namibia and De Wispelaere will discuss the problem of BIG Governance. Other sessions that day include, “the Ethics of BIG,” “the Politics of BIG,” and a workshop on inequality, lead by Steve Schnapp of United for a Fair Economy.

Saturday March 8th will include sessions on “BIG and Poverty,” “BIG and work,” “Perspectives on Distribution and Redistribution,” and a roundtable on “Freedom as Effective Control Self-Ownership.” The day will finish with featured speakers. Vanderborght will discuss “Basic Income in Electoral Platforms: Examples from Recent Political History,” and Healy and Reynolds will give a joint presentation on “Challenges to Basic Income in the Public Policy Arena: An Irish Experience.”

Sunday March 9 will include a session on “Theological and Moral Aspects of BIG,” and feature addresses by Van Parijs and Senator Suplicy who will report on his recent visit to Iraq and his effort to push for an Iraqi oil dividend based on the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend. The day will close with the USBIG Organizational meeting.

The complete program and list of participates is online at Information about the EEA Meeting is online at Attendees can register online or in person the day of the conference.


2. Republican presidential candidate endorses a small BIG

The basic income guarantee has been a small issue in the U.S. Presidential primaries. Republican candidate Mike Huckabee, proposes replacing the income tax with a sales tax and providing everyone with a monthly tax rebate “for taxes on purchases up to the poverty line, so that we're not taxed on necessities, [and] people below the poverty line won't be taxed at all,” according the Huckabee’s website. The emphasis of the plan is on the sales tax. The rebate is quietly mentioned almost as an afterthought—a way to cushion the blow to the poor. But that rebate is a small basic income, set at some fraction of the poverty line. Huckabee’s website does not specify the tax rate. Advocates of the national sales tax usually prefer a figure under 25 percent, but to maintain current government spending the tax rate might have to be more than 30 percent. At 2006 poverty rates, the 25 percent rate would imply a basic income of $2500 per year for a single person and $5000 for a family of four. The 35 percent tax rate would imply basic incomes of more than $3500 for a single person and $7000 for a family of four. It is not a full basic income, but remember that Huckabee is one of the most conservative politicians of the 2008 race; yet he quietly endorsed one-fourth to one-third of what basic income supporters want.

3. Editorial: A Basic Income Supporter’s view of the sales tax movement

The unexpected success of Mike Huckabee in the Republican primaries has given a substantial boost to the small movement to replace all federal taxes with a national sales tax with an accompanying tax rebate in the form of a partial basic income (see story above). The basic income movement has been almost an entirely left-of-center movement since the 1980s, made up of mostly of people who want a more equal society with much better, freer lives for the poor. I believe that most basic income supporters would like to have an ally on the other side of the political divide. Is the sales tax movement such an ally? Although I have no doubt that a basic income as small as the one proposed by the sales tax movement would be better than no basic income at all, there are two main reasons why the sales tax movement promotes something that is very difficult for most basic income supporters to endorse.

First, the stress of the sales tax movement is almost entirely on the benefits of income tax relief. The tax rebate is included almost as an afterthought to cushion the blow on the poor, who currently pay little or no income taxes and would stand to lose significantly by a shift to sales taxes. Any motivation to help provide basic economic security is left out of the movement’s literature. The poor are expected to work, and adequate work is assumed to be available in the job market. As the sales tax movement sees it, the poor only have one problem—the government makes them pay taxes. If the government rebates their taxes, private employment provides everything they need. Even if we disagree with the motives of sales tax advocates, and even if their basic income is far too small, it is better to get some of what we want than nothing. That is, as long as the cost is not too high, which brings me to the next reason.

Second, sales tax advocates would only support a small basic income as part of a shift to the national sales tax, which supporters call “the fair tax.” But the sales tax has significant problems. The three most obvious measures of an individual’s economic standing are income, wealth, and consumption. Any one of these measures could provide a base for taxation: an income tax is obviously a tax on income; capital gains, wealth, and inheritance taxes fall on wealth; and a sales tax falls on consumption. What difference would it make to base federal taxation on sales? Savings (i.e. the accumulation of wealth) is the difference between income and consumption. If you make $30,000 and save $3,000, you spend $27,000. An income tax would tax you based on how much money you make; a sales tax would tax you based on the portion of that money you spend that year. Sales tax advocates call this fair because it encourages savings and because it supposedly taxes people how what they actually consume rather than on what they are able to consume.

For most of us, there is no a big difference between income and savings. The poorest people tend to spend all of their income, and members of the middle class are lucky if they can put away 10 percent. But at higher levels of economic well-being, there is an enormous difference. The richer one is; the less one spends as a percentage of income. Therefore, the “fair” tax is regressive, making after tax incomes between the middle class and the wealthy less equal than before tax incomes. Supporters argue (fairly) that it will be no more regressive than the current system with all of its exemptions, but the sale tax is simply not a mechanism capable of making the system progressive. A government financed by a national sales tax will allow families to accumulate more and more wealth and the power that goes with it. They will be able to pass that wealth down for generations and generations with no interference from income or wealth taxation.

Sales tax advocates say that it is fair to tax people on what they actually consume rather than their potential to consume. Yet, the holding of wealth takes up resources that other people might as much as consumption does. If my family holds land as wealth, we block anyone else from using that land, but we would pay no sales tax on it. Under a sales tax, if a middle class man spends $50 to buy his son a baseball glove, he pays tax. But if a wealthy man spends $50 million to buy his son a professional baseball team—that’s investment spending, not consumption—he pays no tax. This is the “fair tax” in name only.

Even so, a national sales tax could be part of an overall progressive system if it was accompanied by a substantial basic income and some kind of tax that hits large dynastic family accumulations of wealth. Inheritance taxes and capital gains taxes don’t actually do that job very well, but there are two taxes that could, a tax on land value or a tax directly on wealth holdings (see Top Heavy by Ed Wolff). However, I fear that sales tax advocates would resist any changes in their preferred system that would make it progressive.

-Karl Widerquist

4. BIG News from Around the World

Two Canadian Conservatives call for a full BIG

Reginald Stackhouse, a former Progressive Conservative Member of Parliament and emeritus professor at University of Toronto, endorsed BIG in an editorial in the Toronto Star on February 17. Stackhouse endorses a full basic income with the goal of eliminating all poverty in Canada. He concludes, “What you and I can be sure of is the present system is not working. Canada is one of the most financially sound countries in the world – but we still have enough poor people to populate one of our largest cities. Don't you think that we should be looking for an alternative?” Ann Lukits, writing in the Kingston Whig-Standard, reports that Conservative Senator Hugh Segal has recently called for a feasibility study on guaranteed income in the form of a negative income tax. Lukits writes, "Canadian politicians have tried without success for close to 40 years to introduce a guaranteed annual income for poor people. Kingston Senator Hugh Segal is hoping he's the one who can finally make it happen."

The Toronto Star editorial is online at:
The Whig-Standard article is online at:

Brazilian Senator Suplicy visits Iraq to advocate for BIG

Senator Eduardo Suplicy is one of the hardest-working advocates for BIG in the world. He sponsored the bill, which became law in 2004, authorizing the gradual phase-in of a BIG in Brazil. He has met with politicians, researchers and heads of state around the world to advocate for the introduction of basic income. Last month he spent several days in Iraq meeting with senior Iraqi officials and encouraging them to introduce basic income as part of the effort to pacify their country. He will speak at the USBIG Conference in Boston on Sunday March 9 and present a 20-minute video on his visit to Iraq. Senator Suplicy’s first-hand account of his visit to Iraq is online at:

The Namibian BIG pilot project gets under way

Residents of the village of Omitara, Namibia received their first payments of a basic income grant of 100 Namibian dollars this January. More than 900 residents will receive the grants (worth about US$13.32) each month for the next two years. The payments are part of a pilot project being conducted by the Namibian BIG Coalition and supported by private donations. A baseline study on the living conditions of Omitara residents was carried out at the end of last year. Follow up studies will be carried out every six months over the next two years to scientifically document the concrete impact of the BIG in Omitara. The findings of these studies will be made available to the media. The BIG Coalition hopes the project will demonstrate the feasibility of BIG, and the coalition plans to resume its lobbying efforts once the project is complete.

Several source article for this report can be found online;
January 16, Denver Isaacs, the Namibian Windhoek:
January 18, Wezi Tjaronda, New Era Windhoek:
February 18, Denver Isaacs, The Namibian (Windhoek)
See also:

Bolivia Introduces a basic income for everyone age 60 and over

On October 15th, 2007, Bolivian president Evo Morales proposed the creation of the Universal Lifetime Basic Income for Dignified Aging, which will consist of a universal and unconditional monetary transfer of around 26 US$ for all people aged 60 and above in the country. This amount is a starting point taking into account the poverty line in Bolivia. Evo Morales described basic income as a long dream and warned that should it not be approved by parliament he will put out a decree putting it into action immediately. In Latin America, through diverse pathways, the proposal for universal, unconditional income recognized as a right is making progress. In particular the Bolivian proposal reinforces the universal citizen's pension of Mexico City, active since 2001. Such a pension is now completely universal in the City, each month 420,000 persons get it, its amount is around US$70 and has been granted as a right in the Law, that means is demandable to the Government of Mexico City.

German Social Equality Party endorses BIG

The Partei für Soziale Gleichheit (PSG— Socialist Equality Party) endorsed a substantial BIG of 1500 Euros per month in its platform for German regional elections held on the January 27. The party platform is online at:

Belgian BIG activist appointed to Senate

Roland Duchâtelet, the founder and President of Vivant, became a member of the Belgian Senate on December 21, 2007. The core program of Vivant includes an unconditional basic income, direct democracy and a tax shift from labor taxes toward consumption tax. In the Senate Roland Duchâtelet succeeds Guy Verhofstadt of Open Vld, the coalition partner of Vivant, who has agreed to lead an interim government until March 23, 2008. Vivant now has two representatives in the Senate: Roland Duchâtelet and Nele Lijnen.

French Prime Minister promotes further research on BIG

BIEN reports: The French Secretary of State for Prospective Studies and the Evaluation of Public Policies, Eric Besson, has been asked by Prime Minister François Fillon to explore possible ways of implementing a so-called "Universal Dividend", or basic income, in France. In 2002, Christine Boutin, currently Minister for Housing and City Planning, had published a report on poverty and exclusion, in which she advocated the idea of an income by right for all French citizens. In his letter to Besson, PM François Fillon explicitly refers to this report, and asks for a cost-analysis in the light of foreign experiences. The new report on basic income should be finished at the end of March 2008.
For further information:

Basic Income Discussed in the Spanish Parliament

BIEN reports: On October 2, 2007 a debate on Basic Income took place in a plenary session of the Spanish Parliament, following a bill presented by two political parties: the Republican Left of Catalonia (Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, ERC, a left-wing pro-independence party that is currently a member of the coalition that rules the Catalan government) and the United Left (Izquierda Unida - Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds, IU-ICV, the main organisation at the left of the Socialist Party, PSOE). The parliamentary debate had many repercussions in the press. The interventions made by the representatives of the parties in Parliament can be read in the parliamentary report (Diario de Sesiones), which can also be downloaded from
An article responding to the debate is online at:

Launch of European Union-wide adequate income campaign

BIEN reports: BRUSSELS (BE), 19 December 2007: “Everyone deserves a decent life”: The European Anti Poverty Network (EAPN) kicked off EU wide campaign for Adequate Minimum Income schemes. On December 19, 2007, EAPN launched an EU wide campaign for Adequate Minimum Income schemes. 24 out of 27 Member States have minimum income schemes in place at this present time, but there are serious flaws with their accessibility and their adequacy. It is time, EAPN argues, to state clearly that adequate Minimum Income schemes are a fundamental prerequisite for an EU based on social justice and equal opportunities for all. The campaign was launched in Brussels in presence of NGO representatives, Members of the European Parliament, European Commission officials as well as national representations and social partners (ETUC, EPSU, etc.) representatives.
For further information:

Italian Regional Government takes a major step toward BIG

On January 25, 2008, the Government of "Regione Lazio" (the Region which includes the province of Rome) approved a “guaranteed social income.” In the coming weeks this proposal will be discussed in a Regional Commission, as well as in the Regional General Council, where it is expected to be approved. The proposal entails an income support of 450 Euros per month, and a package of free services (free transport, electricity, free entrance in art centers, etc.). It is means-tested and targeted at individuals whose earnings are below a threshold of 7,500 Euros per year, such as precarious workers and the unemployed. This proposal was made by Alessandra Tibaldi (Partito della Rifondazione Comunista), after discussions with representatives of social movements, trade unions, and political parties. The proposed funding is approximately 30,000,000 Euros for the first stage of experimentation, during the next three years. Some proponents of a basic income in Italy see this event as an important first step towards a true basic income for all. For further information:

Andrew Glyn (1943-2007) dies

BIEN reports: Andrew Glyn, fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, died of a brain tumor at the age of 64. He was one of the most respected and most loved left-wing political economists. He was also, as the Times obituary put it (January 8, 2008), "an ideological radical who proved himself to be one of the finest exponents of the most traditional of all teaching methods - Oxford's Socratic tutorial system" and "one of the most inspiring and giving of Oxford's teachers".

His last book, Capitalism Unleashed, he wrote, "the campaign in support of Basic Income eventually notched up one more adherent". The top priority, he wrote in the final chapter, should be to establish "the basis for a new balance between work and other activities". How? "the most innovative policy suggestion to encourage moves in this direction is the proposal of a Basic Income". It "would involve a recasting of elements of the welfare state in an egalitarian direction which would be extremely worthwhile".
See “In Memoriam Andrew Glyn”, online at:
See also the obituary in “Socialist Unity”:
And in “The Guardian”:,,2233842,00.html

5. Upcoming Events

12th BIEN CONGRESS, will be held June 2008, Dublin, Ireland

The 12th International Congress of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) will be held on 20-21 June 2008 in Dublin, Ireland. The theme of this World Congress is: Inequality and Development in a Globalised Economy - The Basic Income Option. This two-day event involving participants from all the continents of the world will be preceded by a one-day event (June 19, 2008) which will focus on Basic Income in Ireland and will be open to all participants in the World Congress. Details about the Congress are online at: The organizing committee can be reached at

6. Recent Events

Second German-speaking Basic Income congress

BASEL, Switzerland October 5-7, 2007:

BIEN Reports: More than 300 participants from Germany, Switzerland and Austria attended the second German-speaking BI congress "Securing everybody´s existence and Unconditional - BI as a human right" which was held at the University of Basel, Switzerland, Oct. 5-7, 2007. "This congress has linked the debates on BI in our three countries and stressed the European dimension of this debate" said Avji Sirmoglu, member of the organizing committee. "Combating poverty is one important issue in the debate on BI, since the aim of a BI is social integration and participation in the society". Scientists and persons e.g. from social initiatives and organizations of unemployed shared their insights and visions regarding current developments such as social security, labor markets as well as unpaid work. They discussed the introduction of an unconditional BI which must be high enough to secure everybody’s existence as well as special aspects like how to finance a BI.

One central question was whether BI is a human right. There was common sense that every human being must receive his/her fair stake of the existing wealth. BI was called a very good way to make this reality. The congress was organized by the BI-networks of Austria, Germany and Switzerland together with ATTAC Germany and Switzerland and the BI-group within ATTAC Austria. The congress was held in participation with the Institute of Sociology (University of Basel), Initiative BI Basel and others. This event was followed by the Third (National) German Basic Income Congress in Berlin on October24-26, 2008.

The program and articles on the Basel congress (in German) is online at: Some of the workshops were recorded. Audio CDs (all German) can be ordered: Further information on the Berlin conference is available online at:

Workshop on "Income or Employment Guarantee?"

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, December 13, 2007

BIEN Reports: The Citizen Income Network in Argentina (Redaic (Red Argentina de Ingreso Ciudadano)) organized together with the Centre of Labour Studies and Research ((Ceil-Piette (Centro de Estudios e Investigaciones Laborales - Programa de Investigaciones Económicas sobre Tecnología, Trabajo y Empleo)) a workshop on "Income or Employment Guarantee? An Argentinean discussion between Basic Income and Employmer of Last Resort.” It took place on Thursday December, 13th. For further information; Corina Rodríguez Enríquez, Conicet - Ciepp, Buenos Aires - Argentina,

Faith leaders from Victoria, Canada call for a livable income

BIEN reports: On October 17, 2007 (the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty), several faith leaders from Greater Victoria held a press conference and called for a livable income for all Canadians. This press conference focused on Victoria and British Columbia, where poverty is on the increase. In spite of a booming economy, the gap between the rich and the poor has never been larger, activists say. "A crisis-based approach to dealing with the complex problems of poverty and homelessness does not work" said Rev. Harold Munn, rector at St. John the Divine Anglican Church and a member of Victoria's Mayor Taskforce on Homelessness. "Building shelters and keeping income assistance and disability rates so low and so difficult to access that shopping at food banks is a necessity- these strategies do not end poverty but perpetuate it. Faith communities, in particular, are aware of the impacts that these approaches have had on the lives and the dignity of poor people."

Besides Rev. Harold Munn, speakers included Fr. Dean Henderson (St.Andrew's Cathedral), Kathy Hoodikoff (Christ Church Cathedral), Ross White (Cadboro Bay United), Alan Saunders (First Metropolitan United) as well as speakers from St. Vincent de' Paul society, 9-10 Club and Faith in Action. Speakers emphasized that people of faith long for the day when poverty is indeed eradicated, and the food banks, clothing exchanges, and soupkitchens they are currently operating, close their doors forever. For poverty to end, they argued, governments at every level must support through their policy and funding commitments: affordable and/or supportive housing options, addiction and mental health treatment programs, and a livable income for all Canadians.

For further information, contact Rev. Harold Munn at 250-383-7169, or Rev. Al Tysick at 250-388-0343.

Young Socialists’ School debates Basic Income

VALLES OCCIDENTAL (ES), 15-16 December 2007: The Educational Section of Catalonia’s Socialist Party at Vallès Occidental (one of the most politically active regions in Catalonia) held a two-day course on December 15 and 16 which gathered many politicians from PSC (Catalan Socialist Party) and other Catalan left-wing parties, as well as members of unions and independent experts. Sessions dealt with issues such as work conditions in present-day Spanish labour markets, a general assessment of Zapatero’s turn of office (General Election at Spanish Parliament will take place in March 9 2008), and included a lecture given by Daniel Raventós, President of Red Renta Bàsica, on “The Feasibility of Basic as a Right Promoting Social Justice”.
-From BIEN

Conference on Basic Income held in Asturias, Spain

BIEN reports: 19 January 2008: Asturia’s Section of Izquierda Unida, the main Spanish left-wing party to the left of Spanish Socialist Party, organised a very well-attended Conference on the philosophical justification of Basic Income, its political feasibility and its possible financial schemes. Daniel Raventós and Jordi Arcarons (both members of Red Renta Básica) gave background lectures and conducted vivid discussions with practitioners working at municipal and regional public agencies, members of social and political movements and Izquierda Unida’s politicians. Many papers, radio stations and TV channels covered the event, which proves that Basic Income keeps going deeper into Spanish social and political debate.

Conference on Social aspects of Green Economics includes discussion of Basic Income

OXFORD, United Kingdom, February 9, 2008: The Green Economics Institute organized a one-day conference on "Social aspects of Green Economics: basic income, women and debt poverty, pensions, trafficking in women, and women’s access to economics". Karl Widerquist, of the University of Reading, gave a keynote lecture entitled “An Introduction to Citizens Capital Accounts.” Clive Lord, one of the founders of the British Green Party, discussed basic income as a Green social policy. Pascal Chandran, editor of the Alternative Economics Journal (in French), discussed the place of basic income in the manifesto of the French Green Party. Judith Dellheim, of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, examined, “Five considerations for inclusion in the discussion of social security systems in general and an unconditional basic income in particular.” Brian Heatley, of the British Green Party, reported on “Costing Citizen’s Income and associated benefit and income tax changes.”
For further information:

Conference on Social Welfare Program, held by Ermua’s City Council

ERMUA, Spain, February 20-22, 2008: Ermua’s City Council organized a Conference on Social Welfare Program for mid-size cities (20,000 inhabitants) as the result of its willingness to provide politicians and practitioners a broad and election-independent picture of the main challenges these program are expected to face. This interdisciplinary Conference will deal with issues like social participation and political responsibility in the provision of welfare services, welfare schemes and migration, and the debate on the (un)conditionality of these welfare schemes, among others. Speakers included, Joan Subirats (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona), Imanol Zubero (Universidad del País Vasco), Josep Ramoneda (Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona), Daniel Raventós (Universitat de Barcelona and Red Renta Básica), and Gemma Zabaleta (Member of Basque Socialist Party).

7. Basic Income Studies releases its fourth issue

Basic Income Studies (BIS) released Volume 2, Issue 2 in December 2007. It features several research articles, research notes, book reviews, and a debate, guest-edited by David Casassas, Civic Republicanism and basic income. All current and past issues of BIS are available free online at Click the required article and follow the instructions to get free guest access.


David Purdy "Is Basic Income Viable?".
ABSTRACT: The debate about Basic Income (BI) has hitherto been preoccupied with questions of desirability. To correct this imbalance and to throw light on the problems of winning political support for BI, this article considers whether BI is viable. At this stage, the exercise is necessarily speculative, but can be useful as long as care is taken to specify institutional arrangements and to take into account the way social agents are likely to respond to the introduction of BI. Accordingly, I develop a theoretical model of the interaction between tax-transfer policy and economic performance to explore the options facing the citizens of an imaginary state, who are contemplating radical reform but espouse divergent moral values. Initially, to fix ideas, I assume that their options are independent of the prevailing normative climate. In the end, however, I show that this assumption is untenable, and I draw conclusions for BI as a political project.

Manos Matsaganis and Maria Flevotomou "A Basic Income for Housing? Simulating a Universal Housing Transfer in the Netherlands and Sweden".
ABSTRACT: The gradualist approach towards an unconditional basic income for all involves the introduction or extension of universal benefits in place of current income-tested ones. Such a policy shift might cause higher fiscal costs or adverse distributional effects, at least in the short run. However, this need not always be the case. Using the tax-benefit model EUROMOD, the article simulates the introduction of a universal housing transfer – that is flat rate, tenure neutral and budget neutral – in place of mortgage interest tax relief and housing benefits in the Netherlands and Sweden. As it turns out, the regressive effect of mortgage interest tax relief thwarts the progressive effect of housing benefits. In view of that, replacing both by the universal housing transfer (equivalent to a partial basic income for housing) would enhance tax progressivity and reduce income inequality at no extra fiscal cost. Policy implications and possible objections are discussed in the concluding section.

Johannes Hohlenberg, Simon Birnbaum and Erik Christensen "Anthroposophical Reflections on Basic Income".
ABSTRACT: In the 1930s Danish author and painter Johannes Hohlenberg (1881–1960) published several essays in defense of an unconditional income for all. These original writings, strongly influenced by Rudolf Steiner's anthroposophy, are not widely known. This article makes two of Hohlenberg's essays on this topic available in English translation for the first time. The first part of this article introduces Hohlenberg's ideas, followed in section two by English translations of the two Hohlenberg essays: Samfundsarven (The Heritage of Society) (1934) and Dersom nogen ikke vil arbejde, så skal han heller ikke have føden (He who Does not Work, Neither Shall He Eat) (1937).


Bill Jordan "Basic Income and Economic Integration".
ABSTRACT: This article addresses some of the issues raised for the Basic Income (BI) principle by global economic integration; especially the argument that a new model of reciprocity between affluent and developing economies does not require, and might be undermined by, this approach. In that view, complementarity between an Anglophone version of capitalism and an Asian model of human development can supply a more reliable route to eliminating world poverty and advancing global well-being.

Lily L. Batchelder and Fred T. Goldberg, Jr. "Reforming Tax Incentives Into Uniform Refundable Tax Credits".
ABSTRACT: Each year the US federal individual income tax delivers over $500 billion worth of tax incentives intended to encourage socially beneficial activities. Currently the vast majority operate through deductions or exclusions, which link the size of the subsidy to the taxpayer's marginal tax bracket. This article argues that uniform refundable credits are a more efficient approach for tax incentives intended to correct for positive externalities, absent evidence that positive externalities exist or that externalities or elasticities associated with the subsidized activity vary by income class. Moreover, some type of refundable credit should almost always be the most efficient subsidy even if externalities or elasticities rise with income. Their efficiency benefits are further magnified by their tendency to automatically smooth household income and macroeconomic demand. This article thus proposes a dramatic change in how the government provides tax incentives for socially valued activities: the default for all such tax incentives should be a uniform refundable tax credit.


David Casassas brings together several political theorists examining the role a basic income could play in republican political thought. The main motivation for a debate section on “Basic Income and the Republican Legacy” is to offer readers a glimpse of the debate within republican political thought on the importance of granting individuals an independent socio-economic status as a precondition for ensuring a concomitant political status of free citizens. David Casassas (University of Oxford), Philip Pettit (Princeton University), and Antoni Domènech and Daniel Raventós (University of Barcelona) all defend the right to a basic income on the grounds that republican freedom requires a strong form of material independence as a means to abolish the myriad of relations of domination that make up contemporary societies. Carole Pateman (Cardiff University) and Stuart White (University of Oxford), while acknowledging that the republican case for basic income is a strong one, question whether the republican conceptual framework offers a convincing account of the reasons why we might be interested in pushing for basic income. Pateman suggests that a comprehensive theory of democracy based on individual self-government would offer a more plausible case for basic income, rendering the republican analysis of freedom partially superfluous. White's “plea for difficulty” suggests the republican case for basic income moves too fast by giving insufficient attention to the virtues of active citizenship. Despite these disagreements, the discussion of republican freedom and its account of nondomination, freedom from independence and so on clearly offers ample room for the consideration of basic income.

Links to the individual articles in the debate are below.

David Casassas "Basic Income and the Republican Ideal: Rethinking Material Independence in Contemporary Societies".

Philip Pettit "A Republican Right to Basic Income?"

Antoni Domènech and Daniel Raventós "Property and Republican Freedom: An Institutional Approach to Basic Income".

Carole Pateman "Why Republicanism?"

Stuart White "The Republican Case for Basic Income: A Plea for Difficulty".


Monika Wallmon "Review of Harvey and Boyle (eds.), Basic Income Guarantees and the Right to Work”.

Adam Whitworth "Review of “Guy Standing and Michael Samson, A Basic Income Grant for South Africa".

Gerard Cotterell "Review of Tony Fitzpatrick, New Theories of Welfare”.

Wim Van Lancker “Review of Erik Olin Wright (ed.), Redesigning Distribution”.

To submit an article to Basic Income Studies, visit, and click "Submit Article". If you like to discuss your contribution informally, contact editors Jurgen De Wispelaere or Karl Widerquist at

8. New Publications

It's All About You: Citizen-centred welfare
Edited by Jim Bennett and Graeme Cooke, September 2007
The Institute for Public Policy Research
According to the Citizens Income trust, the new Institute for Public Policy Research has published a new report endorsing streamlining of British Income maintenance programs. 'We propose moving towards a single income replacement benefit for people of working age. The benefit would be based on a single set of rules, paid at a standard basic rate and remain the same over time (so there would be no higher, long-term rates). It would replace Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA), Incapacity Benefit (IB) and Income Support (IS) and could also incorporate Carer's Allowance. There are a range of advantages to this proposal and they deal with some of the problems of the current benefits (and particularly the links between them). … The problems associated with moving between benefits would disappear. There would be no risk to a person's benefit if they tried going to work because the benefit would be the same before and after a period in work. Importantly, there would be no financial gain to be made from claiming one benefit over another or from remaining in receipt of benefit for a long period.' The system would be simple to administer and easy to understand, and it would reduce stigma. The report suggests that the individual and not the household should be the benefit unit, and that a non-means-tested benefit should be paid for 12 weeks and a means-tested benefit thereafter.
This article is available at

Eight Challenges for Basic Income
By Tony Fitzpatrick, The Citizens Income Newsletter, Issue 1, 2008
Returning to the subject of basic income after 10 years on other topics, Tony Fitzpatrick assesses the state of the debate, and finds that it has grown enormously and gone global. He identifies 8 challenges in the current debate. 1. “How do we disseminate information and coordinate efforts effectively about worldwide debates and developments?” 2. “How to maintain enthusiasm when many (or most?) in government are indifferent or dismissive; how to translate casual interest/support into something more?” 3. How do we persuade governments of the need for research? 4. “How do we keep up with political changes … and continue to demonstrate the potential relevance of BI?” 5. How do we present those with sympathetic beliefs alternatives to mainstream thinking? 6. How do we get people to think against what is 'common sense' or 'public opinion'? 7. How do we “read and respond to contemporary social changes?” 8. How do we “plough on, encouraging, navigating and utilising the BI community's diversity?” The article is on line at:

The utility - or otherwise - of being employed for a few hours a week
by Malcolm Torry, The Citizens Income Newsletter, Issue 1, 2008
This short research not argues that only the Citizen's Income net income line allows people with any shape of preferences to experience incentives to seek employment of any given number of hours. The article is on line at:

Twenty-three Theses on the Unconditional Basic Income
By Theophil Wonneberger
Published in translation by the Portland Independent Media Center
Wonneberger lists twenty-three ideas on basic income, following from the first: “Productivity has continuously increased since the beginning of industrialization in the 19th century. Successes in automation accelerated this process and will accelerate it further in the future. For the first time in human history, considerable portions of the population are not needed any more to produce the necessary goods.”
This article is on line at:
This author’s email address is: e-mail:
The original German version of this article is on line at:

PRABHAKAR, Rajiv (2007), 'Attitudes towards the Child Trust Fund: What do Parents Think?', The British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 9 (4), 713–729.
The British government has recently introduced the Child Trust Fund. This pays all new babies a £250 (EUR337) or £500 (EUR673.5) capital endowment (or 'stakeholder grant') from government. This is locked into a special account until the child's 18th birthday. Parents are key to the success of this policy as they will make many of the key decisions about savings and investment. Little is known, however, about what new parents think of this policy. This article addresses this question by providing original evidence on what parents think of the basic features of this policy; whether the Child Trust Fund will make them more likely to save; attitudes towards the responsible use of the Child Trust Fund; and whether parents would prefer money spent on different forms of assistance rather than the Child Trust Fund.
-From BIEN

The Failed Welfare Revolution: America’s Struggle over Guaranteed Income Policy
Brian Steensland, Princeton University Press, 2008
This book examines the rise and fall of the Guaranteed Income policy in mainstream U.S. politics. For a brief period in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Guaranteed Income (a version of BIG) appeared to be the inevitable next step in social policy. Then it stalled and disappear. Policymakers in three presidential administrations tried to replace the nation's existing welfare system with a revolutionary program to guarantee Americans basic economic security. Surprisingly from today's vantage point, guaranteed income plans received broad bipartisan support in the 1960s. One proposal, President Nixon's Family Assistance Plan, nearly passed into law in the 1970s, and President Carter advanced a similar bill a few years later. The failure of these proposals marked the federal government's last direct effort to alleviate poverty among the least advantaged and, ironically, sowed the seeds of conservative welfare reform strategies under President Reagan and beyond.

Basic Income: The Material Conditions of Freedom
RAVENTOS, Daniel (2007), London: Pluto Press, 240pp.,
Daniel Raventós is chair of the Spanish Basic Income Network, and Professor at the University of Barecelona. His book is an introduction to basic income - what it is, how we can organize it, and how it can benefit the majority in different spheres of their lives. According to Philip Pettit, L.S. Rockefeller University Professor of Politics and Human Values, Princeton University, Raventos' book is 'The best introduction. It offers a first rate history of the idea, develops a powerful case in its support, and explores all its implications'.

9. New Discussion Papers

The USBIG Discussion Paper series posts unpublished papers discussing all aspects of BIG. The series has added 11 new papers so far this year. This are:

Basic Income, Effective Control Self-Ownership, and Market Power
No. 178, January 2008, Jubb, Rob
SUMMARY: This note criticizes some aspects of “freedom as Effective Control Self-Ownership” recently proposed by Karl Widerquist.

The Rise and Fall of a Basic Income Guarantee Bill in the U.S. Congress
No. 179, February 2008, Sheahen, Al
SUMMARY: On May 2, 2006, the first-ever Basic Income Guarantee bill, written by USBIG members Karl Widerquist and Al Sheahen, was introduced in the U.S. Congress by California Congressman Bob Filner.  This paper details how the bill (HR 5257) – dubbed “The Tax Cut For the Rest of Us” Act – was created, the strategy used to move it forward, the support it received, the resistance it faced, its eventual demise in the 109th Congress, its revival in the 110th Congress, the current state of the bill, and the outlook for a BIG bill in the future.

Cosmopolitanism and Self-Determination
No. 180, February 2008, Howard, Michael

Laying out the Argument for a Public Works Program
No. 181, February 2008, Harvey, Phil

A Basic Income to Democratize and Pacify Iraq
No. 182, February 2008, Suplicy, Senator Eduardo
SUMMARY: This paper reports on Senator Suplicy’s visit to Iraq, and his effort to persuade Iraqi officials to adopt an Alaska-style oil dividend to help stabilize Iraq.

Civilian Service for Social Security? Basic Income and Labor Sharing in the Thought of Arnaud Dandieu
No. 183, February 2008, Roy, Christian

The Little Red Hen Thinks Again
No. 184, February 2008, Clark, Stephen

Compassionate Liberalism as a Frame for a Renewed War on Poverty
No. 185, February 2008, Farris, Buford
SUMMARY: This paper is inspired by the scholarship of Sanford F. Schram. In his writings on Social Welfare and Social Policy, he combines Continental Post Modern theory with the best of the American progressive Pragmatist tradition. This paper draws particularly on Schram’s recent formulation of Compassionate Liberalism as a way of framing both Social Work Practice and Social Welfare Policy (2006:153-180).  For Schram, liberal compassionate practice combines both direct service and social action and represents a critique of the dominant social and economic structure. He uses this same frame to formulate social policies such as a Basic Income and other entitlements. I view Scram’s Compassionate Liberalism as a call for the Liberal and Progressive Left to renew its commitment to the battle against Poverty. According to Schram, welfare reform has not been a success as for as the poor are concerned but it has been successful in muting the call for a renewed War on Poverty.  Also, Shram wants to recover the authentic meaning of compassion from its inappropriate use by Compassionate Conservatism, which in his view is a form of social control to impose a rigid forms of work and family values on the poor.  I also argue that Schram’s positive view of compassionate1 direct service implies that a Renewed War on Poverty requires a dual approach: one, the establishment of Social and Economic Rights such as a Basic Income and other entitlements (i.e. Health Care) which provide resources for better life chances; and second, the creation of Inclusive Social Solidarity for the poor through compassionate social ties and networks. As a former gang worker and poverty warrior, Shram’s framework is similar to ideas that I have worked on for much of my professional career and I have found his concept of Compassionate Liberalism very useful in understanding what work with the poor involves.

The Guaranteed Adequate Income Debate in Canada: Challenges and Opportunities
No. 186, February 2008, Mulvale, Jim

The Decent Level Criterion of Justice and Its Competitors
No. 187, February 2008, Nathanson, Stephen
SUMMARY: In this paper, I will defend what I call the decent level criterion of justice and show why it should be of special interest to proponents of a basic income guarantee. I believe that the decent level criterion and the basic income guarantee are linked by a commitment to the abolition of poverty.  What is appealing about the basic income guarantee is the promise of abolishing poverty without embracing a radical egalitarian socialist perspective. This feature coincides with the decent level criterion, which sets the criterion of justice at the point where all have the resources for a decent level of well-being. It does not aim to abolish income inequalities entirely and does not attempt to do away with a market capitalist system of production and distribution.   If the decent level criterion and the guaranteed income proposal coincide, then a defense of one is a defense of the other, and views that compete with or criticize one must be met by defenders of both views.

Status Freedom
No. 188, March 2008, Widerquist, Karl
SUMMARY: This article attempts to define status freedom, to provide a theory of status freedom as person independence, and to argue for the importance of freedom as personal independence. Status freedom is a phrase meant to capture what people mean when they say that someone is a free person as opposed to an unfree person such as a slave, a prisoner, or a victim of oppression. Part I puts forward a theory of status freedom as personal independence or most exactingly, Effective Control Self-Ownership. That is a free person has the effective power to have or to refuse to have active interaction with other willing people. To have this effective power, a person must have access to enough worldly resources that she is not forced by deprivation to participate in projects designated by whoever controls access to resources. Part II makes several arguments for the importance of freedom as personal independence. It argues that in many cases consent is a constituent part of what makes interaction just, and that even in cases in which consent is not centrally important, personal independence is important for protecting disadvantaged individuals from abuse by more powerful people. The claims in this article are to some extent separable. One could agree with the need for a theory of status freedom while disagreeing entirely with how this article went about it. One could instead agree with the importance that the need for personal independence to protect the bargaining power of the weak and the disadvantaged without agreeing that it captures what it means to be a free person. But together the theory hopes to provide an account of the minimum level of decency with which society must treat its noncriminal dissenters.

10. New Members

Eleven new members have joined the USBIG Network in the last six months. The USBIG Network now has 136 members from 29 U.S. states and 22 foreign countries. Membership in USBIG is free and open to anyone who shares its goals. To become a member of USBIG go to, and click on “membership.”

The current members of the USBIG Network are:

Karl Widerquist, Cassopolis, MI; Eri Noguchi, New York, NY; Fred Block, Davis, CA; Michael A. Lewis, New York, NY; Steve Shafarman, Washington, DC; Brian Steensland, Bloomington, IN; Al Sheahen, Van Nuys, CA; Philippe Van Parijs, Brussels, Belgium; Stanley Aronowitz, New York, NY; Carole Pateman, Los Angeles, CA; Frances Fox Piven, New York, NY; Eduardo Suplicy, Sao Paolo, Brazil; J. Philip Wogaman, Washington, DC; Chris LaPlante, Blacksburg, VA; John Marangos, Fort Collins, CO; Fransisco Sales, Carretera Mexico City, DF, Mexico; Manuel Henriques, Lisbon, Portugal; Amelia Baughman, Williams, AZ; Robert F. Clark, Alexandria, VA; Jason Burke Murphy, Saint Louis, MO; Joel Handler, Los Angeles, CA; Glen C. Cain, Madison, WI; Timothy Roscoe Carter, San Fransisco, CA; John Bollman, Bay City, MI; George McGuire, Brooklyn, NY; Adrian Kuziminski, Fly Creek, NY; Hyun-Mook Lim, Seoul, Korea; Kelly D. Pinkham, Kansas City, MO; Michael Murray, Clive, IA; Josep LI. Ortega, Santa Coloma, Andorra; Michael Opielka, Königswinter, Germany; Brenden Miller, Cambridge, MA; Myron J. Frankman, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Frank Thompson, Ann Arbor, MI; Harry F. Dahms, Knoxville, TN; Buford Farris, Bastrop, TX; Roy Morrison, Warner, NH; Robley E. "Rob" George, Manhattan Beach, CA, Almaz Zelleke, Brooklyn, NY; Gonzalo Pou, Montevideo, Uruguay; Elisabetta Pernigotti, Paris, France; Ross Zucker, New York, NY; Sean Owens, La Mirada, CA, Dean Herd, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Hugh Thompson, London, UK; Jan van Knippenberg, Kinrooi, Belgium; Adam Csillag, Berlin, Germany; Steve Gazzo, Pittsburgh, PA; Mike Cottone, Weaverville, CA; Brigitte Sirois, Quebec, Quebec, Canada; Guy Standing, Geneva Switzerland; G. W. Putto, Den Haag, the Netherlands; Anonymous, Berkeley, CA; Pete Farina, Washington, DC; Robert Wirengard, Fair Share, Florida; Urban Boljka, Ljubljana, Slovenia; Ronal Cohen, Bennington, Vermont; H.T.L. Quan, Chicago, Illinois; Lourdes Maria Silva Araujo; Espirito Santo, Brazil; Patrick S. O'Donnell, Santa Barbara, California; Stephen Nathanson, Boston, Massachusetts; Jerey Vogt, Washington, DC; Justine Lam, Arlington, Virginia; Ricardo A. Bunge, San Antonio, Texas; Aziz Akgul, Ankara, Turkey; Judith A. Kaluzny, Fullerton, California; Leonard Butters, Spokane, Washington; Peter Christiansen, San Francisco, California; Kyle Patrick Meredith, Chattanooga, Tennessee; Benjamin Hyink, LaGrange, Illinois; Nancy Folbre, Amherst, Massachusetts; Noaki Yoshihara, Kunitachi, Tokyo; Bernard Mueller, Torrance, California; Zool (Paul Zulkowitz); Woodmare, New York; Amanda Reilly, Wellington, New Zealand; Adam Sacks, Lexington, Massachusetts; Mark Levinson, New York, New York Kathy Fitzpatrick, Grand Rapids, MI; Stephen C. Clark, Port Hueneme, CA; Cristian Pérez Muñoz, Sauce, Uruguay; Richa, Grand Rapids, MI; Floyd Robinson, Ann Arbor, MI; Bradley Nelson, Portland, OR; Mark Ewbank, Coventry, United Kingdom; Bernard Cloutier, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Mark Erickson, Skokie, IL; Dale Carrico, Oakland, CA; Joseph Meyer, St.Vith, Belgium; A.R. Rowe, Brooklyn, NY; Pius Charles Murray, Somersworth, NH; John D. Jones, Milwaukee, WI; Troy Davis, Williamsburg, VA; William E Fraser, Santa Cruz, CA; Luke Mead, Astoria, OR; Ori Lev, Baltimore, MD; Ralph Rostas, Chester, VA; Laura Cornelius, Woodbridge, VA; Dylan Matthews, Hanover, NH; John (Jack) O'Donnell, Millville, NJ; Stefano Lucarelli, Ancona, Italy; Richard Lippincott Biddle, Philadelphia, PA; Alanna Hartzok, Scotland, PA; Hank Delisle, Fukuoudai, Japan; Michael LaTorra, Las Cruces, NM; Mike Roberts, Rochester, NY, Anson Chong, Fen Forest, HI; Michele Lewis, Washington, DC; Heather Boushey, Washington, DC; Nicolaus Tideman, Blacksburg, VA; John Carroll, Edinburgh, IN; Rosalind Diana, Seaside Heights, NJ; W. Robert Needham, Waterloo, ON, Canada; Cedric Neill, Orlando, FA; Richard Cook, College Park, MD; Miroslav Turcinovic, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina; William DiFazio, Brooklyn, NY; Angel Garman, Hugo OK; Karin Nyquist, Emmaboda, Sweden; Larry Dansinger, Monroe, ME; Richard G. Wamai Cambridge, MA; Melissa Farrell, Staten Island, NY; Bill McCormick, Grand Junction, CO; Rashida Ali-Campbell, Yeadon, PA; Lenny Krosinsky, Albuquerque, NM; Rachel Crutcher, Allen, TX; Julie Hendrix, Little Rock, AR; Annie Miller, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK; Michael Howard, Orono, ME; Rae Amey, Los Angeles, CA; Colleen Chrisinger, Seattle, WA; Simon Peter Schooneveldt, Ashgrove, Australia; John Tomlinson, Deagon, Australia; George Misa, Auckland, New Zealand; Przemyslaw (Peter) Damian Maniecki, Longmont, CO; Michael Gene Frazier, Morehead, KY; Nathan W. Cravens, Woodbury, TN; Mark Gillespie, Kent, WA; Matthew C. Murray, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom; Alan Holmes, Buffalo, NY; John Jesse Heichert III, Elizabeth City, NC.

11. New Links

LIVABLE INCOME FOR EVERYONE (LIFE) has made major updates to its website. LIFE is "an organization started in 2003 to promote the implementation of universal guaranteed livable income in every country in the world."
Postal address: Box 8441, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, V8W 3S1

The Worthwhile Canadian Initiative (economics blog)
This website has some interesting graphs the work through some of the general equilibrium implications of a basic income.

Jim Mulvale, Head of the Department of Justice Studies at the University of Regina and Rhonda Breitkreuez are advocates for guaranteed basic income for all in order to ameliorate or eliminate poverty. This video is taken from a conference presentation at the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives. Mulvale, in his portion of the video, gives a solid introduction to basic income. Breitkreuez gives a critical examination of welfare-to-work programs.

French economist Marc de Basquiat has developed a micro-simulation model for the financing of basic income in France. His well-designed website can be viewed at Comments and suggestions are welcome at :
-From BIEN

Within the Vivant (Belgium) website, Paul Nollen posts updates on the development of the basic income debate in various countries. It can be found at:

Discussion of a green basic income is going on at the website:

THE SOUTH AFRICAN COUNCIL OF CHURCHES maintains a website with an extensive list of publications and initiatives around BIG.
Online at:

12. Links and Other Info

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
Special help on this issue was provided by Cindy L'Hirondelle

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.