USBIG NEWSLETTER Vol. 11, No. 55 Winter 2010
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:


2. JOINT USBIG/BIEN CANADA CONFERENCE, Montreal April 15-16, 2010
3. EDITORIAL: Ten years of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network

The Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) will hold its thirteenth congress on June 30, July 1st and 2nd, 2010, at the Faculty of Economics, Administration and Accounting of the University of Sao Paulo. USBIG is a national affiliate of BIEN.

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the President of Brazil has tentatively agreed to open the Congress.

Presenters at the conference will discuss the prospects for basic income after the global financial crisis, oil dividends as a source for basic income funding, basic income in Latin America and the developing world, workers movements and basic income, and many other topics.

The Congress will include presentations by Senator Eduardo Suplicy (of the Brazilian Federal Senate); Philippe Van Parijs (of Université Catholique de Louvain); Guy Standing (of University of Bath and Monash University); Scott Goldsmith (of Institute of Social and Economic Research at the University of Alaska Anchorage); Karl Widerquist (Georgetown University-Qatar); Ruben Lo Vuolo (of REDIAC, the Argentine Citizens' Income Network); Robert van der Veen (of the University of Amsterdam); Claus Offe (Hertie School of Governance, Berlin); Bishop Kameeta (of the Lutheran Church of Namibia) and many others.

The deadline for submission of papers and panel proposals has been extended to April 12th 2010. The full call for papers, details, registration instructions, preliminary featured speakers, and accommodation are available at the Congress website: Information is also available on the BIEN website:

Paper and panel proposals can be submitted on the conference website:

Questions should be sent to:

2. JOINT USBIG/BIEN CANADA CONFERENCE, Montreal April 15-16, 2010
“Basic Income at a Time of Economic Upheaval: A Path to Justice and Stability?”
A Joint conference of the USBIG Network and BIEN Canada
Organized by CREUM. Held at McGill University:
Faculty Club, Ole’s, 3450 McTavish Street
Montreal, Quebec 15-16 April 2010

The Ninth Congress of the USBIG Network will be jointly with the newly formed Canadian network, BIEN Canada. This two-day conference is the first collaboration between the two North American affiliates of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN). It will focus on the prospects and challenges of a BIG policy at a time of economic upheaval.

The conference will take place on April 15-16, 2010 at Mcgill University. The chief organizer of the conference is Jurgen De Wispelaere, of the University of Montreal. Although the event is cosponsored and organized by the Centre de Recherche en Ethique de l’Universite de Montreal (CREUM), registration has been so strong that the event has been moved to a larger venue at McGill University. Thanks to the larger venue, there is still room to register.

The conference features speeches by Dr. Louise Haagh (University of York), Prof. Guy Standing (University of Bath), and Senator Eduardo Suplicy (Sao Paulo, Brazil), as well as a Political Forum on “The Politics of the Basic Income Guarantee” featuring Senators Art Eggleton and Hugh Segal, Tony Martin MP, Amélie Châteauneuf (spokesperson of FCPASQ), Rob Rainer (Executive Director of Canada Without Poverty), Al Sheahen (Executive Committee Member of USBIG), and Sheila Regehr (Director of National Council of Welfare). In addition there will be 5 panels with more than a dozen papers from scholars and practitioners discussing a variety of issues related to the prospects and challenges of introducing a BIG in Canada or the US. Radio CREUM will be covering the event and broadcast some of the talks as well as selective interviews, which will also be available on the net as podcasts.

The full program is now available on the conference website at

Everyone is welcome to attend and participation is free. To register for the conference please contact Jurgen De Wispelaere at

3. EDITORIAL: Ten years of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network
This issue, Volume 11, Number 55, marks the tenth anniversary of the USBIG Newsletter. The USBIG Network began over breakfast at the Kiev diner in New York City in December 1999. Five people attended the first meeting: Fred Block (a sociologist at University of California-Davis), Charles M.A. Clark (an economist at St. John’s University), Michael A. Lewis (sociologist, then at State University of New York-Stony Brook, now at Hunter College), Pam Donavan (sociologist then at City University of New York-Graduate Center, now at Bloomsburg University) and me, Karl Widerquist (then an economist at the Levy Institute of Bard College, now a philosopher at Georgetown University-Qatar).

Pam Donovan, Michael A. Lewis, and I had been graduate students together at the City University of New York. We used to meet weekly to discuss our work. Usually we ended up arguing about politics. One day we discovered that the one policy we could all agree on was the basic income, and so Michael Lewis and I decided to write a paper about it. We gradually got involved with the Basic Income European Network (BIEN), which had been providing a forum for dialogue on basic income in Europe. There were several natural networks in Europe at the time, but there was no equivalent in the United States. Through BIEN we got in touch with Fred Block and Charles M.A. Clark, who had both being doing research on basic income in the United States.

When Fred Block was in town for a conference, we all decided to meet for breakfast. There was no agenda or anything, but the next thing I knew we had decided to create a network, and I had volunteered to write its newsletter. Ten years later, I’m still writing that newsletter. It began with a circulation of about 30 people, including the five of us from the meeting. Since then it has grown to nearly a thousand people.

We called the new organization “the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network,” (The USBIG Network or just USBIG for short). We chose that name partly because “basic income guarantee” (BIG) as a generic term that includes various specific versions, such as “basic income,” “negative income tax,” and “guaranteed income.” Also, it makes a nice acronym and the domain name was available. We took on only one goal: to increase discussion of the basic income guarantee in the United States.

We started the network with a small seminar series in New York City in 2000, and in 2002 we began holding yearly conferences. We are now preparing for our ninth conference, which will be our first joint conference with the new Canadian basic income network, known as BIEN Canada.

Over the last ten years, interest in the basic income guarantee has grown steadily around the world. The Basic Income European Network expanded to become the Basic Income Earth Network, and USBIG became one of its first non-European affiliates. More books and articles on BIG are published each year. Basic Income Studies has become the first academic journal focusing entirely on basic income. Palgrave-MacMillan is now preparing an entire book series on BIG. The first books in the series are expected to be released in 2011 or 2012. 

The USBIG Network has chosen to remain a nonpartisan discussion group, but there are political action groups in the United States that are pushing for basic income as part of their agenda.

BIG occasionally springs up as a live political issue in surprising places. The only existing BIG in the world, the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend, continues to be an enormously popular policy. Two members of the U.S. House of representatives signed on to the idea in 2006; several other members of Congress have endorsed it in roundabout ways—by endorsing a cap-and-dividend or an oil dividend for Iraq. There are senators pushing for it in Canada and Brazil. More than two-dozen members of the German Bundestag are committed to the idea. A Namibian organization has just completed a two-year pilot project on BIG. And so on. And so on.

Writing the USBIG Newsletter has been an interesting experiment. At first I didn’t think there could possibly be enough news about BIG to report in regular issues, but instead I quickly became overwhelmed by how much activity is going on in the world. Somehow, I’ve managed to condense a significant portion of it into the Newsletter. Thanks to the miracle of the internet I’ve been able to work on the USBIG newsletter in New York; New Orleans; England; the far north of Sweden; Hong Kong; Brazil; Qatar; and I can’t even remember where else.

On the whole I think I’ve kept my reporting accurate, but I can recall a few embarrassing errors—such as the time I identified a British MP as being from Australia. I’ve enjoyed reporting on the progress of BIG movements around the world. I’ve enjoyed meeting all the interesting who work on this issue. I’ve suffered through writing obituaries for friends I’ve gotten to know in the movement.

I hope when I look back ten years from now, I’ll remember reporting on the introduction of the world’s second basic income guarantee, somewhere in the world.
-Karl Widerquist, in flight over the Atlantic, February 24, 2010 (revised, March 15, 2010, Doha, Qatar)

Several news organizations are reporting that two members of the Alaska legislature (Rep. Harry Crawford and Sen. Hollis French, both Democrats) have proposed a bill to enshrine the Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) in the state constitution. The Alaska Permanent Fund (APF) is already in the state constitution, but the PFD is not. Conceivably, the legislature could redirect the fund’s returns to support other government spending. Crawford and French say that the proposal is motivated by the worry that the legislature will reduce the dividend to support tax breaks for oil companies. Any amendment to the Alaska state constitution requires a two-thirds vote of the state House and Senate and a statewide vote of the people. The proposal sent off a flurry of op-ed articles on both sides of the issue.

The recent volatility of the fund and of state government revenues fueled this and other proposals to change the APF’s rules. The APF reached a total value of over 40 billion dollars just before the financial crisis of 2008. It then dropped to 26 billion dollars about the time the market hit bottom in 2009, generating fear that the APF would not be able to pay dividends in 2009 or 2010. The fund has since rebounded to about 34.5 billion dollars, largely quieting fears about the current year’s dividend. However, fears of future volatility remain, along with fears that a future legislature that might want to sacrifice a stream of dividends to close a one-time budget gap.

A recent editorial in the Alaska Daily News argued that a better way to protect the PFD would for the state to inflation-proof it by limiting the amount of cash that could be used each year to five percent of the total market value of the APF. Many endowment managers have used this rule to ensure that their endowment produces a steady long-term flow of income.

Support for the dividend is so strong that few critics of the amendment say that they want to redirect the fund’s earnings to something other than the dividend. Occasionally left-of-center voices portray the dividend as tacit support for Big Oil (see a recent op-ed by Maureen Suttman), and right-of-center voices portray it as some kind of socialism. An editor of Britain’s conservative paper, the Telegraph, accused Sarah Palin of being a “secret socialist” for her (very public) support of the Alaska Permanent Fund. But few Alaskans of any political stripe seem to see the APF this way. Overwhelmingly, both Democrats and Republicans portray the dividend as an equitable way to make sure that the state’s oil revenues actually do create long-term benefit for all Alaskans. Opponents of the amendment simply argue that the dividend does not need to be enshrined in the constitution to protect it from legislators who might want to redirect funds elsewhere.

Yet, a movement to redirect the earning of the APF to other uses is currently underway in the legislature. According to the Alaska Dispatch, House Speaker Mike Chenault (Republican) has recently introduced a bill to use some of the APF’s earnings for construction of a natural gas pipeline. The idea is to put a nonbinding resolution before the voters that would authorize the legislature to use any money leftover in the fund (after paying the dividend and inflation proofing the fund) for pipeline construction.

The APF has never been used this way before. Any money leftover after inflation proofing has previously been reinvested into the fund, increasing its value and leading to larger dividends in the future. Therefore Chenault’s proposal will lead to smaller future dividends than if the APF remained on its present course. Support for Chenault’s proposal has so far been divided along party lines, with Republicans for and Democrats against.

Recent articles on the APF:

Permanent fund looks back on profitable year
Pat Forgey, February 25, 2010, Juneau Empire

Permanent Fund gas pipeline ballot measure won't provide clear answer
Dermot Cole, Daily News Miner

Should the Permanent Fund bankroll a gas line?
Rena Delbridge, Alaska Dispatch, Feb 8, 2010

PFD checks aren't worth the price we pay
Maureen Suttman, COMPASS: Other points of view, Alaska Daily News, January 23, 2010

Is Sarah Palin a secret socialist?
Damian Thompson, The Telegraph, November 14th, 2009:

Politics, economy fuel Permanent Fund debate
Rena Delbridge, Alaska Dispatch, February 11, 2010

Endowment model covers inflation, provides dividend
Alaska Daily News

Permanent Fund may be part of Alaska constitution
The Associated Press; reported in the Alaska Daily News

Lawmakers hope to write PFD into Alaska's Constitution
Ted Land, KTUU-TV

Our View: Keep PFD where it is
Alaska Daily News editorial, January 7, 2010

Comment: PFD needs to be put into constitution
John Havelock, former Alaska Attorney General, the Alaska Daily News

State Constitution not right place for dividend
Ben Brown, The Alaska Observer, January 11, 2010

Empire editorial: PFD hyperbole
Juneau Empire, January 10, 2010

Permanent Fund has poor year
Anchorage Daily News, January 30, 2010

The cap-and-dividend approach to greenhouse gas emissions is receiving serious attention by lawmakers in the U.S. Congress and in the California state legislature. Under cap-and-dividend, the government auctions off rights to release limited amounts of greenhouse gases and uses (some or all of) the revenue to finance a dividend. The strategy can be a weak or strong approach to global warming depending on how many permits the government chooses to auction off and on whether it covers all or only some greenhouse gases. The dividend is, of course, a small basic income guarantee, although it is usually justified not for its own sake but as a way to ensure that carbon taxes are not a drag on the economy or on the most vulnerable individuals. The inclusion of BIG in cap-and-dividend has given it sudden political viability.

Senators Maria Cantwell (Democrat of Washington) and Susan Collins (Republican of Maine) have recently introduced a cap-and-dividend bill under the name of the CLEAR Act. According to the Sightline institute, the bill has the following features:

    - “A solid reduction target: 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 percent below by 2050.”
    - “Full auctioning”
    - “Individuals are directly rebated with three-quarters of the auction proceeds.”
    - “Details are in short supply when it comes to enacting a border-adjustment tariff (to prevent industrial "leakage") and for spending money on reductions outside the cap, as well as for adaptation, international assistance, worker transition, energy efficiency, and other programs.”
    - “A price ceiling, … The bill does include provisions to offset permits that are issued beyond those allowed by the cap, but the details are sketchy.”

At the same time, California's Economic and Allocation Advisory Committee has released a draft report recommending a cap-and-dividend program for California. The report recommends that “the largest share (roughly 75%) of allowance value should be returned to California households either through tax rate cuts or via lump-sum transfers, with a smaller share (roughly 25%) used to finance socially beneficial investments and public expenditures.” (p.69). The EAAC estimates that if 80% of auction revenues were returned to Californians, an individual’s 2012 dividend would be US$103, rising to US$276 by 2020.

Related links:

The following website has a short story on the CLEAR Act and a long list of links to related stories:

Sightline Daily has a mixed evaluation of the CLEAR Act:
“Cantwell's Cap-and-Trade Bill: Almost Genius,” Posted by Alan Durning and Eric de Place, 12/11/2009:

Details for the California proposal are online at:

A Los Angeles Times report on the California proposal is online at:
-From BIEN

Wall Street Journal article on the California proposal, “California Ties Cash to Energy,” by Rebecca Smith and Keith Johnson, January 12, 2010:

Overshadowed by the recent turmoil in Iran, the government has been making strong moves toward introducing something very much like a basic income guarantee. According to Hamid Tabatabai, of the International Labor organization, “In January 2010, the Majles (Iran’s parliament) adopted a far-reaching law that progressively replaces subsidies on energy and basic goods with direct cash transfers to the population. The subsidies run into tens of billions of dollars annually, mostly on fuel, and benefit the richer strata of society more than others. Half of the proceeds will be passed on directly to the people through their bank accounts, with the rest used to boost the development of agriculture and industry and strengthen the country’s social security system. Estimated at some 10 to 20 billion dollars in the first year, the transfers would be unconditional, i.e. without any quid pro quo, and universal, except for households who opt out by failing to provide the needed information about their composition and socioeconomic status. In setting the amount of the transfer to each household the law requires consideration of household income but the most important factor is likely to be the household size. Implementation will begin in spring 2010 and take five years.”

Cash transfers are not new in Iran; a variety of programs have been in place for years, but many Iranians, including many in government, see that too much of the benefit of existing programs goes to already well off people. According to Tabatabai, “the concept of a universal, unconditional and regular cash grants emerges almost seamlessly as a by-product of an attempt to address the shortcomings of the present system. However, even if a BIG proves to be a logical and feasible proposition from economic and social perspectives, its prospects would depend on how the subject is broached and argued in the highly charged political environment in the country.”

The situation is developing rapidly as the content and implementation strategies of reforms are being worked out. Tabatabai will present a paper on the Iranian situation at the Thirteenth BIEN Congress in Sao Paulo this June.

The Namibian Basic Income Grant Pilot Project has come to its conclusion, the BIG (Basic Income Grant) Coalition announced recently. After two years of successful implementation, the last payout took place in December 2009. According to the coalition, the results of the pilot project have proven the effectiveness of a BIG to fight poverty, foster social development and kick-start local economic development. The impact of the BIG was nothing short of spectacular:  Poverty levels and child malnutrition declined dramatically, while school attendance and utilization of the local clinic improved.  Likewise, economic activities increased significantly while crime levels dropped.

Based on the findings in Omitara, the Coalition is convinced that a national BIG will benefit Namibians in all regions of the country. It is, the Coalition argues, both beneficial and affordable and its implementation is thus a question of political will. The drawings of the school children bear witness to the tangible changes in people's lives.

The BIG Coalition has noted with disappointment that despite the impressive results of the BIG pilot project in Otjivero-Omitara, the Namibian Government has not yet committed itself to the introduction of the country-wide BIG. According to the BIG Coalition, the delay in the national implementation is hurting the poor in general and the residents of Otjivero-Omitara in particular.

The BIG Coalition decided that it could not stand by and let the residents slide back into the dehumanising levels of poverty that they experienced before the BIG was introduced two years ago. Thus, while demanding the implementation of the BIG nationwide, it will utilise a 'bridging allowance' to tie over the households for the time being. This is not a solution but merely a 'stop-gap measure' which cannot replace the BIG. The 'bridging-allowance' is limited to the participants of the pilot and limitations thereof both of the value of support to the individual as well as to the community are acknowledged. The welfare of the country's citizens is the responsibility of the Government. During the next one to two years the Coalition expects the Government to introduce the BIG nationwide, which will make the bridging allowance superfluous.

The pilot project has gained worldwide publicity and is part of the global discussion on new approaches in development. In fact, Namibia has been put on the world map because of the people of Otjivero-Omitara. They have shown the world what can be done with very little money, and that it is based on a human rights approach, a philosophy of equality and a theology of dignity.

Recently, the BBC reported directly from the BIG Pilot Project in Otjivero-Omitara. It was part of the BBC series "A dollar a day". 

For further information about the BIG Pilot Project see:

BBC Documentary:

The Namibian BIG Coalition website:

“Curtain comes down on Otjivero BIG”
Toivo Ndjebela, November 24, 2009, New Era, Windhoek

‘Fair government will rule for a long time’
Irene !Hoaes, November 20, 2009, New Era Windhoek

South Korea has a new basic income network. According to BIEN, the idea of a basic income took off in Korea only a few years ago, when Koreans with connections in Paris and Berlin discovered and reported back home that the leftist Italian philosopher Toni Negri and the wealthy German businessman Gotz Werner both defended an unconditional basic income. Google soon entered into action, and by 2006 the ramifications of BIEN's network were being explored, and BIS articles downloaded. In 2006, Kwack No-Wan, a left-wing philosopher at the University of Seoul published an article in which he critically discussed the international theoretical literature on basic income and formulated a proposal for its implementation in South Korea. This spread the idea in Seoul's left-wing community. The Socialist Party (a left-wing party founded in 1998) took it up, and so did, for example, the University teachers' Trade Union. A network was formed in February 2009, and several books and pamphlets have now been published, including, most recently, a Korean translation of Redesigning Distribution (by Ackerman, Alstott & Van Parijs).

According to BIEN, hundreds of people gathered on January 27-28 at the heart of the world's third biggest metropolis for two intense days of lectures and discussions entirely devoted to the proposal of an unconditional basic income. Hosted by Sogang University, the meeting was an impressively organized joint venture of several Seoul-based universities, a number of left-wing associations, and Korea's small Socialist Party.

The first day ("Basic Income for All!") was intended primarily for an activist audience. It started with opening addresses by Kang Nam-Hoon (Hanshin University), one of the first Korean scholars to become actively interested in basic income, and Philippe Van Parijs (Louvain & Harvard), chair of BIEN's international board, and gave the audience an overview of the state of the basic income discussion in Japan (by Toru Yamamori, Doshisha University in Kyoto and coordinator of Japan's basic income network), Brazil (by Eduardo Suplicy, federal senator and honorary co-chair of BIEN) and Germany (by Ronald Blaschke, parliamentary assistant for the party Die Linke at the Bundestag, and co-founder of Germany's basic income network), as well as several contributions by Choi Gwang-Eun (representative of the Socialist Party and author of a Master's thesis on basic income) and others about how basic income could fit into the Korean context.

The second day ("Sustainable Utopia and Basic Income in a Global Era") was intended primarily for an academic audience. Contributions covered, among other themes, the relations between basic income and conditional guaranteed income schemes (Blaschke), disability pensions (Choi), migration (Van Parijs), single mothers (Yamamori) and investment in human capital (Neantro Saavedra, University of Tsukuba, JP), the "glocal agora" (Kwack No-Wan, University of Seoul), the impact a basic income would have on the distribution of income (Baek Seung-Ho, Catholic University, Seoul) and capital formation (Ahn Hyun-Hyo, Daegu University) in Korea. The conference ended with a very lively panel discussion which Senator Suplicy concluded, as only he can do, by getting the audience to sing "Blowing in the Wind".

All the papers presented were available in advance in both Korean and English in the form of two hefty volumes (600 pages in all). The conference was also the occasion to present to the press a very eloquent "Seoul Declaration on Basic Income" signed by over six hundred academics and activists. And the foreign speakers (Suplicy, Van Parijs, Blaschke, Yamamori) were dispatched the following day to address seminars, student audiences and activist groups in various places throughout the city (Gyeongsang National University, Seoul National University, Socialist Party, New Progressive Party, Alternative Forum, Academia Communix, etc.).


LYBIA: Mouammar Kadhafi pledges to abolish oil ministry and distribute revenues directly to the people
According to Knight Ridder, the Libyan dictator, Colonel Mouammar Kadhafi has pledged to abolish the oil ministry and distribute oil revenues directly to the people. Kadhafi said, according to Reuters, "All citizens have the right to benefit from the oil funds. They should take the money and do whatever they want with it." He said that the committees that run the oil ministry and other government agencies have failed. "These committees will be replaced spontaneously by real committees to be created everywhere by citizens. Citizens will get part of the oil revenue directly. They don't need intermediaries." How these citizen committees will be able to distribute money directly to the people is unclear. Khadafi has made similar statements in the past, and so we should not necessarily expect the creation of a Libyan oil dividend to be imminent.

For more on this issue, see:
Ministries Abolished, Oil Revenues to be Distributed to Libyans
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News Monday, March 03, 2008

NEW ZEALAND: Proposal for a BIG funded by capital taxation
According to the New Zealand Herald, “Economist and fund manager Gareth Morgan, who is a member of the Tax Working Group, has proposed a radical tax restructure to the group's final public conference that would impose a Comprehensive Capital Tax (CCT) on all land, buildings, plant and equipment to raise NZ$19 billion. This money would then be used to create a flat income tax rate of 25% on all corporate, personal and trust income. It would also be used to provide each adult with a NZ$10,000 guaranteed minimum income to replace all benefits”

The Herald article is online at:
A video of the proposal is online at:
A blog about the proposal is online at:

ARGENTINA: possibly moving toward a basic income for children
Several political actors have recently expressed (cautious) support for the idea of a basic income for children. The Argentinean government issued Decree number 1602 entitled “Universal Assignment for children as a social protection policy” (document available at On November 11, 2009, the Argentinian basic income network Red Argentina de Ingreso Ciudadano published the document “Assignment for children and Basic Income” with a critical assessment of the governmental measure. The newly established “Universal Assignment” takes a different approach compared with the Conditional Cash Transfer Programs in many Latin American countries. It pays an allowance to most parents with children under 18 years of age who are unemployed or work in the informal sector. Even when there are some conditions regarding parent income (which should not be over the minimum wage), school registration, health checks, etc., that reduce the universality of the benefit, the government projects to pay from 4 to 5 million benefits (covering about 70/80% of children with no benefits from previously existing family allowances). The measure was the governmental response to pressures from civil society and some opposition parties who had long demanded a universal and unconditional basic income for children. In this sense, it could be considered a first step to other programmes moving in the direction of a true basic income.
Within the framework of this ongoing discussion on universal child benefits, one should also mention the two following bill proposals: “Basic Income for Children and Teenagers”, bill proposal presented by Silvia Ausburger, Member of Parliament (Partido Socialista); “Basic Income for Citizenship”, bill proposal presented by Jose Antonio Artusi, Member of Parliament (Unión Cívica Radical).
For further information:
-From BIEN

ZIMBABWE: Alaska-style dividend proposed for Zimbabwe’s diamond mines
An editorial in a government-sponsored newspaper, reprinted by, discusses how Zimbabwe create an Alaska-style dividend out of revenue from Zimbabwe’s new diamond mines. The article discusses the resource curse through the example of Nigeria’s oil. It suggests that the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend is one of the reasons Alaska has avoided the resource curse. The article is online at:

BELGIUM: Socialist Party advocates a basic income for seniors
On February 8, 2010, the Flemish Socialist Party (SPA) published its (still provisional) plan for a fundamental reform of Belgium's pension system. It attracted a lot of media attention. Among the remarkable features of the plan is the idea to implement a federal guaranteed basic pension (so-called Gewaarborgd Pensioen in Dutch). It would amount to paying a monthly basic income to all individuals when they reach retirement age. According to the plan, this basic pension "needs to be disconnected from previous individual labour productivity". It would be funded through the income tax, rather than through social contributions. The plan was designed under the leadership of former Federal Minister for Pensions Bruno Tobback. The Flemish Socialist Party is part of the coalition in power in the Flemish region, but not at the Federal level.
SP.A website:
Pension plan (in Dutch):
Newspaper articles:
'SP.A heeft eigen pensioenplan', De Standaard, Feb. 9, 2010,
'Sp.a wil aanvullend pensioen voor alle werknemers', De Morgen, Feb. 9, 2010,
-From BIEN

LUXEMBOURG: First public event for basic income group in Luxembourg:
On September 29th, 2009, the Luxembourg basic income group had its first public event. In the course of the exhibit "Colors of Money", the group invited interested participants to a discussion about basic income. The organizers themselves were surprised by the fact that there was quite a crowd in the room. As a warm up, the film "Kulturimpuls Grundeinkommen" from Daniel Häni and Enno Schmidt was shown. The lively discussion that followed allowed many participants to share their thoughts and opinions on the advantages and disadvantages of basic income for the tiny and open economy of Luxembourg. Probably one of the most interesting and challenging aspects of Luxembourg – from a basic income perspective – is the composition of its active population, since roughly a third of it lives in neighbor countries. The residency criterion that is the standard rule to grant a basic income might cause a huge uproar among cross-border commuters, and as such it should be applied carefully. For example it could be paid out in the form of a complimentary regional currency. An alternative would be a basic income implemented simultaneously in the neighboring countries. On the other hand, this cross-border issue brought one of Luxembourg's strong points to the forefront: its highly international environment, and its ability to bring people from many different cultures together. The group is already in contact with initiatives from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland. Prior to the discussion event and ever since the group managed to stay in the news, through radio interviews, press articles and a 15-minute TV magazine. On January 8th, 2010 a constituent meeting is planned where the final name and short- and medium-term goals will be discussed. Further information, including the links to all activities, is available at
-From BIEN

NEW ZEALAND: Democrats for Social Credit endorse a new Financial Plan
Democrats for Social Credit, a small political party in New Zealand, has endorsed a new plan for financial reform, which includes a basic income scheme called “Kiwi Income”. During their annual conference in September 2009, DSC delegates approved a 7 point plan to reform the “inherently unstable” financial system. According to DSC’s Press Release, “this is achieved by replacing toxic debt-based commercial bank credit with social credit. The issue of social credit will be the sole means of money coming into existence and continuing to exist – and will be issued in the public interest, to serve the common good”. A new ‘New Zealand Monetary Authority (NZMA)’ will be established as the only institution with the power to create, issue, and cancel New Zealand’s money. “Debt free money will be made available by NZMA to the New Zealand Government to fund “Kiwi Income” (KI), in the form of a national dividend to every resident New Zealander. NZMA will also be able to fund Health, Education and Environmental projects - in ways that decrease the call on family incomes.” For further information:
-From BIEN
UKRAINE: Towards the first affiliate network of BIEN in Eastern Europe?
On September 16th, 2009, the first international symposium about Basic Income took place in Kyiv in Ukrainian and Russian. This event was made possible by a donation from Germany within the international “Week of Basic Income.” A wider debate is hoped for with the aim to found a Ukrainian/Eastern European network to serve as a regional affiliate of BIEN. There have been contacts made with universities and other organizations, that are interested in Basic Income and that have asked for lectures. The web-site (in English, German, Ukrainian and Russian) contains texts of the speeches given at the symposium, and further information about Basic Income – including reports about the discussion in some countries, which already have affiliates of BIEN. There are also videos on YouTube at: These are the first sources within the former Soviet Union providing information about Basic Income in Slavic languages. Everybody is invited to support this network with articles, opinions, statements or other resources. For further information, please contact: <>.\
-From BIEN

BRAZIL: ReCivitas reports on its consortium Basic Income Of Citizenship At Quatinga Velho, Mogi Das Cruzes, Sao Paulo (state), Brazil.
On the 25th of October 2008 the Instituto pela Revitalização da Cidadania, in the small community of Quatinga Velho at the municipality of Mogi das Cruzes, ReCivitas began an independent a pilot project in the Basic Income of Citizenship (BIC) in line with the principles of universality and unconditionality. The organizers hope that the experience of this project will help educate the public about BIC, paid monthly, in cash, to all local residents, at any time they wish to participate in the project, without any discrimination or requirement to reciprocate. The project is financed by a consortium of Natural Persons formed exclusively for this purpose The project which was originally expected to last for one year and pay a monthly amount of R$30,00 to 27 members of this community. In November of 2009, at the meeting to present the results of first year of experience, the consortium decided to continue the project for another year. After 15 months, the project pays unconditional income to 67 residents of Quatinga Velho. For more information, or instructions on how to donate, contact:

BRAZIL: Workers Party puts BIG in its platform for the upcoming elections
The Partido dos Trabalhadores (the Workers Party) held its Fourth National Congress on February 19-21. All 1350 delegates, by unanimity, approved a guideline as part of the Presidential Program of their candidate Dilma Rousseff. This guideline includes the following endorsement of BIG: “The expansion and the strengthening of the popular consumption goods market, that produces strong positive impact on the set of productive sector, will be attained by: … (h) permanent improvement of the income transfers program, as Bolsa Familia, to eradicate hunger and poverty, to facilitate population access to employment, education, health and better income; (g) transition from the Bolsa Família Program to the Citizen´s Basic Income – CBI, unconditional, as a right of everyone to participate in the wealth of the nation, as foreseen in Law 10.853/2004, an initiative by PT, approved by all parties of the National Congress and sanctioned by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on January 8th, 2004.”

Basic Income Studies (BIS) is the first academic journal dedicated to research on basic income. It includes research articles, notes, debates, and book reviews on all aspects of primary research related to basic income. Right now BIS has several books in need of reviewers, including:

- Van Donselaar, Gijs. 2009. The Right to Exploit: Parasitism, Scarcity, Basic Income. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Prabhakar, Rajiv. 2008. The Assets Agenda: Principles and Policy. London: Palgrave-MacMillan.
- Stricker, Frank. 2007. Why America Lost the War on Poverty...and How to Win It, Chapel Hill, NC: the University of North Carolina Press. 360 pages.
- Blackburn, Robin. 2006. Age Shock: How Finance is Failing Us. London: Verso.
- Prabhakar, Rajiv. 2003. Stakeholding and New Labour. Basinstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan.
- Schroeder, Doris. 2000. Work Incentives and Welfare Provision: The 'pathological' theory of unemployment. Aldershot: Ashgate.

More books will be in soon. If you are interested in reviewing a book for BIS, please contact one of the editors, Karl Widerquist <> and Jurgen De Wispelaere <>.

Widerquist, Karl. “The Physical Basis of Voluntary Trade,” Human Rights Review, March 2010, Vol. 11 Issue 1, p83-103
Abstract: The article discusses the conditions under which can we say that people enter the economic system voluntarily. “The Need for an Exit Option” briefly explains the philosophical argument that voluntary interaction requires an exit option—a reasonable alternative to participation in the projects of others. “The Treatment of Effective Forced Labor in Economic and Political Theory” considers the treatment of effectively forced interaction in economic and political theory. “Human Need” discusses theories of human need to determine the capabilities a person requires to have an acceptable exit option. “Capability in Cash, Kind, or Raw Resources” considers what form access to that level of capability should take—in cash, kind, or raw resources, concluding that a basic income guarantee is the most effective method to ensure an exit option in a modern, industrial economy.

Stricker, Frank, Why America Lost the War on Poverty...and How to Win It, UNC Press 2007.
This book mainly focuses on creating jobs as a solution to poverty, but it has 19 indexed-reference pages to a Guaranteed Income, including an 8-page analysis of what killed the Family Assistance Plan (Richard Nixon’s watered-down negative income tax proposal). The final chapter on "What Needs to Be Done," lists 17 recommendations.  Number 13 is "Start Planning for an American Minimum Income." The book is 360 pages, with illustrations, tables, and appendix, covering the 1950s to the present. It is published (Sept. 2007) by the University of North Carolina Press in Chapel Hill, NC. $19.95.  The Author, Frank Sticker, is a professor of history at California State University, Dominguez Hills. According to the Journal of Social History, "What is most powerful about Stricker's overview is how he consistently presents the political and economic decisions that have sustained poverty over a half century.”

Podcast of the Sunday Edition show on BIG, October 18, 2009
According to BIEN Canada, on October 18, 2009, CBC Radio’s "The Sunday Edition" aired a show about poverty, guaranteed income, and the Dauphin Mincome experiment. The guests interviewed by Michael Enright were Senator Hugh Segal, Ron Hikel (Executive Director of Mincome), and Dr. Evelyn Forget (University of Manitoba).
A podcast of the show is available at:
click on October 18, 2009

An interview on basic income in Gara (Basque Country, Spain)
In the framework of the IXth Symposium of the Spanish basic income network Red Renta Basica, which was held in Bilbao on November 19-21, 2009, Yannick Vanderborght (BIEN & Louvain University) was interviewed by Juanjo Basterra
from the newspaper Gara. Available at:

Basic Income for All! and Sustainable Utopia and Basic Income in a Global Era: Proceedings of the Seoul Basic Income International Conference 2010
Basic Income Korean Network
Seoul: Seoul National University, 302pp. and 337pp.
These two volumes include the proceedings (in English and Korean) of a Conference held in Seoul on 27-28 January 2010. Among the authors are Ronald Blaschke, Eduardo Suplicy, Yamamori Toru, Philippe Van Parijs (with Y. Vanderborght) and several Korean scholars.
-From BIEN

Steiner, Hillel. 2009. “Left Libertarianism and the Ownership of Natural Resources.” Public Reason 1 (1): 1-8.
The author concludes (among other things), “if we hold that anyone claiming ownership over some bits of nature must leave ‘enough and as good for others’, we’re led by a series of plausible steps to the conclusion that, in a fully appropriated world, each person is entitled to an equal portion of the value of these bits of nature. That is, all owners of natural resources must pool the value of what they own in a fund - ultimately a global fund - to an equal portion of which everyone everywhere has a moral right. In that sense, our just rights to natural resources entitle each of us to what has come to be called an ‘unconditional basic income’ or, non-paternalistically, an unconditional initial capital grant.” According to the author, the right to this claim is not “a basic positive right,” which can be interpreted to men that it is a right derived from the negative right to be free from interference.

Rethinking Poverty. Report on the World Situation 2010
United Nations (2009), New York: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Available online (PDF) at
Chapter 8 of this official report includes a discussion of conditional vs. unconditional cash transfers, and some positive features of universal transfers are stressed: "... Given some of the problems associated with conditionality and targeting, the question whether direct cash grants to people living in poverty should be universal and/or unconditional has been raised. ... In case of emergency, it is possible to institute universal cash transfer schemes such as a basic income grant with no conditions. Critics of such program argue that a basic income grant reduces total employment in an economy by reducing labor supply and the willingness to work by raising the acceptable wage floor. However, in developing countries, the availability of basic income grants may increase productivity and help smooth consumption. For example, income grants reduce the need for workers to send remittances to their families, thus increasing the wage available for their own consumption, or for skills upgrading. This, in turn, could increase productivity through better health and human resources outcomes. Higher productivity will increase overall output and labour demand. If a basic income grant is successful in boosting long-term growth, the fiscal burden of the transfer would be reduced. The issue of whether a basic income grant can serve as a key intervention for poverty reduction has been debated in the case of South Africa" (pp.141-142).
-From BIEN

The New Economics Foundation, “The Great Transition” The New Economics Foundation, October 19, 2009
In their recent report The Great Transition, the New Economics Foundation argues that a complete restructuring of society and the economy is required. In particular the authors recommend 'the creation of Citizens' Endowments of up to £25,000 for all people on reaching the age of 21 to enable them to invest in their future, as well as Community Endowments to provide commonly owned assets to invest in our local neighborhoods. Both would be funded by a proposed increase in inheritance tax on all estates to 67%.'
-From the Citizens Income Trust

Burczak, Theodore (2009), ‘Why Austrian Socialism’, The Review of Austrian Economics, 22 (3), September 2009, pp.297-300.
This article is part of a symposium on Burczak’s book Socialism After Hayek (published in 2006 by The University of Michigan Press). The central thesis defended in this short paper is that socialist objectives can be achieved in a market context with the rule of law if market socialism were to take the form of competitive worker-owned and self-managed enterprises, supplemented by universally available welfare redistributions, which could include a basic income, universal capital grants, or education and health insurance vouchers.
-From BIEN

Kirchgässner, Gebhard (2009), ‘Critical Analysis of Some Well-Intended Proposals to Fight Unemployment’, Analyse & Kritik 31 (1), 2009, pp.25-48.
In this paper it is asked whether it is meaningful to state a ‘right to work’ as a basic human right to be written down in the constitution, for example, whether working time should generally be reduced, and whether those who do not have (or find) a job should get a guaranteed minimal income. The author argues that all three demands have to be rejected, at least in the radical form in which they are often stated. They cannot be realized at all or at least not without impairing other basic human rights. Finally, it is asked what can be retained from these (usually well-intended) demands. Journal’s website :
-From BIEN

Moss, Todd and Lauren Young (2009), 'Saving Ghana from Its Oil: The Case for Direct
Cash Distribution', Washington DC, Center for Global Development Working Paper, issue
186, October 2009, available at

Offe, Claus (2009), ‘Basic Income and the Labor Contract’, Analyse & Kritik 31 (1), 2009,
The paper starts by exploring the negative contingencies that are associated with the core institution of capitalist societies, the labor contract: unemployment, poverty, and denial of autonomy. It argues that these are the three conditions that basic income schemes can help prevent. Next, the three major normative arguments are discussed that are raised by opponents of basic income proposals: the idle should not be rewarded, the prosperous don’t need it, and there are so many things waiting to be done in the world. After demonstrating that proponents of basic income stand in no way empty-handed when facing these objections, a third part considers basic income in functional terms: would its introduction help to resolve problems of social and economic order that are unlikely to be resolved in more conventional ways? This paper is an expanded version of what appeared under the same title in Basic Income Studies 3(1), April 2008. Journal’s website :

Standing, Guy (2009), Work after Globalization. Building Occupational Citizenship, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar
In this new book, Guy Standing has refined ideas he has been making since the inception of BIEN, seeing basic income as part of a progressive strategy to replace social democracy. The book emphasises that in a globalised society, tertiary work styles are becoming the norm, in which forms of work other than labour are taking up an increasing proportion of time. In that reality, conventional social security is woefully inappropriate. Globalisation, tertiary labour and labour flexibility policies have generated a new class, the global precariat, which is not just in short-term jobs but is living an existence without solid identity or a coherent sense of social solidarity. Unless its insecurities, needs and aspirations are addressed, the precariat will opt for political extremism. Yet, even since the financial crisis, chronic inequality is not being addressed. To combat this, and the growing amount of work-for-labour, a basic income is essential to give security to the precariat. Standing argues that a feature of modern consumerism, with its squeeze on time, is a loss of leisure, as defined by public participation in society. He concludes that the only form of ‘conditionality’ that could be morally acceptable as a way of legitimising basic income is that people as citizens agree to vote and to participate in political activity in some way. In this, he differs from the view of Tony Atkinson, since the community labour that Atkinson advocates would have distortionary effects in the labour market. A basic income linked to participation in civil and political society would be a way of combating the political vacuum that is a true crisis in the making. The book, “Work after Globalisation: Building occupational citizenship” can be purchased at a discount price via See the flyer at

Tomlinson, John (2009), 'The Northern Territory In(ter)vasion', On Line Opinion. Australia’s e-journal of social and political debate, 14 October 2009, available at
This article looks at the Australian Federal Government’s intervention into Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory which involves suspension of the Racial Discrimination Act, the quarantining of half of Aboriginal people’s welfare payments for approved purposes and a school attendance requirement, and comparing that with the Namibian Basic Income Grant.
-From BIEN

Vanderborght, Yannick and Philippe Van Parijs (2009), 'Basic Income as a way of tackling poverty', ENARgy, Newsletter of the European Network Against Racism, November 2009, issue 30, pp.10-11. Available at
This issue of ENAR's Newsletter is entirely devoted to the 2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion. In their short contribution, Vanderborght & Van Parijs give an overview of the reasons why basic income can be seen as an effective measure against poverty. In the last paragraph, they briefly argue in favour of a Euro-Dividend, which "might initially take the form of universal child benefits financed at the EU level".
-From BIEN

Johan Ramakers, “Fighting a Jobless Recovery on a Micro Level, Part 4”, December 13, 2009
This article argues that the question for the near future is not how we can create more jobs. “The real question becomes how to pass on the financial accomplishment and productivity of automation, robotics, nano technology and artificial intelligence to a population as a basic income.” Ranmakers writes, “Three movements to reward people have been analyzed as potential: a gift economy, a resource-based economy, and a guaranteed basic income economy. All three systems are being experimented with in the more progressive societies around the world.”

Young Margot & Mulvale, James P. (2009), ‘Possibilities and Prospects: The Debate Over a Guaranteed Income’, Ottawa: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, CCPA paper, November 2009.
The idea of a guaranteed income has a long and respectable history in Canadian political and economic thought. Recently, in the face of both wide criticism of the Canadian income security system and growing recognition of the unacceptability of current poverty rates, there has been a resurgence in calls for implementation of a Canadian guaranteed income. But the idea is a controversial one; progressive activists, academics, and politicians disagree about the desirability and the practicality of a guaranteed income. This report traces the history of guaranteed income proposals in Canada, reviews the arguments in favor and against, and suggests a number of other social welfare measures that should be central elements of any reform program, but that guaranteed income debates often ignore. Available online at
-From BIEN

The Citizen’s Income Trust, The Citizen’s Income Newsletter Issue 1, 2010
The latest issue of the CIT Newsletter contains, A progress report, News, a conference announcement, a review article on Wilkinson and Pickett’s The Spirit Level, and book reviews. It is online at

Social Justice Ireland, “Policy Briefing,” February 2010
The latest Policy Briefing from Social Justice Ireland addresses the issue of Poverty and is published February 1, 2010. It argues that the Irish Government and the EU should adopt a 'zero poverty' target to be reached by 2020. One of the proposals contained in the Briefing is that Government should move to a Basic Income system.  Ireland had the resources to introduce a BI system in the past decade but chose not to do so. John Marangos. 2008. “Thomas Paine (1737-1809) and Thomas Spence (1750-1814) on land ownership, land taxes and the provision of citizens' dividend,” International Journal of Social Economics Volume 35, Issue: 5, pp. 313 – 325
This historical article discusses one of the first proposals for a Stakeholder grant and one of the first proposals for full-fledge basic income.

“Cantwell's Cap-and-Trade Bill: Almost Genius”
Alan Durning and Eric de Place, Sightline Daily: Northwest News That Matters, 12/11/2009
Cantwell's climate bill aims high but misses. Try again?
This article gives a through evaluation of Senator Maria Cantwell’s bill for a cap-and-dividend approach to global warming. It finds both good and bad in the proposal, and it is optimistic that the proposal can be improved.

Keith Rankin, “Tax Reform in Pictures” Scoop: Independent News
This online article include tables that show, for individual taxpayers, average and marginal tax rates for: the status quo; conservative reform options that recognize the comparatively high rates of tax that low income that New Zealanders pay; and less conservative (but even more principled) "refundable tax credit" options that integrate a flat tax (inclusive of ACC) with a basic universal benefit.


See story above.

THIRTEETH BIEN CONGRESS, Sao Paulo Brazil, June 30-July 2
See story above.

Guy Standing will make a series of presentations of his book in Universities in Canada and the United States this spring. His book, Work after Globalisation: Building Occupational Citizenship (Edward Elgar), argues that the growth of the “precariat,” the growth of more forms of work that are not labor and the erosion of public participation in deliberative democracy combine to provide a richer set of arguments in favor of moving towards a basic income as a citizenship right. The appearances include Rutgers University (March 15-16), UCLA (April 1), Berkeley (April 5), North Carolina, Chapel Hill (April 9), Massachusetts, Amherst (April 12), MIT (April 13), Carleton (April 19), New School of Public Research (April 20) and Wesleyan (April 21). He is also due to present at the joint USBIG-BIEN Canada Conference in Montreal on April 15. All of these events are open to the public. Guy Standing is honorary co-president of the Basic Income Earth Network and a professor of economic security at the University of Bath. For more information about any of these presentations contact: Guy Standing <>.

DEGROWTH CONFERENCE, Barcelona March 26-29
This conference will have a session entitled “Basic income and income ceiling” asking the questions, “How can we politically implement a basic income for all? How can we reform taxation and other policies to impose a ceiling on high incomes?” Information about the conference session is available at:

Annual meeting of BIEN Denmark
Copenhagen, Demark, February 27, 2010
According to the BIEN Newsletter, BIEN Denmark held its annual meeting in Copenhagen, on February 27, 2010. Bruna Augusto Pereira and Marcus Vinicius joined the meeting, and talk about the progress of Basic Income in Brazil.
For more information contact: Per Sorensen
Report on the ReCivitas project
Symposium: “Activation or Basic Income? Towards a Sustainable Social Framework”
Tokyo, Japan, February 26, 2010
According to BIEN, this international Symposium was organized under supervision of Prof. Miyamoto Taro from Hokkaido University, within the framework of the ongoing discussion about welfare reform in Japan. Guest speakers included Jorgen Goul Andersen (Aarhus University, Denmark), and Yannick Vanderborght (BIEN & Louvain University, Belgium). Official organizers are the Welfare Regime Research Project (JSPS Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research), the International Committee, Society for the Study of Social Policy (Japan), with the cooperation of the Economic Policy Institute for Quality Life, Advanced Institute for Law and Politics, Hokkaido University, and Global COE Program 'New Global Law and Policy for Multi-agential Governance'
For more information, please email:

On February 27, Al Sheahen gave a one-hour talk on BIG to a group of 30 students in a "Wealth and Poverty" class at California State University-Dominguez in Carson, CA. Al Sheahen is a member of the USBIG Organizing Committee and author of Guaranteed income: the right to economic security. The talk was organized by Professor Frank Stricker, author of Why America Lost the War on Poverty...and How to Win It, UNC Press 2007.

Lecture, "The Town Without Poverty"
The Hamilton Spectator Auditorium, Hamilton, Ontario, February 25, 2010
According to BIEN, within the framework of the "Science in the City" lecture series, organized the Hamilton Spectator in partnership with McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada), Evelyn L. Forget (University of Manitoba) gave a talk on a basic income experiment in Canada. In 1974 a small town in the Prairies (code-named River City) became the subject of a fascinating social experiment: every family was guaranteed a basic income. The experiment was paid for by the federal government and the province of Manitoba, and its goal was to determine whether people would stop working or reduce the number of hours they worked as a consequence. The money flowed until 1979. The data collected were never analyzed. Instead, it was warehoused and the radical social experiment was largely forgotten. Was quality of life affected by the experiment? Were people healthier? Were they happier? Did the children stay in school longer? Evelyn Forget's research team was able to access the administrative database for provincial health insurance to identify everyone who lived in "River City" during the experiment, and to compare their health and social outcomes with those of other Manitobans matched on the basis of age, sex and family composition who lived in similar Prairie towns.
For further information:

February 3, 2010, University of Karlsruhe
On Wednesday, February 3rd, Bruna Augusto Pereira and Marcus Vinicius Brancaglione dos Santos reported about experiences with the ReCivitas pilot project in Quantiga Velho with Sao Paulo. The project distributes direct cash benefits to those most in need. The report was contained as part of a lecture by Prof. Werner. Afterwards the students and presenters participated in a conversation on the realization possibilities of the basic income. This talk was part of a series of appearances the ReCivitas representantives will be making in Western Europe. More information about ReCivitas is online at:

Inaugural Congress of South Korea's Basic Income Network
Seoul, South Korea, January 27-28, 2010
See story on the South Korean Network

Debate: Women, Crisis and Basic Income
Perugia, Italy, January 16, 2010
According to BIEN, this debate was organized by a national forum of women. Cristina Morini, member of Bin Italia, and Luca Santini, president of Bin Italia, took part in the discussion.
Further info:

Guaranteed Income and Social Rights
Carpenito Romano, Italy, December 5, 2009
BIEN reports, Carpenito Romano is a small city in the Province of Rome, Lazio Region, Italy. The Mayor of the city took part in this meeting, and discussed the regional (Lazio) law on minimum income. Other speakers focused on the economic crisis and new forms of poverty. Sandro Gobetti from the basic income network BIN Italia argued in favor of a true basic income.
Further info:

Naples, Italy, November 27-28, 2009: Stakeholder's forum against poverty
The Italian basic income network Bin Italia took part in the Stakeholder's Forum against poverty which was organized by several associations, in cooperation with the Italian government and the European Commission, in preparation of the 2010 European year against poverty. Bin Italia, including its President Luca Santini, coordinated the session about basic needs and guaranteed income on November 27th. Honorary co-president of BIEN Guy Standing gave a talk during one of the plenary sessions. See:
-From BIEN

Public Policies, Basic Income and Health
Buenos Aires, Argentina, November 25, 2009
BIEN reports this conference took place at the CEMUPRO (Centro de Estudios Municipales y Provinciales), a well-known Argentinian think thank. Speakers included Rubén Lo Vuolo (CIEPP, Red Argentina de Ingreso Ciudadano) and Pablo Bonnazzola (CEMUPRO, Buenos Aires). Further information:

Bilbao, Spain, November 19-21, 2009: 9th Symposium of Red Renta Basica
The 9th Symposium of the Spanish basic income network Red Renta Basica was held in Bilbao, the Basque Country. It started in the evening of November 19th, with a video conference by Pablo Yanes (Universidad Autónoma de la Ciudad de México). The following two days were mainly devoted to a discussion of three issues: Basic Income, Employment and Human Activity; Political Feasibility of Basic Income; Basic Income and Social Movements. Featured speakers included Daniel Raventós, Iratxe Arriola, Igor Mera, Yannick Vanderborght, José Luis Rey, José Antonio Noguera, Iñaki Uribarri, Luis Sanzo, Gorka Moreno, Montse Cervera, Florent Marcellesi, and Iñaki Carro. PDF versions of the papers are available at The symposium got press coverage in Gara. See the two following links:

Rome, Italy, November 20, 2009: Guaranteed income as a European right
One day of debate organised by Bin Italia and other associations, in the framework of the "guaranteed income in Europe" appeal that was launched in May 2009, just before the European elections. The meeting also launched the idea of a "guaranteed income as a right for Europeans" within the framework of the 2010 European year against poverty. Euro-MP Jean Lambert (European Greens) took part in the meeting, as well as the representative for the Regione Lazio, who promoted the regional law on a guaranteed minimum income.  The meeting program:
-From BIEN

Basic income conference
Rosario, Argentina, November 13, 2009:
According to BIEN, an Argentinean Basic Income conference was organized by the Centro de Participación para la Elaboración Legislativa (CePEL), at the Faculty of Economic Sciences and Statistics, National University of Rosario (Argentina). It included a talk entitled 'What do we mean when we talk about a basic income?' by Elsa Beatriz Gil (Red Argentina de Ingreso Ciudadano). CePEL’s website is

Perugia, Italy, November 6, 2009: Women and basic income
Participants in this meeting included Andrea Fumagalli and Cristina Morini from the Italian basic income network Bin Italia. As in the Lazio region, the local political actors in Umbria are advocating a regional law on a guaranteed minimum income. Topics such as the transformation of work, the working poor, and the role of women were also addressed. For further information:

Rome, Italy, November 3, 2009: The necessity of a guaranteed income
On November 3, 2009, Sandro Gobetti, Giuseppe Bronzini, Corrado Del Bò, Alberto Guariso and Cristina Tajani from Bin Italia spoke at the "ComPa", the national forum of public administration in Italy. The theme of the debate was "the necessity of a guaranteed income". The representative for the Regione Lazio (Italy), who promoted the regional law on a guaranteed minimum income, was also among the participants. For further information:
-From BIEN


A Basic Income Guarantee as Reparations for Group Injustice
Richa, December, 2009
Abstract: This paper looks at the issue of reparations for group injustice, mainly in the USA, and suggests a basic income guarantee as a possible means of addressing that issue. The need for and legitimacy of such reparations are first established. The author details some personal experience with the issue, which includes encountering frequent resistance to the idea. A basic income guarantee as a means of getting past much of that resistance is then discussed. That is followed by a brief discussion of benefits and limitations. The paper concludes that implementation of a basic income guarantee is the single best way to right the injustices suffered by people due to their inclusion in certain cultural/ethnic groups.

Stone Age Anthropology vs. Modern Political Philosophy: Evidence of Five False Factual Claims
Karl Widerquist, November 2009
Abstract: Political Theorists often make empirical claims with little or no supporting evidence. A surprising number of such empirical claims can be informed by anthropological and archeological studies of prehistoric societies—studies widely ignored by the political theorists making the claims. Often, philosophers are less than clear about whether their statements about the Stone Age are empirical claims or merely illustrative examples. This study shows that many important political theories do in fact rely on unsubstantiated empirical claims that can be informed by existing evidence about prehistoric societies.
    This study assesses the following five claims: (1) Human interaction naturally creates great economic and social inequality. (2) A permanent commitment to obey a sovereign government is the only alternative to an unacceptable state of nature. (3) Laissez faire capitalism has greater “negative liberty” than any other system. (4) Everyone today lives better than everyone did before natural resources were appropriated as private property. (5) Individuals appropriate property; collectives interfere with it.
    This study demonstrates how these claims are essential to commonly-used justification of property and the state. It carefully reviews existing literature pertaining to these claims, revealing that they are not verified (and perhaps are substantially refuted) by empirical evidence: (1) Human equality has been maintained in some societies without interference. (2) Many societies known to anthropology have had no permanent commitment to any set of laws without degenerating into war of all against all. (5) The “negative liberty” of hunter-gatherers dominates that of propertyless people under capitalism. (4) It might be possible to make the claim that the average modern person is better off in a modern society than in a hunter-gatherer society, but the least advantaged people in society today are not better off and in many ways worse off than hunter-gathers. (5) There is little evidence at all for an individualist origin of property rights; early ownership was either collective or dominated by individuals who also claimed the right to govern.


BIEN Canada Website
Our sister network north of the border, BIEN Canada, has launched its website. It contains news and information about BIG and about the joint USBIG-BIEN Canada Conference in Montreal. The site was originally designed by Jurgen De Wispelaere. The organizers of BIEN Canada will refine and add information to the website over time. It is online at:

Impact of Social Benefits now has a matrix on the “Impact of Social Benefits” around the world. The Matrix presents available evidence on the effects of different social transfers programs around the world. This evidence results from a desk review on the social transfers domain and consists of quotes extracted directly from the literature reviewed. The evidence contained in the matrix can be searched using different criteria. You can search by type of impact (e.g. education impacts) in which case you can further specify that type of impact (e.g. school attendance or school enrollment). In addition to the type of impact you can search the evidence by kind of benefit, type of program, region/country and for specific categories (e.g. extreme poor). For each evidence resulting from your search the name of the program and the original bibliographical reference are identified and you can further click to obtain more information on the program and the original document quoted. According to its creator, Ian Orton of the International Labour Organization, many of the programs that can be scrutinized with this matrix share the same logic of Basic Income (BI). Thus for all those interested in the BI it will be an important research tool as one can quickly gain access to specific details as to the impact of social transfers (e.g. the impact of family benefits on child labor in Latin America or impact of social pensions on labor market participation). Orton finds that social transfers schemes to have a generally favorable impact on all a number of criteria.
The Matrix is online at:
For questions about it, contact Ian Orton:

Share the World’s Resources endorses a basic income
Share The World's Resources (STWR) is a nongovernmental organization funded entirely through private donations which advocates for governments to secure basic human needs by sharing essential resources such as water, energy and staple food. In a position paper entitled, “Economic Sharing & Alternatives: Crises and Opportunities in Changing Times” Published February 10, 2010, STWR endorsed the basic income guarantee, writing “The ethical benefit is immense, because it is a planetary scandal that 10 million children die every year of ridiculous causes; these children have nothing to do with our political and corporate infamy.”
The STWR webside, including its discussion of BI is online at:

A Basic income for Haiti?
On January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake occurred in Haiti. On February 3, 2010, the death toll had swelled to 200,000. Several basic income supporters are now advocating the idea of a basic income grant to foster the reconstruction of the country from a bottom-up perspective, echoing Guy Standing's plea for "Tsunami Recovery Grants" in 2005. At the initiative of Alex Hornung (Luxembourg), a "BIG for Haiti" Facebook Group was started, and a reflection launched about the idea to pay a basic income of approximately EUR10 to every Haitian. Alain Massot, a Professor at Laval University in Canada, argued along the same lines in a column published on January 28, 2010. Jean-Paul Brasseur, head of VIVANT-Europe, has suggested the implementation of a basic income of EUR6, funded by the citizens of the European Union.
Facebook group:
Jean-Paul Brasseur’s proposal:, see Feb. 2010 issue of “Vivant électronique”
Alain Massot's column:
Alex Hornung:
-From BIEN

Fighting a Jobless Recovery on a Micro Level
An article by Johan Ramakers (Ph.D. Econ) on, in which he argues that "The question for our near future is not how we can create more jobs, especially noting that much of the recent job growth in the USA has also been in lower wage service industry jobs with limited to no benefits and little job security, so, even when job availability would increase, they are not of the same economic quality as in past decades. The real question becomes how to pass on the financial accomplishment and productivity of automation, robotics, nano technology and artificial intelligence to a population as a basic income to build from."
-From BIEN

YES WE CA$H! in Italy
This movement advocates the introduction of a minimum income in the Emilia-Romagna Region, Italy. "The goal is simply a basic income for anyone who needs it. We don't want it to be linked to wage labour, it won't depend on the claimant looking for work or relate to their ability to look for work; it will only depend on whether you earn less than subsistence wages/income... One debate we have planned is to host a talk by Luciano Gallino, an important sociologist who is an advocate of a social wage, along with other researchers and academics involved with BIN (Basic Income Network) that campaigns for a social wage throughout Italy. We also have events planned in other cities in E-R like Ferrara, Parma, Reggio Emilia, Rimini etc during the election campaign."
For further information:

Basic income on Facebook
This Facebook group devoted to basic income already has over 300 members!/group.php?gid=10334829890&ref=search&sid=676348404.666098809..1
-From BIEN

YouTube Video Series on Basic income: “Lessons on Basic Income”
Joerg Drescher has created a YouTube video series with information and interviews about Basic Income. It’s online at:

 “Grundeinkommen.”A new film on Unconditional Basic Income Available in more tha 10 Languages at:

Ten new members have joined the USBIG Network in the last three months. The USBIG Network now has 199 members from 34 U.S. states and 27 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 ten new members of the USBIG Network are: Dottie Stevens, Mattapan, MA; Martin Bassani, Parker, CO; Frederik H. L. Reinbold, Aranjuez, Spain; Cole Holiday, Denver, CO; James D. Quirk, Huntsville, AL; Denise Villamia, Ridgewood, NY; Jean Boyd, Spokane, WA; Robert T. Hill, New York, NY; Jeanette Blalock-Davis, Hancock, MN; Jeremy Miller, West Sacramento, CA.

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
Copyeditor: Mike Murray and the USBIG Committee
Research: Paul Nollen; and Yannick Vanderborght of the BIEN NewsFlash
Special help on this issue was provided by Jeff Smith, Jurgen de Wispeleare, Kieran Oberman, and Amanad Reilly

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, editor

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