U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Newsletter, August 2000


1. September Basic Income Guarantee Seminar
2. The Basic Income Guarantee in the media
3. Recent publications on the Basic Income Guarantee
4. New web sites on Basic Income
5. Links and other information


The next basic income guarantee seminar will be held at Hunter College (68th Street and Lexington Ave.) at 5pm on Friday, September 15. (The room number will be announced in a few days.) Karl Widerquist, of the Educational Priorities Panel, will present "Citizenship or Obligation."

At the October seminar, Brian Steensland, of Princeton University, will present "Defining Welfare: Media Depictions of the Struggle over Guaranteed Income, 1966-1980." The date and time will be announced by the end of September.


According to Citizens' Income, Samuel Brittan's fulsome review discussed basic income in a recent issue of The Financial Times of the United Kingdom. Brittan recognises that the current path of welfare reform leads naturally to some form of Basic Income. Writing of the problems inherent to the Working Families Tax Credit, he continues, "The best way of avoiding these snags might then be to go the whole hog to an unconditional Basic Income, which would not by then be all that much more expensive."

To see his comments in full, go to:


Article: "The Collision of Tax and Welfare Politics: The Political History of the Earned Income Tax Credit, 1969-99" by Dennis J. Ventry, Jr, University of California, Santa Barbara, and Harvard University, The National Tax Journal Special Issue: "The Earned Income Tax Credit: Early Evidence" (2000)

Abstract-This paper uses the political history and pre-history of the EITC to describe how the politics of welfare reform influence tax policies that function as social policy. It suggests that the economic tradeoffs inherent in the formulation of tax-transfer programs are also political tradeoffs. It examines policy choices between costs and labor supply incentives, as well as those between ease of participation and compliance rates. This paper concludes that although economic analysis influenced the creation and development of the EITC, political factors, not economics, animated the history of the program.

Book: Reclaiming Work, by André Gorz Blackwell Publishers

Description: Over the last twenty-five years, Western societies have been reversing into the future. They are able neither to reproduce themselves in accordance with past norms, nor to exploit the unprecedented freedom offered by the savings in working time which new technology has generated. In this major new book, André Gorz argues that the societies created by Fordism have been falling apart and have given way to "non-societies", in which a tiny dominant stratum has grabbed most of the surplus wealth. In the absence of any alternative political project, social disintegration and individual despair have prevailed. Mainstream economists seek solutions to this "crisis", but Gorz argues that we are in fact in the grip of a new system which is abolishing work as we know it. The worst forms of exploitation are being restored, as each is forced to fight against all (both at the individual and the national level) in a desperate struggle to obtain the diminishing supply of work. In the face of these developments, Gorz argues that we should fight not against the destruction of work itself (in the sense of stable employment), but against the new system's efforts to perpetuate the ideology of work as a source of rights. We should welcome the reduction in the working hours required to meet our material needs and should realize the creative potential that this reduction could release. Through measures such as a sufficient unconditional basic income for all and new, co-operative economic structures, we can reclaim work and rebuild a future beyond the wage-based society. Author Description: André Gorz is one of the leading social and political thinkers of our time, and is the author of many books, including Critique of Economic Reason, Farewell to the Working Class and Paths to Paradise.


Tim Rourke's has create a new BIG website

MATS HÖGLUND has created two web sites about the basic income guarantee.
In English: http://go.to/basicincomemovement
And in Swedish: http://go.to/basinkomst


The U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network (USBIG) can be reached at www.usbig.net or by email at widerquist@levy.org. There are several other BIG organizations and BIG web sites around the world including:

The Basic Income European Network (BIEN) will have its next conference this fall in Berlin (October 6-8). BEIN also maintains a website and a newsletter promoting basic income in Europe and around the world. If you are interested in finding out more about it, see the BIEN website:

Britain's Citizens' Income Trust publishes a newsletter and maintains a website; both have news on basic income/citizen's income from the United Kingdom and around the world. See their website:
A lively email discussion group on basic income is up and running in Canada. If you're interested contact:
Sally Lerner

The Australian Basic Income group, OASIS, publishes an email newsletter. Anyone interested in receiving a copy should contact:
Allan McDonald

Tim Rourke's new BIG website

MATS HÖGLUND has created two web sites about the basic income guarantee.
In English: http://go.to/basicincomemovement
And in Swedish: http://go.to/basinkomst

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

SMITH, Jeffrey J.
President, the Geonomy Society, Portland, Oregon, USA

If you have any news on basic income or any comments on the newsletter or the web site, please let me know. If you know anyone who would like to be added to this list please ask them to contact me. If you'd like to be removed from this list please email me.
-Karl Widerquist, coordinator, US BIG.