featured – updates
academia.edu/gg pdf 2013 Basic Income: An Anthology of Contemporary Research presents a compilation of six decades of Basic Income literature. It includes the most influential empirical research and theoretical arguments on all aspects of the Basic Income proposal. – Karl Widerquist, José A. Noguera, Yannick Vanderborght, Jurgen De Wispelaere
- Includes six decades of the most influential literature on Basic Income
- Includes unpublished and hard-to-find articles
- The first major compendium on one of the most innovative political reform proposals of our age
- Explores multidisciplinary views of Basic Income, with philosophical, economic, political, and sociological views
- Features contributions from key and well-known philosophers and economists, including Atkinson, Simon, Friedman, Fromm, Gorz, Offe, Rawls, Pettit, Van Parijs, and more
- Presents the best theoretical and empirical arguments for and against Basic Income
UBI orgs – basicincometoday.com/
UBI updates 11-2023
theguardian.com 16-11-2023 AI is coming for our jobs! Could universal basic income be the solution? – by Philippa Kelly
…Widerquist believes, at least in the short term, that the growth of AI will push white-collar workers into the gig economy, and into other forms of poorly paid, insecure work. Such a shift in the workforce would, he fears, drive down wages and conditions, while increasing inequality…. A UBI policy in response to AI and automation would address the failure of employers to distribute the spoils of economic growth – propelled, at least in part, by automation – fairly among workers, says Karl Widerquist.
Some go further still, pointing to UBI as a dividend due to workers for their role in the development and dissemination of knowledge used to train AI models such as ChatGPT. “Why,” asks Scott Santens, editor of website Basic Income Today, “should only one or two companies get rich off of the capital, the human work, that we all created?”…
For countries where automation is a greater concern, Rosanna Merola, a macroeconomist and researcher at the International Labour Organization, has considered a very different approach: a robot tax. In a 2022 research paper, Merola described the possibility of taxing companies that replace workers with robots in order to fund a UBI as “philosophically appealing”, if currently unrealistic…. In Kenya, the world’s largest UBI scheme has been providing almost 5,000 people with a payment of about 75 cents (62p) a day since 2017. Organised by GiveDirectly and funded by donations, the experiment will run for 12 years….
theguardian.com 4-2023 Free Money film review – the great experiment of Universal Basic Income – Documentary follows the ambiguous impact of an American non-profit’s grand largesse to a Kenyan village
academia.edu – amazon – vivianstorlund 2018 Widening Horizons by mining the wealth of creative thinkers: to seize the empoweringpotentials of the digital age with artists as precursors and basic income as the means – by Vivan Storlund
economnist.com 19-1-2023 What the spread of universal basic-income schemes says about America’s safety net – Giving out cash by lottery ought to be a poor way to help people
vivanstorlund.com 7-1-2023 Light at the end of the tunnel – the end of the neoliberal era by Vivan Storlund
For a long time, I’ve been seeking explanations to why we have been haunted by the neoliberal economic policies and new public management (NPM) during the past 30 years or so, notwithstanding the obvious damage it has done in most quarters except for a small minority of rich people. In interviews I made in the 1990s for radio series on the dismantling of the Nordic welfare state and related issues, the message was unison among people associated with the trade union movement as well as researchers in the social field and socially oriented people, that the policies then pursued were detrimental. This is by now a well-established fact. And, at long last, we get research offering the bigger picture, announcing that the neoliberal era is at its end. But that is not the end of the story. How to undo these policies and how to proceed are no simple matters. But this is a good start.
Gary Gerstle offers an impressive analysis in his book The Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal Order (2022). His book will be our guide here complemented with articles by Patrick Dunleavy et al. New Public Management Is Dead—Long Live Digital-Era Governance (2006) and Göran Sundström’s analysis of the situation in Sweden in Moving beyond new public management – A historical-institutional analysis of the case of Sweden (2022). …
… To Sundström’s observation about a lack of new-thinking, there is quite a lot of new-thinking in civil society, articulating a human perspective. Here is one illustration: the Nordic basic income networks have presented a pamphlet Basic Income – Cornerstone of the Nordic Welfare State that in a variety of ways present alternatives to the neoliberal policies.
Just like the neoliberal movement, the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN), is one that has been abiding its time. It is a network of academics and activists interested in the idea of basic income, a periodic cash payment unconditionally delivered to all on an individual basis, without means-test or work requirement. The movement started in 1986 in Europe, and has subsequently expanded to a world-wide movement. It harbours a wealth of research as well as studies of basic income pilot projects. Here are two of my blog posts that summarise my views of how to move ahead: Why we need basic income and how to go about it, A roadmap for turning crisis into utopia .
Gerstle mentioned that the 2020 pandemic delivered the coup de grace for the neoliberal era. In the US, Republicans and Democrats agreed in March 2020 to pass a $2.4 trillion relief package, for measures to help individuals and families, as well as small businesses and corporations. This package was more than twice the size of the one passed under Obama in response to the Great Recession of 2008–2009. Despite its size the 2020 package generated almost no dissent on either side of the partisan divide. It distributed as many benefits to individuals and small businesses as it did to large corporations—a principle of equity (Gerstle, pp. 279-280). Similar measures were taken in many other countries. The challenge now is not to repeat the austerity policies of the past but continue to open up to citizens and civil society. Geoff Crocker offers us guidance in his book Basic Income and Sovereign Money: The Alternative to Economic Crisis and Austerity Policy (2020) (see my blog post A roadmap for turning crisis into utopia).”
ft/youtube 2021 The coronavirus pandemic has opened the door to radical economic reform, argues FT columnist Martin Sandbu. A no-strings regular cash transfer to everyone could shake up the welfare system, bring new economic security, and create more opportunities for all. Welcome to Free Lunch on Film where unorthodox economic ideas are put to the test.
academia.edu/gg/pdf 2018 Abstract and Concrete Universals: Basic Services, Basic Infrastructure, Basic Income – by Lorena Lombardozzi, Frederick Harry Pitts
1 Abstract and Concrete Universals:Basic Services, Basic Infrastructure, Basic IncomeLorena Lombardozzi and Frederick Harry Pitts Futures of Work, December 2018. Recent contributions to Futures of Work have focused on the possibilities and limitations of the Universal Basic Income (UBI) as a response to an imminent utopia of automated worklessness. But the UBI is only one example of increasing policy makerinterest in ‘universal’ solutions to the intractable contradictions of contemporary work, wage and welfare. The rollout of Universal Credit is the most notorious example of what happens when a premature claim to universality meets the stratified and complex character of our world. But what forms of universality project a better path? And are some‘universals’ better than others? In considering this we might loosely paraphrase Hegel, who distinguished between‘abstract’ and ‘concrete’ universals. Does the UBI representan ‘abstract universal’, forcing particularity and difference into dominating forms of premature identity under free money and an even more powerful state? And are other options available, closer in spirit to what we might call ‘concrete universals’ that seek to capture and not cleanse the world of specificity and contradiction? In posing these questions we compare Universal Basic Services (UBS) and Universal Basic Infrastructure (UBIS).
paecon.net.pdf 24-3-2022 Why not Sovereign Money AND Job Guarantee? by Hongkil Kim,Hunter Griffin
Abstract: The sovereign money system, a radical proposal for the de-privatization of money creation, has been put forward as an alternative to the inherently unstable current monetary that is the root cause of credit and debt bubbles and the consequent recessions. This article argues that a job guarantee program would help policy makers in a sovereign money system determine how much money to create and where to
supply it in a counter-cyclical, disciplined, targeted, less inflationary, and less discretionary manner. The core claim of this article is that the combination of a sovereign money system with a job guarantee program supports the earned income of consumers (especially, those most in need), and thus their spending and welfare, without causing concern about issues related to public debt accumulation. In addition,
it not only mitigates against excessive private debt,²considered one of the major causes of financial crisis²
Keywords: sovereign money, job guarantee, monetary system, monetary reform, employment, alt currencies, direct finacing
This is a very interesting and useful collection of papers, not just on a narrative history of UBI, but on historical perspectives, thereby including important interpretations of the UBI debate, useful in UBI advocacy. Particularly significant papers from the US experience are
- Daniel Zamora Vargas on the 1960s US history of UBI on guaranteed income and negative income tax, which highlights the distinction between Keynesian government expenditure and consumer cash income as primers of economic growth and poverty alleviation
- Andrew Sanchez on the raging US argument for UBI from technology, or ‘cybernation’ reducing labour income
- Alyssa Battistoni on the feminist argument for basic income as remuneration for unpaid care work, and defence against domestic repression, tracing its history in the 1960s US National Welfare Rights Organization. Battistoni also presents the ecological UBI argument for separating income from work and production.
thehill.com 9-2020 The shape of guaranteed income – by Jonathan Morduch, Sidhya Balakrishnan
economist.com 1-2022 Handing out money – America’s experiments with guaranteed-income schemes show promise – Could the pilot programmes be scaled up?
theconversation.com 27/5/2021 Support is growing for a universal basic income – and rightly so
In Wales, a survey showed 69% of people supported a trial, and a letter asking the British government to consider similar plans was signed by over 500 cross-party politicians from across the UK. Already, 32 local councils across the country have voted in favour of a pilot in their areas.
Since COVID-19, there has been a global surge in support too. In the USA, Los Angeles has become the latest city to launch an experiment, and there have been trials in Canada, South Korea and Kenya. In Europe, a poll last year, covering France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain, found that more than two-thirds of people were in favour of a basic income.
Of course, there are sceptics. The Conservatives reacted to the Drakeford’s announcement by saying Wales should not become “a petri dish for failed left-wing policies”. But there is nothing especially left-wing about providing everybody with a basic income – it is a matter of common justice that would enhance freedom and provide basic security for all.
academia.edu 2021 Why a basic income, and why is now the time? Field-notes from Ireland during the Covid-19 pandemic” by Kevin Ryan
…”In the thick of this discussion, though at that time it was being reconfigured by the growingin influence of liberalism, was an age-old distinction between ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving poor. The architects of the Royal Commission, which laid the foundations for the British (and Irish) welfare state, were disciples of the philosopher Jeremy Bentham, and it was his principle of ‘less eligibility’ that would shape the trajectory of public assistance. The basic idea rests on the assumption that we all act on the basis of rational choice…”…
what was happening nevertheless, was that recipientsof the PUP were transforming an emergency welfare payment into a basic income. That lastpoint needs to be written in the past tense, because the Irish Government has since been busydismantling the PUP by wrapping Bentham’s less-eligibility principle around it. Nevertheless, there was, albeit briey, a moment in time at the start of the pandemic that the ancient Greeks knew as Kairos – a specific type of momentary conjuncture where futures (plural) are up for grabs, and everything hinges on which potential future is grasped as an opportunity to be actualised (see Foucault 2010: 224-5)…”…
The Case for People’s Quantitative Easing by Frances Coppola – 2019
blurb:”In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, central banks created trillions of dollars of new money, and poured it into financial markets. ‘Quantitative Easing’ (QE) was supposed to prevent deflation and restore economic growth. But the money didn’t go to ordinary people: it went to the rich, who didn’t need it. It went to big corporations and banks – the same banks whose reckless lending caused the crash. This led to a decade of stagnation, not recovery. QE failed. In this book, Frances Coppola makes the case for a ‘people’s QE’, in which the money goes directly to ordinary people and small businesses. She argues that it is the fairest and most effective way of restoring crisis-hit economies and helping to solve the long-term challenges of ageing populations, automation and climate change”
‘Irresponsible bank lending caused the crisis of 2008, and increased inequality dramatically. Bernanke’s Quantitative Easing rewarded banks, and increased inequality further. I agree with Coppola that the next QE should be for the people. Read this book to learn how it would work.’ Steve Keen
‘Frances Coppola is a world expert on commercial and central banking. Her defence of “People’s QE” is a must-read for all those engaged in the debate. No one else could approach this subject more authoritatively.’ Ann Pettifor
Give People Money: The Simple Idea to Solve Inequality and Revolutionise Our Lives by Annie Lowrey – 2018
“A brilliantly reported, global look at universal basic income–a stipend given to every citizen–and why it might be necessary for our age of rising inequality, persistent poverty, and dazzling technology
Imagine if every month the government deposited $1,000 into your checking account, with nothing expected in return. It sounds crazy, but it has become one of the most influential and hotly debated policy ideas of our time. Futurists, radicals, libertarians, socialists, union representatives, feminists, conservatives, Bernie supporters, development economists, child-care workers, welfare recipients, and politicians from India to Finland to Canada to Mexico–all are talking about UBI.
In this sparkling and provocative book, economics writer Annie Lowrey looks at the global UBI movement. She travels to Kenya to see how a UBI is lifting the poorest people on earth out of destitution, India to see how inefficient government programs are failing the poor, South Korea to interrogate UBI’s intellectual pedigree, and Silicon Valley to meet the tech titans financing UBI pilots in expectation of a world with advanced artificial intelligence and little need for human labor.
Lowrey examines the potential of such a sweeping policy and the challenges the movement faces, among them contradictory aims, uncomfortable costs, and, most powerfully, the entrenched belief that no one should get something for nothing. She shows how this arcane policy offers not only a potential answer for our most intractable economic and social problems, but also a better foundation for our society in this age of turbulence and marvels.”
Give People Money is extraordinary, and the world has never needed it more. Annie Lowrey has a talent for making radical ideas feel not just possible―but necessary. This is a book that could change everything. ― Jessica Valenti, Guardian columnist
Give People Money is about Universal Basic Income in the way that Moby Dick is about a whale. If you want to learn about UBI, read this book. If you don’t care about UBI, but you’re interested in how technology is changing our economy, how the character of work is transforming, what poverty looks like globally, and how governments might more ably aid their citizens, then you really must read this book. ― Shamus Khan, Professor of Sociology at Columbia and author of PRIVILEGE
Send everyone a monthly check? Eliminate all welfare bureaucracies? Even if you don’t believe that technology reduces the total number of jobs, the idea of a universal basic income is worth analyzing. In this provocative book, Annie Lowrey explores the history, practicality, and philosophical basis of an idea now drawing attention from all points on the political spectrum ― Walter Isaacson
Like it or hate it, the UBI is the biggest social policy idea of the 21st century so far. Annie Lowrey’s book is the best study yet of the world’s experiences with UBI. It deserves acclaim and, more important, the close attention of policy makers ― Lawrence H. Summers, former Treasury Secretary of the United States
A fantastic introduction to UBI that’s both thorough and accessible. ― Albert Wenger, Union Square Ventures –This text refers to the paperback edition.
Basic Income: And How We Can Make It Happen by Guy Standing – 2017
blurb: Shouldn’t everyone receive a stake in society’s wealth? Could we create a fairer world by granting a guaranteed income to all? What would this mean for our health, wealth and happiness? Basic Income is a regular cash transfer from the state, received by all individual citizens. It is an acknowledgement that everyone plays a part in generating the wealth currently enjoyed only by a few. Political parties across the world are now adopting it as official policy and the idea generates headlines every day. Guy Standing has been at the forefront of thought about Basic Income for the past thirty years, and in this book he covers in authoritative detail its effects on the economy, poverty, work and labour; dissects and disproves the standard arguments against Basic Income; explains what we can learn from pilots across the world and illustrates exactly why a Basic Income has now become such an urgent necessity.
‘Basic Income is an idea whose time has come, and Guy Standing has pioneered our understanding of it… Standing’s analysis is vital’ Paul Mason
‘Guy Standing has been at the forefront of the movement for nearly 4 decades, and in this superb and thorough survey he explains how it works and why it has the potential to revitalise life and democracy in our societies. This is an essential book.’ Brian Eno
academia.edu-pdf 2021 Why a basic income, and why is now the time? Field-notes from Ireland during the Covid-19 pandemic – by Kevin Ryan
Picture this: June 1832, and one Mr. Majendie is giving evidence to a Royal Commissioninto the Operation of the Poor Laws, which employed twenty-six Assistant Commissioners tocollect evidence from some three-thousand parishes in England and Wales
…”…In the thick of this discussion … was an age-old distinction between ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ poor…”…
caw/gm on QE, direct finance, UBI 2019 “The Board Memebers’ Memo”
…”…Much of this weekend’s research has led me back to old yields from heterodox pastures I was grazing ten years ago. The take-away then was this: The most important means of production under capitalism are the means of producing money.
As to the fact that most money is not produced by central but private banks we apparently still live in a world where 80% of the UK population, and 84% (!) of MP’s do not know this. One can only speculate on the percentage of either who would refuse to believe it even if confronted with mountains of evidence.
Not surprising perhaps, given that prior to the Fed hinting and the BoE officially confirming this fact (and other CB’s feeling obliged to follow suit) anyone whispering it was typically stigmatized as stupid, subversive, or insane by mainstream dogma, let alone banks.
Probably because central bankers could see the poisoned buck being pointed at them by both politicians and private bankers. So best to remind everyone that, actually, they are not really in control of the production of new money. All they can really do is a bit of largely ineffectual smoke signalling?
For those willing and able to reconsider their own cognitive biases a collection of relevant readings below. None of them are about defending real existing QE. Then or now. Rather they are about the wider historical and theoretical context in general and about the particular alternative of People’s QE, “helicopter money” and basic income.
For a very comprehensive paper referencing all of the issues raised below and more go straight to Richard A.Werner’s “A lost century in economics: Three theories of banking and the conclusive evidence”
My research starts from his conclusion that “…economics seems to have made no progress in the 20th century concerning a pivotal issue, namely the role of banks …”, or, as I put it earlier, the control of the means of the production of money.
Currently I am puzzled debates do not seem to link peoples’ QE with UBI?
But for now let’s stick with QE and restart with Positive Money’s summary:
“A decade ago, the ECB’s monetary policy made a significant contribution to overcoming the severe recession and consolidating growth thereafter. However … the longer the ultra-low or negative interest rate policy and liquidity flooding of markets continue, the greater the potential for a setback. …
(These) policies are making the rich richer and doing little for anyone else. … (They) have pushed up the value of those assets, delivering a knock-on boost to property prices. The idea is that because the people who own assets will feel wealthier, they’ll be encouraged to spend more. This is a just one particular form of the “trickle-down effect”. But it doesn’t work. …
And yet the Bank of England has alternative powerful policy tools with the potential to support a stronger and fairer economy. Instead of pumping money into financial markets, it could be spent via the government into infrastructure, green technology, or as a direct boost to household finances….”
And money reformer Joseph Huber “concludes that … monetary financing … in lieu of conventional … QE … would immediately benefit real investment and purchasing power.”
More mainstream a new book was recently launched by Frances Coppola.
No relation to Francis. Still, John Authers can’t resist “the Smell of Monetary Napalm in the Morning” and recommends Coppola’s The Case for People’s Quantitative Easing.
“Why?” (Because it) … is well and clearly written (and) gives a clear narrative explaining the evolution of …QE. … It also goes through the largely disappointing history of the last decade and makes a clear prescription for the future.”
Mathew D. Rose suggests that “… the absurdity is …” not the idea of helicopter money but “… that, after ten years of failure, current central bank policies are still being taken seriously.”
And “… the Resolution Foundation hosted a debate to launch (the) book, … a great panel consisting of Jagjit Chadha, Director of NIESR; Fran Boait, Executive Director of Positive Money; and James Smith, Research Director of the Resolution Foundation, debat(ing) … with immense verve, ably moderated by Torsten Bell, Chief Executive of the Resolution Foundation.
Elsewhere Lucrezia Reichlin, Adair Turner and Michael Woodford “… recount a policy debate on helicopter money that was held at LBS in April 2013.”
Global Investment Strategist Patrick Schotanus has “… highlight(ed) some of the more recent interpretations … of ‘helicopter money’ (and) consider(ed) the conditions for its effectiveness …
Kevin Dowd has collated arguments Against Helicopter Money and the Spectator’s Ross Clark thinks that if “QE had ended up in the pockets of ordinary people , surely it would have created inflationary pressures (?)”
Pertinant to the last point tandfonline present a “… a survey among Dutch households … (to) examine whether respondents would spend the money received via such a (helicopter type) transfer. Our results show that respondents expect to spend about 30% of the transfer and that helicopter money would hardly affect inflation expectations.”
And Josh Ryan-Collins and Frank van Lerven address “(h)istorical examples of fiscal-monetary policy coordination (that) have been largely neglected, along with alternative theoretical views, such as post-Keynesian perspectives that emphasise uncertainty … (and) develop a new typology of forms of fiscal-monetary coordination that includes both direct and less direct forms of monetary financing …”
So there is lots to try and get one’s head around.
Meanwhile I remain puzzled why debates do not mix helicopter QE with Basic Income ideas and why dual or differential savings rates remain off limits? Never mind the abolition of mono (fiat) currency regimes and the replacement of income tax by universal transaction tax?
I guess it’s all a bit too heterodox? …”