Saturday, June 7, 2014

Ending Poverty Now

Thom Hartmann has this interview (video below) with economist and Professor Guy Standing, University of London, and co-founder and co-president of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) on guaranteed basic income.  A guaranteed basic income is unconditionally distributed at a liveable level, regardless of whether or not an individual is employed, or how much an individual may or may not have;  i.e. you cut through all the red tape and basically, just give people the money.  In the United States, coupled with an improved Medicare for all, this would pretty much abolish poverty and economic insecurity outright, and Thom's guest points out that such measures also create new jobs and boost wages.

Professor Standing is the author of The Precariot: The New Dangerous Class, about "a growing number of people across the world living and working precariously, usually in a series of short-term jobs, without recourse to stable occupational identities, stable social protection or protective regulations relevant to them."  


The next BIEN conference, Re-Democratizing The Economy, will take place in Montreal, June 26-29, 2014.  A pre-conference day on the 26th will focus on strategies to activate and implement basic income policies in Canada and the United States.  The 27th-29th Congress "brings together academics, activists, policy makers, political representatives, NGOs, and interested members of the general public to discuss and debate how introducing a universal and unconditional basic income relates to the theme of Re-democratizing the Economy.“

From the website:
Topical streams of inquiry include (but are not limited to) the following considerations:
  • Which economic, social,  political or environmental changes would re-democratizing the economy require?
  • How would the institution of a basic income guarantee promote re-democratizing the economy, nationally or globally?
  • How would the combination of a (more) economic democracy and a basis income ensure ecological sustainability?
  • Which revenue models would help support a re-democratized economy?
  • How can we boost the political support for basic income at a time of inequality, austerity and economic exclusion?
  • What democratic and citizenship implications can we expect from a basic income guarantee?
  • What are the legal and constitutional implications of the right to a basic income?

*Image credits, top, "End Poverty NOW" protesters, via Popular Resistance, 11/2/2013, "America's Shame: Child Poverty Rises, Food Stamps Cut While Billionaires Boom"; bottom, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and quote, via The Wren Project, 8/13/2013, "B.I.G. Box."

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