BIEN - Basic Income Earth Network
NEWSFLASH 53 September 2008
The Basic Income Earth Network was founded in 1986 as the Basic Income European
Network. It expanded its scope from Europe to the Earth in 2004. It serves as a link between
individuals and groups committed to or interested in basic income, and fosters informed
discussion on this topic throughout the world.
The present NewsFlash has been prepared with the help of Paul Nollen, Margit Appel, Simon
Birnbaum, David Casassas, Thérèse Davio, Claudia & Dirk Haarmann, James Mulvale, Jose
Noguera, Malcolm Torry, Karl Widerquist, Pablo Yanes, and Almaz Zelleke.
This NewsFlash can be downloaded as a PDF document on our website
2. Glimpses of National Debates
4. New Links
5. About BIEN
BIEN NEWSFLASH 53 – September 2008 2
* GERMANY-AUSTRIA-SWITZERLAND, 15-21 September 2008: Basic Income Week
The first "International Basic Income Week" (see NewsFlash 52) turned out to be a successful
tool to gain publicity all over Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Initiated by the Basic
Income Networks of these three countries together with the ATTAC groups, the "Basic
Income Week" mobilized new organisations, initiatives and people, that had not been
involved in the basic income discussion so actively before. In Austria, these included
organisations in the field of development cooperation, art and culture, as well as
representatives of the green party and the liberal party. More than twenty events took place
and the "International Basic Income Week" ended with a conference-day in Vienna, named
"on the way to Berlin", where the 3rd Basic Income-Congress will take place 24th to 26th
* BERLIN (DE), 24 – 26 October 2008: Third German Basic Income Congress
"On the Way to Basic Income – Unconditional and Viable" ("Auf dem Weg zum
Grundeinkommen - bedingungslos und existenzsichernd"). Under this title, the Berlin
Congress will discuss a wide range of approaches to basic income, from philosophical
concepts to practical policy proposals. Current congress plans are published on the German
Basic Income Network's website www.grundeinkommen.de. Presently, the schedule offers
more than ten main events such as lectures and panel discussions as well as 36 workshops to
be held in two blocks of two hours each.
For further information: http://www.grundeinkommen.de
* BUENOS AIRES (AR), 6-7 November 2008: Conference on Basic income
A Basic Income Ibero-American Conference, organized by the Red Argentina de Ingreso
Ciudadano (Redaic), will take place November 6th and 7th at the Centro Cultural de la
Cooperación, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The participation of numerous experts from Spain
and Latin America is expected. Discussion will focus on the following issues: BI and tax
reforms, BI vs employment programs, BI vs conditioned cash transfer programs, BI and
democracy, BI and the local level, BI and social movements. More information at
* MADRID (ES), 27-28 November 2008: VIII Symposium of Red Renta Basica
The 8th Symposium of the Red Renta Basica (the Spanish Basic Income Network) will take
place in Madrid on 27th and 28th November, within the framework of the 4th Seminar about
Contemporary Visions of Human Rights organised by the Institute of Human Rights of
Universidad Carlos III and the Universidad P. Comillas of Madrid. The conference will be
held at University Pontificia Comillas (at the AULA Magna of the School of Engineers, ICAI)
in the city centre (Alberto Aguilera Street, 25). Among others, the participants in the
Symposium are Elías Díaz, Professor of Philosophy of Law at Universidad Autónoma of
Madrid, Guy Mundlak, Professor of Labour Law of Tel Aviv University, Pedro Cabrera,
Professor of Sociology of Universidad P. Comillas, Hugo Omar Seleme, Professor of
Philosophy of Law of Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina, Javier Alonso, Professor
of Tax Law of Universidad P. Comillas, and members of the Spanish Network including
David Casassas, Daniel Raventós, Luis Sanzo, Rafael Pinilla and Xavier Fontcuberta. The
BIEN NEWSFLASH 53 – September 2008 3
Symposium is organised around the topics of the Social State, the crisis of labour, Minimum
Insertion Incomes, the reciprocity principle, human rights and ways to finance basic income.
For further information: José Luis Rey email@example.com.
* NEW YORK (US), 27 February – 1 March 2009: The Eighth Congress of the U.S. Basic
Income Guarantee Network
The Eighth Congress of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee (USBIG) Network provides a
forum for considering alternative frameworks for addressing poverty. It brings together
academics, students, activists, policy analysts, and others interested in exploring the merits of
the basic income proposal. The conference will be held in conjunction with the Annual
Meeting of the Eastern Economic Association (EEA). Attendees at the USBIG conference are
welcome to attend any of the EEA's events.
Featured speakers invited so far include academics and politicians from both left and
right. Conservative Canadian Senator Hugh Segal has been a supporter of the basic income
guarantee for the last three decades. He is currently leading a renewed campaign for basic
income in Canada. Tony Martin is Member of the Canadian House of Commons for the leftof-
center New Democratic Party (NDP). Brazilian Senator Eduardo Suplicy is a third-term
Senator representing the state of Sao Paolo in the Brazilian Federal Senate and one of the
founding members of Brazil's ruling Workers' Party. Steve Pressman, of Monmouth
University, is an economist with interests in poverty, public finance, and macroeconomics. He
is co-editor of The Ethics and Economics of the Basic Income Guarantee and author of Fifty
Major Economists. Brian Steensland, of Indiana University, is a sociologist and author of The
Failed Welfare Revolution. Pablo Yanes is the head of the Mexican affiliate of the Basic
Income Earth Network. USBIG hopes to be confirming these and other speakers soon.
Scholars, activists, and others are invited to propose papers and organize panel
discussions on basic income or topics related to the distribution of wealth and income. All
points of view are welcome, and proposals from any discipline are welcome. Anyone
interested in making a presenting or organizing a panel should submit either an abstract of
their presentation or a panel proposal to the chair of the organizing committee: Karl
Please include the following information with your abstract and/or panel proposal:
4. City, State, Zip, and Country
5. Telephone, FAX
6. Email Address
7. Paper or Presentation Title
8. Abstract of 50-150 words
DEADLINE FOR PROPOSALS is October 31, 2008
Proposals for panel discussions should include a title, topic, and description of the panel and
the information above for each participant. If the participants are not presenting formal
papers, the title of the paper and abstract may be omitted. Panels with formal paper
presentations should be limited to four presentations, although discussions without formal
papers can include more. Papers presented at the conference will be eligible for the Basic
Income Studies Best Essay Award.
BIEN NEWSFLASH 53 – September 2008 4
2. GLIMPSES OF NATIONAL DEBATES
* CANADA: Green Party leader advocates Guaranteed Livable Income
During an election campaign stop in Ottawa on Sept. 8, 2008, Green Party leader Elizabeth
May highlighted both the need to eliminate poverty in Canada and promote local food.
"Poverty and hunger are priorities for Greens, but the Green Party will not simply strive to
reduce the poverty rates in Canada," said Ms. May. "We want to wipe poverty out for good.
Most Canadians find it unacceptable that in a wealthy country like Canada, 15 percent of
Canadian children still endure the hardships associated with inadequate income. No child
should be faced with inadequate nutrition or go to bed hungry. (...) To eliminate poverty and
hunger, the Green Party would look at introducing a Guaranteed Livable Income for
Canadians. As a regular annual payment, negotiation with the provinces could allow
Guaranteed Livable Income supplements to be set regionally. Setting the payment at a level
adequate for subsistence will still encourage additional income generation."
Press release available at http://www.greenparty.ca/en/releases/08.09.2008
* MEXICO: Permanent radio show on basic income
Starting Thursday October 23th, 2008 at 8:30am (14:30 GMT) the Mexican affiliate of BIEN
will have a radio show dedicated to promoting, analyzing and spreading the basic income
proposal. The show will be on the air every Thursday and will be live on
www.radiociudadana.imer.gob.mx ('Radio Ciudadana' section). The show will be hosted by
Pablo Yanes and Karen Makieze, members of the Mexican affiliate and will include guests
and permanent correspondants. A cordial invitation is extended to all of those who wish to
participate in the programme to get in contact through www.icu.org.mx.
For furter information: Pablo Yanes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
* NAMIBIA: Basic income pilot project has positive impact on community
In January 2008, a Basic Income Grant (BIG) pilot project began in the Otjivero-Omitara area
100 kilometres east of Windhoek in Namibia. All residents below the age of 60 years receive
a Basic Income Grant of N$100 per person per month, without any conditions being attached.
The grant is being given to every person registered as living there in July 2007, whatever their
social and economic status. This BIG pilot project is designed and implemented by the
Namibian Basic Income Grant Coalition (established in 2004) and is the first universal cashtransfer
pilot project in the world. The BIG Coalition has just published its first assessment
report on the project, which compares the results of a baseline study and a panel survey after
the first six months of implementation. Further details in the "Publications" section of this
BIEN NewsFlash 53.
In brief, according to the report the initial results of this pilot project are very
encouraging and by far exceed the expectations of the BIG Coalition. The local community
has embraced the pilot project and is engaged in efforts to make it work well. As commented
by one of the community's residents: "Generally, the BIG has brought life to our place.
Everyone can afford food and one does not see any more people coming to beg for food as in
the past. What I can say is that people have gained their human dignity and have become
responsible." (Jonas Damaseb, June 2008)
Bishop Dr. Z. Kameeta, speaking at the report launch on October 2nd, said: "We, as a
Nation, cannot wait to address poverty head on. We cannot wait to implement a universal
BIEN NEWSFLASH 53 – September 2008 5
Basic Income Grant nation wide. This is a challenge for the whole country."
For further info, see below in "Publications", see also: www.bignam.org
An article on the report has been published by "The Namibian" (October 3, 2008):
* SPAIN: Two articles in El País defend basic income
The idea of basic income seems to be gaining ground among leftist intellectuals in Spain; two
articles during 2008 in the main Spanish newspaper, El País, mention the proposal as one of
the key ideas for future Left thinking and practice.
Josep Ramoneda, a well-known political analyst and director of Barcelona's Centre of
Contemporary Culture (CCCB), in "¿Hay una vía a la izquierda?" ["Is There a Way to the
Left?"] (El País, 20 June 2008, page 39) says that "the Right wants to give more power to the
already powerful and more money to the rich. That opens a wide field for action in the Left:
the defence of the welfare state, civil rights, privacy, and basic income" (…). Since "the ideal
is full individual autonomy" and "the Left cannot abandon the idea of social justice",
Ramoneda concludes that "in this horizon, the right to a guaranteed social minimum, a basic
income, seems the last defence for the idea of equality to still make sense".
Joan Subirats, Professor of Political Science at the UAB and director of the prestigious
IGOP (Institute of Government and Public Policy), in "¿La fiesta del 'precariado'?" ["The
party of the precarious people?"] (El País, 1 May 2008, Catalan edition, page 2) takes the
German term Prekariat, coined in a report of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, to refer to the
situation of uncertainty and insecurity of growing numbers of workers. In the context of
growing labour contract temporality and insecurity, Subirats says that, since this condition
seems to be becoming a structural feature of our society, "it will be necessary to look for new
political responses to this new structural fact. It is more and more difficult to value the labour
of many people who undertake jobs with a strong non-material content, and the definition of
productivity itself gets more complicated. For this reason, the idea of a basic income should
be strenghtened, as a minimum guarantee able to recover the idea that the new productivity
depends more on cooperation than on hierarchy and competition".
El Pais: http://www.elpais.com/
VAN LANCKER, Wim (2008), 'Quid pro quo? Het basisinkomen en de plicht tot
wederkerigheid' ['Basic income and the obligation of reciprocity], Ethiek & Maatschappij, 11
(1), pp. 22-35, http://ethiek-maatschappij.academiapress.be/
Wim Van Lancker (University of Antwerp, Belgium) tries to show that a basic income does
not violate the principle of reciprocity, i.e. the alleged duty to answer a gift with another gift.
He uses fourn different arguments, two "pragmatic" and two "normative" ones, to build up a
line of defense against this accusation. The first "pragmatic" argument has to do with the
importance of work and activity in contemporary societies. Van Lancker argues that given
this fact the probability that a great number of people would stop working if a basic income
were to be introduced is very low. The second "pragmatic" argument is related to the huge
inequalities in capitalist societies. Even if one would agree with the idea that work incentives
BIEN NEWSFLASH 53 – September 2008 6
are required because reciprocity is crucial, justice remains the first virtue of insitituions.
Accodring to Van Lancker, priority should then be given to justice-promoting reforms, even if
they are detrimental to the work ethic. Finally, the two "normative" arguments are connected
with the work of Philippe Van Parijs. According to the first one, we are all the owners of the
earth's natural resources, and we deserve an equal share of these resources under the form of
an unconditional basic income. According to Van Lancker's second "normative" argument,
basic income can also be seen as a just compensation for the jobless, since jobs can be
considered as being "scarce goods".
Author's website: http://works.bepress.com/wim_van_lancker/
Publisher's website: http://ethiek-maatschappij.academiapress.be/
CHRISTENSEN, Eric (2008), The Heretical Political Discourse. A Discourse Analysis of the
Danish Debate on Basic Income, Aalborg: Aalborg University Press, 164p., ISBN 978-87-
Eric Christensen is Associate Professor at the Department of Economics, Politics and Public
Administration of Aalborg University in Denmark. For many years he has been involved in
the European discussion on basic income. According to Christensen, in the beginning of the
1990s, Denmark was developing along a true "basic income path". At that time the
hegemonic discourse based on economic growth was facing a crisis. Its legitimacy was
contested by the public opinion, and because of the unemployment crisis, basic income had
been put on the agenda by new political networks and minority groups. However, at the same
time a new labour market policy called "activation" was in-troduced, and slowly, at the
rhetorical level, the question of basic income was excluded. In public political debates and
within the political parties, the "workfare" discourse was becoming increasingly prominent,
and basic income came to be considered a heretical political discourse and was made a target
of negative political stereotyping.
In this anthology about the basic income debate in Denmark, Christensen proposes a
discourse analysis of Denmark's development from a universal welfare state to a workfare
state. With its analysis of metaphors, narratives and key concepts in the debate, it unveils how
the basic income discourse ended up being both heretical and excluded.
Lastly, it provides a global ecological argument for a basic income and discusses the
conditions for bringing back the basic income question on the political agenda.
Author's address: email@example.com
Publisher's website: http://forlag.hum.aau.dk/
HAARMAN, Claudia & al. (2008), Towards a Basic Income Grant for All, Basic Income
Grant Pilot Project Assessment Report, September 2008, ISBN: 978-99916-842-3-9
In January 2008, a Basic Income Grant (BIG) pilot project began in the Otjivero-Omitara area
100 kilometres east of Windhoek. All residents below the age of 60 years receive a Basic
Income Grant of N$100 per person per month, without any conditions being attached. The
grant is being given to every person registered as living there in July 2007, whatever their
social and economic status. This BIG pilot project is designed and implemented by the Namibian
Basic Income Grant Coalition (established in 2004) and is the first universal cashBIEN
NEWSFLASH 53 – September 2008 7
transfer pilot project in the world. The BIG Coalition regards this project as the first step
towards a BIG for all. Funds to start the pilot project were raised through voluntary
contributions from supporters of the idea from all sections of Namibia's society, and by
support from people, churches, organisations and donors in other countries. The BIG pilot
project will run for a period of 24 months up to December 2009.
The effects of the BIG pilot project are being evaluated on an ongoing basis. Four
complementary methods are being used. First, a baseline survey was conducted in November
2007. Second, a panel survey is being conducted every six months, the first being in July
2008. Third, information is being gathered from key informants in the area. Fourth, a series of
detailed case studies of individuals living in Otjivero-Omitara is being carried out. This
reports compares the results of the baseline study and panel data after the first six months of
Key findings include the following:
* The community itself responded to the introduction of the BIG by establishing its own 18-
member committee to mobilize the community and advise residents on how they could
improve their lives with the money. This suggests that the introduction of a BIG can
effectively assist with community mobilisation and empowerment.
* Since the introduction of the BIG child malnutrition in the settlement has dropped
remarkably. Using a WHO measurement technique, the data shows that children's weight-forage
has improved significantly in just six months from 42% of underweight children to only
* Since the introduction of the BIG, the majority of people have been able to increase their
work both for pay, profit or family gain as well as self-employment. This finding is contrary
to critics' claims that the BIG would lead to laziness and dependency.
* Income has risen in the community since the introduction of the BIG by more than the
amount of the grants. There is strong evidence that more people are now able to engage in
more productive activities and that the BIG fosters local economic growth and development.
Several small enterprises started in Otjivero, making use of the BIG money being spent in the
* More than double the number of parents paid school fees and the parents prioritized the
buying of school uniforms. More children are now attending school and the stronger financial
situation has enabled the school to improve teaching material for the pupils (eg. buying paper
and toner). The school principal reported that drop-out rates at her school were 30-40% before
the introduction of the BIG. By July 2008, these rates were reduced to a mere 5%.
* The BIG supports and strengthens Government's efforts to provide ARV treatment to people
suffering from HIV/AIDS by enabling them to access governments services and afford
* The residents have been using the settlement's health clinic much more since the
introduction of the BIG. Residents now pay the N$4 payment for each visit and the income of
the clinic has increased fivefold.
* The criticism that the grants are apparently leading to more alcoholism is not supported by
evidence from the community. On the contrary, the introduction of the BIG has induced the
community to set up a committee that is trying to curb alcoholism and that has worked with
local shebeen owners not to sell alcohol on the day of the pay-out of the grants.
* The introduction of the Basic Income Grant has helped young women recipients to take
charge of their economic affairs. Several cases document that young women have been freed
from having to engage in transactional sex.
* Economic and poverty-related crime (illegal hunting, theft and trespassing) has fallen by
BIEN NEWSFLASH 53 – September 2008 8
* The BIG has helped to achieve progress towards all eight Millenium Development Goals.
In brief, the initial results of this pilot project are very encouraging and by far exceed the
expectations of the BIG Coalition. This is the first impact evaluation after six months of
implementation and the reports to follow in the next 1-1⁄2 years will further elaborate and
describe these developments. The research of the Basic Income Grant Pilot Project is
designed and carried out jointly by the Desk for Social Development (DfSD) and the Labour
Resource and Research Institute (LaRRI) on behalf of the BIG Coalition The authors of this
report are Claudia Haarmann, Dirk Haarmann, Herbert Jauch, Hilma Shindondola-Mote,
Nicoli Nattrass, Michael Samson and Guy Standing.
For further information: firstname.lastname@example.org. Coalition web page: www.bignam.org
LABEAGA, José M., OLIVER, X. & SPADARO, A. (2008), "Discrete choice models of
labour supply, behavioural microsimulation and the Spanish tax reforms", Journal of
Economic Inequality, 6 (3), pp. 247-273.
This article explores the potential of behavioural microsimulation models as powerful tools
for evaluation of public policies which affect tax and benefit systems. In the context of an
evaluation of recent Spanish income tax reforms, the article studies the effects of a basic
income-flat tax scheme (among others) on efficiency and household and social welfare. The
microsimulation model takes labour supply explicitly into account. The results show that the
proposed basic income scheme would only have a minor impact on economic efficiency and
labour market supply, but, by contrast, would significantly improve social welfare. According
to the authors, "the main contribution of this paper consists of highlighting the potential of a
Basic Income Flat Tax scheme as an institutional redistribution mechanism which can both
reduce inequality and increase social welfare in Spain. Its feasibility depends on the
associated efficiency costs (in terms of reductions in labour supply) it may produce, although
the results of our econometric estimations indicate that such costs are minor".
UNITED NATIONS (2008), World Economic and Social Survey: Overcoming Economic
Insecurity, New York: United Nations (Department of Economic and Social Affairs), 202 pp.,
According to the 2008 World Economic and Social Survey of the United Nations, economic
insecurity arises from the exposure of individuals, communities and countries to adverse
events, and from their inability to cope with and recover from the downside losses. The risk
and threats vary from community to community; in advanced countries, they have been
associated with a significant rise in inequality, a hollowing out of middle-class lifestyles and
reduced welfare protection. Elsewhere, economic shocks and premature deindustrialization
have raised fears of an insufficiency of the formal sector jobs needed to accommodate an
expanding urban population. In still other places, food insecurity has given rise to political
discontent and increased levels of personal insecurity.
These local concerns have been compounded by new global threats. Unregulated
financial markets and international capital flows are currently threatening economic
livelihoods across the world economy. Climate change imposes the threat of greater local
environmental damage and increasingly destructive natural disasters.
BIEN NEWSFLASH 53 – September 2008 9
The attention brought to the presence of these heightened economic risks and
compounded threats has often been met with the response that the forces behind them are
autonomous and irresistible, and beyond our collective political control. The Survey offers a
different perspective. What is needed, according to the report, is a strong "social contract" to
help secure the spaces within which individuals, households and communities could pursue
their day-to-day activities with a reasonable degree of predictability and stability, and with
due regard for the aims and interests of others. This will require a more integrated and
pragmatic approach to economic and social policy, one tailored to local threats and
challenges, as well as more space for implementing counter-cyclical macroeconomic policies
and greater international support for broader social protection schemes.
In this context, the report discusses the idea of a basic income. In a special section
strangely entitled "Into the wild: the case for a basic minimum income" (probably referring to
Sean Penn's movie "Into the Wild" (2007), based on the true story of Christopher McCandless,
a young man who died in Alaska's wilderness in August 1992), the report briefly refers to the
basic income discussion in Europe and other countries, including Brazil. It argues that the
"best known example of an operational basic income scheme is the Alaska Permanent Fund
Dividend" (see pp.177-178).
The report can be downloaded at:
VANDERBORGHT, Yannick (2008), 'Social Justice Through Universal Benefits', Revista de
Estudos Universitarios (Universidade de Sorocaba, Brazil), 34 (1), juin 2008, pp.71-84.
Since the late 1990s, the reform of income transfer programmes has become a hot topic in
several developing countries. Among the proposals being debated, the idea of giving all
citizens the right to an unconditional and universal basic income has attracted renewed
attention. This introductory paper briefly tackles some of the main questions raised by this
idea: would the introduction of such a basic income represent an improvement in terms of
economic security for countries like Brazil? Would it be superior to existing targeted
schemes? How should it be implemented? Even if basic income is not to be seen as magic
bullet against all social problems, it is argued that it can be considered as a crucial component
of any coherent strategy designed to foster social justice in developing countries.
SPECIAL ISSUE of Les Périphériques vous parlent, "Hommage à André Gorz", issue 24,
Available online at http://www.lesperipheriques.org/
Les Périphériques vous parlent is a group of left-wing thinkers and activists which has been
active in France since the early 1990s. In a special issue of its magazine, Les Périphériques
pay a tribute to one of their main sources of inspiration, journalist André Gorz, who died in
2007. Gorz was a prominent advocate of basic income (see BIEN NewsFlash 47). A special
section of this issue is devoted to a discussion on "social income" ("Le revenu social: sortir de
la société salariale") between Yovan Gilles (Périphériques), Marie-Louise Duboin (from the
magazine "La Grande Relève"), Jean Zin (a green advocate of basic income) and Christophe
Fourel (Director of the "Agence nouvelle des solidarités actives").
BIEN NEWSFLASH 53 – September 2008 10
Université populaire et citoyenne à Roubaix (2008), 'Du RMI à l'allocation universelle.
Conférence-débat avec Yannick Vanderborght', Cahiers UPC, issue 12, 20p. Available online
In the aftermath of a conference by Yannick Vanderborght (University of Louvain and
Facultés Saint-Louis in Belgium), held in March 2007 in Roubaix (an industrial city in the
North of France), the "People and Citizen's University" has published a special issue of its
magazine which is entirely devoted to a discussion of basic income and minimum income
schemes in the French context. It includes a summary of the conference and seminar, written
by Vincent Boutry, as well as interviews of local activists. It is available online at
For further information: email@example.com
CABRILLO, Francisco (2008), "La utopía de la renta básica" ["The Utopia of Basic
Income"], Revista de Libros, nº 133 (January), pp. 35-36.
In this article, a Spanish mainstream neo-liberal economist reviews very critically one recent
book on basic income published in Spain (La Renta Básica como nuevo derecho ciudadano,
edited by Gerardo Pisarello and Antonio del Cabo, Madrid, Trotta, 2006). The main
objections the article makes against basic income are well-known in the literature: that it
would have an unacceptable economic cost, only attainable by a fiscal revolution against all
present trends in fiscal policy; that it would damage labour incentives and, therefore, generate
social anger against "parasites"; and that its defenders supposedly assume that the number of
jobs of an economy is a given parameter, instead of a variable, so full employment may be a
perfectly possible (and more efficient and just) alternative to basic income.
NOGUERA, José A. (2007). "Capitalismo y justicia: los términos de la cuestión"
["Capitalism and justice: the terms of the question"], Sistema. Revista de Ciencias Sociales, nº
200, pp. 87-106.
This article reviews the discussion on the injustice of capitalism in contemporary normative
theory, and makes specific reference to basic income as one of the measures that may cope
with that injustice. The article starts by proposing a definition of 'capitalism' based on four
conditions, and by specifying the role of justice as a criterion for choice among economic
systems. Secondly, a distinction is made between an 'injustice in capitalism' and an 'injustice
of capitalism', in order to assess to what extent the overcoming of capitalism would be
necessary or not in order to fight that injustice. Five candidates are considered as cases of
'injustice of capitalism': exploitation, domination-despotic power, distributive injustice, lack
of real freedom, and motivational injustice. Different proposals designed to fight those
candidates are reviewed, and basic income is assessed as a very promising one among others,
but it is noted that it does not necessarily involve the overcoming of capitalism; that is to say
that maybe a great part (if not most) of the injustice of capitalism may be tackled by other
features or institutions of the social system, without abolishing capitalism itself. The only
possible exception would be an (unjust) distribution of productive assets, which is not directly
affected by basic income.
BIEN NEWSFLASH 53 – September 2008 11
NOGUERA, José A. (2008). "Seguridad de la cuna a la tumba. La Renta Básica como
renovación del Estado del bienestar" ["Security from cradle to grave: basic income as renewal
of the welfare state"], Estudios de Política y Sociedad, vol. 1, nº 1 (New period, January-April
This journal, edited by Mexican political scientists at the Universidad Autònoma de Puebla,
has started a new period, the first issue of which includes this article as part of a dossier on
basic income. The issue also includes articles by Miguel Carbonell ("El derecho a la Renta
Básica. Una perspectiva constitucional"), Pedro Aguirre ("Ingreso básico garantizado.
Hipótesis para México y una nota sobre Brasil") and Andrés Lajous ("3 teorías y 3 ejemplos
para proponer un Ingreso Ciudadano Universal en México"). Noguera's article presents and
defends the proposal of basic income as the best answer to present social problems such as
labour market insecurity, changes in family structures, and the crisis of traditional welfare
schemes, now that selective and focalized policies and keynesian full-employment models
have proved to be quite ineffective.
SALVAT, Pablo (2008), 'Fundamento ético para un ingreso mínimo garantizado', Mensaje
(Santiago, Chile), March-April 2008, pp.51-53, http://www.mensaje.cl/
A short introductory article on basic income in which Pablo Salvat (University Padre Hurtado,
Chile) argues in favour of the right to a "decent existence", independently from any work
requirement. According to the author, basic income should be included in the ongoing
discussion on welfare state reform in Chile.
Journal's website: http://www.mensaje.cl/
Author's address: firstname.lastname@example.org
4. NEW LINKS
* BASIC INCOME IN SWITZERLAND
The introduction of a basic income for all will become a hot political topic over the next
decade, social ethics specialist Hans Ruh tells swissinfo.
Also available in French and German, see www.swissinfo.ch
* UK'S CITIZEN'S INCOME TRUST
The Citizen's Income Trust has published an A3 poster: on one side is an introduction to
Citizen's Income and details of a particular fully costed scheme, and on the other a history of
social welfare in the UK from 1900 to the present day. See the poster as a pdf at
May%202008.pdf or email email@example.com with requests for printed copies.
The poster/leaflet will be particularly useful to students and teachers, and also to anyone
interested in the history of tax and benefits in the UK and Citizen's Income as an important
5. ABOUT THE BASIC INCOME EARTH NETWORK
Ingrid VAN NIEKERK firstname.lastname@example.org, Economic Policy Research Institute, Cape
BIEN NEWSFLASH 53 – September 2008 12
Town, South Africa
Karl WIDERQUIST Karl@Widerquist.com, University of Reading, United Kingdom
Further details about BIEN's Executive Committee and International Board can be found on
our website www.basicincome.org, as well as further information about the Recognised
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advocates coming from developing countries or from disadvantaged groups.
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BIEN NEWSFLASH 53 – September 2008 13
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