An outsider’s view of the Basic Income Congress

Basic Income Earth Network

I was privileged to attend the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) 2019 Congress just now where I drew attention to the role of complementary currencies and attempted to dispel any fantasies about the role of blockchain in transferring wealth.

I’ve always supported Basic Income (BI) in principle. It is probably the most direct possible strategy to address the perennial problems of poverty and inequality. It works by giving enough money to live to everyone, effectively putting a floor on poverty, and taking away the fear and want that drives people to underprice their labour. It is unconditionality makes it cheaper to administer than a normal social security system.

This week I learned that there have been plenty of trials, and they consistently demonstrate the above benefits in addition to others like empowering women (at least in India) and helping people to invest in their own livelihoods.

After a week of conversation as an outsider to the movement, I want to record here some other thoughts, which I hope may be of value.

1. The term:
It must have taken years of debate to settle on ‘Basic Income’ so maybe my thoughts on the matter are nothing new and too tardy. The term Basic Income does not express (to me) the intention that it should be enough to live on.

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