UBI May update

Posted on June 2, 2024

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Dear UBI Friends and Supporters,

We hope you are well! You will find some good UBI news in our May update.

1) UBI Lab Arts, UBI Lab Leeds and UBI Lab Network, in association with Basic Income Ireland invite you to join

Basic Income for the Arts in Ireland – What have We Learned after 20 months?

When? Wednesday, June 5, 2024, 6:30-8:00 PM UK Summer Time (UTC +1)

Where? Online (Zoom)

Please join us for the fourth in our special series of discussions dedicated to reflecting on what we can learn from the Irish Basic Income for the Arts Pilot Scheme, as it unfolds.

The Government of Ireland is running a Basic Income pilot that began in September 2022. 2000 artists and cultural workers will receive a weekly unconditional income of €325 weekly for a period of three years. This fourth session will be an opportunity to check-in with some of the artists involved in the pilot scheme and learn from them about how it is affecting them and their creative communities. You can watch the recordings from our previous sessions here:

First Session Dec 2022 |  Second Session June 2023 |  Third Session Dec 2023

We will again be joined by artists Shane Finan, Alisha Doody and Tadhg Ó Cuirrín, who will give us personal insights from the perspective of recipients and members of the ‘control group’ who applied but will not receive the basic income. We will also be joined by Basic Income Ireland who will give an update about their work and the political context of Ireland.

               Please find out more, spread the message and register for this event at the Action Network                website here.

2) A German study published in Basic Income Studies in January 2024

Universal Basic Income Universally Welcomed? – Relevance of Socio-Demographic and Psychological Variables for Acceptance in Germany

Open access at DOI: 10.1515/bis-2023-0023

3) Reinhard from UBI Lab Leeds presented at the Café Economique Leeds in May ‘Framing, Financing, Delivering a Green Basic Income’. You can find the presentation at the CE website. You need to scroll down to the last presentation.

4) In case you missed the webinar panel discussion ‘What could a UBI do for my Union?’ organised by UBI Lab Network and Manchester, you can watch it here (1hr 18mins) and read all about it here on the Musicians’ Union’s website.

5) News from South Africa:

Isobel Frye, founder and executive director of Social Policy Initiative, has recently published a thought-provoking op-ed in the South African Mail & Guardian: The Overlooked Potential of Basic Income in Addressing Socio-Economic Crises,” which delves into the transformative potential of a universal basic income in South Africa.

Article Excerpt:

“South Africa is a formal egalitarian democracy. Elections are less than a month away and the faces of hopeful candidates flutter from lampposts. For the first time ever, a very real possibility exists that the ANC will not be returned as the ruling party either nationally or provincially. All bets are off. And so it is surprising that in all this contestation, the idea of a universal basic income is not more of a vote catcher.”

Isobel highlights the pressing need for innovative solutions to the socio-economic challenges of South Africa, with over 55% of the population living in poverty and a real unemployment rate of 41%. She argues for a basic income grant as a viable and necessary intervention to support the millions of South Africans in need.

You can read the full article here.

6) News from the USA

An article by Allie Kelly in the Business Insider has summarised and analysed the basic-income pilots in the USA: ‘Over 100 basic-income pilots have run in US cities. Now states are getting creative to fund no-strings-attached cash payments’. Key messages: The pilots are successful and spreading to different cities. California and New Mexico consider adopting Guaranteed Basic Income (GBI) policies at the state level. Republicans try to stop proposed GBI programmes in several states through legislation and budget restrictions. Unfortunately the articles of this website are only available, if you register on the website.

Business Insider has published an article ‘OpenAI’s Sam Altman has a new idea for a universal basic income’. Mr Altman proposes that the funding can be generated through AI, but the idea is not well explained. Obviously AI may become another type of Rentier Capitalism and the rent-seeking behaviour could be a source of BI funding.

On NBC news: Free cash programs spread as more cities expand the anti-poverty safety net

Across the country, city-led guaranteed income programs are delivering unrestricted payments to struggling households, including those ineligible for other aid. Conservative critics are pushing back.

7) The computer scientist Professor Geoffrey Hinton, seen as the “godfather of artificial intelligence”, proposes a universal basic income to deal with the impact of AI on inequality. You can read the article on BBC News:  We’ll need universal basic income – AI ‘godfather’

8) Reminder of our Febuary 2024 update:

A Study on a European UBI has been financed by the European Parliament and written by three Catalonian economists with a focus on financing: Can UBI be financed by the EU and how it can be financed through three taxes: income tax, wealth tax and carbon tax? You can download the study here.

9) Andrew Boyer proposes a universal basic income which could put life-changing solutions in the hands of residents. You can read his article ‘Manchester is owed a Universal Basic Income’ in the online independent media The Meteor.

10) FRIBIS online seminars (Freiburg Institute for Basic Income Studies) in May and June. You need to register for the seminars!

29 May, 13-15hrs UK time:

Social Contract and Ubuntu – Individuality and communities illustrated by the example of UBI

5 June , 13-15hrs UK time:

               Gradualism in UBI, Social Protection and Water Energy Food as case studies

12 June, 13-15hrs UK time:

               Normative Social Experiments and UBI

11) Economist and philosopher David Chandler has just published the book ‘Free and Equal – What would a fair society look like’. He proposes Rawls’ political framework of thinking to address current political issues in a human way. He proposes several progressive policies such as a written constitution and a Universal Basic Income. You can find a critical book review here.

12) UBI Lab network members Dave Beck, Remco Peters, Gemma Bridge, Francis Poitier and Ben Pearson published the blog ‘Creating solid housing foundations via a basic income’ on the website Housing Quality Magazine.

13) Guy Standing gave a virtual talk in the International Lecture Series on Marxist Philosophy at Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China in 2023 on ‘Rentier Capitalism, the Precariat and Basic Income for China’. You can read the English version of the talk with a brief overview about Capitalism in the 20th and 21st century here.

14) The International Social Security Review has just published a special issue ‘Emergency Basic Income: Distraction or Opportunity’ edited by Jurgen De Wispelaere and Troy Henderson. Four of the seven articles are open access:

Introduction: Emergency basic income: Distraction or opportunity?

What role for emergency basic income in building and strengthening rights-based

universal social protection systems?

The role of an emergency basic income: Lessons from the Latin American experience

to confront the COVID-19 pandemic

Diversity within universality: Explaining pandemic universal cash transfers in East Asia

Flirting with a basic income in Canada: Were the lessons worth the risk of popular backlash?

Seeding policy: Viral cash and the diverse trajectories of basic income in the United States

Flash in the pan or eureka moment? What can be learned from Australia’s natural

experiment with basic income during COVID-19

Basic income as a pandemic social protection instrument: Lessons from Maricá, Brazil

15) Neil Howard from University of Bath and Zac Polanski from the Green Party have published an excellent non-party and party version of a video clip (1 min 45secs) ‘Adopt UBI to Abolish Poverty‘. Key Message: ‘It’s not a cost-of-living crisis, it’s an inequality crisis. If we adopted basic income, we could abolish poverty altogether’. You can find the non-party version here and the Green Party one here.

In solidarity and best wishes
reinhard on behalf of UBI Lab Leeds