Basic income update and resources


Quite a few of NSW ALP Branches have passed motions on basic income, calling on the ALP to investigate a universal basic income.

Thanks to those branches for having me along or passing motions on basic income – Hornsby, Oatley, Macquarie (North Ryde), Hawkesbury, Katoomba, Glebe, Seven Hills, Springwood, Hughes FEC, Greenway FEC, Macquarie FEC and a bunch of others have had the debate and sparked interest among members about the topic.

We held the first meeting of the NSW Labor Economic Policy Committee on Saturday 8 October and it was discussed there as well. The Committee was fairly positive about potentially using the idea as a topic of conversation at Central Policy Branch and as a way of getting people interested in economic policy more generally. I’ll keep you posted on whether that comes to anything.

What follows is a  rough collection of links on articles and videos that I often refer to when talking to Labor Party members (and others!) about UBI. I think if you read and watched them all you’d be very well versed in the topic. Anyone keen to summarise or review them is invited to do so!

The first one which everyone must watch is the Yanis Varoufakis video – Basic Income is a Necessity. If you haven’t watch it yet, stop what you are doing and watch it. NOW!

Yanis Varoufakis – Basic Income is a Necessity

“Wealth is not privately produced and collectively appropriated, but the complete reverse. It is collectively produced and privately appropriated. Basic income is a way to ensure that those who produce the value get a greater share of it.

Thru a basic income, society stakes a claim to the returns to aggregate capital, which was created collectively, which then becomes an income stream to everyone.” (Paraphrase)


QUT’s website also has a very helpful introduction, and the Basic Income Earth Network’s site links to dozens of other sites, FAQs and articles.





In the future, we could all get free money from the government — here’s when it might happen


AUG 12, 2016, 6:08 AM


Here’s more evidence that giving people unconditional free money actually works


JUL 26, 2016, 11:30 AM


Why Land Value Tax and Universal Basic Income Need each other

Martin Farley

Author of the ‘Transformation Deal’. Interested in social & economic change, especially Land Value Tax, Basic Income, Flat Tax and anything else…


74% of billionaire wealth from rent-seeking

A new report by Dider Jacobs at the Center for Popular Economics offers a breathtaking estimate of how the rich have gotten richer in recent years. According to Jacobs’analysis, 74% of billionaire wealth in America was gained through rent-seeking, or socially useless activity.


This article by ABC’s Michael Janda is incredibly important, especially in the context of the UBI debate.

Australia’s banks are too big for the nation’s good


By business reporter Michael Janda



Some say you can have a basic income without raising taxes – in the US at least.

A UBI without raising taxes


NZ Labour Party considering universal income for all Kiwis



NZ Labour discussion paper on UBI, with some costings and options:


A feminist case for Basic Income: An interview with Kathi Weeks


Virtuous Rent: a Rudder That Can Transform Our Economy – Peter Barnes

How to create a bottom-up stimulus machine in which the people rather than the government do the spending.



Should Australia Adopt a Universal Basic Income?

Fabians Event – Sydney

Here’s the video and audio record of the Fabians event in Sydney (I’m at 1h:05m:10s if you want my take on the necessity of basic income – hint, it’s to do with deflation and economic rent-seeking!)

Should Australia adopt a Universal Basic Income? – NSW Fabians

Weren’t able to make it to the NSW Fabians event about a basic income on Friday evening? Catch up with our audio recording of the event at

Video of the event by EconomiKarma is also available at


How Basic Income Solves Capitalism’s Fundamental Problem – Evonomics

“The Basic Income Guarantee solves the problem of demand, stimulates the economy, increases corporate profits, gives workers more freedom, and provides a safety net to the most vulnerable. It is economically sound and politically savvy. But the very rich don’t fear unemployment, they fear redistribution and they will be the most significant force against the implementation of the Basic Income Guarantee.


Universal basic income wouldn’t make people lazy–it would change the nature of work


CALIFORNIA, US: State Legislature Recommends Carbon Tax and Dividend | BIEN

The carbon tax-and-dividend model is often viewed as a way to introduce a basic income in the United States.

Earlier in the week, the California state legislature approved a resolution calling upon the President and Congress to support a tax on carbon with revenues distributed as a cash dividend.


Basic income and other ways to fix capitalism | Federico Pistono | TEDxHaarlem


Basic income calculator shows policy’s feasibility | BIEN

The Economist recently unveiled a Basic Income Calculator that can illustrate how much each person could receive under a UBI by scrapping existing non-health related welfare …”


Economist Mariana Mazzucato: Basic income is a “basic right” | BIEN

Basic income isn’t redistribution. It’s pre-distribution, allowing each of us to create the value that or society collectively creates.


Basic Income? Basically unaffordable, say most Canadians – Angus Reid Institute

Canadian polls on basic income. I would wager that Australia’s stats would be almost the same. For interpretation, the NDP is sister party of the Labor Party in Canada.


New Book on Basic Income in Australia and New Zealand | BIEN

There is a new book out on Basic Income in Australia and New Zealand.

The book is edited by Jennifer Mays, Greg Marston, and John Tomlinson, all of whom are affiliated with the Queensland University of Technology.


Basic income: the post social democratic economic pathway for the 21st century | BIEN

Alexander de Roo, one of the co-founders of Basic Income Earth Network, describes the current state of the #BasicIncome movement in the Netherlands.


Neurodiversity and Mental Health

“Noisy environments, interruptions, long work hours and lack of autonomy are stressful for everyone, but often downright intolerable for autistic people. Expectations of conformity hit neurodivergent people especially hard, but they can be stifling or even ruinous for people from other cultures, too, not to mention anyone who doesn’t fit neatly into the gender roles assigned them by society. …

Moving to a less bureaucratic, stigmatising and conditional system like Basic Income should benefit almost everyone, but could be an especially large boon for the neurodivergent, the disabled and the mentally ill.”


We already have a UBI: NZ Super

Economist Gareth Morgan analyzes New Zealand’s pension program as a long-running universal basic income experiment:


What Happens When We Give People a Basic Income?


BOOK: Vijay Joshi, India’s Long Road to Prosperity | BIEN

Vijay Joshi, Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Oxford, has published a new book in which he argues in favor of a basic income for all citizens of India.


Satyajit Das says the world isn’t ready for another banking crisis

There are many reasons for a universal basic income, but perhaps the most pressing is that financialisation has depleted the growing power of labour and non-financial capital. And even though this system is essentially insolvent – the world is awash with non-performing private debt – it continues to seek ever more unearned rents from labour and industrial capital. So you get negative interest rates, further lack of demand and deflation. A UBI is therefore essenital, not just desirable, in order to stabilise the system and provide a foundation for demand, while also guaranteeing a decent life for all.


Socialist leader: basic income is a means for better society

“The introduction of a basic income is not a goal but a means to create a better society, the leader of the Socialist Party [of Hungary] said at an international conference in Budapest. …”


What will the evidence say about a universal basic income? | Devex

“With a basic income people could be freed up to do only the work they want to do, versus the work they have to do. That could mean more people working on issues like those contained among the Sustainable Development Goals, from improving health and well-being to advancing gender equality.”


Some residents of Oakland are about to get a basic income

Lots of different basic income experiments happening.


Basic income online course


A Silicon Valley entrepreneur says basic income would work even if 90% of people smoked weed instead of working


19 Jobseekers For Every Job: The Unemployed Elephant in the Room

By Owen Bennett on October 10, 2016


“According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there are 713,300 unemployed workers (5.6% of the workforce) and 1,110,100 underemployed workers (a record-high 8.7%).

Adding the 1.82 million Australians looking for work, the most recent ABS data indicates there are a further 1.34 million ‘hidden unemployed’ who are not considered part of the workforce but are also looking for work.

That’s just over three million Australians who are currently looking for work. Can they all be ‘leaners’, ‘dole bludgers’ and ‘job snobs’?

Not according to the Department of Employment’s figures on job vacancies. According to the Department’s August Vacancy Report, there are 166,800 job vacancies currently listed in Australia – down from over 300,000 in 2008.

No wonder the average time spent on Newstart – a payment that is $392 below the Henderson poverty line – is over 4 years.

This is where the Coalition’s plan to break ‘welfare dependency’ starts to resemble a vicious Malthusian attack on Australia’s most poor and vulnerable – much to the apparent delight of conservatives in the media.

Instead of focusing on creative new ways to force poor and vulnerable people off social security, why isn’t the Coalition addressing our growing employment crisis?

The answer is simple: the Coalition knows that as soon as it acknowledges Australia’s employment crisis, the pernicious myth of the ‘dole-bludger’ (first initiated by Labor Treasurer Clyde Cameron in 1974 and perpetuated with gusto ever since) would collapse.

Who then will the Government ‘crackdown’ on to fix the ‘budget emergency’?

Who then will the Government use as a policy tool to ensure a massive over-supply of labour designed to drive down wage growth and union membership?”


Trade union membership hits record low

Nick Toscano

Union membership among public servants sits at 39 per cent, well above the 11 per cent in the private sector.


Scott Morrison’s mixed messages and his faith in a private sector that isn’t investing

Greg Jericho

The IMF would have Australia’s GDP per capita not growing above 2% in any one calendar year in the next five years – a stretch we haven’t experienced any time since the second world war.


A Policymaker’s Guide to Basic Income


David Macdonald


Wouldn’t Unconditional Basic Income Just Cause Massive Inflation?

An answer to the response to the answer to the growing question of the 21st century


A basic guide to taxing economic rent in Australia

ABSTRACT Taxing economic rent is one key element in tax reform in Australia and sets possible directions for the future. This paper introduces readers to the ideas of Adam Smith and David Ricardo and others on rent to aid understanding of the debates about economic rent today. The discussion also includes the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax, the Australia’s Future Tax System Report and the Minerals Resource Rent Tax. The thinking of Smith and Ricardo was that rent was unearned gain. It is unearned because it arises as a consequence of the nature of the holding, an exclusive property right against the rest of the world. The amount of the rent is judged by comparison with the landholding that was just adequate enough to sustain profitable production. The rent is that difference on return. In a world of economic rent today these ideas retain their relevance. The political compromise that is the Minerals Resource Rent Tax is so far removed from these Smith and Ricardo benchmarks that taxing the unearned gains of the mining and other companies arising from the landed and other monopolies they hold remains, although warranted, a task for the future and for a government with the resolve to take on the rich and powerful. We can argue for the future by drawing on the past.


The Natural Commonwealth, “A Basic Income Guarantee Doesn’t Need Coercive Redistribution”


The largest basic income experiment in history is coming to Kenya



Give Directly charity


Charles Wohlforth, “Alaska’s dividends help make us equal and protect our common wealth”

March 8, 2016  Josh Martin


Bank inquiry a victory for public relations – Michael Janda

“Only so much blood can come from a host before it dies

In the final analysis, while Australia’s big four banks operate almost exclusively in Australia and New Zealand – two countries with amongst the most indebted households in the world – it is hard to see how they can grow earnings without issuing inappropriate credit or selling exploitative products.

After all, there is a fine line between banks having a symbiotic relationship with the economy where they facilitate savings and investment to boost growth and where they become parasites feeding off that productive economy.

The Bank for International Settlements – the central bank of central banks – reckons that line is around 100 per cent of GDP, and Australia crossed it long ago.”










About lukewhito

Politics, history, cricket, rugby league, bodysurfing. Kids and family. Love it all.
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