Basic Income A-Go-Go! Crowdfunded manifestos, Presidential candidates and preparing the ground


It's exciting to see what the concept of universal basic income has been generating in the public mind. It's stimulated not just ideas about its own practicality or desirability, but also broader thinking - about how we collectively respond to automation replacing jobs; or how elites take the lion's share of wealth; or what activities (and creativities) really add value and meaning to a society. 

Here's three major initiatives, picked up just in the last seven days, to show how "a-go-go" the basic income movement is getting: 

Phil Teer's "The Coming Age of Imagination" - Crowdfunded on Unbound

A/UK followers will know how much advertising legend Phil Teer has been a part of our activities from the get-go (here's a search list). In early 2017, we asked Phil to take on the challenge of how to sell Universal Basic Income - the results of which he presented at our March 1st opening meet (see his video, and presentation).

We are thrilled to hear that, based on that material, Phil now has a book project with the crowdfunding publisher Unbound, titled The Coming Age of Imagination. His blurb is below - but his book needs support to come to life. If you liked the promotional video at the top, and his earlier presentation material, then please pledge your support for his book on Unbound here. 

(Note: In line with Uffe Elbaek's notion that Alternativet should be a political "platform" - with the party only one possible "entity" on that platform, others being enterprises and projects of all kinds - we're delighted that Alternative UK has helped inspire and generate Phil's book. More outcomes to come!)


Yang 2020 - "Humanity First": A Presidential Candidacy based on Universal Basic Income

Here's the campaign website. Fitting very much the profile of Yang himself, this is the "American entrepreneurial" take on basic income. You pay for it by taxing those massive corporations and platform who are benefitting from new efficiencies and new digital behaviours. But the expectation is that UBI will support citizens to start their own businesses locally, or retrain for new kinds of jobs coming down the road. Yang's own take on UBI is here, in a really well organised FAQ.  


The RSA suggests one route to a UBI is a "Universal Basic Opportunity Fund"

In a report launched this week, the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) marked another stage in their deep research into basic income, by proposing a stepping-stone policy called a "Universal Basic Opportunity Fund".

Extracts from the introduction:

30 percent of UK workers face chronic or acute precariousness with 40 percent facing uncertain futures. This report considers a potential way of addressing the problem of economic insecurity.

The central proposition is the creation of a Universal Basic Opportunity Fund (UBOF): an effort to reimagine how society supports people to live meaningful, contributory lives. Its premise is simple: fund every citizen under the age of 55 with a £5,000 opportunity dividend for up to two years, taken at a time of their choosing over the course of a decade. The fund would initially last for ten years, with dependent children also eligible for the payment in the year a parent, or both, were receiving it.

Our intention is to consider how, through capturing asset wealth, the UK can begin to move to a system of support for incomes that genuinely equips citizens to adapt to changes in their lives, whether driven by economic change or personal circumstances. 

The UBOF would also constitute an opportunity to experiment with the kind of unconditional social support mechanisms advocated by supporters of the principles underpinning Universal Basic Income (UBI). 

...In a domestic political climate defined by the uncertainties of Brexit, we recognise that major transformative interventions such as UBI are unlikely in the immediate future. We suggest the UBOF therefore as a more feasible way to realise some of the benefits of UBI immediately – such as the ability to plan and create on the basis of secure income subsistence.

The UBOF could also constitute an important stepping stone in the direction of the UK adopting a full UBI model as the costs and benefits in relation to the current system are better understood. The UBOF should therefore not be considered as an end destination, but as an experimental prologue to an entire re-envisioned social contract between citizen and state, citizen and market, and citizen and citizen.

One where security and creativity are combined rather than in conflict, as they too often are in the current system. 

Here's the PDF of the report. And here's a blog from one of its authors, Jamie Cooke

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Finally, it was enjoyable to see a rather lazy article on the undesirability of UBI in the Financial Times be steadily taken apart by respondents in its comments space below