What is BIEN 2022?

BIEN 2022 is the 21st annual Congress of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN). BIEN draws together individuals and groups across the world who have an interest in basic income, and encourages education and informed discussion about the potential of basic income in a wide range of contexts. Members of BIEN include social policy practitioners, students, academics, activists and more from a range of disciplinary backgrounds and with diverse political affiliations. You can read more about BIEN here.

What can basic income offer in a time of crisis and transformation?

Climate change and COVID-19 continue to impact populations around the world, compounding existing inequalities and insecurities, while producing new economic, political, social and environmental fissures. At the same time, the global basic income debate has intensified as the inadequacies and injustices of old systems are exposed. This has further spurred new basic income proposals, movements, and experiments. Both climate change and COVID-19 are showing us that we must not return to ‘normal’.  We need to consider new and better futures.

The headline theme of BIEN 2022 explores how ongoing ecological, health and economic crises are challenging and expanding our thinking about the possibilities of basic income during societal transformation. We ask, how can we think about the role of basic income in the positive transformations that are needed? We ask, what can we learn from voices and knowledges often overlooked — First Nations peoples, young people and the many other marginalised voices and actors? We invite contributions that bring together old and new ideas about how to make a better world for all.

What is a basic income?

A basic income is a periodic cash payment unconditionally delivered to all on an individual basis, without a means-test or work requirement. The five characteristics of a basic income, as outlined by BIEN, are:

1. Periodic—It is paid at regular intervals (for example every month), not as a one-off grant.

2. Cash payment—It is paid in an appropriate medium of exchange, allowing those who receive it to decide what they spend it on. It is not, therefore, paid either in kind (such as food or services) or in vouchers dedicated to a specific use.

3. Individual—It is paid on an individual basis—and not, for instance, to households.

4. Universal—It is paid to all, without a means test.

5. Unconditional—It is paid without a requirement to work or to demonstrate willingness-to-work.

You can find out more about basic income at the BIEN website, here.