A Citizen’s Basic Income Day at the London School of Economics, 20th February 2018

Readers will be interested to hear that during the LSE Festival, Tuesday 20th February will be a Citizen’s Basic Income Day. The morning and afternoon will consist of lively mixtures of presentations and participation, and, in the evening there will be a significant debate. Topics to be discussed will include the following:

During the morning:

How should we define a Citizen’s Basic Income?

‘Unconditional, nonwithdrawable, and individual’ might sound simple, but there is plenty of controversy as to what it means. Participants will join in the controversy and then draw up a detailed definition.

Is a Citizen’s Basic Income politically feasible?

Following brief presentations from different political viewpoints, participants will construct descriptions of political viewpoints, will discuss the advantages that proponents of those viewpoints would see in Citizen’s Basic Income, and the objections to Citizen’s Basic Incomes that those viewpoints might generate, and will ask how trajectories of Citizen’s Basic Income debate might evolve among people committed to different ideological positions.

Is a Citizen’s Basic Income financially feasible?

Following presentations about available research methods for evaluating whether a Citizen’s Basic Income could be funded from within the current tax and benefits system, participants will evaluate recent research results and will construct a research plan. A second part of the session will encourage participants to propose different longer-term funding options, to decide on their advantages, disadvantages, and feasibilities, and to construct plans for the research required.

During the afternoon:

Is it possible to run a Citizen’s Basic Income pilot project?

Presentations will be offered by representatives of pilot projects undertaken in Namibia, India, Iran, Finland, the USA and Canada. Following questions to the speakers, participants will be invited to construct a list of requirements for a pilot project, and to evaluate the pilot projects presented. Presentations will then be offered on pilot projects currently being planned in Scotland, the Netherlands, and Serbia, and participants will then apply the list of requirements constructed during the first part of the session.

At 6.30 p.m.: The debate: ‘Beveridge Rebooted’

Professor Philippe Van Parijs (Louvain University) will propose the motion: ‘This house believes that if the Beveridge Report were being written today, then it would have recommended a Citizen’s Basic Income’. Professor John Kay (University of Oxford) will oppose the motion. The event will be chaired by Dr. Enkeleida Tahiraj (Visiting Senior Fellow, LSE, European Institute); at the beginning, Dr. Malcolm Torry (Visiting Senior Fellow, LSE, Social Policy Department) will offer a brief description of Citizen’s Basic Income; and, at the end, the Guardian journalist, Polly Toynbee, will offer her reflections on the event.

Registration will be required

There will be no charge for attendance, but only those who register will be able to attend. Different parts of the day are being organised by different LSE departments, and separate registrations will be required for the morning, the afternoon, and the evening debate.

Information and registration:

Information about the Citizen’s Basic Income day, 9 a.m. to 5.45 p.m.

Registration for the morning session, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Registration for the afternoon session, 1.30 p.m. to 5.45 p.m.

Evening debate, information and registration, 6.30 p.m. to 7.45 p.m.