BASIC INCOME GUARANTEE : what’s the catch?
It seems to be a reasonable idea: give everyone (except perhaps the rich) a guaranteed income whether or not they have (or even want) a paid job. Allied to a BIG (BASIC INCOME GUARANTEE) – but not compulsory – is ZERO INCOME TAX. What’s not to like?
Alas, the Ruling Elite have their grubby hands all over the BIG scheme (aka UBI = UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME), which looks as if it’s going mainstream in the 21st century: a sure sign that the Ruling Elite are lurking in the background as usual. UBI is a stepping stone to a ‘social contract’, I conclude; all part of ‘global citizenship’. What are you doing to help mankind and the Earth in general?
There is NO complex economic talk in this article. The emphasis is on the people promoting UBI and why. The main reason why is to help maintain control of the General Public in a world where leisure time is more common, thanks to robots and computers and high tech machines. The UBI (and its descendants) will come with conditions: “we’ll give you money and resources only if you behave as we want you to”.
UBI (BIG) tends to be associated with the political left wing, but it has had support from both sides of the political spectrum ever since the 16th century when the English King Henry VIII’s secretary/adviser SIR THOMAS MORE proposed a kind of UBI scheme in his novel “Utopia”. No doubt there are even earlier examples in history.
A criticism of UBI is that it might result in large numbers of unemployed people with little political power, though that problem might be partially ‘solved’ (on the surface at least) by DIRECT DEMOCRACY (as opposed to traditional REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY). But, of course, the Ruling Elite will have that base covered too. See my article on Direct Democracy in the Political Section.
The rise of the machines meant that it was inevitable that the long working hours and slave labour that once permeated society would have to come an end, so all the supposedly ‘humanitarian’ gestures by politicians and capitalists were – in my opinion – done knowing that child labour, slave labour, and long working hours would soon be history anyway. Taking children out of slave labour and putting them into the classroom seems like a step forward, but it also takes them away from their parents where they can be indoctrinated with the Ruling Elite’s values – how to be a Global citizen. UBI and education will complement each other, e.g. educational vouchers.
Fans of UBI in 2017 (at least) included various UN agencies (e.g. UNESCO and UNESCAP) and the powerful ‘Silicon Valley’ crowd, e.g. FACEBOOK co-founder/CEO/chairman MARK ZUCKERBERG. The UN Secretary General in 2018 – ANTONIO GUTERRES – appeared to endorse UBI in a speech at the UN General Assembly: “The very nature of work will change. Governments may have to consider stronger safety nets, and eventually universal basic income.” (September 25th 2018).
I first became aware of UBI back in the 1990s when I was researching the impact of the New Age movement on the down-to-earth worlds of business, politics and economics. The influential British ‘management guru’ CHARLES HANDY advocated a combination of a NATIONAL INCOME SCHEME with zero income tax in his bestselling book “The Age Of Unreason”. Handy worked at the oil company SHELL INTERNATIONAL and was Warden at Windsor Castle’s ST. GEORGE’S HOUSE, a think-tank co-founded by the Queen’s husband Prince Philip.
Handy teamed up with the American ‘management guru’ ROGER HARRISON, who tried to instil more love into the traditionally ruthless business world. Handy promoted intuition in his “The Second Curve” (2016). ‘Second curve thinking’, he wrote, “…requires imagination, intuition, and instinct rather than rational analysis.”. Handy said that we each need to take more control of our lives, e.g. education, finances, health, etc.
Handy was chairman of a UBI promoter, the Royal backed RSA (ROYAL SOCIETY FOR THE ENCOURAGEMENT OF ARTS, MANUFACTURES AND COMMERCE). The RSA released a report in 2018 (Feb 16th) proposing a stepping stone to full UBI called UBOF (UNIVERSAL BASIC OPPORTUNITY FUND), which would “… enable citizens to live meaningful and contributory lives.” Applicants would have to demonstrate how they would intend to use the money. The payment would be administered through a range of accredited bodies, e.g. schools, local authorities, etc. The report was co-authored by ANTHONY PAINTER who has worked in partnership with GOOGLE, the BBC and the METROPOLITAN POLICE.
The RSA Chief Executive in 2018 was UBI fan MATTHEW TAYLOR, previously a senior political strategist in Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Labour Party government where he was head of the “Number 10 Policy Unit”. Taylor helped write the Labour Party’s manifesto for the 1997 general election (won by Blair). Taylor then became Director of the pro-Labour (at least it was back then), centre-left think tank, IPPR (INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC POLICY RESEARCH). Taylor followed in his father’s footsteps as a BBC Radio presenter/panellist. His father LAURIE TAYLOR (an ex-Socialist) has presented for many years the BBC Radio 4 series “Thinking Allowed”.
Charles Handy suggested that zero income tax should be funded by more EXPENDITURE TAXES, i.e. more INDIRECT taxation, another idea that I have seen often, especially the need for more ‘green taxes’. Goods and services are taxed, rather than people’s income, which is inevitable if machines do most of the work. The ‘Green’ political parties tend to support UBI, such as the British GREEN PARTY. Intriguingly, an expenditure tax called SALES TAX is mentioned in an episode of “The Simpsons” that parodied the movie on the creation of FACEBOOK: “The Social Network”. In “The D’oh-cial Network” (first aired in 2012), someone says: “Order it online now, while you can still cheat the government on sales tax.” Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg wants UBI because of the unemployment caused by computers and AI (artificial intelligence).
The WORLD BANK in 2018 called for more indirect taxation and a “…new social contract”, with UBI as a possible option, but said that “A UBI is not an alternative to health, education, or other social services.” This view was in their 2019 WORLD DEVELOPMENT report (“The Changing Nature Of Work”), which had a foreword by the World Bank President JIM YONG KIM, who wrote that the report “…calls for a universal, guaranteed minimum level of social protection.”. Ideas discussed included “A global ‘New Deal'”. The indirect taxation suggested included VAT; excise tax; natural resource taxes (e.g. oil and gas).
Some ‘Right Wing’ fans of UBI included members of the very influential British think-tank the IEA (Institute Of Economic Affairs), which underpinned the ‘free market’ economics of the Thatcher-Reagan years in the 1980s. The IEA’s creation was inspired by a major social/economic/political theorist in the 20th century: FRIEDRICH HAYEK, who supported UBI and who was an influential figure at the LSE (London School Of Economics) that was founded by Fabians and that appears to me to champion the ‘3rd way’ (the merger of ‘left’ and ‘right’; socialism and capitalism). The LSE hosted a debate on UBI in 2018 (February) called “Citizen’s Basic Income Day”, endorsed by the UN Environmental Programme and by the CITIZEN’S BASIC INCOME TRUST, of which the latter’s trustees included the aforementioned ANTHONY PAINTER (RSA) and a key UBI advocate GUY STANDING.
A famous IEA member – the American economist MILTON FRIEDMAN – suggested a NEGATIVE (REVERSE) INCOME TAX in his “From Galbraith to Economic Freedom”. One of Friedman’s proteges was fellow IEA member SAMUEL BRITTAN, who championed UBI. Brittan’s brother LEON BRITTAN served under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as Home Secretary and was pro-Europe: serving in the European Commission as its’ Vice President. As Vice President, one of Brittan’s staff was the future Deputy Prime Minister and Lib Dem Party Leader, NICK CLEGG, who also is pro-Europe but DIDN’T support UBI, preferring – he said in 2017 – to “explore how we can fund expanded universal basic services including lifelong learning and training…” (writing in “iNews”, 29th November 2017). He spoke on UBI in relation to AI’s potential threat to human employment. However, it could be argued that Clegg was endorsing a precursor to full UBI when he said that the tax system should be aimed at AI in order to “cushion the transition for people whose jobs are at the highest risk of disruption”. Clegg had previously proposed zero income tax for low wage earners and income tax cuts for ‘ordinary’ wage earners.
The IEA’s Director General in 2018 was MARK LITTLEWOOD, formerly the Lib Dem Party’s chief press spokesman (head of Media).
Lifelong learning and training, which Clegg wanted, fits in with Charles Handy’s desire for EDUCATIONAL VOUCHERS (aka Educational Credits) for individuals – a proposal also put forward – he wrote – by the European Community Office in Brussels. (see his “The Age Of Unreason”). Adult Education vouchers were distributed by the CORPORATION OF LONDON (London’s municipal governing body) back in 1997, and given the thumbs up by a University of Surrey research group. See their jointly authored book “Towards The Learning City” (1997).
Milton Friedman proposed a voucher system. See his “From Galbraith To Economic Freedom”.
Another educational voucher proponent was the ‘right wing’ billionaire and Eurosceptic SIR JAMES GOLDSMITH, whose sons married into their ancestral neighbours, the Rothschild family, who share their origins in Frankfurt, Germany. See my article on Zac Goldsmith and Direct Democracy in the political section.
A Rothschild fan of UBI is EMMA ROTHSCHILD, a history/economics Professor and daughter of the amazing VICTOR ROTHSCHILD (3rd Baron Rothschild). Her Nobel laureate economist husband AMARTYA SEN also supports UBI, although in 2017 he said that India wasn’t ready for a UBI due to a lack of prosperity, unlike Europe which is more suitable. Emma Rothschild, a Professor at Cambridge and Harvard universities, has links to the UN, e.g. she was chairman of the UN RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT. She worked alongside ex-UN secretary general KOFI ANNAN as board members of TED TURNER’s UN FOUNDATION, which manages donations to the UN.
A Rothschild who has had mixed feelings about UBI is LYNN FORESTER DE ROTHSCHILD, wife of Sir EVELYN DE ROTHSCHILD (ex-chair of “The Economist” magazine). Lynn de Rothschild socialises with the Clintons – BILL and HILLARY, of which Hillary converted eventually to being a UBI fan, and said that she regrets not putting UBI in her presidential campaign against Donald Trump. Hillary wanted UBI to be funded by a carbon tax and a financial transaction tax. Bill Clinton was supportive and he has spoken at Lynn’s COALITION FOR INCLUSIVE CAPITALISM, a think tank designed to improve capitalism. Other speakers at the Coalition’s conferences included Prince Charles, IMF Managing Director CHRISTINE LAGARDE and the Bank of England Governor MARK CARNEY. Coalition supporters included the ROCKEFELLER FOUNDATION and THE FORD FOUNDATION.
James Goldsmith’s brother TEDDY was a prominent environmentalist. Green taxes anyone?
James Goldsmith wrote that educational vouchers “should be free for poor families, but not for the rich…” (See his “The Trap”, 1994).
The next significant member of the UBI fan club is ‘one worlder’, New Ager and Club Of Rome member DAVID KORTEN, who wants to tame capitalism: a goal of the Ruling Elite who divided capitalism from socialism in the first place, now want to unify them. Korten is best known for his book “When Corporations Rule The World”, in which he proposes a BIG/UBI and zero income tax for low income families. He wants more indirect taxation, e.g. green taxes. That green perspective is aligned with his publisher (for “When Corporations…”) EARTHSCAN PUBLICATIONS who have teamed up in the past with the very influential British think tank, RIIA (aka CHATHAM HOUSE). Earthscan was founded by another prominent think tank, the IIED (INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT), which was set up with financial backing from the New Age, ‘green’ oilman ROBERT O. ANDERSON, who owned land in Brazil with DAVID ROCKEFELLER. Also involved in the IIED’s creation was another very influential ‘green’ oilman: MAURICE STRONG, the Secretary General of the UN’s CONFERENCE ON THE HUMAN ENVIRONMENT in 1972.
David Korten was a fan of the UN and attended numerous UN conferences, such as the 1992 UNCED (UN Conference on Environment and Development). Korten worked for the Ford Foundation; the US Air Force (where he hooked up with ARPA); and he has links to the Rockefeller Foundation, either working on their projects or receiving funding from them. An editorial adviser for his “When Corporations Rule The World” was the New Age leading light WILLIS HARMAN, President of the New Age, parapsychological research institute set up by NASA astronaut EDGAR MITCHELL: IONS (INSTITUTE OF NOETIC SCIENCES).
Korten wrote that “planetary consciousness” is the next step in human evolution. He admired the New Age Catholic mysticism of THOMAS BERRY, author of – how very appropriate – “The Great Work: Our Way Into The Future”. Berry in turn championed the New Age Catholic mysticism of TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, as did the UN. See my article “Catholic Mysticism and the New Age Movement” in the Religion section. Berry’s Foundation (the Thomas Berry Foundation) gave an award in 2002 to a New Age Rockefeller: STEVEN ROCKEFELLER. See my article “New Age Rockefellers And the UN” in the Business and Economics section.
Berry and Willis Harman endorsed “When Corporations Rule The World”, as did Teddy Goldsmith; Archbishop DESMOND TUTU (Club Of Budapest member and co-founder of THE ELDERS along with RICHARD BRANSON and others); the World Economic Forum President KLAUS SCHWAB.
As a member of The Club Of Rome, Korten wrote a report to them in the form of his 2016 book “Change The Story, Change The Future”, which has a foreword by 2 Club Of Rome co-Presidents: ANDERS WIJKMAN and ERNST VON WEIZSACKER (nephew of the President of West Germany, Richard Von Weizsacker). The book says that we live in a conscious, self-organising universe.
Korten belonged to the ‘progressive’, left-leaning Washington think tank, the IPS (INSTITUTE FOR POLICY STUDIES) whose co-founder RICHARD BARNET (CFR member) endorsed Korten’s “When Corporations…”, as did the IPS Director in recent years JOHN CAVANAGH, who previously worked for the UN Conference On Trade and Development and at the WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION. Cavanagh and Teddy Goldsmith both were Board Directors at the IFG (INTERNATIONAL FORUM ON GLOBALISATION). Teddy Goldsmith and the IFG founder JERRY MANDER co-wrote a book.
Korten and Cavanagh helped form an alliance of organisations (e.g. IPS and Korten’s “Yes!” Magazine) called the NEW ECONOMY WORKING GROUP.
As mentioned, some UN agencies are generally supportive of UBI. UNESCO appeared to support UBI in December 2016 when they published an enthusiastic report on UBI by Professor ERIK OLIN WRIGHT. A UN representative, PHILIP ALSTON, conducted a panel on UBI and human rights in June 2017, involving 2 influential UBI promoters: GUY STANDING and PHILIPPE VAN PARIJS, who co-founded the BIEN (BASIC INCOME EARTH NETWORK). Alston concluded that UBI is a possible solution to poverty. In March 2017, the UNESCAP (UN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMISSION FOR ASIA AND THE PACIFIC) recommended that UBI “…could be an important tool for eradicating poverty and achieving the SDGs” (sustainable development goals).
BIEN regards the UN’s Article 25 of its’ Universal Declaration Of Human Rights as embracing UBI.
The BIEN co-founder GUY STANDING worked for approx. 30 years at a UN agency called the ILO (INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANISATION), e.g. in 1998-1999 he was part of the new Director-General’s transition team.
BIEN’s co-founder Philippe Van Parijs endorsed the pro-UBI book “Utopia For Realists” by RUTGER BREGMAN, which proposed a 15 hour working week and a borderless world. Bregman spoke on a BBC Radio 4 discussion in 2017 (“Enlightenment After Dark”, episode 1 “Utopia”, 28th Aug 2017). His book was also endorsed by the Harvard University Psychology Professor STEVEN PINKER; the musician BRIAN ENO; the BBC Radio 4 Presenter on economics TIM HARFORD.
Tim Harford wants UBI if computers/robots become dominant. He has been the regular presenter of the BBC Radio economics series “More Or Less” (2007 –2018 at least); “Financial Times” senior columnist and on its’ editorial board; worked for Shell and the World Bank; member of the ROYAL ECONOMIC SOCIETY Council; gave TED talks. At the oil company SHELL, Harford worked on GLOBAL SCENARIOS (“People And Connections”) under the future Lib Dem Party leader VINCE CABLE, who at Shell was its’ Chief Economist.
BIEN co-founder GUY STANDING has worked with the British political party the LABOUR PARTY on UBI and is a fan of its’ leader JEREMY CORBYN. The Labour Party Chancellor (Shadow Chancellor) In 2017 JOHN MCDONNELL set up a working group to explore UBI.
As mentioned, the LSE (London School of Economics) hosted a debate on UBI in 2018. The LSE Director in 2018 was Dame MINOUCHE SHAFIK (DBE) who said that UBI “can be part of a solution but is not a panacea”. She got publicity from the BBC in 2018 as a guest on the BBC’s long running radio series “Desert Island Discs” (BBC Radio 4, Feb 25th 2018). Shafik was previously the WORLD BANK Vice President; ex-IMF Deputy Managing Director under CHRISTINE LAGARDE; BANK OF ENGLAND deputy Governor; chairman of the GCGF (GLOBAL CORPORATE GOVERNANCE FORUM, co-founded by the WORLD BANK and OECD).
Shafik debated UBI in 2018 at the WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM (at Davos) with the likes of Guy Standing and UBI fan STEWART BUTTERFIELD (co-founder of FLICKR, the photo sharing website). In her “Desert Island Discs” interview she discussed the LSE’s research project on rethinking the Welfare State: “Beveridge 2.0”, launched in Nov 2017. Shafik wants a “social contract” and to “make lifelong learning real”, e.g. training vouchers.
“Beveridge 2.0” is named after the famous LSE Director WILLIAM BEVERIDGE whose report laid the foundations of the UK Welfare State and NHS. Beveridge worked with the LSE founders Beatrice and Sidney Webb (Fabians) who made him the LSE Director. Beveridge is credited with enticing the Rockefeller Foundation to fund the LSE. Beveridge belonged to the Eugenics Society. Numerous Fabians supported eugenics, so too the Rockefellers, though Beveridge wasn’t a Fabian.
Shafik’s former boss at the IMF, Christine Lagarde, speaking on behalf of the IMF, shared Shafik’s view that UBI was not a panacea, but the IMF should still consider it. Lagarde proposed in 2017 that India could adopt a UBI scheme by eliminating food and fuel subsidies, and by increasing fuel taxes.
Guy Standing hosted a UBI panel at the prestigious WEB SUMMIT (billed as the largest tech conference in the world) in Lisbon in Nov 2017. Other Speakers at the Summit included the ‘Green’ ex-Vice President of America AL GORE; music star BONO; physicist STEPHEN HAWKING (pro UBI); the TWITTER co-founder and CEO JACK DORSEY; TESLA co-founder and UBI fan ELON MUSK (played a role in the early development of PAYPAL).
Al Gore’s views on UBI are unknown to me at the moment (2018), but he did write of the need for more carbon tax and less income tax (see P369 of his “The Future” (2013)). Gore recommended a reformation of traditional democracy and capitalism
Elon Musk spoke at the 2017 WORLD GOVERNMENT SUMMIT (brings together world leaders in politics and business). He co-founded the AI research company “OpenAI” with UBI supporter SAM ALTMAN, one of the Silicon Valley crowd. Altman was the CEO of Y COMBINATOR ( financial investor/adviser to ‘seed companies’), whose co-founders included the creator of the first ‘computer worm’ on the internet: ROBERT TAPPAN MORRIS, son of a top computer scientist at the NSA and at BELL LABS.
OpenAI backers included the PAYPAL co-founder PETER THIEL and the LINKEDIN co-founder REID HOFFMAN, who both helped FACEBOOK into existence as major investors. Thiel (Facebook board member and Bilderberger) co-founded PALANTIR TECHNOLOGIES, whose early financial backers included the CIA’s investment arm IN-Q-TEL. Hoffman (Bilderberger and CFR member) was on Paypal’s original board of directors and became Paypal’s COO. Hoffman – MICROSOFT board member; Honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire; named by US President Obama as a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship.
Reid Hoffman and Milton Friedman both endorsed the 2016 book on new technology, “The Second Machine Age”, by 2 senior MIT researchers: ERIK BRYNJOLFSSON and ANDREW MCAFEE. The authors wrote that UBI is interesting but prefer Milton Friedman’s proposal of NEGATIVE INCOME TAX for low income workers. They preferred low income tax in general and more indirect taxation, e.g. consumption taxes and VAT (VAT not used in the USA at the time of their book). Also endorsing their book was the ex-WORLD BANK Chief Economist and US Treasury Secretary LARRY SUMMERS, who opposed UBI because of the amount of taxation required.
Hoffman and IMF boss Christine Lagarde both endorsed the 2016 book “Age Of Discovery” by an opponent of UBI – IAN GOLDIN, a former World Bank Vice President and Oxford University Professor. Although opposed to UBI, he said that “we need to radically change the way we think about income and work”. Goldin wanted higher wages for low income jobs and more respect for part-time work, volunteer work, retirement, home-based activities. His book “Age Of Discovery” is about the current modern renaissance (supposedly) that is underpinned by globalisation and the rise of the machines, and which needs to be managed carefully. He spoke about this at the WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM (Davos) in 2016.
Other endorsements for his book came from UBI fan Sir RICHARD BRANSON; ‘New Age’ political commentator ARIANNA HUFFINGTON; and the official Rothschild biographer and historian NIALL FERGUSON.
Goldin – served as an adviser to President NELSON MANDELA; an OECD program director; on the UN’s chief executive board; a special representative at the UN; founding Director of Oxford University’s MARTIN SCHOOL; honorary trustee of COMIC RELIEF (co-founded by comedy writer RICHARD CURTIS).
Goldin (LSE education) was chairman of the charity CORE( Economics), an economics think tank of which a founding trustee was the senior LSE economist RICHARD DAVIES who served as an economics adviser to the British Chancellor of the Exchequer GEORGE OSBORNE (Conservative Party).
Someone who does champion UBI, provided it’s done properly, is the British political/environmental activist GEORGE MONBIOT, who received a UN ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMME award (GLOBAL 500). Educated at Oxford University, Monbiot worked for the BBC as a radio producer of natural history and environmental programs. He co-founded the anti-capitalist, anti-war political party, RESPECT PARTY (also anti-Zionist, Eurosceptic), though Monbiot himself voted to remain in Europe.
Monbiot was made a visiting fellow at Oxford University by another environmentalist and Warden of Green College, Oxford – SIR CRISPIN TICKELL, a pro-Europe British diplomat. Tickell was a UN Ambassador and worked for the EUROPEAN COMMISSION as Chef de Cabinet (working under the President LORD JENKINS (ROY JENKINS)). Tickell and Al Gore and Richard Branson all served on the MARY ROBINSON FOUNDATION on its’ International Advisory Council. Mary Robinson, the ex-President of Ireland, was the UN High Commissioner For Human Rights; IIED chairman; TRILATERAL COMMISSION member; Club Of Budapest member; THE ELDERS member; CLUB DE MADRID President; received from US President Obama the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Other Mary Robinson Foundation council members:-
GRO HARLEM BRUNDTLAND – WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION Director-General; The Elders member; UN FOUNDATION member; chaired the very influential UN backed BRUNDTLAND COMMISSION that eventually led to the UN’s Agenda 21.
SIR GORDON CONWAY – Rockefeller Foundation President.
DR. JUDITH RODIN – Rockefeller Foundation President.
JEFFREY SACHS – special adviser to the UN Secretary-Generals KOFI ANNAN and ANTONIO GUTERRES; Director of THE EARTH INSTITUTE; an editor of the UN’s WORLD HAPPINESS REPORT, along with the LSE research centre Director BARON LAYARD (Richard Layard).
TIMOTHY WIRTH – inaugural UN FOUNDATION President; worked with Al Gore on environmental issues.
JEFF SKOLL – inaugural “eBay” President; helped produce Al Gore’s environmental film “An Inconvenient Truth”.
CAMILLA TOULMIN (IIED Director);
RAY CHAMBERS – chairman of President George Bush’s POINTS OF LIGHT FOUNDATION; the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for health in AGENDA 2030.
VARTAN GREGORIAN – CARNEGIE CORPORATION OF NEW YORK President; received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President G.W Bush.
Reid Hoffman and Erik Brynjolfsson (see above) endorsed the pro-UBI book “WTF? What’s The Future And Why It’s Up To Us” (2017) by the ‘oracle of Silicon Valley’ TIM O’REILLY, who is credited with popularising the Internet terms “OPEN SOURCE” and “WEB 2.0”. Tim O’Reilly started the annual Web 2.0 Summit to discuss the World Wide Web, but it ended in 2011. A list of speakers at those summits reads like a ‘who’s who’ of IT leading lights and business leaders: Mark Zuckerberg, TIM BERNERS-LEE (World Wide Web creator), Reid Hoffman, ERIC SCHMIDT (GOOGLE Executive chairman), JEFF BEZOS (AMAZON founder), Al Gore, SHERYL SANDBERG ( FACEBOOK COO), Arianna Huffington (an ally of Sandberg), MARC BENIOFF (pro-UBI and SALESFORCE founder), Stewart Butterfield.
Jeff Bezos (Amazon) supported UBI for all Americans in a speech in 2017. See article in “The Wall Street Journal” (Sept 22nd 2017) by SCOTT GALLOWAY.
O’Reilly married JENNIFER PAHLKA, who helped kickstart the US Government’s US DIGITAL SERVICE. She and O’Reilly were amongst the co-founders of CODE FOR AMERICA, whose financial donors have included Google, Microsoft, Reid Hoffman, the Ford Foundation, OMIDYAR NETWORK. The Omidyar Network was started by EBay founder PIERRE OMIDYAR, who is pro-UBI and sponsored a UBI experiment in Kenya, Africa.
Tim O’Reilly’s book “WTF?” was also recommended by Google’s Chief Economist HAL VARIAN.
Google co-founder LARRY PAGE supported UBI, as did his personally selected employee the famed futurist and computer scientist RAY KURZWEIL who predicted a trans-humanist future where the human race is more machine than biological man, hooked up to a computer network.
Facebook co-founder CHRIS HUGHES advocated a modified UBI aimed at poorer workers, and funded by the rich and/or a carbon tax. See his 2018 book “Fair Shot: Rethinking Inequality and How We Earn”, which was recommended by BILL GATES (Microsoft co-founder) and Arianna Huffington. Chris Hughes and the aforementioned Ian Goldin appeared together in 2018 on the BBC Radio 4 series “Start The Week” to talk about UBI, inequality and automation (9th April 2018).
Moving towards the ‘right wing’ (or centre right), the ADAM SMITH INSTITUTE is a leading think tank that promotes the ‘free market’ and ‘neoliberal’ thinking. In 2018 it appeared to support UBI by publishing a pro-UBI report by the ex-chairman of BIEN FINLAND: OTTO LEHTO.
Swinging back to the left/centre left, the Fabian Society has always had UBI advocates, e.g. H.G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw. Wells may have been aware of the rise of leisure time, as seen in his novel “The Time Machine” in which the time traveller encounters a human species (The ELOI) who live a lazy, unconcerned, lifestyle.
Wells and his science collaborator JULIAN HUXLEY (brother of ALDOUS and the inaugural UNESCO Director) took an interest in the work of the pro-UBI youth leader and anti-fascist JOHN HARGRAVE, who took an interest in Theosophy. Hargrave met MAJOR CLIFFORD HUGH DOUGLAS who proposed a SOCIAL CREDIT. Hargrave’s sci-fi story “The Imitation Man” (1931) is about an android with telepathic powers that link human minds to create a collective global hive mind.
The Fabian Society in 2017 were sitting on the fence over UBI, e.g. a 2017 report on UBI by the Fabians for the TUC (Trades Union Congress) highlighted pros and cons, so recommended that both sides of the argument need to collaborate to find a solution, e.g. a learning allowance as part of a modified UBI.
UBI leading light Guy Standing participated in a debate on UBI in 2016 for the BBC’s weekly podcast “Newshour Extra” (episode “Money For Nothing?”), hosted by the LSE and Oxford educated journalist OWEN BENNETT-JONES, whose brother PETER was a longtime chairman of COMIC RELIEF (Richard Curtis). Also in the debate was the ex-BBC Business Correspondent and BBC Radio presenter LINDA YUEH, who then was more critical of UBI, but in the meantime has become a bit more enthusiastic, as evidenced in 2018 on BBC Radio 3 when she gave a “Free Thinking Lecture” (9th March), saying that UBI should be considered if machines dominated the workplace.
Linda Yueh – LSE researcher; Oxford University economics lecturer and fellow; LBS (London Business School) economics professor; a trustee of the poverty charity, the COUTTS FOUNDATION (an offshoot of Coutts Bank). The Coutts Foundation chairman (also the Bank’s chairman) in 2018 was Lord WILLIAM WALDEGRAVE, who worked under VICTOR ROTHSCHILD in PM Ted Heath’s CPRS. Waldegrave was briefly engaged to Victor Rothschild’s daughter VICTORIA.
Yueh sat on the advisory board of the banking/economic think tank, OMFIF, whose advisory board was chaired by the LSE Professor and LABOUR PARTY chairman Lord MEGHNAD DESAI, Director of the LSE Centre For the Study of Global Governance.
Other OMFIF members included: the ex-RIIA (Chatham House) Chairman CHRISTOPHER TUGENDHAT; the ex-senior British politician Lord DAVID OWEN; the ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer NORMAN LAMONT; the ex-advisor to PM Tony Blair Lord, ANDREW ADONIS; the ex-British politician Lord ROBERT SKIDELSKY.
The aforementioned OMFIF member Robert Skidelsky (Lord Skidelsky), a well-known British economic historian and political commentator, wrote that “A basic income could be the best way to tackle inequality.” (See his “Guardian” article, 23rd June 2016). Skidelsky belonged to 3 different political parties encompassing both sides of the political spectrum: Labour, Conservative, and a co-founder of the SDP (Social Democratic Party) along with the aforementioned OMFIF member DAVID OWEN. Skidelsky’s cross party views are indicative of his ‘3rd Way’ politics, as seen in his Chairmanship of the 3rd Way Think Tank, the SOCIAL MARKET FOUNDATION. Skidelsky has written a column for the international media organisation PROJECT SYNDICATE, which has received grants from THE BILL AND MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION and from George Soros’ OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATION. Another Project Syndicate columnist has been the CFR President RICHARD HAASS.
Skidelsky supported the Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. Skidelsky spoke with the pro-UBI Labour Party Chancellor JOHN MCDONNELL about a 4-day working week. Skidelsky spoke on UBI in a BBC Radio 4 interview in 2019. (“One To One”, episode 3 of 8, Feb 5th 2019).
Skidelsky promoted UBI again in an article for another ‘3rd way’ Think Tank: DEMOS, in its’ magazine DEMOS QUARTERLY (“The End Of Work?”, Dec 8th 2016). Demos co-founder GEOFF MULGAN was a senior Labour Party strategist under PM Tony Blair, where he was Director of the PM’s Strategy Unit. Demos collaborated with the Finland version of Demos: DEMOS HELSINKI, which helped kickstart the Finnish government’s UBI trial in 2017. A pro-UBI member of Demos was DAVID WILD, on the advisory board of “Demos Quarterly” journal, in which he lauded a CITIZEN’S INCOME (July 18th 2014).
The Finland experiment with UBI (2000 unemployed Finns) got a positive review from the BBC’s News Channel, at least in a documentary broadcast in 2018: “Money For Nothing: The Finland Experiment” (presented by NUALA MCGOVERN, 31st March 2018). Four Finns were interviewed, of whom 3 were enthusiastic about UBI and one was uncertain.
Geoff Mulgan (Demos) has given TED talks and trained as a Buddhist monk. He was Chief Executive of the innovation charity NESTA (initially a British Government QUANGO), of which a UBI fan is PETER MCCOLL, who headed NESTA’s policy/research in Scotland and has been heavily involved in the political transformation of Scotland in the 21st century. Scotland was set to implement UBI trials in 2018, with support from Scotland’s political head (First Minister) NICOLA STURGEON.
The next influential member of the UBI fan club is the WEF (World Economic Forum) founder KLAUS SCHWAB, an ex-BILDERBERG steering committee member and involved in UN agencies. Schwab described UBI in 2017 as “basically plausible”. A WEF attendee, ERICA KOCHI, supports UBI and was co-chair of the WEF’s GLOBAL FUTURE COUNCIL ON HUMAN RIGHTS. Kochi co-founded UNICEF’s Innovation Unit.
Another UBI ‘groupie’ is the ‘rock-star of Europe’s anti-austerity uprising’ (according to “The Telegraph”, Feb 2015): YANIS VAROUFAKIS, the former Greek Finance minister who claimed that capitalism is making itself obsolete, spurred on by AI. Ever since Varoufakis resigned as Greece’s Finance Minister in 2015 he has shot to prominence with books and TV appearances.
Yanis Varoufakis is a ‘centrist’ or ‘3rd way’ politician (i.e. left and right merger). He warned that capitalism would “eat Democracy” unless action is taken. He wanted – he said – a world that is simultaneously libertarian, Marxist, and Keynesian. He appeared on BBC1 in 2017 on its’ political debate show “Question Time” (30th Nov 2017). He was a columnist for the aforementioned PROJECT SYNDICATE (Soros and Gates funded), as were 2 notables: the UBI fan and Nobel Prize Winner JOSEPH STIGLITZ ( WORLD BANK Chief Economist); and an ally of Varoufakis: the UN Secretary-General Adviser JEFFREY SACHS, the Director of the EARTH INSTITUTE.
Varoufakis has moved in high circles but rejected conspiracy theories, saying instead that all the people that he dealt with (e.g. the IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde) were neither saints nor sinners, just well-meaning people struggling to deal with a fast-paced, complicated world. See his book “Adults In The Room”. He denied the accusation that he was a stooge of George Soros, who had agreed with Yanis and his proposals on Greece. Yanis regarded critics of Soros as mostly anti-semitic, Right wingers.
Varoufakis spoke on UBI and other issues with the famous linguistic professor and Left leaning social commentator NOAM CHOMSKY, who advocated ‘libertarian socialism’ (more 3rd way thinking). Chomsky worked at MIT where he was funded by the US Military (Pentagon), though he maintains that they didn’t affect his work. Chomsky joined an organisation co-founded by Varoufakis: DIEM 25 (DEMOCRACY IN EUROPE MOVEMENT 2025, intended to create a supposedly democratic European parliament. DIEM 25 advisers included:
Wikileaks founder JULIAN ASSANGE; JOHN MCDONNELL (Labour Party Shadow Chancellor and UBI supporter); British Green Party leader CAROLINE LUCAS (UBI fan); NAOMI KLEIN (social activist and pro- UBI); JAMES K. GALBRAITH (friend and ally of Yanis; American economist, son of renowned economist JOHN K. GALBRAITH).
Varoufakis and James Galbraith teamed up with the ex-Labour Party MP STUART HOLLAND to formulate a plan for resolving the Greek economic crisis. Varoufakis and Holland co-authored “The Modest Proposal” to fix the European Monetary Union’s structural crisis. Holland served as an adviser to the EUROPEAN COMMISSION President JACQUES DELORS. Holland wanted a WORLD DEVELOPMENT ORGANISATION.
Varoufakis proposed the need for a new global financial system with a common currency managed by the IMF. He gave that currency a fictional name: the KOSMOS.
Varoufakis listed some of his friends/allies in his book “Adults In The Room”, e.g. the ex-British Chancellor of the Exchequer NORMAN LAMONT (worked at N.M Rothschild bank) and the WORLD BANK Chief Economist LARRY SUMMERS who acted as a long time mentor to the FACEBOOK COO Sheryl Sandberg, initially at Harvard University, then the World Bank, then again in the Clinton government when Summers was Treasury Secretary.
Yanis Varoufakis was born in Greece but moved to Britain. His father was chairman of a major steel producer in Greece. Yanis Varoufakis became economic adviser to the Socialist leader of the Opposition in Greece: GEORGE PAPANDREOU, who would eventually become Prime Minister. Papandreou is a CLUB OF MADRID member, as is BILL CLINTON, MIKHAIL GORBACHEV (Ex-Russian leader), MARY ROBINSON (see above), ROMANO PRODI (ex-EUROPEAN COMMISSION President), ANTONIO GUTERRES (UN Secretary General).
Guterres (pro-UBI) and Papandreou were both President of SOCIALIST INTERNATIONAL, the worldwide association of political parties seeking democratic socialism. Guterres and Papandreou both belonged to the ECFR (EUROPEAN COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS), founded with money from George Soros’ OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATIONS. The ECFR’s founder MARK LEONARD wrote for PROJECT SYNDICATE.
Yanis Faroufakis and Noam Chomsky both endorsed the pro-UBI book “No Is Not Enough” (2017) by the DIEM 25 adviser NAOMI KLEIN, a left leaning Green activist and anti-Trump. She was invited by the Catholic Vatican to a conference on climate change in 2015, all part of Pope Francis’ pro-Climate Change stance.
Varoufakis has been a newspaper columnist for the British centre-left newspaper “The Guardian”, in which he wrote in 2017 of his support for the future French President EMMANUEL MACRON, a centrist, 3rd way, politician who worked for a Rothschild bank (French branch). Varoufakis’ book “Adults In The Room” received praise from his fellow “The Guardian” journalist PAUL MASON, yet another BIG/UBI advocate. Mason moved from the far left to the centre left. He wants ‘radical social democracy’. Mason edited mainstream TV news programmes, e.g. Economics Editor at BBC2’s “Newsnight” and at “Channel 4 News”. His first live appearance on “Newsnight” was on 9/11. He supported Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Paul Mason endorsed a manifesto for a ‘post-capitalist future’: the pro-UBI book “Inventing The Future” (2015), which proposed a reduced working week and full automation of labour. Its’ co-author NICK SRNICEK got a PhD from the LSE.
Now to America for some UBI love – the ROOSEVELT INSTITUTE, a ‘liberal’ Think Tank run by descendants of the American President FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT and ELEANOR ROOSEVELT. In 2017 the Institute published a report (August 2017) that said that UBI would boost the US economy. It would be paid for by raising taxes. The Roosevelt Institute’s Chief Economist in 2017 was the Nobel Prize winner and former WORLD BANK Chief Economist JOSEPH STIGLITZ who served in the Clinton administration. Stiglitz aided the Scottish government in its’ independence policies and advised the British Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell. Although broadly in favour of UBI, Stiglitz said in 2017 that it shouldn’t be a Scottish priority.
The Roosevelt Institute’s Chairman emeritus in 2017/2018 was CFR member WILLIAM VANDEN HEUVEL who served in the CIA predecessor, the OSS, as executive assistant to the OSS founder WILLIAM DONOVAN. Heuvel was an assistant to ROBERT KENNEDY (brother of JFK and US Attorney General). Heuvel was ex-chairman of the UN ASSOCIATION OF THE USA (promotes US-UN links). The UN employed Eleanor Roosevelt as its inaugural chairman of it’s COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS. Heuvel’s daughter KATRINA also belonged to the Roosevelt Institute (board member) and was editor/publisher/part-owner of THE NATION, a ‘progressive’ current affairs magazine.
Other Roosevelt Institute board members:
KATE BRANDT – President Obama’s and the US Government’s first Chief Sustainability Officer. At GOOGLE she led its’ sustainability policies worldwide. At Cambridge University she was a GATES SCHOLAR (scheme set up by Bill and Melinda Gates).
BENJAMIN BARNES – protégé of US President LYNDON JOHNSON.
The Roosevelt Institute’s Director of its’ PROJECT ON GLOBAL FINANCE - ROBERT JOHNSON – has worked elsewhere with Joseph Stiglitz and George Soros. Robert Johnson, under the Chairmanship of Joseph Stiglitz, served on the United Nations Commission of Experts on International Monetary Reform. Johnson was a Managing Director at SOROS FUND MANAGEMENT. Johnson served as President of the Soros co-founded think tank, the INET (INSTITUTE FOR NEW ECONOMIC THINKING), of which Board members included the aforementioned MINOUCHE SHAFIK (World Bank, IMF, LSE) and the Board’s chairman ADAIR TURNER, ex-chair of the UK Financial Services Authority and Director General of the CBI (CONFEDERATION OF BRITISH INDUSTRY). Also at INET was the aforementioned LARRY SUMMERS (World Bank) as a Project leader.
On INET’s GLOBAL PARTNERS COUNCIL was Sir CLIVE COWDERY, the majority owner of the British centre left current affairs magazine PROSPECT, founded by a DEMOS head (Director) DAVID GOODHART. Cowdery, a very rich insurance businessman, owned PROSPECT through his RESOLUTION group of organisations that employed as Directors the following:
1)ADAIR TURNER (INET chairman).
2)GAVIN KELLY – former senior adviser to the British PM GORDON BROWN (Labour Party); CEO of Cowdery’s RESOLUTION TRUST and RESOLUTION FOUNDATION.
3)ANDREW ADONIS (Baron Adonis) – regular article writer for PROSPECT; Director of PM Tony Blair’s Policy Unit; in 2017 was Chairman of the NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE COMMISSION.
Cowdery’s RESOLUTION FOUNDATION is a non-profit think tank that supposedly aims to improve the standard of living for low- and middle-income families.
The Resolution Foundation’s proposal for a kind of dilute UBI made the headlines in Britain in 2018, and was the front page lead story of “The Guardian” newspaper (May 8th 2018). Dubbed the CITIZEN’S INHERITANCE, everyone would get £10,000 on their 25th birthday, but only to be spent on education or housing or starting a business or on a pension. The proposal was amongst a series of recommendations of a commission chaired by the Resolution Foundation’s executive chairman DAVID WILLETTS, an ex-Conservative Party Minister and ex-Director of Studies at the influential ‘right wing’ think tank, the CPS (CENTRE FOR POLICY STUDIES). Also on the Commission was the CBI Director General CAROLYN FAIRBAIRN; the LEGAL & GENERAL Group Chief Executive NIGEL WILSON; the TRADES UNION CONGRESS General Secretary FRANCES O’GRADY. The £10,000 would be financed by a new type of inheritance tax.
A similar £10,000 scheme was proposed in 2018 by the centre left British think tank IPPR, who suggested a CITIZEN’S WEALTH FUND to administer a UNIVERSAL MINIMUM INHERITANCE of £10,000 to be given at the age of 25, and paid for by tax reforms and by a sell off of government assets. It could have been funded by a tax on North Sea Oil, said IPPR, but that was too late now, though an oil tax did finance Norway’s SOVEREIGN WEALTH FUND. IPPR’s recommendation got the thumbs up from British comedienne ELLIE TAYLOR on the BBC Radio 4 satirical show “The Now Show” (April 6th 2018). Taylor was a typical centre left, feminist, anti-Trump, anti-Brexit, comedian that has been a staple on British mainstream TV/Radio.
IPPR Trustees in 2018 included Andrew Adonis (see above); CHRIS POWELL (NESTA chairman); DAVID PITT-WATSON (chairman of the UN ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMME’s Finance Initiative).
IPPR’s Policy Advisory Council in 2018 included Frances O’Grady (see above) and JEREMY HARDIE (W.H.SMITH chairman; LSE researcher; ROYAL ECONOMIC SOCIETY Vice President).
IPPR’s Director in 2018, TOM KIBASI, worked at the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and was a columnist for numerous centre left media outlets, e.g. THE OBSERVER newspaper.
IPPR’s 2016 Commission on Economic Justice (created by Kibasi) included Frances O’Grady and the RHODES TRUST trustee DOMINIC BARTON who also got a Rhodes Trust scholarship at Oxford University. Barton worked for N.M. ROTHSCHILD bank; MCKINSEY and Co (Global Managing Partner and Managing Director); BROOKINGS INSTITUTION (trustee). Barton represented McKinsey as a founder of the not-for-profit think tank FCLT GLOBAL (Focusing Capital on the Long Term), alongside LARRY FINK representing BLACKROCK (the world’s largest asset manager). Fink said in 2018 that BlackRock would only support companies that are ‘green’ and that make positive, long term, contributions to society.
UBI was discussed in 2018 by the aforementioned BBC Radio presenter Laurie Taylor (father of Matthew) in his “Thinking Allowed” (May 2nd 2018). His guests included UBI promoter STEWART LANSLEY who wants a CITIZENS WEALTH FUND and who said that UBI needs to be adopted gradually, not in one go, e.g. modest payments to 18-25 year olds. Lansley belonged to the pro-UBI pressure group COMPASS who published Lansley’s co-authored 2016 report on UBI with backing from the JOSEPH ROWNTREE FOUNDATION. “Thinking Allowed” in the following week discussed the internet and democracy. Amongst the guests was the DEMOS research centre Director JAMIE BARTLETT who wasn’t a fan of full UBI, but did suggest a modified UBI in the form of a UTI (UNIVERSAL TRAINING INCOME), because continuous education and training are particularly important in his view. Bartlett proposed his UTI and a Robot tax in his 2018 book “The People Vs Tech”.
Bartlett presented a BBC2 documentary in 2017: “Secrets of Silicon Valley”; author of “The Dark Net” (on the dark side of the internet); LSE and Oxford university education; numerous articles in the British mainstream media (e.g. “The Telegraph”).
The New Age futurist HAZEL HENDERSON (Club of Rome; Club of Budapest) championed UBI. She joined forces with her fellow Club of Budapest member and prominent New Ager BARBARA MARX HUBBARD to co-author the feminist/New age tome “The Power of Yin: Celebrating Female Consciousness” (2007), also written by New Age leading light JEAN HOUSTON.
JEREMY RIFKIN, the renowned American economic/social theorist, endorsed BIG/UBI. Rifkin was an adviser to several Presidents of the European Commission and to other European Parliament senior figures and to numerous European heads of State (e.g. ANGELA MERKEL). He advised China’s leaders; delivered a keynote address at the GLOBAL GREEN SUMMIT (2012), which was supported by the UNEP and the OECD. Rifkin predicted a reduced role for traditional capitalism but the rise of CULTURAL CAPITALISM complemented by increased cooperation and the sharing of resources. He wrote about a SOCIAL WAGE in his “The End Of Work” (1995). To pay for the Social Wage he advocated taxing consumption, not income.
CHARLES MURRAY, the controversial Right Wing American political scientist, proposed UBI in his 2006 book “In Our Hands: A Plan To Replace the Welfare State”. Murray belonged to the liberal, free enterprise think tank, the AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE. He co-wrote the controversial bestseller on intelligence and class: “The Bell Curve”. Later, Murray wrote that Jewish people were disproportionately high achievers because of their higher-than-average intelligence, concluding that “The Jews are God’s chosen people” (article “Jewish Genius” in “Commentary” magazine, April 1st 2007). Murray wasn’t Jewish, but his co-author of “The Bell Curve” – RICHARD HERRNSTEIN – was Jewish.
JOSEPH V. KENNEDY – chief economist of the US Dept. of Commerce under President George W. Bush; recommended a BIG in his “Ending Poverty” (2008).
THOMAS PIKETTY- French economist; author of a bestselling book on economic inequality: “Capital In The Twenty-First Century” (2013); educated in France and at the LSE in London. In 2015 he started working alongside the British UBI fan and Labour Party ‘shadow’ Chancellor John McDonnell (see above) as a member of the Labour Party’s ECONOMIC ADVISORY COMMITTEE, but resigned after just 9 months. Piketty returned to the LSE in 2015 as a Professor and researcher. Piketty has not been an out-and-out UBI fan, but seemed in favour of a modified UBI.
The centre-left British national newspaper THE GUARDIAN published a mostly enthusiastic online article on UBI in June 2018 as part of the Guardian’s CITIES project, sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation. The article (27th June, by MATTHEW KEEGAN) began with a positive story about a one-legged man benefiting from UBI. The Guardian has other reports sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (for the Guardian’s GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT SITE); the SKOLL FOUNDATION (for the Guardian’s CLIMATE AND ENVIRONMENTAL REPORTING). The Skoll Foundation was started by the eBAY President JEFF SKOLL.
An influential teacher of the mystical KABBALAH who advocated UBI was the BIEN guest contributor MICHAEL LAITMAN, an ontology Professor who founded a Kabbalistic school in 1990 (BNEI BARUCH). Laitman had been the prime disciple and personal assistant to the Kabbalist Rabbi BARUCH SHALOM ASHLAG, the latter being consulted by the Israeli Prime Minister DAVID BEN GURION. Laitman was interviewed by legendary TV host LARRY KING on the Kabbalah and other topics in 2016.
Laitman links to the highly influential Club of Rome ex-member and Club of Budapest founder, Ervin Laszlo. Firstly, Laszlo praised Laitman for his Kabbalistic writings. Secondly, Laitman was a member of the Club of Budapest spinoff: the WWC (WORLD WISDOM COUNCIL), cochaired by Laszlo. For more info on the WWC, see the Think Tanks section. Laitman was praised by physicists such as FRED ALAN WOLF and JEFFREY SATINOVER.
Laitman wrote a very significant article on the BIEN website in 2018, writing that UBI/BIG “…should join forces with a ‘social network’ revolution”. His hypothetical ‘social network’ is a New Age network based on his kabbalistic teachings. Each person, he wrote, should ask “How can I best contribute myself to society today?” Laitman wrote about an ‘energy’ that can fill you: “It is an energy latent in nature which becomes revealed when people come together, regardless of their differences, and act, think and desire in a way that is adapted to nature’s integrality.” We get this energy, he wrote, “by aligning ourselves with nature’s constant unifying motion.” He advocated more cooperation and less selfish, individualistic, egotism. He provided a link to his kabbalah website, which was an article on interdependence.
RSA Fellow and LSE Anthropologist JASON HICKEL recommended a UBI in THE GUARDIAN newspaper (regular columnist) and in his book “The Divide” (2017) in which he said that UBI should be funded by either taxing the superrich, or from the ‘commons’ (e.g. oil revenues) and other indirect taxes, e.g. green taxes and financial taxes. For his book, Hickel was funded by the LEVERHULME TRUST that has close ties to the multinational giant UNILEVER.
Hickel wanted UBI to be applied globally, i.e. a global fund for a global UBI. Thus he highlighted the global UBI campaign group, WORLD BASIC INCOME, whose co-founder PAUL HARNETT worked at the WORLD BANK; IMF; EUROPEAN COMMISSION; UN DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME; UN FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANISATION.
Hickel co-founded a global network known as /THE RULES, which campaigns for a more equitable society. The Rules got financial support from George Soros’ OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATIONS and from the JOFFE CHARITABLE TRUST (UK), of which the latter’s chairman was an ex-World Bank board member MYLES WICKSTEAD.
As mentioned above, the ex-Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg wasn’t openly a fan of UBI. The same applied to the Lib Dem Leader in 2018 VINCE CABLE (worked with Tim Harford at Shell) who said that UBI was too simplistic, too standardised. (see his online Q&A for the Lib Dem website, March 10th 2018). Cable was reasonably optimistic about automation, and wanted more Adult education. Later in 2018 (September), Cable proposed a £100 billion SOVEREIGN WEALTH FUND or CITIZENS FUND that could be funded by a tax on the rich and by taxes on the sales of assets, e.g. the UK’s stake in the ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND. He said that a wide-ranging reform of taxation would be needed. The Lib Dem Party, he said, would be a home for ‘Centrists’.
The ex-senior US politician ROBERT REICH suggested UBI as a possible solution to the rise of automation. Reich served in the Clinton administration as Secretary of Labour and served in President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team. Reich – a Rhodes scholar at Oxford University; chairman of COMMON CAUSE, a watchdog group founded by JOHN GARDNER who served under President Lyndon Johnson.
John Gardner worked on a ROCKEFELLER BROTHERS FUND project; CARNEGIE CORPORATION President. Gardner was one of the few non-Rockefeller trustees of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. The Rockefellers helped finance the creation of COMMON CAUSE.
Robert Reich and UBI fan Tim O’Reilly (see above) both endorsed the pro-UBI book “Raising The Floor” (2016), written by ANDY STERN who had numerous TV appearances (e.g. CNN and FOX) and who helped Barack Obama get elected via a labor union (SEIU) of which Stern was President. Stern – ASPEN INSTITUTE board member; CFR Task Force member. Stern and George Soros have several links: Stern was a board member of Soros’ OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATIONS (US Programmes); Stern and Soros (both Democrats) attended the DEMOCRACY ALLIANCE Conference in 2012. Soros co-founded the Democracy Alliance in 2005. It’s first Vice-Chairman was Stern’s SEIU colleague, the SEIU Secretary-Treasurer ANNA BURGER.
A global UBI has been hinted at by the bestselling author YUVAL NOAH HARARI, whose book “Sapiens” was praised by Barack Obama, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. In a more recent book by Harari, “21 Lessons for the 21st Century” (2018), he wrote that, although UBI is a step in the right direction, it needs to transcend local/national UBI schemes. Harari contrasted UBI with UBS (Universal Basic Services = education, transport, etc). UBI is a capitalist scheme, whereas UBS is a communist dream, he wrote, and both have their good points and bad. Harari wants lifelong learning for all. Nick Clegg wanted more UBS (see above).
Harari has given TED talks and received much attention in 2018, e.g. a keynote speech at the annual WEF meeting at Davos. He was interviewed by comedian/activist RUSSELL BRAND and by the actress/activist NATALIE PORTMAN (Star Wars).
Harari got a Rothschild-backed scholarship from the Rothschild’s philanthropic foundation in Israel: YAV HANADIV. Harari grew up in Israel as the son of secular Jews. He was a student and History Professor at the HEBREW UNIVERSITY OF JERUSALEM, and also studied at Oxford. Although an atheist and anti-religion, he recommended meditation in his “21 Lessons…”
The MICROSOFT CEO in 2018, SATYA NADELLA, has been reluctant to fully embrace UBI but accepted that it might be needed if automation displaces human labour. He has been mostly optimistic about automation. (See interview in “The Sunday Telegraph”, May 29th 2018). Nadella was a STARBUCKS Board member and a UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO Trustee, sitting alongside fellow trustees: the CFR chairman DAVID RUBENSTEIN (co-founder of the CARLYLE GROUP; WEF Board Member; BROOKINGS INSTITUTION Trustee) and the ex-BILDERBERG GROUP Steering Committee member KENNETH JACOBS (Brookings Institution Trustee; LAZARD Chairman/CEO).
Lazard’s New York HQ has been at the Rockefeller family’s former HQ at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. A Lazard Board Director in 2018 was the CFR President RICHARD HAASS. An ex-CFR chair was DAVID ROCKEFELLER.
Ex-WORLD BANK Chief Economist Larry Summers (see above) praised a pro-UBI book in 2018 despite being opposed to UBI. That book – “Give People More Money” (2018) – was also praised by the influential writer/journalist WALTER ISAACSON, the ASPEN INSTITUTE President/CEO and ex-CNN Chairman/CEO. Isaacson and Summers share a Harvard connection with the author of “Give People More Money”: ANNIE LOWREY, whose political stance is roughly centre left. She was a NEW YORK TIMES writer; frequent guest on CNN; MSNBC and NPR.
Lowrey has been a regular contributor to THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE, which has published a few articles by Isaacson, whose Aspen Institute teamed up with The Atlantic to launch the ASPEN IDEAS FESTIVAL. The Atlantic published articles by Isaacson’s fellow TRILATERAL COMMISSION member, HENRY KISSINGER (another Harvard link), who wrote a The Atlantic article about Artificial Intelligence in 2018. Isaacson wrote an autobiography about Kissinger.
Kissinger attended a speech by major UBI advocate (and BIEN co-founder) Guy Standing at the Bilderberg annual conference in 2016. Also at the speech, said Standing, was IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and Google head ERIC SCHMIDT (Trilateral Commission).
Isaacson – CFR member; ROCKEFELLER FOUNDATION board member; Fellow of Britain’s RSA (a UBI supporter. See above); Rhodes Scholar at Oxford; TIME Managing Editor; HARVARD LAMPOON member; chair of a US Government agency under President Barack Obama (BROADCASTING BOARD OF GOVERNORS).
Isaacson in 2016 belonged to a US DEFENSE Advisory Board headed by Google/Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt. Other board members were Bilderberg attendee and AMAZON founder/CEO Jeff Bezos; Bilderberger and LINKEDIN co-founder Reid Hoffman; NUDGE THEORY proponent CASS SUNSTEIN who served under President Obama as head of the government agency OIRA. At Harvard, Cass Sunstein co-authored a paper on the supposed dangers of conspiracy theories and how to defeat them and their proponents.
Barack Obama gave tentative support to UBI after his Presidency. In 2018 he said that UBI needs to be considered.
THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE (which operates the EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS) gave a tentative thumbs up to UBI in 2018 (Jan 23rd) when it voted in favour of a Resolution concerning basic citizenship income, though the vote was only a marginal victory. Left wingers were mostly in favour of the resolution; Right wingers mostly against, as seen with the UK vote, where Labour Party voters were mostly in favour, while Conservative Party voters were all against.
UBI contrasts with UBS (Universal Basic Services), as Yuval Harari pointed out (see above). UBS appeared to be the preferred choice of the ex-UN Secretary General special advisor – Jeffrey Sachs, who said that he preferred Scandinavian-style SOCIAL DEMOCRACY (or Social market economy) instead of UBI, i.e. a ‘3rd way’ blend of left and right; capitalism and socialism, which is a Ruling elite goal. Sachs founded and led THE EARTH INSTITUTE (at Columbia University) that researches global sustainability. An Earth Institute Advisory Board member in 2018 was the Barack Obama Presidential campaigner and grandson of the extremely wealthy billionaire WARREN BUFFETT: HOWARD W. BUFFETT, a CFR member and Aspen Institute advisory member.
The Earth Institute’s External Advisory Board has included George Soros; Mary Robinson( ex-President of Ireland; United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; CLUB OF BUDAPEST member; Founder and Executive Director of REALIZING RIGHTS – THE ETHICAL GLOBALIZATION INITIATIVE; ); Harvard Professor Edward O. Wilson; and musician/activist Bono.
Bono co-founded the campaign group ONE, of which board directors have included Howard Buffett’s father HOWARD G. BUFFETT; SUSAN BUFFETT (daughter of Warren Buffett); SHERYL SANDBERG (Facebook); Larry Summers (Sandberg’s mentor).
Jeffrey Sachs endorsed the pro-UBI book and bestseller “The Rise Of The Robots” (2015), as did UBI fan Lord SKIDELSKY (see above). Written by MARTIN FORD, the book warned that robots and AI could potentially cause mass unemployment. Ford wanted UBI to be funded by a tax on technology (ie. An indirect tax). He wanted education to be linked to UBI. Ford has been much in demand as a commentator/journalist (e.g. Washington Post; New York Times; TED talks). In 2016 he spoke at a White House Chief of Staff debate on robots and AI.
Martin Ford and fellow UBI advocate Andy Stern (see above) were cited as major influences by the pro-UBI American politician ANDREW YANG, who in 2018 announced himself as a Presidential candidate as a Democrat. Yang’s 2018 book on UBI: “The War On Normal People”, was endorsed by Ford and Arianna Huffington. Yang wrote that UBI should be mainly funded by VAT, an indirect tax new to America but familiar in Europe. He especially wanted tech giants such as Google and Amazon to pay that VAT. He didn’t want to tax labour, but did want taxes on carbon, financial transactions and the rich. Yang received from the Obama Presidency the WHITE HOUSE CHAMPION OF CHANGE award in 2012. He and Mark Zuckerberg both attended the prestigious PHILLIPS EXETER ACADEMY, a boarding school.
Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg wooed the ex-British Deputy Prime Minister and ex-Lib Dem leader NICK CLEGG (see above) into joining Facebook in 2018 as head of GLOBAL POLICY AND COMMUNICATIONS ( a lobbying role). A former subordinate of Clegg when he was deputy PM was the pro-UBI politician ADAM BENNETT, who in 2018 suggested that UBI should be adopted by the Lib Dems.
DESMOND TUTU – Nobel Peace Prize winner, human rights activist and former Archbishop in South Africa. He attended the BIEN Congress in 2012 and endorsed UBI. Tutu belonged to the CLUB OF BUDAPEST and was a co-founder of THE ELDERS. For more on The Elders see my article in the Think Tanks Section.
The Silicon Valley think-tank IFTF (Institute for the Future) promoted an alternative to UBI called UBA (UNIVERSAL BASIC ASSETS), which was defined by the IFTF Executive Director in 2018, MARINA GORBIS, as “…a core, basic set of resources that every person is entitled to, from housing and healthcare to education and financial security”. In contrast, UBI is, wrote Gorbis, just the first step to a more equitable society. There is an IFTF working paper on UBA. Gorbis spoke at the 2014 SKOLL WORLD FORUM, as did Richard Branson.
Another pro-UBA IFTF member was the media theorist DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF, who wrote an article on the BIEN website in 2018, criticising UBI as a scam by the Silicon Valley crowd.
For more on IFTF and Rushkoff, see my article in the Think Tanks section.
Numerous top American economists collectively made a proposal in 2019 that the BIEN co-founders Guy Standing and Philippe Van Parijs agreed was a significant step towards UBI – namely that a carbon tax should be implemented, and its’ dividends be given to all US citizens. Those economists included several ex-chairmen of the US FEDERAL RESERVE, e.g. ALAN GREENSPAN (CFR, TC, Bilderberg); BEN BERNANKE (Bil) and PAUL VOLCKER (CFR, TC, Bil). Other signatories included:-
ex-US Treasury Secretary LARRY SUMMERS;
‘nudge theory’ advocate RICHARD THALER;
the aforementioned AMARTYA SEN (husband of Emma Rothschild);
the Nobel Prize winning economist/psychologist DANIEL KAHNEMAN (‘Fast’ and ‘Slow’ thinking).
Their proposal was published in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.
The ‘Green’ connection to UBI was seen in 2018 in America with a GREEN NEW DEAL (incorporating UBI) that was proposed by the centre-left Democrat politician dubbed AOC ( ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ), who got endorsements from Barack Obama and the centre-left politician BERNIE SANDERS. Obama and Sanders were both slow to fully support UBI, but eventually gave more encouragement.
A UBI for India was advocated by India’s Ministry of Finance and by a top Indian economist in 2019: India’s Chief Economic Adviser ARVIND SUBRAMANIAN, who wrote an article on the subject in Britain’s FINANCIAL TIMES (Feb 7th 2019). Subramanian belonged to the American think tank, the PETERSON INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS, founded by a former assistant to HENRY KISSINGER, namely C. FRED BERGSTEN, who belonged to numerous other think tanks: CFR; TC; Bil; Brookings Institute; CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE. The name PETERSON refers to a longstanding supporter of that institute: PETER PETERSON, a CFR chairman; US Secretary of Commerce; BLACKSTONE GROUP co-founder; LEHMAN BROTHERS Chairman & CEO.
A fairly enthusiastic BBC documentary on UBI aired in 2019. Presented by a BBC News Producer and journalist, ERIKA BENKE, her report analysed the UBI experiment by the Finland government that ended at the end of 2018 (“Our World: The Finnish Experiment”, BBC News Channel, Feb 2nd 2019). Her report featured 4 Finns who all experienced positive outcomes, with the exception of one who didn’t get a job, but still felt emotionally secure.
UBI will probably be needed, according to the technology pioneer KEVIN ASHTON, credited with coining the term the INTERNET OF THINGS (IOT) after his involvement in research at MIT that became the basis of the IOT. Ashton expressed his UBI views in 2019 on BBC Radio 4 (“The Bottom Line”, Jan 31st 2019).
A former ROCKEFELLER FOUNDATION employee, KATHERINE McFATE (Deputy Director of its’ domestic programs), supported UBI in 2000 along with Emma Rothschild, both of whom voiced their support for BIEN co-founder Phillipe Van Parijs on the BOSTON REVIEW forum. McFate also worked at the FORD FOUNDATION and was President & CEO of a now defunct think tank that advocated a more open, responsive, and effective American government: the CENTRE FOR EFFECTIVE GOVERNMENT. Other Boston Reviewers who supported UBI included:
1) Nobel Prize winner and Artificial Intelligence pioneer, HERBERT A. SIMON, who got Rockefeller Foundation funding early in his career. Simon collaborated with the RAND researcher ALLEN NEWELL;
2) A highly regarded sociologist, FRED L. BLOCK, who wrote some articles for the aforementioned George Soros co-founded think tank, INET. Block shared Soros’ admiration for the philosopher KARL POLANYI, and both Block and Soros wanted a reform of capitalism. Block wrote that capitalism’s reformation should look to the socialist Karl Marx for guidance.
A New Age mix of UBI, meditation and psychedelic experiences were advocated in a book on depression that was endorsed by HILLARY CLINTON and Arianna Huffington: “Lost Connections” (2018), by JOHANN HARI. Other high profile endorsers included:
ELTON JOHN; RUSSELL BRAND; musician BRIAN ENO (member of the Yanis Varoufakis co-founded organisation DiEM25); US political talk show host BILL MAHER (‘progressive’ views; friend of American film maker MICHAEL MOORE; pro-Barack Obama); pro-UBI social activist NAOMI KLEIN; pro-UBI novelist MATT HAIG; the former spokesman for Prime Minister TONY BLAIR – ALASTAIR CAMPBELL (also Blair’s Press Secretary).
For his book, Hari interviewed UBI proponent RUTGER BREGMAN (see above). Hari wrote for several centre left newspapers; gave a TED talk on addiction; was an arts critic on the BBC2 TV Series “The Review Show”.
GOOGLE employee and renowned futurist RAY KURZWEIL supported UBI and predicted at a TED conference in 2018 that UBI would be globally widespread by the 2030s. Kurzweil was chosen by Google’s co-founder, LARRY PAGE, to be its’ Director of Engineering.
Some familiar British pro-UBI faces popped up again in 2019 in March. The senior Labour Party politician JOHN MCDONNELL and former Green Party leader CAROLINE LUCAS endorsed a pro-UBI report by a think tank with close links to the Labour Party: the NEF (New Economics Foundation). A week later was a pro-UBI report that continued the work of the aforementioned STEWART LANSLEY and HOWARD REED (report published by COMPASS).
The NEF origins lay in the Green movement, in particular the prominent Green campaigner JONATHON PORRITT and the Green Party’s precursor, THE ECOLOGY PARTY. The NEF’s funders in 2019 included George Soros’ OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATIONS; the British NHS; the Government backed ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council). The NEF’s CEO in 2019 was MIATTA FAHNBULLEH (LSE education and lecturer), who at the centre left think tank IPPR was its’ Director of Policy and Research. Previously, she had been a Labour Party senior adviser.
A former NEF chairman, JOHN DAVIS, worked at the oil company SHELL UK, and collaborated with the famous economist E.F. SCHUMACHER (“Small Is Beautiful”), the latter a Rhodes scholar at Oxford who would be aided by the economist John Maynard Keynes.
The NEF’s UBI proposal wasn’t full UBI, but intentionally was a dilute version, according to the NEF’s head of macroeconomics, ALFIE STIRLING, writing in “The Guardian” newspaper (March 19th 2019). Stirling wrote that UBI “…only goes so far – free public services are essential too.” This fits in with the Ruling elite’s desire for a blend of UBI and UBS (Universal Basic Services). The NEF proposal was a modest WEEKLY NATIONAL ALLOWANCE aimed at those who weren’t rich, and complemented by free public services, e.g. transport, childcare, Internet, housing. Stirling worked previously at IPPR, as a senior economist.
A pro-UBI article was in the centre left magazine PROSPECT (December 3rd 2018), written by a dedicated UBI advocate, SCOTT SANTENS, a founding member of the American pro-UBI campaign group, the ECONOMIC SECURITY PROJECT, of which a co-chairman was the aforementioned Facebook co-founder CHRIS HUGHES. Santens belonged to other American pro-UBI campaign groups: BASIC INCOME ACTION (co-founder) and the US BIG Network (committee member). Santens wrote articles on UBI for the World Economic Forum.
The aforementioned ANDREW MCAFEE (“The Second Machine Age”) initially championed UBI until he changed and preferred a negative income tax instead of UBI, which he thought was too premature. In 2019 he wanted more carbon taxes, so he wrote in his book “More From Less”, which was endorsed by familiar characters:- ERIC SCHMIDT (Google CEO); MARC BENIOFF (“Salesforce” founder); KLAUS SCHWAB (WEF founder); LARRY SUMMERS; REID HOFFMAN (“LinkedIn” co-founder); MARC ANDREESSEN (Silicon Valley co-founder of “Netscape”). In “More From Less”, McAfee was optimistic about the future, provided capitalism is tamed. McAfee was a principal research scientist at MIT; was cofounder and codirector of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He was previously a professor at Harvard Business School and a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.
UBI got more publicity in 2020 in the wake of the Corona Virus outbreak and the response by governments to suspend much business activity. For instance, in March 2020, a British cross-party group of politicians (led by ALEX SOBEL) called for UBI as an emergency measure, not an ideological one. BBC Radio 4 aired a mostly positive programme on UBI just one day after Britain introduced major restrictions on travel and shopping. (“Universal Basic Income: Lesson from Alaska”, BBC Radio 4, 24th March 2020). An interviewee in the documentary was UBI advocate GUY STANDING.
The Pope in 2020 suggested UBI as a response to the Covid-19 ‘pandemic’. During his Easter address (April 12th 2020) he recommended a “universal basic wage”.
The Spanish government during the ‘pandemic’ became the first European country to start implementing UBI, with some Spanish politicians saying that it could be permanent.
UBS (Universal Basic Services) is better than UBI, according to a UCL (University College, London) report in 2017, billed as the UK’s first comprehensive report on UBS. To be precise, the report was by the UCL’s Social Prosperity Network (SPN), a part of UCL’s Institute for Global Prosperity (IGP).
The SPN report’s recommendations included a large expansion of social housing, free bus travel, meal provision for those most at risk of food insecurity and basic phone and internet access. One of the co-authors of the report was HOWARD REED, previously chief economist at the centre-left think tank, IPPR (Institute for Public Policy Research), and IPPR’s Research Director. Reed wrote articles for the centre left newspaper, “The Guardian”.
More to come…