Why we need a Universal Basic Income

Karl Widerquist, Associate Professor at SFS-Qatar, Georgetown University

Co-presented with the Department of Political Economy, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Sydney, and Department of Sociology, Macquarie University

Part of the 2017 Innovation Week



16 August 2017

Basic Income is an audacious idea - a regular, unconditional cash grant for everyone as a right of citizenship. Yet, growing numbers of people have come to support it, believing not only that welfare systems around the world are too stingy but also that they’re based on an entirely wrong approach. Join Karl Widerquist, whom The Atlantic calls “a leader of the worldwide basic income movement,” to discuss an idea which is increasingly viewed as the only viable way of reconciling poverty relief and full employment.

Karl will discuss how Basic Income removes the judgment and paternalism that pervade the world’s existing social welfare systems, and why doing so is so important not only for people at the bottom but also for the average worker. He will discuss how to craft a realistic Basic Income proposal, how much it costs, options for paying for it, and the evidence for what it can do.

Following the lecture Karl Widerquist will be joined for Q&A by Dr Elizabeth Hill, Chair of Department of Political Economy, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Sydney, and Professor Gabrielle Meagher, Department of Sociology, Macquarie University.



Karl Widerquist is an Associate Professor at SFS-Qatar, Georgetown University. He has published seven books, including Prehistoric Myths in Modern Political Philosophy (coauthored) and Independence, Propertylessness, and Basic Income: A Theory of Freedom as the Power to Say No. He is a cofounder of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network. He served as co-chair of the Basic Income Earth Network for 7 years, and is cofounder of its news website, Basic Income News. He is a cofounder of the journal, Basic Income Studies, the only academic journal devoted to research on Basic Income. He has appeared on or been quoted by many major media outlets, including the New York Times, Forbes, the Financial Times, NPR’s On Point, NPR’s Marketplace, PRI’s the World, CNBC, Al-Jazeera, 538, Vice, Dissent, and others. Much of his writing is available on his Selected Works website. More information about him is available at his BIEN profile.

Hosted by Michael Janda , ABC Business and Economics reporter.
Introduction by Professor Simon Tormey, Head of the School of Social and Political Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.