BIEN was founded as the Basic Income European Network at the first international conference on basic income in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, in 1986. It understands itself as a platform to facilitate informed dicussion about Basic Income but also promotes the idea of a basic income, mainly through its website and its newsletter and conferences. At the BIEN congress in Barcelona in 2004, the network name was changed to Basic Income Earth Network to acknowledge the many non-European groups and individuals that had become engaged and affiliated.
The network has experienced continuous growth since it was founded 30 years ago. While BIEN itself does not actively seek to sign up members or form new initiatives, new groups that commit themselves independently to promoting the idea like to acquire the label “BIEN affiliate” and the (academic) authority it lends to their activities.
Next to BIEN, there are many other individuals and initiatives that seek to promote the Basic Income by other means. In each country, broader groups of actors (including academics, activists, policy-makers and journalists) are described that work on the topic and thereby co-produce its further development, including experimentation and discussion of potential implementation. To deepen our insight into the spectrum of activities and connections between them, TRANSIT research also highlights the German initiatives Freiheit statt Vollbeschäftigung (Freedom, Not Full Employment), Mein Grundeinkommen (My Basic Income) and a 2009 online petition by Susanne Wiest; the Dutch MIES initiative Ons Basisinkomen (Our Basic Income) and a network of municipalities interested in experimenting with social benefits; as well as the Swiss Initiative Grundeinkommen.
Relevance for TRANSIT
Discussions around the Basic Income involve a re-framing of the value of (paid) work and social security entitlements, a re-evaluation of equality, justice and community and a supposed re-organisation of people’s work/care/life activities. Just the idea of a Basic Income already challenges and inspires alteration of existing welfare institutions.
Social Innovation Initiatives in the Critical Turning Points-database
Social Innovation Initiatives studied in-depth
Backhaus, J. and Pel, B. (2016) Transformative social innovation : BIEN and Basic Income : a summary of the case study report on BIEN and Basic Income. TRANSIT: EU SSH.2013.3.2-1 Grant agreement no: 613169.
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