Past Meetup

The case for Universal Basic Income

This Meetup is past

114 people went

Price: £5.00 /per person

Birkbeck College

Torrington Square WC1E 7HX · London

How to find us

Room B04 is on the basement level

Location image of event venue


Accelerating technological unemployment, with increasing numbers of people being displaced from the workforce by automation, is likely to cause growing social disruption and increased social inequality and alienation. These developments strengthen the case for a new social contract, with appropriate social, educational, and economic support for those who are left with no viable option of 'earning a living' due to unprecedented technological change.

This event examines a possible key element of what might become this new social contract: a universal basic income (UBI). UBI is defined as follows: an amount of money paid on a regular basis to each individual, unconditionally and universally, high enough to ensure a material existence and participation in society.

The speakers, Barb Jacobson and David Jenkins, will share the analysis and perspective of Basic Income UK (, and will answer questions on the pros and cons of UBI.

About the speakers:

Barb Jacobson is coordinator of Basic Income UK.

A former member of Wages for Housework, Barb has been active in community organizations since 1991, mainly around housing and health. She works for the Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Association in central London.

A common response to basic income is: How could we ever afford it? Within the basic income movement itself the question of 'how much' has often been disputed. Could a basic income less than enough to live on really be transformative? In this age of austerity and TINA (the is no alternative), it is hard to imagine how a basic income large enough to live on could possibly be paid for. In her talk, Barb will go over the arguments about these issues, what evidence there is about levels, and where the money could come from.

David Jenkins is a researcher at Basic Income UK.

David has recently graduated from the London School of Economics with a PhD in political theory. In 2015 he will take up the Krzysztof Michalski Junior Fellowship at the Institute fro Human Sciences at Vienna. He has lectured and given talks on UBI since 2013 and has developed a curriculum to be used in a high school setting.

Another common response many people have to the idea of a UBI is that it would allow people to shirk work. The idea behind this response seems to be that everyone should have enough, but that the application of conditions enforced by the state remain an important guarantee of ethical behaviour on the part of the citizen. Why then must we insist on unconditionality? In his talk, David will outline some of the main reasons why unconditionality is absolutely essential in the basic income debate.

Useful background viewing / reading:

• Humans Need Not Apply ( - a thought-provoking video by CGP Grey

• Why the Tech Elite Is Getting Behind Universal Basic Income (

• Ten reasons to support basic income (

• A Universal Basic Income: the real alternative for the technological age (

• Basic Income would cure most of our current economic problems ( (a set of resources curated by Khannea Suntzu)

Meeting logistics:

2pm-4pm, Saturday 14th February 2015.

Venue: Room B04, Birkbeck College (, Torrington Square WC1E 7HX, London.

Room B04 is on the basement level floor in the main Birkbeck College building, in Torrington Square (which is a pedestrian-only square). Torrington Square is about 10 minutes walk from either Russell Square or Goodge St tube stations.

Coffee and other light refreshments can be purchased from the Costa Coffee shop in the reception area of the building, either ahead of or after the meeting.

The event will be followed by a chance to continue the discussion in a nearby pub - The Marlborough Arms (, 36 Torrington Place, London WC1E 7HJ.

Event hashtag:

#LonFut (

Covering meeting costs:

A small fee (£5) is payable to attend this meetup. This fee covers room costs. Please pay in advance, online.

This will be refunded if the meeting is cancelled or rearranged, or if the attendee cancels at least 3 days before the meetup.

Alternatively, if there are still seats available, payment can be made in cash at the door on the day. (Requesting payment in advance assists with accurate planning of the event.)

Journalists are welcome to attend the meeting free-of-charge - please contact the organiser, notifying us in advance of your plans to attend.