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The Basic Income Grant Coalition of South Africa is hosting the ELEVENTH BIEN CONGRESS. The Congress forms part of the Conference that will take place on 2-4 November 2006 in Cape Town, South Africa.






The fundamental justification for Basic Income rests in its support for human dignity—it is a right that all societies must respect.  Nevertheless, many economists and social policy analysts are researching the developmental impact of universal income grants.  In part, researchers are responding to the spurious arguments of Basic Income’s opponents, who hide behind the straw figures of dependency and unsustainability.  More importantly, analysts are finding that universal income programmes effectively promote people’s accumulation of human capital—health, education, skills, nutrition.  Basic Income strengthens labour markets, providing a springboard to more sustaining livelihoods.  Basic Income is developmental.  The main theme of the 2006 Basic Income Earth Network will explore how strengthening universalism in social protection will foster a more developmental State, with greater economic freedom and opportunity for all People.


Following the success of the 2004 Congress in Barcelona and the transformation of the Basic Income European Network into the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN), BIEN and the Basic Income Grant Coalition (BIG Coalition) of South Africa invite you to spend a few days on the tip of Africa to participate in the first international “Earth” BIEN Congress. 


We invite you to submit a proposal for your presentation at the conference. Our theme for this Conference has a twin focus: to strengthen demands for universal provision of social protection and to illuminate the impact of universalism on social and economic development. We invite proposals on all aspects of Basic Income and will endeavour to accommodate as many of the proposals outside the main theme or sub-themes as possible.


For this Conference we are adding another dimension to the proceedings. While the main focus of the Conference will be on the more academic and formal papers presented in plenary and panel discussion sessions, we invite participants who wish to participate in a less formal manner to put forward proposals for the workshops. These workshops will focus on issues of mobilisation and implementation of Basic Income. The workshops will be practical and some even hands-on. In this way we hope to embrace the new challenges countries are experiencing in accepting and promoting the ideals and ideas of Basic Income in the world.


Proposal Submission deadline: 15 March 2006


Please send proposals to: papersbig-biencongress@mail.ngo.za


Please forward questions to: infobig-biencongress@mail.ngo.za


Registration is R600 (€85, $100). The registration form will be downloadable at www.big.org.za from 1 February 2006




To submit a proposal, send the following information for each presenter:

· Name of Presenter                                   · Mailing Address

· Institutional affiliation                                · E-mail address

· Position/Title                                             · Phone number



Submit the following proposal information for each presentation:

· Title of paper/presentation

· Identify the Sub-theme your paper fits into (see below)

· Short abstract (2-3 sentences for promotional material)

· Identify your preferred format (formal presentation, workshop, poster session) ·*Formal Presentation only: 300 word summary/abstract and full paper

·*Workshops only: Presentation summary (500 –1000 words)








1.    Formal presentations:


Sub-theme: 1.1 Strengthening Universalism strengthens Development

Given the renewed interest internationally on development and on the eradication of poverty as driven through the Millennium Development Goals, it is vital that we use this impetus to begin to challenge the ideological opposition to the universalisation of social benefits in the context of a global economy.  The tools to support this challenge can be found in economics, development studies, international solidarity movements and in international human rights instruments.


Sub-theme: 1.2 Income Security and HIV/AIDS
The impact of HIV/AIDS extends well beyond the individual victim of the disease. It disrupts families, households and communities, often leading to a vicious cycle of economic decline and collapse. Medical solutions cannot work alone. A number of countries, including South Africa, have introduced state grants of some kind for those afflicted by the disease. Are they appropriate?
Would a basic income be a feasible or even necessary tool in making treatment policies more successful? 


Sub-theme: 1.3 Basic Income and Race, Gender and Class Inequalities

All commercial societies suffer from inequalities that stem from discrimination and structural disadvantages faced by certain disadvantaged groups. Barriers to socio-economic mobility are notorious, and many social scientists believe these have grown in the more open economies of the globalisation era. Would basic income reduce these inequalities? Would it help reduce the gender divide? Would it help to reduce the racial division of labour and the adverse effects of apartheid-type systems? Would it help to combat class divisions in society?


Sub-theme: 1.4 The Dynamics of Universal Basic Income

Poverty studies have increasingly moved away from statistical snapshots of poverty indicators towards understanding the dynamics of poverty, its causes, effects and the implications of these on the development process. Such studies present useful starting points for policy makers to support appropriate policies and interventions to enable people to move out of poverty.

How do cash transfers impact on the lives of the poor? How do they affect the ability of people living in poverty to meet their immediate needs, their capacity to save or accumulate assets and their ability to deal with risk?  Is a universal grant/transfer an improvement on a conditional cash transfer for poor individuals, households and or communities?


Sub-theme: 1.5 The Labour Movement and Universal Social Protection

Over the last quarter of the 20th century globalization, both in the North and South, in varying degrees workers have endured labour-market deregulation, eroded social insurance, residualised welfare and macro-economic structural adjustment programmes. As a consequence, they continue to suffer from job-insecurity, social exclusion, chronic unemployment and poverty in the 21st century. In the midst of the “race to the bottom” to stem de-industrialization in the North and to attract investments in the South, labour movements have become fragmented, defensive, inward looking and narrowly focused on a living wage at the expense of the social wage. Beyond work-place struggles, both at the local and international level, how can the labour movement take a leading role in forging a powerful social movement for universal social protection and an alternative development path? How can social movements forge powerful solidarity networks in the struggle against poverty, inequality and for the universal basic income rights of citizens?


Sub-theme: 1.6 Care Work and Basic Income

With the high cost of health –care and the uncertainty of work more and more family members are providing care-work for family members, children and sick individuals.  What role can basic income play in recognizing the value of care work to our society?


Sub-theme: 1.7 Basic Income, Human Rights and Justice for all

The right to social security is recognized in international law. Social protection policies are instruments to realizing human rights. Individual freedom cannot exist without economic and physical security. What are the philosophical underpinnings of such a debate?  How are these issues related or linked? How can social protection policies or programmes support the realization of human rights and justice for the poorest and most vulnerable?


Sub-theme: 1.8 Prospects and Challenges faced by in-country programmes

Many countries have various forms of conditional cash grants being implemented in their countries.  What are the challenges these programmes face in your country and what can we learn from them. What further steps are needed to move to a universal form of Basic Income?


Sub-theme: 1.9 Issues in Financing and Implementation of Basic Income

Over the years many ideas have been written about financing basic income. How can we begin to classify these ideas and assess their implementation possibilities? What are some of these alternative forms of financing a basic income? What technological and administrative systems does a country need to have in place to be able to finance or implement a basic income?




2. Workshops:


2.1 Sub-theme: Mobilising Support for Basic Income


How have non-governmental, religious based and other organisations gone about mobilizing support for basic income in your country?  What have been the successes and failures?  What steps can new BI organisations follow in starting up and mobilising support for Basic Income in their countries? How can we make Basic Income a global issue?




Names of BIG Coalition /BIEN Congress 2006 Working Committee

Organising Committee Chairs: Sibonile Khoza (Chair of BIG) and Ingrid van Niekerk (BIEN)

 Guy Standing (BIEN)

 Isobel Frye (National Labour and Economic Development Institute - NALEDI)

 Nceba Mafongosi (Black Sash)

 Pumi Yeni (BIG organiser)

 Sharon Ekambaram (Chris Hani Institute)

 Sidney Kgara  (Congress of South African Trade Unions - COSATU)

 Albert Dlwengu (Council of Churches - SACC)

 Annie Leatt (Children’s Institute- CI)