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From rentier capitalism to pandemic slump: the basic income imperative

COVID-19 has ushered in a global economic slump, which may lead to a global depression. But is the coronavirus just the trigger for a financial crisis that was waiting to happen?

Globalisation and the economic policies of recent decades have produced a fragile system best described as rentier capitalism, characterised by a global class structure with rapidly growing precariat, and an increasingly deteriorating income distribution system.

The increasing public support for a basic income as an economic right suggests an alternative way out of the pandemic slump – so what does basic income involve? And what are the social risks of ignoring or delaying a basic income?


The speakers

Guy is Professorial Research Associate, SOAS University of London. An economist with a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, he is a Fellow of the British Academy of Social Sciences, and the Royal Society of Arts, co-founder and honorary co-president of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN), and member of the Progressive Economy Forum. In 2016-19, he was an economic adviser to Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, John McDonnell.

He was professor in SOAS, Bath and Monash Universities, and Director of the ILO’s Socio-Economic Security Programme. He has been a consultant for many international bodies, was Research Director for President Mandela’s Labour Market Policy Commission, and has designed several basic income pilots. His books include The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class, published in 23 languages; The Corruption of Capitalism; Basic Income: And how we can make it happen; Plunder of the Commons: A Manifesto for Sharing Public Wealth. He is co-author of Basic Income; A Transformative Policy for India. He has also recently collaborated with Massive Attack in a musical video based on his most recent book, Battling Eight Giants: Basic Income Now.  

Greg is Deputy Executive Dean, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Queensland. He has undertaken social research in a range of fields drawing on a variety of social science disciplines, including social policy, sociology, political economy, social work and policy studies. He has expertise in qualitative approaches to social inquiry and has used different methods to explore a range of contemporary issues, including: poverty and debt; refugee resettlement; housing and homelessness; income support; unemployment; the changing mixed economy of welfare; and the role of social policy and urban planning in addressing the climate change challenge.

Greg has led a number of Australian Research Council (ARC) projects over the past decade. He is a member of the Australian Research Council College of Experts and is also the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) representative in Australia. Prior to entering academia Greg worked with non-government organisations undertaking social policy and research at the state and national level. He is passionate about social justice issues and the role of education and research in contributing to social change, particularly the role of the social sciences and humanities in fostering the conditions for human flourishing, critical thinking, and well-functioning social and political institutions.

Lisa is Head of the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Sydney. Her home Department is Sociology and Social Policy. She is also an Academy of Finland Distinguished Professor (2015-19). She has previously held Chairs in Sociology at the University of Manchester and at Goldsmiths, University of London. She has served as a member of the Australian Research Council's College of Experts (Social, Behavioural and Economic Sciences Panel), 2011-13.

Lisa’s contributions and interventions in the discipline of Sociology lie in the areas of economic sociology, social theory and feminist theory. Her recent research has focused on the restructuring of labour, money and time in the context of the growth of finance. A book based on this research –The Time of Money – was published in 2018 by Stanford University Press as part of the Currencies: New Thinking for Financial Times series. Along with Melinda Cooper and Martijn Konings, she is currently Directing a Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Strategic Research Theme on Asset Ownership and the New Inequality. This is one of six Faculty Strategic Research Themes collectively known as FutureFix. Lisa is also joint editor-in-chief of the journal Australian Feminist Studies (Routledge/Taylor&Francis).

Event image: Generation Grundeinkommen via flickr

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