In September 2020, the board of Citizen’s Basic Income Network Scotland formally decided to change the organisation’s name to Basic Income Network Scotland.
Why have we decided to change our name? Besides being a bit of a mouthful, “Citizen’s Basic Income” has also fallen out of fashion recently. While relatively common only five years ago, referring to a basic income as a “citizen’s income” or a “citizen’s basic income” has become archaic in common parlance.
Likewise, given basic income is now a very well-defined concept, there is little need to add a clarification or qualification like “citizen’s” that, we feel, only confuses and distracts from the core concept: basic income. While we appreciate that some organisations still use the term “citizen’s basic income”, we want to use the simplest and most accessible term possible.
Perhaps foremost among these reasons is that our new name uniquely defines what we at Basic Income Network Scotland are all about.
The first part of our new name, ‘Basic Income’, refers to the subject upon which our organisation was founded and upon which it continues to thrive through your support. Alongside the name change, we also agreed to change how we define basic income. We now define Basic Income as follows:
“A periodic, uniform (except by age), unconditional cash payment delivered to all on an individual basis, without means test or behavioural requirement.”
We believe that this new definition is the most precise of any basic income definition used by any organisation in the world. As governments around the globe continue to implement policies that are erroneously labelled as basic income, the need for a robust definition of the concept has never been more important, and we would welcome other basic income organisations in adopting this definition as we have.
Meanwhile, the ‘Network’ in Basic Income Network Scotland refers to our mission as an educational charity. Our mission is as follows:
- to inform and raise awareness of the benefits that a basic income would bring to Scotland;
- to support a network of basic income advocates, providing training and a platform for discussion;
- to lend our expertise to government and policy makers;
- and to share the stories of people who would benefit from a basic income.
We have many initiatives underway that contribute to this mission that we look forward to sharing with you in due course.
Finally, the other component of our name and of our identity is Scotland. We are the only organisation in Scotland whose sole interest is in basic income, and we are wholly aware that it is incumbent on us to further the basic income conversation in this country.
The next year will be an extraordinary time for our organisation and for basic income in Scotland. The release of the draft report into the feasibility of a basic income pilot in Scotland in June of this year has provided us with a unique opportunity to communicate basic income to the people of Scotland, which we will be undertaking via our events, online communications and partnerships with other organisations over the coming months. This will be of vital importance as we head into the Scottish Parliamentary elections in May 2021.
Finally, as the primary organisation on the local organising committee for the Basic Income Earth Network Congress 2021 – the first BIEN Congress to take place in the post-pandemic age – we look forward to welcoming basic income advocates and academics from all over the world to Glasgow in August 2021, whether physically or digitally.
It is going to be an incredibly exciting time, and we would love to have you with us – if you would like to get involved in shaping the basic income debate in Scotland, then drop us an email at email@example.com and we’ll be in touch.