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BIEN, founded in 1986, originally stood for Basic Income European Network, but in 2004 the organization changed its name in Basic Income Earth Network. BIEN aims for ‘an income unconditionally granted to all people on an individual basis, without means, test or work requirement’. The organization started as a think tank that studied the possibilities of introducing a basic income in Europe. Over time BIEN has grown into an international organization that researches and stimulates basic income projects and discussions around the world.


According to the proponents of a basic income we need a new vision concerning labour and income. Money needed for the necessities of life (food, clothing and shelter) should in the vision of BIEN not be linked to the question whether someone is being productive or not. Instead a basic income should be a human right appointed to every citizen in the world that is 18 years or older.


A basic income can be seen as a form of minimum income guarantee, but it differs from those that now exist in various European countries in three important ways:

  • it is being paid to individuals rather than households;
  • it is paid irrespective of any income from other sources;
  • it is paid without requiring the performance of any work or the willingness to accept a job if offered.


In other words: everybody should receive a basic income, rich and poor, employed and unemployed, man and woman and so on.


In the past decades there have been several experiments with ‘basic income’ in countries such as Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, India, Canada and the United States. The results show that free money results in lower inequality and lower poverty, lower crime rates, less infant mortality, lower healthcare costs, better school completion records, less truancy, higher economic growth and better emancipation rates.  


BIEN organizes bi-annual congresses where people from more than twenty countries meet to report and discuss basic income and related proposals in connection with a broad spectrum of themes, such as unemployment, robotics, European integration, poverty, changing patterns of work, career and family life, and principles of social justice. To keep people informed of the latest debates, events and ideas BIEN publishes digital newsletters and news items on


Members of BIEN include academics, students and social policy practitioners as well as people actively engaged in political, social and religious organizations. Research into the possibilities of a basic income is done at numerous universities, such as the University of Montreal, Georgetown University-Qatar, Université Catholique de Louvain, Australian National University, Stockholm University, National University of La Plata, University of York, University of Hamburg, Columbia University, Universitat de Barcelona, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


The ideas for a basic income stem from humanist thinking dating back to the 16th century. The ideas were developed as a result of the friction between the rich and poor and the urge people felt to release the suffering of the poor. The ideas are bedded in a long tradition of social thinking. On the website of BIEN you can find historical data, research papers, news and experiments in the field of basic income.


To date (March 2015) BIEN recognizes twenty-three national basic income networks and two regional affiliates. There are basic income networks in South Africa, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom and in the USA.


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Type of initiative Knowledge/advice organization, Action/campaign organization, Information/network organization
Field of work Financial services
Date of commencement 1986
Founder(s) Marie Boulanger, Philippe Defeyt and Philippe van Parijs
Legal form No legal form (network organization)
Continent Europe
Country Denmark
City Odense C
One or several keywords that describe your initiative basic income, poverty, equality, rich and poor
Publications Facebook, twitter, newsletters, video, books
More information

Contact person(s)

Anja Askeland


Contact information

Address Kronprinsensgade 12
Zip/postal code 5000
Place Odense C
State/province Region of Southern Denmark
Country Denmark
Phone +45 6613 2992



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