Oslo 2019 – Visions for a Brighter Future

UBI-Nordic Conference 2019 – Oslo, April 5-7

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Friday April 5th

17.00 – 18.30 Reception at the City Hall

20.00 – Chateau Neuf, Welcome, and mingling and concert: “Bra Folk” (Betong)

Saturday April 6th

09.00 – 09.30 Registration

09.30 – 09.35 Welcome (Storsalen)

09.35 – 11.00 Plenary Session I:

UBI: Targeting the Sustainable Development Goals (Storsalen)

We have 11 years to reach the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by world leaders in September 2015. The new SDGs collectively address the environmental, social and economic dimensions of development. Extreme poverty must be eradicated, social inequities should be leveled out, and climate change must be addressed with a sense of urgency.

What basic income does is to raise the floor for everyone and provides a solid foundation for each and every human being to stand on and build their lives. It provides a sense of security to everyone and therefore paves the way for a healthy and a just society. The opening plenary session will discuss basic income from a sustainability perspective and look at how basic income can help reaching these goals.

Chair: Lena Stark
Speakers: Hilde Latour, Sarath Davala, Paul Harnett, Laura Bannister, Kalle Moene

11.15 – 12.30 Plenary Session II:

Solutions for a Brighter Future (Storsalen)

The challenges of the future society are complex, including issues such as climate change, inequality, unemployment, income insecurity, declining trust and increasing polarisation between people. Consequently, we must be creative and think about new solutions for a new time. How can we think differently about our economic system, redistribution and the commons? What might this future society look like, not only in terms of technological solutions but even more in terms of social renewal and human development?

Chair: Enno Schmidt
Speakers: Ove Jakobsen, Lena Stark, Nir Jaacobi, Barb Jacobson, Thomas Hylland Eriksen

12.30 – 13.30 Lunch

13.30 – 15.00 Plenary Session III:

Future of Work (Storsalen)

The nature of work continues to change drastically. Experts predict that automation and AI will lead to massive job losses, and the growth of the “gig” economy is creating unstable jobs, with increased demands on flexibility and efficiency. Temporary positions create income insecurity for workers, and there will be a need to update skills and knowledge continuously. In such a situation, basic income may become a critical element of future work life.

Chair: Barb Jacobsen
Speakers: Becca Kirkpatrick, Guy Standing, Scott Santens, James Bloodworth
Hosts: The Norwegian Students’ Society (DNS)

15.15 – 16.30 Parallel Sessions:

UBI: Pilot Projects (Betong)

It is expected that basic income will have many beneficial effects both on the societal and the individual level. Because basic income has not yet been implemented in any city or nation, experiments are the only way to give an indication about these effects. This session will give an overview of recent basic income pilot projects. These are small-scale preliminary experiments which are carried out on selected members of the relevant population to assess the feasibility, costs and effects of the full-scale implementation of basic income. The session will include experiments from Finland, India, Scotland, Canada and Ukraine.

Chair: Karl Widerquist
Speakers: Sarath Davala, Jenna Van Draanen, Minna Ylikännö, Joy Ponader, Annie Miller

UBI, Art, Culture & Entrepreneurship (Galleriet)

Our society eagerly consumes art and entertainment, so why does it pay so poorly and for so few? When money is in such scarcity for artists, doesn’t that make art and entertainment easier to control? Granting everyone in society what they need to survive would not only fulfill a human right, it would empower people to make their own choices and pursue their dreams. What would that mean for creativity and entrepreneurship?

Chair: Enno Schmidt
Speakers: Liz Ramsey, Øyvind Steensen, Toby Phips Lloyd

Open UBI – using Blockchain to reduce inequality (Bokcaféen)

With the advent of blockchain technology, a new option for funding and distribution UBI has arisen: cryptocurrencies and smart contracts. This presents a bold, new approach, where money can be created independently of government systems, introducing a monetary system unbound by budget limitations, national sovereignty and government bureaucracy. How can this be done? What are the challenges and possible advantages? Come to the GoodDollar roundtable to hear more about UBI in the crypto age!”

Hosts: GoodDollar – Nir Yaacobi & Gilad Barner

16.45 – 18.00 Plenary Session IV:

Democracy in Crisis (Storsalen)

In recent years we have seen a rise in inequality, the growth of precarious work and lack of trust in politicians, leading to political unrest in several countries. Perhaps the most noteworthy example in Norway has been Bomfritt Norge – NOK is NOK and internationally the Yellow Vests movement, or gilets jaunes, in France.

The Yellow Vests has been forcing the political elite to reckon with the impact of austerity on the working class, while at the same time imagining a more egalitarian and participatory society. While mainstream French and international media have largely characterized the yellow vests as violent troublemakers, many people throughout France see the movement as a long-needed popular uprising against a deeply unjust political and economic system.

In this session we will address the democratic decline in conversation with representatives from these social movements in Europe. We will ask questions about how people perceive their influence on political decisions and opportunities to participate in the public debate and if politics has become too detached from normal people and reserved for the elite.

Chair: Guy Standing
Speakers: Jan Ove Sikveland, Nicole Teke, Romain Majou, Bert Blase, Ali Mutlu Köylüoğlu

18.30 Dinner

20.00 Dance performance: What’s the Point? by The Choreologist (Storsalen)

21.00 Concert: “Ask Carol” (Betong)

Sunday April 7th

10.00 – 11.00 Plenary Session V:

Negotiating UBI in the Nordic Countries (Storsalen)

This session gives an update on the last year’s development of the UBI debate in the different Nordic countries. It seeks to address what the main challenges and progress have been. The format is a conversation between representatives from the Nordic countries and journalist Ingeborg Eliassen.

Chair: Ingeborg Eliassen
Speakers: Øyvind Steensen (Norway), Lena Stark (Sweden), Martin Bruun Michaelsen (Denmark), Roosa Eriksson (Finland) Gerdur Palmadottir (Iceland)

11.15 – 12.30 Parallel Sessions:

From Welfare Net to Income Floor (Betong)

Since its beginning the Nordic model has been praised and is often used in fine speeches as an explanation for the Nordic countries’ progress. In particular, they emphasize on distribution of income through taxes, central wage bargaining that results in wage compression and the universal character of the welfare state.

However, the Nordic model is under pressure. The public discourse on welfare is increasingly dominated by economic arguments, at the expense of rights-based arguments, for instance seen in the stricter criteria for social security schemes.

In this meeting we will ask our self what steps do we have to take in order to ensure universal, unconditional welfare for all in the future? How do we further develop the Nordic model to increase solidarity, sustainability and a sense of belonging?

Chair: Rune Halvorsen
Speakers: Margunn Bjørnholt, Ivar Lødemel, Kalle Moene, Nanna Kildal, Guy Standing
Hosts: Velferdsalliansen EAPN

Communicating UBI to the public (Lillesalen)

Communicating UBI to the public can be challenging. There is a lack of awareness of what UBI is and what impact it can have on society. Beyond fiscal policy and economic debates, at the core of this issue is what we think jobs should be and ultimately our relationship with money. The UBI debate forces us to question our deepest beliefs about what an individual should do to deserve a minimum living standard, what do we consider meaningful work and what society values in terms of “economic activities”. Furthermore, UBI is framed from widely different perspectives leading to different and sometimes conflicting models.

In this session, the speakers will share what challenges they have faced when communicating UBI to new audiences. What are the common questions they encounter and the arguments that are raised against UBI?

Chair: Scott Santens
Speakers: Ingeborg Eliassen, Sven Egil Omdal, Jenna Van Draanen, Joy Ponader

Automated work-life: Working with robots? (Galleriet)

One of the most pressing questions with regard to the future of work is how artificial intelligence will change our jobs. Future work life will be about the collaboration between humans and robots, though we do not know exactly how yet. This session will explore how automation and artificial intelligence might impact our jobs, and address what that means for the role of the worker and the unions.

Chair: Andrew Kroglund
Speakers: James Bloodworth, Karl Widerquist, Becca Kirkpatrick, Paul Harnett

12.30 – 13.30 Lunch

13.30-13.45 Dance Performance: Extracts from “Please Body Follow” by Kristina Nilsen Oma

13.45 – 15.15 Parallel Sessions:

Political Debate Introduced by “Silent Sofa” (Storsalen – in Norwegian)

Politisk debatt om borgerlønn og velferdsstatens fremtid introdusert av “Silent Sofa”. Representanter fra ulike sosiale grupper gir et fem minutters innlegg om utfordringer relatert til inntekt som politikerne lytter til før debatten. Deretter får politikerne anledning til å kommentere og eventuelt komme med mulige forslag for å løse problemene. Debatten vil handle om velferdsstaten i praksis, inkludert tiltak for arbeidsledighet, ulikhet, inntektssikkerhet og verdighet.

Political debate about basic income and the future of the welfare state introduced by “Silent Sofa”. Representatives from different social groups will give a five minute presentation for the politicians and the audience about challenges they have related to income. The politicians will then get the opportunity to comment on the issues raised, and provide possible solutions. The debate will relate to the practical aspects of the welfare state, including measures for unemployment, inequality, income security and dignity.

Chair: Andrew Kroglund
Silent Sofa: Johan Lothe, Elisabeth Thoresen, Honoratte basemake bnn muhanzi, Jan Ove Sikveland, Aksel Klanderud
Speakers: Guro Angell Gimse (H), Solfrid Lerbrekk (SV), Øyvind Solum (MDG), Ivar Lødemel

UBI and Religion respectively spirituality (Bokcaféen)

Is there a relationship between core statements of religions respectively a spiritual understanding of human being and an unconditional basic income? Can religious truths correspond with a UBI? Basic income usually is discussed in regard to abolish poverty, as a respond on automation and digitization and for a life in dignity with more freedom. But why that? What is the concept of the human behind it? Classically, the religions answered this question. Today, everyone has to answer for themselves. That’s why the panel is not made up of experts on the podium, but of all participants who discuss it and approach answers. Enno Schmidt gives impetus and moderates the conversation.

Chair: Enno Schmidt

The Commons (Lillesalen)

The commons refer to common resources, which are not privately owned and free for everyone to use. The commons consist of natural resources, such as land, but also social resources. However, partly due to globalisation and neo-liberal economic policies, the commons are under pressure. This session will look at possible ways of restoring the commons and their availability to everyone, for instance by addressing how new technologies may help pay for a basic income.

Chair: Laura Bannister
Speakers: Guy Standing, Hilde Latour, Ove Jakobsen

15.30 – 16.30 Plenary Session VI:

Concluding Remarks (Storsalen)



Stands during the conference:

International Basic Income Week

Project: SDG/UBI in 30 European cities

Project: UBI/Taxi Turkey

Annie Miller’s Basic Income Handbook

Res Publica

Akademika (only Saturday)

Share Norge


Velferdsalliansen EAPN

Gule Vester Oslo