Why you are hearing about it now.
Basic Income is not a new idea. Pilot programs of various sorts have been tried and in the United States, both Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter attempted to implement various forms of a Basic Income, as a way of simplifying byzantine welfare programs. It's been advocated on both the left and the right, by Martin Luther King and Murray Rothbard for starkly different reasons. It's an idea that's well-known in policy circles - it's just been seen as politically impossible.
The idea did not really gain popular attention until the idea started to spread via the Internet. Specifically, the /r/basicincome subreddit has done a remarkable job of collating information and pushing the idea outward, while effectively answering concerns about the idea of simply handing people money as a means of eliminating poverty.
I'm putting this in the /t/basicincome sidebar so that you can refer to it and add any links you might find.
Overviews and resources
1 +13y+ ago
The "Default Faq" to the best of my knowledge.
2 +13y+ ago
The Wikipedia article has a great deal of information regarding international efforts.
3 +13y+ ago
Founded in 1986, the Basic Income European Network (BIEN) aims to serve as a link between individuals and groups committed to, or interested in, basic income, i.e. an income unconditionally granted to all on an individual basis, without means test or work requirement, and to foster informed discussion on this topic throughout Europe.
Members of BIEN include academics, students and social policy practitioners as well as people actively engaged in political, social and religious organisations. They vary in terms of disciplinary backgrounds and political affiliations no less than in terms of age and citizenship. In the course of two decades, “BIEN” has become somewhat of a misnomer, as scholars and activists from other continents have actively joined the network.