Resources

There are thousands of articles, papers, reports, podcasts, videos and web sites concerning basic income directly or indirectly. Below we present a selection of recommended resources for exploring basic income, including a number specific or particularly relevant to the Canadian context.

For additional and more comprehensive resources, including regarding basic income around the world, we recommend the web site of Basic Income Earth Network.

Introductory reading

A Canadian City Once Eliminated Poverty and Nearly Everyone Forgot About It (2014): A news article comprehensively reviewing the 1970s Manitoba Mincome experiment and what has been learned from it in recent years.

A Plea for Young People to Join the Fight for Basic Income (2015): A short article by Tony Kirby, a veteran basic income proponent in Vancouver, BC

2014 A Dignified Approach to Income Security for Canadians (Joe Foster) (2014): Written by Ottawa-based social justice advocate Joe Foster, this paper (in Microsoft Word) “is designed to assist interested persons in moving the much debated issue of poverty reduction, and the tools needed to implement it, from good intentions to reality”.

About Basic Income: A short overview from the web site of Basic Income Earth Network with links to dozens of frequently asked questions, and much more on the BIEN site.

Basic Income and You: A web page from Basic Income Ireland with information relevant to Canadians; nicely describes how basic income can improve the lives of the employed, unemployed, self-employed, the young and those involved in caregiving or artistic/creative work.

Cash transfers can work better than subsidies (2014): A news article on the “transformative” potential of basic income in India, based on recent pilot programs there.

Good Poor, Bad Poor (2013): A news article with an excellent critique of the prejudice that the poor are lazy, dependent etc.

How to put Canada back together again (2013): A distinguished Canadian journalist identifies basic income as one of “four big recommendations for repairing the tears in our social fabric.”

Income Security for All Canadians: Understanding Guaranteed Income (undated): This paper covers all the major issues from different models of how basic income works, to funding, pro and con arguments and a history of proposals in Canada, with good references for further reading.

Income Security for Working-Age Adults in Canada: Let’s consider the model under our nose (2008): This paper presents important information and analysis of Canada’s income security system.

Money for nothing: Mincome experiment could pay dividends 40 years on (2014): A news article focusing on the Manitoba Mincome experiment of the 1970s, featuring interviews with a couple of basic income recipients at that time.

Possibilities and Prospects: The Debate Over a Guaranteed Income (2009): This paper assesses the pros and cons of guaranteed (basic) income.

Rethinking the Idea of a Basic Income for All (2013): A news article in which the writer surveys right-of-centre American thought on basic income, noting how basic income has received support from the conservative and libertarian wings of the political spectrum.

Social Determinants of Health: The Canadian Facts (2010): An excellent summary report of the various social determinants of health of which income is one.

The Case for a Guaranteed Income (2013): An infographic nicely contrasting basic income against welfare.

They can’t, but we can (2014): A Canadian income security expert provides his low-cost estimate of eliminating income poverty in Ontario via a basic income.

To Beat Back Poverty, Pay the Poor (2011): A news article surveying Brazil and Mexico’s success with basic income, with programs reaching tens of millions of families.

To end poverty, guarantee everyone in Canada $20,000 a year. But are you willing to trust the poor? (2010): A news article framing the possibilities of and barriers to basic income in Canada.

Academic and in-depth reading

A failure to communicate: What (if anything) can we learn from the negative income tax experiments? (2005): A paper on the 1960s and 1970s experiments of basic income in the United States and Canada.

A Guaranteed Annual income: From Mincome to the Millennium (2001): A review of the Manitoba Mincome guaranteed income experiment of the 1970s, one of several in North America around that time, the only one in Canada and the only experiment with a site (Dauphin, MB) in which an entire community was studied; the paper explores how the main findings are relevant for the 21st century.

Arguing for Basic Income: Ethical Foundations for a Radical Reform (1992): Edited by Philippe Van Parijs, one of the world’s leading intellectuals on basic income, this book by “a group of specialists describe[s] the type of society in which unconditional income would be legitimate.”

Basic Income: An Anthology of Contemporary Research (2013): A book containing a “compilation of six decades of Basic Income literature. It includes the most influential empirical research and theoretical arguments on all aspects of the Basic Income proposal.”

Basic Income and Gender Equality: Reflections on the Potential for Good Policy in Canada (2014): This paper explains why basic income in Canada is not a radical leap of faith, setting basic income within its national income security and political context.

Basic Income: Economic Security for All Canadians (1999): Though the financial costing data is now dated, this book (available via Amazon) remains relevant by presenting essential context for basic income in Canada.

Basic Income Studies: Links to subscription access to this academic journal, published twice a year.

Cash Transfers Evidence Paper (2011): A detailed assessment of socio-economic evidence from cash transfer programs in the global South, “cash transfers” being approximations of basic income.

Economic Security in the Twenty-First Century – Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI): An ecological, democratic, justice and food security imperative (2009): A Master’s paper exploring the rationale for, history of and funding options for basic income.

Ending Poverty: A Basic Income for All Canadians (2002): Another book-length treatment of basic income within the Canadian policy context; the author is presently (2015) a provincial minister in the Government of Quebec.

The Psychological Aspects of the Guaranteed Income (1966): A compelling essay by the eminent psychologist Erich Fromm.

The Town With No Poverty (2011): In this paper Evelyn Forget explains the Manitoba Mincome experiment of the 1970s and identifies key findings stemming from her painstaking analysis of archival data.

Welfare in Canada 2013 (2014): This report details the inadequacies and complexity of social assistance in different jurisdictions across Canada. It helps in understanding why a basic income could provide a better alternative.

Working Through the Work Disincentive (undated): a rebuttal to the belief that basic income weakens labour market participation

Podcasts

Why does everyone have to work?: A 7:49 minute podcast exploring the meaning and modern realities of work and making a case for universal basic income.

Videos (most under 20 minutes)

Archbishop Tutu on Basic Income: “Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu speaks to the closing session of the Basic Income Earth Network’s 11th International Congress in Cape Town, 4 November [2006]. The Nobel laureate…applauds the work of the Basic Income campaign and makes an impassioned plea for social transfers to combat poverty and hunger.” (7:40 minutes)

Basic Income Visualized: A 3:08 minute video with European context that is nonetheless relevant to Canada

Humans Need Not Apply: Great 15-minute video exploring the rapid rise of automation and robots and what this means for the future of human labour. Also see this perky 4:22 minute video response to “Humans Need Not Apply”, raising yet more questions about the “exciting but very scary” future ahead.

If You Want to Help Me, Prescribe Me Money: Toronto physician Gary Bloch’s 2013 TEDx talk on income and health and the need for “income prescriptions” (18:07 minutes).

Unconditional Basic Income: An animated 3:16 minute video introducing basic income and flagging a few of the central objections to it.

Videos made at two events on basic income held in Winnipeg in early February 2015: (1) The University of Manitoba’s symposium entitled “A Basic Income for Canada & Manitoba: Why Not?”; and (2) The Manitoba Institute for Policy Research hosted an evening session called “Policy, Pizza & a Pint – Working Towards a Basic Income for Manitoba & Canada“…and navigate to Thursday, February 5, 2015.

Who Is Dependent on Welfare?: Excellent 13-minute video concerning welfare and making a case for basic income; focused on the United States but relevant to Canada.

Web sites

Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN): BIEN is the world’s leading international group on basic income; Basic Income Canada Network is the Canadian affiliate of BIEN.

Basic Income News: “…launched by BIEN and its affiliates….this site aims to provide frequently updated news stories about basic income from around the world and to provide an interactive and up-to-the-minute context for basic income news.

Livable 4 All: An edgy Canadian site chock-full of information on basic income and the Canadian context (the site creator prefers the terminology “livable income” over “basic income”).

United States Basic Income Guarantee Network: Site of BICN’s counterpart network in America.

Upstream: Site of a Canadian “movement to create a healthy-society through evidence-based, people-centred ideas”. Upstream seeks to reframe public discourse around addressing the social determinants of health [of which income is critical] in order to build a healthier society.”