Why universal basic income is gaining support, critics

Elon Musk.San Francisco Chronicle

The idea of a universal basic income — monthly cash payments from the government to every individual, working or not, with no strings attached — is gaining traction, thanks in part to endorsements from Silicon Valley celebs.

Some see it as a way to compensate for the traditional jobs with benefits that will be wiped out by robotics, artificial intelligence, self-driving vehicles, globalization and the gig economy. Others see it as a way to reduce income inequality or to create a more efficient, less stigmatizing safety net than our current mishmash of welfare benefits.

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Can giving everyone free money reduce the stigma of a guaranteed income?

National Post

Not many people noticed — perhaps because it appeared in a sociology journal instead of the economics literature — but there has been another fresh scholarly spelunking in the data ruins left behind by Mincome, Manitoba’s ambitious 1970s experiment with a universal guaranteed basic income.

Mincome is a Canadian event that was forgotten for decades, but it suddenly became retro-mesmerizing to the whole world a few years ago when the idea of a basic income returned to fashionability. It is the most extensive trial of a basic income that was ever performed — yet it turned out to be of not much use.

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Is Guaranteed Income for All the Answer to Joblessness and Poverty?

Scientific American

Everything old is new again, as the saying goes, including the controversial idea that the solution to economic upheaval is free money.

Universal basic income (UBI), a social policy that guarantees a fixed, unconditional stipend to all members of a designated group or entire country, has been kicked around for centuries by thinkers from Thomas Paine to Milton Friedman. Now it is experiencing new life as autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence and other advancing technologies rattle labor markets and foreshadow a future in which there simply may not be enough jobs for everybody who wants one.

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The Human Right to a Basic Income

 By Rob Rainer and Josephine Grey

 July 16, 2017

 Human rights are conditions of life that are “inherent to all human beings, whatever our  nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any  other status.” They are designed to inform and support positive relationships  between individuals,  families, communities, institutions, and states. The principles  which underlie and the treaties and  laws that articulate them—if defended and upheld —anchor our humanity and civilization.

 Thus, “every individual is a rights-holder, having inherent dignity and equal worth. There are also  duty-bearers (primarily states and their agencies) with correlative  obligations. International  human rights law, and the mechanisms that use, interpret and apply that law, provide a normative  basis for understanding the content of these rights and obligations. Human rights provide mechanisms both outside the courtroom and within it by which rights-holders can seek to hold duty-bearers accountable.”

At the core of human rights are the ideals and goals of the “four freedoms” articulated by US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt—freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from fear, and freedom from want—and also the primary goal of self-determination. To achieve these conditions, it is also understood that while all rights are “interrelated, interdependent and indivisible,” the absolute basics of life (e.g., water, food, clothing, and shelter) must first be met.

Click here to read the full article, with footnotes and endnotes. 

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Police chief in Lindsay thinks basic income is a good idea for town

As the town of Lindsay prepares for its basic income pilot to begin this fall, its police chief is already on board.

City of Kawartha Lakes Police Chief, John Hagarty, says he’s pleased the town has been chosen as one of three centres in Ontario for the pilot. He’s especially happy that about a full 10 percent of the community could be participants in the program.

Out of the 4,000 participants, who will be invited to participate, 1,000 will be from the Hamilton/Brantford area and another 1,000 will be from Thunder Bay.

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Basic Income Guarantee moving forward for Lindsay residents

Kawartha Lakes This Week

Eligible Lindsay residents who need a hand up are a step closer to a better quality of life as the Province’s Basic Income Guarantee program continues to move closer to becoming a reality.

Last January, a public consultation (one of many held around Ontario) was hosted in Lindsay and attended by a provincial poverty reduction strategy analyst. The aim of the  Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) program, which will be a three-year test pilot, is to assess whether a basic income can better support vulnerable workers and improve health and education for people on low incomes.

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The true cost of basic income

Scott Santens

Imagine a group of 5 people. They have an income distribution of $10, $20, $30, $50, and $100. Someone gets the BIG idea of everyone putting 40% of their money into a hat, and dividing the result equitably between everyone.

That means $4, $8, $12, $20, and $40 goes into the hat. That's $84 which when divided by 5 is $16.80.

Another way of looking at this result is that the amounts paid were -$12.80, -$8.80, -$4.80, $3.20, and $23.20. The poorest three people paid negative amounts (negative taxation), meaning they received money, and the richest two people paid positive amounts (positive taxation), meaning they lost money.

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