Jamie Swift has been arguing for the introduction of a basic income for years.
But with the previously unseen levels of economic downturn initiated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the movement toward basic income has earned increasing traction in recent months.
Swift, a local writer and member of the Kingston Action Group for a basic income guarantee, was one of four people who co-ordinated a new report by the Ontario Basic Income Network that says basic income will be crucial to the country’s economic recovery from the pandemic.
“The idea of basic income has indeed gone viral,” Swift said.
The 24-page report, organized by Swift and three others, outlines the problems with Canada’s current social assistance system, why basic income is a possible alternative, and the limits or conditions necessary for it to be effective.
Swift said social programs such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit have shown implementing large-scale social assistance programs are more possible than previously imagined.
“It’s been a huge amount of attention paid to basic income,” Swift said. “The advent of the CERB has shown people the state is capable and the political will is there that coming up with policies that are much more universal.”
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