The economy, jobs, and basic income

By Alan Gummo 

The economy is in trouble so we’re in trouble. We’re worried about a general slow-down in activity, job losses, high personal debt levels, inequality, precarious employment, the hidden costs of underemployment and poverty, and so on. There’s a lot of debate going on about what to do. While many and varied prescriptions are being put forward, everyone from left to right seems to agree that more jobs should be created. 

Fair enough. We definitely need more jobs. Jobs are useful in supporting individual livelihoods. 

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An alternative view of basic income pilot projects

By Terrance Hunsley

*Editor's note: This column is the view of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Basic Income Canada Network.

Since the election of the Trudeau government, there has been increased interest in the concept of basic income (also known as guaranteed income, and negative income tax). The confluence of liberal governments in Ottawa and seven provinces, as well as two NDP governments, suggests that a political consensus may be possible to take a historic step forward. A guaranteed income, or negative income tax has been held up as a noble objective to eliminate poverty, an efficient replacement for a labyrinth of means tested and over-bureaucratized programs, and a more effective insurance system for the new economy, for a long time. It could also provide a significant offset to increasing income inequality.

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Basic income and the witches of Salem

By Alan Gummo

The ‘Witches of Salem’ refers to a group of people who were believed to be witches, that is, possessed by the Devil, in Salem, Massachusetts in the 1690s.

The witch stereotype became very popular and demanded a public policy response; it drove the establishment of a specialized tribunal to deal with it. Some twenty people were put to death because of it. It has since come to symbolize injustice. I could mention other policies based on other stereotypes, but there’s no need to belabour the point by dwelling on other disasters.

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Basic income: new life for an old idea

By Solomon Israel

CBC News

In Ottawa, a federal MP is pushing for government research on the subject. Ontario's provincial budget announced a pilot program to try it out. In Quebec, a cabinet minister has been assigned to study the topic.

The mayors of Calgary and Edmonton are both on board. And the Manitoba Liberals are promising their own trial if they win the April 19 provincial election.

Basic income is capturing political imaginations in Canada.

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Think BIG on employent

By Konrad Yakabuski

The Globe and Mail

If you don’t know who (well, technically, what) Atlas is, you’d best check out this six-foot humanoid robot. He/she/it may be about to steal your job. Its creator, Google-owned Boston Dynamics, just unveiled the latest iteration of the robot that never gives up in a video that had geeks chanting “cool,” but looked to many of us like outtakes from a futuristic horror flick.

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The robots are coming for your job

By Scott Santens

On Dec. 2, 1942, a team of scientists led by Enrico Fermi came back from lunch and watched as humanity created the first self-sustaining nuclear reaction inside a pile of bricks and wood underneath a football field at the University of Chicago. Known to history as Chicago Pile-1, it was celebrated in silence with a single bottle of Chianti, for those who were there understood exactly what it meant for humankind, without any need for words.

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Feds should implement pilot project on basic income

By Senator Art Eggleton

We have immense challenges in our country when it comes to poverty. We have families that struggle to pay rent. We have children that can't afford school supplies or to go on school trips. We also have many that can't afford to put good food on the table and have to rely on donations at the food banks just to feed their families.

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