How a basic income experiment helped these Kenyans weather the Covid-19 crisis

Vox

Several years ago, researchers in Kenya decided to study the effects of a universal basic income (UBI) trial on people’s well-being.

Some 6,000 recipients in a 12-year trial beginning around 2017 received 75 cents a day — not much, but enough, their research found, for people to be less food-insecure and more likely to start a business. Others received payments for just two years (that ended in December 2019), and still others received a lump sum payment.

In early 2020, the coronavirus hit. In response, governments like Kenya’s imposed harsh lockdowns that sought to prevent the virus’s spread, but that also had devastating impacts on the economy.

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Time for a basic income says 40,000 member alliance

The Suburban

A group of some 40,000 universal basic income (UBI) supporters are launching a petition and a proposal to promote Canada’s economic recovery.

UBI Works is promoting the UBI for Economic Recovery, a national basic income plan to provide all Canadian adults with $500 non-taxable per month while establishing a guaranteed monthly minimum income of $2,000 for single adults and $3,000 for couples. The amount would decrease by $0.50 for every dollar of employment income and one dollar for every dollar of other family income.

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A bold Conservative platform would include universal basic income

Policy Options

Out of a party leadership race that seemed perpetually overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic and protests for racial justice, Canada’s Conservatives elected as their leader a mild-mannered, former air force officer and lawyer.

Erin O’Toole, a cabinet minister in the Harper government, now has the tough job of convincing Canadians that he is markedly different than the two previous Conservative leaders. In his maiden speech as leader, O’Toole assured Canadians that he would lead a Conservative Party where anyone — regardless of race, sexual orientation or length of time in Canada — could feel welcome.

While that rhetoric is helpful when running for the leadership of a political party, over 95 percent of Canadians don’t join political parties and Conservatives would be better served to focus on delivering on Canadians’ priorities.

And with the potential of a fall election on the horizon, there has never been a better time for bold and courageous policies that would provide support to Canadians who are still struggling. These policies should be funded by raising taxes on those who have been unfairly avoiding it for decades.

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How Universal Basic Income could save capitalism

Forbes

Long before Covid-19 hit, faith in capitalism was faltering. The global recession of 2008 highlighted the growing gulf between the haves and the have-nots in developed economies. Soon after, the rise of China’s state-managed economy challenged the hegemony of unconstrained free markets.

In the United States, the surging pandemic has sent inequality into overdrive. American billionaires have grown 20 percent richer, as unemployment has soared to record levels. It remains to be seen just how much of this cognitive dissonance the system can sustain before spinning into total chaos.

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End of CERB could complicate EI system, open door to basic income, says senator

CTV News

Senator Yuen Pau Woo is advocating for an experimental basic income program at the provincial level, citing the complications to the employment insurance program after the end of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

Woo, who spoke at a webinar about resetting the financial sector hosted by the University of Victoria, says that a basic income program could be a solution to income inequality stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn.

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Germany is set to trial a Universal Basic Income scheme

World Economic Forum

Germany is about to become the latest country to trial a universal basic income, starting a three-year study of how it affects the economy and recipients' well-being.

As part of the study, 120 people will receive €1,200, or about $1,430, each month for three years — an amount just above Germany's poverty line — and researchers will compare their experiences with another group of 1,380 people who will not receive the payments.

The study, conducted by the German Institute for Economic Research, has been funded by 140,000 private donations.

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Ontario youth need a guaranteed basic income

The Spec

Ask youth what they would do with an extra $2,000 a month and the answers might surprise you.

Young people disproportionately struggle with mental health issues and undertake increasing student debts, all while facing a daunting post-pandemic-era job market at a time when many jobs are precarious, underpaid, or part of the gig economy.

In a recent webinar series held by the Ontario Council for International Cooperation’s Youth Policy-Makers Hub (OCIC’s YPH,) 92 per cent of respondents said they would support a guaranteed livable income (GLI) in Canada and most participants answered that $2,000 a month would give them better educational, health, and housing options.

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