Book Review: Guy Standing’s Basic Income and How We Can Make it Happen

Jamie Swift

In 2011, before Trump, Orban and Brexit, the former International Labour Organization economist Guy Standing wrote a book in which he warned of the rise of a growing class “prone to listen to ugly voices.” Moreover, those strident voices could well erect an influential political platform. Standing argued that the neo-liberal project had, like Dr. Frankenstein, contrived an “incipient political monster” and that urgent action was needed before that creature came to life.[1]

A co-founder of the Basic Income Earth Network, the energetic Englishman called that book The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class. His 2017 book offers an incisive, well-informed – and sometimes impassioned -- probe of basic income. For Standing, basic income is at once a policy and an urgent social movement, an essential part of the urgent action required to stem the tides of right wing populism.

Read more

Canada: Report “Signposts to Success” shows how beneficial the cancelled Ontario basic income experiment was

Basic Income Earth Network

The reading of results from basic income type of experiments is, apparently, dependent on who is reading them. The Ontario present government officials did not think, for instance, that there were particular advantages or benefits from pursuing with the Ontario basic income experiment.

The particulars of the Ontario (basic income) pilot cancellation have been extensively reported on (some examples below), so much so that a new report was published with some evidence of the benefits experienced by more than 400 participants, according to their responses. 

Read more

Bill would test idea of universal basic income in Massachusetts

A bill under consideration at the Massachusetts Statehouse is aimed at testing the idea of a universal basic income.

The long-shot bill would create a pilot program that would include 100 residents in each of three economically diverse cities or towns. At least one of the communities would be located in a rural part of the state.

Read more

To bolster health, would basic income — not pharmacare — make more sense?

Andre Picard - Globe and Mail

“Millions of Canadians have to choose between paying for groceries or their prescription medications,” Hassan Yussuf, president of the Canadian Labour Congress, wrote in a recent commentary.

That is one of the most frequently cited reasons for national pharmacare by proponents of a sweeping domestic plan.

First of all, that claim is questionable. It is based on polling data that show 23 per cent of those surveyed said they had experienced difficulty paying for prescriptions. Another study found that 731,000 Canadians borrowed money to pay for their prescription drugs, and some were cutting back on necessities as a result.

Read more

Why the world should embrace basic income

Notable reprint

Globe and Mail

Annie Lowrey is a contributing editor for The Atlantic and author of Give People Money: How a Universal Basic Income Would End Poverty, Revolutionize Work, and Remake the World.

Last year, Ontario started distributing cash to thousands of lower-income adults, no strings attached. The recipients did not need to meet any conditions, save for not earning much and having lived in one of five target areas, including Hamilton, Brantford and Thunder Bay, for more than a year. They were free to use the money the government was sending them however they saw fit, whether spending it on groceries and other necessities, saving it for retirement or a degree, or frittering it away. “Our goal is clear,” said Kathleen Wynne, Ontario’s then-premier, kicking offthe effort. “We want to find out whether a basic income makes a positive difference in people’s lives.”

Read more

Why we should all have a basic income

Notable reprint

World Economic Forum

Consider for a moment that from this day forward, on the first day of every month, around $1,000 is deposited into your bank account – because you are a citizen. This income is independent of every other source of income and guarantees you a monthly starting salary above the poverty line for the rest of your life.

What do you do? Possibly of more importance, what don’t you do? How does this firm foundation of economic security and positive freedom affect your present and future decisions, from the work you choose to the relationships you maintain, to the risks you take?

Read more

PC Government promises social assistance pilot project

CBC News

P.E.I.'s new Progressive Conservative minority government says it wants to introduce a new social assistance pilot program within the next six months.

Among the many priorities outlined's in Friday's Throne Speech was a commitment to implement a Secure Income Program Pilot. 

Read more