Economy being held back, but basic income would solve the issue: Nick Taylor

Roderick Benns recently interviewed Nick Taylor, a project manager who has worked around the world on both public and private endeavours, from roads, railways, airports, and buildings, taking ideas from plans to reality. He is helping develop ways for people in Vancouver to discuss and engage with the idea of basic income. 

Part one of two 

Benns: How did you come to be involved in this issue? Do you have any lived experience with poverty?

Taylor: My daughter is 9. She is very smart and utterly absorbed in ecology. She understands that responding to (and possibly even mitigating) the impacts of climate change will be the work of her generation. Recently, her school was celebrating its 100th year since it's founding, and they asked the kids to write about the future 100 years from now. And she couldn't. She cried. She didn't want to write about the future she saw. The environment will be her generation's fight -- dealing with a legacy we've inherited and done little to improve. She and her friends want to do something.  

 

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PEI MPs should work together for a Basic Income Guarantee

By Christian Ledwell

Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come, and a basic income guarantee’s time has come.

A basic income guarantee is a simple policy that is popular across the political spectrum. Libertarians and conservatives like the idea because it would be straightforward to administer, meaning less bureaucracy and opening the door for smaller government. On the left, the idea is popular as a solution to poverty that could make a real change in the lives of low income families. 

A basic income guarantee works like this: we agree on an amount of income that lets people meet their basic needs and live with dignity, regardless of work status. 

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Let's put an end to fear, poverty, and bureaucracy: Scott Santens

Roderick Benns, publisher of Leaders and Legacies, recently interviewed Scott Santens, one of the leading American voices for basic income policy. The New Orleans-based writer is an advocate of basic income for all people and he serves as moderator of the BasicIncome community on Reddit.

Benns: The very notion of a basic income guarantee frightens a lot of people, particularly in western societies like Canada and the U.S.  Thinking of employers, how can they be convinced that basic income policy is a good idea? Won’t they be worried about finding people willing to work?

Santens: It’s kind of interesting isn’t it, that the asking of such a question directly implies that employers don’t actually pay workers sufficiently for them to work voluntarily. We all know that’s the case, but we ignore it. The rate employers currently pay for the jobs people don’t want to do is artificially low. It’s low because people have to choose between no money at all, and at least some money. That’s coercion. It’s an imbalance of bargaining power. It’s also a market distortion. Employers have no incentive to pay sufficient wages, so people accept insufficient wages and consider themselves lucky they don’t have to live hungry in a box in an alley somewhere.

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Food Banks Canada calls on government to establish basic income

By Roderick Benns

Publisher of Leaders and Legacies, a social purpose news site

Food Banks Canada is the latest national organization to call for a basic income guarantee for Canadians.

Writing in their latest Hungercount 2015 report just released, the group says the time has come for the provinces and territories “to dismantle what has become an understaffed, stressed, and ineffective bureaucratic system that hurts more than it helps.”

Food Banks Canada notes there exist several workable models for a basic income that would be administered through the tax system. This would instantly “eliminate the bureaucracy, the intrusiveness, and the stigma associated with welfare.”

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Segal inspires basic income advocates, says he has ‘never been more optimistic’

By Roderick Benns 

Publisher of Leaders and Legacies, a social purpose news site

Retired Conservative Senator Hugh Segal energized about 50 Ontario advocates of a basic income guarantee on Saturday who were looking for inspiration and advice from one of the great leaders of the movement.

Segal didn’t disappoint, bringing his trademark humour and optimism in support of a cause he has championed for 40 years. He says a “confluence of events” has produced an incredible window of opportunity for basic income policy and that it was time to “seize this moment.”

“At no point in the last 40 years have I been as optimistic as I am now,” says Segal.

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Economics professor says evidence points to responsible use of basic income

Roderick Benns, publisher of Leaders and Legacies, recently interviewed Robin Boadway, a retired economics professor. Boadway studied economics at Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship. He has his doctorate in economics from Queen’s University in Kingston.

Benns: How did you come to be involved in this issue?

Boadway: I spent my academic career as a public finance economist studying optimal policies for achieving a just and fair society, particularly with regard to those most in need. Naturally, guaranteed annual income is one important element of redistributive policies. I was especially influenced by economists like Anthony Atkinson and Amartya Sen for whom basic income was both fair and conducive to equality of opportunity. The views of philosopher John Rawls were also influential, particularly the idea that societal outcomes owe much to luck at birth, and those of us who are luckier than others owe it to the less fortunate to share in our luck. Having spent most of my life teaching and studying the importance of a basic income guarantee, the BIG group in Kingston offered an irresistible opportunity to have some practical effect.

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Prominent Conservative speaks out in favour of basic income pilots

By Roderick Benns 

Publisher of Leaders and Legacies, a social purpose news site

Retired Conservative Senator Michael Meighen says it’s time for governments to set up pilot projects across Canada to give a basic income guarantee a chance as future policy. In an interview with Leaders and Legacies in Toronto, Meighen says the idea is “very attractive on paper” so it will be important to follow this through with real-world testing.

“That’s where pilot projects come in – we have to test it,” says Meighen, who notes that if the pilots are successful, then the policy becomes easier to sell, politically.

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