The 'Precariat' flexes its muscles: 90,000 Germans demand basic income referendum

By Kate McFarland

Inspired by the popular initiative for a basic income in Switzerland — where citizens will vote on a basic income on the 5th of June — the group Omnibus for Direct Democracy has joined forces with several basic income advocacy groups to launch a campaign for a basic income referendum in Germany.

An important difference between the two countries, however, is that Germany does not currently permit referendums at the federal level. The main goal of Omnibus for Direct Democracy is to reform the German democratic system so that citizens can introduce and vote on national referendums — as reflected in its slogan, “Wir wollen abstimmen” (“We want to vote”).

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Poor should receive basic income, says economist

By Crystal Hsu  

Nobel laureate Angus Deaton yesterday lent support to basic income grants as part of government efforts to mitigate wealth and consumption inequality.

“The government should take care of people with low income and should be pushing basic income grants,” the economist told a forum at the Taipei International Convention Center.

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Basic income removes state control over taking care of oneself

By Toni Pickard

An article recently published in the UK's Guardian newspaper, entitled ‘The basic income is a dangerous idea that gives the state power to control every penny that citizens spend’ (May 15, 2106) is based on a number of misconceptions about how a properly designed basic income guarantee would work.  

First, in Ontario, Canada, as an example, right now the state does in fact dictate how the benefits paid out through Provincial welfare systems are spent. In some provinces, the inadequate amount allotted for rent is paid directly to landlords rather than to the recipient, thereby enforcing state control.  Basic income, in contrast, is meant to end exactly that kind of micromanagement of people's lives. It removes all state control, distributing the income without conditions (apart from some residency requirement) and regardless of work status. Autonomy and dignity via freedom from state oversight are essential aspects of basic income design.

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$81 a month buys a healthier baby

CBC News

When pregnant women were trusted with $81 a month in prenatal benefits, no strings attached, their babies' physical health did better, say Manitoba researchers, who would like similar income supplements to be offered across Canada.

The Healthy Baby Prenatal Benefit offers support to families with a net household income of less than $32,000, on a sliding scale.

In Thursday's online issue of the journal Pediatrics, researchers say babies born to low-income women who received the benefit in 2003 to 2010 did better in terms of low birth weight and prematurity than a similar group born to low-income women who didn't.

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Kingston’s Basic Income group pursues range of activities to push basic income policy

By Roderick Benns

Kingston, Ontario’s Basic Income advocacy group is putting forward a range of activities and ideas to educate the public and to network with their colleagues from other areas of the province and country. 

Toni Pickard, a long-time organizer for the Kingston group, says they have just completed work on a new website, and something they are calling a “Charter for Basic income.” 

“It’s an effort to set out our picture of what principles a basic income program should be guided by,” she says. 

Pickard notes that some of the points build on a November workshop agreement, as well as aspects of the design and delivery process the group feels are important. 

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Basic Income congress a chance to turn ‘good idea’ into reality, says key organizer

By Roderick Benns

One of the key organizers for the upcoming North American Basic Income Guarantee (NABIG) Congress, says it’s time to go from discussing a “good idea” to figuring out how to make it a reality.

Dr. James Mulvale, Dean of the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Manitoba and a basic income scholar and advocate, says conference participants intend to go beyond discussing Basic Income as a somewhat vague understanding “to mapping out how to make it a reality through cooperation among various levels of governments and civil society organizations.”

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Basic income pilot project a taste of things to come


The recent announcement that the provincial government will fund a basic income pilot project had Windsor’s politicians clamouring to make the case that our city, struggling with chronically high unemployment and persistent poverty, was the perfect proving ground for a seemingly radical approach to public spending.

While pushing for the pilot project was an opportunity any elected leader would take, it’s perhaps a signal that their often-touted dedication to creating jobs and reducing unemployment is at odds with the trends of a changing world.

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