Basic income is the best public service we could ask for

By Robin Boadway and Roderick Benns

As basic income policy gets more press as a way to drastically reduce poverty, inevitably there will be those who seek to preserve the status quo approach.

This has served us inadequately for many years and yet there are some believers who remain. These same believers often seek to create false policy choices, as Armine Yalnizyan has done in her recent offering to the Star, Basic income? How about basic services?’

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Charity, morality, or human right: Basic Income in context

By Joe Foster  

It is estimated that about 40 percent of the North American population form the “precariat,” the term coined by Guy Standing in his 2008 paper, “How Cash Transfers Promote the Case for Basic Income.”

A key result of looming poverty is the enormous financial strain placed on families, especially those hovering near the poverty line. For example, any small mishap can mean a family not being able to pay the rent and suddenly becoming engulfed in the poverty abyss.

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Will change bring a “soft landing” to workers displaced by new technology?

By Tony Kirby, July 17, 2016

Tony Kirby is a retired business communications professional and a basic income advocate. He lives in Vancouver.

A popular myth is that things happen very quickly, that change is fast.

Well, it isn’t and I should know—I’ve been watching proposed initiatives and new products for six decades now—and I know that change is painfully slow. 

The reasons are both emotional and financial.

As the first writer in North America to specialize in writing about automation I had an inside track on the impact of early computers. Although it didn’t take too many years before factories were fully automated, the introduction of computers to the office environment was slow.

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Basic income is back in fashion -- and Ontario could learn from past mistakes

By Ashley Csanady for the National Post

Basic income is the romper of economic policy.

It was last en vogue in the 1970s and in the midst of a popular renaissance. Just as you can barely go a day without seeing a grown woman in a onesie, you can barely go a week without a headline proclaiming some form of guaranteed annual income as a poverty panacea. 

From Alberta to Africa, leaders are openly mulling the concept of guaranteeing a base level of monetary support for all citizens. Pilot programs in countries as diverse as Kenya and the Netherlands are underway. Brazil offers all young mothers cash cards directly to help cover diaper and food costs — a simple form of basic income. Like rompers, however, when it comes to basic income, one-size most certainly does not fit all. 

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UK’s Largest Trade Union the Latest to Endorse Basic Income

Unite, Britain’s largest trade union, passed a motion endorsing basic income at the Unite 2016 Policy Conference on Monday, July 11.  

The full text of the motion is as follows:

Basic Income

Conference notes the growing crisis of low pay, in work poverty and precarity in a labour market increasingly characterised by casualised forms of employment that offer low pay, zero hours contracts and no long-term security.

Conference further notes the evident inability of our bureaucratically costly social security system, with its dependence on means-testing and frequent arbitrary sanction, to provide an adequate income floor.

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A wider lens: an analysis of Kesselman’s view of a basic income

By Sheila Regehr

In his article in Inroads entitled “A dubious antipoverty strategy: Guaranteeing incomes for the poor is politically unfeasible and financially unsustainable” (Winter/Spring 2014, pp. 33-43) , Jonathan Rhys Kesselman argues not only against fairly generous forms of a basic income but also concludes that no further direct cash support should be provided to working-age Canadians, with the exception of adults who are severely disabled. His proposals to address poverty focus on services and inkind support.

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Basic income -- the what and how

By Terrance Hunsley

There has been a lot of discussion about the need for a basic income of some form, in Canada as well as several other countries. Many proponents of reform call it a Basic Income Guarantee (BIG), and it seems that several governments are considering it. I have already gone on record suggesting that a pilot project would most likely serve to defer such a reform until a time when the political consensus to improve things has passed. Not that we cannot experiment and learn and adjust as we go. Just that picking out a few communities and implementing a pilot is not the way to do it. If an experiment is the best we can do, let’s at least pick out a large national random sample of low and modest income people and try it out on them.

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