Jessie Golem is a photographer and was, for a short time, a basic income recipient in Ontario. Beyond Trafficking and Slavery caught up with her at the 19th Global Basic Income Congress in Hyderabad, India, to chat about what the programme did for her, and what it meant to have it cut short.
Beyond Trafficking and Slavery: You were, for a short time, a recipient of a basic income in Canada. What was the program you were part of?
Jessie Golem: In 2017, the Ontario provincial government under the Liberal premier Kathleen Wynne introduced a three-year basic income pilot. They chose 4,500 people in four cities in Ontario, all of whom were making under C$30,000 a year, to receive an unconditional guaranteed basic income. The size of the income was put on a sliding scale. You could receive up to C$1,400 a month, but if you were working then it was reduced by 50 cents to the dollar. Because I was working, I received about C$700 a month.Read more
When Canadians head to the polls on October 21, they should ask themselves how Canada’s political parties will tackle inequality.
Over the past two decades, the richest Canadians have seen their share of income go up and up. The top one per cent absorbed almost a third of all income growth between 1997 and 2007, according to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
Meanwhile, one in seven people in Canada lives in poverty — which hurts everyone, because poverty is expensive. In 2008, for instance, the cost of failing to address poverty in Ontario – including everything from health care and criminal justice system costs to lost tax revenue – was estimated to be 10 to 16 per cent of the province’s budget. That’s around $2,000 to $3,000 per household per year.Read more
People have many reasons for supporting a universal basic income (UBI). Moralists maintain that an income sufficient to cover the necessities of life is a basic human right that should be guaranteed by society as a whole. Futurists fear that jobs, as we know them, will become obsolete due to automation. Environmentalists see a UBI as a way of breaking a treadmill of overproduction and overconsumption that is destroying the planet.Read more
Today, UBI Works launches a new initiative to equip citizens with evidence-based narratives highlighting the economic need and potential of a universal basic income (UBI) in Canada.
UBI Works was created to tell the economic and human stories behind basic income and to correct the many myths that surround these programs. By collecting and sponsoring research, this diverse group of business leaders, politicians, economists, artists and social justice advocates aims to inform Canadians about the empirical realities of basic incomes. In partnering with academics, grass roots organizations and leading advocates, UBI Works will design and share narratives which challenge Canadians to envision and build a more prosperous future.Read more
In 1516, the English scholar Thomas More published Utopia, a political satire depicting an island where conditions were as they “should be”. In it, he made the first reference to an idea that is now being debated and tested across the world. Every citizen on More’s island (which, it should be pointed out, also featured slaves shackled in chains of gold) is provided with “some means of livelihood”. They are granted, in effect, a universal basic income, or UBI.Read more
Basic Income Early Network
In this new book, work, technology and society are discussed through a series of view points, given by several authors (e.g.: Matt Zwolinski, Michael Cholbi, Andrea Veltman, Evelyn Forget, among others). Universal Basic Income is a policy described at the center of this crucial societal challenge, analyzed by the authors in its wide implications. Michael Cholbi and Michael Weber are the editors.Read more
A new website was created, and just launched, to provide updated news and information about UBI (Unconditional Basic Income), with the goal of furthering the discussion about how UBI impacts purpose, identity, and dignity. It will convey content from general news and include original material from the editor-in-chief and UBI activist, Scott Santens. The website is called Basic Income Today.Read more
Literary Review of Canada
In May 2017 Mark Zuckerberg took to the stage at Harvard University and used his commencement address to call for something that even a few years earlier would have been regarded as radical, at least coming from a capitalist billionaire: Governments, he said, should start giving everyone a regular paycheque, no strings attached. “We should have a society that measures progress not just by economic metrics like GDP, but by how many of us have a role we find meaningful,” Zuckerberg told his audience. “We should explore ideas like universal basic income to make sure everyone has a cushion to try new ideas.”Read more
Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General, gave supporters of universal basic income a reason to toast in his address to the general debate of the 73rd Session of the General Assembly of the U.N. on September 25, 2018.
“The very nature of work will change,” said Guterres. “Governments may have to consider stronger safety nets and eventually, universal basic income.”
Guterres has a point. As automation eliminates jobs like data entry workers and postal clerks — 52 percent of tasks are projected to be replaced by robots by 2025 — and a long-running concern is how displaced workers will respond to mass unemployment.Read more
There is a common trend when arguing against a Universal Basic Income (UBI) to use critiques that could apply to any policy. The logical thing to do, if we were to take this line of reasoning at face value, would be to stand for nothing.
Before looking into these criticisms, we should begin by addressing exactly what is a UBI. A UBI is an unconditional, liveable wage for every citizen. If it does not meet the three metrics of 1) unconditionality; 2) liveability; and 3) for every citizen; then it is not a UBI.Read more