Rising income inequality and the polarisation of societies pose a risk to the global economy in 2017 and could result in the rolling back of globalisation unless urgent action is taken, according to the World Economic Forum.
Before its annual meeting in Davos next week, the WEF said the gap between rich and poor had been behind the UK’s Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s election victory in the US.Read more
If there’s one thing Prime Minister John A. Macdonald could do exceptionally well, it was to recognize where the political winds were blowing. That’s not a criticism. The most able of politicians help move societies where they actually want to go anyway. Leaders and governments merely ensure a smooth transition, if they are doing their jobs well.
As we get set to celebrate Macdonald’s birthday on Jan. 11, there is a fascinating development occurring on the policy front in Canada that our sage first leader would have already seen coming – the implementation of a basic income policy.Read more
The old line on the guaranteed annual income, or as it’s called nowadays the basic income guarantee, was that it had support across the political spectrum. Conservatives, it was said, liked it for its emphasis on reducing the traditional welfare system’s punitively high clawback rates on benefits, while liberals were attracted by its promise of a social safety net that was simpler to navigate and intruded less on people’s lives.
These days, it seems like the basic income enjoys something closer to bipartisan hostility. Not a day goes by without another piece attacking the idea as either a utopian fantasy or a Dickensian nightmare.Read more
By Leah Eichler
The Globe and Mail
With a new year comes New Year’s resolutions.
On a personal level, they may include dieting and exercising, but professionally many of us set goals to work harder and achieve more, believing the extra work and obligations will make us better people.
But what if they don’t?
Politicians and pundits often talk about employment as the ultimate solution to a variety of social problems, but we are already close to full employment. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has said a U.S. unemployment rate of between 4 per cent and 6.4 per cent constitutes full employment. Currently, the rate in the United States stands at 4.7 per cent and in Canada at 6.9 per cent. Rather than focus on creating more jobs, we need to recognize the correlation between income and work may no longer make any sense.Read more
By Anthony Painter
The Guardian (Opinion)
Universal basic income is the idea that just won’t go away. At heart, it’s a very simple concept – every individual citizen should receive a regular payment on an unconditional basis. However, the actual structure and design varies considerably. Nonetheless, what has become clear in the last year or so is that there is growing desire across the globe, including in the UK, to explore, debate, test, design, and build support for a universal basic income.Read more
Finland has become the first country in Europe to pay its unemployed citizens a basic monthly income, amounting to €560 (£477/US$587), in a unique social experiment that is hoped to cut government red tape, reduce poverty and boost employment.
Olli Kangas from the Finnish government agency KELA, which is responsible for the country’s social benefits, said on Monday that the two-year trial with 2,000 randomly picked citizens receiving unemployment benefits began on 1 January.Read more
Scotland looks set to be the first part of the UK to pilot a basic income for every citizen, as councils in Fife and Glasgow investigate trial schemes in 2017.
The councillor Matt Kerr has been championing the idea through the ornate halls of Glasgow City Chambers, and is frank about the challenges it poses.
“Like a lot of people, I was interested in the idea but never completely convinced,” he said. But working as Labour’s anti-poverty lead on the council, Kerr says that he “kept coming back to the basic income”.Read more
By Kate McFarland
Basic Income Earth Network
The US-based Economic Security Project (ESP) — co-chaired by future of work expert Natalie Foster, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, and Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren — has committed to donate $10 million over the next two years to projects related to exploring “how a ‘basic income’ could rebalance the economy and ensure economic opportunity for all”.
The goal of ESP, in the words of its press release, is to help Americans interested in basic income achieve the transition from “conceptual discussion to meaningful action”.Read more
By Kate McFarland
Basic Income Earth Network
In a recent interview with Handelsblatt, Telekom CEO Timotheus Höttges talks about the changing nature of work, especially potential job loss due to digitization — to which, he admits, his own company is not immune — and the demand for more specialized skills. In response to a question about why he supports an unconditional basic income (“bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen”), he notes that jobs are becoming more project-based, with permanent full-time employment becoming less of a norm.Read more