By Martin Whitlock for the Huffington Post
Which is more remarkable - that 77% of Swiss voters rejected proposals for a basic income in a referendum last weekend, or that 23% voted in favour? Admittedly the turnout was low, probably because there was little realistic chance of the proposal being passed, but the fact remains that nearly a quarter of the votes were in support of a radical, socially progressive idea of which nobody much was talking until very recently.
A well-executed basic income policy fixes so many socio-economic issues - both present and looming - that it’s tempting to think not if, but when.
By Sharon Murphy for The Chronicle-Herald
A while ago I attended an international conference on basic guaranteed income. I came away thinking, like Dr. Jim Mulvale with the social work department at the University of Regina, that our patchwork quilt of traditional income support programs is not working.
I came away more convinced than ever our system is broken and we need a change.
We need an investment model as opposed to a charity model of income support.
We need a basic livable income that will allow all Canadians to live with dignity and to realize their potential.
One speaker talked about charting a new path of growth and systemic change, based on proposals that have been developed and implemented by participatory and democratic methods, avoiding the danger of proposals rooted in volunteerism and the expression of good intentions.Read more
By Roderick Benns
After attending Basic Income congresses both nationally and internationally for about a decade now, the chair of the Basic Income Canada Network (BICN) says the latest Winnipeg, Manitoba congress beats them all in at least one area – the diversity of people attending.
“In the 10 years I’ve been going I’ve never seen anything like this one,” says Sheila Regehr of the recent North American Congress, where about 150 people attended to talk about Basic Income.Read more
By Toni Pickard
In the media these days, conservative policy analysts are repeatedly defining basic income in its neoliberal guise, as if that's what any basic income program must be.
We've known for a long time that austerity policies don't work. Even the IMF, which has a lot to answer for in promoting/imposing them, has finally acknowledged this.
Yet austerity thinking continues to influence our governments and many fellow citizens. If it comes to dominate basic income models, it will destroy all hopes for humane and effective designs, and kibosh positive outcomes for a basic income program.Read more
By Robin Boadway, Alan Gummo, and Roderick Benns
Andrew Coyne gets many things right about a basic income guarantee, writing this analysis for the National Post recently.
He gets that a basic income would not replace social insurance programs like Employment Insurance and Canada Pension Plan. He also gets, albeit with undue pessimism, that the provinces need to be involved. He acknowledges that the level of the guaranteed annual income program proposed by the Macdonald Royal Commission was inadequate, and he implicitly accepts that a basic income of reasonable scope could be afforded by combining the appropriate basic benefit amount with a suitable rate of claw-back as incomes rise. He even observes that a basic income need not deter work incentives; on the contrary, it will be enhanced compared with existing welfare schemes.Read more
By Will Martin for Business Insider
The idea of a universal basic income is gaining traction in the mainstream.
It was once seen as a fantasy backed by dewy-eyed Utopians because the premise of basic income is to give people free money - a set amount of monthly cash to cover living expenses such as food, transport, clothes, and utilities, regardless of their income, social status, or anything else for that matter. No questions asked.
But it is now being talked about in serious economic and political circles.Read more
By Gwynne Dyer
Gwynne Dyer is an independent journalist whose articles are published in 45 countries.
In a referendum on Sunday, Swiss voters rejected a proposal for a guaranteed annual income for everybody by an overwhelming 78 per cent-22 per cent majority. But the idea was not crazy, and it is not going to go away.
The Dutch city of Utrecht is developing a pilot project for a universal basic income that will launch in January 2017. The Finnish government is designing a trial to see whether giving low-income people a guaranteed basic income destroys their motivation to do any work at all, as critics allege. The idea is not going away because most “real” jobs are on the way out.Read more
Winnipeg Free Press -- Editorial
When Expo 67 opened in Montreal in April 1967, it featured a futuristic geodesic dome. Star Trek was wowing audiences with technologies such as voice-recognition and machine-supported medical diagnostic systems. Children’s television cartoon the Jetsons imagined a future of robots and flying vehicles. In the era of the space age, the future looked promising, with the dream of increasing leisure time as robots took over the most mundane jobs and services.Read more
By Roderick Benns
As a youth, Tommy Douglas was a championship boxer. His success in the ring is all the more remarkable considering that years earlier he had nearly lost his leg to amputation when an infection set in.
As his many biographers point out, a travelling surgeon agreed to operate for free, as long as his parents consented to allow his medical students to watch. After several operations, he not only walked again, he thrived as an amateur boxer and then built his reputation as someone who fought for the underdog in the political arena as well.
Douglas never forgot his childhood experience and resolved that no one should have to pay for necessary medical care. His efforts are now celebrated within Canada’s history, for not only did he establish Medicare, he also established democratic socialism within the country and its politics.Read more
By David Calnitsky
By now the Mincome experiment is well known. In the 1970s, every resident of Dauphin, a small Manitoba town, was given the option to collect substantial cash payments without work requirements.
Economist Evelyn Forget’s findings about Mincome’s positive effects on health and education helped to resuscitate the concept of a basic income in Canada. With basic income pilots on the horizon, it is worth considering new lessons from an old experiment.Read more