By Jon Sanderson
About 59 percent of Canadians believe basic income is unaffordable, according to a recent Angus Reid poll. It’s not the first time a populace has been dead wrong about the facts.
In the U.S., 42 percent of Americans still think Iraq had weapons of mass destruction in spite of blatant facts to the contrary. If our brothers and sisters to the south can be so wrong about something so apparent, we can certainly be just as wrong about something equally obvious.Read more
By Roderick Benns
The Basic Income Canada Network (BICN) has recently made its submission to the House of Commons Finance Committee pre-budget consultations, urging creation of a basic income that would be universally available to Canadians in times of need.
BICN Chair Sheila Regehr writes in her executive summary that this is “an important time to build on basic income initiatives underway in Quebec and Ontario” and on recent federal initiatives to strengthen other forms of basic income. This includes the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) for seniors and the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) aimed at families with children, both of which have proven effective in reducing poverty. (Retired Senator Hugh Segal is providing advice on design and implementation of a demonstration pilot in Ontario, and Quebec is currently looking into a form of basic income.)Read more
Revenu de base Québec (RBQ) and the Mouvement Français pour un Revenu de Base (MFRB) have teamed up to organize a series of initiatives spanning this years World Social Forum, to be held from August 9th – 14th in Montreal.
Various activities will be organized to help people learn, create and exchange views on a number of issues relating to basic income, with the hope of advancing the idea during one of the largest global gatherings of civil society.Read more
By Kate McFarland for Basic Income Earth Network
The AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations), the largest federation of trade unions in the United States, does not currently endorse basic income in its official platform or plan for action. However, some of its leaders have recently expressed support.Read more
By Eric Walberg
Founded in 1986, the Basic Income European Network (BIEN) is the international NGO that promotes BIG around the world. It held its last conference "Re-democratizing the Economy" at McGill's Faculty of Law in 2014.
A North American congress was held in Winnipeg in May 2016 and its 16th congress in July in Seoul, South Korea. Its credo is that some sort of economic right based upon citizenship rather than upon one's relationship to the production process or one's family status is called for as part of the just solution to social problems in advanced societies.Read more
By Eric Walberg
About 10% of Canadians live in poverty. That figure is even higher in major cities, such as Toronto where the number of children living below the line is nearly 25%. In India, 22% of the people live in poverty. A "guaranteed annual income" (GAI) could wipe out this poverty at a stroke.
GAI (also BIG -- basic income guarantee) has been quietly mooted by both left and right since the 1960s. Economist Milton Friedman called it (approvingly) "helicopter money". What could be easier to administer, to end the most obvious source of social injustice, and which is welcomed even by most Canadians?Read more
By John Rondina
Today, as the world struggles toward political and economic answers to great problems, we have yet to implement workable solutions in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Automation and the rise of economic disparity since the crisis is painting a picture in tones and hues of gross inequality.
If the new revolution is all about automation, then how can we make technology serve us rather than enslave us? With the rise of populism, it’s clear that people are feeling disenfranchised. Many critics point to populism as a reactionary, if misguided, response to the adjustments brought on by our technology. These critics issue warnings that we must change or face a dim future.Read more
This ran as a letter to the editor in the Waterloo Record, in response to an op-ed piece expressing concern about Ontario's basic income pilot.
In their recent op-ed, Joey Edwardh and Peter Clutterbuck expressed their concern about the upcoming Ontario basic income guarantee pilot and argued for more emphasis on other social services, particularly job creation aimed at full employment.
I agree that the desired outcomes of our social and economic security system should be security, stability and dignity — in other words, good quality of life and well-being.
I also agree with the authors' concern that the government might implement a basic income guarantee and cut too many other supports. No one should expect any one social program to satisfy every need of every person. No basic income advocate that I know of thinks basic income alone can do that.Read more
By Roderick Benns
It might not be surprising to learn that in Tuktoyaktuk, a community of about 900 people on the edge of the Arctic Circle, life isn’t easy.
About 79 percent of the people who live there are Inuit. In 2012, 21 percent of the population received support in the form of income assistance. A full 85 percent live in subsidized housing.
Known simply as ‘Tuk’ to the locals, for generations the village was only accessible by plane in the summer and ice road in the winter. (The village will finally be linked by a two-lane, all-season road by next year – an extension of the Dempster Highway to Inuvik south of Tuk.)Read more
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?’Read more