A basic income guarantee has been back in the news a lot lately, thanks to Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, Elon Musk and other tech giants who have been publicly endorsing the concept.
But it’s not just talk in Canada.
Ontario is piloting a basic income across three cities, Quebec has brought in a basic income for those who have a limited capacity to work, and BC just set aside $4 million to investigate the feasibility of a basic income for the province in their recent budget – with other Canadian provinces and countries observing these measures closely. The Senate of Canada also passed a motion with cross partisan support to have the federal government consider a national basic income pilot project.
The idea has legs across the political spectrum. Why is it resonating so widely?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
Roderick Benns recently interviewed David Calnitsky, who is a Canadian PhD candidate in Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, completing his thesis on the Mincome experiment with basic income. The experiment took place in the 1970s in Dauphin, Manitoba. He has recently published part of it as an article: “More Normal than Welfare”: The Mincome Experiment, Stigma, and Community Experience.”
Benns: What were two or three of the most revealing aspects of the Dauphin, MB experiment with basic income, in terms of how it changed people’s lives?
Calnitsky: My recent paper is on social stigma, and broadly, the “dignity problem,” which I think gets insufficient attention in these debates. Participants with experience in the welfare system wrote about the pervasive indignities inflicted on them. Meanwhile, when asked about Mincome, people viewed the program as a pragmatic source of assistance. According to people’s accounts, participating in Mincome didn’t damage your standing in the community.Read more
By Roderick Benns
Publisher of Leaders and Legacies, a social purpose news site
The best story Ron Hikel ever heard about the famous ‘Mincome’ experiment from the 1970s has to do with a simple pick-up truck.
Mincome stands for minimum income – something that was given to about a third of the people who lived in Dauphin, Manitoba. It was a bold experiment started by the federal Liberal government to see what people would do with free money from the state.
Ron Hikel was the executive director of the Mincome project, a program that ran from from 1974 through 1978. When a Dutch TV crew showed up at his doorstep last year in Toronto to talk to him about Mincome, they then went on to Dauphin where the experiment had made everyone in the town eligible to apply for monthly income supplementation, based on earned income and family size.Read more