Universal basic income (UBI) is a 500-year-old idea that will finally go mainstream in 2018. Invented by Sir Thomas More in Utopia, his 1516 "no place" imagining of the perfect society, UBI is the idea that the government should provide all its citizens with a living wage, irrespective of whether they work or not.
Over the past 500 years, UBI is an idea that has been revisited many times - most notably in the mid-19th century by Karl Marx, who imagined a post-capitalist industrial economy of such collective wealth that it would leave all of us free to "hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening and criticise after dinner".Read more
An economic adviser to the Scottish Government has backed plans for a citizen’s basic income, saying it will “transform life” in deprived parts of Scotland.
The Government is working with four councils to fund research into the feasibility of the scheme which provides a flat rate payment to all adult citizens. Harry Burns, a member of the Scottish Government’s council of economic advisers and a former chief medical officer, said the payments would boost educational achievement, cut unemployment and reduce crime.
As basic income enrollments continue in Lindsay and two other Ontario cities, one key trend seems to be emerging – the so-called ‘working poor’ are the majority of applicants who are flocking to the Province’s new Ontario pilot.
Myriam Denis, a spokesperson for the Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy and Minister of Housing, Peter Milczyn, says a total of 1,149 people were enrolled in the basic income pilot across Lindsay, Hamilton and Brant County, and Thunder Bay. Local breakdowns are not yet available.
Of those applicants, 70 per cent are “low income workers,” says Denis.Read more
Bitcoin and universal basic income were two concepts of fierce debate within global business communities in 2017. Now, a bitcoin fund has announced that it has committed $5m (£3.7m) worth of the cryptocurrency to the charity behind a massive universal basic income experiment across parts of Kenya and Uganda.
The Pineapple Fund is an organisation that mines, buys and trades crytpocurrencies. According to its website it donates to a number of charities, including several that work towards supplying poor communities with water, promoting gender equality, and one that is campaigning for the legalisation of psychedelic medicine.Read more
The basic income system is a radical redesign of tax and welfare - completely redrawing the relationship between the state and the citizen.
Under such a system, every individual would be given a cash payment at regular intervals, without any requirement to work or demonstrate a willingness to work. Several different figures have been suggested, mostly in the rough area of £100 a week for adults.
As the name suggests, it would be universal - paid out to every citizen regardless of their wealth, employment or personal status - and would be enough to cover the basics of life. It would serve as a replacement for existing benefits payments such as jobseeker's allowance.Read more
Imagine receiving a pile of cash each month from the government, no strings attached.
The concept sounds radical, but it's an economic theory gaining traction from Silicon Valley to the Nordics, called universal basic income. Free money experiments are underway in a handful of countries as governments face evolving workforces and strained welfare systems.
The International Monetary Fund defines universal basic income as "a cash transfer of an equal amount to all individuals in a country."
Universal basic income differs from other government transfers, like tax refunds or welfare payments, in that every individual receives the same amount. Recipients can spend the money however they like, and they aren't required to report how they spend it.
A staff report on poverty reduction recommends Halifax hold off on endorsing a basic income pilot project from the province.
The municipality’s Community Planning and Economic Standing Committee asked for the report back in July after a presentation from Basic Income Nova Scotia.
At the time, the group had suggested some minor steps HRM could take towards supporting a basic income project in the province; including declaring public support for the idea, encouraging other municipalities to do the same and offering to co-fund a feasibility study with the Nova Scotian government.
By Judy Paul
I have always loved school. After high school I attended university and several years after graduation I completed a graduate degree. Wanting to dive into peace and justice issues, I returned to university at age 50.
Formal education has enriched my life and opened doors to new types of work. One of the things I learned, as a literacy practitioner is that not everyone was as keen about the value of school.
One of the people who came to see me for an educational skills assessment was a 54-year-old man on social assistance. His past work experience consisted of working for two manufacturing companies in Cambridge, Ontario. He had left high school to work at a time when jobs were plentiful and a high school diploma not required. This man was not fired; he did not quit, but rather both companies closed.
Like many manufacturing companies in Ontario, they likely left for the U.S. or the global south seeking lower wages or less stringent labour and environmental regulations.Read more
Owen Sounds Sun Times
The Grey Bruce Health Unit is using its Nutritious Food Basket survey to push for a basic income guarantee to help combat food insecurity in the province.
The 2017 results show that the average cost of feeding a family of four has risen slightly from last year to $203.61 per week, or $882 per month, up from $200.73 per week and $869.16 per month in 2016.
Public health dietitian Laura Needham said they don't usually see a huge change in the food basket value, but it is when they put the value into context then it reveals that many households do not have enough money to buy the food they need.Read more
The Quebec government has taken a "positive first step" toward a universal basic income with its commitment to provide a set amount of money to those unable to work, says a proponent of the idea.
"I think it's a move in the right direction," said Jonathan Brun, co-founder of Revenu de base Québec.
It also, Brun said, "puts the terminology square and centre within government policy."
The new measure is part of a larger $3-billion anti-poverty planannounced Sunday. An estimated 84,000 Quebecers would qualify for the minimum income, largely those with physical and intellectual disabilities.Read more