Last week progressives held a public debate in Toronto on the matter of basic income. Some of us think such a thing could stop poverty dead while helping us cope with automation. It was great to see over two hundred people turn out for a live event on behalf of ideas and policies for a better society. We are big on basic income here but heard powerful moments of caution from the negative side of the debate.
There is a fear that a basic income could be a poison chalice of sorts. Austerity regimes might use the implementation of a basic income to sweep away what is left of the social contract. An effective amount is required to prevent that. Basic income also needs bolstering by other mechanisms that support social justice. That includes everything from good public transit to strong post-secondary education systems and more in between. Basic income won’t work in a bubble.