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.
Ontario embraces no-strings attached basic income experiment. Province to follow trail blazed by Manitoba in the mid-1970s with plan to lift people out of poverty with unconditional monthly payments
We like optimism, yes we do. Infrastructure gets us going pretty good as well. To wit: an item that counsels us to look out to the sprawl for innovative approaches to badly needed infrastructure.
Why suburban tensions and inequality will drive infrastructure innovation
image: Garrett via Flickr/CC
A business of any size should be able to realize a benefit in worker behaviour and community image by paying a little more than minimum wage. That’s the simple (and lovely) idea behind the living wage movement, represented in Ontario by a non-profit advocacy group or two and, it would seem, a small-but-growing number of employers. This can only be a good thing.
No, the beer isn’t free yet, but for Canadians, it’s only fitting that a brewery is among the early adopters of living wages! Now to get the big players in every sector doing this. If someone works forty hours a week and is still in poverty something is wrong.
‘Treat your staff right’: pay employees a living wage, new business alliance says
with 2 videos
Universal basic income: a psychological assessment
Psychologists for Social Change 22-page .pdf file
Ontario releases basic income consultation feedback.
Province moving forward with pilot program in 2017
The promise of a basic income in Canada
image: Kristo via Flickr/CC
If two reports, one private and one governmental, are to be believed, Canada’s federal government is shorted to the tune of fifty billion dollars a year in taxes that don’t get collected. This loss includes aggressive tax evasion and questionable offshoring of assets. Ouch!
For starters, ten per cent of that money would get a nice housing program off the runway pretty quick.
A really strong piece from a Finnish source on how necessary and amazing basic universal income will be.
It’s not just about automation and robots…
Basic income and the new universalism
The Next Era tulevaisuustalo.fi
image: Adventures Into the Unknown/Tom Simpson via Flickr/CC
The World Economic Forum, that big playa convention at Davos, saw some discussion of basic income. That’s kinda incredible. The elites must be getting nervous about inequality, populism and automation. They ought to be. Livestream content from the WEF featuring UK academic and basic income champion Guy Standing is available HERE (52:02).
After having read the recent non-fiction bestseller Evicted we feared no good news about housing could ever come out of Milwaukee barring a full scale miracle. Then we read a little about a sensible undertaking in that US city that seeks to answer to the problem of the ‘missing middle’. Nice.
For more about the types of housing it might behoove North Americans to look into a little more assertively: