- Roderick Benns interviews Robin Boadway about the results of past basic income studies which have shown that economic security helps rather than hinders individual participation in the workforce:
Benns: What about a basic income guarantee makes it a social justice issue?- Meanwhile, Ken Battle, Sherri Torjman and Michael Mendelson make the case that Canada's federal government needs to get serious about fighting poverty, including by implementing a basic income. And Nick Hanauer and David Rolf also weigh in on the importance of individual economic security to allow people to make meaningful and positive choices.
Boadway: To me, freedom from poverty and satisfactions of basic needs are fundamental human right. They are also a prerequisite to participating meaningfully in society. As well, as I have mentioned, those of us who are more affluent than average owe our success in good part to luck rather than merit: where and when we were born, our native abilities, our family backgrounds, the opportunities made available to us, and so on. We owe it to the less fortunate to share our good fortune.
Benns: The most common concern is about implementing a basic income guarantee is that too many of us would choose not to work. Why do you believe this won’t be the case?
Boadway: Evidence from guaranteed basic income experiments indicates that those who receive basic income grants do not squander it. Some use it to provide better outcomes for their children. Others use it to support improving their own skills. Very few simply become idle and live off the grant. This is not surprising. Basic income is not designed to give recipients a luxurious life. There will always be a desire to earn income over and above the basic income guarantee level in order to achieve personal and family fulfilment. Existing welfare programs are not good indicators of behaviour under a basic income. They are rife with stigmatization and impose strong penalties to work and save. To the extent that one worries about disincentive effects, it is possible to design the system so that recipients retain an incentive to undertake productive activity, including work, entrepreneurship and education. Moreover, one cannot underestimate how social norms can be influenced by a well-designed and non-intrusive basic income system.
- On the bright side, CBC reports that Alberta's NDP government has wasted no time in establishing a new child benefit to reduce poverty for that province's parents.
- But George Monbiot points out that the UK Conservatives represent just one example of a right-wing government with no clue how cuts to social programs affect the communities they're supposed to represent.
- Finally, Samara Canada offers (pdf) a first thorough review of Canada's 2015 election.