Basic Income - An Idea Whose Time Has Come

As more and more of our fellow humans fall through the cracks in our social safety nets around the world, the idea that everyone should get a guaranteed basic income is gaining support.

An impressive list of thinkers from around the world including Nobel laureates in Economics, Joseph E. Stiglitz, James Tobin, Milton Friedman, James Buchanan, James Meade, Paul Krugman, F. A. Hayek, Herbert A. Simon, and Robert Solow now support the idea of a universal basic guaranteed income.

There are very good reasons for this. As more and more jobs, even highly skilled jobs, are automated, converted to part-time, or outsourced to lower wage areas, the fraction of humans who are able to support themselves at above abject poverty levels continues to decline. The French Revolution provides a historical example of what can happen when this situation is not addressed in a timely manner. A Basic Guaranteed Income is good for everyone including the very wealthy as it makes for higher levels of trust and commitment to a functioning society, and reduces violence.

Basic Income Vancouver is pushing this idea locally, and Basic Income Canada has a sign-up page where you can register your support for the idea and also find out more details about how it could work. On November 22, 2015, Nick Taylor of Basic Income Vancouver will be speaking (or spoke, depending on when you read this) on this pressing issue to the BCHA's regular Vancouver Sunday Meeting at the Oakridge Seniors' Centre.

This wikipedia article has details of several experiments with a guaranteed minimum income. The concern that it would provide a significant disincentive for people to work turned out to be unfounded.

As this article in the Globe and Mail shows, even some Conservative politicians support this controversial idea on the basis that it is a more efficient way to provide social services. Where it has been tried, it has had a positive effect on the mental and physical health of the community.

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