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Author Archives: Roderick Benns

Basic income is not an alternative to work, it makes work possible: Dr. Danielle Martin

A family doctor says basic income policy represents an acknowledgment “of the right to live a decent life.” Dr. Danielle Martin, a family physician and Vice President Medical Affairs and Health System Solutions at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, says increasing social assistance amounts would not achieve that goal because of the punitive way the welfare system operates. “Rather than ... Read More »

Basic income and the pursuit of freedom

For many people today, especially modern day economists, a guaranteed, basic income is believed necessary to address the rapidly changing job market due to the automation and ‘robotization’ of labour intensive jobs. For others a basic income is required to provide much needed reform of patronizing and often small-minded, or even mean-spirited welfare programs. But they both are wrong – ... Read More »

Having a secure income is the first, best remedy for both education and wellness

Social justice thinker, R. W. Connell, once said that: “Statistically speaking, the best advice I would give to a poor child eager to get ahead in education is to choose richer parents.” Connell’s advice goes beyond education, though. Income is the building block for not only education, but our very health and wellness. Income and its distribution is the most ... Read More »

Helping our neighbours helps us all: The affordability of basic income

About 59 percent of Canadians believe basic income is unaffordable, according to a recent Angus Reid poll. It’s not the first time a populace has been dead wrong about the facts. In the U.S., 42 percent of Americans still think Iraq had weapons of mass destruction in spite of blatant facts to the contrary. If our brothers and sisters to the south ... Read More »

Basic Income Canada Network urges support of basic income in House submission

The Basic Income Canada Network (BICN) has recently made its submission to the House of Commons Finance Committee pre-budget consultations, urging creation of a basic income that would be universally available to Canadians in times of need. BICN Chair Sheila Regehr writes in her executive summary that this is “an important time to build on basic income initiatives underway in ... Read More »

A middle class sustains democracy: A basic income solution

Today, as the world struggles toward political and economic answers to great problems, we have yet to implement workable solutions in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Automation and the rise of economic disparity since the crisis is painting a picture in tones and hues of gross inequality. If the new revolution is all about automation, then how can ... Read More »

Basic Income as an equity issue in remote communities

It might not be surprising to learn that in Tuktoyaktuk, a community of about 900 people on the edge of the Arctic Circle, life isn’t easy. About 79 percent of the people who live there are Inuit. In 2012, 21 percent of the population received support in the form of income assistance. A full 85 percent live in subsidized housing. ... Read More »

Basic income remains the best public service

As basic income policy gets more press as a way to drastically reduce poverty, inevitably there will be those who seek to preserve the status quo approach. This has served us inadequately for many years and yet there are some believers who remain. These same believers often seek to create false policy choices, as Armine Yalnizyan has done in her ... Read More »

Charity, morality, or human right: Basic Income in context

It is estimated that about 40 percent of the North American population form the “precariat,” the term coined by Guy Standing in his 2008 paper, “How Cash Transfers Promote the Case for Basic Income.” A key result of looming poverty is the enormous financial strain placed on families, especially those hovering near the poverty line. For example, any small mishap ... Read More »

Abandoning desperate people only fuels racism, tribalism

  Brexit has given the most racist elements in Britain a voice. The similarities between the UKIP movement and Donald Trump are apparent. Wide condemnations are flying across the social media spectrum. No one wants to admit that Canada is more than capable of descending into similar vitriol. Even worse, no one wants to talk about the economics of abandonment ... Read More »