Category Archives: Media

Guy Caron campaigning on Basic Income

Guaranteed Basic Income on Verge of Take-off in Canada. It holds appeal across the political spectrum. Plus, Elon Musk is sold.
Susan Delacourt, 2 Mar 2017, at The Tyee, reposted from iPolitics.

Guy Caron is promoting basic income in his campaign for the NDP leadership:

“The problem with the NDP is we were never able to submit an economic platform that would actually make people dream, inspire people. This is what I want to do,” Caron said on CBC’s Power & Politics. With a basic income, he said, “people (could) actually think of their future rather than thinking of what they will have to eat.”

Hat tip to Fred Douglas for the link.

Silicon Valley is right—our jobs are already disappearing

MOVE OVER, HUMANS. Silicon Valley is right—our jobs are already disappearing

Read that last sentence again: we’re confident that between two and three million Americans who drive vehicles for a living will lose their jobs in the next fifteen years. Self-driving cars are the most obvious job-destroying technology, but there are similar innovations ahead that will dislocate cashiers, fast food workers, customer service representatives, groundskeepers, and many many others in a few short years. How many of these people will be readily employable elsewhere?

Okay, you’re thinking. But isn’t this all still in the somewhat distant future, since unemployment is only 4.6% according to the headlines? Actually, automation has already eliminated about four million manufacturing jobs in the US since 2000. And instead of finding new jobs, a lot of those people left the workforce and didn’t come back. The US labor force plummeted by about 10 million during the same period, down to levels not seen in decades. The labor participation rate is now at only 62.7%, a rate right below El Salvador and right above the Ukraine:

CBC: Maybe robots aren’t the enemy, as jobs and economy surge

There’s an article on the CBC website today discussing the relationship between automation and the job market, including an interview with Sunil Johal, coauthor of a report posted on November 22 of this year. The issue is that automation may replace a lot of jobs. Other jobs will emerge, and there are some jobs automation is not able to do. On the other hand, the new jobs may not pay as well or as steadily (something that’s been going on for a while, from what I can see).

The article: Analysis | Maybe robots aren’t the enemy, as jobs and economy surge: Don Pittis. Economy must adjust as automation frees up workers to do other useful things.

The report, by Sunil Johan and Jordann Thirgood: Working Without a Net: Rethinking Canada’s social policy in the new age of work
webpage, pdf of actual report

The Body Economic video

This talk by David Stuckler goes over some of the same information in the book I reviewed yesterday here, with some of the same figures. There is an additional figure in the talk (at the 20 minute mark) that is taken from a paper* they published the same year. It looks at the return on investment of various types of government spending. Government spending in general tends to lead to economic growth, but it depends on what it is spent on, with defense spending actually shrinking the economy but spending on health, social protection, and education leading to significant economic growth. (“Community” means things like housing, water, street lights. These numbers are averages for 25 countries.)

The sound in the video isn’t the greatest, but it’s relatively short (24 minutes) and covers the same territory as the book. There are other videos as well if you want more details and don’t want to read.

*Does investment in the health sector promote or inhibit economic growth? Aaron Reeves, Sanjay Basu, Martin McKee, Christopher Meissner and David Stuckler. Globalization and Health 2013(9):43. You can find it online fairly easily if you want the details of how they came up with the numbers.

Barb Jacobson on Basic Income

Barb Jacobson is co-ordinator of Basic Income UK. She has a number of videos online – I’ve seen a few and like this one best, even though it’s not very exciting to watch. She brings up a lot of good points, talks about the history of BI (back to the agricultural revolution), and talks about women’s unpaid work. The questions are good, too, though you have to watch for them because they’re subtitled since you can’t hear the questions (no mics). The video is 32 minutes long including questions.

I have viewed quite a few videos I haven’t posted and am not going to post, in case anyone is wondering.

Future of Trade Unions and Social Security

This is another video from the conference in Switzerland last spring. It features two labor organizers, Andrew Stern from the US (I loved his talk) and Vania Alleva from Switzerland (she speaks in German from about 17 to 23:45 minutes – I think she prefers minimum wage to basic income), and Nell Abernathy and Dorian Warren from the Roosevelt Institute in the US. I think the speakers I understood all brought up a lot of good points worth thinking about. The video is 56 minutes long, but unless you understand German you can skip about 7 minutes in the first half, and sections of the Q&A (36:30-38:37; 44:15-45:15).

Creative Citizen, Creative State: The Principle and Pragmatic Case for a Basic Income

Anthony Painter is Director of the Action and Research Centre at the Royal Society of Arts in the UK. He makes a good case for basic income, then advocates introducing it incrementally. This is another talk at the basic income conference in Switzerland last spring. It’s only 18 minutes including Q&A.

“Basic Income Experiments – an Overview”

This is another video from the conference in Switzerland before their referendum on basic income. Panelists include people who are with organizations that actually give people money to see how well it works (Give Directly and Mein Grundeinkommen), and someone from Basic Income Earth. The video is almost 50 minutes, with 35 for the panel and 15 for Q&A.

Erik Brynjolfsson (MIT): Basic Income and 4th Industrial Revolution

This is another talk given last spring before the Swiss vote on Basic Income. Brynjolfsson is the author of The Second Machine Age.

This video isn’t the greatest, because he wasn’t there live – he participated from Boston – and there are a few places where the transmission froze or stuttered. I disagree with him about the timeline and the work side of things – I think people will work regardless, and I think basic income needs to come in sooner than he does – but these are the things we need to talk about.

Again, if you like this, head over to YouTube and give a thumbs up.

Basic Income – Beyond Left and Right?

Today’s video is a panel of four economists at the conference in Switzerland in the spring of 2016, chaired by a journalist. The economists are Michael Tanner (USA), CATO Institute; Daniel J. Mitchell (USA), CATO Institute; Robert B. Reich (USA), UC, Berkeley; and Reiner Eichenberger (Switzerland), Ökonom. Moderation: Alexandra Borchardt (D), a German journalist.

The video is 45 minutes. Among other things, they discuss the loss of jobs to automation, the need for welfare reform, and issues around financing and implementation. The last 15 minutes they take questions from the audience. One tidbit: the smallest government spending (e.g. Hong Kong, Singapore) is about 20% of their GDP. Switzerland’s government spends 34% of their GDP; France’s government spends 57% of their GDP. (By my calculations Canada’s governments, all levels combined, spend a combined 25% of our GDP, but I could be wrong.) One of them asks if taxpayers in any of these countries are getting their money’s worth. How do you decide?

If you like this video, head on over to YouTube and give it a thumbs up. None of these videos are getting many views.