Candice, Sharon and I (Anemone) met at Hub Mall this evening for about 2.5 hours, talking about the different types of basic income (BI) and their pros and cons (and about a whole lot of other things, too). Here is a basic summary of our discussion of different types of basic income, with some of my own thoughts. Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments.
UNIVERSAL DEMOGRANT VS NEGATIVE INCOME TAX
There are two main types of basic income: a universal demogrant (UD) and a negative income tax (NIT).
A Universal Demogrant (UD) is tax-free money that everyone gets, regardless of what they earn. Higher earners pay higher taxes on their other earnings, and will end up paying more in income tax than they receive as a UD, but they still get the UD up front.
A Negative Income Tax (NIT) is money that some people get, based on their previous year’s tax return. Everyone who earns below a certain amount would have their income topped up by the difference between what they earned and the threshold in the following year.
Negative income taxes can come in various forms, depending on what happens above the threshold. Continue reading →
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.”
Late 18th century Southern England was having a hard time of it. Rural labourers were losing access to land to support themselves because of enclosures. Cottage craft industries were losing ground to manufactured goods from the North. And grain prices spiked due to the Napoleonic Wars.
In 1795, authorities introduced the Speenhamland Law to help workers cope with all this, implemented at the parish level. Some parishes provided a basic income, with a 100% clawback. Others provided workfare, unemployment insurance, and other variations. Support was geared to the price of wheat, going up and down with wheat or bread prices. It went on until 1834, then was replaced with the workhouse – an institution that separated families and gave them make-work projects for their survival. Continue reading →
Two researchers from the Mowat Centre in Toronto have published a report on the future of Canada’s safety net, given current and likely future changes to the job market.
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
(This is the report I linked to in the previous blog post.)
This report explores the implications of new technologies on Canada’s economy and labour market and the adequacy of current social programs and policies supporting workers. It proposes key considerations policymakers need to keep in mind as the nature of jobs evolves to ensure that they are designing policies that lead, and don’t lag, rapid changes to the nature of work.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.