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The Progressive Economics Forum

Guaranteed Annual Income

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’ve written a blog post titled “Ten things to know about Canada’s guaranteed annual income debate.”

Points raised in the blog post include the following:

-There are people and groups on both the left and right of the political spectrum who favour a Guaranteed Annual Income (also known as a “basic income”).

-One reason for support on both the left and right is that there is considerable discrepancy in terms of how generous the benefit should be.  This also makes it challenging to estimate its annual cost.

-It’s not clear what the desired outcome(s) of such a scheme would be.  This too may depend on which advocates/proponents you talk to.

-The implementation of a Guaranteed Annual Income would require a considerable amount of intergovernmental cooperation.

The link to the full blog post is here.

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Comments

Comment from Larry Kazdan
Time: September 30, 2016, 11:30 pm

Work is important for human well-being

William Mitchell, Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=34412

“I will argue that basic income proposals:

1. Have acceded in a most compliant manner to the neo-liberal rationing of work through failed fiscal policies and articulate flawed macroeconomic propositions that are not significantly different to standard neo-liberal ideas about fiscal deficits etc. BIG proponents have thus surrendered the ground on full employment to the neo-liberal requirements that there is a continual buffer stock of unemployed to suppress wages growth and allow capital to access greater shares of real income.

2. See work in narrow terms – that is, as income earning activity and fail to embrace the reality that work is an integral aspect of our broad well-being. In this sense, the concept of work for basic income proponents is not that much different to mainstream neo-liberal economists who see work as a bad in competition for time with leisure which is a good.

3. See humans as ‘consumption’ units and the limits of government responsibility to provide some minimal level of consumption to each person. Broader responsibilities that are available to currency-issuing governments in terms of social development and social mobility are denied.

4. Accordingly, BIG advocates never propose a living income but rather some basic amount to allow a person to eke out some sort of existence without significant chances of achieving any upward mobility. So basic income proponents effectively solidify the existing wealth distribution.

5. Do not provide any inflation anchor. That is, basic income is not a macroeconomic stability framework. The inflation anchor remains fluctuations in unemployment, which is extremely costly to individuals and society.

6. Do not provide a dynamic whereby society can have a conversation about the definition of work such that the future challenges of robots and structural change can be addressed by broadening the meaning of productive activity. BIG proponents thus solidify the conventional division between work and non-work.”

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