Democracy North: Are Basic Income Programs Too Good to be True?

W2MEDIA.ORG  |  Democracy North independent Canadian news hour broadcast on Vancouver Co-op Radio 100.5 fm LIVESTREAM – Airing live at Tuesday, Feb 20, 2018, 5pm PST.

You have landed at our website where you will find links to today’s content. And you can follow us on Twitter @W2Media and on Facebook.


Today’s Host: Irwin Oostindie @DutchPhoto 

We have 3 guests on the show:

  • Ellen Clifford, Disabled People Against Cuts (UK)
  • John Clarke, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
  • Margot Young, UBC Law Professor

The NDP-Green Party partnership that formed this BC government agreed to advance this issue, and announced $4 Million in today’s budget for a research project into basic income.

A basic income is typically a form of social security or welfare regime, in which all citizens of a country receive a regular, liveable and unconditional sum of money, from the government.

We will explore this conversation from a variety of angles on the show. Examining current pilots such as Finland and Ontario,  look at debates in British Columbia and Ontario, and the UK, and understand how people with disabilities, or women, or or vulnerable members of society within free market capitalism could be harmed or benefit for a basic income, or guaranteed income.    With so many rich and powerful figures promoting basic income, should we on the left not be wary that a neoliberal version is being considered by promoters of capitalism? This could increase precarity of work, remove and replace current public funding for basic public services.



2) Intro from VOX



12:00  Ellen Clifford from Disabled People Against Cuts helps us analyze the situation around Scottish pilots and the Labour Party’s interest in Basic Income.

The social welfare policy has already been tried in countries including Finland. Ministers there said it has caused a fall in stress-levels among those who receive the payment. Marjukka Turunen, head of KELA, the legal unit at Finland’s social insurance agency, said it was helping to cut down on bureaucracy in government offices and tackle poverty. But the country’s biggest trade union, the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions, said the pilot programme was taking Finland’s social policy “in the wrong direction.”

In Scotland four councils face the task of turning basic income from a utopian fantasy to contemporary reality as they build the first pilot schemes in the UK, with the support of a £250,000 grant announced by the Scottish government in November.

Elon Musk – thoughts on guaranteed income and automation

5:19 Ontario now has a basic income pilot program rolling out in Hamilton, Brantford and Brant County, Thunder Bay and Lindsay, Ontario.  Talking about how cutting other programs will support UBI: Steve Paikin from TV ONtario talking to Conservative Deb Hutton.  She characterises the system currently as welfare fraud and a bloated public bureaucracy and supports basic income to cut welfare rolls.

5:20 John Clarke OCAP speaks about hsi concerns on Canadian pilots and what it means for communities struggling for their rights.  

We ask, if UBI is “for the people” why do the elites support this?  How would full employment be different than UBI? Should we not be criticizing exploitive working conditions? And welcome a UBI to get out of crappy work? How does UBI intersect with the struggle for meaningful work?

John Clark will be speaking on a panel about this subject hosted by SFU’s Institute for Humanities Basic Income: Progressive Hopes and Neoliberal Realities. Hosted by SFU Public Square and Institute for the Humanities at Simon Fraser University, Feb 27, 7:30pm at SFU.

John is also speaking on at panel and book launch for Why Don’t The Poor Rise Up? on Feb 27 at 5-6:45pm with the Institute for the Humanities at Simon Fraser University.

5:40 Canada could soon have a second province running a basic income experiment. The NDP-Green Party partnership that formed this BC government agreed to advance this issue, and announced $4 Million in today’s budget for a research project into basic income.

INTERVIEW: Margot Young, UBC Professor critical of a guaranteed income, from a feminist perspective.

A guaranteed income has been a topic of some currency for a number of decades within the Canadian feminist community. In 1970 the Royal Commission on the Status of Women recommended payment of a guaranteed income but here we are almost 50 years later. Margot shares analysis of the Green Party and BC NDP positions.  And we step back examining how guaranteed income systems support a healthy society by enabling women to fully participate and have their reproductive labour valued.

Margaret Mead wrote in 1968 (in Some Social Consequences of Guaranteed Income): “The dependency of the wife has been such a significant element in our idea of the family that it will be difficult to substitute a status for women based on choice rather than on economic advantage. If, on reaching majority, each woman were to be assured a guaranteed annual income for life, and given the same security as her brother, both instituting and continuing in a marriage would be matters of free choice.”


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