The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “poverty

Basic Income: Go Deep or Go Home

Posted on November 6, 2015

AN INITIATIVE AS VAST AS A BASIC INCOME for poorer Canadians, sweeping as it is, can carry its own dangers. Specifically, it could prompt an over simplified view of poverty, prompting many to believe that solutions can be found through a universal program. It’s a hazard that deserves some thought. Many Canadians view poverty as merely an economic problem – the lack of adequate finances available to a specific number of citizens and their families. We make similar judgments on issues like foreign aid and indigenous problems in Canada. But poverty is often more about societal barriers and a lack of understanding than anything else. Someone who has a disability and is low on finances doesn’t have their mobility and acceptance problems solved by…

Basic Income and Transforming a Generation

Posted on November 5, 2015

THE CONCEPT OF A BASIC INCOME ISN’T ONE simple construct but a wide range of ideas of which all or some could end up in a final policy proposal. Even its name isn’t a sure thing. In recent years it has been labeled a Guaranteed Annual Income, a Guaranteed Income Supplement, Basic Income Guarantee, a Social Wage, or even a Citizen’s Dividend. While many have fought for such an initiative for various reasons, it has been primarily its potential for eliminating poverty that has become the focus for recent Basic Income activity. The ability to provide low-income Canadians with a guaranteed level of funding, proponents say, would eliminate the need for the heavy programming and bureaucratic expenses related to administering initiatives to help the…

Basic Income: An Idea With a History

Posted on November 4, 2015

ARTIST ANDY WARHOL OFTEN EXHIBITED FASCINATING INSIGHTS into the human condition that, at times, became colloquialisms. At one point he noted, “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” And that is true. Yet there are those occasions when time itself can be of assistance. Take the concept of a basic income as a measure of that truth. Yesterday we noted how the idea of some kind of baseline income could be of great help to the marginalized. Many progressives are shocked when they discover that libertarian economist Milton Friedman threw his support behind early efforts of what was then called a “Guaranteed Annual Income,” but which he preferred to label a “negative income tax.” From across the…

A Tale of Two City Mayors

Posted on November 3, 2015

IN ALL THE RUSH AND EXCITEMENT ABOUT THE recent federal election and the ambitious agenda put forward by Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau, we tend to forget that there are already numerous examples of sweeping, at times breathtaking, agendas being put forward by some of this country’s mayors. Naheed Nenshi (Calgary) and Don Iveson (Edmonton), have not only had enough of being neglected by the more senior political jurisdictions, they are actually setting out strong policy options whether or not Alberta or Ottawa are ready for them. Having already insisted that they would like to open discussions with their senior partners on the prospect of becoming charter cities, they are now experimenting with the idea of their respective cities becoming testing grounds for the concept…

If You Want to Fix Poverty, Fix the Economy

Posted on October 27, 2015

HE AWOKE FROM A DEEP SLUMBER A couple of weeks ago to the sound of phone ringing incessantly, but when he answered he didn’t mind. Angus Deaton was being informed by someone on the other end of the phone that he was being awarded the Nobel Prize for Economic Science. Interestingly, it was how he shed new light on persistent poverty that earned him the credit. Or as the Nobel committee put it: “To design economic policy that promotes welfare and reduces poverty, we must first understand individual consumption choices. Angus Deaton has enhanced this understanding.” Deaton wasn’t so much focused on large market trends as on the average household and how choices are made within it. The Nobel committee has recently honoured a…

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