In theory the idea sounds great, but is it possible? In the mid-to-late 1970’s, Manitoba tried a similar pilot project in the town of Dauphin. Residents were given a basic income of up to $23,000, adjusted for interest, for a family of five.
Fast forward to today, Ontario is set to begin a basic income pilot program in the Fall with several politicians expressing interest in the project. Why all the sudden interest? Well, the labour force is changing. Steady, full-time jobs are harder and harder to come by. Gone are the days of the 9-to-5 for a lot of the population. Not to mention, benefits and health coverage. Jobs are also becoming increasingly automated. More and more jobs are being lost to robots that can do it more efficiently and more accurately. To me, that looks to be the way things are going. How does this affect our economy?
Lower wages and unstable work environments lead to less money being thrown around, which stagnates the economy. A basic monthly income can give the economy the boost it needs.
A basic monthly income will also take away the stigma of poverty and reduce healthcare costs. As more jobs are being lost to machines, corporations will still make the same profits if not more. These companies can be taxed higher to ensure the money trickles down using a basic income.
Another thought that comes to mind is wouldn’t this just mean everyone is lazy and sits around doing nothing? I believe it is actually the opposite. A guaranteed basic income gives people more freedom to commit their lives to their real passion and calling in life. Instead of having to worry about how to feed your family and being forced to work a job you soley do for money, you can now focus on working towards your personal passion in life instead of wondering where the money will come from to feed your children. It gives the world the opportunity to really put our minds to work and maybe, just maybe, collectively we can solve more of the problems our world faces by focusing on them instead of being a slave to a paycheque.