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A Town Without Poverty?: Canada's experiment in guaranteed income

gavinfielder

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Initially, the Mincome program was conceived as a labour market experiment. The government wanted to know what would happen if everybody in town received a guaranteed income, and specifically, they wanted to know whether people would still work.

It turns out they did.

Only two segments of Dauphin's labour force worked less as a result of Mincome—new mothers and teenagers. Mothers with newborns stopped working because they wanted to stay at home longer with their babies. And teenagers worked less because they weren't under as much pressure to support their families.

The end result was that they spent more time at school and more teenagers graduated. Those who continued to work were given more opportunities to choose what type of work they did.
A Town Without Poverty?: Canada's only experiment in guaranteed income finally gets reckoning | The Dominion
 

RabidAlpaca

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It's an interesting concept, and I'd like to see more of these experiments to determine the validity of it. However, I find it rather interesting that the government did such an experiment, then locked it away top secret for 35 years. That makes me think something is fishy.

A basic income guarantee financially could work because it would ideally replace all welfare, social security, and other social programs to finance it. My biggest concern however has always been the motivation to work. I think it needs to be a small enough amount that you can only live very, very minimalistic on it without working.

Most of the suggestions here in Europe have been about 1,000 euro a month per person, which would put me and my wife at 2,000 euro a month, which is enough to live very comfortably in the area we live. I personally wouldn't work, I would do my own thing if I got that much. Who would work at a grocery store for chump change when they can live comfortably while not working at all? You'd have to raise the pay for those jobs substantially to attract people off their couches, which would cause prices to increase.

I feel if it's that high, many people would choose not to work. If even 10% of the work force decided to stay home instead of working, the repercussions for our economy would be catastrophic.
 

gavinfielder

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It's an interesting concept, and I'd like to see more of these experiments to determine the validity of it. However, I find it rather interesting that the government did such an experiment, then locked it away top secret for 35 years. That makes me think something is fishy.

A basic income guarantee financially could work because it would ideally replace all welfare, social security, and other social programs to finance it. My biggest concern however has always been the motivation to work. I think it needs to be a small enough amount that you can only live very, very minimalistic on it without working.

Most of the suggestions here in Europe have been about 1,000 euro a month per person, which would put me and my wife at 2,000 euro a month, which is enough to live very comfortably in the area we live. I personally wouldn't work, I would do my own thing if I got that much. Who would work at a grocery store for chump change when they can live comfortably while not working at all? You'd have to raise the pay for those jobs substantially to attract people off their couches, which would cause prices to increase.

I feel if it's that high, many people would choose not to work. If even 10% of the work force decided to stay home instead of working, the repercussions for our economy would be catastrophic.
I agree with all of this. I think it's fairly obvious that if it's too high, people wouldn't work, and that threshold can be pretty low. But, if the article is to be believed, it's a viable proposal. I don't think half the poverty level is large enough to stop working completely though, and I think the article suggests that the data supports that.

It would be nice if there was a way to limit the aid to those who don't work without making the problem worse by slamming people who are legitimately unemployed via market forces as in a recession.
 

imagep

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Some people would avoid work if they have any other means of support at all. One of my co-workers had a roommate who lived off of $125/mth partial disability check. The guy never paid his share of rent or utilities, and mooched off my co-worker every week. I have no clue why it was put up with. I really don't care how someone lives, if they are fine with poverty, then thats fine with me. What I don't want is for them to mooch off of me, while I bust my rear at work.

I really don't know that giving anyone anything accomplishing much of anything, other than to create a class of people who are dependent on those who do bother to work. Welfare has never solved poverty.
 

Mach

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Until the data is computerized, any systematic analysis is impossible. Undeterred, Forget has begun to piece together the story by using the census, health records, and the testimony of the program's participants. What is now emerging reveals that the program could have counted many successes.
How tragic :/


I agree with all of this. I think it's fairly obvious that if it's too high, people wouldn't work, and that threshold can be pretty low. But, if the article is to be believed, it's a viable proposal. I don't think half the poverty level is large enough to stop working completely though, and I think the article suggests that the data supports that. It would be nice if there was a way to limit the aid to those who don't work without making the problem worse by slamming people who are legitimately unemployed via market forces as in a recession.
I missed the proposal...what's a viable proposal?

Detroit can't even guaranteed pensions that were largely well-funded, how are we going to guaranteed as an entire society? Come on.
 
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JoeTheEconomist

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When the cash flows from the outside in, it is a very different story coming from within the society. You have cash flowing into the town making everyone richer. That is a vastly different scenario than trying this on a country wide basis. That additional cash will affect outcomes, but you don't have anyone losing in this deal other than the taxpayers of Canada.
 

JoeTheEconomist

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Detroit can't even guaranteed pensions that were largely well-funded, how are we going to guaranteed as an entire society? Come on.
I haven't done any research into this, but why would you say that Detroit's pensions were well funded.
 
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