Canada’s forgotten universal basic income experiment

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    • #331471
      So Far From Heaven
      Keymaster
      • Total Posts: 5,662

      That’s the title of a news article from BBC on June 24. Kinda caught my eye, so I read the damn thing.

      Our Canadian brothers (and sisters) are like way ahead of us when it comes to defining just what a government should do. But is seems they did an experiment and then the idea got killed thru changes in political and economic changes. The experiment was designed to examine whether or not a basic income guarantee would turn on the great Republican bugaboo chant of “They will not get a job” mantra. It ran for four years in a little itty bitty town near (relatively speaking for people like me in New Mexico) Winnipeg. And they set the minimum basic level at 16 thousand Canadian. For four years starting in 1975 or so.

      A health economist dredged up all the findings and files from the experiment and did a rigorous study of the outcomes of the trial. Something like 18 thousand boxes of paper.

      Surprise, surprise surprise. Unemployment remained constant, though there was a shift toward more permanent placement versus temporary work to get by on. Like I don’t care. I never figured that a minimum living standard would ever drive up unemployment myself so this is just political fodder as far as I’m concerned.

      HOWEVER.

      Two unexpected things happened that are simply interesting and quite relevant to today. Health care went way up. Eight and a half percent. The poor got better health, which of course drives down overall healthcare costs. And their graduation rate surged in the four years. This brings the realization that economic well being is penchant to your level of education. That is a bonus no one ever thought of in the experiment.

      So, the story is HERE.

      The research paper is HERE.

      This doesn’t bode well for opponents to a minimum basic income.

    • #331483
      Mr. Mickeys Mom
      Moderator
      • Total Posts: 3,376

      Many people after the 70’s progressive surge would just as soon have forgotten what the outcome said of UBI… Yeah, like they wanted the rest of the world to catch on.

      I salute the amount of effort it took to uncover these facts… And it should get a huge discussion… But, no one South of Canada is going to knock themselves dead stoking this.

      Thanks for posting this, FL… 🤔

      Hell, no... I'm not giving up...

      • #331495
        So Far From Heaven
        Keymaster
        • Total Posts: 5,662

        That is what JPR is supposed to be about.

        So I have more questions than answers after reading this.

        Like, the health issue versus poverty.

        Wasn’t one of the biggest reasons to get universal healthcare to break that correlate? Wouldn’t it do the same thing as far as the health economics go?

    • #331500
      GZeusH
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 2,507

      because every year, since the 1980s, somebody has to rediscover this result like Columbus setting foot in the New World.   The results of the experiment have been very, very well suppressed.

    • #331501
      Mr. Mickeys Mom
      Moderator
      • Total Posts: 3,376

      When you have your health, you have everything…

      While that might not exactly be true in the sense of a happy life, it levels the playing field when you have true health maintenance instead of sick care when you didn’t have the means to maintain health from the cradle to the grave. It’s basic to being able to do or pursue other things in this crazy life.

      Hell, no... I'm not giving up...

    • #331529
      doh1304
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 1,171

      Most importantly the amount of the UBI was (adjusted for inflation, though I used an American calculator) was iirc $2000/month. and the recipients knew that the program was no permanent. Any normally rational person would prepare for the time when the UBI went away. Any normally rational person would take advantage of the windfall. Such a person wold be healthier, would improve their education, would (for an example that would apply more to a 21st century American) buy a car so that they could job hunt better  and get to work better, would but durable goods rather than impulse items, in short, the experiment was biased for a positive result – but a UBI of a sufficient amount would have the same bias,  at least until capitalism adjusted for it.  (in the Canadian experiment the number of recipients and the time the benefits was limited, preventing inflation) Note also that the test subjects got better jobs, no doubt because they had the improved education and the income safety allowing them to seek better jobs and not have to settle for poorer jobs.

      I still say that a UBI should not go to the upper 50%  for many reasons, especially – indisputably – an amount inadequate to live on.

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