The Forgotten History Of A Canadian Town’s Experiment With Guaranteed Income

A town in Canada tried the simplest method to end the ills associated with poverty: give everyone a minimum sum of money. Via the Dominion:

Try to imagine a town where the government paid each of the residents a living income, regardless of who they were and what they did. For a four-year period in the ’70s, the poorest families in Dauphin, Manitoba, were granted a guaranteed minimum income by the federal and provincial governments.

Until now little has been known about what unfolded over those years in the small rural town, since the government locked away the data that had been collected and prevented it from being analyzed.

But after a five year struggle, Evelyn Forget, a professor of health sciences at the University of Manitoba, secured access to those boxes in 2009. 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.

Unlike welfare, which only certain individuals qualified for, the guaranteed minimum income project—called “Mincome”—was open to everyone. It was the first—and to this day, only—time that Canada has ever experimented with such an open-door social assistance program. The program came to a quick halt in 1978 when an economic recession hit Canada.

Initially, the Mincome program was conceived as a labor 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 labor 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.

In the period that Mincome was administered, hospital visits dropped 8.5 per cent. Fewer people went to the hospital with work-related injuries and there were fewer emergency room visits from car accidents and domestic abuse. There were also far fewer mental health visits. In today’s terms, an 8.5 per cent decrease in hospital visits across Canada would save the government $4 billion annually.

If a guaranteed income program can target more people and is more efficient than other social assistance programs, then why doesn’t Canada have such a program in place already? Perhaps the biggest barrier is the prevalence of negative stereotypes about poor people. “There’s very strong feelings out there that we shouldn’t give people money for nothing.”

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  • Anarchy Pony

    NO CUZ SOSHULIZM!

    • jnana

      far from it.
      socialism says, to each according to his needs, from each according to his means, (unfortunately, determined by an elite bureaucratic vanguard)

      • Anarchy Pony

        Jokes; How do they work?

      • Anarchy Pony

        Jokes; How do they work?

        • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

          i said it before and i’ll say it again. similarly to magnets.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=742104313 Adam Goodwin

            Interesting analogy. So potential to repel or attract, depending on the polarity of the listener?

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            well it was a a joke too, but i likes how ya thinks

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            well it was a a joke too, but i likes how ya thinks

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=742104313 Adam Goodwin

            I found your avatar image just by chance in a book I bought for my kids. It’s the DK Science: The Definitive Visual Guide. That image is on page 23. I immediately thought of you when I saw it today. Been reading much Michael Polanyi recently. I’ve picked up his ‘Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy’ again, to give it another look now. I feel that the knowledge I’ve accumulated since I read it last would grant me the fresh eyes I need to squeeze even more philosophical goodness out of it.

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            Cool. I first saw it on the cover of a tome I read called The Discoverers by Daniel Boorstin. Lots of interesting history into many subjects. One of my favorite parts was about the way we perceived time before the clock was invented.

            I definitely think i should pick up Personal Knowledge though, Looks quite interesting. (I’m unfortunately not nearly as well read as I’d like to be.)

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=742104313 Adam Goodwin

            Is anybody (as well read as they’d like to be), though? What book have you looked at recently that really struck your fancy?

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            Well I’ve been out of reading for a few years now unfortunately, but i keep adding books to my “must read eventually” pile. Probably is big enough for a life time.

            Last good book i read was Godel Escher Bach. a while back

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=742104313 Adam Goodwin

            Thanks for the cite! That book looks interesting. I read a little about it on wikipedia, but this line bothered me: “In the book, he presents an analogy about how the individual neurons of the brain coordinate to create a unified sense of a coherent mind by comparing it to the social organization displayed in a colony of ants.”
            It sounds like the guy is on the verge of arguing that new levels that emerge yield novelty never known before, but then he recants by falling back on the reductionist notion that mind only seems to be coherently unified in a sense–it’s all an illusion. Maybe it’s just the wikipedia summary of it. What did you think when you read it?

          • Calypso_1

            Forget all that. You should read GEB its a classic. You’ll be able to project your own thoughts aplenty onto the work. The book is an absolute masterpiece of mental explorations.

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            True Story.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=742104313 Adam Goodwin

            Alright. I’m sold! thanks guys.

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            It was a joy to read from front to back; even if i was going make novel arguments that came from the book(there are many) the thought experiments are worth it all on its own.

            The book was my introduction to “self reference” and i couldn’t think of a better one,

          • Calypso_1

            I could read non-stop 24-7 for a century & would still hold in my hands a head which would sigh in sorrow at the paltriness of human knowledge.

          • Calypso_1

            I could read non-stop 24-7 for a century & would still hold in my hands a head which would sigh in sorrow at the paltriness of human knowledge.

          • Anarchy Pony

            As you might not be aware, my joke is reference to a lyric in an insane clown posse song, that says: magnets; how the fuck do they work? In a ridiculous song about how things like magnets are miraculous.

          • Noah_Nine

            uggh… juggalos… facepalm

  • lazy_friend

    To the ruling class and many others, it’s not ok to give people money for nothing, but its ok to not give people money when they do something, “slavery” or min wage. Plus the reason people are poor is not because they don’t want to work, it’s because there are not many profitable jobs out there (billions of fucking people), and usually only the ones with “old” money get the opportunities to become even more wealthy. These spoiled people usually don’t want to make things better for anyone, else unless you are in their closed circle or can make them more money in the short term, or use your life force to build them some luxury, which will most likely be wasteful of time and resources that is shared in a closed system like a planet. The reason we don’t have these programs is because the people on top almost unconsciously don’t want to give the people below them a chance to catch up. Life is not fair. In fact, no one wants to give people money for anything. This is why I don’t want to have kids, I don’t want to breed more slaves for the masters and continue this stupid paradigm, but that’s just my opinion.

    • Juan

      Yeah, I didn’t have kids for pretty much the same reason. Why breed more wage slaves for the system and stress myself out in the process?

    • Juan

      Yeah, I didn’t have kids for pretty much the same reason. Why breed more wage slaves for the system and stress myself out in the process?

      • lazy_friend

        Not to mention that raising a child is the hardest “job” in the world. By my logic the hardest job in the world deserves some government funding.

        • IokSotot

          @Lazy and Juan I don’t suppose you guys would be interested in breeding martyrs? Like those matrons say they are doing in Muslim countries in the restive category. . Ruling class ain’t gonna overthrow itself. (Ok, ok I know its always looking like its about to but you really do have to give it at least a light kick at the right moment.)

          • lazy_friend

            I can only control myself. People need to wake up on their own, it’s not something that can be forced. I will not bring a child into the world as a sacrifice, that only gives continuation to this vicious cycle. I’ll save my sperm for better times in the kingdom, just like they do with those massive seed vaults.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=742104313 Adam Goodwin

            I feel differently. To me this is absolutely not an issue of population (disclaimer: I have 3 children), but on the choices we make on how to feed ourselves. If we can let all of the technological distractions of our time to drop away for a moment, and if we can refocus on the key energy source for our survival–the food we eat–every other problem pales in comparison. Yet people in the industrialized world have allowed that choice of what they put in their bodies to graduallly slip away from them. And for what? Bribery through a false technological opulence. What a shame indeed! Especially considering that one–even living in the city–can grow much of the food they need on window sills, balconies, in their lawns and on their roofs. Most _choose_ not to. Population is not a problem at all. The real problem at the heart of the matter here is personal responsibility, or, more specifically, the utter lack of it.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=742104313 Adam Goodwin

            I feel differently. To me this is absolutely not an issue of population (disclaimer: I have 3 children), but on the choices we make on how to feed ourselves. If we can let all of the technological distractions of our time to drop away for a moment, and if we can refocus on the key energy source for our survival–the food we eat–every other problem pales in comparison. Yet people in the industrialized world have allowed that choice of what they put in their bodies to graduallly slip away from them. And for what? Bribery through a false technological opulence. What a shame indeed! Especially considering that one–even living in the city–can grow much of the food they need on window sills, balconies, in their lawns and on their roofs. Most _choose_ not to. Population is not a problem at all. The real problem at the heart of the matter here is personal responsibility, or, more specifically, the utter lack of it.

    • Len

      And a good opinion it is! We, as occupants of this planet are screwing it up royally. We must change this stupid paradigm, it’s not sustainable.

    • Len

      And a good opinion it is! We, as occupants of this planet are screwing it up royally. We must change this stupid paradigm, it’s not sustainable.

  • Morris

    There may be correlation, but it in no way means causation. For example: why would Mincome reduce car accidents?

    Why would it impact work-related injuries, if the same number of people were working? If these make up some portion of the 8.5 reduction in hospital visits, then the figure is flawed and so is the hypothesis.

    I’d be more interested in how it impacted business? Was retail spending up, which would make it sustainable? Was there increased tourism, which would spread wealth and, again, create industry and tax income?

    • Andrew

      You’re more interested in how it impacts business than how it impacts human beings?

    • Sanddog42

      Correlation does not prove causation, but there are possible mechanisms by which a mincome could result in few automobile accidents. Maybe people weren’t driving recklessly to get to their second job on time, or sleep-deprived from working double overtime to make ends meet. Or maybe a guaranteed minimum income relieved a lot of stress that could result in more accidents on the road and at work.

      Don’t be so quick to dismiss something just because you don’t understand it right away.

    • Sanddog42

      Correlation does not prove causation, but there are possible mechanisms by which a mincome could result in few automobile accidents. Maybe people weren’t driving recklessly to get to their second job on time, or sleep-deprived from working double overtime to make ends meet. Or maybe a guaranteed minimum income relieved a lot of stress that could result in more accidents on the road and at work.

      Don’t be so quick to dismiss something just because you don’t understand it right away.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jonathandavidwagner Jonathan Wagner

      This is pretty easy to explain, it has to do with stress. When you fear you may be fired by showing up late, you’re more likely to drive aggressively. Having a safety net in place would reduce this kind of behavior, but you are correct it is still correlation.

      I would be interested on the effects on business, but I have read some studies that reduced stress could lead to productivity increases. It has shown that when the mind is under stress, a person actually loses IQ.

      • Calypso_1

        You are absolutely correct. Even a small increase in the factors that override risk aversion is going to cause a statistically significant trend towards accidents. Insurance companies know this well.

      • Calypso_1

        You are absolutely correct. Even a small increase in the factors that override risk aversion is going to cause a statistically significant trend towards accidents. Insurance companies know this well.

  • BuzzCoastin

    assuming there’s nothing that will interrupt the presently evolving social process
    the need to pay people to do nothing will become a necessity
    because robot & computers do most of the formerly human jobs
    and the only way the oligarchs will be able to steal & horde money
    will be by giving money to those they steal it from

    • DrDavidKelly

      or they’ll just get us humans to do progressively more useless work. I picture a Kafkaesque nightmare afoot.

      • BuzzCoastin

        at some point in that nightmare, rebellion breaks out
        confusion reigns for about 50-100 years
        and then the new oligarchy arises
        until the next Big Cataclysm

        round & round it goes
        where it stops nobody knows

        • Anarchy Pony

          Someone stop the world please, I’d like to get off.

          • BuzzCoastin

            enter Sid Gautama
            stage left

      • BuzzCoastin

        I might also add this observation
        this program is being done in China right now
        not publicly promoted,
        but everyone in China knows about it and how it works,
        but not everyone is yet eligible for the program
        but those in the program love it

        in the US, this program is only available for elites & politicians
        in China it extends further down the food chain

      • Anarchy Pony

        Welcome to the service economy.

    • ParanoidCoast

      I read something to this effect somewhere before. Something like: We will need to create a new class of people whose “job” will be to consume products. Maybe that’s what Mincome is for.

      • Andrew

        What, eating isn’t enough?

        • Rob Brown

          I guess not, eh?

      • BuzzCoastin

        that’s already happening
        has been since the end of WW2
        people with “jobs” are paid a Mincome

        there haven’t been any real jobs since around 1970
        today
        most people sit in cubicles and push digits through the internet
        or talk with other jobbers about pushing digits through the internet
        or act as waiters and clerks for people who push digits through the internet

      • BuzzCoastin

        that’s already happening
        has been since the end of WW2
        people with “jobs” are paid a Mincome

        there haven’t been any real jobs since around 1970
        today
        most people sit in cubicles and push digits through the internet
        or talk with other jobbers about pushing digits through the internet
        or act as waiters and clerks for people who push digits through the internet

  • DrDavidKelly

    Yes more data would have been good but I’ve always thought it a good idea. I think it gives people a sense of dignity to be able to get by.

    • jnana

      being fed like a rat in a cage is really dignified.
      having everything in life handed to you by your masters is far from dignity.
      I prefer to enjoy a sense of autonomy and creative living

      • DrDavidKelly

        Each to their own but for some people, especially families, the knowing of a nightly meal and a warm bed is a blessing.

      • DrDavidKelly

        Each to their own but for some people, especially families, the knowing of a nightly meal and a warm bed is a blessing.

        • jnana

          I actually agree with the republicans on this. Large swaths of the poor in western countries want to be “middle class” and own middle class things and live up to middle class standards. There is very little working class pride anymore because few working class americans have anything to be proud of, considering the working class is far from actually producing anything necessary and beneficial for the greater good. Not to mention the corrosion of family and community.
          Now, if there were working class pride I bet fewer people would need that new truck or IPOD or whatever it is people want free money for to buy.

          • jnana

            And rather than give away money, why not at least have them work for it, like a Public Works program?

          • DrDavidKelly

            Pride in what you’re doing is a good thing and so is spending time with your kids or helping out in the community. I’m not sure a mincome wage is going to be spent on luxuries like ipods and what have you. There seems to be this palpable resistence to giving people money? It’s just a little money – not enough to buy a yacht but probably enough for food for a week and a couple of pints of lager. To me people have intrinsic worth, not value brought about by what they can do. In reality not everyone needs to work but everyone does because it’s the only way to make money which is absolutely necessary for survival, so we invent jobs for them. It’s very inefficient. I don’t know any families that don’t go without a meal because … well they are getting money from the government for food. But this money is always conditional – why not just offer everyone a safety net so they can get by? Just seems like a civilized humane thing to do.

          • Anarchy Pony

            The useless eaters exist to serve the power elite(in their minds), mincome wage reduces their power position by giving them less leverage over the working class by relieving some of the working class’s desperation. That desperation gave employers/the elite class a significant advantage in bargaining power and makes it harder to dominate those below them in the class structure.
            By controlling physical capital, land and the means of production and monopolizing the surplus value of the labor and the actual production of those that actually operate these things (through covert, and sometimes overt, forms of violence) the elite control the access to the means of survival of the population, who, without the means of independent survival, have no choice but to submit to the capitalist economy by selling their time and labor (in essence their very lives) to the land owners and capital holders.
            Since this labor is in large part directed to producing unnecessary things that are sold through advertising gimmicks and similar forms of propaganda, the owners fear that without this extortionate arrangement and their desperate position(relative deprivation plays a large part in wealthier countries, “keeping up with the Jones’s” where people are generally not in direct fear for their lives, but afraid that they will be considered poor or impoverished by their peers, if they don’t own all the nice things they see advertised on tv), people will no longer engage in the production of goods or services that do not enhance their own well being or wealth, and thus the wealth of the business owners. Profit margins fall, even if general welfare increases. and to the elite, this is unacceptable.

          • jnana

            “mincome wage reduces their power position by giving them less leverage over the working class by relieving some of the working class’s desperation. That desperation gave employers/the elite class a significant advantage in bargaining power and makes it harder to dominate those below them in the class structure.”
            Are you frikkin kidding me? Less leverage? Ever heard the saying, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” Give people a mincome and they lose all independence and drive for autonomy. Not everyone, I’m sure, but many. Anyway, they have more leverage when we depend on them for handouts and lose the skillsets needed to take care of ourselves as well as the ability to think and act independently. Independent meaning NOT DEPENDENT.

          • Anarchy Pony

            Your inability to contextualize is cute.

          • Anarchy Pony

            Your inability to contextualize is cute.

          • jnana

            I don’t understand… could you clarify what I failed to contextualize?
            you stated guaranteed income from the state leads to a less desperate populous, which makes them harder to control, right? I argued that’s wrong because it fosters dependency and all the state has to do is threaten taking the handouts away as a bargaining chip. Precisely what’s happening, now.
            There is a solution to all this, and it involves becoming independent and paradoxically interdependent. I don’t depend on the government for food, and shelter, and money, but instead depend on my fellow man and the Living God through man. Accepting handouts from the state greases the gears of capitalism and state control. Depending on each other, instead, creates solidarity and encourages symbiotic relationships.

          • jnana

            I don’t understand… could you clarify what I failed to contextualize?
            you stated guaranteed income from the state leads to a less desperate populous, which makes them harder to control, right? I argued that’s wrong because it fosters dependency and all the state has to do is threaten taking the handouts away as a bargaining chip. Precisely what’s happening, now.
            There is a solution to all this, and it involves becoming independent and paradoxically interdependent. I don’t depend on the government for food, and shelter, and money, but instead depend on my fellow man and the Living God through man. Accepting handouts from the state greases the gears of capitalism and state control. Depending on each other, instead, creates solidarity and encourages symbiotic relationships.

          • Anarchy Pony

            At no point did I say that this particular solution is the only one or even the most desirable one. Nor did I explore its potential end results, I only looked at how it might effect the relationship between capital holders and workers, and why it is less desirable for the capital holders. “There is a solution to all this, and it involves becoming independent and paradoxically interdependent” This sentiment I agree with whole heartedly. But I refuse to allow an elite class to live parasitically off the labor that I and my community engage in or off of the capital we produce, nor shall I be coerced into producing capital and thusly destroying or damaging the Living Earth to produce revenue or goods only for some managerial class, whose great mercy I would be dependent on for my continued existence or freedom. “Biting the hand that feeds you” Pffft, why should there be some external hand that I must feed from?

            Overall, at least in theory, the difference in the equation about receiving mincome from the government[which does not necessarily mean the institution of the Nation-State] (The government being an entity that is at least supposed to be accountable to and controlled by the populace, or hopefully that which is ideally the collective organization of the populace to manage their own affairs with some degree of equity and fairness{which is to say that the governance is no longer an external entity but something that the people actively engage in})[Shit, lots of qualifications in there] means that your well being is not at the discretion of some private corporation or capital holder who seeks only to extract the surplus value of your labor to increase their own wealth and therefor political power.

            Also I am not saying that work is undesirable, but it needs to not be done through bribery (the wage system) or force (slavery)[which in combination is to say; without coercion], it must be voluntary, and done because it is necessary, and promotes the general welfare of the human race(or the general welfare of a given bio-region), without compromising the living biosphere of the Earth.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=742104313 Adam Goodwin

            True freedom comes from your food. It has always been that way and it will always be that way, as long as our biology requires us to injest second(or third)-hand solar energy.

          • ParanoidCoast

            I agree. Ultimately, currency is calories.

          • Andrew

            Cart before horse.

          • jnana

            And I recommend why not at least create a Public Works program to inspire pride in labor, rather than money for nothing. Even the easiest living hunter/gatherers still had to supply their own food and build their own house. Wouldn’t you feel like an asshole if you were just handed everything you need and never gave back?
            And as for the above poster Lazyfriend’s comment that there is no work left- BULLSHIT!
            Have you seen the trash on the ground that could be picked up? Old folks and disabled that could use a helping hand? If the powers that be decided to dole out money, at least encourage work and community pride in the process.
            Granted, I am in no way advocating the current social and economic order. That’s why I wouldn’t recommend feeding us like domestic pets.

          • NotADupe

            Where does the current money come from? You seem to think it’s a neutral system, but it’s engineered towards filling the pockets of the already wealthy. At least if people were given a base from which to operate, we’d have a “fair” system with which to “compete” for each other’s money with. The current system is a joke for anyone who takes a sober look at it.

          • jnana

            If we didn’t depend on the system to take care of us, we would find alternative solutions, we would adapt, and if we worked together and kept our integrity, adaptation wouldn’t necessarily mean selling out. The system doesn’t want individuals and small groups to figure out independent solutions, because that would mean we wouldn’t NEED them, which is exactly the case. If this was realized by the many or at least more, the whole current social order would turn upside down.
            This is how spiritual thinking becomes subversive thinking. Because it fosters interdependency of the individual with his fellows and independence of the individual’s mind and thought from conditioning.

          • lazy_friend

            Work for what, for whom? Doing what? There are no jobs right now and too many people. This is about experimenting. People want free money to buy food, shelter and education, that’s what takes the most money. Plus there is nothing wrong in wanting an IPOD, that is made by other poor people anyway, it’s a cheap ass commodity that is over priced for profits but does not really cost much to make. Serious adults want financial security, teenagers want gadgets all the time, and apple is not even hip anymore. When you say “work for it” you must mean the military, because that is the only gig in town right now. If I have to kill humans for my lively hood I rather die myself. We give money to the banks, why not stimulate individuals? If they don’t want to work, fine, they will remain in the bottom financial bracket, but they don’t need to die over their laziness, who knows what causes it, maybe they are depressed or suffering from malnutrition; sometimes non action is the best course of action. This extreme control/judgement and self rightfulness is what’s causing problems. Rich people get free money all the time, from illegal financial activity, one sided investments in corporations that only care about the bottom line, insider trading, tax havens, or paying slave wages for people to do their manual work for them, while they dream up more ways to control people with the free time they have. But no one cares it seems, because they hide that fact really well. We don’t need anymore cunning “public works” or incentives to get people to work, in fact anything cunning is most likely evil. So what if people get free money when they need it? The banks did, and they are doing great, leeching more than ever. If I only worked for money, I would have become the biggest dumbass/asshole in the world, I work when I see that work is needed and not when money is the only driving force. I am giving back to the planet by not having a kid, the buck stops here. People think they know the answer to the biggest social problems in the world without experimenting with novel ways of doing things and keeping track of the data, that’s just ignorant and LAZY.

          • Juan

            Brilliant post! Could not agree more:)

          • lazy_friend

            Some people don’t understand or don’t want to understand how money works. A lot has happened before we were born, not all men are financed equally. It is not a fair game, nepotism/favoritism are the laws of the land . If manual labor meant wealth, I would be loaded by now, when in fact I only receive more work and less money for it; just get more responsibility piled on my back. In fact, it seems the opposite is true, having free time to play the stock market game means wealth. The truth is that reasonable manual labor can mean “health” from the exercise, not wealth from the pure labor. This over simplistic and judgmental mindset that people only get what they deserve (and one gets to deserve things by working hard) only benefits the slave owners when their slaves believe it. It’s like the boiling frog story ” The boiling frog story is a widespread anecdote describing a frog slowly being boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. The story is often used as a metaphor for the inability of people to react to significant changes that occur gradually.” from wiki as I could not have said it better myself. These days in america, you can’t just tell a slave he is a slave, you need to give him some pocket change to “cool” his anger so the slave can keep working with out rebelling (jumping out of the boiling pot). A lot of created commodities are just to keep us oblivious to what is going on, and that’s obvious to see for anyone willing to take a good look at what’s happening, and not take tradition or someones word as the truth, because of their self implied authority/status.

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            I find a second level of the “boil the frog story” even more interesting, that the majority of the people have heard it and tell it in its common form as you stated it. The extra little bit, is that those frogs had their central nervous system removed. Fully intact frogs will jump out of the water if the same experiment is performed.

            So i suppose if your model of the american populace is that we’re all lobotomized, i suppose it makes sense.

          • JaceD

            I agree with this. I’ve had many discussions with my boss regarding how people on unemployment benefits could contribute to their society. Here in New Zealand there are thousands of hectares of land owned by the crown not being utilised. I think a system where the unemployed go out, grow fruit / vegetables, raise animals or reseed native forests would be great. The fruit / veggies / dairy products / meat go back into society tax free thus benefiting the whole country, and in the process the people who are putting in the work are learning horticulture / agriculture / forestry skills which could lead them into employment.

            But then I’m just a socialist, I love Hitler and Stalin etc.

          • lazy_friend

            That’s like giving people money. If people had land to grow their own stuff they would not need government assistance. Not everyone that needs assistance is lazy, stupid or lacking skill. A lot of people work for very little profit and thus need assistance. Hitler and Stalin are not socialist, that shit is fascism coupled with mass murder disguised as socialism to some. So everyone without a job is to become a slave working on a farm? Might as well daft them into the army and fucking invade some country. Most of the agricultural process is mechanized now.If anything I would want people to spend time reading and studying, spending the least resources while gaining the most knowledge now that information is free. How about instead of having one fat cat working a nice secure job full time, we split every task between two people? One week you are at the office, and I am at the farm, the other week one are at the farm and I am at the office. Elitism is a bitch. If there was enough profitable work to go around, there would be no unemployment. There are too many people, just be glad you have a job if you do, and quit on the Hitler loving. We don’t need more mindless serfs, I can milk my own cow. If someone needs government assistance, that’s none of my business. People get lucky all the time, winning the lotto, I can be happy for them without overlooking whatever windfall they might have come across. Everyone needs a break and most rich people had some agency (family) that came before them behind their wealth. If you think about it, politicians are unemployed and receiving towns of government assistance. They just sit on their ass all day, demanding actions from others and having their basics served to them. To me that’s the definition of laziness. If you have work that is profitable, be happy, and don’t bash on people that get government assistance. If you don’t want to work anymore, quit and start receiving assistance. I don’t know if you noticed, but there is a lot of people in the world, someone will step up and pick the slack. Self righteousness is some of the most hideous clothes one can wear.

          • jnana

            “So everyone without a job is to become a slave working on a farm?”
            Exactly what I’m talking about. No more pride in work these days. We should be proud of feeding our families and communities. I don’t know about you, but I actually enjoy working. I feel good about myself at the end of a long day of working outside in dirt and shit and rain, doing the little things that need getting done. Who cares if the fat cats sit on their ass all day? I don’t envy them. I prefer working with my brothers and sisters here on the ground, taking care of each other.

          • NotADupe

            “I don’t know about you, but I actually enjoy working. I feel good about
            myself at the end of a long day of working outside in dirt and shit and
            rain, doing the little things that need getting done. Who cares if the
            fat cats sit on their ass all day?”

            This is the perfect slave credo! I hope one day you will come slave for me. You can motivate your fellows to keep their heads down.

          • jnana

            It’s called a Service to Others mentality, as opposed to Service to Self. If you truly need help with something, I would gladly give a hand. I want to die knowing I gave more than I received, to friends, enemies, humanity and the Living Earth. I don’t envy the lazy rich and don’t want what they have. I am more than satisfied with the little I have on this earth, aware that more will only serve to tie me down. I’m not oppressed because I don’t have a house or a car. I’m liberated, and all my time is free, preferably I spend it on service to others.

          • JaceD

            See other reply

          • JaceD

            I want to try break down each of your points to clear any misconceptions you may
            have gotten from my comment, and to try refute some of your own points.

            Firstly, my reference to Hitler and Stalin was a joke, directed at the American far right
            who bemoan that any form of government assistance is liken to socialism, and people who support socialist ideas also love Hitler, Stalin and should move to North Korea etc.

            ” If people had land to grow their own stuff they would not need government assistance” – A nice idea, but unsustainable. How will people purchase the land? How much land will they need to live a sustainable lifestyle? Who will work the land / would want to work the land?

            “Not everyone that needs assistance is lazy, stupid or lacking skill” – I’ve never said otherwise. There are plenty of people on government assistance who have fantastic skills, but can’t find work in their field.

            “So everyone without a job is to become a slave working on a farm? Might as well daft them into the army and fucking invade some country” – This is an emotional response, no one would be a slave, my suggestion would be an incentive, not something you would HAVE to do. Keep earning government assistance, and in the process learn skills which can get people employed and lower the cost of living for everyone by giving everyone cheaper access to fresh produce, win-win. I’ve been unemployed before and I would’ve jumped at the chance to learn some skills, as would other people I know who are currently unemployed. The whole “draft them into the army and fucking invade some country” thing is nonsense, but then I’m not from a violent country.

            ” I would want people to spend time reading and studying, spending the least resources while gaining the most knowledge now that information is free” – This, I agree with totally. Education is key for any functioning civilisation.

            “How about instead of having one fat cat working a nice secure job full time, we split every task between two people?” – Completely unsustainable If a small business owner has 6 employees and wants to grow their business over time, working at a small loss due to wages, how can they afford to pay for 12 employees (I’m assuming in this hypothetical situation wages will balance out so people earn the equivalent amount for working 20 hours as they would 40?). This would create more unemployment in the long run.

            ” One week you are at the office, and I am at the farm, the other week one are at the farm and I am at the office” – I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live out of a suitcase, travelling between a city to do office work one week, and a farm the next. Although I think I can see where you’re going with this.

            ” If there was enough profitable work to go around, there would be no unemployment” – Or better yet, replace the current economic system with something that makes unemployment redundant.

            “politicians are unemployed and receiving towns of government assistance” – I love this, couldn’t agree more. More tax goes into the pockets of politicians than they do people on benefits.

            All in all, I think we can both agree that it’s better to have people getting government assistance, than having people rot in the street. However I also think that people can be utilised for the greater good, but only if they choose to do so.

            I hope my response makes sense. I tend to throw my thoughts at the keyboard, rather than type them out with care.

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            I would be willing to bet that unemployment benefits lead to depression. Not for people actually looking for a job but for people pretending to. Seriously. I know people drawing unemployment and they just look like sad sacks. I mean I am all for loafing around, fucking off, I mean I have been guilty of “vagrancy” which it was called back in the day, but there is something to be said for having some kind of challenge in life. Life is about more than just having a full belly and a warm place to sleep.

          • Anarchy Pony

            Yes life is, but who dictates whether your belly is full or where you sleep? Should it be you? Or your friends or family? Or someone that is totally unaccountable to you? No company or corporation or even the tiniest of business owners has any obligation to hire you. And if you have no capital with which you can leverage yourself into a more agreeable circumstance (whether it is land where you can grow your own food, or goods to sell, or money to invest), then what are you? Your fucked.

          • Anarchy Pony

            Yes life is, but who dictates whether your belly is full or where you sleep? Should it be you? Or your friends or family? Or someone that is totally unaccountable to you? No company or corporation or even the tiniest of business owners has any obligation to hire you. And if you have no capital with which you can leverage yourself into a more agreeable circumstance (whether it is land where you can grow your own food, or goods to sell, or money to invest), then what are you? Your fucked.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=742104313 Adam Goodwin

            Maybe it has to do with having a resilient spirit, but that is something that should be cultivated over time rather than just throw people into the depths of poverty and hope they survive.

          • emperorreagan

            Of all working-age adults living in poverty in the US (26.5 million), 10.5 million of them are in the workforce according to census and BLS data.

            When you look at households instead of individuals, over 80% have at least one adult working. Of the 16 million children living in poverty, over 2/3 live in households with at least one working parent.

            The fundamental issues aren’t the moral issues elites lay at the feet of people living in poverty (laziness, drug use, etc.). Suggesting a public works program just plays to the same off-base moralizing. The issue is a systemic one, not one of human failing.

          • jnana

            ” The issue is a systemic one, not one of human failing”
            Agreed. just don’t think giving a mincome is the answer, for as I said it diminishes the value of work and destroys autonomy and human dignity.

          • emperorreagan

            You’ve made that assertion in this thread multiple times, but the evidence in this article and in other pilot studies on guaranteed income indicate nothing of the sort. Not to mention that the choice of terminology is loaded language in reference to the poor.

          • jnana

            How does the evidence prove that a mincome doesn’t destroy autonomy and human dignity, again?

          • emperorreagan

            The studies don’t have to prove anything of the sort. You’re the one making the assertions. The studies, to date, do not provide any evidence to support your assertion that somehow a guaranteed income reduces autonomy and dignity or diminishes the value of work.

            With only a couple groups noted as exceptions, the majority of people did not work less so the results of the study would seem to directly contradict your assertion about the value of work in that regard.

            —-

            Philosophically, one could argue that guaranteed income supports autonomy and human dignity:

            1. The recipients are an end in themselves, not treated as a means to an end. As presented, there are no strings attached to the guaranteed income.
            2. Humans have dignity because they are rational agents according to Kant – that is, they’re able to formulate ends and pursue them. In this study, one could argue that the coercion of the dominant economic system prevented people from pursuing their own ends but with a guaranteed income, people were able to pursue their own ends (i.e. the note that the only groups in which working declined were mothers who chose to stay home with their new babies and teenagers who choose to finish their educations to pursue better opportunities rather than going to work immediately).

            —-

            Your proposal of putting (poor and unemployed) people to work on public works projects would inherently decrease autonomy and dignity, because it is coercive. You are treating people as a means to an end rather than an end in themselves, which fundamentally violates dignity.

          • emperorreagan

            The studies don’t have to prove anything of the sort. You’re the one making the assertions. The studies, to date, do not provide any evidence to support your assertion that somehow a guaranteed income reduces autonomy and dignity or diminishes the value of work.

            With only a couple groups noted as exceptions, the majority of people did not work less so the results of the study would seem to directly contradict your assertion about the value of work in that regard.

            —-

            Philosophically, one could argue that guaranteed income supports autonomy and human dignity:

            1. The recipients are an end in themselves, not treated as a means to an end. As presented, there are no strings attached to the guaranteed income.
            2. Humans have dignity because they are rational agents according to Kant – that is, they’re able to formulate ends and pursue them. In this study, one could argue that the coercion of the dominant economic system prevented people from pursuing their own ends but with a guaranteed income, people were able to pursue their own ends (i.e. the note that the only groups in which working declined were mothers who chose to stay home with their new babies and teenagers who choose to finish their educations to pursue better opportunities rather than going to work immediately).

            —-

            Your proposal of putting (poor and unemployed) people to work on public works projects would inherently decrease autonomy and dignity, because it is coercive. You are treating people as a means to an end rather than an end in themselves, which fundamentally violates dignity.

          • ParanoidCoast

            The whole point of the article was to challenge your assumptions.

          • jnana

            Well, to be honest, I actually think the oppressed classes do deserve handouts. Because its wicked corporations who have hogged all the land, destroyed it and our environment and excessively exploited resources to the degree that it is near impossible for an underprivileged family to make it on their own w/o state assistance. That said, the economic squeeze and set of circumstances is very likely planned by “elite” social engineers to foster dependence and weaken the wills of the masses.
            So I would encourage independence from the system and interdependence and solidarity between real people.

          • Trygve Gundersen

            You just don’t seem to have a clue…
            THERE IS NOT ENOUGH WORK FOR EVERYBODY!!!
            So, then, how will you establish working class pride when the participants of a public work program KNOW they are second rate citizens and the jobs they do are basically not needed and therefore has no societal value, but are there only due to the misunderstood moral basis that no one should get anything for nothing…?
            Basic income is the ONLY solution for preventing poverty, shame/sickness/depression connected to involuntary joblessness (wich, BTW, is the overwhelming majority of the jobless)… THINK!!

      • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

        I’m with you. Not sure who down voted “autonomy and creative living” probably some lazy fuck.

  • emperorreagan

    NOT ENOUGH MAGICAL THINKING. RESEARCH REJECTED.

    • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

      I know a person with a trust fund who works at a flower shop. So I am not saying I see it all one way. The problem is work is so cut off from subsistence that having a guaranteed income in our society amounts to wellfare, whereas in times past, the guaranteed income (food clothing and shelter) everyone had came from foraging and belonging to a tribe.

  • alizardx

    Who creates the “stereotypes about poor people”? Who profits from these convenient myths?

    • ParanoidCoast

      Well put!

    • ParanoidCoast

      Well put!

    • Rob Brown

      Rich people do, because they don’t want to share.

  • NotADupe

    This is actually a fantastic idea. Wealth generated by the people. How is it now? If you want wealth you have to compete for it, hoping the banks or whoever will dole some out to you. Where does that leave your children and grandchildren? Is that really the future you want for them? Serfdom by law.

    Imagine everyone given a basic amount, and that was where money “came from”. Just one of the many superior currency ideas that will never be considered by the gloating retards at the top.

  • NotADupe

    This is actually a fantastic idea. Wealth generated by the people. How is it now? If you want wealth you have to compete for it, hoping the banks or whoever will dole some out to you. Where does that leave your children and grandchildren? Is that really the future you want for them? Serfdom by law.

    Imagine everyone given a basic amount, and that was where money “came from”. Just one of the many superior currency ideas that will never be considered by the gloating retards at the top.

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    OK, so if a bunch of Canadians in a small town continued to work if guaranteed an income, if everyone in the US had a guaranteed income then the vast majority of them would continue to work to?

    Why is this seen as being 100% scalable?

  • UltimateCynic

    The current insane and unjust usurious money system produces extremes of poverty and wealth. All sorts of schemes have been tried to alleviate the blatantly observable effects of the resultant poverty in a way that will enable the indefinite continuation of the system rather than allowing the sufferings of the poor to engender a bloody revolt and to possibly collapse the system, toppling the elite from their perch at the top of the pyramid.

    What I’m waiting for is a different kind of experiment. First, abolish the current monetary and financial pyramid ponzi system, making the issuing of currency as interest-bearing debt universally illegal and punishable by death.

    Second, abolish the limits of legal liability for corporations. All owners of corporation stock should bear financial liabilities in proportion to their shares, and all corporation officers should be legally liable for any harm done by the corporation to real people. Of course, corporations should NOT EVER be treated as legal persons.

    What do you think would be the result of that experiment? Too bad it will never be tried.

  • UltimateCynic

    The current insane and unjust usurious money system produces extremes of poverty and wealth. All sorts of schemes have been tried to alleviate the blatantly observable effects of the resultant poverty in a way that will enable the indefinite continuation of the system rather than allowing the sufferings of the poor to engender a bloody revolt and to possibly collapse the system, toppling the elite from their perch at the top of the pyramid.

    What I’m waiting for is a different kind of experiment. First, abolish the current monetary and financial pyramid ponzi system, making the issuing of currency as interest-bearing debt universally illegal and punishable by death.

    Second, abolish the limits of legal liability for corporations. All owners of corporation stock should bear financial liabilities in proportion to their shares, and all corporation officers should be legally liable for any harm done by the corporation to real people. Of course, corporations should NOT EVER be treated as legal persons.

    What do you think would be the result of that experiment? Too bad it will never be tried.

  • Korky_Day

    Guarantee income, as in the article, is good and is supported by my Green Party. However, it is not enough. Some Greens are now also supporting Guaranteed Jobs, a separate permanent safety net to guarantee everyone jobs who wants them. See http://www.korky.ca and Wikipedia’s version called ‘the job guarantee’.

    Practically, Guaranteed Jobs is more likely to be supported by the general public, many of whom irrationally oppose socialism. So, regardless of which plan is better, GJ is more likely to happen first if we support both programmes.

  • nanciesweb

    Wait… It was just four years? Most good intention programs do work well – at first. There are always long term consequences. Our own welfare system worked at first too. People were being helped.

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