?Wall of Silence? (written in 2006)
When you do not speak out in favour of guaranteed livable income, it is assumed that you are calling for economic growth.
There are many organizations in Canada which have resources devoted to examining the causes of, and solutions to, poverty. And yet...
...somehow here in Canada the main social justice organizations say nothing about guaranteed income.
Looking at the websites of the groups listed below, it appears, for now, that there is an information whiteout on the topic of guaranteed income for these social policy groups in Canada.
How is it that so many groups have funding to study poverty in Canada but do not mention guaranteed income, even to dispute it?
In comparison to the numbers of people researching poverty in Canada, there are very few people who openly support a guaranteed livable income. Staggering amounts of resources are spent researching welfare as if the problem of welfare can be solved. What this means is that practically no money is spent supporting a movement for a guaranteed livable income.
It is disrespectful to all people living and dying in poverty around the world if people who have resources devoted to social justice refuse to discuss the topic of a universal guaranteed livable income for everyone.
Maybe the solution is just too simple:
If groups can't go on the record to support guaranteed income, because it would jeopardize their funding, they should say so. It is perfectly understandable that no one wants to lose their job because of the very fact that we don't have a guaranteed livable income.
On the other hand if the idea of GLI is wrong, then everybody needs to know this and take other steps to solve the problem of systemic poverty. Currently the only way to grow the economy is through increased consumption, environmental damage, health damage, overproduction, war and exploitation of women's unpaid work? Is this the solution put forward by social justice groups? If it is they need to say so.
YOU CAN HELP END THE GUARANTEED LIVABLE INCOME
Email the above groups:
Email LIFE (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you get a response. LIFE will also email the above groups and will start posting the responses on this page in October 2006.
* Why do many groups today use the term Guaranteed Livable Income instead of Annual or Basic Income? Because a guaranteed annual income could technically be as little as a penny a year. In addition, there are many "living wage" campaigns which recognizes the importance of the concept of "livable." There would be less dignity were it called "Basic" Wage.
See also the article "Who's afraid of a Guaranteed Livable Income"
Cracking through Crusty Economics
It has been almost one year since we published "Wall of Silence" (see below) about the silence from social justice groups on the topic of guaranteed income in Canada -- even to dispute it. Now in the summer of 2007, there are a few cracks in the crusty economic theories to which social justice groups have been their giving tacit consent.
1) The National Anti-Poverty Organization now mentions guaranteed income on their pamphlet (calling it "adequate" income - contact them and let them know what you think about this terminology). They are also connecting guaranteed income proponents from across Canada and held a meeting on the topic in July 07; and the new executive director has spoken on the issue.
2) The Social Planning and Research Council of BC has shown some interest in being willing to discuss guaranteed income, but there is still no mention on their website.
3) The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives invited international speaker Guy Standing --co-chair of the Basic Income Earth Network-- to speak at the "Jobs and Justice" conference. However, they did not mention in the biographical information his connection with basic income, nor did speaker Guy Standing directly mention the concept in his keynote address (he did address it in answering the questions that followed, however this part of his talk is not available on webcast.) The CCPA will also be releasing a report on guaranteed/basic income in the fall of 2007. However, no information about this project is available on their website. Update... report released in 2009; short review: ho hum weak waffling, maybe yes, maybe no regarding Guaranteed Livable Income.
4) Unfortunately, the Caledon Institute, the Centre for Social Justice, the Canadian Council on Social Development, and the Vancouver Island Public Interest Research Group still remain silent on the issue of guaranteed income which means then they then are give their tacit consent to the job system and all the damage that this brings to peace, people and the environment.
Some progress has been made. But given the number of people living and dying in poverty, if people can't prove jobs are the solution to poverty and they don't have another solution, then what is stopping them from endorsing a guaranteed income in the mean time, until they can come up with a better solution?