Canada proposes an act to develop a national framework for a guaranteed basic income

Chad Seven

Well-known member
This enactment requires the Minister of Finance to develop a national framework to provide all persons over the age of 17 in Canada with access to a guaranteed livable basic income. It also provides for reporting requirements with respect to the framework.
https://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/44-1/bill/S-233/first-reading

This is a big deal in my opinion. If Canada adopts UBI successfully other Western nations will soon follow. I expect a wave of job resignations, COVID lockdowns and the furlough schemes demonstrated that many, many people are tired of the rat race. Your status in society would no longer be tied to your profession or how much you earn, people would be free to dedicate their time to what they are really passionate about, art, fitness, gardening, philosophy etc. I can't really imagine the wider implications of this but I am certain they would be huge.

On the one hand I am in favour of UBI as a necessary response to the impact various labour saving technologies will have on the job market in coming decades. On the other hand I can't help but think that once the majority of the population are reliant on UBI it gives the state a lot of power, your UBI could become contingent on being a good citizen (whatever that comes to mean in future). Also, as a rather socially conservative person, I do not look forward to the societal changes it would inevitably bring about.

I am not even thinking about how it will be funded and assume they have that all figured out. Money does not seem to be an obstacle to governments for the things that matter to them.

What do you think?
 

J Livermore

Active member
https://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/44-1/bill/S-233/first-reading

This is a big deal in my opinion. If Canada adopts UBI successfully other Western nations will soon follow. I expect a wave of job resignations, COVID lockdowns and the furlough schemes demonstrated that many, many people are tired of the rat race. Your status in society would no longer be tied to your profession or how much you earn, people would be free to dedicate their time to what they are really passionate about, art, fitness, gardening, philosophy etc. I can't really imagine the wider implications of this but I am certain they would be huge.

On the one hand I am in favour of UBI as a necessary response to the impact various labour saving technologies will have on the job market in coming decades. On the other hand I can't help but think that once the majority of the population are reliant on UBI it gives the state a lot of power, your UBI could become contingent on being a good citizen (whatever that comes to mean in future). Also, as a rather socially conservative person, I do not look forward to the societal changes it would inevitably bring about.

I am not even thinking about how it will be funded and assume they have that all figured out. Money does not seem to be an obstacle to governments for the things that matter to them.

What do you think?
Hi CS,

If such a program were ever initiated you would have to somehow limit the number of children people have. When people have to work hard for their necessities they usually limit the size of their families when given access to birth control.

If you want to reduce the size of the population that needs welfare (if you insist on having welfare in the first place), you increase payments to recipients who have FEWER or even no children. This gives families a financial incentive to limit the number of children born into poverty. Right now, a lot of people on welfare don’t limit the size of their families as long as they get more goodies with each additional child.

Considering the environmental damage that the human population is doing with over seven billion people in the world I doubt you could stomach what Earth’s environment would look like in centuries to come with fifteen to twenty billion plus people on Earth.

If you care about your own children and/or grandchildren ect., you should be leaving them a world where the human population is at an environmentally sustainable level and not facing a situation where the so called “population bomb” could go off at any time..

I hope you don’t mind me bringing up the environmental impacts of paying people a free living standard. :)
 

Chad Seven

Well-known member
Hi CS,

If such a program were ever initiated you would have to somehow limit the number of children people have. When people have to work hard for their necessities they usually limit the size of their families when given access to birth control.

If you want to reduce the size of the population that needs welfare (if you insist on having welfare in the first place), you increase payments to recipients who have FEWER or even no children. This gives families a financial incentive to limit the number of children born into poverty. Right now, a lot of people on welfare don’t limit the size of their families as long as they get more goodies with each additional child.

Considering the environmental damage that the human population is doing with over seven billion people in the world I doubt you could stomach what Earth’s environment would look like in centuries to come with fifteen to twenty billion plus people on Earth.

If you care about your own children and/or grandchildren ect., you should be leaving them a world where the human population is at an environmentally sustainable level and not facing a situation where the so called “population bomb” could go off at any time..

I hope you don’t mind me bringing up the environmental impacts of paying people a free living standard. :)

Thanks for the comment. I agree that overpopulation is undesirable, however I believe the collapse in birthrates, particularly in the West but also in many developing countries, is likely irreversible at this stage and therefore not one of the challenges I foresee with regards to UBI.

People freed from the drudgery of labour and from scarcity are more likely to amuse themselves with frivolities than revert to having large families in my opinion. The purpose of larger families for the poor is to provide a support network and pooling of resources which in the age of UBI will become redundant. There are religious factors too but I expect this will continue to decline in relevance. Those in power appear to share your concerns regarding overpopulation so I expect UBI may well be conditional on having few children.

Africa is the exception of course and the only region where populations are expected to increase, dramatically so, over the coming decades. Will the powers that be in the West continue allow mass immigration from Africa? Based on current trends yes and this does appear to be at odds with their desire that their own populations have fewer children but I have given up trying to decipher their true intentions.
 

timsk

Legendary member
. . . On the other hand I can't help but think that once the majority of the population are reliant on UBI it gives the state a lot of power, your UBI could become contingent on being a good citizen (whatever that comes to mean in future). . .
Hi CS,
This is the rub. By the time this comes into force, CBDCs will be in play and UBI payments will have numerous caveats and restrictions attached to them. A wolf in sheep's clothing: modern day serfdom pure and simple.
Tim.
 

J Livermore

Active member
Thanks for the comment. I agree that overpopulation is undesirable, however I believe the collapse in birthrates, particularly in the West but also in many developing countries, is likely irreversible at this stage and therefore not one of the challenges I foresee with regards to UBI.

People freed from the drudgery of labour and from scarcity are more likely to amuse themselves with frivolities than revert to having large families in my opinion. The purpose of larger families for the poor is to provide a support network and pooling of resources which in the age of UBI will become redundant. There are religious factors too but I expect this will continue to decline in relevance. Those in power appear to share your concerns regarding overpopulation so I expect UBI may well be conditional on having few children.

Africa is the exception of course and the only region where populations are expected to increase, dramatically so, over the coming decades. Will the powers that be in the West continue allow mass immigration from Africa? Based on current trends yes and this does appear to be at odds with their desire that their own populations have fewer children but I have given up trying to decipher their true intentions.
CS,

I don’t see stabilizing or lowering populations in wealthy countries as bad for the economy. If populations drop too fast you can always allow more immigration and require them to have a high school or college degree to enter the country and become a citizen. If anything, the country allowing educated foreigners into their nation gets educated workers for free. They won’t have to spend the money on an otherwise growing population when they can let immigrants educate themselves in their home countries. If you want a real world example, look at the engineering colleges in India. They have some of the best science schools in the world but a lot of the graduates came to work in the US.

Don’t forget the rise of the machines in the workforce either. More intelligent machines means that a stable or lower population will have increasing output.

Finally, there is always outsourcing to foreign countries if your domestic corporations can’t produce enough goods. Why overpopulate your country if you can get the same work done overseas? You still get several benefits with this: #1 Increased economic output for your domestic corporations. #2 You raise the living standards of foreign nations so that they too hopefully won’t resort to rapid population growth. And #3 Sooner or later, when foreign nations become richer they will start buying goods on the world market including from western nations.
 

Chad Seven

Well-known member
CS,

I don’t see stabilizing or lowering populations in wealthy countries as bad for the economy. If populations drop too fast you can always allow more immigration and require them to have a high school or college degree to enter the country and become a citizen. If anything, the country allowing educated foreigners into their nation gets educated workers for free. They won’t have to spend the money on an otherwise growing population when they can let immigrants educate themselves in their home countries. If you want a real world example, look at the engineering colleges in India. They have some of the best science schools in the world but a lot of the graduates came to work in the US.

Don’t forget the rise of the machines in the workforce either. More intelligent machines means that a stable or lower population will have increasing output.

Finally, there is always outsourcing to foreign countries if your domestic corporations can’t produce enough goods. Why overpopulate your country if you can get the same work done overseas? You still get several benefits with this: #1 Increased economic output for your domestic corporations. #2 You raise the living standards of foreign nations so that they too hopefully won’t resort to rapid population growth. And #3 Sooner or later, when foreign nations become richer they will start buying goods on the world market including from western nations.
I am not of the opinion stabilising or lowering populations in wealthy countries is bad for the economy. What I did say is I don't share your concern that UBI will increase birthrates and cause overpopulation as I expect the current trend of falling birthrates to continue regardless of UBI and people generally have fewer children as their financial situation improves, not more.

I haven't forgotten about the rise of the machines, in my OP I said I believe this is why UBI will be necessary as the market for labour shrinks due to automation and various other labour saving technologies.
 
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Chad Seven

Well-known member
Hi CS,
This is the rub. By the time this comes into force, CBDCs will be in play and UBI payments will have numerous caveats and restrictions attached to them. A wolf in sheep's clothing: modern day serfdom pure and simple.
Tim.
I agree, I just don't see any serious alternative solution to the challenge of technological displacement being put forward by those who have concerns about government overreach so it looks like this is where we are heading.
 

Chad Seven

Well-known member
I agree, I just don't see any serious alternative solution to the challenge of technological displacement being put forward by those who have concerns about government overreach so it looks like this is where we are heading.
There is a tendency for people to think UBI is an idea cooked up to control people, I don't think this is the case. UBI has been talked about for a long time by the likes of Frederich Hayek and Milton Friedman and more recently by people on the libertarian left such as Hilel Steiner.

That is not to say that it will not be used to control people, I know it will, but I think we need to separate the fact there is a challenge that needs a solution and the fact that certain actors will always look to turn every situation to their advantage.
 

J Livermore

Active member
There is a tendency for people to think UBI is an idea cooked up to control people, I don't think this is the case. UBI has been talked about for a long time by the likes of Frederich Hayek and Milton Friedman and more recently by people on the libertarian left such as Hilel Steiner.

That is not to say that it will not be used to control people, I know it will, but I think we need to separate the fact there is a challenge that needs a solution and the fact that certain actors will always look to turn every situation to their advantage.
CS,

Rather than allow the government to control the machines and welfare (considering the abusive power that most governments have used since antiquity) I’d like to see the machines controlled by nonprofits and charities that help the poor out.

Personally, I’d be more than willing to donate time and money to help the poor.
 

Chad Seven

Well-known member
CS,

Rather than allow the government to control the machines and welfare (considering the abusive power that most governments have used since antiquity) I’d like to see the machines controlled by nonprofits and charities that help the poor out.

Personally, I’d be more than willing to donate time and money to help the poor.
That is an interesting solution to the problem, perhaps you are some kind of anarcho-syndicalist like Noam Chomsky 😀.

Just to be clear this is not about merely helping the poor, this is a solution to the problem of mass technological displacement which I believe is going to make vast swathes of the population unemployable in the next few decades and bring about far-reaching societal change. With the overwhelming majority of the world's population earning their living via wages and owning no capital themselves the rapid (and likely permanent) shrinking of the labour market could eventually render the current arrangement between labour and capital untenable.

I have assumed that things remain largely as they are, i.e. private companies own "the machines", the government tax the private companies and redistribute to the public via UBI. I didn't want to complicate it with what my ideal world would be like but your idea is certainly one solution.

We need to stop thinking about this as welfare for the poor. There is a danger with this nonprofit/charity (I am assuming you mean parallel to the private sector and are not a communist) idea that if we do not shift our perspective we end up with a two-tiered society of those fortunate enough to either own capital or be in employment and those who receive charity. Yes we have this now to a certain extent but we could be talking about 20%, 30%, 40% or more permanently unemployed. UBI is an income, those in receipt of it (everybody in theory as it is universal) do not feel they are getting handouts for being permanently down on their luck, they can think of it as a dividend they are entitled to as a citizen having a stake in the nation and its output when the traditional means of getting a share of that output, employment, is no longer an option.

And again, UBI is not my ideal solution, I just don't see many alternatives and as per my OP it seems UBI is very much becoming a reality. Also I am not an egalitarian, not by any stretch of the imagination, but I understand a society where 40% of the population are unemployed while being told "clean your room bucko" is not sustainable.
 
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J Livermore

Active member
That is an interesting solution to the problem, perhaps you are some kind of anarcho-syndicalist like Noam Chomsky 😀.

Just to be clear this is not about merely helping the poor, this is a solution to the problem of mass technological displacement which I believe is going to make vast swathes of the population unemployable in the next few decades and bring about far-reaching societal change. With the overwhelming majority of the world's population earning their living via wages and owning no capital themselves the rapid (and likely permanent) shrinking of the labour market could eventually render the current arrangement between labour and capital untenable.

I have assumed that things remain largely as they are, i.e. private companies own "the machines", the government tax the private companies and redistribute to the public via UBI. I didn't want to complicate it with what my ideal world would be like but your idea is certainly one solution.

We need to stop thinking about this as welfare for the poor. There is a danger with this nonprofit/charity (I am assuming you mean parallel to the private sector and are not a communist) idea that if we do not shift our perspective we end up with a two-tiered society of those fortunate enough to either own capital or be in employment and those who receive charity. Yes we have this now to a certain extent but we could be talking about 20%, 30%, 40% or more permanently unemployed. UBI is an income, those in receipt of it (everybody in theory as it is universal) do not feel they are getting handouts for being permanently down on their luck, they can think of it as a dividend they are entitled to as a citizen having a stake in the nation and its output when the traditional means of getting a share of that output, employment, is no longer an option.

And again, UBI is not my ideal solution, I just don't see many alternatives and as per my OP it seems UBI is very much becoming a reality. Also I am not an egalitarian, not by any stretch of the imagination, but I understand a society where 40% of the population are unemployed while being told "clean your room bucko" is not sustainable.
Hi CS,

I don’t believe technology necessarily has to destroy employment for the working class. They just have to adapt and create new jobs. Every new invention since ancient times was rumored to destroy jobs yet the employment rate never dropped to zero over the many centuries like worried people said it would.

On a different note, look at the Amish in the states of Pennsylvania and Ohio. They aren’t bothered by the use of technology in the modern world. They just work hard and yes there are rich Amish farmers and there are poor Amish farmers. They have proven that you don’t have to rely on others for work. Self employment has freed many struggling workers. Long term, a never give up attitude is healthier than a roll over and quit one. If one thing doesn’t work there are many other paths to success.

In a lot of third world countries property rights are either non-existent or not enforced. It’s hard for a laborer to grow his wealth if his land can be taken away by the state or he can’t invest income in excess of what is needed to survive. In those countries with property rights, the worker can start a business and keep what is his/hers. The use of smartphones is growing fast in poor countries and people are using them to exchange goods and services where private enterprise is allowed.

Yes, I ment private nonprofits / charities parallel to the private sector (not Communism). Being over reliant on the government can be dangerous to GDP growth. Here in the US, the government has spent trillions of dollars on the “War on Poverty” over many decades and the poverty rate has actually increased a slight amount in that time. Even adjusting for population growth.

The danger with UBI is that come election day, the voting public will vote to increase the amount of payments that they receive. Just look at the US Congress. They don’t get paid by the states they represent, they get paid whatever they vote for themselves. Even in a bad economy. The higher UBI payments grow, the more workers that will quit their jobs which will directly hurt GDP.

It’s very dangerous to allow people receiving money to vote on how much they receive. That’s why President FDR spoke out so strongly against public employee unions. There is a bad conflict of interest when Federal workers vote for politicians who promise increased salaries for public employees. It’s using Federal money to donate to politicians to increase your take home pay so you can donate to these same politicians with an increased salary through your union. It’s a vicious cycle that’s bad for the economy.
 
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Chad Seven

Well-known member
Hi CS,

I don’t believe technology necessarily has to destroy employment for the working class. They just have to adapt and create new jobs. Every new invention since ancient times was rumored to destroy jobs yet the employment rate never dropped to zero over the many centuries like worried people said it would.

On a different note, look at the Amish in the states of Pennsylvania and Ohio. They aren’t bothered by the use of technology in the modern world. They just work hard and yes there are rich Amish farmers and there are poor Amish farmers. They have proven that you don’t have to rely on others for work. Self employment has freed many struggling workers. Long term, a never give up attitude is healthier than a roll over and quit one. If one thing doesn’t work there are many other paths to success.

In a lot of third world countries property rights are either non-existent or not enforced. It’s hard for a laborer to grow his wealth if his land can be taken away by the state or he can’t invest income in excess of what is needed to survive. In those countries with property rights, the worker can start a business and keep what is his/hers. The use of smartphones is growing fast in poor countries and people are using them to exchange goods and services where private enterprise is allowed.

Yes, I ment private nonprofits / charities parallel to the private sector (not Communism). Being over reliant on the government can be dangerous to GDP growth. Here in the US, the government has spent trillions of dollars on the “War on Poverty” over many decades and the poverty rate has actually increased a slight amount in that time. Even adjusting for population growth.

The danger with UBI is that come election day, the voting public will vote to increase the amount of payments that they receive. Just look at the US Congress. They don’t get paid by the states they represent, they get paid whatever they vote for themselves. Even in a bad economy. The higher UBI payments grow, the more workers that will quit their jobs which will directly hurt GDP.

It’s very dangerous to allow people receiving money to vote on how much they receive. That’s why President FDR spoke out so strongly against public employee unions. There is a bad conflict of interest when Federal workers vote for politicians who promise increased salaries for public employees. It’s using Federal money to donate to politicians to increase your take home pay so you can donate to these same politicians with an increased salary through your union. It’s a vicious cycle that’s bad for the economy.

Technology may not have to destroy (I would say displace, not destroy) employment for the working class but the evidence points to it doing so, and not just the working class, the middle class too.

I could cite countless articles from various think-tanks that project massive technological displacement of labour over the coming decades but that would be hypocritical as I usually discount what these type of people have to say, so instead I rely on my intuition and what I see going on around me. The number of people it takes to complete a software of "transformation" project, for example, has radically reduced over the past few years due do technological innovation, and the value added by the very projects in question is more often than not the reduction in operations staff. And these are programmers, if you are one of the millions of people whose job entails transposing information from phone calls or emails into a database your job is as good as gone.

I was in an Amazon grocery store for the first time a few weeks ago, the number of staff they had a was a third of a conventional store if that. Yes they will need a team of developers and engineers to maintain that infrastructure but how big do you think that team is, 100, 200, 300? If they add a 10,000 stores how many more developers will they need? A 100? 200?

Think about an app on the Apple Store selling 100 widgets a month. Team of three guys, the app blows up and is now shipping 100K widgets a month, how much do they need to expand the team, if at all?

The argument that we have bounced back from the labour saving advancements of the industrial revolution, the steam engine and spinning Jenny etc. I don't find convincing. History is full of examples of things that always were until they weren't anymore. There are technologies which are on the cusp of mass adoption, RPA, ML, AI etc which are not going to be confined to a single sphere of human activity, logistics (steam engine), manufacture (spinning jenny), in this digitised economy they are going impact EVERY industry concurrently. Austrian/free-market economics is a faith base religion in my opinion, one that is in uncharted territory.

To your point about it being dangerous to give people handouts...yes agree, but this is where were are. This has been a problem in the making for decades and the right-wing have had their fingers in their ears going "la la la the market is always right" and now we have Canada looking to introduce UBI and the rest of the West will follow. The liberal/libertarian right only have themselves to blame for what is about to happen.
 
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J Livermore

Active member
Technology may not have to destroy (I would say displace, not destroy) employment for the working class but the evidence points to it doing so, and not just the working class, the middle class too.

I could cite countless articles from various think-tanks that project massive technological displacement of labour over the coming decades but that would be hypocritical as I usually discount what these type of people have to say, so instead I rely on my intuition and what I see going on around me. The number of people it takes to complete a software of "transformation" project, for example, has radically reduced over the past few years due do technological innovation, and the value added by the very projects in question is more often than not the reduction in operations staff. And these are programmers, if you are one of the millions of people whose job entails transposing information from phone calls or emails into a database your job is as good as gone.

I was in an Amazon grocery store for the first time a few weeks ago, the number of staff they had a was a third of a conventional store if that. Yes they will need a team of developers and engineers to maintain that infrastructure but how big do you think that team is, 100, 200, 300? If they add a 10,000 stores how many more developers will they need? A 100? 200?

Think about an app on the Apple Store selling 100 widgets a month. Team of three guys, the app blows up and is now shipping 100K widgets a month, how much do they need to expand the team, if at all?

The argument that we have bounced back from the labour saving advancements of the industrial revolution, the steam engine and spinning Jenny etc. I don't find convincing. History is full of examples of things that always were until they weren't anymore. There are technologies which are on the cusp of mass adoption, RPA, ML, AI etc which are not going to be confined to a single sphere of human activity, logistics (steam engine), manufacture (spinning jenny), in this digitised economy they are going impact EVERY industry concurrently. Austrian/free-market economics is a faith base religion in my opinion, one that is in uncharted territory.

To your point about it being dangerous to give people handouts...yes agree, but this is where were are. This has been a problem in the making for decades and the right-wing have had their fingers in their ears going "la la la the market is always right" and now we have Canada looking to introduce UBI and the rest of the West will follow. The liberal/libertarian right only have themselves to blame for what is about to happen.
The future is anyone’s guess and is merely speculation. There is not a person alive or even from history who can read the future. If you look at the current state of the jobs market in the US the number of unfilled jobs runs higher than ten million. The workers aren’t taking the jobs because they want “free money” that only a government can give.

Producing more output with less people should be considered a good thing because new products and innovations can be created by the freed up workers. People’s desires are unlimited but their resources are limited. It’s basic economics that all human desires will never be permanently filled. In fact, new desires will be created as new innovations come to market.

I don’t know about other people but when I go get a massage, I insist on a hot babe giving me a rub down. I would never allow a robot to touch me even if it wore a dress and a wig. There will always be jobs people won’t let a machine do. Would you choose a robot to babysit your children if a trustworthy human were available?

If there is a worry about machines eliminating human workers (which has not been proven throughout history) then there is an easy fix: Ban the railroad and trucking industry and have people ship goods to market by carrying merchandise on their backs. They can do it pony express method and pass it off to the next person with a backpack relay after three or five miles.

Once again, you have to look at the employment rate of a nation’s population as innovations came to market after many economic cycles. If labor saving devices put people out of work, the chart of people employed would slowly drift to zero over the history of mankind.

There can be an argument made that there is no right way to run an economy. Some nations and workers love the safety net of a “guaranteed” job of socialism despite a lower standard of living, while other people want to live life self employed and/or in control of their own destiny. It is best to leave it up to the individual to pick which system is best for his or her own family. You don’t even have to move from country to country to have economic diversity. Each state/ province can create their own system and let the people decide how they best want to live their lives by deciding where to live.

So let Canada try UBI and the rest of the world can watch the results over a period of many economic cycles. If all the world used the same system we would never find out which methods worked better than others. You aren’t advocating for the world to adopt one economic system are you?
 
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