How does a free monthly income sound? Amazing right? But how exactly would this work?
There are five characteristics to a universal basic income:
- Periodic – regular interval incomes
- Cash payment – appropriate way of exchange for everyone, no limits on spending rights
- Individual – paid per person
- Universal – available for everyone with no limits
- Unconditional – no means to work or demonstrate willingness to work
This isn’t new. It dates back to the 16th century, but we are still trying it out.
If this isn’t a new idea, why haven’t more communities adopted it?
This summer, the province of Ontario will begin a three-year project to test the universal basic income in 3 different cities. Randomly, about 4,000 individuals will be chosen to receive up to $12,570 annually.
The only requirement is the recipient must be between the ages of 18 and 64 years old and living on a low income. (However, the basic income should be universal, meaning anyone should receive the income, even the rich.)
Researchers want to find out what everyone is wondering: Will this program leave a positive impact?
The point of the basic income is to provide enough for individuals for basic needs, which include food, shelter, and education. There are no controls on how the money can be spent, which means people may not spend the money for the “right” reasons. There’s no control if they spend it on unnecessary desires or illegal activities.
I believe there are a lot of situations that can play out in the test project in Canada. I hope they’ll keep us posted.
By Nicole Pierce