Friday, November 6, 2015

The leak in the dam

Finland is preparing to embark on a universal income experiment.  The amount of money they are giving everyone isn't huge, (about 11k US$ per year) but it is a massive step forward.  The key to implementing it here in Canada is to get people past the initial shock and disbelief at the concept, and seeing it in action in another country and watching that country not immediately degenerate into economic collapse is going to be big.

I find discussions on universal income really regularly come down to disbelief that it could happen.  Everyone I talk to agrees that ditching the patchwork system we have with all of its holes, qualification requirements, and additional bureaucracy is a good thing.  Making sure that everyone can feed, cloth, and house themselves in a fairly basic way is a great goal, and we clearly have the resources to do it.  The objection doesn't seem to be a logistical one, but just a feeling that nobody is going to go for it.

People seem to be stuck on the idea that the people of Canada are totally unwilling to give out money like that.  I am sure that some are like that, but if truly the only reason we aren't pushing it is because people are going to be too shocked by it, then the solution is to be loud and boisterous about it to eventually get the idea of universal income normalized.  Being able to finally say that another country is doing it is the first drip of water leaking through the dam of 'but it can't be done' and once that water is dripping I don't think anything will stop it.

It wasn't long ago that the idea of legalizing pot here in Canada was outrageous - the drugs, think of the children! and yet we elected a majority government promising to do exactly that.  People came around on the idea, and although there are still a few uniformed folks out there who think that Reefer Madness will consume the youth and leave the streets strewn with people dead of pot overdoses the majority have finally realized there is nothing to fear.  I suspect we have legalization in parts of the US to thank for that last push, and maybe Canada fully legalizing pot will push the rest of the US to follow suit too.

Or maybe I overestimate how much they pay attention to us...?

In any case the only other objection I have found is that the rich will run away to somewhere where the taxes are lower.  I have no doubt that a few will, but quite frankly good riddance.  There is every reason to think that the economy of Canada will be much improved should we implement universal income and the attendant higher taxes on the wealthy, and that lifts everyone up.  There will be a few less yachts for those in the highest income brackets, but most of them will just live with that and move on.


  1. I am officially suspending your invitation to enjoy my yacht.

  2. Does your yacht have a good internet connection? If so, can I crash for a while?

  3. strategic voters only I've been told...