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The Case for Basic Income:

Jamie Swift & Elaine Power

"The Case for Basic Income: Freedom, Security, Justice",  Jamie Swift & Elaine Power

Jamie Swift and Elaine Power set out a narrative guide to the history of the basic income movement in Canada. This offers useful insights to basic income advocates, in terms of the typical dynamics of basic income advocacy, the arguments and groups in favour, and those against. This narrative style means that core arguments for basic income are scattered throughout the text rather than being succinctly summarised. There’s also a tendency to unduly lionise some well-known basic income advocates.

Canadian proposals for basic income are not all universal or unconditional. Evelyn Forget, who is frequently quoted throughout the book, strongly rejects universality and unconditionality, and proposes a targeted basic income which is not UBI. Forget also dismisses the important technology argument for UBI.

Swift and Power argue for basic income to alleviate poverty and raise human dignity. They don’t analyse the economics of basic income which is essential to its case. There is both a macroeconomic argument for UBI, and macroeconomic models of its sustainability when funded by debt-free sovereign money.

The book is therefore weak as a statement of the case for basic income claimed in its title, but does offer a useful analytical narrative of the advocacy process.

The book is available here.

Geoff Crocker
Editor ‘The Case for Universal Basic Income'

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