2017 Will be an Important Year for Universal Basic Income

Over the coming year, Oakland, Finland, the Netherlands and Ontario will trial Universal Basic Income (UBI) programs. Glasgow and Fife councils in Scotland are considering similar programs. And its not just governments; an independent initiative in San Francisco called My Basic Income is currently fundraising and inviting entrees for its second $15,000 basic income sweepstakes.

The concept of universal basic income is relatively simple. Continue reading “2017 Will be an Important Year for Universal Basic Income”

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The Neoliberal Lesson not Learned

Flickr - M. Soli - 28th of January - "The Day of Rage" (5)

It was not long before Mohamed Bouazizi set himself alight in protest of his inability to make a living that the IMF was hailing Tunisia as a poster child for neoliberal restructuring and economic growth. The protests Bouazizi’s actions inspired quickly spread to Egypt, a country similarly lauded for its economic reforms and privatization. The overarching narrative of these revolts in western media fixated on the roles played by youth and social media in these events, depicting them as spontaneous outpourings of discontent calling for democracy.

What this narrative overshadows, however, are the troublesome economic conditions in these countries that resulted from programs of reform and restructuring promoted by International Financial Institutions (IFIs) like the World Bank and IMF and the authoritarian governments of the Arab republics. Dangerously, the failure to recognize the shortcomings of these policies and the continued economic stagnation of these countries is leading commenters and policymakers to push for the same “fixes” that caused so many problems in the first place. Continue reading “The Neoliberal Lesson not Learned”