Universal basic Income - is it enough?

Published: Mon 15 Feb 2016 09:43 AM
A Universal basic Income for New Zealand - on the cards, but is it enough?
Its about equity, a distributive state and the capacity for people to shape their own lives. Debate on a Universal Basic Income – or the big Kahuna - has been round for a while. The amount of poverty, the levels of inequality and the dearth of media interest all highlight the need for more public consideration of this seminal idea. To quote one of the advocates that has brought this idea to the arena:
Paying universal transfers acknowledges that every individual has the same unconditional right – to a basic income sufficient for them to live in dignity. With this basic protection in place people are then free to add to that income through paid work if they choose. Equally, they can live on the UBI and pursue other activities – doing the unpaid work of caring for children or others in their community for example, or studying full time, or pursuing new business ventures. The UBI offers the prospect of ensuring everyone has the means to live while giving them the freedom to live their lives as they choose.
We have two knowledgeable people for the session. Susan Guthrie is one of the authors of the statement above. Keith Rankin is well known for his progressive economic thinking and writing. We have a chance to tease out the merits and the contested ground here. The debate can be widened into philosophy, economics, the role of the state and how we as a country may develop policy by forging a politics from the values and communities that imagine a progressive society.
Susan Guthrie is an economist who, prior to joining the Morgan Foundation in 2010, held various private and public sector roles. She has worked for the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and the NZ Treasury, as an international economist in the financial sector in New Zealand and Hong Kong, and as an advocate for consumer rights. In 2011 she co-authored with Gareth Morgan ‘The Big Kahuna’, a book advocating tax and welfare reform for New Zealand and in 2014 she co-authored with Gareth ‘Are we there yet? the future of the Treaty of Waitangi’.
Keith Rankin has taught economics at Unitec in Mt Albert since 1999. An economic historian by training, his research has included an analysis of labour supply in the Great Depression of the 1930s, and has included estimates of New Zealand’s GNP going back to the 1850s. Keith believes that many of the economic issues that beguile us cannot be understood by relying on the orthodox interpretations of our social science disciplines. Keith favours a critical approach that emphasises new perspectives rather than simply opposing those practices and policies that we don’t like.
You can read more and register for this Auckland event here.
When & Where
Auckland, 23rd February 6.30pm
Owen G Glenn Building, University of Auckland
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