We all have an equal stake in our country, but we aren’t getting an equal share in its riches. Common Wealth Canada (commonwealth.ca) advocates for dividends from wealth created by nature and society as a whole, to give everyone an economic stake in the growing productivity of our nation.
By collecting unearned profits arising from Canada’s natural and co-created wealth, we could pay up to $7,600/year in dividends per adult, lower income tax for the least wealthy, and bring down the cost of living.
Dear Basic income supporter,
Historically there have been two conversations in the basic income movement: one about basic income as a poverty alleviation measure and modernization of social safety nets, and the other about universal dividends as a form of property right – a share of co-created wealth that corrects the historical economic injustices which drive poverty and extreme inequality in the first place.
In Canada, basic income has come to mean a Guaranteed Basic Income (GBI) to address poverty and support our most vulnerable. Making this a reality has been the professional focus of my life for the past five years and is why I founded and funded UBI Works and its activities. This is important work that must continue until poverty is eradicated.
During this time I asked many questions and learned a lot about the origins of the basic income movement. Why have hundreds of years of basic income advocates promoted the idea that citizens are owed dividends funded by land value tax as a reparation? Why do they argue that the value of the planet – our common heritage – has been hoarded and polluted, and that dividends arising from healing our relationship to the commons – earth’s natural resources – is a way to reverse that? In our automated society, as income is increasingly earned by holders of property rather than by people contributing to society through jobs, how do we all participate in society’s progress? Reforms that can answer these questions justify dividends to all.
The team at UBI Works and I had received feedback over the years, including from some of our closest friends lobbying for basic income in Parliament, that the argument for universal dividends from co-created wealth could confuse the arguments for poverty alleviation, jeopardizing the progress we’ve made towards GBI.
For that reason, we have created Common Wealth to separate these conversations. You won’t see much about basic income on this site, even though a GBI and citizen’s dividends are complementary rather than competitive, much like how the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) supports seniors by need, while Old Age Security (OAS) is given as a right – recognizing their years participating in the Canadian economy. In their advocacy, both GBI and universal dividends are justified on their own merits, and thus we have chosen to separate their respective promotion.
Common Wealth Dividends to citizens are an outcome, as opposed to the purpose, of the policies we will explore, which are all rooted in the idea that the value arising from what nature or our communities create, rather than individual effort, should be collected to benefit all citizens directly through dividends and reduced taxes.
We published a 40 page paper that quantifies this value in Canada at over $241B/year, and have produced explainer content on how collecting it would address many of the negative incentives driving our housing and environmental crises; and could fund Common Wealth Dividends of up to $7,600/year per individual.
We welcome you to this work. The goal of this project is to expand our common wealth in order to create a society where progress benefits everyone. As you will see from the endorsements of basic income leaders below, we are not alone in this view and would like very much for you to join us in its advancement. So please, explore the Common Wealth site at commonwealth.ca, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your feedback and envision a future where not only is poverty eradicated but we each have a stake in our shared prosperity.
Founder — UBI Works, CommonWealth.ca
Business Owner — C4Media Inc.
To shift the conversation about basic income to recognize it as an economic need and economic opportunity, with the goal of seeing UBI implemented in Canada.
We want a Canada where everyone can pursue their potential and not be held back by basic material constraints or unsafe environments.
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