Radical Trust: Basic Income for Complicated Lives

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    Evelyn Forget and Hannah Owczar

    Publisher: ARP

    Year: 2021

    Format: Paperback

    Size: 172 pages

    ISBN: 9781927886472

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Canada’s current income support systems do not work.

By approaching the subject of basic income through the voices of the unhoused, disabled, formerly incarcerated, and other marginalized people, Radical Trust makes a unique and convincing case for an economic policy that represents a huge step toward decent and dignified living for all.

Radical Trust: Basic Income For Complicated Lives explores the notion that a basic income is a compassionate and dignified response to poverty and income inequality in Canada. Through extensive testimonials with those that the “social safety net” fails most dramatically, it tells the stories of lived experience, as individuals navigate the complicated circumstances of their lives. The myth of meritocracy creates distinctions between the deserving, a distinction that is the basis on which Canada’s entire income support system rests.

The COVID-19 pandemic shattered the illusion that income support will be there when you need it. But this shattered illusion isn’t new for those with lived experience in these systems. Many have suffered persistent, and generational poverty. For years, Canada’s income support schemes have failed Children in foster care, Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirit persons, people who struggle with addiction, and many others who are left on the fringes of our society.

What People Are Saying

"A must-read for all those who wish to be informed about how a basic income would contribute to a more just and equitable society." Elizabeth (Mandy) Kay-Raining Bird, PhD & Chair, Basic Income Nova Scotia

“[C]onvincing evidence that an unconditional basic income will be used productively to invest in the betterment of recipients and their dependents, and therefore to the benefit of society. The narrative draws on first-hand accounts of those with lived experience of being trapped in poverty and is utterly persuasive.” Robin Boadway, Professor of Economics Emeritus, Queen’s University

“This book paints a disturbing, intimate human portrait of trust that is radically absent in policies that should help people but don’t, where rights and diversity are undermined by paternalism and privilege. A basic income can change that, quickly.” Sheila Regehr, Chair, Basic Income Canada Network, and former federal public servant and Executive Director of the National Council of Welfare

“[T]he authors expertly and compassionately build the case for a country where no one is left behind. Radical Trust is a must-read for those curious about the potential effects of a basic income, including for children and youth. Policymakers, researchers, and advocates will be better for reading it.” Chloe Halpenny and Kendal David, co-founders and co-chairs, Basic Income Canada Youth Network

“Fuelled by powerful testimonies from individuals experiencing the complex web of social policies first-hand, Radical Trust gives the reader deep insight into how a system rooted in distrust constantly fails its clients.”Jurgen De Wispelaere, PhD., Assistant Professor, Stockholm School of Economics in Riga

“We owe the authors a huge debt of gratitude for this invaluable, insightful, disturbing yet hopeful and inspirational book.” Kim Pate, C.M., Senator

About the Authors

Evelyn Forget is an economist in the School of Medicine at the University of Manitoba. Several years ago, she began researching the data associated with a Basic Income field experiment conducted in Manitoba in the 1970s. She has been consulted by governments and researchers in Ontario, British Colombia, Quebec, Finland, the Netherlands, and Scotland on this topic. Dr. Forget's latest work is titled Basic Income for Canadians: From the COVID-19 Emergency to Financial Security for All.

Hannah Owczar is a writer and communications specialist in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba. She is a graduate of the Creative Communications program at Red River College where she majored in journalism. Owczar's work has appeared in several major news outlets in Manitoba including the Winnipeg Free Press and CBC Manitoba. She also holds an undergraduate degree in Human Rights from the University of Winnipeg.

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