Canada’s forgotten universal basic income experiment

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Discussion posted by: David McNamara

Evelyn Forget was a psychology student in Toronto in 1974 when she first heard about a ground-breaking social experiment that had just begun in the rural Canadian community of Dauphin, Manitoba. “I found myself in an economics class which I wasn’t looking forward to,” she remembers. “But in the second week, the professor came in, and spoke about this wonderful studywhich was going to revolutionise the way we delivered social programmes in Canada. To me, it was a fascinating concept, because until then I’d never really realised you could use economics in any kind of positive way.” The experiment was called ‘Mincome’, and it had been designed by a group of economists who wanted to do something to address rural poverty.