a town without poverty – mincome in the 1970’s Manitoba

kim and i are just returned from thcleveland IMG_0254 copye US rust belt – specifically the town of cleveland. just before we left i read an article in the dominion about a radical canadian experiment in dauphin, manitoba that took place in the 1970s.  this experiment involved providing all of the most impoverished residents of dauphin, with a minimum guaranteed income – ensuring that all persons lived above the poverty line.

that experiment ended in 1978, the same year that cleveland declared bankruptcy.

around 2009, after a 5 year struggle, Professor Evelyn Forget from the university of manitoba, was given access to the archives from the dauphin experiment in order to conduct an analysis.

as i read through some of the documents i wonder about the possibility for a present-day guaranteed annual income to be granted by the federal and provincial governments. vivian belik’s writing in the dominion commences with: “try to imagine…”

i am hoping that Prof. Forget’s analysis provides evidence to support this imagining for all of those in canada who are living below the poverty line. we have substantial evidence that there is a strong link between health and poverty, that child poverty is increasing, and that income inequality is growing… let’s begin to imagine something else….

and the photograph – more on that next time…


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