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Episode 165 - Dr. James Mulvale: Basic Income: An Anti-Poverty Strategy for Social Work

Monday, April 13, 2015, 9:34:35 AM

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In this episode, Dr. James Mulvale explains the idea of a basic income. He offers reasons for instituting a basic income and reviews some of the typical objections. Dr. Mulvale also provides a rationale for why this is an anti-poverty model that social work should embrace.

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Average Rating: 4.5 stars (2 listener reviews )

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Average Rating: 5stars  basic income, Monday, February 08, 2016

By Holly :

I thought this was a great conversation about a very interesting and somewhat controversial subject. Poverty sits at the center of many of the problems the clients social workers encounter every day. Any intervention that could aim at poverty at the root would have a wide impact on society, as poverty correlations to mental and physical well-being, poor educational performance, and high incidence of risky behaviors in adolescence as well as drug and alcohol abuse, to name a few. In the end, relieving some of the social and financial support going into address the above listed concerns would likely offset the financial cost of a universal basic income. Supporting a basic cost of living allows for freedom of choice to, for example, work toward higher education, to be a care giver, to pursue interests and take risks that may benefit society, without the additional stress of a full time job. Many of the arguments against the basic income that were discussed are some I’ve heard before, especially the argument that people will not work if they are not required to, but I think Dr. Muvale’s point that those inclined not to most likely are not already. It would take time, planning, and flexibility to establish such an intervention anywhere in the U.S. but I think it’s something worth exploring.

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Average Rating: 4stars  a fascinating, if incomplete, conversation, Monday, December 07, 2015

By Connor Walters :

I found this episode particularly fascinating! I became familiar with basic income through the idea of allowing people to pursue their own goals, and hearing it from a social work framework is really interesting. I think a basic income is an inevitable consequence of machines taking over human labor forces - we already live in a society with more citizens than available jobs. The one thing I did find disappointing about this episode was that there was no discussion of the failures of capitalism as a system. I don't think a conversation about basic income is truly complete without mentioning how it has come to be necessary, even if it was brief to avoid alienating more conservative listeners. I understand why more radical ideas like this often go unmentioned - they're not popular, and they don't make an already unpalatable topic easier to sell to conservative Canadian and American politicians (and many of the liberal ones). I also find that political resistance makes people feel hopeless about change. I love that Dr. Mulvale mentioned that social workers should bring this up with colleagues, or in faith groups, or other places sympathetic to social justice issues! It's clear recognition of how grassroots cultural change can happen. I also loved Dr. Mulvale's knowledge of different examples of basic income and similar policies and experiments (granted, there couldn't be an educational podcast without someone knowledgeable to provide the education) - I think with this and his less radical approach, this episode might interest more people, including those who would be initially hesitant to the idea. Overall, Dr. Mulvale did a fantastic job of framing the issue as something that social workers need to be concerned about, and Dr. Ely did a great job asking the right kinds of questions to get more information out of Dr. Mulvale, even (or especially) when she already knew about a particular study and was just leading him into covering it.

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