Alternative Approaches to Addressing Poverty


Dr. Bill Scarth
Professor Emeritus, McMaster University


October 31, 2019 - 1:30 pm


October 31, 2019 - 3:30 pm


Burlington Art Gallery   View map

This lecture highlights the importance of lowering structural unemployment as a key dimension of government approaches to inequality. Some programs, such as Employment Insurance, are conditional on individuals being without work. On the other hand, other initiatives, such as the Working Income Tax Benefit (recently re-named the Canada Worker Benefit), are conditional on individuals having a job. Yet other policies, such as a guaranteed annual income, are independent of an individual’s labour force status. This lecture focuses on these key differences, exploring the different effects on the level of unemployment, and explaining how – by taking this focus – we can appreciate a particularly exciting possibility. The analysis identifies an approach to inequality that can provide a “free lunch” – an outcome that many economists argue is encountered very infrequently. This lecture shows that we may be able to help unskilled individuals – without there being any cost on other members of society.


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