basic income

“Supporters commonly make three very different arguments that Basic Income promotes freedom. First, although most Basic Income supporters tend to be politically left, right-leaning supporters at least since the 1970s, have argued that policies like Basic Income free welfare recipients from the paternalistic oversight of conditional welfare-state policies. Second, Philippe Van Parijs has argued that basic income at the highest sustainable level is needed to support real freedom, or the freedom to do whatever one “might want to do.” By this, Van Paris means that all people should be free to use the resources of the Earth and the “external assets” people make out of them to do whatever they might want to do. Money is like an access ticket to use those resources, and so to make people equally free to do what they might want to do with the external assets of the world, the government should give each of individual as many such access tickets as possible—that is, the highest sustainable Basic Income.”

“Third, at least since Thomas Paine, some supporters have argued that Basic Income is needed to protect the power to say no, which these supporters argue is essential to an individual’s status of as a free person. If some other group of people controls resources necessary to an individual’s survival, that individual has no reasonable choice other than to do whatever the resource-controlling group demands. Before the establishment of governments and landlords, individuals had direct access to the resources they needed to survive. But today, resources necessary to the production of food, shelter, and clothing have been privatized in such a way that some have gotten a share and others have not. Therefore, this argument goes, the owners of those resources owe compensation back to non-owners, sufficient at least for them to purchase the resources or goods necessary to sustain their basic needs. This redistribution must be unconditional because people can consider themselves free only if they are not forced to spend all their time doing the bidding of others simply to provide basic necessities to themselves and their families. Under this argument, personal, political and religious freedom are worth little without the power to say no. In this view, basic income provides an economic freedom which, combined with political freedom, freedom of belief, and personal freedom establish each individual’s status as a free person.”

Advertisements