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LD Cards
UBI is any income guarantee that meets 3 criteria.
Van Parijs, Philippe, and Yannick Vanderborght. "Basic income in a globalized economy."
Inclusive Growth, Development and Welfare Policy, London: Routledge (2015): 229-47.

One of the salient premises of this book is that social investments in human capital, both for the
general and marginalized populations, are necessary to foster long-term inclusion. We believe
that a basic income is part of the package that policymakers should utilize in pursuit of this goal.
A basic income is an income unconditionally granted to all members of a society on an individual
basis, without means test or work requirement.1 It is a form of minimum income guarantee that
is unconditional in three distinct senses: 1. Individual: the right to it and its level are
independent of household composition; 2. Universal: it is paid irrespective of any income from
other sources, which can therefore be added to the basis it provides; 3. Free of counterpart: it is
paid without requiring the performance of any work or the willingness to accept a job if offered.

UBI is guaranteed income – must be non-withdrawable and guaranteed by

JURGEN DE WISPELAERE, “An Income of One’s Own? The Political Analysis of Universal Basic
Income,” UNIVERSITY OF TAMPERE 12 December 2015,

This dissertation examines the politics of basic income, understood in its generic form as a
guaranteed income provided by the state to all citizens or long-term residents. Basic income
constitutes a guaranteed income in two relevant senses. It is nonwithdrawable, comprising a
guaranteed income floor below which no eligible individual is expected to fall. Basic income is
the level of income a person maintains even when all other sources of income provision,
whether private or public, fail. Conversely, the basic income floor allows individuals to
complement the basic income with other private or public sources of income, including earnings
and state benefits.2 In addition, basic income is non-contingent or guaranteed by right: it is an
income that every citizen receives irrespective of individual background circumstances — e.g.,
alternative sources of income, household or family composition, age or gender — that
customarily condition eligibility for support programs. Most controversially, basic income
understood as a citizen’s right (Plant, 2005; LoVuolo, 2012c) is decoupled from present work
status, past work experience, and even a demonstrated willingness to work.3
A UBI must apply to everyone – anything else is a “selective” measure.
De Wispelaere, Jurgen, and Lindsay Stirton. "The many faces of universal basic income." The
Political Quarterly 75.3 (2004): 266-274. http://www.usbig.net/pdf/manyfacesofubi.pdf

Universality refers to the extent of the population that is covered by a given policy. Typically,
universal policies are open to all, while more selective measures single out a subset of the
population as beneficiaries. One category of subjects often excluded from even the most
universal schemes is non-citizens (however defined), while more selective measures
discriminate even further to select eligible individuals or groups from the broader population.
Selective- ness immediately invokes debate regarding the principles and mechanisms employed
to decide on eligibility. In practice this implies building in some level of conditionality, discussed
further below. The distinction between universal and selective measures, however, is often
overstated on ideological grounds. To begin with, the label ‘universalist’ is misleading in cases
where policies are universal in some respects but selective in others. Most policies in
contemporary welfare regimes appear to fit this mixed- bag category. In addition, a strict divide
between universal and selective measures is easily blurred in practice. Circumstances typically
introduce selective effects in an otherwise universal policy; conversely, selective measures may
well combine to mimic the effects of a universal policy. Basic income advocates often favour an
incremental approach to instituting a full basic income. One way in which this could be done is
to have basic income type policies in a specific domain-child benefit, basic pension or sabbatical
ac- counts-which are then gradually expanded or ‘universalised' over time.3 Here too we must
be wary about attaching too much importance to the label and ignoring what happens on the
ground. In what follows we review various ways in which universal basic income schemes can be
more or less universal, as well as other salient dimensions in which concrete proposals can be
A UBI must be given to individuals – families or other groups can’t be the
De Wispelaere, Jurgen, and Lindsay Stirton. "The many faces of universal basic income." The
Political Quarterly 75.3 (2004): 266-274. http://www.usbig.net/pdf/manyfacesofubi.pdf

Individuality refers to the standard unit at which a policy is directed. Welfare policy schemes
basically face a choice of administering their services either directly to individuals or indirectly
through a household unit. Basic income is routinely advocated as a form of income support that
caters to individuals. How- ever, some advocates, mainly for reasons of goodness-of-fit with
traditional approaches in welfare policy, have been willing to compromise on this and
recommend instituting a basic income targeted to households. The dimension of individuality
therefore does not lose its relevance for policy purposes. In the case of households many
questions arise with respect to the appropriate definition of a household and its internal
composition. Tony Atkinson distinguishes four types of household units, each with its own
delineation and com- position problems: ’households’ based on common residence; ‘spending
units’ based on common spending patterns; ‘family units' defined by blood ties or marriage; and
finally the ‘inner family’ defined in terms of a sustained dependence relationship. Switching
from one household base to another in policy de- sign has been shown to imply up to a quarter
of reductions in the measurement of people on low income." Measuring the actual effects of
welfare policies is clearly sensitive to choice of household type. Similar observations can be
made regarding the administrative challenges associated with targeting policies to households.
These reasons often lead policy-makers to favour a more individualised approach. From a
normative point of view, the chief sources of concern are the often arbitrary discrimination of
life-style choices associated with household-based policies; unacceptable inequalities be- tween
single-income and double-income households and between single persons and double-income
households (some- times leading to perverse redistributive effects from the poor to the well-
off); and the fact that non-individualised rights often generate employment traps or trap
partners into a dependency relation.5 While conservative political factions are often keen to use
welfare policies to strengthen the traditional nuclear family unit, the increasing variation of
living arrangements within and across generations suggests this argument may have outlived its
usefulness. Although much attention has recently been devoted to the effects of individualising
benefits on intra-householder power relations, the re- search remains surprisingly ambivalent
about its implications for basic income.6
Money must be unconditional.
De Wispelaere, Jurgen, and Lindsay Stirton. "The many faces of universal basic income." The
Political Quarterly 75.3 (2004): 266-274. http://www.usbig.net/pdf/manyfacesofubi.pdf

Conditionality implies the extent of conditions built into a policy that may restrict a person's
eligibility for a service. Most welfare policies come with different types of conditions attached
that recipients need to satisfy to gain or maintain eligibility. Basic income is of course distinctive
precisely in that it is purportedly unconditional or, failing that, at the very least only employs
conditions that do not violate the programme's inclusiveness. An example of a conditionality
requirement that ostensibly does not affect inclusiveness is Tony Atkinson’s well-known
proposal for a participation income.7
Aff doesn’t have to be uniform – deviations in amount of money based on
contingencies like kids are topical.
De Wispelaere, Jurgen, and Lindsay Stirton. "The many faces of universal basic income." The
Political Quarterly 75.3 (2004): 266-274. http://www.usbig.net/pdf/manyfacesofubi.pdf

Uniformity is the extent to which all those who are eligible receive a similar level of benefit.
Universal basic income schemes can deviate from this strict interpretation in at least two ways.
First, we may decide to allocate different levels of transfer to different types of recipients, thus
imposing a form of ex ante conditionality within the scheme. A familiar example is the use of
age to differentiate the allocation of grants to children, adults of working age and pensioners. By
making good strategic use of a distinction that is already embedded in existing welfare systems,
basic income proponents make a better chance of bringing basic income in via the back door.
Even noted opponents of unconditional basic income, such as Costa Esping-Andersen, favour
universal child benefits and basic pensions, effectively endorsing a basic income ideal for a
subset of the population. Differentiating uniformity provides a handy tool for policy design and
advocacy. Contingencies also affect the uniformity of basic income. Imagine, for instance, a
universal scheme that is formally uniform but with the value to its recipients fluctuating in line
with a set of external circumstances, such as the regional variation in cost of living. It is a matter
of some discussion whether a basic income should remain uniform, as argued by Philippe Van
Parijs, or instead regional price differences should provide a legitimate departure from the
uniformity rule. ‘0 Of course, policy-makers may well decide to use the differential value of the
grant to actively influence certain behavioural traits: like taxes, grants may end up serving
multiple purposes that need to be balanced. In principle, then, both uniformity and
differentiation are consistent with most forms of basic in- come. Of course, one should keep in
mind that at the margin a heavily differentiated scheme may no longer satisfy the key
requirement of universality, blurring the line between ‘differentiation’ and ‘selectivity’.
The aff must defend a policy proposal – UBI is too antagonistic and nuanced to
be justified via principled positions. This debate MUST be centered on policy
De Wispelaere, Jurgen, and Lindsay Stirton. "The many faces of universal basic income." The
Political Quarterly 75.3 (2004): 266-274. http://www.usbig.net/pdf/manyfacesofubi.pdf

Basic income may end up serving a number of goals, not all of which are compatible or even
desirable. More significantly, what Brian Barry has labelled the principled argument for basic
income can only justify its broad contours, leaving detailed features, such as those dis- cussed,
undecided.16 This raises a serious political problem for basic income advocates, who remain
unsure which political forces to court. Each political faction on the ideological spectrum seems
divided as to whether they should fully endorse basic income and, even in cases where they do,
which particular variant to sponsor. And even if all of this could be resolved, as we argued,
practicalities associated with the implementation of basic income repeatedly interfere with
neatly drawn theoretical categories, rendering a principled, adversarial approach fruit-less.
Taking a less antagonistic approach, we propose that the mature stage of basic income debate
would be more suited to the sort of ’fuzzy’ policy design that features prominently in recent
policy dis- course." This has a number of potential advantages. First, it takes seriously the idea
that policies do not simply follow from a prescriptive statement of desirable goals. It is often
suggested that policy design has to contend with second-best solutions because of economic,
political or administrative feasibility constraints. But this assumes that a preferred policy can be
determined independent from these background constraints, which in our view does not make
much sense. Because policy must necessarily fit a number of contingencies, it is inherently
pragmatic and compromising in nature (even if one agrees that any policy must start from a
normative argument about desirable social goals). Fuzzy design clearly welcomes the idea of
basic income as a family of concrete proposals, which can be better fitted to the background
circumstances at hand.

Only policy focus allows for comparative analysis. There is no such thing as a
favorable UBI absent relevant policy contexts – working from a good idea is
De Wispelaere, Jurgen, and Lindsay Stirton. "The many faces of universal basic income." The
Political Quarterly 75.3 (2004): 266-274. http://www.usbig.net/pdf/manyfacesofubi.pdf

Relinquishing antagonism to ‘fuzzy congruence’, then, has important implications for the
comparative analysis of universal welfare policies. Acknowledging the many faces of basic
income allows for a specific comparative approach to basic income research that need not focus
on programme specifics, but instead allows for evaluating policy outcomes. To policy- makers it
matters less whether a basic income is fully unconditional or incorporates a weak participation
requirement, as long as both score roughly equally well on desirable goals such as combating
poverty, increasing equal access to employment, supporting a variety of life- styles, etc. And
even where programmes score unevenly, a comparative approach might provide good
indications why this is either not desirable-maybe different countries rate competing social
goals differently-or perhaps not feasible. After all, different economic, political or administrative
background conditions entail different possibilities for policy implementation. The main lesson
of this article can be summarized as follows: there is no such thing as a preferred basic income
scheme independent of the overall institutional and policy context. The debate concerning the
best possible basic income design can only generate productive results when carried out within
the rich institutional environment of case studies. It is part of the policy-making balancing act
that what works here may not work over there, and what seems a good idea now might become
counterproductive or obsolete at a later time. This insight should not lead to despair; instead,
the crafty policy designer should wholeheartedly embrace it. ‘Fuzzy’ policy design paints a world
in which policy reform explicitly acknowledges the many faces of basic income, and uses this
feature as its main strength to further the case of social just- ice across Europe and beyond.
Specificity is key – the debate cannot be based on vague proposals –
implementation changes outcome – the devil is in the details.
De Wispelaere, Jurgen, and Lindsay Stirton. "The many faces of universal basic income." The
Political Quarterly 75.3 (2004): 266-274. http://www.usbig.net/pdf/manyfacesofubi.pdf

This article contributes a first step to this enterprise by charting the many faces of universal
basic income. Our starting point is the belief that successfully implementing a universal basic
income crucially depends on our being able to match the design features of a particular scheme
with the surrounding policy context or administrative environment, which differs extensively
from one country to an- other. This, in turn, requires a better appreciation of the wealth of
proposals falling under the rubric of universal basic income, and the potential diversity of
arrangements that exist at the level of concrete design and implementation. It is towards this
latter task that this article is specifically directed. For many scholars and practitioners, basic
income constitutes a distinctive social paradigm within contemporary welfare theory, leading to
vigorous normative arguments and ideological disputes between its proponents and
adversaries. This is not to say that there is no substantial disagreement pertaining to form or
content of the normative principles underlying universalism amongst its principle advocates.
Neither does it imply that we must buy into ideological cleavages to find arguments for or
against basic income. In fact, one of the intriguing aspects of basic income is precisely its
capacity to secure support across the ideological spectrum.‘ Moving from social philosophy to
policy it becomes apparent that the paradigm of universalism does not constitute a single
identifiable policy, but represents a myriad of social support schemes that differ substantially
along a range of pol- icy dimensions. Basic income supporters readily acknowledge that there
exists ample choice of which policy to pursue within a broadly universalist approach.
Consequently, the debate has now moved from defending universalism writ large to a dispute
within the basic income community itself over the preferred form of basic income. The result is
substantial disagreement at the level of ideal- type policies: some scholars favour a negative
income tax scheme, others advocate an unconditional basic income or a participation income,
and still others believe stakeholder or basic capital grants are superior, and so on.2
Furthermore, at the level of fine- grained design and implementation, apparently similar
proposals are even further differentiated along dimensions that are characteristically not
captured in ideal-type analysis. An additional concern is that universal schemes that are
substantially similar in design may still end up producing widely divergent out- comes because of
different interaction effects with policies already in place. It is a mistake to assume that a
universal basic income would operate in something resembling an institutional vacuum. To the
extent that fine-tuned distinctions also produce distinctive outcomes, both normative and
empirically driven research ought to take differential design features seriously. In the next
section we discern seven principal dimensions along which concrete basic income proposals can
be differentiated.
The aff must specify 1) who will receive basic income payments 2) the
frequency of the allocation of UBI and 3) whether the payments are paid in cash
or in kind. These three areas of specification can drastically alter the way the
UBI can be justified.
Moseley, Daniel, A Lockean Argument for Basic Income (June 25, 2011). Basic Income Studies,
Vol. 6, No. 2, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1872580

BI is a universal entitlement that is regularly allocated to persons irrespective of their need or

willingness to work. There are three main desiderata for a complete theory of BI. First, the
theory should explain who will directly receive BI payments. Although BI is an entitlement for all
persons, certain individuals (e.g., children, incarcerated persons and mentally incapacitated
persons) may not be able to directly receive their BI payments. Working out the details of the
scope of the universal grant is a project for a complete theory of BI.3 Second, how often should
the allocation of the BI grant occur? BI is different than a stakeholder grant, which is a universal
entitlement that is a one-time payment which does not depend upon need or willingness to
work.4 According to most stakeholder grant theories, the stakeholder grant is a one-time
payment that is distributed upon the age of maturity. Like a stakeholder grant, the allocation of
the BI could occur at intervals that depend upon the age of the recipient (it could be an annual
birthday check!), or, more sensibly, the BI could be allocated to everyone on the same date and
at the same frequency (e.g., annual payments on New Year‟s Day).5 The frequency of payment
will depend upon both how the BI is financed and which payment schemes are efficient.6 A
complete theory of BI should describe how the BI will be financed and determine which
payment scheme would be efficient. Third, a theory of BI should explain whether the payments
should be paid in cash or in kind. Should the BI be allocated in the form of cash payments,
income tax credits or some other form of income? Murray (2006) and Van Parijs (1997) argue
that BI should be allocated in cash payments. Friedman (1962) proposed the “negative income
tax,” which now exists in US tax policy in the form of the earned income tax credit. The cash
payment approach has two features that make it appealing to libertarians: (1) it has fewer
administrative costs and (2) it does a better job of respecting the privacy of citizens.7 The
administrative costs would be less because the income tax credit requires the distributive
agency to determine the income of each citizen. Cash payments would do a better job
respecting the privacy of citizens, because the cash payments would be sent to all citizens
irrespective of their income. The form of payment that will be used to allocate the BI is another
central question for a complete theory of BI.
Time Limit
Regular payment and one-time lump sums are both topical. Time limits are also
De Wispelaere, Jurgen, and Lindsay Stirton. "The many faces of universal basic income." The
Political Quarterly 75.3 (2004): 266-274. http://www.usbig.net/pdf/manyfacesofubi.pdf

Until recently, the dimensions of frequency and duration were somewhat neglected within
universal basic income schemes. But at the end of the 19905, a real cleavage emerged between
universal basic income proposals that provide a regular income stream, as in unconditional basic
income or participation income, and schemes where beneficiaries receive a one-off payment,
constituting a capital stock as in stakeholder or capital grant proposals.11 With respect to
income streams, a further relevant distinction should be made with respect to the timing of
regular instalments. It does make a difference whether a recipient receives the grant on a
weekly, monthly or even yearly basis. Shorter intervals often draw support from those who
emphasise basic security, whereas advocates of equal opportunity, suspicious of any form of
paternalism, typically favour longer intervals. Of course, timing may simply be determined by
the surrounding administrative time frame: until recently, wages were commonly paid in weekly
instalments in the UK or Ireland as compared to the majority of European countries that
employed a monthly pay system. Having basic in- come ’piggy-back’ on whatever system is in
operation at any given time often makes good administrative sense. While the distinction
between streams and stocks informs much of the current debate, the distinction is prone to
over- statement. Under the right circumstances income streams can be converted into stocks
and vice versa, though it remains unclear whether such conditions are currently present in even
the most advanced welfare regimes. In addition, many of the basic capital approaches seem to
have some in-built mechanisms of ensuring that the entire grant is not wasted on so- called
'stakeblowing’ activities. Once we take this expansion into account, the distinction between
income and capital grant schemes diminishes.12 A final consideration concerns the duration
aspect of basic income. Putting a time-limit upon receipt of assistance is a measure common to
most selective in- come support policies, but could conceivably be used to render universal basic
income socially and politically accept- able. A recent proposal by Stuart White argues in favour
of introducing a temporary basic income scheme to combat exploitation and free-riding.13
Limiting the receipt of basic income to, say, a total of five years may deflect free-riding by
recipients who would otherwise take advantage of the scheme, or at the very least render its
overall effect less socially damaging. In addition to these normative considerations, a time-
limited basic in- come policy may also reflect practical considerations, such as fitting neatly with
other policies that make up the institutional background of that particular welfare regime (such
as child benefit or universal pension provisions).
Aid Type
There’s a full range of topical kinds of aid – cash transfers, food coupons,
education, and travel vouchers are all examples of topical affs.
De Wispelaere, Jurgen, and Lindsay Stirton. "The many faces of universal basic income." The
Political Quarterly 75.3 (2004): 266-274. http://www.usbig.net/pdf/manyfacesofubi.pdf

Modality refers to the particular shape that a universal transfer takes. When debating basic
income we commonly think about cash transfers, but certain forms of in-kind transfers (for ex-
ample, food coupons, education or travel vouchers, housing benefits) should not be dismissed
out of hand. The defining feature of a universal basic income scheme is not the distinction
between cash or in- kind transfers as such, but rather whether social assistance takes the form
of public or private goods. Universally distributed private in-kind measures such as education
vouchers may be considered part of a universal basic income, as opposed to strict public goods
such as road infra- structure. Having said this, there are many good reasons why most universal
basic income schemes will rely on cash transfers, but in principle at least part of a basic income
or capital grant could be transferred in kind.
Targeted aid fails for a laundry list of reasons – empirics prove only UBI solves.
[*Note: This could be split into 2 cards that say UBI good and Targeted Aid Bad
where I left the paragraph break. ]
Perkiö, Johanna. "UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME." The Politics of Ecosocialism: Transforming
Welfare (2015): 137. https://www.routledge.com/The-Politics-of-Ecosocialism-Transforming-

There is extensive empirical evidence that cash transfers have successfully reduced poverty over
relatively short time frames, and that they have done it in a cost-effective way, being relatively
cheaper than their alternatives9 . At present, countries with a similar level of national income
per capita spend highly varying shares of their resources on social protection programs. The
growth of transfers has generally been more rapid in middle income countries, whereas their
spread in low-income countries has been slower. However, it has been proved that even
countries at fairly low levels of income are able to build social protection systems10. Besides
reducing poverty and contributing to a more equal income distribution, the cash transfers have
been successful in improving indicators such as health and nutritional status of the recipients
and school attendance of children. Contrary to commonly held beliefs, empirical evidence has
shown that instead of breeding passivity or irresponsible behaviour, cash transfers have
increased activity and recipients are using the money rationally for their own and their families’
longer-term welfare11. Moreover, the transfers have facilitated job seeking (e.g. by allowing the
use of public transport) and stimulated local economies by increasing demand and allowing
investments in small-scale entrepreneurship. The cash transfer programs have been successful
in many respects. However, being most often targeted12 and/or conditional, they can also be
criticised for certain essential shortcomings. Programs have different advantages and failures
depending on their actual design, but the following shortcomings can generally be identified in
most targeted and conditional programs:13 1. Bureaucracy and high administrative costs:
Income-based targeted programs require continuous assessment of the eligibility of recipients,
which makes their administration complicated and costly. In many countries there are several
overlapping schemes in place, all with different eligibility criteria. Selective means-testing
becomes especially problematic when the recipient’s income fluctuate, or when a large part of it
is undocumented. Countries have tried to solve these problems by using so called proxy
indicators of social deprivation, such as quality of housing or type of economic activity the
households are engaged in. 2. Erroneous exclusions and inclusions: Targeting on the basis of
income typically entail significant errors of inclusion and exclusion, which means that the
programs may exclude some of the people for whom the benefit is supposedly intended, or
include people for whom the benefit is not intended. Especially in countries where the vast
majority of population is poor, effective selection of beneficiaries is difficult. Welfare officials
need to be able to decide who is poor enough to be eligible to the scheme. Exclusion may also
occur when only certain categories of poor are intended to be covered by the scheme. For
instance, benefits for poor families with school-age children will exclude families with only small
children, orphans and those poor who do not have children. 3. Poverty traps: The poverty trap
occurs when there are no incentives to improve one’s level of income by employment or
entrepreneurship if it triggers the loss of right to benefits. This is especially problematic when
the person’s income is irregular and varies greatly over time, which is often the case in
developing countries. Poverty traps are peculiar to all means-tested schemes. 4. Paternalism
and stigmatisation: The systems of eligibility assessments often contain paternalistic control
over the recipients and enhance the discretionary power of authorities. They tend to foster the
segmentation of social protection programs and the separation of the poor from other social
classes. Being a welfare recipient in a selective program is stigmatising, affects person’s identity
and self-esteem and generates feelings of shame. Paternalism has a passivating effect and
generates alienation and distrust between citizens and authorities. 5. Flexible labour market:
Social protection is usually provided to those temporarily or permanently excluded from
employment. Those systems assume employment being the main source of a household’s
income whereas social protection is available only when employment is not possible. However,
economic insecurity and an increasing amount of irregular and non-standard employment
characterise the life of a major part of working age population today. Regular employment is not
available for all, and even many of those permanently employed do not earn enough to lift
themselves and their families out of poverty. 6. Changing gender roles: The conventional social
protection programs rely extensively on the male breadwinner family model, where the
women’s main responsibilities are childcare and housework. Many of the conditional cash
transfer programs for poor families give the family payments to women with an assumption that
it would have a positive effect on gender equality. Those programs do not correspond to the
changing family patterns and they may even weaken women’s position in the labour market.
Cash grants given to only one person in the household may also generate intra-family tensions.

Universal cash transfers are currently available in forms of child benefits or pensions, but they
seldom address the working age population. For instance, Namibia’s universal social pension,
distributed in cash, covers almost 90% of the elderly population14. Also Bolivia and Mexico City
have recently implemented universal unconditional citizen’s pensions for all elderly15. Some oil
or mineral rich countries are considering distributing a part of their revenues as direct cash
transfers to all citizens16, following the well-known example of the Alaska Permanent Fund
which distributes annually between 1000–2000 dollars to each resident of Alaska17. In Iran, fuel
subsidies have been since 2010 transformed into a monthly unconditional cash transfer paid to
every citizen18. The child benefits in many welfare states typically represent the idea of basic
income: they are granted unconditionally to all families with children. However, the distinction
between conditional and unconditional or universal and targeted scheme is not absolute. The
fewer the conditions attached and the larger the part of the population covered by the scheme,
the better it corresponds with the definition of basic income. Comparing with the potential
failures of targeted and conditional cash transfer schemes presented above, basic income
(granted to all citizens/ permanent residents without conditions) has been considered to have
the following advantages:19 1. Bureaucracy and high administrative costs: Comparing to
targeted and conditional schemes, basic income requires only relatively light administration. It
reduces the administrative costs (which means that more resources are available to be
distributed to recipients), eliminates most of the bureaucracy (since it is no longer necessary to
know how much individuals earn and assess their eligibility) and makes the public expenditure
system more transparent. However, basic income requires a well-functioning personal income
taxation system, so that the government can tax back the equivalent of the grant from higher
earning individuals. 2. Erroneous exclusions and inclusions: The idea of basic income is to
guarantee that no one is left out of the social protection. Since all are entitled to the grant,
there is no need to define and test the eligibility criteria (except on a very broad basis, such as
permanent residence in the country), nor does there exist erroneous exclusions of the potential
beneficiaries. 3. Poverty traps: Basic income is generally considered as an employment-friendly
model which makes the effort to work always worthwhile. The regular payment of the benefit is
not interrupted when the recipient’s employment status or level of income changes. Thus, in a
basic income system a person will necessarily end up in a better economic position when
working than when unemployed. When taking up a job, individuals would be liable to pay tax
from all their earnings while retaining their untaxed basic income. Basic income will also
strenghten the bargaining position of disadvantaged groups to refuse unhealthy or exploitative
working conditions. 4. Paternalism and stigmatisation: There is no stigma or feeling of shame
attached in receiving a benefit that is granted to all on the basis of residence or citizenship. The
intrusive control procedures for checking whether a person is poor enough and paternalistic
conditionalities would be eliminated. Basic income treats all people as responsible and
independent actors and equal citizens instead of being objects of welfare policies. 5. Flexible
labour market: Basic income is a form of social protection that provides continuous stream of
income for changing life situations. It is better compatible with irregular employment than the
prevailing social protection systems. Moreover, it allows a broader understanding about work
and labour (including non-market work in households and communities) and new flexible ways
of combining different types of work, leisure and other activities. 6. Changing gender roles: Basic
income is granted to each man, woman and child individually, which means that it does not
assume any particular family patterns or gender roles. Each adult individual is provided with an
equal amount, whereas children’s grant is in most proposals lower. This gives a symbolic
message that each person in a household counts as an equal and makes his or her personal
decisions regarding the use of the grant. Along with education and social services, basic income
has a potential to support gender equality both in labour market and households better than
policies committed to particular gender-related responsibilities.

UBI is the only system that can fight poverty given environmental and economic
constraints – tax efficiency link turns the econ disad.
Perkiö, Johanna. "UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME." The Politics of Ecosocialism: Transforming
Welfare (2015): 137. https://www.routledge.com/The-Politics-of-Ecosocialism-Transforming-

The basic income pilot projects in India and Namibia have generated an impressive list of
achievements. The unconditional cash grants were associated with improvements in nutrition,
health, school attendance and performance, housing and sanitation, as well as social relations in
communities and households. The cash grants contributed to a reduction of household debt and
an increase of savings, and boosted income generating activities both in paid employment and
micro-entrepreneurship. However, the methods used for evaluation were partly different in the
two countries, which affects the comparability of the results. In order to gather reliable
information about the effects of basic income, more systematic experiments are needed.
Especially comparative studies on the effects of universal unconditional benefits vs. targeted
and conditional ones would provide an important insight on the functioning of different
schemes. There are many expectations of positive impacts of universal and unconditional
benefits in terms of reducing bureaucracy and administrative costs, tackling the problems of
erroneous exclusions and inclusions and poverty traps, avoiding paternalism and stigma, and
supporting employment and gender equality – but these still lack comprehensive empirical
evidence. The future policymaking will most probably be characterised by serious ecological
constraints and lower rates of growth and employment33. In this context, new proactive
solutions to tackle income inequality and provide opportunities to all for meaningful life and
participation in society are needed. Basic income represents a promising alternative which –
complemented with comprehensive social services and education – could foster gender
equality, new forms of social and economic activity and people’s control over their own lives. It
can also make the public expenditure system more transparent and less prone to corruption.
The radical concentration of wealth and income on one hand34, and the ecological constraints
on the other, require a shift towards new redistributive policies on global and on national levels.
New directions in macroeconomic policies and moves towards global democratic governance
and taxation are needed. It has been proved that even the countries at fairly low levels of GDP
are able to build social protection systems35. Especially countries rich in natural resources (such
as oil and minerals) have various opportunities to improve their domestic resource mobilisation
and corporate taxation to distribute the national wealth more evenly among the population36.
However, social policies relying extensively on extraction of natural resources would not only be
economically unstable, but also problematic from the ecological sustainability point of view.
Along with resource redistribution, building a sustainable social protection system requires
states to strengthen their taxation systems and broaden the tax base for the future. This would
mean improvements in taxation of capital and labour income and consumption, as well as
effective prevention of tax evasion and avoidance. A well-functioning personal income taxation
system would be essential in order to reduce the net cost of the basic income scheme, but such
is technically challenging in countries where a large part of the population works in the informal
sector37. International funds to support poor countries in setting up their basic income
programs would be needed especially during the transformation. However, cash transfers have
a capacity to improve the domestic demand and vitalise local economies, and thus contribute to
an increase of tax revenues once the well-functioning taxation systems are in place.

Specific features of UBI are key – it’s universal, focused on the individual and
fights poverty – no cp’s solve the case.
Van Parijs, Philippe, and Yannick Vanderborght. "Basic income in a globalized economy."
Inclusive Growth, Development and Welfare Policy, London: Routledge (2015): 229-47.

That it is centred on the individual matters for several reasons: it makes a difference to
intrahousehold relationships, it makes intrusion into living arrangements unnecessary, and it
avoids any penalty for communal living. That it is universal matters because it guarantees a high
rate of take up, avoids stigmatization of the beneficiaries, and prevents the income guarantee
from creating an unemployment trap. And that it is free of counterpart matters because of the
bargaining power it affords to the weakest in their relationship with bosses, spouses and
officials. The contribution made is therefore not just to the the purchasing power, but to the
quality of the various dimensions of people’s lives. Due to the combination of these features, a
basic income has been advocated as the most emancipatory way of fighting unemployment
without perpetuating poverty, or of fighting poverty without generating unemployment. In
connection with each of the features listed above, it has also been the subject of fierce criticisms
from both the right and the left. In the present context, we shall make no attempt to give a
general overview of the rich discussion triggered by these criticisms.2 Instead, we will focus on
one dimension of this discussion that is gaining in importance every day. Most of the arguments
about the (un)desirability and (un)feasibility of a basic income have been formulated within the
framework of fairly self-contained nation-states. This may have made a lot of sense in the case
of the brief British debate in the 1920s, in the case of the brief US debate in the late 1960s,
perhaps even in the case of the European debates that started in the 1980s. But how could it
possibly make any sense in the twenty first century, in the era of globalization, in an era in which
capital and goods, people and ideas are crossing national borders as they have never done
before? In this new context, are the prospects for a basic income not deeply altered? Indeed,
have they not dramatically worsened?

UBI is expanding in the status quo, several countries, like India are thinking of
adopting it.
UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME EXPERIMENT” Newsweek. 2/4/18 http://www.newsweek.com/free-

Some states in India may implement a universal basic income—or “free money” as some like to
call it—within the next couple of years. Although talk of the idea has been circulating for awhile,
Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India, thinks it may become
a reality by 2020. “There has been a lot of discussion on universal basic income over the last
year. The discussions are going on even at the present,” Subramanian said during a press
conference, according to The Quint. “I can bet you that at least one or two states will implement
it within the next two years.” Universal basic income would mean that all individuals, regardless
of how much they’re earning, would receive an equal amount of money via direct cash transfer.
And perhaps the best part is that there are no restrictions on what it can be spent on, CNBC
reports. However, critics argue that because it can be spent on anything, it’s bound to be
misused on things such as alcohol. An experiment in Kenya has proved otherwise. Since
October, residents of a rural village have received $22 a month, which they will continue to
receive for the next 12 years. Although the experiment is still in its early stages, data has shown
that most participants are putting the money to good use for things such as medicine and to
repair their homes. “People have needs,” Caroline Teti, who helped implement the project in
Kenya with the charity GiveDirectly, told Business Insider. “Especially in poor communities such
as this, if they get a basic income, it goes directly into those needs.” But, the experiment is still
in its early stages so there’s a chance that how people choose to spend their money may change
in the future. Finland also rolled out a universal basic income trial, which has been going on for
more than a year. Their trial involves 2,000 unemployed people, ages 25 to 58, who receive
nearly $700 every month. There are no plans to implement the program country-wide. Rather,
it’s intended to observe how the income “affects employment of the unemployed people,”
Markus Kanerva, an applied social and behavioral sciences specialist, who says the experiment is
being misrepresented by the media, told The Guardian. The exact details of India's universal
basic income aren't yet specified, but regardless of how much participants receive, universal
basic income will be much more manageable to administer than current anti-poverty schemes,
according to The Times of India.
Poverty – Generic
UBI is the best solution to income inequality and a humane path forward to
address poverty.
Sebastian Johnson, “The case for a universal basic income.” LA Times. June 29, 2017.

By now you've heard rumblings of the policy idea known as "universal basic income." This is the
notion that the government should give every citizen enough no-strings-attached money to
cover basic living expenses. In the last year alone, Mark Zuckerberg called on Harvard's
graduating class to "explore ideas like universal basic income," Elon Musk told a gathering of
world leaders in Dubai that "some kind of universal basic income is going to be necessary," and
President Obama remarked that universal basic income is a subject we'll be debating "over the
next 10 or 20 years." Though universal basic income, or UBI, has become downright trendy in
Silicon Valley, the concept is not actually new. Thomas Paine proposed a basic income for every
citizen as early as 1792. Milton Friedman and Martin Luther King Jr. endorsed the idea in the
1960s as a way of fighting poverty. In 1971, a basic income for poor families almost became law
under President Nixon. But the idea is gaining unprecedented traction right now with good
reason. The U.S. economy is increasingly unstable, with wealth accruing at the top while most
Americans remain stuck in low-paying jobs. Globalization has weakened the power of labor
unions, squeezing the middle class and narrowing paths into the middle class for the poor.
Economists have chronicled the rise of the "precariat," a growing class of workers who rely on
insecure gig work with few benefits. And we haven't even begun to feel the brunt of that other
looming threat, the A-word. According to an Oxford University study, nearly half of all Americans
– 47% – are at "high risk" of losing their jobs to automation. The U.S. economy is increasingly
unstable, with wealth accruing at the top while most Americans remain stuck in low-paying jobs.
Although economists are still debatingwhether automation will ultimately devastate the
American labor market or not – many point out that previous economic transitions created as
many jobs as they destroyed – few dispute that such transitions were extremely painful for
workers. We know that most of the American workforce currently lacks the skills required for
the jobs of the future, and costly retraining programs have failed to close this gap. For all these
reasons, establishing a universal basic income is the only real way to help Americans weather
the widespread disruption that automation is sure to bring. There are competing ideas about
how exactly the policy should work. Advocates on the left call for a UBI that would increase
benefits to the poor and be financed by increasing taxes on corporations and the wealthy.
Conservative advocates favor an approach wherein programs in the current safety net, such as
Social Security and food stamps, are replaced with a UBI. Others favor an incrementalist policy
in which current safety net programs are expanded to include all Americans, while another
faction wants to build a UBI program from scratch. Despite their differences, all approaches to
UBI policy share the core goal of establishing an income floor for every American. An income
floor would help American workers in a number of critical ways. Relieved of the immediate
pressure to pay bills, workers could pursue training for the kinds of jobs that automation will
bring. A universal basic income would allow skilled workers to take entrepreneurial risks they
cannot afford now. It would also allow Americans to work fewer hours but maintain their living
standards, leaving more time for caregiving and raising children. Overall, UBI would provide a
significant boost to the American middle class, which has stagnated even as productivity and
overall wealth continue to rise. By putting more money into the pockets of workers, a UBI could
fuel aggregate demand and job growth in different sectors across the country. Momentum is
building. Child poverty experts in growing numbers have called on states and the federal
government to consider a child allowance – UBI for kids – that would help level the playing field
for low- and middle-income families. The California Senate is considering ambitious cap-and-
trade legislation that would send "climate dividend rebates" to every citizen. Even some oil
companies are in favor of schemes to tax carbon and send checks to every American. This
month, Hawaii's Legislature unanimously passed a bill that directs state agencies to study UBI as
a way to provide financial security to all Hawaiians. This landmark legislation could pave the way
for UBI to move from the realm of fantasy to reality. Other progressive states, including
California, should follow Hawaii's lead and prepare their citizens for our uncertain future.

UBI is sufficient to alleviate poverty and solves better than any alternative.
John Aziz, “There is a better alternative to raising the minimum wage.” The Week. December 6,
2013. http://theweek.com/articles/454887/there-better-alternative-raising-minimum-wage

The U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez wants to raise the minimum wage. In fact, the vast
majority of Americans — 91 percent of Democrats, but also 76 percent of Independents and
even 58 percent of Republicans — are in favor of raising the minimum wage. This is an
understandable position. After all, the gap between richest and poorest has grown very wide in
recent years. But in my view, minimum wage laws are not good laws at all. That’s not out of lack
of compassion for low-wage earners, or because I like inequality. That is because I think that
there is a better way to achieve a decent standard of living for the poorest in society. The
minimum wage is a factor in creating unemployment. Despite what's often said to the contrary,
it's true: Countrieswith no minimum wage tend to have much lower unemployment. Right now,
America is suffering a serious deficit of jobs,with over three jobseekers for every available job.
We need all the jobs we can get. Sohow does the minimum wage create unemployment?
Minimum wage laws are a price control. They dictate the minimum level that a company can
pay a worker. If the minimum wage is $10, and a company wants to take on a new employee
that they determine will be worth $8 an hour, they have a choice — either pay $10 an hour, or
not hire the employee. Sometimes, the company will accept a hit to their profit margin, and pay
the employee $10 an hour. Sometimes they will just not hire a new employee at all. Or,
increasingly, sometimes they will go overseas and hire an employee elsewhere — like China —
where wages are far lower. This is a particularly cruel scenario because it discriminates most
against the poorest and youngest workers in society. Empirically, the minimum wage has failed
to reach its goal of ensuring a fair wage for low wage workers. Worker productivity in America
has risen and risen, yet the minimum wage has not. As this chart via Dean Baker shows, it has
severely stagnated: I propose abolishing the minimum wage, and replacing it with abasic income
policy, a version of which was first advocated in America byThomas Paine. Individuals would be
able to work for whatever wage they can secure, meaning that low-skilled individuals —
especially the young,who currently face a particularly high rate of employment— would have an
easier time finding work. And the level of basic income could be tied to the level of productivity,
to reduce inequality. There are two kinds of basic income policy. The first is a negative income
tax — if an individual’s income level falls beneath a certain threshold (say, $1,500 a month) the
government makes up the difference. Funds for this could be accessed by consolidating existing
welfare programs like state-run pension schemes and unemployment benefits, and by closing
tax loopholes and raising taxes oncorporate profits and high-income earners. Germany has
enacted a similar policy — called the "Kurzabeit" — and it's been credited with shielding the
German labor force from the worst of the recession and keeping their unemployment rate low
since. The second is a universal income policy, where everyone receives a payment irrespective
of their income. This would obviously require more funds — meaning higher taxes — but in a
future where corporations are making larger and larger profits while requiring fewer and fewer
workersdue to automation, such policies may become increasingly feasible. There are already
very serious proposals to initiate such a schemein Switzerland.The most widespread criticism of
basic income policies tends to be that they might encourage laziness. If you don’t have to work
for a living, why would you work at all? But I don’t think this stands up to the evidence —
America already has a welfare state — and there are still more people looking for jobs than
there are jobs available. A basic income is basic. It does not make you rich or successful — it
simply ensures a minimum standard, with a minimum of bureaucracy and without setting any
price controls. People would still have many personal and financial incentives to work and to
become entrepreneurs. If anything, the fact that there is no longer a minimum wage would
probably create more employment, not less. The minimum wage is a well-intentioned idea. But
it has not proven successful, and it creates obstacles to employment. There is a better
alternative — and the sooner American politicians discover it, the better.

UBI is a simple and effective way to reduce inequality and help the middle class.
Noah Gordon, “The Conservative Case for a Guaranteed Basic Income.” The Atlantic. August 6,
2014. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/08/why-arent-reformicons-pushing-a-

Last week, my colleague David Frum argued that conservative welfare reformers need to focus
on simplification. As a young crop of conservative policymakers announce a range of proposals,
there’s some movement in that direction. Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s plan would move most
of America’s existing welfare funding into a single “flex-fund” to be disbursed to the states.
Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan, partly inspired by the “universal credit” reforms of Britain’s
Conservative government, proposes allowing states to combine different forms of federal anti-
poverty funding—food stamps, housing assistance, and more—into a single funding stream. In a
recent speech about fighting poverty, Utah Senator Mike Lee told the Heritage Foundation,
“There’s no reason the federal government should maintain 79 different means-tested
programs.” Meanwhile, the intellectual wing of reform conservatism likes these plans because
they reduce government and offer citizens more control, at least in theory. Yuval Levin, one of
the authors of the reform-conservatism manifesto Room to Grow, has praised Ryan’s plan,
saying it would “give people more resources and authority and greater freedom to find new and
more effective ways up from poverty.” Liberal wonks, on the other hand, have claimed it’s
actually a paternalistic program at odds with the traditional Republican desire for less-intrusive
government, since it relies on providers who make decisions for beneficiaries. In any case, these
ideas are circumscribed by traditional boundaries. Neither is a truly radical small-government
idea alternative. But one idea that Frum highlighted is more radical: a guaranteed basic income,
otherwise known as just giving people money. The idea isn’t new. As Frum notes, Friederich
Hayek endorsed it. In 1962, the libertarian economist Milton Friedman advocated a minimum
guaranteed income via a “negative income tax.” In 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The
solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed
income.” Richard Nixon unsuccessfully tried to pass a version of Friedman’s plan a few years
later, and his Democratic opponent in the 1972 presidential election, George McGovern, also
suggested a guaranteed annual income. More recently, in a 2006 book, conservative intellectual
Charles Murray proposed eliminating all welfare transfer programs, including Social Security and
Medicare, and substituting an annual $10,000 cash grant to everyone 21 years and older. The
Alaska Permanent Fund, funded by investments from state oil revenues, sends annual dividend
checks to the state’s residents. Switzerland is voting on an unconditional basic income later this
year. (Though the fundamental basic-income guarantee involves an unconditional grant to every
citizen, no matter their wealth or age, other versions wouldn’t cut checks to those in top tax
brackets or those receiving Social Security.) Apart from lifting millions out of poverty, the plans
promote efficiency and a shrinking of the federal bureaucracy. No more “79 means-tested
programs.”Creating a single point of access would also make many recipients’ lives easier. If
they knew they had something to fall back on, workers could negotiate better wages and
conditions, or go back to school, or quit a low-paying job to care for a child or aging relative. And
with an unconditional basic income, workers wouldn’t have to worry about how making more
money might lead to the loss of crucial benefits. In the Financial Times, Martin Wolf has
contemplated a guaranteed income’s ability to help society adjust to the disappearance of low-
skill, low-wage jobs. Is it feasible? It depends on the size and scope of the program, but Danny
Vinik crunched some numbers at Business Insider: “In 2012, there were 179 million Americans
between the ages of 21 and 65 (when Social Security would kick in). The poverty line was
$11,945. Thus, giving each working-age American a basic income equal to the poverty line would
cost $2.14 trillion.” Cutting all federal and state benefits for low-income Americans would save
around a trillion dollars per year, so there would still be a significant gap to be closed by revenue
increases like higher taxes or closing existing loopholes. That doesn’t seem likely, to say the
least, in the current political environment. Alternatively, a guaranteed income could be means-
tested, or just offered at a lower level. In The Atlantic last year, Matt Bruenig and Elizabeth
Stoker argued policymakers could halve poverty by cutting a $3,000 check to Americans of all
ages. Naturally, the idea is not without flaws. Some conservative critics contend a guaranteed
income might create a society of layabouts by establishing a disincentive to work (although the
jury is out). Others wonder which immigrants would be eligible and when. But the most
common conservative counterargument is that a guaranteed income would destroy the
progress against dependency and poverty effected by the welfare-to-work reforms of the last
two decades. (Whether that progress was real, or dependent on the broader economy, is a
debate of its own.) Many liberal wonks are excited by the idea, but Democratic politicians are
usually scared off by the political cost of advocating a new, large-scale redistribution or by the
problems with scrapping existing welfare programs. After all, as Derek Thompson explains,
Social Security works pretty well. When Democratic Representative Bob Filner, since disgraced,
proposed a guaranteed income on a very small scale in 2006, he picked up only one cosponsor.
Yet the effort to create a reform conservatism and reconstitute the GOP as the “party of ideas”
seems to demand contemplating legitimately radical new ideas on welfare reform. In the
introduction to Room To Grow, Levin writes, “these ideas embody a conservative vision that
sees public policy not as the manager of society but as an enabler of bottom-up incremental
improvements.” Scott Winship, in a welfare-reform essay later in the same document, writes
approvingly of Levin’s desire to provide an “alternative to the fundamentally prescriptive,
technocratic approach inherent in the logic of the liberal welfare state.” A guaranteed income,
in any form, would tear that logic apart. Maybe conservative welfare reform still has some room
to grow.
Poverty – Empirics
Empirics from Namibia’s Basic Income Grant (BIG) project prove the aff is
overwhelmingly good for the poor.
Perkiö, Johanna. "UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME." The Politics of Ecosocialism:
Transforming Welfare (2015): 137. https://www.routledge.com/The-Politics-of-
The Namibian pilot project was initiated by the Basic Income Grant (BIG) Coalition21 in Namibia,
which consists of the Council of Churches (CCN), the National Union of Namibian Workers
(NUNW), the Namibian NGO Forum (Nangof), the National Youth Council (NYC) and the
Namibian Network of AIDS Service Organisations (Nananso). The project started in January 2008
and was run for two years. Funds to start the pilot project were raised through voluntary
contributions from supporters of the idea from all sections of Namibian society, and by support
from people, churches, organisations and donors in other countries. The pilot was conducted in
Otjivero-Omitara, a low-income rural area about 100 kilometres east of the capital Windhoek
characterised by deprivation, unemployment, hunger and extreme poverty. A total of 930
inhabitants received a monthly grant of 100 Namibian Dollars each (about 12.40 US Dollars/8.60
Euros) without any conditions attached. Those eligible for the universal old age pension
payments (60+ years) from the state were excluded from the experiment. There was no control
village without BIG to be evaluated according to the same criteria. The effects of the BIG pilot
project were evaluated on an on-going basis using four complementary methods. First, a
baseline survey was conducted two months before the first pay-out of the BIG in November
2007. The survey collected retrospective and current data on the social and economic situation
of the residents, including health and nutritional data. Second, a panel survey was conducted in
July 2008 covering the same households and individuals as in the baseline survey, and repeated
in November 2008. Third, information was gathered from key informants living in, or near the
settlement area, such as local nurse, the police chief, local leaders and shop keepers. Fourth, a
series of detailed case studies of particular individuals living in Otjivero-Omitara was carried
out.22 The pilot project caused a significant migration towards Otjivero-Omitara by
impoverished family members of the villagers, even though mi grants themselves did not
receive the grant. The migration to Otjivero-Omitara affected the data obtained for the study,
which was taken into account in the analysis. Results. Nutrition and diet: Before the introduction
of the BIG, the residents of Otjivero-Omitara experienced serious food shortages. In November
2007, 73% of the households indicated that they did not always have sufficient food and a
massive 76% of people lived below the food poverty line23. After one year, the food poverty
reduced to 37% and continuously declined over the study period. The BIG resulted in a huge
reduction of child malnutrition. Using a WHO measurement technique, the data showed that
children’s weight-for-age had improved significantly in just six months from 42% of underweight
children in November 2007 to 17% in June 2008 and further to 10% in November 2008. Health
and healthcare: Before the introduction of the BIG, the community suffered from a vicious circle
of malnutrition, poverty, ill health and lack of human development. Poverty prevented many
residents from seeking treatment for illnesses because they were unable to pay the clinic fee,
even though it was low. The vast majority of the HIV/AIDS sufferers did not go to take their free
of charge treatments because they could not afford the travel costs to the nearby town, and to
have proper nutrition essential for the treatment. After the introduction of the BIG, the
residents were using the settlement’s clinic much more regularly and clinic fee payments
increased. The BIG increased the regularity of HIV treatment and enabled the HIV positives to
afford nutritious food required for it. School attendance: Before the introduction of the BIG,
almost half of the school-going children did not attend school regularly. Pass rates stood at
about 40% and drop-out rates were high. Many parents were unable to pay the school fee and
buy their children school uniforms, and the lack of adequate nutrition had a negative impact on
school performance of many children. After the introduction of the BIG, payment of the school
fees improved significantly and most of the children had school uniforms. Non-attendance due
to financial reasons dropped by 42%. Drop-out rates at the school fell from almost 40% in
November 2007 to 5% in June 2008 and further to almost 0% in November 2008. Economic
activity: The introduction of the BIG led to an increase in economic activity. The rate of those
engaged in income-generating activities (above the age of 15) increased from 44% to 55%. The
BIG enabled recipients to increase their work both for pay, profit or family gain, as well as self-
employment. The grant enabled recipients to increase their productive income earned,
particularly through starting their own small business, such as brick-making, baking bread and
dress-making. The BIG also increased the purchasing power of the inhabitants, thereby creating
a market for the products of the new businesses. After the introduction of BIG, many villagers
were able to further improve their income by productive activities. Debt and savings: The BIG
contributed to the reduction of household debt with the average debt falling from N$ 1 215 to
N$ 772 between November 2007 and November 2008. Six months after the BIG was introduced,
21% of the respondents reported saving some of the money. Savings were also reflected in the
increasing ownership of large livestock, small livestock and poultry. Housing and sanitation:
Some of the recipients reported using money to small renovation of their dwellings (e.g.
improving the roof or building extra rooms). Money was also used for purchasing items such as
blankets, stoves or toolboxes. Respondents and key informants reported improvements in
general cleanliness of the environment and personal hygiene of the residents. Social relations:
Before the introduction of the BIG, the community was highly fragmented and known for its bad
reputation amongst the local farmers. Many of the villagers had to beg for food from their
equally poor neighbours, which undermined their capacity to have normal social interactions
and relations. There were persistent conflicts both within the settlement and with the
surrounding commercial farmers. The levels of alcoholism and crime were high. After the
introduction of the BIG, begging practically ended and the villagers reported that they could visit
and speak freely to each other. All categories of economic crime fell substantially (of crimes
reported to the local police station, stock theft fell by 43%, other theft by nearly 20%, and illegal
hunting and trespassing by 95%). Since alcoholism still remained a problem, the community self-
organised an 18-member BIG committee (comprising local teachers, the nurse, the police, and
community members) to advise residents on spending their grants, to curb alcoholism and to
guide the pilot project within the community. The committee made an agreement with the local
bar (”shebeen”) owners not to sell alcohol on the day of the pay-out of the grants. In general,
the villagers reported significant improvements in the social relations of the community during
the BIG experiment.
Indian empirics prove UBI is wildly effective.
Perkiö, Johanna. "UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME." The Politics of Ecosocialism: Transforming
Welfare (2015): 137. https://www.routledge.com/The-Politics-of-Ecosocialism-Transforming-

Several NGOs in India have conducted pilot projects on universal unconditional cash transfers
over the last two years. The pilots were led by the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA),
a well-known trade union that has defended the rights of women with low incomes in India for
40 years. The first of the pilot projects, financed by the UNDP, was launched in 2010 in a low-
income district of Delhi. The residents were given a choice to continue receiving subsidised food
and kerosin in the existing scheme or to switch to an unconditional cash transfer of equivalent
value. Many initially chose the cash. The second project, financed by Unicef, took place in 20
villages in the state of Madhya Pradesh, which has the country’s highest levels of malnutrition
and largest indigenous population. The project randomly assigned 8 villages where everyone
received the grant, while the other similar 12 villages were used as a control group where no
one received the grant. The third pilot, with the extra financing from Unicef, was run in two
similar indigenous villages; one where everyone received the grant and one where no one did.
Every adult man and woman in the villages where pilot projects were conducted was given a
grant of 200 Rupees (about 3.75 US Dollars/2.80 Euros) per month and every child under the age
of 14 was given 100 Rupees per month. After one year, the amounts were increased to 300
Rupees for adults and 150 Rupees for children. The amount was equivalent to about 20 to 30%
of household income for the lower-income families. It was enough to make a difference in
meeting the basic needs but not enough to substitute paid employment. A total of about 6 000
individuals in eight villages received the grants for 12 to 17 months. Including the control
villages, the surveys covered over 15 000 individuals. In the selected villages, grants were
provided to every person registered as a resident at the outset of the project, the only
requirement being that they opened a bank account for the transfer of funds within three
months of the launch. Transfers for children under the age of 18 went to their mother or, if
there was no mother, a designated guardian. The grants had no conditions on how they were to
be spent. The situation before, during and after receiving the grants was evaluated by use of
three rounds of statistical surveys and a large set of case studies, comparing the changes in the
period with what happened to a control group that did not receive grants. Results. Nutrition and
diet: Cash grants reduced hunger and malnutrition and improved food sufficiency. Grant
recipients were significantly more likely to have enough income for their daily food needs than
those in the control group. Cash grants led to more varied diets, with greater relative
consumption of fruit and vegetables. In the indigenous village, grant recipients reported a sharp
rise in food sufficiency; the amount of households that reported that their income was sufficient
for their food needs increased from about 50% in the baseline to 78% and further to 82%. The
incidence of having insufficient food fell correspondingly. There was a significant reduction in
the proportion of malnourished children in the villages that received the cash grants. Income
grants were associated with an improvement in children’s weight-for-age, with the most
considerable effect being among young girls. Those receiving cash grants were not more likely
than others to increase their spending on “private bads” such as alcohol or tobacco. Health and
healthcare: Reception of cash grants was associated with lower incidence of illness, increased
spending on medical treatment and more regular intake of medicines. Improved health was
attributed mainly to an increased ability to afford medicines, although many recipients also
mentioned it was due to more or better food and reduced anxiety. The cash grant recipients
were more likely to use private clinics and acquire health insurance (though the number was still
small) than those without cash grants. Individualised cash grants also benefited those with
disabilities by giving them greater voice in how the household’s money was spent. School
attendance: School attendance of children in cash-grant-receiving households became three
times more regular than in the control villages. Cash recipients incurred greater expenditure on
schooling (including stationery, shoes, uniforms, basic equipment and school transport) of their
children than households which did not receive the cash grants. The researchers also observed
improvements in school performance: children’s school marks improved in 68% of the families
that received the grants. Grant-receiving households were more likely to send their children to
schools located at a greater distance from their homes or to the private schools. Cash grants
helped families to ensure that their children did non-school work that was less disruptive to
their schooling. This was particularly observed in the indigenous village. Economic activity: Cash
transfers were associated with an increase in labour and work, especially own-account work on
small farms. This effect was especially notable for women and for indigenous communities.
Households that received the cash grants were three times more likely to start a new business
or production activity than households that did not receive the cash grants. There was a relative
switch from wage labour to own-account farming and small-scale business, especially in the
indigenous village. The number of livestock owned by cash recipients and investments in
agricultural implements increased, contributing to better agricultural yield, improved nutrition,
as well as savings and insurance. Many families used cash grants to buy small items for
production, such as sewing machines, seeds and fertiliser. Debt and savings: Cash grants were
associated with a significant reduction in indebtedness, both because recipients used the money
to reduce existing debt and because they were able to avoid taking further debt. Those receiving
cash grants were more than twice as likely to reduce debt as those not receiving cash grants.
Cash grants also led to a significant increase in savings, even in households with debt.
Households often used the money to acquire financial liquidity. Opening bank accounts for
remitting the cash grants became in itself an important measure of financial inclusion. Housing
and sanitation: Recipients of cash grants were significantly more likely to make improvements to
their dwellings than those not receiving cash grants. The main improvements were to walls and
roofs, although improvement to latrines and investments in domestic appliances and items were
also widespread. The cash grants led to a switch to more preferred sources of energy for
cooking. In the indigenous village, cash grants were used by the recipients to construct new
dwellings (10%), repair old houses, switch to better drinking water sources e.g. by getting own
tube-wells, and shift to better lighting. Social relations: The researchers observed some
improvements in women’s status within the household and increased economic independence.
The cash transfer pilot projects in India have drawn enormous public and political interest.
Impressed by the positive results, the government has begun introducing new cash transfer
programs under the title of Direct Benefit Transfers in some parts of India. In addition, the
Government of the state of Madhya Pradesh has shown strong interest in cash transfer
programs and the Chief Minister of Delhi has already launched an unconditional cash transfer
scheme in her state. The cash transfers are intended to replace the existing programs of
subsidised food and kerosene and guaranteed employment. According to government’s own
estimate, those programs are very inefficient in reaching the target groups (only 27% of the
government’s spending eventually reaches the poor), market-distorting and deeply corrupted.
However, the implemented cash transfers are not universal, but targeted only to the low-
income groups. They have also been criticized for the excessive rush in implementation, design
faults and politicisation of the program.

Brazilian empirics from a variable system prove overwhelming poverty

Perkiö, Johanna. "UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME." The Politics of Ecosocialism: Transforming
Welfare (2015): 137. https://www.routledge.com/The-Politics-of-Ecosocialism-Transforming-

In 2003, the Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva combined several income transfer
programs into one guaranteed minimum income for poor families named Bolsa Família. All
families with per capita income below a given level have a right to an income supplement. The
amount of benefit varies according to the level of income of the family and the number of
children. The requirements for the recipients of Bolsa Família are the following: mothers who
are pregnant or nursing babies must present themselves for physical examinations at public
health care centers, children up to 6 years must receive vaccinations, children aged 7 to 16 must
attend school, attending at least 85% of the classes and adolescents from 16 to 18 years must
attend at least 75% of the classes.26 The Bolsa Família program has expanded from 3.5 million
families in December 2003 to 13.52 million families in August 2012, which means that more
than 1/4 of the Brazilians benefit from the program. The program has resulted in a significant
reduction in extreme poverty, and along with other economic policy instruments it has
contributed to a more equal income distribution. The Gini coefficient of Brazil has gradually
decreased from 0.581 in 2003 to 0.519 in 2012.27 In addition to Bolsa Família, Brazil is the first
country in the world that has enacted a law on basic income. The Law No. 10.835/2004 that
institutes a Citizen’s Basic Income (CBI) to all residents of Brazil was approved by the National
Congress in 2003 and sanctioned by president Lula da Silva in 2004. The law states: ”A monthly
benefit sufficient to meet the basic needs of a person is to be paid equally to all. This basic
income is to be introduced gradually, with the most needy attended to irst.” The law establishes
the Citizen’s Basic Income for all Brazilian citizens and foreigners who have resided in the
country for more than five years. However, the law has not yet been implemented and there is
no systematic plan for transforming Bolsa Família to Citizen’s Basic Income. The amount and
financing of Citizen’s Basic Income remain open questions.28 Bolsa Família has many qualities of
basic income and it has been interpreted as one step towards the implementation of Citizen’s
Basic Income program. The features that differentiate it from the definition of basic income are
that 1) it is granted on household (instead of individual) basis, 2) it contains (mild) conditions for
the recipients, and 3) it is targeted, i.e. paid only to low income families. Senator Eduardo
Suplicy from the Workers’ Party (PT), who has been the most active promoter of the idea of
basic income in Brazil, has proposed a gradual implementation of Citizen’s Basic Income
program beginning from the municipalities. Some development toward this direction has
already taken place; the mayor of the largest city of Brazil, São Paulo has endorsed the Citizen’s
Basic Income in his oficial program and the municipality of Santo Antonio do Pinhal with 6 600
inhabitants has approved a law that states that a Citizen’s Basic Income will be instituted step by
step for the residents of the municipality.29 Since 2008, the Brazilian NGO ReCivitas30 has run a
privately funded basic income pilot project in Quatinga Velho, a small agricultural community
approximately 30 km from São Paulo. All of the about 100 members of the community are
entitled to a monthly basic income of 30 Reals (about 17 US Dollars or 11.5 Euros). In March
2013 the number of recipients was 83. According to ReCivitas, many people in Quatinga Velho
have not been able to receive the Bolsa Família beneits due to bureaucracy and conditions for
the recipients. ReCivitas reports that basic income has improved the nutrition and health of the
villagers and supported their own microeconomic activity. The current president Dilma Rousseff
has announced that during her government there will be a transition from Bolsa Família to
Citizen’s Basic Income. However, the financing of basic income remains open question. The
budget of the Bolsa Família Program is about 0.46% of the GDP, whereas for Citizens’ Basic
Income, using the amount which would correspond to the current level of Bolsa Família (R$
70.00 per month per capita), the gross cost would increase to almost 4% of the GDP, which is
about eight times more. Senator Suplicy has proposed creating a fund which would contain 10%
of the stocks of federally owned companies, 50% of the royalties from the exploitation of
natural resources, 50% of the revenues of service concessions by the government, 50% of the
rents from federal government property and participation in Federal Tax Revenue – resources
that are currently used for other purposes.31 However, reducing the net cost of the program
would also require improved efficiency of earned income taxation. By senator Suplicy’s
initiative, the “Draft Basic Income Framework Law” (Ley Marco de La Renta Básica) was
approved by the General Session of the Parlatino (Parlamento Latino Americano), on November
30th, 2012 as a future direction in the development of countries in Latin America.32

A small California city is experimenting with UBI, it is gaining popularity.


The mayor of Stockton, California, is leading an experiment with “universal basic income,” which
is set to start by giving low-income residents $500 a month, no questions asked. Mayor Michael
Tubbs calls his city “ground zero” for issues like wage stagnation, rising housing prices and loss
of middle-class jobs that affect the nation. The Central Valley city went bankrupt in 2012, and
for decades it has been trying to diversify its agriculture-based economy. “I feel that as mayor
it’s my responsibility to do all I could to begin figuring out what’s the best way to make sure that
folks in our community have a real economic floor,” Tubbs said. Dorian Warren serves as co-
chairman the Economic Security Project, which is contributing $1 million to the initiative. He said
the goal is to gather data on the economic and social impacts of giving people a basic income. In
addition to tracking what residents do with the money, Warren said they will be monitoring how
a basic income affects things like self-esteem and identity. “What does it mean to say, ‘Here is
unconditional guaranteed income just based on you being a human being?'” Warren asked. The
hope is to demonstrate the potential of “universal basic income,” or UBI, as it is being called,
and to encourage other places to give it a try. UBI has recently gotten a boost from Silicon Valley
moguls concerned about income inequality and the future of society, but the idea isn’t actually
all that new, said Michelle Anderson, a Stanford law professor. “UBI was first pitched by Nixon
as an answer to post-industrial job losses,” she said. With this experiment, Anderson said
Stockton may discover it gets more economic stimulus by giving money to its citizens rather
than corporations it hopes will bring in jobs and tax revenue. “The UBI that is being proposed in
Stockton now is very small compared to the big corporate subsidies that cities like that engage
in,” Anderson said. Stockton racked up millions in debt on development projects in the past,
which got the city into trouble, said Tubbs. “We’ve overspent on things like arenas and marinas
and things of that sort to try to lure in tourism and dollars that way,” he said. Tubbs thinks the
UBI experiment will show that Stockton’s best bet is to invest in its own people.

UBI is being tested in Stockton, California and it has gained a lot of support.
ALIX LANGONE “This U.S. City Will Give Its Poorest People $500 a Month — No Strings Attached”
Time, 1/24/18 http://time.com/money/5114349/universal-basic-income-stockton/

The mayor of Stockton, Calif. wants to provide a universal basic income for the city’s poorest
residents. Starting this year, an experimental program called the Stockton Economic
Empowerment Demonstration (SEED) will pay $500 a month to a few hundred of the city’s low-
income residents, no strings attached. The idea behind universal basic income, or UBI, is to
provide a degree of economic security for the most vulnerable people in a community. The goal
is to counteract the destabilizing forces of globalization and technological innovation that have
lead to job loss and wage stagnation for countless workers, according to CNBC. A lot of big
names in Silicon Valley support UBI — Mark Zuckerberg advocated for the concept in his
commencement speech at Harvard in 2017. Another Facebook executive who supports
providing people with free money and no restrictions is Chris Hughes, who personally donated
$1 million to the Economic Security Project, a program he co-chairs, which will provide funding
for Stockton’s program to get off the ground this year. It’s no accident that much of the support
for UBI comes from Silicon Valley, where the potential for mass unemployment is starker than
most other places in the U.S. Major companies there are in neck-to-neck competition to create
labor-saving technologies — such as self-driving cars — that will inevitably replace greater
numbers of humans with automation and robots. Stockton is a town already facing these
problems — the city has been plagued by a lack of job opportunities, low wages and high
housing prices as Silicon Valley exploded around it, replacing once attainable middle-class
security with a job market that requires highly skilled workers and relies heavily on automation,
according to KQED News. The Bay Area city even had to declare bankruptcy in 2012. This slow
economic crumble is what inspired Michael Tubbs, the city’s 27-year-old mayor, to start SEED.
His own experience growing up in Stockton seeing his mother struggle to provide for their family
on a cashier’s job at a Discovery Zone, despite working long hours, made him realize something
had to change. “I think Stockton is absolutely ground zero for a lot of the issues we are facing as
a nation,” Tubbs said in an interview with KQED. UBI is not a new concept and support for it has
historically been partisan. Republican President Richard Nixon tested UBI in several cities from
1968 to 1971 and found it did not negatively affect work ethic. Civil Rights activist Martin Luther
King, Jr. also supported basic economic security for all Americans, believing racial and economic
inequality to be intimately intertwined. Other countries like Finland and Canada started to test
out UBI programs last year, but results from the experiments are not yet fully realized. If
Stockton’s SEED program yields promising results, it may put itself on the international map.
Workplace Violence
UBI ensures bargaining power, ends job lock, and reduces coercion in the
Mike Konczal “Thinking Utopian: How about a universal basic income?” The Washington Post.
May 11, 2013. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2013/05/11/thinking-

In light of the recent Oregon Medicaid study, several people have discussed the idea of taking
parts of the social insurance system and replacing them with cash benefits. This naturally brings
up the debate about whether it should be a policy goal for the United States to adopt a universal
basic income (UBI). These poverty-level targeted incomes are universal and unconditional, so
everyone would get them regardless of their income, status or work participation. Wonkblog’s
Dylan Matthews wrote an overview of universal basic incomes and some proposals for such a
system last year. Though establishing a basic income was once at the forefront of politics, it has
since become more of a Utopian, abstract project. But sometimes it is helpful to step back from
the day-to-day wonk work and think Utopian. First, what are some advantages of providing a
universal basic income? To those on the left, a UBI would create greater equality by ending
poverty and providing a minimum living standard. It would also increase bargaining power for
workers, who could demand better working conditions with a safety cushion. As Erik Olin Wright
argues in Envisioning Real Utopias, such bargaining power “will generate an incentive structure
for employers to seek technical and organizational innovations that eliminate unpleasant work,”
which would “have not just a labor-saving bias, but a labor-humanizing bias.” The fact that it is
universal is crucial. This eliminates income traps that can cause severe work disincentives. A UBI
answers the Foucauldian critique about the welfare state being a way for the state to stigmatize
and control marginalized populations. There are no state officials determining whether or not a
single mom “deserves” help or drug tests and other invasive, humiliating requirements. Others
see UBI as a way of recognizing the value of decommodified caregiving and other cooperative,
non-labor activities, by making sure there is space in the economy to both reward and carry
them out. Meanwhile, a few conservatives have advocated a form of basic income for a
different set of reasons. The right likes basic income because it would allow for the removal of
many overlapping and piecemeal government programs, such as food stamps and
unemployment insurance, as well as programs the government directly runs. Charles Murray
has advocated a universal basic income of $10,000 for every person, and paying for it by ending
Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, virtually all transfer programs and certain tax breaks. Also,
if you squint really hard, you could see a libertarian argument that a basic income compensates
for the private appropriation of common, natural resources. Eliminating poverty is an essential
part of any egalitarian project, and a universal basic income could finish that in one move. But
the question then becomes: What projects would still animate the left? And how would a
universal basic income influence those projects? One project would be to make sure merit
goods are sufficiently provided to everyone who needs them. There are certain goods that we
owe to each other -- education, health care, a secure retirement -- and it isn’t clear that the
private market is capable of providing a basic minimum across society. In addition, the
government has unique abilities that allow it to provide these goods more efficiently. Medicare
is able to hold down costs better than private insurance, and Social Security is working
significantly better than 401(k)s or private pensions in providing income security in old age.
These programs work very well, and as Ezra Klein noted, they are part of the solution, rather
than the problem, to providing health care and security in old age. If these programs were
removed in a tradeoff to get a universal basic income, it would be a significant step back. So
some people, like Barbara Bergmann here, think that we should focus on building a better
system of social insurance and public goods with the government’s limited resources, rather
than replacing it with a minimum income. Another somewhat related focus of the left is the
issue of decommodification, or whether certain goods should be provided through market logic.
As Naomi Klein argued in "Reclaiming the Commons," one goal for the left is to oppose “the
privatization of every aspect of life, and the transform¬ation of every activity and value into a
commodity.” This has a long history on the left; Daniel Rodgers argued that a major focus of
early 20th century progressives was “to hold certain elements out of the market's processes,
indeed to roll back those parts of the market whose social costs had proved too high.” According
to this line of thought, the goal isn’t to ensure a sufficient amount of market access and
purchasing power, but instead to remove markets from the way people interface with certain
goods, such as education or health care. As the welfare-state theorist Gøsta Esping-Andersen
argued, decommodification is defined as a situation in which “a service is rendered as a matter
of right, and when a person can maintain a livelihood without reliance on the market.” A UBI
would delink survival and subsistence from the labor market, advancing this goal. Another
project is to expand the say workers have in their workplaces. This includes not only
unionization, but also a more general project of democracy that doesn’t end once you walk
through your employer’s door. As Century Foundation Senior Fellow Richard Kahlenberg and
labor attorney Moshe Marvit have argued, labor organizing needs to be considered a basic civil
right. It seems clear that a universal basic income would help workers by giving them more
bargaining power. But others worry that a UBI would encourage workers to leave the labor force
rather than voice grievances and demands, and that it would make changing labor practices
more difficult. For instance, some feminists argue that a universal basic income would simply
reinforce and solidify an unjust gendered division of labor. In addition to social insurance, the
modern, post-New Deal state has two other large roles. There’s a regulatory role in setting the
rules of markets and checking market failures. And there’s a macroeconomic role, offsetting the
short-term business cycle and investing for long-term prosperity. A UBI would probably make
little difference in the regulatory functions of the state, but it could revolutionize the
macroeconomic ones. It’s an easy mechanism through which to stabilize aggregate demand
using helicopterdrops, and could force innovations and productivity gains by industry to balance
out workers’ new power. Given that we should consider it a major win if Congress makes it
through the year without the GOP forcing a default on the national debt, right now doesn’t
seem like the ideal time for Utopian thinking. But taking a moment to think Utopian shows that
the core projects of balancing what markets do in our economy and the general commitment to
democracy would still continue, and could even be amplified, with a universal basic income.
UBI fundamentally alters the relationship between the state and the individual.
It allows powerful freedom, and behavioral studies show improved cooperation
and less coercion.
Painter, Anthony, and Chris Thoung. "Creative citizen, creative state: the principled and
pragmatic case for a Universal Basic Income." London: RSA (2015).

Malcolm Torry of the Citizen’s Income Trust has a very simple definition: “A Citizen’s Income is
an unconditional and nonwithdrawable income for every individual. That definition never alters,
and if an income does not fit that definition then it is not a Citizen’s Income.”29 Taxation and
benefits are complex interlocking systems and can’t be seen in isolation. One of the challenges
in the current political discourse is that they have become separate entities in the conversation.
In fact, impacts on the individual or household come about as a result of the interaction of tax
and benefits. Some have pointed to similarities between Negative Income Tax type systems and
Basic Income. A Negative Income Tax is paid on an individual basis and Tax Credits are
withdrawn as earnings increase. Universal Credit and Tax Credits are sometimes confused with
Negative Income Taxes. However, as they are administered on a household basis they are in a
different category. For a Basic Income or Negative Income Tax to be effective the withdrawal
taper as earnings increase should not be too steep. In the case of Universal and Tax Credits the
taper can be as much as 80 percent or more. Our proposal is based on the Citizen’s Income Trust
2012-13 scheme with some important fiscal adaptations. Housing and disability are not included
in the model as a consequence. It is referred to here as the ‘RSA Basic Income’. We have chosen
the term Basic Income as it is the term that has become part of the international discourse
around Citizen’s Income-style systems. We also advocate a Basic Income rather than Negative
Income Tax as a Basic Income is more identifiable as an asset for the individual. It is a regular
amount people directly receive and it is clearly defined as opposed to being buried in a wage slip
as current Tax Credits can be. The RSA Basic Income has the following key design features: • It is
a payment made to every citizen on a universal basis. EU nationals would receive it only after
they had contributed to the system for a number of years as per prevailing EU law, and other
international migrants would receive it in accordance with existing access to benefits rules.
Those serving custodial sentences would not receive it until that sentence was concluded. • It
has a redistributive element from higher earners to families with children (some of whom are
higher earners). We outline possible ways this could be achieved for illustrative purposes. This
achieves a genuinely progressive tax system which is a prize in itself. • The weekly amount that
any working age person receives is a ‘basic’ amount. In other words, if they are fit and able to
work they would have a very strong incentive to do so. And they would not get trapped at low
or no earning levels. This contrasts very heavily with the current system. • All recipients over the
age of 18 could be required to be on the electoral register as a reinforcement of citizenship. •
One possible design feature is that each 18-25 year old would be expected to sign a public
‘contribution contract’. This contract is not with the Government but with their local
community. Receipt of the income will be dependent on this contract being signed. It will
commit the recipient to contribute to the extent they are able through earning, learning, caring
or setting up a business. Recipients will have to identify five witnesses, including two non-
immediate family members, to support them. It will bring people together. Every individual’s
contract will be published so all can see. It is designed as a positive affirmation to establish
norms, provide social support and underpin the contribution ethos. However, there should be
no state monitoring of these contracts and sanctions will not be imposed. The normative
features of the RSA Basic Income model are vital. Behavioural science tells us that reciprocity is
important but reciprocal relationships are more likely where there is an initial act of generosity.
We should try to avoid Basic Income becoming simply an impersonal welfare institution. Tying
its receipt, particularly in early adulthood, to a socially embedded contribution contract is,
therefore, advantageous. Behaviour insights can help develop the social aspect of the
institution. The contract is essentially a ‘commitment device’ – a self-imposed way of
encouraging oneself to achieve a certain goal (albeit one that is a requirement of the Basic
Income). A strong reinforcement of this is necessary. A whole series of social interventions can
be innovated as part of the system. The ‘peer’ support aspect of the system could be used to
help one achieve goals. It is even conceivable that where someone wanted a strong
commitment to achieve a certain goal (such as a learning goal) they could voluntarily agree to
route their Basic Income via a proxy individual or organisation (such as a college or employer)
who would release the funds as goals were achieved. A whole series of articulated commitments
and devices such as ‘if-then plans’ (eg “If it is Monday evening, then I will volunteer at the
Walthamstow Library”) could be innovated to reinforce the contributory element of the
scheme. This can be delivered through smart apps. Other than the published contribution
commitment and the naming of five witnesses, these ‘nudges’ would be voluntary. One elegant
proposal for a design feature of Basic Income comes from the economist, Robert Frank. He
proposes a system of supplementing Basic Income cash payments with offers of sub-minimum
wage employment in publicly useful roles. The work would have to be new roles rather than
replacement of current roles. The logic behind this idea is that the state is providing a Basic
Income so it is reasonable that it should be able to supplement that to provide useful work that
it wouldn’t otherwise be able to fund at a higher level. The individual benefits, the community
benefits, and public agencies and local authorities benefit. As Frank states: “Experiments have
demonstrated the existence of many useful tasks that can be performed by unskilled workers
with proper supervision. (Some examples: landscaping and maintenance in parks; transporting
the elderly and handicapped (sic); filling potholes in city streets; replacing burned out street
lamps; transplanting seedlings in erosion control projects; removing graffiti from public places;
painting government buildings; recycling newspapers and aluminium and glass containers; and
staffing day care centres). In combination, the Basic Income grant and the subminimum wage of
the public sponsored job would be just enough to clear the poverty threshold.”30 These various
design features bring the system into even greater alignment with prevailing moral and political
norms. In fact, with the design features above, there is little reason to see this system as any
less affordable or morally and politically aligned than the current system. And the strength of
Basic Income is the very strong work incentives it provides compared with the current system.
Furthermore, it either corrects or mitigates other defects of the current system that we have
identified: arbitrary punishment, state interference, and perpetual insecurity. In other words, it
is a system that provides a stronger underpinning for contribution alongside powerful
UBI allows autonomy and freedom and reorients the concept of dependence
and motherhood into liberatory pursuits.
Jacqueline O'Reilly, “Can a Basic Income Lead to a More Gender Equal Society?” Basic Income
Studies · January 2008,

Debates about BI have provided a rich set of proposals that have progressed a long way from
the initial idea of a universal citizens income, but is there danger, for example by proposing a
“fuzzy” policy design (De Wispelaere and Stirton, 2004), of weakening the distinctiveness of the
BI approach in comparison to other existing policies? Given the contested conception of
evaluating both equality and its outcomes, I am sceptical that BI could radically address all the
causes of gender inequality. In this note, I review debates about care and dependency, and
policies that encourage combinations of care and employment. My main argument is that BI is
trying to do too much; and is also evasive about the type of gender equality it is pursuing. A
number of feminist scholars have argued for a re-evaluation of the rewards and status given to
caring work. However, when discussing care we often end up distinguishing between make or
buy options. This reflects our distinction between public and private, paid and unpaid
provisions. These simple polar distinctions give the impression of an either/or choice: stay at
home and care, or go to work and pay someone else to do it for you. In reality, caregivers,
whatever combinations of choices they arrive at, always depend on a network of various formal
and informal (paid and unpaid) care arrangements (Ungerson, 1997). Variations in care packages
have an impact on the nature of gender equality agendas. For example, in the UK the
combination of part-time work and various private care provisions is more common than in
Finland or France, where women are more likely to work full-time and rely on state funded
infrastructures. In some countries, such as the UK, the issue of care is about affordability; in
other countries, such as the former West Germany, it is about the extent of provision and the
times of the day care is available. Work-care combinations also vary by ethnicity (Dale and
Holdsworth, 1998). Simple dichotomised choices about care options oversimplify the problem
and the contextualisation of differences in gender equality within and between countries
(Plantenga and Hansen, 1999). It is hard to see how a simple policy of BI could significantly
affect this tricky trade-off to facilitate greater independence of choice for different types of
women. In BI debates the spotlight tends to focus on the capacities of atomised, autonomous
individual decision makers. Depending on how we define equality, individualised choices can
exacerbate inequalities. The concepts of autonomy and independence have been critically
evaluated by a number of scholars (Fraser and Gordon, 1994; Kittay, 1999; Fineman, 2005). The
limits of an either-work-or-care option obfuscates the problem of dependency and the implied
autonomy of the independent worker. Their critique encourages us to look for relational
networks rather than atomised individual decision makers; this relational dependency is at the
heart of many aspects of gender inequalities. Taking the concept of interdependence as our
starting point encourages us to focus on transitions over the lifecycle. Kittay (1999) has
discussed this changing relationship in terms of reciprocity. However, this concept of personal
reciprocity differs from the problems of individual and societal reciprocity discussed in BI
debates. From Kittay’s perspective, we only have to think of our own journey through childhood,
adulthood and towards old age to illustrate how relations of dependency and independence
change. Throughout this journey interdependency characterises the lived social relations.
Although advocates of BI appreciate these differences, the solution (for some) is to provide a
consistent level of income over the life course. However, as Robeyns (2007) points out there are
no compensation mechanisms for temporary care, other than the “option” to lose one’s
immediate income with no other source of support than BI. Should we encourage recipients to
save their BI for a rainy day? Or is some other kind of additional care-support package required
to meet specific and differentiated needs as they arise? To acknowledge these timespecific
needs Robeyns (2007) argues that BI would need to be supplemented; for example, by child
benefits sufficient to cover child care costs, as BI alone would not cover such costs.

UBI fundamentally alters gender relations – it shifts the paradigm from the
male breadwinner model to the universal care giver model shifts wages and
power to women.
Erik Christensen, “Feminist Arguments in Favour of Welfare and Basic Income in Denmark,”
SEPTEMBER 2002 BIEN 9th International Congress,

This model is based on extended social citizenship and contains “a universal basic income
scheme” (ibid.: 615). It represents a deconstruction of the opposition in the gender roles in both
the universal breadwinner model and the care giver parity model, and thus also deconstructs
the opposition between a bureaucratic, public institutional model and a private family model. In
a later version of the article in Political Theory (1994), which appears in the book Justice
Interruptus (Fraser, 1997), she names this model the “universal care 16 giver model.” The
purpose is to not only balance the relationship between wage work and care, but precisely to
dissolve the opposition between what she calls the “workerism” of the universal breadwinner
model and the “domestic privatism” of the care giver parity model. The universal care giver
model puts much more emphasis on civil society and stimulates men to emulate women. The
key is that you cannot change a dualism without deliberately changing both elements. Fraser
calls her third strategy a deconstructive strategy for many of the dualisms in the industrial
society. This implies a deconstruction of gender, as we know it. Fraser does not say much about
the specific design of a basic income. She admits that it will probably be expensive, “and hence
hard to sustain at a high level of quality and generosity.” Some social scientists worry about free
riding, which Fraser rejects as a typical male concern: “The free-rider worry, incidentally, is
typically defined androcentrically as a worry about shirking paid employment. Little attention is
paid, in contrast, to a far more widespread problem, namely, men’s free riding on women’s
unpaid domestic labour” (Fraser, 1994: 615). Basic income would be a good way to stop this
widespread free rider problem. It is noteworthy that her reference to the basic income (in the
1994 article) has “disappeared” in the 1997 version of the article. Elsewhere, Fraser talks about
basic income as “a fully social wage” (Fraser 1993), and about developing Marshall’s idea about
social citizenship based on genuine rights so that “benefits must be granted in forms that
maintain people’s status as full members of society entitled to ‘equal respect’” (ibid.: 21). On
the other side, we find the neo-conservatives with an “antisocial wage”, and the neoliberals
with a “quasi-social wage.” Both are based on a heightened obligation to work in return for
social benefits (“workfare”). The vision of a universal care giver model with a basic income is
“highly utopian,” as Fraser says. But when she sees it as “a thought experiment,” it is because
the universal breadwinner and the care giver parity models are not utopian enough. With
reference to André Gorz, Fraser sees the basic income model as implying radical social change.

Women are more likely to be poor globally, a UBI would help women,
especially in the US, escape poverty.
JESSICA FLANIGAN, “The Feminist Case for a Universal Basic Income” Slate, 1/25/18

The case for a basic income, a policy that would give all citizens cash payments at regular
intervals throughout their lives, is gaining traction. Prominent tech entrepreneurs like Elon
Musk, academics across the ideological spectrum from Philippe Van Parijs to Charles Murray,
labor organizers like Andy Stern, and policymakers such as Michael Tubbs, the 27-year-old
mayor of Stockton, California, support basic income policies as a way of reducing poverty and
mitigating the negative impact of unemployment due to automation. But they understate the
feminist case for giving people cash. Proponents of the UBI would do well to acknowledge the
gender implications of the policy, and feminists, in turn, should throw their support behind the
movement. Here are the top three reasons UBI is a feminist cause: 1. Women Are More Likely to
Be Poor Globally, women are more likely to live in extreme poverty than men. In the United
States, women as a group are poorer than men due to the economic burdens associated with
caregiving and the segregation of women into “pink-collar” industries that typically pay less than
male-dominated industries. One of the main benefits of implementing a UBI in the U.S. and
elsewhere is that giving people cash is a relatively direct and effective way to fight poverty. The
basic income is also a matter of economic justice for women as a whole. While capitalism has
been beneficial to women on balance, the current system reflects historical patterns of female
exclusion from labor markets and policies that denied property rights to women. For example,
throughout the 19th century and into the 20th century, married women lacked legal protections
for their property rights under the legal doctrine of coverture. And until the 1980s, husbands
retained unilateral control over marital property in some jurisdictions. As I have argued
elsewhere, a UBI would make capitalism more just by compensating those who live with the
legacy of historical and enduring economic injustices. And because a basic income would make
the decision to work more voluntary, women would no longer choose to remain in toxic jobs
solely because they can’t afford not to. In this way, a UBI could address gender-based
mistreatment in workplaces. By freeing women of their economic dependence on employers, a
UBI would also improve women’s bargaining positions, enabling them to negotiate for more
flexible hours or better conditions. But a UBI would not discourage work to an extent that would
undermine the economy. People would still need to work to afford most consumer goods and
luxuries. And unlike minimum wage requirements, touted by Fight for $15 activists, a UBI
neither raises the cost of employing low-income workers relative to other workers nor
disproportionately burdens employers to provide a decent standard of living for people in their
communities. With an even starting ground, the opportunities to move beyond the lowest-
paying work could be more readily available to marginalized workers who’ve been left out for
too long.
A UBI would provide women with autonomy and allow them to achieve what is
best for them and their families.
JESSICA FLANIGAN, “The Feminist Case for a Universal Basic Income” Slate, 1/25/18

Women Could Make Unfettered Decisions About How to Structure Their Families and Lives Child
care is extraordinarily expensive, and women, especially single moms, end up shouldering an
enormous burden for this cost. Some parents who would prefer to work are unable to because
they cannot afford quality child care for their kids. Women are more likely to leave the
workforce for this reason than men. A UBI for mothers and children would enable women who
want to work to pay for child care. In addition, a UBI (including child benefits) would formally
recognize and reward socially valuable labor that people currently perform outside of the paid
economy, such as caregiving for children, disabled people, and elderly relatives. The UBI could
amount to “wages for housework,” something feminists in the 1970s pushed for. Furthermore,
because a UBI aims to pay all individuals and not households, it allows people to make decisions
about marriage and cohabitation based their intrinsic desires, not based on tax policies such as
the “marriage penalty” that working couples currently face or means-tested welfare programs
that withhold benefits from women when their household income increases after marriage. A
further benefit for families? With an added, guaranteed boost to their income, women in
abusive relationships would have the financial security to leave, even if they lack qualifications
or credentials that would enable them to support themselves and their families. UBI would do
more than almost any other economic policy imaginable to make women less susceptible to
abuse both in the workplace and at home.

UBI would help fight paternalistic policies that are in place in the status quo.
JESSICA FLANIGAN, “The Feminist Case for a Universal Basic Income” Slate, 1/25/18

3. Respect: Universal, Rather Than Targeted Assistance, Will Defy Stereotypes Historically,
feminists not only critiqued outright sexism but also the paternalism of efforts to protect
women from the world by robbing them of their autonomy. Paternalism has long been used to
justify policies that limit women’s and other marginalized people’s choices, like bans on
abortion, or sex work, or women working in dangerous industries, on the grounds that they are
incapable of deciding for themselves how to live their lives. Today, many social policies in the
U.S. are influenced by extremely paternalistic thinking that perpetuates discriminatory
stereotypes about women’s abilities to make informed and reasonable decisions for themselves.
Conservative complaints about welfare recipients spending benefits on junk food and luxuries
have been part of a more general racialized narrative, which has informed existing welfare
policy and also perpetuated offensive and stigmatizing stereotypes about members of
marginalized groups, especially women of color. But liberals who support limiting the provision
of benefits to housing, food, and health care are subject to the same charges of paternalism
when they advocate for in-kind benefit policies (such as food transfers and food vouchers) that
perpetuate a politics of suspicion and mistrust, instead of supporting cash benefit programs.
Most of the arguments against UBI also ring of paternalism. How could we trust that low-income
women would use the money to do the things I’ve detailed here? Low-income people, like the
rest of their fellow citizens, are generally the best judges of whether a profession or purchase is
in their overall interest, and the evidence suggests that recipients of cash transfers generally
spend their income on necessities. Trusting women and all people with the right to spend their
money how they see fit, as UBI allows, would push back against decades of paternalistic social
policy. UBI activists still disagree about whether UBI is a right or a benefit, whether it should be
provided in addition to or instead of other benefits, and about how large the UBI should be. But
the core case in favor of the UBI—that it has the potential to significantly alleviate poverty and
liberate all citizens from many of the injustices associated with the current economic order—is a
case that all feminists should get behind.

A basic income uncouples employment from the worth of a citizen- it allows for
individual pursuits that redevelop the notion of wealth and success. The basic
income is the only way to uncouple citizenship from labor and employment.
Pateman, Carole. “Democratizing Citizenship: Some Advantages of a Basic Income.” Politics
Society (2004); 32; 89. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0032329203261100
The second consequence, and a crucial difference between basic income and stakeholding, is
that a basic income would give citizens the freedom not to be employed. Both a basic income, if
set at the appropriate level, and a capital grant would provide enlarged opportunities for
individuals, but the opportunities pro- vided by a basic income would be far wider than those
offered by a stake, since the new opportunities would not be confined to the competitive
market. A basic income, like a stake, would make it possible for anyone (at any point in their life,
not merely while they are young) to go back to school, to retrain for a new occupation, or to
open a business. But a basic income providing a modest but decent standard of living would do
much more. ¶ In The Constitution of Liberty, Friedrich von Hayek—like G. D. H. Cole from a very
different point on the political spectrum—argued that employment fostered an outlook among
employees that was an impediment to freedom. The employed, he wrote, are “in many respects
. . . alien and often inimical to much that constitutes the driving force of a free society.”20 His
solution was that there should be as many gentlemen of private means as possible to counteract
the deleterious effect of employment. In effect, such gentlemen have large basic incomes, albeit
not provided by a government. At a very much lower level of resources a basic income
democratizes the freedom open to a gentlemen of private means to spend time in scholarly
pursuits, good works, writing poetry, cultivating friendships, hunting, or being a drone or a
wastrel. A basic income would allow individuals at any time to do voluntary or political work, for
example, to learn to surf, to write or paint, to devote themselves to family life, or to have a
quiet period of self-reassessment or contemplation. ¶ By opening up this range of opportunities
and uncoupling income and standard of life from employment, a basic income has the potential
both to encourage critical reassessment of the mutually reinforcing structures of marriage,
employment, and citizenship and to open the possibility that these institutions could be remade
in a new, more democratic form. A capital grant given to young people with the aim of assisting
individual economic success lacks the same potential. In The Stakeholder Society, Ackerman and
Alstott argue that a stake encourages individuals, in a way that a basic income cannot, to reflect
upon what they want to do with their lives, and appraise their situation. “Civic reflection” and
attention to “the fate of the nation” become possible when economic anxieties are lifted.21 A
“purer form of patriotism” will arise out of the “simple gratitude to the nation” that citizens will
feel as they think about their capital grant and the debt that they owe to their country for the
economic citizenship that comes with stakeholding.22 ¶ Patriotism and gratitude, however,
have only a tenuous connection to individual freedom. Provision of a one-time capital grant will
no doubt encourage individuals to consider what courses of action are open to them, and might
even foster reflection on the debt they owe to their country. But it seems implausible that it
would help promote reflection on the political implications of the structural connections
between marriage, employment, and citizenship. Both the wide variety of opportunities made
possible when employment becomes truly voluntary and the fact that women’s freedom would
be greatly enhanced mean that, unlike a stake, a basic income has the potential to open the
door to institutional change— providing that democratization is at the forefront of discussion
and that feminist arguments are taken seriously. ¶ The freedom not to be employed runs
counter to the direction of much recent public policy and political rhetoric (especially in Anglo-
American countries, though the policies are international), and this makes stakeholding more
palatable than basic income in the current political climate. The effect of such policies and
rhetoric is to draw even tighter the long-standing link between employment and citizenship, at
the very time when a reassessment has been made possible by changing circumstances. The
institution of employment is a barrier to democratic freedom and citizenship in two ways. First,
economic enterprises have an undem- ocratic structure, a point that I shall not pursue here.23
Second, as feminist scholars have demonstrated, the relationship between the institutions of
marriage, employ- ment, and citizenship has meant that the standing of wives as citizens has
always been, and remains, problematic. ¶ The Anglo-American social insurance system was
constructed on the assump- tion that wives not only were their husbands’ economic dependents
but lesser citi- zens whose entitlement to benefits depended on their private status, not on their
citizenship. Male “breadwinners,” who made a contribution from their earnings to “insure” that
they received benefits in the event of unemployment or sickness, and in their old age, were the
primary citizens. Their employment was treated as the contribution that a citizen could make to
the well-being of the community. Ackerman and Alstott acknowledge this in their criticism of
“workplace jus- tice,”24 and their recognition that unconditional retirement pensions would be
par- ticularly important for the many older women whose benefits still largely derive from their
husbands’ employment record.25 That is to say, only paid employment has been seen as
“work,” as involving the tasks that are the mark of a productive citizen and contributor to the
polity. Other contributions, notably all the work required to reproduce and maintain a healthy
population and care for infants, the elderly, the sick, and infirm—the caring tasks, most of which
are not paid for and are undertaken by women—have been seen as irrelevant to citizenship.
UBI has revolutionary potential and can challenge capitalism.
Felix Ling, " The Revolutionary Potential Of A Universal Basic Income Cannot Be Over-
Estimated.” January 29, 2018. https://labourlist.org/2018/01/140223/

The Labour Party should adopt a universal basic income as can act as a catalyst for a radical
transformation to an egalitarian society based on community, sharing and the rejection of
materialism. The debate around an unconditional payment to all citizens, regardless of income
or wealth, has its many questions and caveats; what we mean by universal, what level to set it
at, and how to factor in benefits for those with additional needs. John McDonnell has said
Labour is considering it. Yet, however it is formulated, it is the general principle of the
universality and unconditionally of a basic income which is inherently within our socialist
principles. Then again, there are objections from those who would counter that there cannot be
a reward without any responsibility. After all, the question which jumps to many people’s minds
is: why should the rich receive the exact same benefits as the poor? These objections are deep
routed in the history of Labour Party welfare policymaking but, to inspire a genuine and radical
transfer of wealth and power, we need a radical break from conditional welfare policies and
from the traditional perception of the purpose of welfare spending. Firstly, a basic income could
be partly paid for by higher progressive income and wealth taxes, thus making it a tool of
significant wealth distribution. Secondly, we do not base access to the NHS, or to state
education, or to fire and rescue on how deserving people are, nor on their contribution to
society. We grant these services even to the wealthiest, because it is their right as members of
society. Everyone have access to these services from the state as a recognition of their equal
rights as a human being. The universality of the basic income is inherently egalitarian, as it
emphasises community and sharing. The stigma attached to means-tested welfare is palpable
and can place the recipient in a category separate to their peers. For example, the provision of
free school meals for all children reduces the stigma around receiving free school lunches. The
universality of the basic income therefore produces consent for the overall system. Everyone
benefits and so everyone is willing to defend the right to keep the benefit. For those who do not
receive a benefit, they do not feel the pain when parliament vote to reduce it and so providing
benefits universally ensures right-wing governments struggle to remove them by attempting to
divide and rule. A basic income would transform the traditional view that state welfare is
primarily a supplement or a way to alleviate unemployment, always with the implication that it
would be ideal if you were not receiving money from the state. This creates the perception that
sections of welfare spending are a form of market correction, a temporary necessity designed to
“help those help themselves”. A basic income is given with the recognition of an individual’s
right to their portion of the wealth of the country in which they play a part. It places welfare as a
universal right of citizenship, such as the ability to vote – you may not use it, you may use it in
ways others think foolish, but it is your right as a member of society to have that opportunity.
And the revolutionary potential of a basic income cannot be over-estimated, as seen in Philippe
Van Parijs’ argument that the policy could provide a “capitalist road to communism”. The theory
is one of radical transformation. If a basic income ensures a reasonable standard of living
without work, then wages for undesirable work would begin to rise, while also lowering wages
for more desirable work. This inspires capitalist technical innovation as wages for undesirable
jobs rise. People are no longer compelled to sell their labour to the market, the compulsive
element of employment is removed for many and thus the power to discipline workers with the
threat of unemployment is greatly diminished. Consequently, more and more work becomes
fully automated, as technology becomes cheaper than workers. Intuitively, this sounds like a
disaster for many but in the long term, people are less dependent on the basic income and
money as more products can be produced instantaneously and virtually for free, as technology
trends towards 3D printers and infinitely replicable digital technology. With less money used the
very basis for a basic income is therefore reduced, and the very basis of money itself is
compromised. The pathway to a radical egalitarian society is possible. All this would require co-
ordination with a truly radical political movement to ensure certain outcomes but it could well
to lead to a form of social and economic emancipation. If Labour are looking for more radical
ideas for the welfare system, then adopting a universal basic income is the natural next step.

A UBI can help fight low and large-scale capitalism.

Goodman, Peter “Capitalism Has a Problem. Is Free Money the Answer?” New York Times,
11/15/17 https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/15/business/dealbook/universal-basic-

In much of the world, angry workers denounce a shortage of jobs paying enough to support
middle-class life. Economists puzzle over the fix for persistently weak wage growth, just as
robots appear poised to replace millions of human workers. At the annual gathering of the
global elite in the Swiss resort of Davos, billionaire finance chieftains debate how to make
capitalism kinder to the masses to defuse populism. Enter the universal basic income. The idea is
gaining traction in many countries as a proposal to soften the edges of capitalism. Though the
details and philosophies vary from place to place, the general notion is that the government
hands out regular checks to everyone, regardless of income or whether people are working. The
money ensures food and shelter for all, while removing the stigma of public support. Some posit
basic income as a way to let market forces work their ruthless magic, delivering innovation and
economic growth, while laying down a cushion for those who fail. Others present it as a means
of liberating people from wretched, poverty-level jobs, allowing workers to organize for better
conditions or devote time to artistic exploits. Another school sees it as the required response to
an era in which work can no longer be relied upon to finance basic needs. “We see the
increasing precariousness of employment,” said Karl Widerquist, a philosopher at Georgetown
University in Qatar, and a prominent advocate for a universal social safety net. “Basic income
gives the worker the power to say, ‘Well, if Walmart’s not going to pay me enough, then I’m just
not going to work there.’ ”In much of the world, angry workers denounce a shortage of jobs
paying enough to support middle-class life. Economists puzzle over the fix for persistently weak
wage growth, just as robots appear poised to replace millions of human workers. At the annual
gathering of the global elite in the Swiss resort of Davos, billionaire finance chieftains debate
how to make capitalism kinder to the masses to defuse populism. Enter the universal basic
income. The idea is gaining traction in many countries as a proposal to soften the edges of
capitalism. Though the details and philosophies vary from place to place, the general notion is
that the government hands out regular checks to everyone, regardless of income or whether
people are working. The money ensures food and shelter for all, while removing the stigma of
public support. Some posit basic income as a way to let market forces work their ruthless magic,
delivering innovation and economic growth, while laying down a cushion for those who fail.
Others present it as a means of liberating people from wretched, poverty-level jobs, allowing
workers to organize for better conditions or devote time to artistic exploits. Another school sees
it as the required response to an era in which work can no longer be relied upon to finance basic
needs. “We see the increasing precariousness of employment,” said Karl Widerquist, a
philosopher at Georgetown University in Qatar, and a prominent advocate for a universal social
safety net. “Basic income gives the worker the power to say, ‘Well, if Walmart’s not going to pay
me enough, then I’m just not going to work there.’ ” The universal basic income is clearly an idea
with momentum. Early this year, Finland kicked off a two-year national experiment in basic
income. In the United States, a trial was recently completed in Oakland, Calif., and another is
about to launch in nearby Stockton, a community hard-hit by the Great Recession and the
attendant epidemic in home foreclosures.

A UBI blurs the distinction between work and non-work, affirming the
possibility of creative and affective production outside of capital.
Hardt, Michael. "Guaranteed Income, or, the Separation of Labor from Income." Hybrid. Vol. 5.
2000. http://scholarship.law.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1042&context=jlasc

The proposals of a citizenship income and global citizenship are likely to arouse fearful specters.
It will be feared that some people will choose to live simply on the guaranteed income without
working and that the residents of the poor countries will come live in our rich countries - or, in
combination, that the poor from around the world will come to live idly on our generous
handouts! That would be the end of our way of life as we know it' Well, the fears of these new
freedoms might be greatly exaggerated. There are many reasons why people resist migration,
and would continue to do so even with global citizenship. We are each tied to our local contexts
by affective networks, family relations, landscape, and many other factors. Migration always has
to overcome great resistances. In the case of guaranteed income, there is no reason to assume
that we would cease to create and produce when income is no longer linked to labor. There are
enormous pleasures in production and creativity that all too often eclipsed by the pain and
tedium of work. Here is where I think merely the proposal of a separation of income from labor
would be enormously beneficial for its destruction of the ideology of work. It would force us to
recognize the value and satisfaction of productive activity outside of the confines of waged
labor. It would force us to blur and destroy the distinctions between work and nonwork. Lucie
White's analysis of Elaine Preston, a welfare recipient who describes herself as lazy, is
fascinating in this regard.4 Lucie White points out rightly that laziness is a form of defense
against a series of bad options facing Elaine Preston. I would say, using somewhat different
terms, that laziness is an expression of the refusal of work that extends throughout a variety of
social practices. Consider, for example, of Robin Kelley's description of how he and his friends
working at McDonalds moved on "CP" time, colored people's time, a kind of laziness that was
explicitly conceived as a refusal of work that spread throughout the Black U.S. working class.'
This kind of refusal of work, which I see consolidated juridically in a guaranteed income, must be
accompanied by an affirmation-an affirmation of social creativity and production outside of
wage work. The proposal or even establishment of a guaranteed income would thus not be the
end but only the point of departure for this most important task.
Automation and AI has made a world without work a possibility – UBI
jumpstarts that.
Andrew Keen, “Stop working, universal basic income is ready to go mainstream.” Wired. January
12, 2018. http://www.wired.co.uk/article/universal-basic-income-y-combinator-andrew-keen

Universal basic income (UBI) is a 500-year-old idea that will finally go mainstream in 2018.
Invented by Sir Thomas More in Utopia, his 1516 "no place" imagining of the perfect society, UBI
is the idea that the government should provide all its citizens with a living wage, irrespective of
whether they work or not. Over the past 500 years, UBI is an idea that has been revisited many
times - most notably in the mid-19th century by Karl Marx, who imagined a post-capitalist
industrial economy of such collective wealth that it would leave all of us free to "hunt in the
morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening and criticise after dinner". But, for all
its political seductiveness, UBI has never really convinced anyone except radical idealists such as
More and Marx. So why is this rather kooky 500-year-old idea about to go mainstream? The
answer, as with everything else these days, is smart technology. Known broadly as artificial
intelligence, it is about to change the 21st-century world as radically as industrial technology
changed the 19th-century world. Most troubling is that the smart machine is about to replace
human labour in every area - from manual to highly skilled jobs such as medicine, law and
teaching. Over the next quarter of a century, it will make many of us, perhaps even most of us,
redundant. Climate change is the greatest technological issue of our age. The trauma is
expected to be epochal. In a much-cited white paper, two Oxford University economists predict
47 per cent of jobs in the US will be at risk over the next 20 years. Elsewhere, a 2017 McKinsey
report suggests smart technology could eliminate half of today's jobs by 2035. So how will 50
per cent of humanity survive if they have no jobs? Thus the renaissance of the idea that the
government should provide all citizens with a living wage. UBI is back in vogue. In 2016, the
Swiss held a (defeated) referendum on implementing UBI nationally. In January 2017, Finland
began a two-year pilot to provide a guaranteed income to 2,000 unemployed citizens. European
cities including Utrecht and Livorno, as well as Ontario in Canada, have launched similar trials in
2017. The year 2018 will be critical for UBI because the idea is about to be embraced by the
powers-that-be in Silicon Valley. The idea has already been supported by Mark Zuckerberg and
Elon Musk. Sam Altman, the wunderkind CEO of the seed accelerator Y Combinator, has co-
founded an institute committed to investing $10 million (£7.5m) in UBI projects in 2018 and
2019. Altman has also funded a basic-income project in Oakland, the city on the other side of
the San Francisco Bay. Stanford, the university which spawned Hewlett-Packard and Google, is
creating a Basic Income Lab to study the idea further. Add all this together and we will have
arrived at Malcolm Gladwell's "tipping point". This is the hard-to-quantify moment when an idea
catches fire and becomes mainstream. In 2018, with Silicon Valley's intellectual and financial
might behind it, UBI will take the centre stage in our discussions about a smart future
dominated by technological unemployment. Progressive American politicians will embrace it.
Experiments currently occurring in Finland and elsewhere around the world will be transformed
into more formal policy initiatives. It's taken 500 years to get to this point, but 2018 will be the
year of universal basic income. Utopia will finally become a reality.
UBI helps adjust to automation.
Shanta Devarajan, “Three reasons for universal basic income.” Brookings Institute. February 15,
2017. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/future-development/2017/02/15/three-reasons-for-

Adjusting to labor-saving technologies. Advances in artificial intelligence, robotics, and other

technologies have called into question the future of work. The dilemma is that with these
technologies productivity will increase but many people will lose their jobs (self-driving trucks
are an example). Managing this transition is difficult from an economic, political, and moral
viewpoint. A system where part of the increase in productivity is taxed, and then distributed as
cash transfers to all citizens, whether they are working or not, could help resolve some of the
tension. The programs being piloted or proposed in Finland, Switzerland, and New Zealand are
essentially aimed in this direction. They challenge the basic notion that you earn your income by
working in a job. While this notion has been around at least since the Industrial Revolution,
perhaps it needs to be revisited in light of rapid changes in technology. We could envision a
society where productivity is high enough that everyone receives a basic minimum income, and
people choose to work on whatever they’re good at (including not working at all).
UBI helps improve mental health and positive behavioral changes.
Anthony Painter, “A Universal Basic Income: the Answer to Poverty, Insecurity, and Health
Inequality?” The BMJ, 2016, http://www.bmj.com/content/355/bmj.i6473

Recently, there have been increasing calls for dialogue on a universal basic income (UBI) from
political parties, think tanks (including the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts,
Manufactures, and Commerce (RSA)), civic activists, trade unions, and leading entrepreneurs
such as Tesla chief executive Elon Musk. These calls are a response to growing income
insecurity, some sense that welfare systems may be failing, and as a preparation for the
potential effects of automation and artificial intelligence on employment prospects in industries
that might be better served by machines.3 UBI-style pilots are planned in Finland, the
Netherlands, and Canada as a potential answer to these questions and concerns.4 While the
Dauphin study included just the poorest residents of one small city, if we assume that it
indicates a causal link between extra cash and better health then three effects could have been
in play. Firstly, the cash sum itself would have reduced economic inequality directly. Secondly,
the unconditional nature of the payment could have reduced income insecurity. Thirdly, there is
a positive social multiplier whereby positive behaviours associated with greater financial
security tend to reinforce one another—for example, more teenagers staying on in school
because they see their peers doing likewise. Taken together, these effects could mean that
financial insecurity is a key vector through which inequality worsens health outcomes for the
least advantaged. It is certainly a serviceable hypothesis. Dauphin was not an isolated study. A
little known, unintentional, basic income pilot took place in North Carolina during the 1990s.
Four years into a longitudinal comparative mental health study of Cherokee American Indian
and non-American Indian children from ages 9 to 16, a casino was built on Cherokee land. As
part of the deal, all Cherokee Indian adults received a share of the profits—roughly $4000 per
year each. The results were again striking. Children whose families received the payments
showed significantly better emotional and behavioural health by age 16 relative to their non-
tribal peers, who did not receive payments. Parents also reported that the drug and alcohol
intake of their partners decreased after the payments began.5 These reported changes among
adults were uncontrolled observations, but the researchers noted no other major policy changes
during the study. Mullainathan and Shafir describe a process of cognitive “bandwidth scarcity”
whereby scarcity of resources impedes sound decision making with clear potential for negative
health outcomes.6 The Canadian and North Carolina case studies suggest that bandwidth
scarcity could be confronted through an unconditional universal basic income. Complex systems
of tax credits and social security, such as currently used in the UK, send confusing signals, not
least through poorly understood and sometimes arbitrary conditions and welfare sanctions that
create new hardships for recipients. Health professionals should be concerned. The evidence
suggests that a universal basic income could help improve recipients’ mental and physical
health. The RSA has already called for a trial of a universal basic income in the UK.7 It would give
people a better foundation and greater control over their lives in and out of work. Failure to test
this promising intervention in a rigorous way would be a failure of government and a missed
opportunity to invest in the health and wellbeing of an increasingly insecure and unequal
The Lockean Proviso of ‘enough and as good as’ be left in order for an
acquisition to be legitimate justifies a basic income, because it imposes an
obligation on those who acquire too much to rectify that unjust arrangement.
By taxing acquisition of natural resources and redistributing through a basic
income, it rectifies unjust property acquisitions through privatization.
Moseley, Daniel, A Lockean Argument for Basic Income (June 25, 2011). Basic Income Studies,
Vol. 6, No. 2, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1872580

John Locke sketches a compelling account of the basis of private property rights in Chapter Five,
“Of Property,” of The Second Treatise of Government. Locke‟s account of private property rights
suggests a two-fold structure of rights. 16 First, Locke claims, human beings collectively own
natural resources: “God, who hath given the World to Men in common, hath also given them
reason to make use of it to the best advantage of Life, and convenience.” (Paragraph 25)17 One
important feature of Locke‟s account of the collective ownership of natural resources, i.e.,
world-ownership, is that it does not require joint-ownership, which is the doctrine that all
persons must collectively grant permission to individuals for those individuals to legitimately
acquire private property.18 Locke affirms world-ownership and he rejects the assumption
(endorsed by Filmer, Grotius and Pufendorf) that world-ownership requires joint ownership. The
natural right of world-ownership consists in an entitlement-right of individuals to make use of
natural resources in order to sustain and support themselves. According to this reading of Locke,
natural resources are not unowned in the state of nature prior to their acquisition: they are not
privately owned but they are commonly owned in the sense that all persons have the right to
acquire goods from “the commons.” Second, Locke endorses the libertarian rights of full self-
ownership and private property: “Though the Earth, and all inferior Creatures be common to all
men, yet every Man has a Property in his own Person. This no Body has any Right to but himself.
The Labour of his Body, and the Work of his Hands, we may say, are properly his.” (Paragraph
27). Locke‟s claim that “Man has a Property in his own Person” suggests that persons have the
moral power to acquire private property, and Locke‟s point that the fruits of one‟s “Labour” are
one‟s legitimate property suggests that the moral power of acquisition is realized by “mixing
one‟s labour” with natural resources. World-ownership is a central component of Locke‟s
theory of rights because it explains how individuals are entitled to acquire natural resources
from “the commons.” If the items are not owned, then on what basis do individuals have a right
to acquire them? World-ownership is a crucial feature of this conception of rights, because
without it, it is unclear how individuals would be entitled to make rightful claims to property if
they had no right to acquire it. Without world-ownership, individuals are not entitled to the
fruits of their labor, because those acts of creation would consist in using materials that
individuals have no right to use. The right of world-ownership implies that all persons have a
right to make use of natural resources so that they can fully live. According to this reading of
Locke, the right to acquire natural resources and to make use of them is justified because
persons have a common title to natural resources.19 World-ownership is one of the main
reasons for the Lockean Proviso that “enough and as good be left for others.”20 Locke does not
defend a locust morality that consists in the unbridled acquisition of goods. The Lockean Proviso
places strong limits on the moral power acquisition. Since world-ownership states that all
individuals have an equal right to the natural resources that are necessary for life, world-
ownership establishes limits on the moral power of acquisition. Moreover, the excessive
acquisition of natural resources may violate others‟ natural right against coercion, and when
that occurs those victims should be compensated for their loss of freedom.21 All persons own
the value of natural resources and individuals that appropriate excessive shares of the value of
natural resources owe everyone else for transgressing their entitlement-share, and the revenue
generated from taxing the excessive use of natural resources should be distributed, in equal
shares, to all persons that are not exceeding their use of natural resources. Providing everyone
with a BI that is financed by taxing the value of land is one intuitively plausible way to
compensate those individuals whose freedom is restricted by the privatization of natural
resources by others.22 In addition to taxing the value of land, the BI could be financed with a
one hundred percent tax on estates that are not bequeathed to anyone.23

Mandating a social minimum, like a UBI, enhances the protection of property

Fleischer, Miranda Perry, and Daniel Jacob Hemel. "Atlas Nods: The Libertarian Case for a Basic
Income." (2017). https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3056576

A first argument for redistributive taxation within a minimal-state libertarian framework is that
providing a minimum safety net to some strengthens the private property rights of others. How
so? Eric Mack supplies the foundation for such an argument. Mack, who “confess[es] to a
fondness for the dictum that all taxation is theft,”58 nonetheless concludes that some amount
of taxation and redistribution is justified on minimal state libertarian premises. We trace that
argument here and then explain why the last step of Mack’s argument requires amendment.
Mack begins by asking us to imagine a fully-prepared hiker on a well-planned excursion. Through
no fault of her own, she encounters unpredicted fatally cold temperatures.59 The hiker comes
across a locked but unoccupied cabin in the woods whose shelter, fire, and blankets would save
her life. Entering the cabin to save her life, however, would violate the owner’s property rights.
Yet according to Mack, the “most basic intuition” is that “no plausible moral theory” would
require the faultless hiker to freeze to death. 60 “Even more clearly,” Mack writes, “no moral
theory that builds upon the separate value of each person’s life and well-being can hold that
Freezing Hiker is morally bound to grin and bear it.”61 For these reasons, Mack believes that
libertarianism must tolerate some violation of private property rights—at least in the extreme
circumstances of the freezing hiker. Only instances of extreme need, however, justify violating
the owner’s property rights in Mack’s view. If our hiker were simply tired and sore (and not in
fatal peril), no violation would be justified.62 Mack reasons as follows: As the number of people
who are allowed to ignore a cabin owner’s rights grows, so does the incentive of a cabin owner
to avoid situations where his rights will be violated. A cabin owner could, for example, put
stronger defenses around his cabin or move to a warmer climate or more remote location with
fewer hikers.63 Cabin owners, therefore, have an incentive to limit the situations in which hikers
ignore their rights so that they may place their cabins where they wish without costly defenses
and still have adequate assurance that their rights will be respected in all but the most extreme
instances. Hikers are likely to acquiesce to such limits, because they care much more about
avoiding death than discomfort.64 How does this translate to taxation? Instead of a freezing
hiker breaking into a cabin, imagine a homeless person who trespasses in our garage to sleep
there or who steals a loaf of bread cooling in our window.65 Mack reasons that if property
owners pre-empt these types of incursions by providing a minimal safety net, then those in dire
straits are less likely to steal food from us or break into our garages and tool sheds for shelter.66
And aside from any empirical prediction about the frequency of trespasses, the minimal safety
net insures property owners against the “moral risk” of preventing the starving person from
obtaining the loaf of bread.67 In the absence of a minimal safety net, private property rights are
not only less secure, but also less legitimate. A safety net strengthens property rights by
removing the conditions under which others can legitimately violate such rights.68 Recall that in
minimal state libertarianism, one of the few justifiable purposes of government is to protect
property. If providing a minimal safety net furthers that purpose, then the government should
legitimately do so – just as it provides a police force.69 The foregoing reasoning, however, limits
the provision of this safety net in several ways. First, the state should only provide it to people
whose plight is not their fault. 70 Second, the safety net should be limited to necessities like
food, clothing, and shelter.71 These constraints ensure that encroachments on private property
rights occur only when necessary to protect a life, thereby maximizing the encroachees’
property rights without endangering the lives of those in dire need. Third, Mack reasons that
individuals who ignore others’ property rights due to extreme need should compensate the
encroached-upon property owners whenever possible. This leads him to favor some type of
workfare requirement. Mack does not consider, however, the problem that no government can
distinguish without error between those who are capable of work and those who are not. The
problem arises because work capability is not readily observable (and the very notion of
capability is a subjective one). Consider the types of people incapable of work but likely to be
classified as capable: individuals with various mental illnesses (e.g., depression), extreme cases
of attention hyper-deficit disorder, and difficult-to-diagnose forms of chronic pain.
Libertarians—who are generally skeptical of the state’s social-engineering capabilities—should
be especially skeptical of any claim that the state can distinguish the work-capable from the
work-incapable without error. The resulting irony is that a skepticism of state capacity militates
in favor of a more expansive state-provided safety net, given the state’s (assumed) incapability
of limiting the safety net to the truly work-incapable. The individual who is incapable of work
would be entitled to the support of a minimal safety net under Mack’s argument, and absent
such a safety net, private property rights are “non-absolute” as against the work-incapable
individual. A minimal safety net with a workfare requirement would thus fail to absolutize
private property rights because it would still leave a class of individuals—those wrongly
classified as capable of work—who legitimately can encroach upon the property of others. In
sum, minimal state libertarians accept some amount of coercive taxation so that the state can
protect private property rights against unjustified encroachment. Yet at least arguably,
individuals who faultlessly find themselves in dire need are justified in encroaching upon the
property of others. The state can absolutize private property rights against such justified
encroachments by providing a minimal safety net for individuals who are in need without fault
of their own. Yet if the state is incapable of determining whose dire needs are faultless, then the
absolutization of private property requires a universal system of redistribution.
Funding a UBI through Pigouvian tax measures corrects unjust negative
Fleischer, Miranda Perry, and Daniel Jacob Hemel. "Atlas Nods: The Libertarian Case for a Basic
Income." (2017). https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3056576

Classical liberals also recognize that correcting negative externalities can be an appropriate state
role.123 To that end, some classical liberals have recognized a role for the government to help
curb pollution by imposing Pigouvian taxes, which reduce negative externalities by requiring
polluters to internalize more of the costs of their activities. This concept overlaps somewhat
with Lockean limits on use, insofar as any individual who emits pollutants into the air or water
that negatively affect others does not leave “enough” and “as good” for her fellows. To satisfy
the Lockean proviso, the polluter would need to compensate her fellows for the harm she has
cause, and a Pigouvian tax with the revenues distributed among all affected is one way of
providing that compensation. Based on these rationales, a minimal state libertarian might be
amenable to a UBI funded through Pigouvian taxation. Note that a UBI funded through
Pigouvian taxation might not be insubstantial. Consider that according to one estimate, the
gross external damages from air pollution across all sectors of the U.S. economy in 2002
amounted to $184 billion (at 2000 price levels).124 That would translate to $257 billion at 2016
price levels, or roughly $800 per person per year.125 Soil and water pollution externalities add
to that figure. A comprehensive Pigouvian tax on environmental externalities, with revenues
redistributed to all who are harmed by air, soil, and water pollution (which is to say, pretty much
everybody), might well be consistent with even a Nozickian version of libertarianism while still
resulting in a UBI of modest but not negligible proportions. The argument that classical liberals
should favor a UBI funded from Pigouvian taxation strikes us as a strong one, but we
acknowledge two counterarguments that might be mustered. First, one might argue that the
increase in welfare from the polluting activity acts as compensation enough already (“Yes, coal
pollutes, but we all benefit from the electricity thereby generated”). Yet it is far from obvious
that pollution ultimately redounds to everyone’s benefit (and the claim almost certainly does
not hold for all forms of pollution). Accordingly, we believe that most classical liberals will accept
the argument for Pigouvian taxation with some redistribution of revenues. A second
counterargument would accept the desirability of a Pigouvian tax but question why the
revenues should be distributed on a per-capita basis. Why not distribute the revenues to the
particular individuals harmed by pollution? Again, this rejoinder will be more persuasive in some
contexts than in others. With respect to carbon, for instance, a strong argument might be made
that all are harmed and so all deserve a share of the revenues that Pigouvian taxation raises.

Unconditional cash-transfers in the form of a UBI is the least paternalist option,

and promotes self-ownership.
Fleischer, Miranda Perry, and Daniel Jacob Hemel. "Atlas Nods: The Libertarian Case for a Basic
Income." (2017). https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3056576

A defining feature of a universal basic income is that comes in cash rather than in kind.
Libertarians will generally prefer cash transfer schemes rather than in-kind programs on the
grounds that cash transfers promote recipients’ autonomy and self-ownership, whereas in-kind
transfers undermine them and exemplify the type of paternalism libertarianism abhors. In-kind
transfers (at least arguably) imply a lack of trust in recipients to make decisions about what
would best further their pursuit of their life goals, as well as implying value judgments about
what recipients “should” and “should not” spend money on. In contrast, cash transfers allow
individuals to decide for themselves what would be best for them. Recipients decide how much
to allocate on food versus clothing versus child care versus other uses. Libertarianism generally
implies a respect for individual autonomy and self-ownership, with an accompanying suspicion
of government interference with decisions about how to live one’s life. For this reason, we
might expect that libertarians who support some amount of redistribution will want that
redistribution to come in cash.
Virtue Ethics
UBI is key to fostering a form of civic friendship among citizens. Friendship also
comes first and outweighs.
Schwarzenbach, Sibyl A. "The limits of production: Justifying guaranteed basic income." IX BIEN
Meeting, Geneve September. 2002. http://basicincome.org/bien/pdf/2002Schwarzenbach.pdf

According to Aristotle, friendship whether personal or civic has three necessary ingredients.
Friends must reciprocally i) be aware of each other as some form of moral equal, ii) they must
wish each other well for the other’s sake (and not their own), and iii) they must practically do
things for one another other (Nicomachean Ethics, Bk.VIII). On the civic or political level such
moral awareness, wishing well and doing (as John Cooper has argued) works via the
Constitution, the public laws as well as the customs and habits of the citizenry; citizens may be
educated to each others situations, know what they can expect, and consider it their obligation
to help (whether through taxes, civic service, in times of disaster, etc.). Surely, a guaranteeing of
material basics to all citizens would be an expression of, and insofar as genuine friendship
necessitates a practical doing, even a requirement for a civic friendship. But it is still not clear
why such a civic friendship and its practical expression is a necessary requirement for justice?
Why would GBI not just be charity or simple generosity? Aristotle writes “for when men are
friends they have no need of justice, while when they are just they need friendship as well, and
the truest form of justice is thought to be a friendly quality” (NE.1155a22-28). Aristotle’s point
here is that in a general atmosphere of distrust, ill will or indifference, true justice remains
impossible. On my reading, the reason is because citizens in this case could still – and often will -
- perceive themselves to be unjustly treated even if some narrow notion of justice is strictly
being adhered to. Again, justice by means of force (a fair distribution imposed on parties
unwillingly) is an inferior sort of justice to an arrangement willingly acknowledged (the former
breeds resentment in turn, is less stable, etc.) Thus, given our natural and often unreasonable
propensities to favour ourselves, true justice can only result if a flexible give and take and
friendly background (quality) exists to make us yield. Citizens must be able to recognize and to
accept in practice the burdens of justice in any particular case. It is for this reason, I believe, that
Aristotle considers the cultivation by the legislator of a civic friendship in a population even
more important than justice itself (NE. 1155a, p. 22); it is a necessary precondition. Without a
reciprocal moral awareness, good will and practical doing expressed in the background social
institutions and system of rules, justice is revealed as nothing more than the imposition of the
will of the stronger. I personally do not think a guaranteed basic income is enough for genuine
justice, even as it is not sufficient for a genuine civic friendship. That is, the cultivation of good
will among the citizenry and the disposition to help one another must come through education,
laws, custom and habit as well - in short through numerous social and political “reproductive’
institutions. But although not sufficient, I have argued guaranteeing a basic material security is
necessary, and perhaps a first step, for without this minimal practical doing, justice remains a
sham. So, what might this new state -- which theorizes and acknowledges the model of
reproductive activity equally with production -- look like? First, it would still have the duty of
protection, regulation of commerce, etc. but such functions would now take up a smaller
portion of the revenues it draws and the obligations it has, for now the market -- and the role of
production -- would be far smaller. Emphasis on the production and consumption of things and
services could recede and the rewards or satisfaction of human relationships (the life of the
mind, art, education, play, etc.) emphasized, at least to the extent that they are “reproductive”
of flourishing relations. And such a conception of the state implicated in civic relations would
clearly affect the state’s international affairs as well; a bloated military could give way to foreign
aid and international programmes. But perhaps the central difference would be that a necessary
and weighty part of government’s function would now include reproductive or affirmative
obligations: particularly a concern with the satisfaction of basic need, but also with the quality of
civic relations. Guaranteed basic income (or in the form of guaranteed medical care, housing,
food and education) I believe is superior to past welfare programmes, for it is superior according
to all the three criteria of civic friendship noted above. A moral awareness of equality is
expressed, in that benefits are universally granted with no grovelling or bureaucratic nightmare
for the poorer segments. So too, the income is unconditional, an expression of minimal political
friendship, for the sake of the other without thought of return; just as one would help a friend if
one could, and without thinking. In fact, a hypothetical test for the duties of this new
government might now be formulated thus: would you allow this to happen to a friend? If not,
then government shouldn’t politically allow it either. Finally, regarding the criteria of
“reciprocity”, and whether citizens should “labour” in return for a guaranteed income. We all
know a one-way friendship is impossible, but friendship likewise ends when a strict “tit-for-tat”
results. That is, one of the distinguishing attributes of a true friendship is its flexibility and
emphasis on quality over quantity. Thus a universal obligation to make a productive contribution
to the collective enterprise cannot stand as a fundamental precept of the new state and its
guaranteeing of basic income. I myself see nothing wrong in expecting or even requiring all
citizens to perform x amount of time in civil service (which is not production); but this is not the
same as saying that GBI should be conditional on such service. A civil service can be justified on
other – actually on ethical reproductive -- grounds. Of course, Aristotle’s basic argument will not
appeal to those who remain enamoured of the production model. Moreover, I am sure to hear
someone object somewhere: this is all well and good, but Aristotle’s ideal life of leisure and
praxis rested on the institution of slavery! At this late date I can only respond: yes, indeed. But
your grand life of production and value creation has likewise rested on the unpaid reproductive
labour of others - primarily women. It is time we find an entirely new solution.
UBI helps secure the ideal that individuals are self-governing and have
meaningful choices that the employee-employer relationship under capitalism
destroys. UBI thus allows for a basis of reciprocal legal recognition.
Mulligan, Roisin. "Universal Basic Income and Recognition Theory–A Tangible Step towards an
Ideal." Basic Income Studies 8.2 (2013): 153-172. https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/bis.ahead-

The debate over the ability of those without independent means to truly contribute to political
affairs goes back at least as far as ancient Greece, and beyond superficial justifications such as
‘having a stake in what goes on’, surrounds the ability to make free choices. Fundamentally, if
one is dependent on another for the means to exist, one cannot be said to be free. And if
individuals without independent means are vulnerable to the will of others, their reasons for
participating in politics is defeated, as they merely reinforce the power of the wealthy. The
obvious reply to this argument, then, is that every individual should be equipped with the
resources necessary to participate in society. This view was to the fore in the debate preceding
the establishment of the welfare state, where it was considered unwise to expand suffrage
without also granting rights such as education and basic needs. As Daniel Raventós remarks, ‘the
republican tradition affirms that when citizens have a material base for their autonomous social
existence guaranteed by the republic, they can develop the capacity of selfgovernment in their
private lives’ (Raventós, 2007, 65). The implications of this view for relations of mutual
recognition are not hard to see. If there is some truth in Marx’s pronouncement that those
without independent means of subsistence must seek the permission of others in order to exist,
it would seem unlikely that reciprocal recognition could occur (Raventós, 2007, 107-9). Where
an individual’s choices are bound by the obligation to accept waged work from employers, how
can employer and employee respect each other as self-governing individuals? Of course,
dependence no longer means having to vote in public for your landlord or employer, but the
effects are still evident when, for example, workers shoulder the financial burden of seasonal or
cyclical depressions in sales. An individual who must work at a job she doesn’t enjoy, at times
and with wages not of her own choosing, and subject constantly to the fear of losing her income
and its associated benefits cannot be respected by others in the same way that those who have
an independent income are. The same could be said of those selfemployed individuals who are
entirely dependent on powerful actors within their marketplace, such that their survival rests on
submitting to conditions set almost exclusively by others. It is true that modern welfare states
and measures such as minimum wage and working conditions legislation do mitigate the effects
of this imbalance by preventing employers from exploiting their power excessively. As Honneth
points out, The development of social-welfare measures can be understood such that individual
members of society should be guaranteed a minimum of social status and hence economic
resources independently of the meritocratic recognition principle by transforming these claims
into social rights (Honneth, 2003b, 147). However, access to a secure and unconditional means
of subsistence is still not a reality, as welfare assistance is accompanied by the condition that
paid work is continually sought. The role played by unemployment benefits here is merely
moderating the totalising effects of this power relation slightly, whilst constantly propelling
individuals back into the hands of employers. In conditions where job offers must be accepted (a
concept that has prominently entered the Irish debate surrounding welfare in recent times), the
power relationship between employer and employee is left almost entirely intact, thus
diminishing the prospect of reciprocal recognition further. Even where certain forms of esteem
are granted in an employer-employee relationship, the basis of any mutual recognition in the
sphere of legal respect must be an acknowledgement of a self-governing capacity. While this
capacity should ideally be considered universal regardless of abilities or means, it is clear that
certain conditions must be met before legal recognition is expanded to all parties. These
conditions include a minimum standard of education and, I argue, an independent means of
subsistence that undermines the capitalist power relation. For the normative argument which
made social-welfare guarantees in a certain sense “rationally” unavoidable is essentially the
hardly disputable assertion that members of society can only make actual use of their legally
guaranteed autonomy if they are assured a minimum of economic resources, irrespective of
income (Honneth, 2003b, 149). It is no great leap therefore, to see how UBI can help to equalise
relations among individuals, so that each can view the others as self-governing, as having the
means to choose between meaningful goals. In fact Honneth advocates something of this nature
himself, asserting that legal recognition requires that a certain level of economic security be
provided (Honneth, 2003b, 152-3). UBI opens up this opportunity, not by weakening the stigma
of dependence, but by eliminating the totalising forms of material dependency. It is essential
that material security be guaranteed without conditions, as this stipulation solidifies its status as
a right and differentiates it from welfare benefits. In other words only the autonomy granted in
an unconditional guarantee of subsistence can lead to the expansion of reciprocal legal

Stop caping for the bourgeois—a UBI doesn’t degrade paid work, but extends
the same privilege that rich people already have- choosing the conditions of
their employment.
Mulligan, Roisin. "Universal Basic Income and Recognition Theory–A Tangible Step towards an
Ideal." Basic Income Studies 8.2 (2013): 153-172. https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/bis.ahead-

Particularly relevant here is Sen’s portrayal of the psychological and motivational effects of
unemployment. He also cites skill loss, ill-health, and a range of tangible harms associated with
being out of work, all of which represent strong reasons to suppose that paid employment is
vital for human flourishing (Sen, 1997, 161-2). Unless it can be shown that UBI combats these
effects, which are clearly relevant for recognition relations, the case is very much weakened. A
simple but powerful rebuttal to the prioritisation of paid work in developmental theories is that
it neglects entirely the other forms of subsistence work that are non-remunerated. One of the
goals of UBI, according to Raventós, is to bestow on the population at large a privilege that has
previously been granted only to the very rich, namely the choice of when to work for a living
(2007, 130). It seems implausible to suggest that anyone who relies on a safety net from wealthy
parents is in some sense developmentally defective. Given the correct supports and social
values, those who benefit from a guarantee of material subsistence would seem to be more
capable of reaching the higher developmental stages than those confined to meeting
subsistence needs. Taken from a distance, the prioritisation of remunerated work as a
developmental necessity is insulting to those who are forced to work in order to survive, and
reflects ideology rather than an authoritative theory of psychological development.

A basic income is consistent with the ideal of liberty as non-domination.

Pettit, Philip. "A Republican Right to a Basic Income?." (2007).

The argument is straightforward. Others will control me, if only in the merely invigilatory
fashion, only to the extent that the division of powers between us means that they can interfere
with me at will – that is, without prevention – and at tolerable cost, i.e. with a degree of
impunity. If I am not assured a basic income, there will be many areas where the wealthier could
interfere with me at tolerable cost, without their being confronted by legal prevention of that
interference. Suppose there are just a few employers and many available employees, and that
times are hard. In those conditions I and those who like me will not be able to command a
decent wage: a wage that will enable us to function properly in society. And in those conditions
it will be equally true that we would be defenseless against our employers’ petty abuse or their
power to arbitrarily dismiss us. Other protections, such as those that strong trade unions might
provide, are possible against such alien control. But the most effective of all protections, and
one that should complement other measures available, would be one’s ability to leave
employment and fall back on a basic wage available unconditionally from the state. Next
suppose that you live in conditions where you, and perhaps your children, depend financially on
your husband. In such conditions he is likely to control you, even though he never resorts to
violence or other abuse. He may let you act as you please within certain limits, while being
disposed to stop you – at the limit, by leaving you – if you breach those limits. You would live
under your husband’s control, almost certainly straining to keep within his restrictions, unless
there is an effective, financially viable alternative such as that which a basic income would
provide. Other protections may be available here as in the first case – for example, he may be
legally required to provide maintenance should you separate – but these are unlikely to be
equally effective and in any case they will be powerfully supplemented by a basic income. Such
examples show it to be entirely plausible that promoting the resilient, republican possession of
basic liberties argues for establishing a legal right to a basic income. Such a right would mean
that people had adequate income for functioning properly in society. And that income would
mean that people would not have to beg the favour of the powerful, or even of the counter-
clerk. However, why give the basic income right to all, not to only those in need? A number of
considerations might argue for this provision. A universal right of the sort imagined would resist
electoral pressure for change better than would a needs-tested right, since it would benefit
everyone in common, thus being a more entrenched and firmer bulwark against domination. A
universal right would mean that those who rely on the basic income – distinct from the
independently wealthy – will not have to assert their right on the grounds of being a class apart:
people who depend on others’ goodwill and are easier targets of control and domination. And a
universal right symbolizes the fundamental equality of all in relation to the collective provisions
of government; only some will depend on the basic income that all receive, but all can see that
the income is there to depend on, should they themselves fall on hard times.
International UBI
International UBI helps with resource allocation, particularly with oil.
Shanta Devarajan, “Three reasons for universal basic income.” Brookings Institute. February 15,
2017. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/future-development/2017/02/15/three-reasons-for-

From Mongolia to Finland to India, we are seeing heightened interest in the idea of a universal
basic income (UBI)—an unconditional cash grant given to every citizen, regardless of their
employment status or wealth. The idea is controversial, receiving criticism from many quarters
including Future Development. I happen to be an advocate. To sharpen the debate, it’s useful to
distinguish three separate arguments for UBI. Efficient use of natural-resource rents. Most of
the oil-rich countries in sub-Saharan Africa suffer from poor public-spending outcomes. Gabon
and Equatorial Guinea, with per capita incomes of $10,000 and $20,000, have some of the
lowest child immunization rates in Africa. The leakage rate for non-salary public spending in
health in Chad is 99 percent. One reason is that oil revenues go directly to the government
without passing through the hands of the citizens. As a result, citizens may not know the
magnitude of oil revenues. Furthermore, they may not have an incentive to scrutinize how the
government spends the money since they don’t think of it as “their money” (even though it is). If
instead the oil revenues are transferred directly to citizens, with government having to tax them
to finance public spending, at least two changes happen. First, citizens will now know the
magnitude of oil revenues. Second, they have a greater incentive to monitor how their tax
money is being spent. Even without these changes, a simple transfer of 10 percent of oil
revenues could effectively eliminate poverty in several oil-exporting countries. For the high-
income countries of the Middle East such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the argument is slightly
different. They are currently transferring oil revenues through subsidies and public-sector
employment (about 95 percent of the male labor force in Kuwait works in the public sector).
This has to be one of the most inefficient ways of transferring oil revenues. The subsidies,
especially energy subsidies, distort incentives and corrode the economy. The large public sector
means that most of the labor force is engaged in low-productivity work. A program that reduces
or eliminates subsidies, cuts public sector employment, and distributes oil revenues as cash
transfers—something Saudi Arabia is planning to do—would enhance efficiency while still
sharing oil revenues with the population.

It also helps alleviate global poverty.

Shanta Devarajan, “Three reasons for universal basic income.” Brookings Institute. February 15,
2017. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/future-development/2017/02/15/three-reasons-for-

Improving the welfare of the poor. Countries like India have a host of subsidies and transfer
schemes aimed at helping poor people. Many of these programs fail to reach the poor. The
leakage rate of India’s Public Distribution System has been estimated at 40 percent. Replacing
these inefficient subsidies with cash transfers would ensure at the very least that the poor are
getting the intended monetary benefit. But it could also be empowering. Subsidizing food or fuel
or water implies that the poor have to consume these commodities, even if the quality is very
low, to receive the benefit. By contrast, a cash transfer means that the poor person can choose
how to spend the money. If the quality is poor, they have alternatives. There is also the question
of whether the transfer should be universal or targeted to the poor. While targeting is
preferable in principle, in practice there are so many problems in identifying the poor that a
universal scheme may do just as well. Finally, thanks to technology, these cash transfers can be
implemented at low cost. India’s Aadhaar program, which issues universal ID cards that also
serve as cash cards, covers a billion people, including 93 percent of the adult population.
AT Gov Overreach
UBI link turns overreach – there doesn’t need to be massive oversight if it’s
universal – the aff scales down current welfare administration.
JURGEN DE WISPELAERE, “An Income of One’s Own? The Political Analysis of Universal Basic
Income,” UNIVERSITY OF TAMPERE 12 December 2015,

The argument that administration matters for basic income design and implementation may
seem like a truism to the general political scientist or policy analyst, but nevertheless faces an
uphill battle with those engaged in advocating for basic income. Several reasons may explain
this general reluctance to embrace administrative analysis, but none warrants the pervasive
neglect of administration in basic income research and advocacy. Basic income advocates
customarily adopt a perspective where administration necessarily takes the form of a controlling
bureaucracy in which welfare clients are required to submit to invasive and degrading people-
processing procedures in order to receive the support they are entitled to (Standing, 2002). It is
unfortunately a hallmark of most targeted or selective policies that bureaucratic interactions —
including face-to-face interactions with street-level bureaucrats (Lipsky, 1980) — reduce
claimants to a passive and subservient role, in which they are met with distrust and suspicion at
every turn and their agency, dignity and self-esteem is hampered by the very system that is
meant to assist them (Handler 2004, Handler and Hasenfeld, 2006). The outcome is not only the
well-known negative effects on target efficiency (Craig, 1991; van Oorschot 1991, 1998) but also
general distrust in government and a decline of political participation (Soss, 1999, 2000; Mettler
and Stonecash, 2008; Bruch, Ferree and Soss, 2010). A considerable literature 135 reveals
bureaucratic disentitlement (Lipsky, 1984) as a predictable side-effect of a system that
prioritizes people-processing in line with a dominant eligibilitycompliance culture (Bane and
Ellwood, 1994), and in many cases even as a deliberate strategy for the state to exercise control
(Piven and Cloward, 1993). For basic income advocates, the obvious solution is to combat
bureaucratic discretion and paternalism by drastically reducing the scope of administrative
intervention altogether (Standing, 2002; Offe, 2005). This perspective views basic income as an
essential tool to “unclog the bureaucratic pipes” (Standing and Jhabvala, 2010). We need not
deny either the fact of administrative overreach — the pervasive extent of bureaucratic
interference in welfare clients’ lives — or its disastrous effects individually or in the aggregate to
observe several weaknesses of this onedimensional perspective on public administration. First,
while social assistance is typically organized in a controlling fashion, many other support
programs are not. In most countries a wide chasm separates the administration of entitlement
programs, such as pensions or social security, from programs that embrace bureaucratic
discretion, such as social assistance (Soss, 1999, 2000; Bruch, Ferree and Soss, 2010). This shows
that revising administrative processes rather than reducing administration as such is a perfectly
plausible — albeit a politically charged and operationally difficult — alternative. This last point,
in turn, leads us squarely to a second weakness: laying the blame for controlling clients by
intrusive measures solely on administrative systems and bureaucrats ignores the extent to
which the latter operate within a political climate that is exceedingly hostile to providing a
universal income guarantee. In the end, it is the political process that sets the goals that
administrators must reach as well as providing the tools by which to achieve them. To think that
the problem of controlling bureaucracy merely 136 requires getting rid of bureaucracy is largely
misdiagnosing the real issue, namely the pro-activation and anti-welfare political climate that
shapes and constrains administrative procedures and practices. Of course, basic income
advocates do not really believe we need no administration at all; rather, they advocate a policy
that implies less rules, less regulation, less monitoring, and consequently less general
bureaucratic involvement in people’s lives. However, it is a fallacy to think that implementation
without controlling bureaucracy — which basic income advocates rightly abhor — equates to
basic income facing no significant administrative challenges. The fundamental mistake here is to
reduce all implementation problems to what goes wrong when bureaucracies exert excessive
and arbitrary control over the lives of welfare recipients. In reality, public administration covers
numerous other aspects of the implementation process (Hood, 2010), many directly affecting
the performance of whichever basic income model is instituted. Several other reasons combine
with the perception of a controlling bureaucracy to explain the reluctance to take the
administrative factor seriously. For instance, basic income advocates may be buying into a
version of the transmission belt model of public administration (Stewart, 1988), according to
which implementation is mechanically concerned with executing legislative directives, allowing a
clear distinction between politics and administration to be drawn (Wilson, 1887). The basic
income version of the transmission belt approach maintains that fundamental questions emerge
when we are discussing the ethics, economics and politics of the basic income guarantee; by
contrast, implementation concerns are entirely instrumental, technical and presumptively a-
political. However, the transmission belt model has long been discredited in public
administration (e.g., Baldwin, Cave and Lodge, 2011), and so too should its basic income variant.
It is simply not true, as I show in the remainder of this section, that administrative challenges
are merely technical worries that require no hard political choices. Ditching the transmission
belt model implies that public administration scholars be given a prominent place alongside
philosophers and social scientists in the basic income debate.
AT Gov Dominates Wealthy
In order for it to be a violation of my framework, these violations must be
uncontrolled and arbitrary. By instituting a basic income, the liberty that is
potentially lost by the wealthy is controlled and non-arbitrary.
Pettit, Philip. "A Republican Right to a Basic Income?." (2007).

Would government itself exercise dominating control in establishing a basic income regime?
Would it do so, for example, in relation to the wealthy who are the net creditors in the effected
redistribution? As a matter of logic, the liberal government that interferes with people in order
to reduce overall interference will have to take liberty-as-noninterference away from some in
order to increase such liberty overall. But the government that interferes with people in order to
reduce overall domination may not have to take liberty-as-nondomination away from any in
order to increase such liberty overall. There is no similar necessity of logic here. If I can stop a
certain pattern of interference that you practice, or if I can make it too costly for you to
continue it, then my allowing it does not mean that I am dominated. If I allow you to keep the
liquor cabinet key or to hide my cigarettes, you still interfere with me when you act under that
permission. But your interference will not be control or domination; the interference will be
controlled or nonarbitrary. Does the interference that government might practice in establishing
a right to a basic income count as a controlling or dominating form of interference in the lives of
those of us who are relative losers? Under appropriate conditions, it can be held to be
controlled and nonarbitrary. Let the activity of government in establishing a basic income right
have to be supported by considerations that all of us explicitly or implicitly take to be relevant in
public decision-making. And if it is not uniquely supported by considerations of that kind, let it
be chosen from among acceptable candidates on the basis of some procedure – say, a
parliamentary vote or even a referendum – that is supported by such considerations. To the
extent that such conditions obtain, one can plausibly say that the measure introduced is an
exercise of controlled interference, and so not dominating in itself (Pettit, 2007a; Pettit, 2007b).
The wealthy individuals who are relatively disadvantaged by the measure will not themselves
exercise the required checking. But the co-governed people as a whole will exercise such
checking; and if they do so by implementing a regime of common reasons or values, then they
can be thought of as acting in a way that does not discriminate between wealthy and poor.
AT Spending
UBI is affordable and feasible for America to fund.
Santens, Scott “Universal Basic Income Is the Best Tool to Fight Poverty” Huffington Post 6/2/16

As I’ve already covered in a prior article addressing the affordability of basic income, the
estimated cost in the US to provide all citizens over 18 with $12,000 per year and under 18 with
$4,000 per year would be around $1.5 trillion in additional revenue. This price tag does not
touch Medicare or Medicaid or education or defense. It does touch Social Security but in a way
that leaves all recipients better off. Basically, there’s no reason whatsoever that a large portion
of Social Security can’t be distributed in the form of basic income instead, with Social Security
itself still existing as a top-up for seniors and those with disabilities. If you’re receiving $1,500,
there’s no reason that can’t be $500 or any other number, on top of a $1,000 floor that every
citizen receives. It is absolutely false to say this can’t be done in a way that leaves everyone
currently receiving benefits better off, and still reduces government administration costs in the
process. The question is then does replacing welfare benefits leave those receiving such benefits
worse off? Is this as Porter suggests the redistribution of wealth upwards? I’ve written about
this before as well. An example would be a single mother of two receiving $45,000 in Medicaid,
child care, housing, food, and cash assistance getting $12,000 in basic income instead. In that
case, yes, she and her kids would indeed be worse off, but again, Medicaid is not part of the
deal, and neither is child care. Basic income would replace housing, food, and cash assistance
totaling $20,000 with a basic income of $12,000 for her and $4,000 for each kid, so $20,000. She
is no worse off at all. In fact, because she no longer has to ever jump through another hoop for
any of those things again, and unlike before, can earn any amount on top of her basic income
without it being taken away from her like welfare would, she is far better off. So if one cares to
dig into the details, which I do recommend we do, it’s patently false to claim that a universal
basic income by design will leave people worse off by leaving us no choice but to replace all of
government with cash. Any intelligently designed program would do no such thing, and
realistically there would be no politically achievable way of doing otherwise, because neither the
extreme right nor left is going to get everything it wants. As for where the $1.5 trillion comes
from, that answer is simple. It comes from the raises no one has gotten since productivity
decoupled from wages and salaries back around 1973. Basic income belongs to us because it’s
been effectively stolen from us for decades.
AT Disincentive to Work
UBI does not create an incentive for people to stop working.
Santens, Scott “Universal Basic Income Is the Best Tool to Fight Poverty” Huffington Post 6/2/16

This is where it becomes clear that universal basic income is an idea judged by many not
logically or scientifically, but emotionally. This is likely why Eduardo himself can make the case
against those perpetuating the myth of welfare’s “corrupting influence” regarding work
disincentives in one article, and then in another about universal basic income, practically forget
everything he knows is true in order to argue against giving people sufficient money to live
without conditions aka basic income. Be wary of any article against basic income that doesn’t
include any supporting evidence. Applicable experiments have been done. We have studied the
work disincentive effects in the US and in Canada in the 1970s where the results were quite
interesting. Fully universal basic incomes have been tested in Namibia and India, where the
results of both were more work, not less. The charity Give Directly has given basic incomes to
people in Uganda and Kenya, where the results in both locations were more work, not less.
Unconditional cash transfers are being used more frequently all over the world entirely because
of their successes, and in places like Liberia and Lebanon where they ended up being like basic
incomes, they too show more work, not less. Perhaps most interesting of all the applicable
evidence of cash without strings is the seemingly universal shift from typical wage labor to more
self-employment and unpaid work. This in no way points toward people doing nothing. This is
also why basic income is not at all an idea about paying people to do nothing, but instead about
paying people to do anything. There is so much work being done right now that is not seen or
recognized as work, but is. And there is so much work people want to be doing on their own
volition that they are prevented from doing in a system that requires they spend their hours
working for someone else just to survive. Look at the evidence. Always look at the evidence. If
you do that, here’s what the evidence is saying in a nutshell: in a world where all resources are
locked up and money is the only key, a minimum amount of money does not prevent work, but
enables it. No one can pull themselves up by their own bootstraps if they have no boots. The
only way to make that possible is to make sure everyone starts with at the very least, a pair of
boots with straps. That’s universal basic income. It’s universal bootstraps. It’s the idea that in a
globalized economy requiring less and less work of humans to meet the demand for everyone’s
basic needs, no one should start with bare feet.

Empirical studies prove UBI solves and doesn’t deter work.

Noah Smith, “Commentary: Universal basic income isn't a crazy idea.” Chicago Tribune. January
23, 2018. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-universal-basic-

If there's one policy that can unite socialists and Silicon Valley libertarians, it's universal basic
income — a regular payment from the government to each and every adult, regardless of
income. Many socialists like the unconditional nature of the program — like Social Security, it
has the potential to avoid arousing the anger of higher-earning people who feel they're being
forced to pay for those who don't work. Indeed, polls reveal a plurality supports the idea in the
U.S. and a majority supports it in Europe. Meanwhile, some in the tech industry believe that as
machine learning and other technologies continue to replace human labor, basic income will be
the only way to guarantee large portions of the human race a decent standard of living. As a
policy with support on both the left and right, UBI also has critics on both sides. On the right,
many worry that UBI would increase poor people's income to the point where they won't need
to work, reducing overall economic output. Many unions and thinkers sympathetic to the labor
movement, meanwhile, worry that a transition away from work will both reduce human dignity
and blunt the political power of workers. Critics tend to favor ideas that reward poor people for
employment — wage subsidies, government job guarantees and increases in the earned income
tax credit. With all this attention and controversy, the debate badly needs some data. Empirical
evidence is the only thing that will answer the question of what effects basic income actually has
on society. To this end, a number of governments and charities around the world are starting to
experiment with unconditional cash transfers. Silicon Valley startup accelerator Y Combinator
attracted a lot of attention when it announced its own UBI experiment, in which the company is
giving 3,000 people each $1,000 a month for five years. These trials will doubtless serve as good
marketing for UBI, and help mollify critics in specific locations. But economists aren't waiting for
the results to start thinking about basic income — a number of historical episodes help predict
what would happen if people got regular government checks in the mail. So far, the evidence
seems promising for basic-income boosters. One potentially helpful analog is the negative
income tax. This is where a government guarantees you a certain minimum income, which it
takes away gradually as you start earning more money on the job. Negative income tax is not a
basic income, since it's not unconditional — the phase-out of benefits acts like an income tax,
which economic theory says should discourage work. But it's a good starting point for thinking
about universal basic income, because if a negative income tax doesn't discourage work very
much, then a similarly sized UBI almost certainly wouldn't. In most cases, economists find that
negative income taxes don't decrease employment by a statistically significant amount. There
are some exceptions, though. Economists David Price and Jae Song studied the Seattle-Denver
income-maintenance experiment, where families in those cities were randomly chosen to
receive guaranteed minimum incomes in the 1970s. They found that employment decreased by
4.6 percent, and income went down by an average of $1,800 a person — a sizable reduction.
That's worrying, since it implies that government transfers could reduce the productivity of the
economy as a whole by encouraging people to stop working. But this program wasn't a true UBI,
because the policy penalized people for working. A closer UBI analog is the income that certain
Native American groups receive from operating casinos. Economists Randall K. Q. Akee, William
Copeland, Gordon Keeler, Adrian Angold and E. Jane Costello found in 2010 that these payments
didn't cause recipients to reduce the amount they worked. But even this kind of study can miss
the impact of the cash transfers on general labor demand — when you give people money, they
spend it on goods and services produced by other people, raising wages and employment.
Economists Damon Jones and Ioanna Marinescu found an example of a truly universal,
unconditional transfer — the Alaska Permanent Fund. Since 1976, a percent of the revenues
from natural resource extraction in Alaska is paid out to all state residents. This acts just like a
universal basic income. In research presented at the American Economic Association meeting
earlier this month, Jones and Marinescu compared Alaska to other states, and found that the
introduction of the fund had no effect on employment in Alaska (though interestingly, it did
cause a small shift from full-time to part-time work). This finding represents convincing evidence
that a true UBI doesn't discourage people from working — at least, if it's small. The Alaska
Permanent Fund dividends are usually about $2,000 to $3,000 a year — not enough to live off
of. A basic income of $10,000 or $20,000 might look very different, however. But Alaska's
experience means that there's very little risk in implementing a small UBI. Giving every American
$3,000 a year would cost about $1 trillion — less than one-sixth of current total government
revenue. That amount could then be increased as desired, or increased in certain areas in order
to get more data about the effects of larger transfers. In the ongoing war against poverty, a
modest UBI looks like a safe, effective tool that wouldn't hurt the economy.
AT People Waste Money
This claim has very little empirical evidence—multiple studies and a
metanalyses flow aff.
Fleischer, Miranda Perry, and Daniel Jacob Hemel. "Atlas Nods: The Libertarian Case for a Basic
Income." (2017). https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3056576

First, there is little evidence that recipients of various forms of cash or cash-like aid waste their
benefits on purchases other than necessities or investments. Although evidence concerning the
uses of cash transfers in the United States is scant, a number of studies in other countries shed
some insight into how participants in cash transfer programs use their benefits. Most empirical
evidence suggests that recipients do not waste their benefits by increasing spending on alcohol,
cigarettes and gambling. A recent World Bank paper examined 19 studies containing within
them 44 estimates of the relationship between cash transfer programs and alcohol and tobacco
spending. The authors concluded that “[a]lmost without exception, studies find either no
significant impact or a significant negative impact of transfers on temptation goods.”150 Instead
of wasting money, recipients tend to either increase spending on food, education, and health or
make capital investments such as livestock or replacing thatched roofs with iron roofs.151
Consider livestock. In Kenya, cash transfers increased livestock holdings by 51 percent; 152 in
Zambia, such transfers almost quintupled the number of households owning goats.153 Often,
increased spending translates into better outcomes. A study of GiveDirectly’s program in Kenya
found, for example, that transfers increased food consumption by 19 percent, which in turn
reduced the likelihood of going to bed hungry by 30 percent, cut the number of days children
went without food by 42 percent, and increased by 20 percent the chance of having enough
food for the next day in the house.154 In Zambia, cash transfer correlate with a 62 percent
decrease in households who were still hungry after a meal and increased consumption of foods
containing vitamins and protein such as fruits, vegetables, fish and meat.155 The poor in the
developing world, of course, face very different circumstances than those in the United States.
Here, human capital and the skills needed to access the job market are crucial factors for exiting
poverty, whereas in less developed countries, unskilled workers can more easily escape poverty
by purchasing livestock or investing in other small entrepreneurial activities. In the United
States, however, even running a small business requires a certain amount of education and skill.
That said, there is reason to believe that the underlying findings – that individuals generally
make productive use of the funds instead of spending them on gambling, drugs, and alcohol –
translate to the United States. One study tracked American Indian and non-native households in
North Carolina before and after a casino opened on an Eastern Cherokee reservation; after the
casino opened, each American Indian household received an average transfer of $4,000 paid
from casino profits. The study found that children in households receiving transfers had higher
levels of educational attainment: the $4,000 per year transfer to each household correlated with
one additional year of schooling for each child. The same study also found a lower incidence of
criminal behavior among children in households receiving transfers, with no effect on parents’
labor force participation.156 Another study of EITC recipients found that a $1,000 increase in
family income was associated with a 6 percent increase in child math and reading scores.157
These studies confirm what might already seem intuitive to many readers: giving cash to
families makes them better off in measurable ways.
Also, generating restrictions on how the payment is used or making the
payment conditional leads to an administrative nightmare that guts efficiency.
Fleischer, Miranda Perry, and Daniel Jacob Hemel. "Atlas Nods: The Libertarian Case for a Basic
Income." (2017). https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3056576

While cash transfers appear to make households better off even when the transfers come with
no strings attached, strings themselves impose a variety of costs. As a practical matter, drawing
lines between acceptable and unacceptable purchases is administratively burdensome. To
illustrate, Congress has frequently considered and then rejected imposing limits on SNAP
purchases based on nutritional value. Some of the burden is definitional. Consider the fact that
dietary standards generally apply to overall diets, not individual foods. For example, many
dietary standards suggest limiting fat, yet at the same time several foods that contain fat – such
as meat and nuts – are considered to be part of a healthy diet if eaten in moderation. Even
accepting that some foods have no place whatsoever in a healthy diet, should nutritional value
be defined by the absence of nutritional “bads” (which could result in diet soda seeming
preferable to orange juice), or the presence of nutritional “goods” (which could favor high-fat,
high-sugar items that are fortified with vitamins)? Even straightforward distinctions often result
in arbitrary lines. SNAP, for example, covers food but not vitamins. As a result, recipients may
use SNAP benefits to purchase energy drinks that have a nutrition label (and are therefore
“food”), but not energy drinks that have a supplement facts label (and are therefore “vitamins”).
Even if suitable definitions could be formulated, restrictions create an additional set of
enforcement costs. The more restrictions, the more confusion about which purchases are
eligible. The final determination will often be made by whoever happens to be manning the
check-out line, resulting in arbitrary and uneven application of the rules. Keeping track of
acceptable versus unacceptable purchases will also be more difficult for recipients, who will
then face the embarrassment of having their EBT cards rejected more frequently. Such
embarrassment increases stigma and likely lowers take-up. Lastly, restrictions on eligible foods
will impose costs on food producers who want their products to be eligible. A number of stores
that accept food stamps, for example, are considering exiting the program due to the increased
costs from new requirements concerning the amount of fresh and organic food that they carry.
AT Consent
There are two ways that the UBI avoids conflicts with consent.
Moseley, Daniel, “A Lockean Argument for Basic Income” (June 25, 2011). Basic Income Studies,
Vol. 6, No. 2, 2011. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1872580

The point about the lack of full consent for BI raises important philosophical questions regarding
the Lockean approach to political legitimacy.24 The discussion of Locke‟s theory of rights in
section four addressed neither the rights of states nor the significance of consent in Locke‟s
approach to the topic of political obligation. Locke famously held that the actual consent (either
express consent or tacit consent) of an individual to the rule of a state is necessary for that
individual to have a moral obligation to obey the laws of that state.25 One well-known
consequence of this version of the consent theory of political obligation is that it strongly
suggests that most (or perhaps all) of the currently existing nations in the world lack moral
legitimacy since they are not sustained by the full actual consent of the people over which they
claim authority. Philosophical anarchists embrace this conclusion. Philosophical anarchism
maintains that it is a contingent fact that the nations of the world are not legitimate: if they
were supported by the actual consent of their citizens, then their citizens would have the moral
obligation (instead of prudential reasons) to obey them.26 According to the Lockean perspective
on political legitimacy, an ideal libertarian state would be backed by the full, actual consent of
its citizens. This Lockean perspective on political obligation suggests that there could be two
ways for a global BI program to be a part of an ideal libertarian state. First, there could be a
single world government, backed by the full consent of everyone in the world, which provided a
global BI. The second option is more feasible than the first, but would also require massive
global institutional restructuring. In this world there would be a global BI that was supported by
a confederation of voluntary associations that enforced a global BI treaty.
Transfers increase social inequality by driving down wages and perpetuating
systemic discrimination.
Brishen Rogers, “Justice at Work: Minimum Wage Laws and Social Equality.” Texas Law Review
Vol. 92. 2014. http://texaslawreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Rogers.Corrected.pdf

2. Incentive Effects of Transfers.—While transfers can help alleviate the burdens of

unemployment and poverty more generally, they cannot substitute entirely for labor market
regulations. For one thing, while transfers do not cartelize the labor market, income and wealth
taxation do reduce talented individuals’ incentives to work hard or create jobs, and may
encourage entrepreneurs to relocate into lower tax jurisdictions.207 More importantly,
transfers can incentivize the use of extremely low wage labor, which will in turn encourage class
and status differentiation. For example, the EITC tends to draw additional individuals into the
labor market, but not all workers are able to take advantage of the EITC; the net effect is
downward pressure on wages, and a subsidy to employers or consumers.208 Wage subsidies
can also have perverse distributive effects. They must either be generally available to low-wage
employers, in which case many employers will capture a windfall, or they can be targeted to
particular groups of workers, in which case employers may favor that group over another, with
morally arbitrary distributive consequences.209 Subsidies targeted at particular social groups
may also require workers to report their disadvantages to a potential employer, a sort of
“shameful revelation” that can actively undermine workers’ self-respect.210 Ultimately,
transfers that are not accompanied by wage regulations can substantially undermine social
equality even as they create employment opportunities. For example, consider the effects on
low-wage labor markets if the minimum wage were repealed altogether and replaced with the
EITC or a general wage subsidy. At a certain market wage—say, $2 an hour— even middle-class
families would have lives of luxury. Food would be cheap. Few such families would mow their
own lawn or clean their own house anymore. Many could even hire a butler, or a chef, or
perhaps a chauffeur to make long commutes more tolerable. Notably, those workers might even
have a decent standard of living if the EITC or wage subsidy were high enough. But history
strongly suggests that many would treat all those $2-an-hour servants poorly, reasoning that
their low wages must be due to some moral failing and consumers’ lives of leisure due to some
moral virtue. While basic income programs would avoid some of these perversities, they are not
a panacea. Since a basic income would be universal, proponents argue convincingly that it would
not carry the stigma attached to means-tested programs—it would be more akin to Social
Security than to “welfare.”211 A basic income would also enable recipients to reject undignified
work. But as argued above, rights against the state cannot entirely substitute for rights against
employers.212 Moreover, the basic utilitarian critique of wealth taxes returns here with a
vengeance: if guaranteed a basic income, many individuals would choose not to work at all.
Funding such a program would also require high levels of wealth and income taxation, creating
incentives for capital flight and reduced effort among the wealthy and talented.213 Finally, the
implications of a robust basic income could be strongly dystopian unless it was offered to
noncitizen residents, and policymakers have little incentive to do so.214 In a basic income state,
menial work would still need to be performed; with citizens effectively “excused,” is there any
reason to think that guest workers and other irregular migrants from the Global South would
not be imported for that purpose?215 This is not a criticism of immigration or labor migration,
but rather an argument that guest-worker programs, particularly insofar as they offer no path to
citizenship, may actively undermine social equality by creating a permanent underclass of
degraded workers.216

UBI overloads individuals’ decision-making capacities, creating ego depletion.

Cholbi, Michael. "The Anti-Paternalist Case For Unconditional Basic Income Provision." (2017).

Moreover, there are reasons to think a basket of in-kind goods may be more efficacious on this
front. If the phenomenon known as ego depletion is genuine, then a basic income could make
recipients less well-off than a basket of in-kind goods. Ego depletion occurs when individuals’
limited pool of mental resources for self-control and complex choices are taxed to the point that
later decisions manifest reduced self-control and poor choice making.9 In distributing an in-kind
basket of goods, a state makes particular choices on behalf of recipients. In comparison, a basic
income leaves individuals greater latitude over how to capitalize on their basic income. Because
it requires recipients to make more choices regarding how to dispose of their social minimum, a
basic income is likely to place greater demands on recipients’ decision making powers and thus
invite disadvantageous ego depletion. Yet even if a basic income would not result in greater ego
depletion, we may have other reasons related to well-being to prefer the narrow range of
choices that an in-kind social minimum would provide. Choice takes time and energy that could
instead be devoted to enjoying goods that increase well-being. In addition, the availability of
choice can also induce self-doubt and anxiety, create unrealistic expectations regarding the
outcomes of our choices, and lead to subsequent regret when choices fall short of those
expectations. Choice has eudaimonic value, but its value is subject to diminishing marginal
returns past which we enter the domain of “choice overload.”10
Aff causes dependency that leaves people open to political torment.
WAGE.” USBIG Discussion Paper No. 25, March 2002. www.usbig.net/papers/025-Waltman.doc

Another dimension for comparing the UBI with the living wage is the problem of dependency. It
was argued forcefully above that citizens cannot be dependent on others, since that is
destructive of liberty. In any system of UBI a certain number of people are going to pay for the
others, and it will not be difficult to identify the payers and the receivers. Naturally, some
people will change categories as they age or their economic fortunes change. But in the short
run, which is what matters most in politics, the dividing line will be evident. This fact cannot help
but affect how people feel. It may be a sad commentary on human nature, but in such a
situation resentment grows on both sides. Moreover, the higher the payments under UBI the
greater the level of resentment would be. If the UBI were set high enough to remove people
from poverty, what its devotees obviously hope, it would have the further deleterious effect of
spawning a culture of dependency in the recipients. All the pathologies of the old American
AFDC program would develop, with the calamitous political consequences they brought in their
train. Republican citizens, recall, need to be able to look each other in the eye. None can be
dependent on another, and a UBI, by the straightforward mechanism of a public budgetary
transfer, would make some dependent on others (unless the amounts were trivial, in which
case, what would be the point?). By providing payment for work performed, the living wage
removes any possible social, and hence, political, stigma from what is received. The earner of
the wage can look anyone in the eye, both because of the source of the income and the fact that
it is adequate to allow him or her to live a decent lifestyle. There is also the related problem of
political vulnerability. Suppose the UBI were high enough to be a meaningful part of the income
of the poor. Suppose further that social values were such that the grant was kept reasonably
generous. But the poor are still vulnerable; they have no guarantee that the public budgetary
process will always be so benign. They would be in the position of servants who worked for a
generous master. Well off, relatively anyway, but subject to his or her whim. A citizen's
economic well-being simply cannot be in the hands of others, even a sympathetic political
majority. The living wage has some problems in this area also, of course. It would have to be set
by statute, and that would inject political majorities into its determination. However, the setting
of a wage level would be two or three steps removed from direct budgetary politics, blunting
somewhat the us/them divide. Further, those who work would have a far stronger political claim
than those who do not. These two facts do not remove political vulnerability, but they do reduce
it somewhat.
Deters Work
UBI deters people from working.
Peter Cove, “Against the Universal Basic Income.” January 8, 2018. https://www.city-

Last month, Canada became the latest country to experiment with a “basic income,” offering up
to $13,000 to selected low- and middle-income citizens with no strings attached. These trials
have spread as developed nations search for ways to cope with stagnant wages and
joblessness—problems likely to worsen as globalization and automation increase over the
coming decades. While writing my most recent book, which examines poverty in the twenty-first
century, I consulted the work of Charles Murray. For decades, Murray has blazed a trail for
thoughtful commentary on poverty, beginning in 1984 with Losing Ground, an early critique of
the welfare state. Given Murray’s sterling record on the subject, I was surprised to find that his
latest work, In Our Hands, recommends implementing a universal basic income—effectively
extending welfare to every American. Murray’s version of the UBI would eliminate all
government transfer programs, including those involving cash, food, and health care, and
replace them with an annual $10,000 grant to everyone 21 or older—whether they’re poor or
not. Within the United States, the concept has found support from a varied bipartisan crew,
including techno-progressives in Silicon Valley and conservative libertarians like Murray. Despite
its rising profile among many sharp thinkers, however, this particular approach to welfare
reform would create many more problems than it would solve. The fatal flaw of the universal
basic income is the same one that hampers most existing anti-poverty programs: a lack of
emphasis on encouraging work. Instead, these programs have sought to provide directly
whatever poor people happen to lack. The result has been more than 50 years of massive public
outlays, with little benefit other than making recipients dependent on government. The ongoing
rise in worker’s disability claims follows a long string of recent expansions of welfare programs,
such as food stamps, housing assistance, and even free phones to boost the standard of living
among poor citizens. In the long run, this transfer-focused approach to welfare does more than
create a disincentive to work. In his book The Welfare Trait, British neurobiologist Adam Perkins
argues that dependence on welfare creates work-resistant personalities, which are often passed
on from one generation to the next. As one review of Perkins’s work puts it, the welfare state
“becomes a production line for damaged kids” and encourages parents in unemployed
households to have more children than families led by breadwinners. More and more men have
become absorbed in an entrenched lifestyle of joblessness, with bleak consequences. Male
joblessness exceeds 20 percent in six states—Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New
Mexico, and West Virginia—and the number of fatalities from drug overdoses is well above the
national average in each. According to economist Allan Kreuger, 44 percent of men who have
left the workforce use pain medication—the fastest-growing form of substance abuse in the
nation today. Even many federal lawmakers have begun to realize the costs of welfare and our
joblessness epidemic. Welfare for single parents has undergone a series of reforms, and the
addition of work requirements has returned many recipients to the job market, reducing welfare
enrollment by more than 60 percent. These results demonstrate the value of making self-
sufficiency the ultimate goal of government support, rather than expanding dependency with
the “no-strings” approach of UBI. For Murray, as for many in Silicon Valley, the need for a basic
income lies in the crisis that they believe automation and globalization will soon bring to the job
market, leaving millions of unskilled workers without employment prospects—at least, as is
commonly believed. But plenty of evidence suggests that the projections of future mass
unemployment may be greatly exaggerated. Eamonn Kelly, a futurist at Deloitte Consulting,
points out that forecasts of tech-driven unemployment have been made for over a century but
have never panned out because emerging technology has always eventually created more new
jobs than it has destroyed. In every era, new types of machines and production methods
converge to enable what Kelly calls “a new art of the people.” With this new art comes new
forms of work. Our future depends on a robust future for work, because work does so much
more than provide for our basic needs. Work draws us into the public square and instills in us a
sense of personal responsibility. It allows people to feel the pride and self-respect that come
with supporting their spouses and children. Any policy that trades work for public dependency—
especially when justified only by shaky futuristic projections—should be rejected.

And - work is good – it gives people pride and creativity – not worth scrapping
for a UBI.
WAGE.” USBIG Discussion Paper No. 25, March 2002. www.usbig.net/papers/025-Waltman.doc

UBI has been defined by Philippe Van Parijs as "an income paid by a government, at a uniform
level and at regular intervals, to each adult member of society. The grant is paid , and its level is
fixed, irrespective of whether the person is rich or poor, lives alone or with others, is willing to
work or not." (35) Loek Groot and Robert van der Veen shorten this to "an income granted
unconditionally to all on an individual basis without a means test or work requirement." (36) My
definition of living wage is a wage that will provide someone who works full time year round
with a decent standard of living as measured by the criteria of the society in which he/she lives.
The first major difference is the work feature of the living wage. Advocates of UBI down play the
importance of work, Parijs saying that we need to avoid "work fetishism." To be sure, work can
be onerous, unpleasant, degrading and productive of stress. But then anything that is good can
have a down side. Most people-intellectuals and survey respondents alike-seem to agree that on
the whole, the virtues of work, both for the individual and for society, outweigh the drawbacks.
(37) For present purposes, those attributes of work that relate to republican citizenship need to
be stressed. First, work provides structure and routine. The tendency to entropy pervades
human activity as much as it does the physical world. Only a precious few of our fellows can
keep their lives on course without structure and routine. Stories from the Depression almost
always stress this. People were lost without routines, and an aimlessness soon infected every
corner of life. Orderly life began to crumble. Or, listen to the advice of retirement counselors.
Only retire, they stress, if you have something you want to do. Second, work gives many if not
most people a sense of accomplishment, which invariably makes people feel better about
themselves. Third, and closely related to the second, work provides a sense of identity. We all
know what the question "What do you do?" means. I play softball and putter around in my
wood shop is not the type of answer most people expect. Of course, this can be overdone; but
the feeling that "I am this" cannot be ignored either. Fourth, work forces us to confront the
social world. We learn how to interact with others and how to perform in groups, formal and
informal. We learn what society's expectations of us are; we also develop expectations of
certain behaviors from others. This leads to greater mental health and better social adjustment.
All of these aspects of work contribute to better republican citizenship. An ordered life, a sense
of daily accomplishment, an identity that is important to oneself and others, and an ability to
interact easily with others all contribute to the kind of character traits needed by republics. They
make liberty meaningful and lay the groundwork for confident and intelligent participation in
public affairs. By laying the emphasis on work, then, the living wage wins one over UBI. Some
proponents of UBI counter that these same character traits can be developed through engaging
in voluntary service, and that UBI will make voluntary service more common by reducing the
hours many people need to work. Without question, the first part of this contention is mostly
true. Voluntary service might not provide quite as much structure as regular work because of
the very fact that it is voluntary; nonetheless, it certainly is beneficial on all the other counts. In
addition, of course, society is made better in the process. However, it is surely open to question
how much of an upsurge in volunteering would be unleashed by the institution of UBI. A good
test: How many retirees devote their time to these activities now? Some, to be sure, but not an
army. In any event, most likely those who would volunteer to serve in soup kitchens or care for
neglected children already possess the traits needed for healthy citizenship.
Basic income doesn’t make people not work and re-entrenches gender roles.
Ingrid Robeyns, “Should feminists support basic income?” Crooked Timber, 2007.

Writing my paper for that workshop, I noted that while I was already somewhat critical about
the desirability of a basic income from a feminist perspective some years ago, my worries have
only grown. There’s only one group of women for whom basic income will clearly be a short-
term advantage – women who would not (want to) be on the labour market, with or without a
basic income. But for other groups of women the total income and labour supply effects are
unclear and hard to predict. Our best guesses are that most women would want to be employed
for fewer hours – but that requires the availability of part-time jobs. Similar non-earned income
policies in Europe, such as paid parental leave, time credits, or paid care leaves, are
predominantly used by women, not by men. So based on these closest resembling existing
policies, we would predict a strenghtening of the traditional gender division of labour, with all
the disadvantages and risks that this brings to the person doing the unpaid work. A basic income
may soften the financial part of these disadvantages and risks, but since feasibility and
sustainability constraints limit the level of the highest possible sustainable basic income, a basic
income cannot cover all these risks. Moreover, a basic income does nothing to change the fact
that many (most?) women want to share care and unpaid work, independent of the financial
UBI is a liberal feel-good policy advanced by tech elites that fails to confront
any of the structural, material problems of inequality.
Alyssa Battistoni, “The False Promise of Universal Basic Income.” Spring 2017.

Five years ago, dropping the abbreviation UBI in conversation would be more likely to earn you
a puzzled glance than a knowing nod. But these days, universal basic income—a policy often
glossed as “paying people for being alive”—is gaining popularity both in the United States and
abroad. UBI, where everyone gets a regular check from the government regardless of what else
they’re doing or how they spend it, is an old idea. But it has seen renewed interest since the
2008 financial crash: as millions of people lost their jobs and wondered whether they’d find new
ones, some also began to wonder whether they needed to work at all. UBI was recently
endorsed by the Movement for Black Lives as part of a reparations program, while Canada’s
Leap Manifesto calls for consideration of UBI on the grounds of environmental sustainability.
Jeremy Corbyn said last September that the Labour Party would investigate the prospects for
basic income in the UK, and experiments are on the agenda in Scotland, backed by the left-wing
SNP. In France, Benoît Hamon recently won the Socialist Party presidential nomination on a
platform that included a basic income. Growing public discussion has been accompanied by a
small but significant number of experimental programs, mostly in Europe. Starting this year,
about 250 people in Utrecht will receive €960 each month (about $1,030) from the government,
while a Finnish experiment will pay between five and ten thousand people €550 (about $600)
monthly. Neither amount is enough to live on, really, but they aren’t negligible either. The
United States is home to the closest thing to a basic income program existing in the world today:
the Alaska Permanent Fund. Since 1982, the fund has paid every Alaskan resident anywhere
from a few hundred to $2,000 annually out of its oil revenues. But the most prominent
supporters of UBI in the United States today are technocapitalists like Peter Thiel and Marc
Andreessen, and with the exception of Alaska, basic income experiments are being
implemented not by the state but the private sector. Most notably, the seed accelerator Y
Combinator is starting a basic income pilot program in Oakland this year, proposing to pay a
hundred families between $1,000 and $2,000 each month, “no strings attached.” It’s often
noted that Milton Friedman as well as Martin Luther King, Jr. supported basic income—and the
new generation of advocates is similarly eclectic, running the gamut from Trump-supporting
venture capitalists like Thiel to “fully automated luxury communists” like Peter Frase. There are,
in short, many different reasons for supporting UBI—and just as many versions of what it could
be. One version functions as a kind of noblesse oblige—a handout to the unfortunates being
made obsolete by robots smarter and more efficient than they are. Another version aspires to
egalitarian universalism and challenges the legitimacy of privately accumulated wealth. There’s
a version that sees UBI as the spark for a generation of entrepreneurs, and another that simply
attempts to stave off a revolt of the precarious masses. Basic income is therefore often posited
as a post-ideological solution suited to a new era of politics: the odd confluence of interest from
the left and right tends to be read as a sign that political positions should be eschewed in favor
of rational compromise. But UBI’s cross-ideological appeal is the bug, not the feature. Because
basic income is politically ambiguous, it also has the potential to act as a Trojan horse for the left
or right: left critics fret that it will serve as a vehicle for dissolving the remains of the welfare
state, while proponents herald it as the “capitalist road to communism.” The version of basic
income we get will depend, more than policies with a clearer ideological valence, on the political
forces that shape it. Which is why the prospect of pushing for basic income in the United States
right now—when the right controls everything—should be cause for alarm: UBI’s supporters on
the left should proceed with caution. But that doesn’t mean basic income is a lost cause. To the
contrary, capitalism’s inability to provide a means of making a decent living for the over 7 billion
people currently alive is one of its most glaring defects—and one of the most significant
opportunities for the left to offer an alternative. A universal basic income, though not the only
answer, might point us in the right direction. Raising the floor Unsurprisingly, labor unions have
been slow to get on board with a policy that suggests jobs may not be necessary. But as interest
grows, UBI has picked up at least one convert from the labor movement: Andy Stern, the former
head of the SEIU, whose 2016 book, Raising the Floor, explains why basic income is the way to
“invent a better future.” Stern has long positioned himself as a visionary ready to lead the labor
movement out of stagnant traditionalism toward new horizons. Within the labor movement,
though, he’s a controversial figure criticized for being too friendly with the boss. He’s worked
with Walmart on healthcare reform and with Paul Ryan on fiscal responsibility; in a recent
interview with Vox, he described the labor movement as having a “boutique role” in
representing employees. It was only a matter of time before he made powerful friends in the
tech world. Upon leaving SEIU in 2010, Stern describes catching the tech bug. He switches from
a PC to a Mac and starts Googling; in industry rags like TechCrunch and the fringe-futurist site
Singularity Hub, he reads about robot financial advisors, robot journalists, robot bartenders,
robot hotel cleaners, robot guards, and of course, sex robots. In one jaw-dropping aside, he
compares the number of people playing the online game “Mists of Pandaria” to the ranks of
organized labor: “It had taken the entire American labor movement decades to achieve that
much member power.” What a time to be alive! And yet—what will happen to the 47 percent of
workers whose jobs are purportedly at risk of automation? Stern, whose last book aimed to
make America a “country that works,” began to worry about the coming “jobless future.” He
doesn’t mean there will be literally no jobs, of course—just not enough. To figure out what to
do, he talks to a lot of people. Stern talks to the investment banker Steven Berkenfeld—an
executive at Lehman Brothers at the time of the 2008 crash, whose qualification to assess the
future is questionable at best—who declares that “to put people over profits in this country is
almost un-American.” He talks to Carl Camden, the CEO of Kelly Services, the original temp
agency—or, as Stern euphemizes, the company that “first saw the business potential in
temporary employment.” (The company became famous for calling its temp secretaries “Kelly
Girls”; one 1971 ad proclaimed that a Kelly Girl “Never takes a vacation or holiday. Never asks
for a raise. Never costs you a dime for slack time.” And of course, “Never fails to please.”) He
talks to David Cote, the CEO of Honeywell International, who says that jobs are just “going to
come”—they always have before. Stern also talks to a few labor organizers, like Saket Soni of
the National Guestworker Alliance and Ai-jen Poo of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, to
understand the “dark side of the gig economy”—the side represented by day laborers sleeping
rough in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and being paid a fraction of the money allocated
to construction contractors. To understand growing economic inequality, he reads Thomas
Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, sort of. (“Like most of the people who purchased
the book, I read very little of it,” he admits.) He hires a woman from Kenya to transcribe an
interview, for which he’s billed $4.67, and uses TaskRabbit to dismantle and ship his bike across
the country, for which he pays $80 plus shipping. He eventually comes to the conclusion that the
jobs that will remain after the robots come will be the best and the worst—Google
programmers and Uber drivers. The latter will be so bad—so insecure and so poorly paid—that
the swelling ranks of people forced to resort to them will need something else to get by. That’s
where basic income comes in: as the backstop of the gig economy. The Dutch journalist and
basic income advocate Rutger Bregman’s case for UBI, meanwhile, is pitched not as a way to
stave off a still grimmer future, but as our best shot at utopia. Advances in science, technology,
and medicine mean that the prospects for human thriving are better than ever—and yet
political ambitions have faded into technocratic tweaks, dreams of the good life answered with
waves of consumer junk. Is this really the best we can do? Why is it that when just about
anything seems technically possible, we seem unable to imagine anything genuinely inspiring?
For Bregman, basic income represents the way to true human fulfillment—the post-work utopia
that we need and that we can, in fact, achieve. It is a utopia for realists. This utopia—to not have
to work so much or so hard; to pass time in leisure rather than labor; to do what one wants
rather than what one’s told—is perhaps the oldest of all. The medieval Land of Plenty was, in
the words of one poet, where “money has been exchanged for the good life,” and “he who
sleeps the longest earns the most.” And for more than a century, it’s seemed within reach. Karl
Marx, Benjamin Franklin, John Stuart Mill, Oscar Wilde, and John Maynard Keynes all looked at
soaring productivity with the certainty that it would soon be high enough to satisfy people’s
needs and wants with just a few hours of work a week. In the 1960s, with automation on the
rise, it seemed so imminent that the question wasn’t whether people would have more leisure
time—it was what they would do with it. Would we get bored? Waste all our time in front of the
TV? Lose our purpose in life? Such worries now seem charmingly naive. “We aren’t bored to
death,” Bregman warns, “we’re working ourselves to death.” But it’s not because the likes of
Keynes and Mill were wrong—they just didn’t account for politics. Instead of increasing leisure
for working people, productivity gains went into growing profits for owners of capital. The 2008
financial crash and subsequent recession only made things worse. These days, instead of
relaxing into a life of leisure, most people are working more in a desperate attempt to cling to
their jobs, or working less than they need to support themselves. Work is bad enough on its
own. But Bregman argues convincingly that working less could also help solve any number of
other problems—stress, climate change, disasters, unemployment, wealth inequality. In fact,
increased leisure time is as close to a silver bullet as they come: “is there anything that working
less does not solve?” Bregman asks. Instead of making people work to earn a living, then, why
not just give them money—a universal basic income? Experiments consistently show that having
adequate income makes you happier, healthier, and even smarter. Giving poor people money—
whether it’s to homeless men in London or quarry workers in Nairobi—turns out to be good for
everyone. It reduces crime, child mortality, malnutrition, and teen pregnancy, and increases
gender equality, educational outcomes, and economic growth. But while Bregman is utopian, he
isn’t in thrall to technofuturists: he argues that to understand automation and its effects, we’d
do better to study history than speculate about the future. After all, the robots have been
coming for decades. The current surge of interest in basic income, too, has historical precedent:
there was a wave of interest in the 1930s, and a larger swell in the late 1960s and early ’70s; in
1969 Richard Nixon even proposed a bill (though it was never passed) for a form of basic income
he called “negative income tax.” The 1970s also saw a smattering of projects putting basic
income into action, with five trials occurring in North America. The most significant, a five-year
federally-funded experiment with basic income in the town of Dauphin, Canada, in the 1970s
was an unexpected success across the board. When people were guaranteed an income above
the poverty line (around $19,000 for a family of four), they stayed in school longer and spent
more time with their families, while hospitalizations, domestic violence, and mental health
complaints declined. In four experimental programs across the United States around the same
time, meanwhile, people consistently worked fewer paid hours and put most of their spare time
into parenting, independent artistic pursuits, and education. It turns out that people aren’t
indolent when they aren’t forced to work (though would it be such a terrible thing if they
were?)—they just do the kinds of work they actually want to do. Bregman’s case for UBI is
powerful, animated by humanist principles and bolstered by pragmatic evidence. It’s so
convincing, in fact, that one’s left wondering only why, if basic income is such an obvious good,
it doesn’t already exist. The problem isn’t that basic income doesn’t sound good enough—it’s
that it sounds too good to be true. This, in fact, is one of basic income’s biggest political
challenges: getting people to take it seriously. Politicians tend to be wary of endorsing such a
seemingly pie-in-the-sky idea. A much discussed referendum in Switzerland last summer
proposed a basic income at a significantly higher baseline—around €2,300—but resulted in a
resounding defeat, with 77 percent of voters rejecting the plan. But none of the major national
parties backed the initiative, which was understood more as a publicity tool for UBI than an
actual campaign. The programs of the 1970s, too, foundered on the shoals of politics. When a
conservative government came to power in Canada in 1979, it scrapped the basic income
experiment before it had even analyzed the results. In the United States, interest in UBI twisted
into suspicion of welfare recipients under the rise of the New Right in the late 1970s. Though
basic income went nowhere in the end, the robots stayed. And we’re still living with what
happens when automation isn’t accompanied by a political response: stagnant wages, a
crumbling middle class, declining union power, rising inequality. Yet it’s curious that UBI doesn’t
today seem to suffer from the same political challenges as those described by Michał Kalecki in
his classic 1943 essay “Political Aspects of Full Employment.” Kalecki argues that the challenges
to achieving full employment are not economic but political: if people can make a living without
taking whatever job they’re offered, at whatever pay, the power that comes with the ability to
fire—the most significant power a boss has—diminishes sharply. Basic income would do the
same by virtue of providing a dependable source of income; thus its labor-left advocates point
out that it would essentially act as a permanent strike fund. Given that, why do bosses—at least
the ones in Silicon Valley—seem to like UBI so much? Some of their enthusiasm may simply be
well-meaning naiveté: as Sam Altman of Y Combinator says, “50 years from now, I think it will
seem ridiculous that we used fear of not being able to eat as a way to motivate people”—as if
this hasn’t been one of the defining features of capitalism all along. Presumably freedom from
the need to earn a living will unleash people’s entrepreneurial spirit, their inner innovator—
rather than simply give us the chance to fish, hunt, and criticize just as we please. The view of
UBI as the foundation of the gig economy, meanwhile, is a tacit acknowledgement that
capitalism can’t pay its full costs—a transfer of responsibility for a living wage from private
employers to the public. Then there’s an even worse case for UBI as pressure outlet: Stern
argues that basic income supporters would do well to convince the anxious rich that it’s their
best bet to avoid “the guillotine” amidst growing inequality and desperation. But you don’t need
to be Robespierre to be suspicious of a proposal that explicitly announces its intent to protect
the rich from working-class rage—particularly when one of the major questions of UBI is where
the free money will come from. Stern cautions UBI supporters against advocating a “soak the
rich” tax on political grounds: the broad coalition that UBI requires will be impossible if the rich
are against it from the start. (Alas, this is already the metric for most policies.) Instead, he
proposes to fund UBI by cashing out major welfare programs (food stamps, housing assistance,
the earned income tax credit) and charging a value-added tax on consumer goods; more
tentatively, he considers a wealth tax, a financial transaction tax, and cuts to military spending.
But funding a basic income by cannibalizing existing welfare programs and imposing regressive
consumption taxes perversely places the burden of subsidizing low wages on the poor and
working-class people making them in the first place. That this is a proposal put forth by a former
labor leader is a measure of the left’s weakness. And indeed, Stern’s view of labor’s political
prospects is remarkably dim. In fact, UBI is explicitly posed as a solution to the problem of
declining union power: “It was time for me to look beyond unions for answers,” Stern declares
in the first thirty pages. Instead, he proposes a Basic Income Party that could run candidates in
every Congressional district and threaten a tax strike—the weapon of the wealthy—until
Congress agrees to vote on a basic income package. It’s obviously a non-starter. But it reveals
the limits of Stern-style unionism: start out collaborating with Walmart on healthcare, and soon
you’ll hope only for the dwindling state to throw a few bucks at the reserve army of Uber drivers
tasked with ferrying the rich from one gentrified enclave to the next. Instead of fighting off the
dystopian future, settle into the interregnum of the present, with all its morbid symptoms. But
as the writer Ben Tarnoff has pointed out, the places where technological development hasn’t
produced a dystopian, jobless future (like Sweden) don’t just have technology, they also have
strong unions and a robust welfare state. The kind of starkly unequal society that Stern and
other UBI futurists fear wouldn’t just come about because the robots arrived—it would come
about because only a few people owned them.Recognizing this, Bregman explicitly advocates
“massive redistribution” of money, time, and robots—that is, of income, work, and the means of
production. All wealth is socially produced, he argues, and so it should be shared accordingly.
It’s not so much that this time is different—it’s that we have the chance to make it so. Though
he stops short of inciting us to seize the robots outright, he advocates taxes on the wealthy and
on financial transactions as a means to both fund basic income and disincentivize certain
activities—like banking—that make money “without creating anything of value.” Though
Bregman’s version of UBI is far more appealing on the merits, his political program is
disappointing. Ideas change the world, Bregman declares, and UBI is such an obviously good
idea that we just need to spread the word. The last line of the book belongs to Keynes, the
book’s implicit hero, who famously said of ideas, “indeed, the world is ruled by little else.” But of
course, it’s ruled by many other things—money and power chief among them. The fifteen-hour
work week Keynes predicted didn’t come to pass because the idea alone wasn’t enough. More
importantly, Keynes was talking about ideology rather than ideas per se, about the systems of
thought that underpin our assumptions whether or not we know it, not just clever notions. And
the problem with basic income is that it tends to be read as an idea without an ideology.
Bregman describes the pro-UBI movement in Europe as grassroots and “cross-ideological” in
character. At the local level where most programs are proposed, the debate is largely pragmatic.
The program in Utrecht, for example, is known as “Weten Wat Werkt” or “Knowing What
Works,” in acknowledgment that many see the current welfare system—which even in Europe
has ceded more and more ground to workfare—as unaffordable and dysfunctional. But of
course, what counts as pragmatic depends on the existing balance of political power. Even
Bregman’s own position, though solidly on the left, shifts between advocating for UBI as what
the Belgian philosopher Philippe Van Parijs described as the “capitalist road to communism” and
the capitalist road to . . . saving capitalism from itself. Stern’s post-ideological stance is even
more blatant: at one point he imagines an exchange between the libertarian political thinker
Charles Murray, whose 1997 book The Bell Curve famously argued for racial differences in
intelligence based on genetics, and Martin Luther King, Jr. He argues that their disagreements
about the relationship of basic income to the role of the state in society are simply diversions
from their shared idea of giving people money. But these disagreements get to the heart of the
matter. The debate about basic income is about the obligations we have to one another, the
origins of property, the ends of human life, the shape of our society. And when these broader
visions are translated into policy, they don’t simply suggest a shared plan to give people
money—they offer drastically different accounts of how much money people should get, where
it should come from, and who should get it. The leftist-futurist version of basic income is often
described as a non-reformist reform, per Van Parijs’s quip: a goal that’s achievable within
capitalism but that has the potential to change the conditions of capitalism enough to lead
beyond it. Basic income is the fully automated monorail to luxury communism, where we all
own the robots and everyone gets what they need. This UBI isn’t a backstop for bad jobs, but
the material condition for human fulfillment. But not just any income will do: for it to be a
genuine step toward a post-work society, it has to be genuinely universal and unconditional,
provide enough income to actually live on, and supplement rather than replace the welfare
state. This UBI is the one that draws from the Marxist feminists who pointed out the unwaged
labor of social reproduction in the 1970s, the working-class women of color who fought for the
rights of welfare recipients in the 1960s, and the architects of the Freedom Budget who
attempted to translate the gains of the civil rights movement into a program for economic
justice. They wanted not just a basic income but a sufficient one—one adequate not merely to
survive, but to live a decent life, and maybe even a good one. The right-wing version of basic
income, by contrast, wherein paltry lumps of cash replace public services and goods, is a UBI not
worth having. This version of basic income is a mechanism to streamline—a more accurate word
might be “gut”—the welfare state in the name of libertarian ideas of freedom. People know
what they need better than the state does, the argument goes; how people will be able to
afford healthcare on $12,000 a year is less often addressed. Who exactly should get a basic
income is another question. It’s sometimes called a “citizen’s dividend,” explicitly limiting
recipients by nationality. More generally the “universal” is aspirational: basic income programs
have only seriously been proposed at the national or local levels. So, as with other welfare
programs, debates over basic income will undoubtedly be bound up with questions about
nationality and migration. In the European context, we should be wary of the deployment of
basic income to solidify Fortress Europe as the refugee crisis intensifies. In the debates over the
Swiss program, for example, Luzi Stamm, a member of parliament for the right-wing Swiss
People’s Party, said he could imagine supporting UBI—but only for the Swiss. “Theoretically, if
Switzerland were an island, the answer is yes,” he said at the time. “But with open borders, it’s a
total impossibility, especially for Switzerland, with a high living standard.” In the United States,
meanwhile, the combination of nativism and libertarianism that makes up the Trump coalition is
particularly dangerous: it’s hard to imagine any way a basic income program implemented in the
Trump era would be anything but a vehicle for dismantling the remains of the welfare state
while simultaneously reinforcing nationalism by excluding non-citizens from shared prosperity.
That said, basic income doesn’t seem likely to be on the agenda of the Trump administration
anytime soon. Instead of inventing the future, Trump’s move is to borrow from the past via
boondoggles like the Carrier deal, which give public money to private companies in an attempt
to revive a mid-century imaginary where men had real factory jobs. Welfare programs,
meanwhile, are likely to come under renewed attack from a Republican administration ready to
slash government spending. The apparent success of Trump’s appeal to mid-century nostalgia,
though, has thrown cold water on utopian visions. After a few years of UBI flirtation, the
American left seems to be returning to full employment—rather than full unemployment—as a
demand, particularly via the idea of a federal job guarantee. There’s plenty of useful work to be
done, of course, and like income, jobs should be distributed as evenly as possible. Remaking the
ideology of work may be too heavy a lift for the next few years. Still, we shouldn’t stop pushing
back against reifying work as the source of both income and social worth. Ongoing expropriation
and proletarianization have left billions worldwide in a condition of what historian Michael
Denning calls “wageless life,” rendered surplus to capital’s needs and struggling to scrape by in a
system that starts “not with the offer of work, but with the imperative to earn a living.” And so
while basic income sounds like a program for rich countries—a luxury made possible by a certain
level of prosperity—it may be even more promising in places where it seems most unaffordable.
In recent years UBI pilot programs have rolled out in Namibia, Kenya, and Uganda, mostly
funded by NGOs; more generally, cash transfer programs, which aim to diminish poverty by
giving poor people money—though often with specific criteria or restrictions—are the latest fad
in development. Elsewhere, public support provides more in the way of livelihoods than do
private wages: the anthropologist James Ferguson notes that more South Africans receive
income from government welfare programs, whether child allowances or disability aid, than
from waged labor. Basic income, Ferguson argues, may be the way to achieve social welfare in
countries where the prospect of job creation on a scale adequate to the population is little more
than a fantasy. Of course, the above model, based on postwar growth in the United States and
Western Europe, is now a fantasy here too. Donald Trump will fail to make America great again
in the way he’s promised. The factory jobs aren’t coming back, and neither are 4 percent growth
rates. Even the desperate deals to keep individual plants running won’t stave off the robots:
Carrier, for example, has already said it will put most of the money it promised to invest in its
Indiana plant into automation. Which is why, despite the dangers of UBI, it remains an
important time for the left to develop a view of a society less oriented around work: as the
futility of Fordist nostalgia becomes more and more apparent, both here and around the globe,
the left should seize the opportunity to push for a different view of what work should be, how
much of it we should do, and what role it should play in our lives. That will take time and a
broad coalition—but not the one that Stern describes between the ultra-rich and the masses of
gig workers, or even of post-ideological rationalists described by Bregman. Instead, the
elements of a staunchly left and genuinely political coalition—comprised of workers who need
more leverage and the unemployed, those fighting for a sustainable environment and racial
justice, care workers both waged and unwaged—are nascent but increasingly visible. The left
hasn’t seriously organized around welfare rights for years. But in the coming years it will be
more important than ever to defend what remains of U.S. social provision from Paul Ryan and
company, particularly given the nasty racial tack that fight will undoubtedly take. And we can’t
defend welfare just as a backstop for vulnerable and unlucky members of society, or as a
handout to the benighted poor, but as a fundamental and universal good for all. In other words,
we should advocate for the exact opposite of the Clintonian welfare reform programs of the
1990s, and the only kind of welfare program that can build a broad and universal constituency
for social provision rather than marking out the undeserving poor. A recent New York Times op-
ed argued for UBI as a kind of reparations for decades of unpaid work done by women, echoing
socialist-feminist arguments about the value of social reproduction. The Movement for Black
Lives endorsed basic income as part of a reparations program, in the model of a new Freedom
Budget. The labor movement in the United States has understandably focused on higher wages,
but it can—and must—also revive the demand for shorter hours and more leisure. Basic income
isn’t the only way to make that demand, and it isn’t even a necessary part of it—but its utopian
elements can help drive a more visionary agenda for labor. None of the UBI proposals we hear
today—in Canada, the United Kingdom, or in France—is likely to be quite the basic income
imagined by luxury communists (there aren’t enough of them to win an election yet), but
they’re a start. Utopia is possible. If we want it, though, we’ll need to make it a part of the
demands and visions of the left movements we build over the next few years. Because we can’t
just invent the future—we’re going to have to fight for it.

UBI is a palliative that entrenches neoliberalism.

Daniel Zamora, “The Case Against a Basic Income.” Jacobin. December 28, 2017.

In her campaign memoir What Happened, Hillary Clinton wrote that the idea of a universal basic
income (UBI) for all Americans “fascinated” her. Reflecting on her wholly uninspiring campaign,
she explained that she wanted to include it in her platform but “couldn’t make the numbers
work,” so she dropped the idea. She had planned to call it “Alaska for America,” referring to the
Alaska Permanent Fund. Established in 1982, that program gives each of the state’s citizens an
annual dividend from oil revenues. The idea gained popularity in the mid-sixties, and Nixon
almost implemented it nationwide. American researchers conducted large-scale experiments in
New Jersey, and a Canadian study took place in Winnipeg during the mid-seventies. At the time,
the proposal produced heated debates in continental Europe and North America, but the
decades that followed led to a slow but steady decline in support. The conservative preference
for the “workfare” and “activation” policies that characterized welfare reform in the nineties —
led by a different Clinton — turned basic income into a utopian fantasy. But as interest in UBI
from one of the planet’s most powerful political figures attests, the last ten years have given
new life to the idea. Indeed, it’s now on the agenda of many movements and governments. For
Philippe Van Parijs and Yannick Vanderborght, two of UBI’s leading proponents, “the
conjunction of growing inequality, a new wave of automation, and a more acute awareness of
the ecological limits to growth has made it the object of unprecedented interest throughout the
world.” Finland’s right-wing government is testing the idea, replacing part of its unemployment
benefits system with a basic income distributed to all Finnish citizens. In Canada, the
government of Ontario has been conducting a large-scale experiment since the summer of 2017.
The Netherlands has the most developed UBI program experiment in Europe. Several
municipalities are testing the program’s effects on its beneficiaries. And in France, the
unfortunate socialist candidate for president, Benoît Hamon, made basic income his key
measure. Political parties across the globe are now openly discussing the idea of distributing an
unconditional income to every citizen. Each side of the political spectrum points to different
supposed benefits: the Right praises UBI for getting rid of outdated state bureaucracies; the Left
for eradicating poverty. Appearing at once “liberal” and “social,” basic income, according to a
popular view, divides those who still think about class and the industrial revolution in old-
fashioned terms from those who recognize that the “knowledge economy” has profoundly
transformed our economy and society. For this latter group, full employment is utopian, stable
work is an outdated demand, and the old institutions of wage labor — social security, unions,
and so on — are obsolete, brakes on progress and individual freedom. For radical left
“accelerationist” theorists Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams, basic income constitutes a “post-
capitalist” exit path, while the self-described “entrepreneur” Peter Barnes, whose bestseller
With Liberty and Dividends For Allinspired Hillary Clinton, sees it as a way to create a “better-
balanced capitalism — we would call it everyone-gets-a-share capitalism.” The studies,
experiments, and debates are multiplying, making UBI once again an idea “whose time has
come.” Paradoxically, then, UBI seems to be a crisis demand, brandished in moments of social
retreat and austerity. As politics moves to the right and social movements go on the defensive,
UBI gains ground. The more social gains seem unreachable, the more UBI makes sense. It’s what
botanists would call a “bioindicator”: it indexes neoliberalism’s progress. Support for basic
incomes proliferates where neoliberal reforms have been the most devastating. In this sense,
UBI isn’t an alternative to neoliberalism, but an ideological capitulation to it. In fact, the most
viable forms of basic income would universalize precarious labor and extend the sphere of the
market — just as the gurus of Silicon Valley hope.

Their focus on income inequality is a mirage that diverts attention from the real
drivers of capitalism.
Daniel Zamora, “The Case Against a Basic Income.” Jacobin. December 28, 2017.

Beyond arguments of feasibility or the effects on the labor market, we need to ask a more
fundamental question: is distributing €1,100 to the whole population the best use of 35 percent
of GDP? Isn’t the best way to fight against capitalism to limit the sphere in which it operates?
Establishing a base income, by contrast, merely allows everyone to participate in the market.
Our current economic crisis goes beyond the problem of income inequality. While inequality
garners the most attention, it’s a secondary feature of capitalism. One of capitalism’s most
remarkable achievements (but also one of its most violent) is that it made market exchange the
nearly exclusive means to acquire the goods necessary for our own reproduction. In doing so, it
turned money into almost the only valid medium of exchange and it made the majority of the
population dependent on capital, enforcing a fundamentally asymmetric power relation
between the boss and the worker. This profoundly unequal relationship not only subordinates
people within the sphere of labor, but outside it as well, through the powerful influence
economic power exerts on politics, ideology, and culture. By the end of the nineteenth century,
leftists understood this problem perfectly well. The welfare state tried to limit the areas in which
the market and economic power could operate. If industrialization had made only owners full
citizens with real rights, then social security and unemployment insurance established what
Robert Castel called “social property,” marking “the emergence of a new function of the state,
of a new form of rights, and a new conception of property.” As the British sociologist T. H.
Marshall explained, equality isn’t possible “without restricting the freedom of competitive
markets,” without opening socialized spaces free from market imperatives. In other words, for
the Left, the economic effects of extending the market (as well as the political and cultural
effects) were never divorced from a questioning of the logic of the market itself. Though this
perspective has suffered enormous setbacks since the early 1970s, it still offers a vision radically
different from our current neoliberal consensus. The ultimate aim is not to make competition
more “fair,” less “discriminatory,” or less “normative.” Instead, it seeks to curtail the space in
which competition exists. In this sense, freedom doesn’t signify the ability to access the market,
but rather the ability to reduce the space in which it operates. Hillary Clinton was right to say
that she underestimated the power of “big ideas.” But that doesn’t mean UBI is the big idea we
need. We should reconnect with the postwar period’s emancipatory heritage. The institutions
workers established after World War II did more than stabilize or buffer capitalism. They
constituted, in embryonic form, the elements of a truly democratic and egalitarian society,
where the market would not have the central place it now occupies. And if the recent successes
of Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn are anything to go by, the door may now be open to a
rebirth of socialist politics. Utopia is not beyond our reach — it’s closer than we think.

People are less likely to protest states they rely on for income. Living wage is
better because people make their own money and rely on themselves.
Isbister, John. “Capitalism and Justice: Envisioning Social and Economic Fairness.” Bloomfield,
CT: Kumarian, 2001.

Capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom, Friedman maintains. In a society in

which resources are controlled centrally by the state, the state will have no interest in providing
resources to dissident political groups that wish to challenge those who are in control. Under
capitalism, however, since the state does not control all the resources, diverse political groups
are free to find their support where they will and communicate with their fellow citizens in an
attempt to persuade them to their point of view. Friedman makes much of the fact that Marx
was able to write and have a political career in a capitalist country, Britain, since an industrialist,
Friedrich Engels, was willing to support him.
A basic income harms class consciousness by leaving the intrinsic value of
capitalist labor intact as well as putting class identity on the backburner while
consumption is cherished.
Gourevitch, Alex. "The limits of a basic income: Means and ends of workplace democracy." Basic
Income Studies 11.1 (2016): 17-28. https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/bis.2016.11.issue-1/bis-

Moreover, a basic income reduces only the asymmetric dependence on employers that springs
from having instrumental reasons for seeking a job – such as income, benefits, and work-related
social standing. But even here, a basic income cannot eliminate many costs associated with
losing a job, such as the needs of family, ties to community, value of workplace relationships.
Even on its own terms, a basic income alone cannot supply a fully credible freedom to ‘exit’ such
that the labor contract and the ongoing workplace relationship can be seen as free and equal.11
Yet even if a basic income could compensate for all of these costs associated with the
instrumental value of work, it can do little with respect to the intrinsic values that drive many to
work and that thereby create a dependence on employment – and therefore employers. Many
will still validly feel an obligation to work and/or they will seek a creative outlet for their
capacities or some combination of these motivations. These are sources of an intrinsic value to
work, separate from its instrumental value as a source of income. Insofar as the only way to
realize these important values will be finding employment offered by that relatively small class
of owners of productive property, many will remain unequally dependent on employers. For
many, the threat of losing the job will remain a real, coercive threat. Although I cannot discuss it
here, the strategy of reducing the value we place in work itself seems to me both undesirable
and unfeasible.12 Instead, a more fruitful avenue is to seek political means for changing the
shared class position of workers in relation to capitalists. That class position is represented both
in the wider defense of unequal control over labor and property as a whole, but also in the
unequal power and undemocratic structure of the workplace itself. Now we might think that a
basic income is just the kind of policy that would increase class power. But it is just as possible
that it could undermine that power. After all, increasing individual bargaining power does
nothing to improve or promote the sense that being dominated and exploited is a shared, class
position of workers who can best pursue their interests collectively rather than individually. If
anything, it could promote the view that we should think of ourselves as consumers first and
foremost, who can best pursue our interests atomistically, by maximizing our individual
bargaining power as a market participant rather than by joining in collective action. In this
sense, a basic income is also potentially “re-commodifying” not just “de-commodifying.” The
degree to which a basic income in fact promotes democratic values will therefore depend on
prior questions of the degree to which it is part of a class-conscious demand to reduce the
degree of domination and exploitation in the economy. Indeed, any basic income high enough
to threaten existing relations of economic domination would likely only be feasible if there were
already a substantial movement among workers. But in that case, we must first give an account
of the rights, powers, and activities that go into producing that kind of class power.
A basic income’s focus on developing bargaining power is insufficient and
inevitably becomes complacent in class inequality.
Gourevitch, Alex. "The limits of a basic income: Means and ends of workplace democracy." Basic
Income Studies 11.1 (2016): 17-28. https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/bis.2016.11.issue-1/bis-

As a means to emancipating workers, the basic income is insufficient, indeed potentially self-
undermining, because it focuses primarily on increasing the individual bargaining power of
workers as separate market participants. While it is no doubt true that being able to fall back on
a work-unconditional income will strengthen an employee’s credible threat of exit, which gives
her greater capacity to challenge a manager’s power, this is entirely a de facto power. It does
nothing directly to reduce an employer’s legal prerogatives. Nor does it directly challenge the
background structure of labor and property law that protects extreme inequalities in the control
over property or that limits labor rights.9 After all, nobody argues that a basic income should be
sufficient to meet not just consumption needs but, over and above that, to be able to save
enough such that the recipient could become an owner him or herself. Basic income policies are
therefore compatible with enormous inequalities in control over productive resources. In
addition, the inherent incompleteness of contracts means that we can never derive the relations
of power and authority in the workplace from some ideal of the freely-made contract.10 Thus if
we care about that kind of active control – say because we care about autonomy or meaningful
work or a number of those other values mentioned in the previous section – we have strong
reason for doubting the sufficiency of a basic income.

Alternative - The focus of class struggle should not be redistributive concessions

such as the basic income, but instead emerge out of the struggle for collective
agency and autonomy of the working class. This is how true emancipatory
change happens.
Gourevitch, Alex. "The limits of a basic income: Means and ends of workplace democracy." Basic
Income Studies 11.1 (2016): 17-28. https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/bis.2016.11.issue-1/bis-

I have suggested that a work-unconditional basic income is insufficient as a means to

emancipating workers from the relationships of domination they experience in the workplace.
Both at a practical level, in terms of the ability to challenge certain kinds of undemocratic
power, and at a substantive level, in terms of being consistent with the values that workplace
democracy might satisfy, a basic income comes up short. Here again, I would like to draw on
labor republicans to suggest an alternative path acceptable to those interested in economic
democracy. This will necessarily be sketchy but it is unified by a single thought: the emphasis
should be less on formulating the ideal social policy or the perfect legislative demand and
instead on thinking about how those subject to domination could act on their own behalf. There
is a good practical reason for this, which comes straight from the historical sociology of
domination: who else will do it? As a little-known worker, Langdon Byllesby, once wrote,
“history does not furnish an instance wherein the depository of power voluntarily abrogated its
prerogatives, or the oppressor relinquished his advantages in favour of the oppressed”
(Byllesby, 1826, p. 5). The response that labor republicans generally gave was that workers
should organize themselves into political organizations, industrial unions and self-financed
cooperatives in order to transform the social and economic order (Gourevitch, 2015, Ch. 5).
There is strong reason to think that a cooperative economy, based on workplace democracy,
cannot be established voluntarily. Those without sufficient capital are at too great a
disadvantage in accumulating the savings to set them up in any great numbers. There are also
various reasons why cooperatives cannot compete with non-democratic firms, not to mention
there is a long history of undemocratic employers colluding to destroy cooperatives – either
through legal or illegal means. But there is good reason to think that industrial unionization and
class-conscious political organizations are possible and effective. After all, individuals, no matter
how great their bargaining power, cannot change laws that grant managers power, that
distribute ownership unequally, and that shape the ongoing struggle over political and social
control. And the thing about the authoritarian workplace is that it is sustained by a host of
shifting, ongoing laws and policies. The broader point being that, instead of asking about the
ideal social policy in terms of its distributional effects or consequences for individual bargaining
power, we ought to defend those practices and policies that permit the greatest opportunities
for workers to exercise their own collective agency to free themselves from their subjection. We
might, in this context, see unionization efforts, strikes, and demands for greater labor rights as
the core of the case for workplace democracy – not because it will immediately make
workplaces democratic, but because it is a necessary step in the formation of the kinds of agents
who might demand collective control over their work. That, however, requires not just finding
the right policies but thinking through problems regarding collective action, political solidarity,
and the rights of the oppressed. After all, the democratization of work and economic life is
never the product of one-off acts or single policies – which is an impression that defenders of
basic income sometimes give. Rather, it is the product of ongoing struggle, over years and
decades, and it lasts only as long as the demand to rule over collective life together remains a
living demand of workers themselves. It is unclear to me how a work-unconditional basic
income promotes that kind of solidarity. More likely, the relation is reversed. An emancipating
social policy will be the product of workers seeking their own emancipation; economic
democracy will be the product of economic actors seeking democracy.
UBI would hurt individuals with disabilities by cutting programs essential to
their livelihood.
Harper, Annie. “Universal basic income can't solve the disability/poverty nexus alone” The Hill
11/3/17 http://thehill.com/opinion/civil-rights/358651-universal-basic-income-cant-solve-the-

Possible models for a basic income vary, including payments conditional on certain behaviors,
payments only when other income falls below a certain level, and an unconditional monthly
payment to everyone. But common to all of these models is a lack of attention to how people
with disabilities would fare. In the United States, people with disabilities are already eligible for
a basic income of sorts. They receive government benefits for which they do not have to work,
either Social Security Disability (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and remain
eligible as long as they are disabled. However, there are serious downsides to the existing
disability benefits system which could, in theory, be solved with a basic income. Currently, when
a person first becomes disabled, they often have to spend long periods with little to no income
while they wait for their benefits to be approved. Once approved, depending on whether they
are on SSI or SSDI, any work income may result in a cut in their benefits income. Given that the
ability of people with disabilities — particularly those with mental illness — to work may
fluctuate over time, and that they may only be qualified for poorly paid, insecure jobs, many
choose to stick with their low but reliable benefits income rather than unpredictable low-wage
income. Not only can work have therapeutic benefit, but not working can further stigmatize
people who already face discrimination from broader society. Social Security programs designed
to encourage disability recipients to go back to work are well-intentioned, but, in practice, are
confusing, hard to navigate, and persuade very few people to take that step. In general, the
bureaucracy associated with applying for and proving continued eligibility for disability benefits
is so complex that health providers often spend far too much time helping clients with benefits,
eating into precious time that should be spent addressing their illness. A basic income system
could, in theory, address all of these problems. People with disabilities would simply receive the
same basic income as everyone else, thereby avoiding stigma, difficulties of moving from
benefits income to paid work, and the perpetual entanglement with a frustrating and often
overwhelming bureaucracy. So far, however, none of the models proposed has provided
adequate detail about what a basic income would mean in practice for people with disabilities.
Pilot projects in the U.S. tend to exclude people on SSI/SSDI as they already receive cash income
without working so aren’t suitable to test the idea on, plus their SSI/SSDI eligibility could be
affected by any additional income.
Gov Overreach
A Universal basic income gives the government a large amount of power,
making citizens obsolete. Threatening the rights and lives of citizens.
Shapira, Shai “Universal Basic Income and the Threat of Tyranny” Quillette, 10/9/17

We don’t have to go back to ancient history to see this trend – these days we have many
countries in the world whose incomes are based on extracting resources from the ground,
requiring little to no participation from the common people. Which countries are functioning
democracies, and which are autocracies? The World Bank gives us a list of countries ordered by
what percentage of their merchandise exports comes from fuels. At 50% or more we find, in this
order: Iraq, Angola, Algeria, Brunei, Kuwait, Azerbaijan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, Russia,
Oman, Norway, Colombia, Bolivia and Bahrain. Can we notice a trend? How many of these
countries provide a good set of political rights for their citizens? This should not be surprising.
This pattern is not often discussed, as it conflicts the image we like to have of political rights as
being the result of enlightenment and struggle, of the heroes of our past who overthrew
despotic regimes and created a better world for everyone. But reality, unfortunately, seems
more cynical than that. We do not get our rights because we deserve them, or even because we
fight for them – we get our rights because the government needs us. It is a common hope that
countries that escape poverty will move on to adopt democracy, and this indeed happened in
some notable cases, like South Korea or Taiwan. But South Korea and Taiwan became rich from
industry, which means their wealth came from the work of their citizens; meanwhile, Qatar or
Angola became rich from natural resources, and their political situation became no better. A
country that generates its wealth from its citizens has no choice but to keep those citizens
happy, at least to some degree; a country that generates its wealth from oil wells, only needs to
keep a handful of mercenaries happy as they guard the access to those wells. And this is the real
danger of a universal basic income – it makes the citizens unnecessary to the government. In the
suggested world of universal basic income, what puts pressure on the government to maintain
democracy and political rights? Will they be afraid of a popular uprising? The people have
nothing to threaten them with. A person who does not pay taxes cannot threaten to stop paying
them. Violent revolution? History shows that governments tend to be significantly better than
common people in using violence. All the citizens have left is the good will of the people in
power, which can last for one or two generations, but past examples give little reason to be
optimistic about long term sustainability. We have no shortage of examples from recent years –
how much of the “Arab Spring” was made of people demanding political rights from
governments who had no need for them? If tens of thousands of people in an industrial country
start an uprising, it can paralyze the national economy and create serious problems for the
government. If millions of people start an uprising in an oil state, what can they do? Unless they
have support from some external force, as in some examples we have seen in recent years, they
will be no more than a nuisance for a heartless regime. We might wish that were not the case,
but the world is full of dead protesters and revolutionaries who say otherwise. This problem is
not necessarily impossible to solve, but it does need to be acknowledged and addressed. If we
are going to go down the path of a universal basic income, it will not be enough to plan our
economic models for it – we need to think about the political implications. We need to develop
new ideas about government and the relationship between the government and its citizens.
What is the value of a non-working citizen in such a society? This might sound like a cynical
question to ask, but the people who do the work to finance those non-working citizens will
certainly ask it, and in this scenario, they will have the power over the life and death of those
citizens. What motivation do the people in power have to keep supporting these citizens? How
many children will people have when they don’t need to work to provide for them? It has often
been taken for granted that as societies advance, fertility drops, but this has only been
happening for a short time and in societies where having children requires hard work to provide
for them. Will the working minority agree to support non-workers with ten or twenty children
per family? Will that be sustainable? If we cannot imagine a government that decides to abuse
its power against the non-working people, let’s also think a bit more about the nature of those
non-working people. Commentators love to imagine society after universal basic income as full
of people studying, working on crafts and hobbies, and generally living happy and fulfilling lives.
But we need to prepare for other eventualities as well. There is no shortage of people who use
their spare time to practice hatred and violence, and not always out of some competition for
resources. What happens if people use their new free time to organize in gangs, militias, or cults
that despise the workers and promulgate hateful ideas? Will the workers still be happy to
finance them? How many working people would vote against taking universal basic income
rights away from Nazis and terrorists? And once that is done, can we be sure they will not get an
appetite to take them away from more and more people they dislike?
Increasing or decreasing the amount of choices an agent has doesn’t affect how
paternalistic an action is. There are situations in which increasing choices may
also lead to paternalism.
Cholbi, Michael. "The Anti-Paternalist Case For Unconditional Basic Income Provision." (2017).

One reason for such doubt is that the converse of this assumption is false: Increasing the options
available to a person is not incompatible with treating her paternalistically, nor does increasing
her available options rebut the charge of paternalism. For one, the scope of a person’s liberty or
autonomy seems restricted to options that are meaningful or ‘live’ to her. Suppose that a
restauranteur concerned about her regular customers’ health makes use of research regarding
product placement, etc., to redesign her menu.13 She places the healthier entrees (chicken and
seafood) near the top left of the menu, the less healthy entrees (beef and pork) at the bottom
center. At the same time, she adds ten new items to the menu. However, because the
restaurant is a Memphis-style barbecue joint, she knows full well that these new items (plain
boiled tofu, for instance) will virtually never be ordered. The restauranteur has plainly acted
paternalistically despite the fact that she has given her diners more options overall. The options
she has provided to the barbecue aficionados are options that they are very unlikely to choose.
The scope of their liberty or autonomy has been expanded in ways that are merely formal, and
so the restauranteur cannot rebut the claim that she has acted paternalistically by citing the fact
she expanded the diners’ options overall. Similarly, paternalistic manipulation can occur when
one person attempts to inundate a person with options. George Tsai has observed that giving a
person an enormous number of options and then forcing him to make a rapid decision leads to
predictable patterns of choice (choosing the first or last option mentioned, for example) that
can be put to paternalistic purposes.14 Examples such as these speak against the thesis there is
some positive relation between the number of options available to a person and the scope of
her liberty or autonomy (or at least, their scope as it bears on whether an act or policy is
paternalistic). Thus, they also speak obliquely against the thesis pertinent to the debate about a
basic income versus a basket of inkind goods, namely, that a basic income is preferable on anti-
paternalist grounds to a basket of in-kind goods because the latter restricts liberty or autonomy
more than the former. After all, if expanding the number of options available to a person does
not by itself make an act or policy less paternalistic, why should restricting the number of
options available to a person by itself make an act or policy more paternalistic? Still, expanding
and restricting options could be asymmetric in this respect, so that expanding a person’s options
bears no clear relation to whether an act or policy is paternalistic, but restricting a person’s
options has clear implications, to wit, that it renders an act or policy (more) objectionably
paternalistic. But the relationship between an act or policy’s limiting a person’s options and its
being paternalistic is no less haphazard than the parallel relationship between expanding a
person’s options and treating her paternalistically. Consider an example mirroring our earlier
restauranteur: Suppose she already has a number of menu items that are rarely ordered and
wants to encourage her customers to make healthy dining choices. She removes the rarely
ordered items and (as before) places the healthier items at eye level on the menu. Here she acts
paternalistically but her removing the rarely ordered items, thereby limiting her customers’
options, is incidental to her act’s being paternalistic. There are also instances of paternalism in
which a person’s liberty or autonomy are essentially unaffected. Jonathan Quong argues that
refusing to lend a friend money because you believe she will squander the money is
paternalistic, despite the fact that the range of options available to her is precisely the same as
it was before your refusal.15 In this case, paternalism occurs even though the paternalistic act
has no effect on the scope or significance of the options available to the friend. The liberty-
based account of paternalism thus errs in supposing that how a paternalistic act or policy affects
the number or range of options available to those targeted for paternalism bears any intrinsic
relationship to the act or policy’s qualifying as paternalistic. But as we have seen, expanding a
person’s options can be paternalistic, limiting a person’s options seems incidental to
paternalism as such, and some instances of paternalism do not affect a person’s options at all.
The scope or range of a person’s liberty or autonomy is often affected by being treated
paternalistically, but this fact does not define the nature of paternalism.

There is no unique benefit to the aff—the reason why UBI’s aren’t paternalistic
is the same reason why the provision of universal minimums of in-kind goods
isn’t paternalistic; the universal provision doesn’t single out a particular agent
which is a necessary component of rational will paternalism.
Cholbi, Michael. "The Anti-Paternalist Case For Unconditional Basic Income Provision." (2017).

All the same, it is not evident that the rational will account of paternalism better serves the
cause of a basic income over an in-kind social minimum. Recall that central to the rational will
account is the paternalizer’s judgment that her target is comparatively deficient in making self-
regarding judgments. This derogation of the target’s status, according to the rational will
account, indicates a lack of respect for the target and her will as an independent source of
reasons. But notice that in the case of a universal and unconditional social minimum, no such
comparative appraisal is issued. Because all members of the polity receive the social minimum
without condition, there is no suggestion that any particular recipient is deficient in judgment,
prudence, self-control, or the like. Those who as a matter of fact have poor self-regarding
judgment are not singled out by a universal social minimum policy. Granted, one might see such
policies as justified, at least in part, by the observation that human agents in general often lack
the volitional or agential capacities to make wise judgments regarding their own well-being.
Finitely rational agents, to use Kant’s term, will frequently not plan well, gather evidence about
their options, weigh these options carefully, and so on. This shared vulnerability to various
species of practical irrationality seems to favor a guaranteed social minimum as a way of placing
a floor underneath us, a floor we need in order to be equal participants in shared social life at
all. Yet this rationale for a social minimum carries none of the inegalitarian connotations that,
according to the rational will account at least, make paternalism disrespectful, arrogant, and
morally troubling. The message of a universal and unconditional social minimum is not that the
most unfortunate should bear the stigma of being supported by the public treasury.19 Rather,
the message is that all have a claim to society’s economic productivity as a matter of right. The
message is one of solidarity rather than of the kind of hierarchy of competence that the rational
will accounts finds ratified by paternalism. The universality and unconditionality of a social
minimum thus speaks against its being put to paternalistic uses, or at least, being put to uses
that the rational will account of paternalism understands as morally objectionable. Still, opting
for an in-kind social minimum over a basic income may carry a whiff of paternalism, inasmuch as
the state appears to dictate to its members how it may use the social minimum to which they
are entitled. Again, the fact that a universal social minimum does not single out any recipient as
especially incompetent in guiding her own affairs suffices, in my estimation, to show that,
whatever form a social minimum may take, its provision is not paternalistic. But it nevertheless
seems possible that an in-kind basket of goods is more objectionably paternalistic than a basic
income even if neither is paternalistic as such.
UBI would be too expensive and cut vital programs that are currently in place.
Porter, Eduardo “A Universal Basic Income Is a Poor Tool to Fight Poverty” New York Times
5/31/16 https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/01/business/economy/universal-basic-income-

In the United States, the idea has the support of thinkers on the left like Andrew Stern, former
president of the Service Employees International Union. Some thinkers on the right, too, have
managed to overcome their general distaste for government welfare to support the idea. This
month, Charles Murray of the American Enterprise Institute will publish an updated version of
his plan to replace welfare as we know it with a dollop of $10,000 in after-tax income for every
American above the age of 21. Readers of my conversation with a fellow Times columnist,
Farhad Manjoo, a few weeks ago know that I think the idea is, let’s say, poorly thought out.
Given its resilience, however, it is worth taking apart more methodically. Its first hurdle is
arithmetic. As Robert Greenstein of the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities put it,
a check of $10,000 to each of 300 million Americans would cost more than $3 trillion a year.
Where would that money come from? It amounts to nearly all the tax revenue collected by the
federal government. Nothing in the history of this country suggests Americans are ready to add
that kind of burden to their current taxes. Cut it by half to $5,000? That wouldn’t even clear the
poverty line. And it would still cost as much as the entire federal budget except for Social
Security, Medicare, defense and interest payments. Thinkers on the right solve the how-to-pay-
for-it problem simply by defunding everything else the government provides, programs as
varied as food stamps and Social Security. That, Mr. Greenstein observes, would actually
increase poverty. It would redistribute wealth upward, taking money targeted to the poor and
sharing it with everybody, including you and me. As Lawrence H. Summers, the former Treasury
secretary and onetime top economic adviser to President Obama, told me, paying a $5,000
universal basic income to the 250 million nonpoor Americans would cost about $1.25 trillion a
year. “It would be hard to finance that in a way that wouldn’t burden the programs that help the
poor,” he said. The popularity of the universal basic income stems from a fanciful diagnosis born
in Silicon Valley of the challenges faced by the working class across industrialized nations: one
that sees declining employment rates and stagnant wages and concludes that robots are about
to take over all the jobs in the world.

UBI would require us to eliminate our welfare system and start from scratch,
this leaves millions of Americans without care.
Matthews, Dylan “What happens if you replace every social program with a universal basic
income” Vox 5/30/17 https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/5/30/15712160/basic-

Basic income — the idea of just giving everyone in a given country a regular, guaranteed cash
payment, no strings attached — is still pretty far from being adopted in the US. But it’s been
gaining steam as an idea for a while now, most recently garnering praise from Facebook CEO
Mark Zuckerberg in his widely viewed Harvard commencement speech last week. But no one
quite agrees on what the term “basic income” means. And in particular, no one agrees on how
such a plan would be funded. Conservative and libertarian proponents tend to want to pay for it
by eliminating the entire welfare state, including health programs like Medicare and Medicaid
and social insurance programs such as Social Security. More cautious center-left or moderate
libertarian proponents — who are loath to cut those aspects of the safety net, endanger
people’s retirements, and let uninsured sick people die in the streets — tend to only propose
funding through eliminating means-tested programs like food stamps and the earned income
tax credit, as well as tax benefits such as the health care exclusion and mortgage interest
deduction. The most ambitious lefty proponents want to finance the program entirely through
new tax revenue. As two big new reports on the impact of basic income show, “how would we
fund it” is a massively important question. The first, by the OECD (an international organization
of developed countries), models a basic income that would "replace most cash benefits for
working age households." That includes unemployment benefits, cash welfare, early retirement
pensions, child and family allowances, and personal exemptions and standard deductions in
income and payroll taxes. They assume no additional tax increases and no changes to programs
for retired people, and that "the provision of public services, such as health, education, care, or
other in-kind supports … continue[s] unchanged." The report then calculates how the
introduction of a budget-neutral basic income, available to every person below retirement age,
would affect rich, middle-class, and poor people in four illustrative countries: Finland, Italy,
France, and the UK. The charts in question are slightly confusing, but the important line is the
one with blue circles, showing the percentage change in income for each slice of the income
distribution. What you see, consistently, is that the poorest people in each country would gain
the most as a result of the change. In the UK, existing spending on the cash programs that would
be replaced by a UBI is quite low, resulting in small basic income payments; that means poor but
not extremely poor people would lose out a bit. But in Finland, Italy, and France, the greater
benefits for the poor would be subsidized by benefits and tax breaks lost by higher-income
people. The biggest losers in each country tend to be the near-elderly; early retirement benefits
offered to those below 65 tend to be a great deal more generous than a basic income, so the
policy would effectively redistribute that money to people across the age spectrum. And despite
high average increases in income for poor people, a UBI financed through existing benefits
would do little to cut poverty, the report finds. So would one set at countries’ pre-established
welfare benefit level, and funded where necessary by increased taxes (or decreased taxes in
Italy, where welfare benefits are below the budget-neutral UBI level). The average effect on
income obscures some specific losers from the policy who would fall back below the poverty line
in greater numbers than beneficiaries from the policy would climb above it.

A welfare cut would especially hurt the elderly and low income families.
Matthews, Dylan “What happens if you replace every social program with a universal basic
income” Vox 5/30/17 https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/5/30/15712160/basic-

An American basic income, funded by cutting everything, would screw the elderly and help
almost everyone else The OECD report is illuminating about the trade-offs posed by replacing
existing programs with a UBI — but it concerns countries with larger existing benefit systems
than the US has. America has arguably the least generous unemployment insurance and cash
welfare programs in the developed world, and offers minimal early retirement support. So
funding a large-scale, truly universal basic income out of existing spending would necessarily
require using funding not just from working-age cash programs like welfare or unemployment
insurance, but in-kind subsidies such as Medicaid and programs for retirees like Social Security
and Medicare. Four researchers at the American Enterprise Institute — Matthew Jensen,
William Ensor, Anderson Frailey, and Amy Xu — used three open source models of American tax
and benefit policy to calculate the effects of a UBI funded by repealing "most welfare and
transfer programs, including Social Security and Medicare," and "most base-narrowing features
of the individual income tax system." They throw everything into the pot: Medicare, Social
Security, veterans benefits, the standard deduction, every itemized deduction (including
mortgage interest). Basically the only major program not repealed is the employer-paid health
care exclusion, and that’s just because there wasn’t data available to model the change. Getting
rid of all those programs would finance a UBI of $13,788 for adults and $6,894 for children. So a
family of four would get a whopping $41,364. Then again, if they received health insurance
through Medicaid or Obamacare subsidies, they’d lose that. The researchers find that this policy
would, on average, help people under 65 in all but the highest income categories. The middle
class would gain the most: A family making $50,000 a year would get a $15,287 boost on
average, once you take lost tax and other benefits into account (and when you consider that
cash benefits are often more valuable than in-kind ones). People making $200,000 would be
held basically harmless, while millionaires would face more than $100,000 a year in increased
taxes. By contrast, more or less everyone over the age of 65 would lose out — big time. The
poorest seniors would lose more than $34,000 worth of benefits in exchange for the UBI. Low-
and middle-income people would lose $18,000 to $28,000 each. The rich would lose out for the
same reason poor non-seniors would. Despite losing insurance programs like Medicaid, you
could imagine this trade being very good for poor non-seniors. For $41,364 a year, a family of
four where both parents are in their 20s to 40s could afford a pretty comprehensive health
insurance plan, as well as most or all of their rent, food, and transit costs. But what enables a
subsidy that large is a wholesale gutting of America’s programs for retired people. Without
Medicare, seniors would face very costly insurance premiums given their age and medical risk,
and $13,788 is considerably less than the $16,400 average annual Social Security payment to
retired workers. Without dependents, most single seniors would get just $13,788, and couples a
mere $27,576. That’s not nearly enough to replace the benefits they’d lose.

UBI would increase taxes and reduce existing benefits, canceling out the
benefits of the income.
Giles, Chris. “Universal basic income would fail to cut poverty, says OECD” Financial Times,
5/27/17, https://www.ft.com/content/82334db2-414d-11e7-9d56-25f963e998b2

A universal basic income paid at a flat rate to all citizens would fail to reduce poverty levels in
advanced economies and require substantially higher taxes to fund its simplicity, the
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has concluded in a detailed study of
the idea. The prospect of swapping existing social support for a basic income has gained traction
in countries as diverse as the US, Switzerland and France. Limited trials have started in Finland
and the Netherlands although no country has decided fully to take the plunge. Proponents of
basic incomes argue that they would provide security for everyone in society, reduce inequality
and provide insurance against robots replacing humans in the labour market. These claims
receive short shrift in the detailed modelling exercise undertaken by the OECD, the Paris-based
international organisation that specialises in cross-national comparisons of policy ideas. Its
modelling shows the simplicity of basic income schemes would come at the cost of a need for
large increases in taxation, less effective targeting of support on the poorest and large numbers
of gainers and losers. James Browne and Herwig Immervoll, authors of the report, say that basic
incomes at a meaningful level “would require tax rises as well as reductions in existing benefits
and would often not be an effective tool for reducing income poverty”. The study noted that
social security systems in advanced economies vary greatly with some much more targeted on
the poor than others. Social insurance systems, which pay out according to contribution
histories, often provide significant incomes to higher-income groups, particularly in countries
such as Italy with significant early retirement. But if these varying systems and tax-free
allowances in income tax systems were replaced by a single payment to all individuals under
pension age, the OECD found that payments per person would be far below the level necessary
to raise their living standards above the national poverty line in all countries. Spreading out
payments to people currently not entitled would lead to very low levels of income. If instead a
basic income were paid at the level of minimum guaranteed income in that country, higher
taxes would generally be needed. Large tax-revenue changes are needed to finance a basic
income at meaningful levels,” the report concluded. “Tax burdens would go up for most people
as a result, further increasing tax-to-GDP ratios that are currently already high in the OECD

UBI is too expensive and politically unfeasible.

Trent Gillies, “Money for nothing: The good and the bad of a guaranteed government
paycheck.” CNBC. July 30, 2017. https://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/30/universal-basic-income-

What if the federal government gave everyone a check, every month? Tesla CEO Elon Musk and
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg are among those who say universal basic income, or UBI, is a
good idea. With inequality widening, the idea of an unconditional, periodic cash payment that
the government makes to everyone has suddenly become a hot topic. The idea is whether a
person is unemployed or wealthy, a $1,000 monthly government check could replace all current
welfare programs, including Social Security. "I think it would theoretically be superior to the
existing social welfare system," Michael Tanner, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, told CNBC's
"On The Money" in an interview. "It would be more efficient. It would be more humane and it
would be a lot less paternalistic." The robots are coming The conversation about UBI has
reached a crescendo as the workforce leans more heavily on technology. Nearly half of all U.S.
jobs could be replaced by robots in the next decade or two, according to an Oxford University
study. Last November, Tesla's Musk said there was "a pretty good chance we end up with a
universal basic income, or something like that," as a rising number of workers lose jobs due to
automation. UBI supporters say the cash from the government could fund basic needs, like food
and housing, freeing people up to find new jobs in the digital economy. "A lot of people when
they first hear this idea really like it," said Jason Furman, former chief economic advisor to
President Obama. That is, until you read the fine print "And then when you look at the details it
turns out it just doesn't work," Furman explained to CNBC. "It costs two to three trillion dollars.
You would need to double the current income tax to make it work." Furman, a professor at
Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, added that "the premise underlying it is
wrong too. There's going to be a lot of automation but there's also going to be a lot of jobs and
our focus should be on making sure people can get those jobs not giving up. And universal basic
income represents giving up in the face of that challenge." Yet Tanner took aim at the current
social safety net. He argued the current "social welfare system spends nearly one trillion dollars
a year fighting poverty, and it doesn't do a very good job of enabling people to rise and get out
of poverty and to be in control of their lives." He added: "Looking for some new alternative for
that is not a bad idea." The debate has been heightened by Europe's experiments in providing
UBI to citizens, which have had mixed results. Those experiments have amplified calls to try a
similar approach in the U.S. "Our current system is certainly imperfect, I don't want to be the
defender of the status quo," said Furman. He cited research where current government anti-
welfare programs "that invest in children" providing food stamps, Medicaid and housing
vouchers are successful and "increase their mobility." Yet Furman added that "it's too simplistic
to say, just write everyone a check, let's spend trillions of dollars doing that, rather than doing
the hard work of trying to get the (government) programs right." Tanner countered that it's hard
to determine which federal programs are effective and which aren't. "We have over a hundred
different welfare programs all with different rules and regulations. They're overseen by dozens
of different agencies. Simplifying, consolidating and moving to cash would make a great deal of
difference I think." So might a UBI program work in America? "We don't have a lot of wide scale
evidence yet there are a number of ongoing experiments in places like Finland, the Netherlands
and Canada," Tanner acknowledged. Still, Furman doesn't see UBI or the "rise of the robots" as
coming anytime soon. "Maybe 50 or 100 years from now we have enough robots to make
everything and they can just hand the proceeds over to us," the academic said. "But I'm trying to
think in the scale of the next 10, 20, 30 years, (robots) are not going to take our jobs on any time
scale that I'm capable of envisioning."

UBI doesn’t solve and is prohibitively expensive.

Preston Cooper, “One Big Downside to Universal Basic Income.” E21. April 28, 2016.

Andrew Flowers at FiveThirtyEight has an interesting new column on the universal basic income
(UBI), which has been gaining traction in policy circles as a potential alternative to the current
welfare regime. Finland is considering a UBI experiment, as is the Silicon Valley venture capital
firm Y Combinator. The results of such experiments should be illuminating, given that UBI has
never been tried on a large scale. The basic idea of UBI is that instead of a complicated system of
welfare programs—TANF, EITC, Medicaid, CHIP, Food Stamps, Section 8, unemployment
insurance, etc.—every citizen in the country will receive a check from the government, no
questions asked. Proponents argue that this would allow people to spend their money on what
they want, replacing a patchwork of programs to take care of housing, food, and every other
need individually. Such a system would lead to both an efficiency gain and a reduction in
administrative costs. Moreover, it would eliminate the work disincentivesbuilt into the current
system. Everyone, from Warren Buffett and Jeff Bezos to those below the poverty line, would
receive the same cash transfer. UBI detractors most often cite its cost and potential to promote
non-work. Both of these are legitimate objections, to which I would like to add one more: a
universal basic income would be near-impossible to reform. Milton Friedman once observed
that “nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.” The trouble with
government programs is that there is usually an interest group behind them ready to fight
tooth-and-nail against any reforms, lest they serve to expand the program. When programs
benefit a limited group, it is sometimes feasible to change them. The welfare reform of 1996 is a
good example. But a universal program, by construction, provides visible benefits to everyone.
Even when a universal program is in dire need of reform, changing it can be next to impossible.
Consider the case of Social Security. There is a reason the program is known as the “third rail” of
politics. Almost everyone over the age of 65 collects it, and Social Security benefits represent 39
percent of seniors’ income. The program, which has existed since 1940, has ballooned from less
than one percent of GDP in its early years to over five percent of GDP today. Moreover, the
program’s expected costs are going nowhere but up. According to the latest Trustees’ Report,
Social Security will face insolvency in 2034, when those born in the late 1960s start retiring. At
that point it will only have enough funds to pay three-quarters of scheduled benefits. The
program needs to either increase revenues (by raising taxes) or reduce benefits (by raising the
retirement age or trimming the annual inflation adjustment) in order to remain solvent. Yet
policymakers have taken very little action, with reforms such as “chained CPI” going nowhere in
Congress. Sometimes, temporary changes to the program have even gone in the wrong
direction. In 2009, Congress authorized supplementary “economic recovery payments” to
compensate for the lack of measured inflation and corresponding cost-of-living increase that
year. With similarly low inflation in 2015, some members of Congress have clamored for a
similar one-time payment this year. There is simply no political will to make necessary changes
to such a popular program. Now imagine a universal basic income, which everyone would
receive. Once policymakers pick a benefit level and method of calculating the cost-of-living
adjustment, they will be stuck with it for a long time. Most of their constituents are going to be
unhappy with any attempt to reduce benefits or trim the inflation adjustment. Like Social
Security, once the program is set on autopilot, it will be very difficult to change. Design it wrong,
and the federal budget could be stuck with more unsustainable costs. Or, if UBI ends up creating
a large work disincentive and reduces the employment-population ratio to untenably low levels,
some sort of work requirement on the program might seem like an attractive reform. Good luck
with that if beneficiaries want to keep their basic income regardless of their employment
situation. As economies change, policies must change with them. In the example of Social
Security, the economy of 1960 had five workers per retiree and could easily support such a
substantial public pension system. Now the economy has less than three workers per retiree
and the program’s finances look much shakier. One can imagine that the economy of forty or
fifty years from now will look very different from today’s. Institutions such as universal basic
income must be able to adapt. Welfare programs that target their benefits towards specific
groups, such as the poor, are easier to reform than universal programs. From a political
perspective, an expanded earned income tax credit or negative income tax, with their targeted
benefits, would be preferable to a universal basic income. Policymakers should prove they can
fix Social Security before adding another large entitlement program to the books.
Living Wage CP
Living wage is better for equality and solves exploitive work relationships.
WAGE.” USBIG Discussion Paper No. 25, March 2002. www.usbig.net/papers/025-Waltman.doc

Thus, any attempt to create a UBI which would move people without any other source of
income above the poverty level would be beset by problems. The first is that the dollar figures
become huge very quickly. Accordingly, a UBI at such a level would magnify all the difficulties
sketched above. A living wage would be a much more palatable tool for attacking poverty, and
much less costly to the economy. Its chief problem is, of course, that there would need to be a
supply of jobs available for all those who wish to work. During periods of economic boom, this
would be a minor matter. When recessions struck, however, this would present a serious issue.
The only realistic approach would be either public sector jobs or subsidized jobs in the private
sector. (38) Personally, I would tend to public sector jobs, real jobs I stress, not answering the
phone at the drug rehab center. Subsidized private sector jobs would create too many
incentives for firms to pressure politicians to continue the subsidies when the recession ended.
(39) When it come to softening inequality, the living wage wins again. Because everyone gets
the same UBI, there is no compressing of income skews. In fact, a UBI could actually increase
inequality. Affluent people would have more money to invest, and the long term impacts of
accumulation versus spending would exacerbate the wealth gap. A living wage, as I define it,
would at least keep everyone in sight of the mean. In short, if we apply civic republican ideals,
the living wage is preferable on every score to the UBI. Nevertheless, there is something
attractive about the UBI. I believe we could get the best of both worlds by combining what I
would call a Universal Service Set (USS) with a living wage.
Work Regulations CP
By placing a cap on working hours, it gives a larger scope of individuals than a
UBI more free time and liberty.
Dimick, Matthew. "Better than Basic Income: Liberty, Equality, and the Regulation of Working
Time." Ind. L. Rev. 50 (2017): 473. https://mckinneylaw.iu.edu/ilr/pdf/vol50p473.pdf

There is no doubt that a basic income would have a salient impact on the amount of leisure that
a significant number of the population would enjoy. But how would it compare with the impact
of working-time regulation? The first thing to acknowledge about the basic income proposal is
that even if the impact would be significant (along some dimension), it would largely be
confined to the lowest-paid workers in the economy.119 Because a basic income would provide
at most a subsistence-level income to everyone,1211 only those individuals who cam
subsistence-level incomes or lower would have either the option not to work or the bargaining
power to secure a more favorable work-leisure trade-off with employers. All individuals above
the subsistence level would see little change in the possibility of enjoying more leisure.121 In
contrast, working-time regulation would affect a substantially larger proportion of the
population. Not just subsistence-level workers, but large sections of middle-class workers would
also be affected by working-time regulation that limited the number of work hours. This would
be particularly true if regulatory reform sought to increase salary thresholds and tighten the
exemptions currently applied to white-collar workers.122 If one then had to choose between
policies based on a liberty-enhancing effect on the ability of individuals to pursue greater
leisure, working-time regulation is preferred to basic income. One might object that working-
time regulation would be less flexible or adaptable to individual needs than basic income.
Regulation unfortunately often comes in a one-size-fits-all form. If this is the case, working-time
regulation would impose upon some workers leisure time when they would in fact prefer to
work. In contrast, basic income places no restrictions on individuals’ ability to pursue paid work.
123 Nor does basic income distort individual decisions on the margin through means testing or
administratively-burdensome or stigmatizing work requirements. 124 Is the greater coverage of
working-time regulation worth the potential loss of individual choice? This must be a particularly
important concern if a policy that promotes leisure is based on the imperative of enhancing
individual liberty. In fact, working-time regulation as it exists now—and even more as it is
envisioned in reform proposals—gives generous scope to individual preferences. As previously
mentioned, the current incarnation of the FLSA does not impose maximum working hours. 125
Rather, it requires additional compensation for hours worked beyond the designated forty per
week. 126 Thus, the FLSA does allow flexibility for employees’ different preferences over work
and leisure to find expression under the regulation. Although many reform proposals seek to
abolish overtime compensation, these proposals usually come with alternative means of
accommodating employees’ various work-leisure preferences. Forinstance, Schor proposes
replacing overtime compensation with “comp time”—the ability to earn additional time off for
overtime hours worked. 127 Workers could also trade-off compensation for other forms of time
off—vacation, a shorter work year, or even a shorter working career via sabbatical time. All of
these possibilities allow for the expression of differing worker preferences for leisure—and they
would establish more opportunities than exist under the current FLSA. To avoid paternalism, we
should permit workers latitude to divide their time between work and leisure. Yet one should
also recall the—very likely—socially determined nature of work preferences. 128 Traditional
economic theory posits that individual utility depends only on absolute consumption. 129 But
recent theory and evidence acknowledges that individual utility also depends on relative
consumption—how much a person consumes depends on the consumption choices of those
around her. 130 For instance, consider the following example. Suppose you can live in a 4000-
square-foot house but everyone else lives in 6000-square-foot houses. But you can also choose
to live in a 3000-square foot house while everyone else lives in 2000-square-foot houses.131
Facing this hypothetical scenario, most people choose to live in the smaller house, which makes
them better off in terms of relative consumption yet makes them worse off in absolute
terms.132 Thus, others’ consumption decisions matter to one’s own. While giving a more
accurate view of individual choice, relative-consumption behavior can unfortunately be
inefficient from an economic point of view, leading to losses in social welfare.133 Specifically, a
desire to “keep up with the Joneses”134 will cause people to spend more on consumption than
they might otherwise. This is wasteful “arms race”135 behavior because, since everyone does it,
it does not change relative-consumption rankings. People would be better off if everyone
reduced consumption. Typically, because of the problem of coordinating behavior and enforcing
commitments, reducing consumption is difficult or impossible without the intervention of
government or some other collective organization.136 Relative-consumption behavior also
applies directly to the work versus leisure choice.137 From a desire to keep up with the
consumption standards of others, individuals will allocate more time to work than leisure than
they otherwise would.138 Although longer working hours generates more income and therefore
more consumption, it lowers welfare because it is wasteful, “positional” consumption. This
inefficiency creates a scope for public policy. Absent the relative-consumption effect, individuals
would prefer to work fewer hours. Thus reducing working time can increase social welfare. 139
More importantly, although work-leisure preferences vary across individuals—requiring
flexibility in the regulation policy—the fact of relative-consumption effects justifies the
reduction of working time for all workers. 140 This addresses to a significant extent the onesize-
does-not-fit-all objection. The conclusion is that while basic income would certainly expand the
scope for leisure in society, this opportunity will only be available to some of the lowest paid
workers. Basic income will do nothing to increase availability of leisure time for broad sections
of middle- and even upper-class workers. On the other hand, working-time regulation can do
much more to make the choice of leisure time a more tangible option for many of these
workers. Working-time regulation can therefore do better than basic income in expanding
freedom—literally making fre e time more abundant for more people.

The UBI relies on a form of luck egalitarianism that is fundamentally at odds

with social equality.
Dimick, Matthew. "Better than Basic Income: Liberty, Equality, and the Regulation of Working
Time." Ind. L. Rev. 50 (2017): 473. https://mckinneylaw.iu.edu/ilr/pdf/vol50p473.pdf

But just how egalitarian is basic income? Does it achieve everything that an egalitarian would
desire? And how does the egalitarian impact of a basic income compare to that of working-time
regulation? In this section, this Article argues that basic income has significant shortcomings in
addressing egalitarian concerns. These shortcomings include not only failing to deliver
everything that an egalitarian might want, but also undermining key egalitarian objectives. In
contrast, working-time regulation does much better at satisfying egalitarian principles. Note first
that if the sole purpose of basic income were to reduce poverty or maximin income, it would
clearly fail. As already admitted, some conditional income transfer program could probably
achieve this objective much more effectively.149 Hence, the deeper case for basic income rests
on an argument about maximinning, in Van Parijs’ version, “real freedom.”150 Yet even this
more sophisticated argument is subject to criticism. As described in the previous section, this
particular philosophical defense of basic income has its roots in John Rawls’ political philosophy
and in particular with his principles of equality.151 Elizabeth Anderson refers to this conception
of equality as “luck egalitarianism” or “equality of fortune.”152 She contends that this
conception of equality fails a basic test that any egalitarian philosophy should meet: “that its
principles express equal respect and concern for all citizens.”153 Anderson argues that luck
egalitarianism fails this test in three ways.154 The first two directly implicate our evaluation of
basic income.155 The first objection is that luck egalitarianism deprives some citizens of
enjoying what she calls “the social conditions of freedom” on the grounds—incorrect, she
argues—that they arc at fault for losing them.156 According to luck egalitarianism, the
“fundamental aim of equality is to compensate people for undeserved bad luck—being bom
with poor native endowments, bad parents, and disagreeable personalities, suffering from
accidents and illness, and so forth.”157 But following this principle to its logical conclusion can
lead to some disturbing results. Anderson’s strongest example is dependent caretakers.158
These include individuals, most often women, who choose to care for others (children, the aged,
or the ill or infirm) but who thereby render themselves dependent on others, such as a (male)
wage earner or on welfare payments. 159 According to luck egalitarianism, even if these
dependent caretakers live in destitution, they are not entitled to public assistance because they
have voluntarily chosen these roles. 160 In Anderson’s view, this result evidences a failure to
express equal concern for all of society’s members. 161 In fact, she uses Van Parijs’ case for
basic income as an illustration of this failure. 162 Because basic income is awarded to all
unconditionally, “[l]azy, able-bodied surfers would be just as entitled to that income as
dependent caretakers or the disabled.” 163 In order to not destroy work incentives and thereby
the (potential) tax base for a basic income, the level of basic income would have to be kept
(possibly extremely) low. 164 Such a low basic income might satisfy surfers who must support
only themselves and may be content with extremely modest living arrangements. 165 But it may
be inadequate for dependent caretakers who must take care not only of themselves but also
others, or the disabled who have special expenses. 166 As Anderson concludes, “Van Parijs’s
proposal effectively indulges the tastes of the lazy and irresponsible at the expense of others
who need assistance.” 167 Thus, basic income does not evince an equal respect or concern for
members of society. A second objection that Anderson makes is that luck egalitarianism grounds
the basis for citizens’ claims on the public in the observation that some individuals are
inherently inferior to others in terms of their attributes, talents, and other characteristics. 168
“Thus, its principles express contemptuous pity for those the state stamps as sadly inferior and
uphold envy as a basis for distributing goods from the lucky to the unfortunate.” 169 Anderson
does not illustrate this criticism with basic income, but it is simple to draw that connection. Van
Parijs’ paradigmatic beneficiary of basic income is the “lazy surfer.” 170 And basic income would
no doubt constitute a substantial enhancement in “real freedom” for such individuals, and
would make possible a fulfilling and meaningful life that would not be possible in the absence of
basic income. Another example is persons who desire little more than to create art, but that
cannot support themselves as artists because their work remains unknown or unpopular. For
these persons, basic income would also make possible lives of meaning previously available only
to others. But if the lazy surfer is the paradigmatic beneficiary of basic income, is it the
representative one? Many—if not most—recipients of basic income are unlikely to be lazy
surfers or starving artists. Instead, unlike these convention-crashing iconoclasts, most recipients
of basic income would prefer to become “productive” and “contributing” members of society.
What would basic income mean to them? Unfortunately, for these individuals, basic income
may well have the effect of increasing, rather than decreasing, inequality. Consider Anderson’s
humorously hypothetical, but illustrative, example of the communicative effects of public
compensation: To the stupid and untalentcd: Unfortunately, other people don’t value what little
you have to offer in the system of production. Your talents are too meager to command much
market value. Because of the misfortune that you were bom so poorly endowed with talents, we
productive ones will make it up to you: we’ll let you share in the bounty of what we have
produced with our vastly superior and highly valued abilities.171 For many proponents, basic
income is supposed to avoid these more-or-less explicit or implicit judgments because of its
universality.172 This particular feature of basic income will be discussed in more detail
below.171 But it is hard to imagine basic income not having the judgmental effects Anderson
describes. Although all citizens receive basic income, there would be little doubt about who
would be the net beneficiaries and the net contributors of the scheme. Thus, on the principles
underlying basic income, “People lay claim to the resources of egalitarian redistribution in virtue
of their inferiority to others, not in virtue of their equality to others.”174 By simply giving cash
to the poor, basic income in effect tells net beneficiaries that they have nothing to offer society.
Basic income is thus a kind of bread and circuses for the twenty-first century. Rather than basic
income, net beneficiaries may well prefer the kinds of public goods and specific assistance
traditionally associated with the welfarestate. Most specifically in this case, these goods would
include those such as education, vocational training, unemployment insurance, and so forth.17’
Such goods make possible the integration of individuals into the normal and expected practices
of society. Unlike basic income, the justification for these goods is grounded in equality: They
recognize the possible contributions of all members of society and equip or sustain them to be
equal (in some measure) participants. Eduardo Porter nicely summarizes this sentiment:
[Replacing everything in the safety net with a check would limit the scope of government
assistance in damaging ways. Say we know the choice of neighborhood makes a difference to
the development of poor children. Housing vouchers might lead them to move into a better
one. A monthly check would probably not. 176

Working hours regulation reduces income, social, and political inequality.

Dimick, Matthew. "Better than Basic Income: Liberty, Equality, and the Regulation of Working
Time." Ind. L. Rev. 50 (2017): 473. https://mckinneylaw.iu.edu/ilr/pdf/vol50p473.pdf

In contrast to basic income, the effects of working-hours regulation arc substantially more
egalitarian. First, working-hours regulation integrates work and leisure by providing more
opportunities for free time to those in paid employment. This is in contrast to basic income,
which is premised on and engenders the potential division of the population into working and
nonworking. Working-time regulation makes leisure more widely available, rather than
confining it to those who work at a subsistence level. Thus, a ll get to enjoy leisure. The rich
already have leisure—or work in professions that are intrinsically rewarding. And working-time
regulation increases the leisure-time opportunities for both the poor and middle class. Further,
as will be discussed subsequently, working-hours regulation can increase employment
opportunities and makes work more widely abundant as well. In sharp contrast to basic income,
therefore, working time regulation ameliorates rather than exacerbates the basic social division
between working and nonworking populations. Working-time regulation has at least two other
egalitarian effects worth mentioning. The first is that it can reduce gender inequalities. Although
women have made significant advancement by entering into more careers and professions, they
lag behind men in pay. 177 As has also been documented, women still tend to do more of the
housework at home than do men. 178 These two facts are related. Sharing more of the
household burden limits women’s participation in the market economy. These limits make it
more difficult for women to advance in their careers or undertake more demanding professions.
Indeed, countries with shorter workweeks rank highly in terms of gender equality. 179 In
particular, government-funded paid paternity leave—which certainly can be included as kind of
working-time regulation—can make a salient difference. In countries with these policies, men
that take advantage of them do more domestic work than otherwise. 180 It seems likely that if
more free time allows men to share more of the household work, then working-time regulation
will reduce gender inequality. 181 To be clear, the gender equality effects are uncertain. For
instance, Juliet Schor recognizes that although her proposals “are gender-neutral,” “[without
change in underlying gender roles . . . women will be more likely to take advantage of
them.”182 The effect will be only to reproduce existing gender inequalities. But "[i]f men take
considerably more responsibility for children and housework—as many now say they want to—
then they too will want to opt for working patterns that are compatible with family duties.”183
This ambiguity is one reason the reform of working-time regulation should take the form, in at
least some amount, of parental leave including some mandatory portion for fathers. Thus the
form of policy can itself encourage a shift in gender roles. There is also an association between
income inequality and the length of working hours. The previous section discussed the problem
of relativeconsumption effects: Conspicuous consumption—keeping up with the Joneses—
causes people to spend more time working than enjoying leisure.184 In fact, this effect is
stronger when income inequality is higher—when the Joneses become even richer than the rest
of us. As the economists Samuel Bowles and Yongjin Park have shown, “Data on work hours in
ten countries over the period 1963-98 show that greater inequality is indeed associated [with]
longer work hours.”185 As also discussed previously, work-time regulation can be a way to
counter this welfare-reducing effect of inequality. There is a concern that many poor workers
would be unable to take advantage of working-time regulation. “The poorest third would work
just as many hours as ever—or more, as more work became available . . . ,”186 Those who gain
free time would be mostly middle class. This is why it is essential, as mentioned previously, that
further reductions in working time come with little or no loss in pay.187 There are several
methods to achieve this.188 Perhaps the most straightforward is an increase in the minimum
wage. As Schor explains, “While only a limited fraction of workers receive the minimum, when it
rises, it creates upward pressure on those wages which are somewhat higher.”189 It is no
accident that the FLSA includes both wage and hour regulations.190 Such measures ensure that
workers in the lower scales of the income distribution enjoy all of the benefits of productivity
growth—both in wages and in free time. Furthermore, working-time regulation by itself can
have egalitarian effects. If working-time regulation creates more middle-class jobs—more on
this in the next section—it will create opportunities for lower-paid workers to move up in the
income distribution. 191 This effect will reduce inequality. But a lower supply of low-wage labor
will also create pressure for employers to raise wages to fill job vacancies. 192 And this second
effect will also reduce income inequality. Third, both rising wages and an increased number of
jobs will reduce unemployment and increase labor-force participation. Because unemployment
and underemployment are important drivers of inequality, this third set of effects will reduce
income inequality. 193 Most critically, because these effects increase participation of the lowest
earners in paid work, the consequences are much more egalitarian—in the deeper, social and
cultural sense just discussed—than is the case with basic income. To summarize, whatever
egalitarian effects of basic income on economic inequality, it may well be miniscule in terms of a
broader sense of social and political inequality. In contrast, working-time regulation will not only
have salient, mitigating effects on economic and gender inequalities, but it fosters broader
participation in the economy and society that reduce these same, deeper social inequalities.

AT Automation - The issue of technological unemployment is likely a non-

problem; but, if it is a problem, the CP also solves.
Dimick, Matthew. "Better than Basic Income: Liberty, Equality, and the Regulation of Working
Time." Ind. L. Rev. 50 (2017): 473. https://mckinneylaw.iu.edu/ilr/pdf/vol50p473.pdf

Many proponents of basic income favor it because it addresses a possible impending social
dilemma: the creation of mass unemployment because of changes in technology. In this view,
technology is creating (or will create) massive disruption in the work place, potentially
abolishing the need for employed work. 194 But this change presents an enormous social
problem: what to do with all of the unemployed people? The answer, according to some, is
basic income, which provides a guaranteed means of existence independent of paid
employment.195 It is perhaps not surprising that the most vocal advocates of this particular
argument in favor of basic income arc associated with Silicon Valley.196 In response to this
argument, it is first worth pointing out that the prospect of technological unemployment may be
a nonproblem. How much technology is changing productivity and employment is a matter of
considerable debate. Indeed, according to some prominent economists, the rate of productivity
growth has slowed down, almost to a standstill.197 If this is true, technological change is
unlikely to produce massive unemployment. Low productivity growth creates social challenges
of its own, including the ability to reduce income inequality. Basic income may still have some
useful policy purpose in this case, but addressing mass unemployment is not one of them. In this
section, this Article focuses on that particular problem. Let’s assume for the sake of discussion
that massive, technology-induced unemployment is a serious problem. Basic income, under a
kind of luckegalitarian rationale, would seem to be the perfect solution.198 Technology has
rendered large numbers of people unemployable, for reasons that are completely beyond their
control. Basic income would give such individuals a means of sustaining themselves, and this is
justified in view of the fact that they are “victims” of brute luck. But is basic income really the
perfect solution to mass unemployment? Consider again working-hours regulation. One early
rationale for hours regulation—and a continuing one, especially in light of the mass-
unemployment argument—is that it can reduce unemployment.199 By reducing the number of
hours any individual employee can work, employers will find it necessary to hire additional
employees to meet the shortfall in production.200 Thus, hours regulation also provides an
answer to technological employment.201 In fact, the extent of the effect of technological
change can be used to determine how much of an effect regulation should have on the
maximum number of hours. If technological change has dramatic effects on unemployment, the
maximum number of hours should be made lower. Again, technological unemployment may be
a non-problem. If it is not, the egalitarian effects of hours regulation on the mix of jobs (as
discussed in the previous section) presents a continuing rationale.202 But even if it is,
workinghours regulation can also address the unemployment problem to which basic income
presents itself as an answer.
AT Poverty
Robust economic modeling proves UBI won’t make a dent in poverty.
Daniel Zamora, “The Case Against a Basic Income.” Jacobin. December 28, 2017.

The question of UBI’s economic viability, though basically technical, is vital for determining its
political character. That’s because UBI’s effects depend on the amount distributed and the
conditions of its implementation. Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams, in their accelerationist
manifesto, Inventing the Future, write that “the real significance of UBI lies in the way it
overturns the asymmetry of power that currently exists between labour and capital.” Its
establishment would allow workers to have “the option to choose whether to take a job or
not.… A UBI therefore unbinds the coercive aspects of wage labour, partially decommodifies
labour, and thus transforms the political relationship between labour and capital.” But to do
this, the authors insist, it “must provide a sufficient amount of income to live on.” If the
payment isn’t high enough to let people to refuse work, UBI might push wages down and create
more “bullshit jobs.” Despite the key importance of size and implementation, the countless texts
dedicated to establishing a UBI — including Srnicek and Williams’s work — rarely discuss the
policy’s concrete details. Many of basic income’s benefits would only arrive if it provided a
generous monthly amount, meaning that a moderate or low-amount version could have
potentially negative effects. Guy Standing, a pioneer of basic income in the United Kingdom,
currently defends the low-amount version. To advance his proposal, he points to the think tank
Compass, which produced several micro-simulations to assess the effects and feasibility of the
measure in the UK context. Compass’s study shows the risks of any basic income scheme that
tries to replace existing means-tested benefits: such a “full scheme” would, in its simplest
version, give every adult $392 (£292) each month while existing means-tested programs would
be abolished. The results would be catastrophic: child poverty would increase by 10 percent,
poverty among pensioners by 4 percent, and poverty among the working population by 3
percent. Compass also analyzed a “modified scheme,” with a monthly basic income of £284
($380) for working-age adults (and smaller payments for others) that would stand alongside,
rather than replace, most existing social programs. But it would also count as income when
calculating recipients’ eligibility for those programs, as well as for tax purposes; this “add-on”
structure makes the measure less expensive than it would otherwise be, since a large part of the
cost is included in existing social spending. But that also dampens the total boost to the net
income of the poor. Nevertheless, the total cost of this version — the amount of new taxes that
would be needed — is £170 billion or 6.5 percent of the UK’s GDP. This is the version now
promoted by Standing. Despite the fiscal effort that would go into implementing the new
system — 6.5 percent of GDP, or nearly twice the share of GDP that the US currently spends on
its military — the results are rather disappointing. Child poverty shrinks from 16 to 9 percent,
but for working-age people it decreases less than 2 points (13.9 to 12 percent), and among
pensioners it declines only 1 point (14.9 to 14.1 percent). The considerable sum of money
mobilized has only a modest effect on poverty and doesn’t specifically benefit those who need it
most. As economist Ian Gough writes, the idea looks like “a powerful new tax engine” that
“pull[s] along a tiny cart.” This fact is even more striking when we consider that the cost of
eradicating poverty in any developed country is around 1 percent of GDP. An individual
unemployment benefit set at the poverty line (around $1,200 a month) and granted to all
jobless individuals regardless of their place in the family structure would not only pull everyone
out of poverty but also end workfare, challenge the normative dimensions of family structures,
and fundamentally alter the labor market. All this, for somewhere between six to thirty-five
times less money than a universal basic income. The same criticism applies to the moderate
version from Philippe Van Parijs, one of the founders of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN),
which has promoted UBI since the mid-1980s. Van Parijs calls for a “base” income of €600
($710), which, like Standing’s version, is not fully added to existing social benefits. This program
would cost a bit over 6 percent of GDP in a country like Belgium, with an already high level of
social spending and benefits — for a system that fails to increase the meager incomes of the
vast majority of people dependent on social services. This is a remarkable fact about a measure
so often described as “revolutionary” — a fact made explicit in the Finnish trial: it cites its
“primary goal” as being to “promote employment” by incentivizing people “to accept low-
paying and low-productivity jobs.” Of course, we could plead for a more generous version,
closer to anticapitalist or accelerationist proposals, like that of French economist Yann Moulier-
Boutang. His UBI proposal amounts to €1,100 ($1,302) a month for each citizen and would be
added to existing benefits. In France, it would cost €871 billion, or 35 percent of GDP. When the
French socialist party’s think tank, Fondation Jean Jaurès, studied the budget impact of a €1000
monthly UBI, it estimated that it would cost as much as all current social spending — pensions,
unemployment, social assistance, and so on — plus the budgets for either national education or
health care. Suffice it to say, this version is unlikely to see the light of day. Moulier-Boutang
himself acknowledged this, writing that although “a detailed balance sheet must still be drawn
up,” “one thing is certain: the current income tax system can only fund a small partial
application of this measure.” To solve this problem, Moulier-Boutang suggests replacing the
current taxation system (including progressive income tax) with a 5 percent tax on financial
transactions — a “fiscal revolution” that would “reduce the budget deficit” while “keeping the
current level of social spending and adding a UBI of 871 billion euros.” The author’s rather
fantastic calculations sound tempting, but a financial transaction tax could never collect such a
large sum. The volume of financial transactions is vast — currently ten times GDP — but that’s
precisely because they’re not taxed at 5 percent. Since financial transactions are typically carried
out to achieve profit arbitrages as small as a few tenths of a percent, they would simply cease if
we set up Moulier-Boutang’s proposed tax. By way of comparison, the “Tobin tax,” the only
financial transaction tax being seriously considered today, is generally envisioned at between
0.05 percent and 0.2 percent at most — one hundred times smaller than Moulier-Boutang’s
proposal — yet it’s specifically designed to reducespeculation (and thus transactions). No
existing economy can pay for a generous basic income without defunding everything else. We
would either have to settle for the minimalist version — whose effects would be highly suspect
— or we’d have to eliminate all other social expenditures, in effect creating Milton Friedman’s
paradise. Faced with these facts, we should question UBI’s rationality; as Luke Martinelli put it:
“an affordable UBI is inadequate, and an adequate UBI is unaffordable.” Until we profoundly
transform our economies, we can’t implement a measure that would cost more than 35 percent
of GDP in economies where the state already spends around 50 percent of GDP. The power
relations needed to establish this level of UBI would constitute an exit from capitalism, pure and
simple, rendering depictions of UBI as a “means” of social transformation nonsense. Indeed,
many defenses of basic income can be classified as what Raymond Geuss called“nonrealist
political philosophy”: ideas formulated in complete abstraction from the existing world and real
people, completely “disjoined from real politics” — like to the Rawlsian model of justice that
serves as an important inspiration to figures like Philippe Van Parijs. If UBI does take shape,
current power relations will favor those who have economic power and want to profit by
weakening the existing system of social protection and labor market regulations. Who will
decide the monthly amount and who will dictate its terms and condition? Who do today’s
power relations favor? Certainly not the worker.

UBI is insufficient to solve poverty.

Annie Harper," Universal basic income can't solve the disability/poverty nexus alone.” The Hill.
November 3, 2017. http://thehill.com/opinion/civil-rights/358651-universal-basic-income-cant-

The recent news that Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign seriously considered including a
Universal Basic Income as a policy proposal should not surprise us. The idea of a uniform,
regular payment to all citizens is not new. It was proposed as early as 461 BC by the Greek
politician, Ephialtes, to enable all people, even plebs, to participate in the polis, and has
emerged at various stages through history, with a recent surge in popularity since the 2007-8
financial crisis. basic income is now being considered seriously by (mostly opposition) parties
around the world. Pilot projects, including here in the U.S., have been promising, with more
underway. Particularly in the face of an increasingly precarious labor market and concerns that
robots could soon replace human workers, the idea is beginning to capture the public
imagination. It is typically seen as an idea of the left, but has also been embraced by those on
the right. The time for a basic income may well be drawing nigh. Possible models for a basic
income vary, including payments conditional on certain behaviors, payments only when other
income falls below a certain level, and an unconditional monthly payment to everyone. But
common to all of these models is a lack of attention to how people with disabilities would fare.
In the United States, people with disabilities are already eligible for a basic income of sorts. They
receive government benefits for which they do not have to work, either Social Security Disability
(SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and remain eligible as long as they are
disabled. However, there are serious downsides to the existing disability benefits system which
could, in theory, be solved with a basic income. Currently, when a person first becomes
disabled, they often have to spend long periods with little to no income while they wait for their
benefits to be approved. Once approved, depending on whether they are on SSI or SSDI, any
work income may result in a cut in their benefits income. Given that the ability of people with
disabilities — particularly those with mental illness — to work may fluctuate over time, and that
they may only be qualified for poorly paid, insecure jobs, many choose to stick with their low
but reliable benefits income rather than unpredictable low-wage income. Not only can work
have therapeutic benefit, but not working can further stigmatize people who already face
discrimination from broader society. Social Security programs designed to encourage disability
recipients to go back to work are well-intentioned, but, in practice, are confusing, hard to
navigate, and persuade very few people to take that step. In general, the bureaucracy
associated with applying for and proving continued eligibility for disability benefits is so complex
that health providers often spend far too much time helping clients with benefits, eating into
precious time that should be spent addressing their illness. A basic income system could, in
theory, address all of these problems. People with disabilities would simply receive the same
basic income as everyone else, thereby avoiding stigma, difficulties of moving from benefits
income to paid work, and the perpetual entanglement with a frustrating and often
overwhelming bureaucracy. So far, however, none of the models proposed has provided
adequate detail about what a basic income would mean in practice for people with disabilities.
Pilot projects in the U.S. tend to exclude people on SSI/SSDI as they already receive cash income
without working so aren’t suitable to test the idea on, plus their SSI/SSDI eligibility could be
affected by any additional income. Even the most well developed models, such as that described
by Guy Standing, a leader of the global basic income movement, in his new book, “Basic Income:
A Guide for the Open-Minded,” do not tell us enough. Standing’s model would see an
unconditional, monthly payment to all people “normally resident” in a nation, of an amount
adequate to meet a person’s basic needs — about $1,000 in the United States. The same
amount would be paid to everyone, regardless of wealth or other income, although the
wealthier would be subject to higher taxes to even out the implied inequality. Benefits such as
food stamps and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) would be eliminated; others, such as
health care and free education, would remain. The cost of the basic income would be paid for by
higher taxes on, and less subsidies for, the rich, plus savings from scrapped benefits programs,
and administrative savings from removal of eligibility assessments and means-testing. Standing
recognizes that his model could leave people with disabilities, who are unable to earn additional
income, on the edge of poverty. To counter this, he recommends a special disability supplement
over and above the basic income. The question is, would that supplement create the same
problems that the current benefits system creates, with long approval wait times and
disincentives to work? Also, would there be different supplement levels, and how would those
be decided? Standing’s model is thin on these details. Obviously receiving a basic income would
remove the risk of possible destitution and associated anxiety, which would be a huge
improvement on the current system. But more thought must be given to how a basic income
would accommodate people with disabilities, if it is to be truly transformative. And Standing’s
model, which gets closer than any other to addressing the needs of people with disabilities, may
not be what we get. The basic income could well come to fruition, given its appeal across the
political spectrum, but it will likely be through a process of political compromise. Proponents on
the right see the basic income as an opportunity to strip government down to its bare essentials,
supplanting all social services, including health care, housing support, disability benefits,
education, childcare, and so on. People with disabilities would most certainly be worse off in
such a scenario. People with disabilities and those who live, work with, and support them need
urgently to educate ourselves about what a basic income is and what it could mean for us. We
must begin to take part in the conversation now, to ensure that if a basic income does become a
reality, it does so in a way that benefits people with disabilities, rather than leaving them even
more vulnerable than they currently are.

UBI can’t solve poverty – it discourages work and entrenches inequality.

Oren Cass, “Why a Universal Basic Income Is a Terrible Idea”. The National Review. June 15,
2016. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/436621/universal-basic-income-ubi-terrible-idea
What about poverty? Proponents say a UBI would end it, because each American would receive
a check lifting him above the poverty line. But poverty is not only, or even primarily, a matter of
material well-being. If it were, the $20,000 in safety-net spending per person below the poverty
line, the presence of air conditioning and cable television and cell phones in the majority of such
households, even the obesity epidemic ravaging low-income communities would all be signs
that the war on poverty is nearly won. But we care about social as well as material conditions,
and we care about upward mobility. By these measures, a UBI makes things worse. The greatest
crisis facing less educated and lower-income Americans is social, not economic. As Charles
Murray’s Coming Apart (2012) documents in harrowing detail, measures of social health that
once looked roughly equal across economic classes now show gaping disparities, from family
formation to employment to civic engagement to basic levels of trust. In 1960, Murray reports,
more than 95 percent of white children were living with both biological parents when the
mother turned 40, regardless of class. By the 2000s, the upper-class figure was 90 percent but
the lower-class figure had declined to barely 30 percent, a level “so low that it calls into question
the viability of white working-class communities as a place for socializing the next generation.”
The story for other races is similar. The greatest crisis facing less educated and lower-income
Americans is social, not economic. Appreciating the status of work in these communities is
critical to understanding their decline. Work gives not only meaning but also structure and
stability to life. It provides both socialization and a source of social capital. It helps establish for
the next generation virtues such as responsibility, perseverance, and industriousness. Yet of the
lower-class households Murray studied, the share with a full-time worker declined from 81
percent in 1960 to 53 percent in 2010. Facing that trend, society cannot afford to withdraw its
remaining expectation that able-bodied people try to make ends meet and its remaining respect
for those who do. Yes, a UBI might flood these communities with additional resources. But a
similar flood has already occurred over the past 40 years, with safety-net spending increasing
eightfold. The result has been ever greater social erosion. Many UBI advocates deny that a UBI
would produce any great discouragement to work, but their claims are undermined by a vocal
subset who embrace this result. Good riddance, they say, to lousy jobs taken only out of need. “I
think it’s a bad use of a human to spend 20 years of their life driving a truck back and forth
across the United States,” Albert Wenger, a venture capitalist, told the New York Times. “That’s
not what we aspire to do as humans — it’s a bad use of a human brain.” This attitude recalls the
investment banker quoted by Myron Magnet who lamented “the man and his wife slogging
away in menial jobs that are dead-end jobs, with three kids, trying to deal with an environment
that is very depressing, . . . living dead-end lives.” Why, asks Magnet, does this family, working
to support itself and raise upstanding citizens who will start families of their own, represent “a
dead end rather than a human accomplishment worthy of honor and admiration”? This dead-
end message is especially toxic for upward mobility because it tells prospective low-wage
workers that, in Magnet’s words, “the first step they once could have taken toward achieving
[respect] — putting a foot firmly on the bottom rung of the job ladder — has had respectability
withdrawn from it.” Young people with limited skills and education are already too disconnected
from the labor force. A UBI that reduces the perceived importance of work while putting cash in
their pockets can only reduce the likelihood of their making the daily trek to low-wage jobs. And
a subculture composed of their peers would presumably become less rather than more
supportive of the choice to seek work. For unemployed workers of any age, the UBI’s
guaranteed paycheck would only reduce the pressure to find work or relocate in search of
opportunity. Yet for those at the bottom of the economic ladder, there is simply no substitute
for stepping onto the first rung. A UBI might provide the same income as such a job, but it can
offer none of the experience, skills, or socialization. A nation in which people sitting beside the
ladder live more comfortably but are less likely to climb it may be one with a lower government-
reported poverty rate, but it is not more effectively combating poverty. The best argument for a
UBI is that, while it may reduce the upside of a job, it also reduces the downside because a
recipient does not lose the UBI when he starts to work. This contrasts with a conventional safety
net, in which benefits are phased out as a recipient’s earnings increase. On average, in the
United States, the phase-out reduces benefits by around 30 cents for every dollar earned. But
over some income ranges and for some recipients, a dollar of wages can cost the earner nearly a
full dollar of benefits. Some programs, such as disability insurance, can also force recipients into
a binary choice: Either work or receive the benefit. So, other things being equal, someone who
could keep his UBI would be more likely to seek work than someone who would lose some or all
of his safety-net benefits as a result. Does the UBI’s positive feature of eliminating benefit
phase-out exceed its negative feature of making work unnecessary? Unfortunately, a policy
whose greatest effects are cultural lends itself poorly to pilot studies, because there is no way to
take into account such society-scale shifts: A test group will do artificially well if it experiences
the upside of receiving cash without the downside of the transformed cultural norms and social
institutions. Better — and deeply discouraging — evidence comes from the effects wrought by
the aggressive welfare-state expansions of the recent past. But the question is academic,
because the UBI’s purported advantage is not real. Maintaining a pure, guaranteed UBI with no
phase-out for increasing income would require a budget dramatically larger than what is now
spent on the safety net. To see why a UBI fails in this way, we must now consider its

UBI can’t possibly solve poverty while still covering all people and being
Oren Cass, “Why a Universal Basic Income Is a Terrible Idea”. The National Review. June 15,
2016. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/436621/universal-basic-income-ubi-terrible-idea

Three key variables characterize a UBI: its size, its rate of phase-out, and its source of funding.
Proponents like to describe a UBI in which each person receives a benefit adequate to live on,
the benefit phases out very gradually at very high income levels (or else not at all), and the total
cost is covered by replacement of existing safety-net programs. But this violates what Professor
Kevin Milligan, of the University of British Columbia, has called the “basic-income impossible
trinity.” Of those three objectives, a policymaker can choose only two. UBI advocates observe
that the existing safety net in the United States or any other developed nation spends on each
person roughly what a livable basic income would cost. But it does this for only a small subset of
the population, for whom benefits phase out quickly as their incomes rise. A UBI limited to the
budget of the existing safety net could therefore offer either a small benefit to everyone or a
large benefit that phases out quickly, but not both, and a UBI that offers a large benefit to
everyone would require a massive budget increase. A UBI limited to the budget of the existing
safety net could therefore offer either a small benefit to everyone or a large benefit that phases
out quickly, but not both. Any proposal claiming to overcome the impossible-trinity problem
invariably contains a flaw. Take, for instance, Charles Murray’s proposal for a $13,000-per-year
UBI paid to all adults over the age of 21, with a partial phase-out (to a minimum of $6,500)
beginning when annual earnings exceed $30,000. Murray would fund the program by
eliminating not only the entire safety net of anti-poverty programs but also Medicare, Medicaid,
Social Security, agriculture subsidies, and “corporate welfare.” The first flaw is his inclusion of
Medicare and Social Security. Medicare already spends more than $11,000 per recipient; Social
Security spends $16,000. So Murray’s UBI covers only half of what the elderly’s “earned”
entitlements paid. Anyone left to rely on the UBI would be unable to afford both Medicare-
quality insurance and other essentials. Note also that Murray has excluded children. A single
mother with two children, receiving a total of $13,000 per year, would be only two-thirds of the
way to the 2016 federal poverty guideline of $20,160. And Murray’s plan, having eliminated
Medicaid, would explicitly require her to spend at least $3,000 on health insurance. So her
disposable “income” of $10,000 would reach less than halfway to the poverty line. Murray’s
plan, designed to attract conservative and libertarian support, underscores exactly why liberals
are so wary of proposals that supplant the existing safety net. His effort is caught in a Catch-22:
If the benefit is small enough to be funded by eliminating the existing safety net, it is too small
to permit the existing safety net’s elimination. Yet a UBI that was designed to coexist alongside a
safety net would be so expensive and complex that it would quickly lose appeal for the Right.
Murray rather undermines his pitch when he says: “If the guaranteed income is an add-on to the
existing system” (as his design ensures it would have to be), “it will be as destructive as its critics
fear.” The same impossible-trinity problem means that avoiding a phase-out cannot be
considered among a UBI’s advantages over the existing safety net, because a livable UBI that
does not phase out cannot be funded from the existing safety net. A UBI could perform better
than the existing safety net only by costing dramatically more, but of course the safety net could
also do a better job if given that extra money. For example, it could circumvent the phase-out
challenge by simply offering food stamps and Medicaid eligibility for all. That would cost the
same as a no-phase-out UBI while avoiding the unconditional cash handouts that most badly
damage the respect accorded to work. The point is not that the safety net should look like a UBI,
but rather that a UBI is not good anti-poverty policy. If employment works, then — for any given
spending level — safety-net reforms that respect, promote, and even subsidize employment will
yield better results than a UBI seeking to supplant it.
AT Automation
Too many barriers to a world without work.
Daniel Zamora, “The Case Against a Basic Income.” Jacobin. December 28, 2017.

When asked about work, Philippe Van Parijs likes to quote the physician Jan Pieter Kuiper, who
launched the debate on basic income in the Netherlands in the 1970s: “Among my patients
there are guys who are sick because they work too much, and guys who are sick because they
are unable to find work.” This contradiction runs through the history of capitalism, and it
motivates Van Parijs and many of his followers. UBI would create a society in which “those who
work too much … work less, in order to avoid burnout, breathe a little, retrain for new work, or
care for their loved ones, and the jobs thus freed up could then be taken by others.” That is, it
doesn’t aim at “working less, so all can work,” as the workers’ movement traditionally did, but
letting everyone choose how much to work at any given moment. Proponents present it as a
way to achieve a more harmonious distribution of work. That objective may seem sensible, but
it raises several questions. Most important, it risks amplifying employers’ current race to the
bottom. Today’s labor market is highly stratified: some people enjoy access to good jobs while
others, subject to harsh competition, can only find precarious and unstable work. A low or
moderate UBI — too low to let people refuse job offers — could relegate the least qualified
people to more intensely precarious situations. As Luke Martinelli puts it: The lack of an exit
option for such workers, and their weak bargaining position with respect to employers, means
that basic income could end up exacerbating poor pay and conditions if other workers were
willing to reduce their wage demands as a result of the unconditional payment. Martinelli
highlights “the danger that basic income ‘would aggravate the problem of low pay and subsidize
inefficient employers,’ leading to a proliferation of ‘lousy’ jobs.” In this scenario, those with
good jobs will continue to lead fulfilling lives, now supplemented by universal income, while
others will have to combine their UBI with one or more “lousy” jobs, with little gain in income.
The proposal makes no attempt to help those without a job today get one tomorrow or improve
the job they have. Indeed, everything suggests that the opposite will happen: the UBI will
function like a war machine for lowering wages and spreading precarious work. This aspect of
basic income isn’t new: it explains why the neoliberal economist George Stigler originally
proposed a UBI, in the form of a negative income tax. In contrast to Keynes, who downplayed
the role of wage levels in his explanation of unemployment, Stigler’s famous 1946 paper “The
Economics of Minimum Wage Legislation” argued that the minimum wage reduced
employment. He called on the government to abolish such regulations so that workers could
accept wages that don’t exceed the market price. Stigler’s negative income tax, which would
supplement incomes up to a certain point, would allow workers to accept low-wage jobs while
still living above the poverty line. In effect, the system guarantees a minimum income without
affecting the wage price. As Friedman wrote in 1956, the program, “while operating through the
market, [does] not distort the market or impede its functioning,” as Keynesian programs do.
Today, one still commonly sees UBI advocates resort to neoclassical platitudes about
employment. We can only be astonished, for example, at the dubious claims made by Van Parijs
and Vanderborgh in their recent book Basic Income: A Radical Proposal for a Free Society and a
Sane Economy, such as: “where the level of remuneration is and remains firmly protected by
minimum wage legislation, collective bargaining, and generous employment insurance, the
result tends to be massive losses of jobs.” We shouldn’t be starting from the premise that too-
high wages generate unemployment by disrupting the economy’s optimal equilibrium: that’s
precisely the idea we should fiercely challenge. Indeed, recent studies seriously undermine
these claims. Contrary to neoclassical predictions, countries that tax work the most have the
highest employment rates because income taxes fund social services, which promote labor
market participation, especially for women. Who Works? Still, imagine that it was
mathematically possible to establish a UBI high enough that none of us would have to work.
Suppose we could have this generous basic income and still have a strong welfare state.
Certainly it would be a game changer. Yet even this utopia rests on two problematic
assumptions work. First, it assumes that unemployed people don’t want to work or would be
just as happy to receive a generous monthly check. But what if that’s wrong? The notion that we
should reduce the demand for jobs rather than fight for full employment fails to consider that
many people do want to work. As Seth Ackerman has argued, it assumes that the despair
expressed by unemployed people amounts to false consciousness, a problem that can be
mitigated by propaganda campaigns promoting non-work. This is a faulty explanation of what’s
at stake with the question of work. There’s something deeper at play: work is more than a
means for earning money. That’s not just due to “pro-work ideology,” but also to the objective
conditions of a society based on a large-scale division of labor in which everyone contributes
individually to collective production. This system generates a certain income distribution as well
as a certain distribution of work. People are obviously worried about income inequality, but
aren’t they also worried about job inequality? As Ackerman writes, “so long as social
reproduction requires alienated work, there will always be this social demand for the equal
liability of all to work, and an uneasy consciousness of it among those who could work but who,
for whatever reason, don’t.” That’s why a universal job guarantee and a reduction in work hours
still represent the most important objectives for any left politics. Collectively reducing work time
is politically and socially preferable to creating a socially segmented pool of unemployed
workers, a situation that would have serious consequences for the employed. It’s not hard to
imagine how this situation could foster divisions within the working class — as it already has
over the last several decades. Second, such a “utopian” UBI raises questions about how the
distribution of work — that is, the division of labor — would be determined in a society where
we could choose not to work. Under capitalism, the division of labor is set in a brutal fashion,
relegating large sectors of the population to jobs that are difficult and badly paid, but often of
great value to society. A “utopian” UBI, by contrast, simply assumes that in a society liberated
from the work imperative, the spontaneous aggregation of individual desires would yield a
division of labor conducive to a properly functioning society; that the desires of individuals
newly freed to choose what they wish to do would spontaneously yield a perfectly functional
division of labor. But this expectation is assumed rather than demonstrated. If we want to
envision a society where the division of labor is no longer determined through compulsion, then
we will have to rethink work itself. And a rethinking of work will only point in an emancipatory
direction if work is made more meaningful and attractive. In a society where the nature of work
is profoundly unequal — not only in its distribution but also in its content — transforming it
becomes fundamental.
UBI can’t spur a tech revolution.
Oren Cass, “Why a Universal Basic Income Is a Terrible Idea”. The National Review. June 15,
2016. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/436621/universal-basic-income-ubi-terrible-idea

A UBI would only entrench our misconceptions about the relationship between the individual
and the state. If you have not heard any proposals for a “universal basic income” (UBI), you will
soon. Under a UBI, the federal government would send each American (including children, in
some plans) a monthly check of, say, $800 or $1,000 to cover basic needs. A couple would
receive $20,000 per year, regardless of other income earned; a family with children would get
more. The bloated welfare state? Streamlined! Poverty? Solved! And all of it supposedly paid for
by eliminating safety-net programs that would no longer be necessary. Columnists are intrigued,
“data journalists” excited, “explainers” cloyingly enthused. Technologists, certain that their
breakthroughs in artificial intelligence and robotics will leave everyone else unemployed, see a
UBI as critical to their utopian future; some are even funding a pilot program. But others think
the time for a UBI has already arrived. Finland and Canada are experimenting with UBIs, and
Switzerland has just held a national referendum on creating one (it was rejected by more than
three to one). Andy Stern — the former head of SEIU, America’s largest private-sector labor
union — has just published a book arguing for a UBI here. Charles Murray, a prominent scholar
on the right, has also made the case for a UBI. Former labor secretary Robert Reich, plugging
Stern’s effort, says, “America has no choice.” Actually, we do have a choice — one that goes far
beyond safety-net details to reach the very heart of state and society. A UBI would pose severe
practical challenges, which will be discussed later in this article. But even if it could work, it
should be rejected on principle. A UBI would redefine the relationship between individuals,
families, communities, and the state by giving government the role of provider. It would make
work optional and render self-reliance moot. An underclass dependent on government
handouts would no longer be one of society’s greatest challenges but instead would be recast as
one of its proudest achievements. Universal basic income is a logical successor to the worst
public policies and social movements of the past 50 years. These have taken hold not just
through massive government spending but through fundamental cultural changes that have
absolved people of responsibility for themselves and one another, supported destructive
conduct while discouraging work, and thereby eroded the foundational institutions of family
and community that give shape to society. In The Dream and the Nightmare (1993), his masterly
account of the social currents that produced the entrenched poverty of the underclass, Myron
Magnet wrote: “When it behooved mainstream culture to assert traditional mainstream values
with conviction, the Haves refused to assert to the poor and the black the most fundamental of
those values: the worth of the respectable working life, however humble.” Why would we want
to repeat that mistake with a UBI? (Otnaydur/Dreamstime) Clearly defined responsibilities, from
educating children to caring for the elderly to fighting in wars, are fundamental to a society’s
character. They establish the terms of relationships, the scope and role of civil society, and the
expectations against which people judge one another. And few are as important or pervasive as
the responsibility of providing — for oneself, for one’s family, and for future generations. ––
ADVERTISEMENT –– Over the past century, America has shifted some of that responsibility from
family and community to government. The elderly and disabled now receive regular cash
payments and health coverage. For a time, single mothers received cash support as well, though
welfare reform significantly curtailed that assistance. Most low-income households can receive
a variety of in-kind benefits, such as food stamps, housing vouchers, and Medicaid. Over the
past century, America has shifted some of that responsibility from family and community to
government. The government’s assumption of such obligations has helped to mitigate severe
hardship, but it has also changed economic incentives and cultural norms in ways that promote
dependence over self-reliance and replace accountability with entitlement. Debate continues
over whether this shift has gone too far or not far enough. But through it all, even if diluted, a
crucial principle has survived: If you are able to work, you should work. The safety net ensures
that no one starves, freezes, or dies on the hospital steps, but it does not typically offer a full
substitute for employment. Even when the economic value of safety-net benefits might
approximate the earned income of a low-wage job, those benefits arrive with constraints on
how they can be spent, and with the weakened but still potent stigma of welfare. Yet more
important than the stigma is the inverse praise: Those who work to provide for themselves and
their families know they are playing a critical and worthwhile role, which imbues the work with
meaning no matter how unfulfilling the particular task may be. As the term “breadwinner”
suggests, the abstractions of a market economy do not obscure the way essentials are earned. A
UBI would undermine all this: Work by definition would become optional, and consumption
would become an entitlement disconnected from production. Stripped of its essential role as
the way to earn a living, work would instead be an activity one engaged in by choice, for
enjoyment, or to afford nicer things. For many proponents of the scheme, this is the point.
Releasing people from any responsibility to support themselves or their families represents the
zenith of a hyper-individualistic culture. The goal is to maximize freedom and satisfaction by
minimizing obligation and constraint. As the slogan of the moment proclaims: “You do you.” This
should give pause to anyone who believes that the good life entails more, or that a free society
requires its members, as Yuval Levin writes in his new book The Fractured Republic, to “commit
ourselves to more than our own will and whim. It requires a commitment precisely to the
formative social and cultural institutions that we have seen pulled apart from above and below
in our age of fracture.” Even if a UBI represents just one more slip in our culture’s long
downward slide, that is no argument in its favor. Only after halting the slide and regaining its
footing can the culture hope to reclaim lost ground. But UBI proponents themselves recognize
the radical nature of the shift they suggest. Writing at the leftist website Jacobin, Shannon Ikebe
observed that “a UBI has been embraced in particular by the post-productivist left, which carries
a strong feminist and ecological bent and rejects the traditional left’s valorization of labor and
the working class.” Ikebe quoted other scholars describing universal basic income as a “capitalist
road to communism” and a “postwork political project.” In the New York Times, columnist
Farhad Manjoo explained: One key factor in the push for U.B.I., I think, is the idea that it could
help reorder social expectations. At the moment we are all defined by work; Western society
generally, but especially American society, keeps social score according to what people do and
how much they make for it. The dreamiest proponents of U.B.I. see that changing as work goes
away. Manjoo’s comment illustrates how support for a UBI fits neatly alongside the widely held
belief that technological advances will make work “go away.” But when prior technological
revolutions made a large share of farm and then factory labor obsolete, people continued to
find new and productive vocations. More than four in five employees now work in the service
sector. The present technological revolution shows no signs of following a different course. The
U.S. labor market has kept pace with population growth, adding 80 million net jobs since
computers started coming on the scene in the 1960s and more than 25 million since the Internet
became mainstream in the 1990s. Approximately 60 percent of the working-age population
remains employed — slightly above the post-war average. Certainly, as has happened before,
technological change poses both great opportunity and great challenges for the labor market.
But work itself remains both necessary and valuable. Undermining it because it might
hypothetically someday end would be a senseless act of preemptive self-sabotage.
AT Republicanism
UBI creates a system of domination between citizens by relying on a form of
luck egalitarianism; those who allocate well survive, those who don’t are
subject to the will of others. By giving in-kind goods instead, such as a right to
housing, the negative secures minimum goods that are necessary for agents to
enter non-dominating relationships with others.
Cholbi, Michael. "The Anti-Paternalist Case For Unconditional Basic Income Provision." (2017).

Supporters of basic income must finally grapple with the prospect that opposition to
paternalism might instead favor the provision of a social minimum in terms of a basket of in-kind
goods. To see why, return again to the rational will account of paternalism. In emphasizing that
a person is owed ‘sovereignty’ over their own good, the rational will account retains a
connection to the classical liberal anti-paternalism exemplified by Mill. However, with its
attention to how paternalism reflects judgments of inferiority, derogations of equal status, and
violations of the independence of individual wills, the rational will account appears to
incorporate insights from the recently resurgent republican or “relational” theory of equality.
According to this theory, real freedom among citizens consists in the absence of oppressive or
dominating social relations.21 Hence, like the rational will account of paternalism, republican
theories of equality are acutely sensitive to public policies that stigmatize some citizens as
rationally or prudentially inferior to others. However, republican theories further underscore
that freedom among citizens demands that they stand in material relationships with one
another that neither embody nor invite domination or oppression. Theorists in this tradition
recognize that there will be disparities in power, etc., in most any society. However, any such
disparities in power, including those between citizens, must not be arbitrary and must honor the
inherent independence of individuals’ wills from one another. Large discrepancies in economic
resources are one axis along which unjustified disparities in power, and therefore oppression
and domination, can arise. Those whose economic resources are so meager as to make them
desperate for their basic needs to be met are more likely to be exploited by others and placed in
subordinate and precarious social positions. They are thus likely to be motivated to “trade away
their freedom from domination.”22 Republican and relational theories of equality thus tend to
be supportive toward the unconditional public provision of basic needs so as to discourage the
‘sale’ of freedom in exchange for basic needs. But these same commitments should make
republican or relational theories skeptical that this provision ought to take the form a basic
income.23 For from the standpoint of ensuring social relations free of domination, oppression,
or arbitrary power, the various goods that might constitute an unconditional social minimum are
not interchangeable. Some have greater roles in securing such relations, some a lesser role.
Imagine a society with an unconditional basic income scheme. Invariably, there will be a handful
of basic income wastrels, individuals who, thanks to imprudence, etc., are left destitute thanks
to frittering away their basic income (and whatever other income they may enjoy). Such
wastrels will be more susceptible to entering into social relations in which they are subordinate
to others and their wills; they will be more likely to take very risky jobs, to sell their kidneys to
shady organ brokers, to enter into prolonged (and possibly humiliating) servitude, and so on.
Republican and relational theories take “luck egalitarians” to task for accepting that, so long as
the wastrels’ desperation is due to their own choices instead of bad brute luck, societies have no
obligations of justice to alleviate such a plight (or can only do so in troublingly paternalistic
terms).24 But for republican and relational theories, the plight of wastrels points to the
necessity of providing an unconditional social minimum in terms of goods the enjoyment of
which helps to buttress egalitarian relationships among citizens. The justification of providing
these goods is thus not a paternalistic one, that (as the rational will view has it) citizens are
inferior or deficient in their capacities to fashion and pursue their own conceptions of the goods.
Rather, there are “certain goods to which all citizens must have effective access over the course
of their whole lives” in order for them to be genuinely free from the arbitrary imposition of
others’ wills.25 Elizabeth Anderson expresses the thought in terms of “what we owe each other”
in the way of goods needed to avoid oppression: What we owe are not the means to generic
freedom but the social conditions of the particular, concrete freedoms that are instrumental to
life in relations of equality with others. We owe each other the rights, institutions, social norms,
public goods, and private resources that people need to avoid oppression (social exclusion,
violence, exploitation, and so forth) and to exercise the capabilities necessary for functioning as
equal citizens in a democratic state. From a social point of view, then, we should grant higher
priority to securing certain goods, such as education, over others, such as surfing opportunities,
even if some individuals prefer surfing to schooling. A maximal UBI [universal basic income] risks
overproviding optional freedoms at a substantial sacrifice —large enough to compromise social
equality —to the particular freedoms we owe one another.26 Anderson mentions education
and health care as among the goods essential to the creation and maintenance of relational or
republican equality. I do not intend to defend here any particular basket of in-kind goods as best
suited to serve as an unconditional social minimum. Rather, let me instead focus on a single
good — housing — so as to vindicate the claim that freedom among democratic equals is better
secured by a basket of in-kind goods than by a basic income. In a penetrating recent discussion
of homelessness and property rights, Christopher Essert has observed that homelessness does
not fundamentally consist in the absence of a permanent domicile or of any of the goods
associated with having such a domicile (privacy, access to regular sanitation, etc.). Homelessness
is instead characterized by lacking property rights. The homeless have property rights in the
formal sense, i.e., if they come to acquire some object, etc., through legitimate means, they
have a property right in that object. But the homeless have no specific rights to any property
wherein they may shelter if they so choose. Essert does not deny that homelessness qua lack of
shelter is unfortunate. All the same, the moral wrongfulness of homelessness instead comes
down to the homeless lacking “a location where what one can and cannot do is not under the
power of others.”27 A person living in a homeless shelter because she lack the economic
resources to pay rent anywhere may not be “homeless” in a material sense. But she remains
profoundly subject to the wills of whoever has the power to permit her to reside there. Most
crucially, she lives there at the pleasure of those operating the shelter. She thus lacks what
Essert calls “normative control” regarding “how things will be as between them and others in
the space where they live.”28 Whatever the homeless choose to do they are able to do only
with the authorization of those others on whose property the homeless choose to act. Essert
convincingly demonstrates the centrality of housing to maintaining non-oppressive relations of
equal status among individuals. The homeless have lives of ongoing subordination to the wills,
usually arbitrary, of others. Housing thus plays an essential role in establishing and securing the
free relations between equals envisioned by relational and republican theories. Basic income
recipients may of course have property rights in their domiciles and may have legal rights of
ongoing occupancy. But as our discussion of wastrels above shows, basic income recipients may
make use of their economic resources so as not to acquire such rights to housing, and in so
doing, they render themselves vulnerable to the arbitrary control over others, especially as they
seek housing. Recipients of basic income may have more liberty, but in comparison to recipients
of an in-kind basket of goods that enables, inter alia, secure rights to housing, they have less
freedom. I have claimed that this line of reasoning provides an anti-paternalistic case for an in-
kind basket of goods over a basic income. It may not seem obvious how this is so. I have argued
that the rational will account of paternalism correctly locates the wrongs of paternalism in the
mistrust in, or derogatory judgment of, others’ rational powers that paternalizers show toward
their targets. Paternalism thus involves the subordination of one individual’s will to another for
the former’s benefit. The rational will account finds its political corollary in republican or
relational theories of equality that oppose oppressive or dominating social relations in which the
wills of some are materially subordinate to the wills of others. Because different goods play
different roles in establishing or securing such relations, an unconditional and universal social
minimum ought to be chosen on the basis of which goods are central to such relations. A basic
income provision makes no such distinction among goods. It thus has the defect that, in
comparison with a basket of in-kind goods, it opens the door to unequal social relations. Notice
that a basket of in-kind goods is not per se less paternalistic than a basic income. Rather, it is
better suited to establish social relations in which odious comparative judgments about the
prudential or rational capacities of some citizens have no traction. In other words, if the
relational or republican ideal of social relations is largely realized, there will be little need for the
state to substitute its judgment, ‘insult’ citizens, etc., by treating them paternalistically. An
inkind basket of goods including housing, medical care, education, etc. does not only provide a
floor of well-being for individual citizens. A social minimum that is unconditional, universal, and
in-kind thus appears to be a recipe for a society that is not tempted toward adopting a
paternalistic stance toward its citizens. In such a society, policymakers will rarely confront
circumstances that invite the negative comparative appraisals of individuals’ capacities that
(according to the rational will account) reside at the heart of paternalism.

UBI causes free riding, which undermines the fundamental republican ideal of
Casassas, David. "Basic income and the republican ideal: rethinking material independence in
contemporary societies." Basic Income Studies 2.2 (2007).

One of the most common critiques of the unconditional nature of BI relies on the fact that it
would be conferred regardless of individuals’ willingness to contribute to the social product,
which would give rise to exploitive social relations (White, 2003). In effect, by giving individuals
the chance to free ride on the work and efforts of their fellows, a BI would infringe on an
elementary “principle of reciprocity” according to which “each citizen who willingly shares in the
social product has an obligation to make a relevantly proportional productive contribution to
the community in return” (White, 2003, p. 18). Some authors claim that the violation of this
“principle of reciprocity” becomes especially relevant when BI is conceived of within the
framework of the republican ideal. According to authors like Richard Dagger (2006),
republicanism envisages individuals as members of a political community that bestows on them
some essential elements of their identity as individuals and citizens and that expects them to
assume a certain set of civic duties that support such a social regime. Thus, republicans can only
favour those cash transfer schemes that impose certain conditions – performing some broadly
defined public service – on everyone who benefits from them. Unconditionality undermines the
rights-and duties rationale that shapes the way in which individuals become members of a
community. Hence, it cannot be accepted. In this approach to the republican tradition,
republicans face a dilemma that forces them to either (1) weaken the requirement of an
unconditional BI as a possible institutional implication of their normative analysis, or (2) weaken
the defence of republicanism (by diminishing the alleged importance of civic values) as a
normative justification of BI that is effectively distinct from those we find within egalitarian
liberalism (Noguera, 2006).
AT Alaska Empirics
Alaska is a bad model for UBI – tiny amounts, resource funding, and grant
fluctuations make it basically worthless for assessing a broader UBI system –
Alaska gives its residents a gift, not an income.
JURGEN DE WISPELAERE, “An Income of One’s Own? The Political Analysis of Universal Basic
Income,” UNIVERSITY OF TAMPERE 12 December 2015,

When basic income advocates talk about existing basic income policies, they principally point to
the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD), which since 1982 has paid each eligible resident an
unconditional annual grant (Widerquist and Howard, 2012a). The Alaska scheme comprises two
separate programs: the Alaska Permanent Fund (APF), a publicly owned investment portfolio
funded by 25% of the state’s oil revenue, and the Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) which
allocates an annual grant of roughly $1,200 to each man, woman, and child who meets the
residency requirement. The PFD is the sole example of an economic policy 44 combining
resource taxation — effectively transforming a depleting natural resource into a “sovereign
wealth fund” — with the distribution of (part of) the revenue stream to each individual resident
shareholders. The PFD has proven to be a very successful program, enjoying tremendous
support from citizens across demographic, socioeconomic, and political divides. As Scott
Goldsmith (2005: 558) pointedly relates, in Alaska today it amounts to “political suicide to
suggest any policy change that could possibly have any adverse impact today, or in the future,
on the size of the PFD.” In addition, advocates of 45 this Alaska model claim the PFD is a strongly
egalitarian policy, for it grants each citizen an equal share of a natural resource that is held in
common ownership, rendering it immune to many of the intricate problems facing tax-and-
transfer-style redistributive programs. Is the Alaska model a good example of a basic income
scheme? While the PFD meets the conditions of universality, individuality and unconditionality
(Widerquist and Howard, 2012c), several elements of the Alaska dividend limit its usefulness for
the basic income debate writ large. The first is the meagre level of 46 the grant: fluctuating
between a low of $628 (in 1984) and a high of $2533 (in 2000) depending on the value of APF
earnings (Goldsmith, 2012 [all figures in 2010 dollars]), the level of the dividend is substantially
smaller than what basic income advocates — even those advocating a modest partial basic
income — have in mind. My concern here is not just with the low level of the grant but also the
47 fact that the amount fluctuates significantly from one year to another, which is highly
problematic for any policy that has anti-poverty or equality-promoting ambitions (Zelleke,
2012). Finally, the fact that the grant is paid out annually importantly differs from the customary
basic income model that emphasizes regular monthly payments (Van Parijs, 1995; Standing,
2006). These design features raise 48 questions about generalizing insights from the Alaska
dividend in its current form on expected individual-level or aggregate effects of introducing a
basic income. A different concern arises from the particular funding source of the Alaska
dividend and its associated politics. Resource dividends is one model that can be used to finance
and justify an unconditional basic income, but it has very particular features that may poorly
apply to models that depend on raising income or consumption taxes, or reducing other social
programs to secure its funding. Many 49 commentators insist resource dividends are windfall
gains that appear to create little opposition as they do not rely on appropriation or
disentitlement. “No one has reason to feel burdened by its creation and continued existence.
The yearly dividends are financed by the returns on state-owned investments. They don’t cut
into anyone’s perceived ownership” (Widerquist and Howard, 2012c: 226). But if this is true, one
cannot help but wonder why the Alaska scheme is the only one of over 50 Sovereign Wealth
Funds that pays out individual dividends (Cummine, 2012)? One answer to this puzzle may be
that “the case for a resource-funded basic income policy may not be compelling prior to its
enactment”, even if it becomes “very popular very quickly once instituted” (Bryan and Castillo,
2012: 74). The politics of resource dividend predistribution is undoubtedly different from the
traditional politics of redistribution (Korpi and Palme, 1998; O’Neill and Williamson, 2012;
Taylor-Gooby, 2013). But here precisely lies another problem, for a basic income grounded in a
resource dividend scheme may fail to be properly accountable, and even become regressive. On
accountability, Bryan and Castillo (2012: 77) argue that since governments don’t have to obtain
their revenue directly from the electorate, they will perceive opportunity costs of expenditures
less clearly and this in turn implies less accountability. The absence of income taxation — the
feature that its 50 proponents argue make resource dividends politically palatable — implies
that resource-taxed basic income schemes have at best a modest impact on inequality reduction
but more likely have “an overall regressive effect on income distribution” (Zelleke, 2012: 151).
While the PFD is sometimes held to be responsible for making Alaska the most equal state in the
United States (e.g., Vanderborght and Van Parijs 2005: 25), the empirical support for this bold
claim remains weak. At the very least, this urges caution when relying on the Alaska 51 model to
argue for the benefits of introducing a basic income elsewhere (pace Widerquist and Howard,
2012b; Casassas and De Wispelaere, 2012).
AT Iran Empirics
Iran’s system can’t translate – oil revenue, population, and economic scaling
make it out of the question in the US.
JURGEN DE WISPELAERE, “An Income of One’s Own? The Political Analysis of Universal Basic
Income,” UNIVERSITY OF TAMPERE 12 December 2015,

In recent years a second scheme has inspired basic income advocates as a model of how to
institute a basic income. Both its location – Iran – and the pathway by which it came about are
peculiar, to put it mildly. Like the Alaska scheme, the Iranian model is based on oil resources.
However, in this case the funding does not come from a sovereign wealth fund, but instead from
reforming the price subsidies on consumption. Iran, a major oil producer and exporter, for many
years used the proceeds to implicitly subsidize the domestic consumption of private individuals
and enterprises by keeping oil prices at one of the lowest in the region. This extraordinary
situation is untenable in the long run and, in a move towards rationalization, in December 2010
Iran initiated the first stage of a five year reform program (Tabatabai, 2011, 2012a, 2012b). The
reform program removes implicit subsidies, which amounts to a manifold price increase, in
combination with the provision of a monthly cash transfer of Rl 455,000 (roughly $45) per
resident Iranian. The explicit aim of the transfer is to 53 compensate private individuals,
business (e.g., to stimulate use of energy-efficient production technology) and even the
government for the cost of rapid price increases on oil and fuel products. Any effects on poverty
or economic inequality 54 are surplus to the goal of effectively rationalizing oil consumption
without causing a massive uproar or widespread economic devastation. Cash transfers are
universally and uniformly paid independent of means or work tests, albeit to household heads
— thus conforming to a de facto basic income (Tabatabai, 2011). The Iranian government
initially wanted to restrict the transfer to the 70% of the population with incomes lower than
the national average. However, it ran into many practical problems trying to identify the
relevant beneficiaries, and in the end pragmatically decided to drop any restrictions.55 “Rather
than alienating a part of the population, the government eventually decided to abandon the
exercise and declared everyone eligible for transfers, at least initially. The universal basic income
was thus born as a means of ensuring wider public support for the price reform.” (Tabatabai,
2012: 20) Government appealed to the better-off to voluntarily withdraw from the scheme, but
as the value of the cash transfer became apparent and registration modalities simplified, many
more applied for the transfer than originally planned: immediately after implementation, “the
number of participants rose from 60 million to 72.5 million, or from 80 percent of the
population to 96 percent” (Tabatabai, 2012b: 22). The near-universality of the basic income
grant in Iran emerged quasi-spontaneously, rather than by design.56 There are several intriguing
features to the Iran basic income model. First and foremost, there is a marked similarity with the
Alaska dividend, where politicians faced a decision on how to preserve the wealth associated
with a newly discovered (and finite) natural resource. In Iran, too, there appears to have been
no explicit discussion of providing a guaranteed income floor to resident Iranians out of
concerns with poverty or inequality. Instead, as Hamid Tabatabai (2012b: 24) explains, “the birth
of a de facto basic income owe much to the fact that cash transfers are universally seen as
compensation for the loss of subsidies, not as a right or entitlement without a quid pro quo.
That is how the hurdle of reciprocity was overcome.” In Iran, even more so than in Alaska, basic
income emerges as a byproduct of economic policy. In both cases, the boost in income security
was a fortunate side-effect. The question remains whether the model is easy to export
elsewhere. In Iran, 57 several factors combine to explain the fortuitous emergence of basic
income: a preexisting (implicit) price subsidy on a widely consumed good, at a level that is so
high it is both distortionary — which gives government strong incentives for reform — and able
to fund a basic income through the price differential after reform. The closest alternative for
countries where such clear-cut price subsidies are not present would be a basic income funded
through a consumption or a green tax. However, this implies a distinctive type of politics
altogether, departing from 58 the focus on compensating-for-loss that defines the Iranian
experience.59 Moreover, even in Iran it is an open question whether the current cash transfer
system will remain in place once the five year reform period is completed. Given its reliance on
oil, the provision of the cash transfer is vulnerable to fluctuations in international oil prices and,
to a much lesser degree (at least in the short run), availability of oil production (Tabatabai,
2012b). Once the reform completed, government may decide to keep the cash transfer
nominally in place but at a deflated real value, thus further eroding the income guarantee
component of this basic income.60 The immediate challenge, however, appears to be the
intense financial pressure on the system. In part because of miscalculating the expected revenue
and in part 61 because of increased demand after eligibility criteria were relaxed, 80% of the
revenue from higher fuel prices go towards funding private household transfers (instead of the
originally budgeted 50%). With the budget fixed by law, the future stability of the program
requires a significant adjustment by either reducing the transfer amount for all or else giving up
on the principle of near-universality and reintroducing the notion of eligibility criteria
(Tabatabai, 2012a, 2012b). Neither solution is very appealing from the perspective of basic
income.62 Other elements of the Iranian case may also limit its suitability as a general basic
income model. Cash transfers are paid to household heads because they are presumed to pay
the fuel bill, and are thus the ones entitled to the compensation. As Tabatabai (2011) rightly
notes, the Iranian basic income is independent of household composition — and in this sense,
appropriately “individualized” — nevertheless there are good reasons why advocates insist that
a basic income is paid to each individual separately (e.g., Pateman, 2003, 2004). Furthermore,
the same questions about effects on poverty and inequality that concern critics of the Alaska
dividend such as Almaz Zelleke (2012) appear in the case of the Iranian cash transfer. Tabatabai
(2012a: 292) believes the reform to have positive effects on income inequality, but since hard
data are not available it is impossible to say how much. However, we should keep in mind the
specificity of fuel consumption in Iran when considering exporting the Iranian model to other
countries: effects on poverty and inequality will vary considerably depending on the choice of
goods affected by any price reform. Moreover, the strict compensation rationale underlying the
Iran model prevents it from addressing these concerns head on. Finally, it is interesting to
compare the Iranian experience with public support with that of Alaska, where the mere
implementation of the PFD and the receipt of regular dividends appeared to have built its own
constituency (Goldsmith 2005, 2012; Bryan and Castillo, 2012; Widerquist and Howard, 2012c).
In Iran, the prospect of subsidy reform caused major anxiety across the population, and the
purpose of the cash transfer was precisely to stymy public concern. In part this 63 was
successful, as the population by-and-large seems to have accepted the reform. Nevertheless,
the public response to the scheme is far from universally supportive. Many think compensation
is better “redirected to other priorities, for example, job creation or expansion of public
services” (Tabatabai, 2012b: 30). There is certainly no support for universality as such. The
results of a recent opinion poll seem to suggest that a majority (62%) doubt the transfer is able
to cover the extra expenses due to increased fuel prices for most households. Further, more
people rate the likelihood of the cash transfers enduring over time as low or very low compared
to those who rate it high or very high (42% compared with 36%) (Tabatabai, 2012b: 30).
Whereas in the Alaska case there seems to have emerged a strong political constituency in
favour of dividends, in Iran the public support remains comparatively weak.64