Basic Income

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A simple social welfare program that ensures everyone has sufficient income to raise them above the poverty line, whether or not they work. Most libertarians oppose this as "redistribution". Milton Friedman proposed this as a negative income tax. John Locke said the poor have rights to the wealth of the rich for basic needs. In Canada, an experimental version was called Mincome. See also Social Wealth Funds. In the US, the Alaska Permanent Fund funds a tiny basic income system.

Basic Income is only one part of a package of Basics that we could have or already have in part. Basic Medical coverage, Basic Insurance, Basic Legal Aid, Basic Justice, Basic Nutrition, Basic Communications, Basic Finacial Services, Basic Police And Military Protection, Basic Housing, Basic Education, etc. These are all needed to exist normally in our society, and are often badly served by markets.


About Basic Income [More...]
An introduction and 40 question FAQ to the ideas of Basic Income, as explained by Philippe Van Parijs. Part of the Basic Income Earth Network.
Basic Income: A simple and powerful idea for the twenty-first century [More...]
Philippe Van Parijs presents a 24 page overview of Basic Income. The 2005 version.
A Basic Income for All [More...]
If you really care about freedom, give people an unconditional income. By Philippe Van Parijs, the major proponent of Basic Income.
Basic income and a public job offer: complementary policies to reduce poverty and unemployment [More...]
"Such a combination seems to be the only policy which offers hope for at least approaching the now largely abandoned goals of full employment and ending poverty in both developed and developing economies at relatively low cost, while all face a future of increasingly precarious labour markets and even secular stagnation."
Basic income and social justice: Why philosophers disagree [More...]
A brilliantly clear presentation about why John Rawls and Ronald Dworkin disagree with the idea of Basic Income and Philippe Van Parijs' solution.
Basic Income in a Globalized Economy [More...]
The authors discuss the problems of extending basic income beyond national borders, and find some really ingenious starting points, such as basic income for the elderly.
Could an income for all provide the ultimate safety net? [More...]
"For an idea that is so far from mainstream political practice, the payment of a basic income has had astonishingly broad support, from Martin Luther King Jr to Milton Friedman... A basic income makes perfect sense once we arrive at an economy where millions work for low wages while automation produces a bountiful economy all around them."
Enslave the robots and free the poor [More...]
Martin Wolf at the Financial Times says that because of technological unemployment "[...] we will need to redistribute income and wealth. Such redistribution could take the form of a basic income for every adult, together with funding of education and training at any stage in a person’s life."
Giving everyone a basic income would work for the same reasons Social Security does [More...]
An outline of the costs and workings of a basic income plan.
Guaranteed Annual Income Links [More...]
A crowdsourced scholarly index to Basic Income (and Mincome articles, research, conferences, etc. Many, many links.
Human materialism as support for universal basic income [More...]
"if people are provided a universal basic income, they're still going to want to do sometimes unpleasant work in order to accumulate more than their neighbor. It also puts a dent in the myth that government largesse creates dependency. Fundamentally, people want to have more things even if it means pointless work."
Independence, Propertylessness, and Basic Income: A Theory of Freedom as the Power to Say No (book, online)
"[A] new theory of Freedom [...] freedom as the power to say no... It shows that most societies today put the poor in situations in which they lack this crucial freedom, making them vulnerable to poverty, exploitation, and injustice despite other policies in place to help them. People who have no other option but to work for someone else to meet their basic needs are effectively forced laborers and are fundamentally unfree."
My Socialism [More...]
An intriguing and sensible explanation of a socialism based on the values freedom, voice, and equality. Uses a Basic Income. "The general principle here is to empower people to reject exploitative capitalism (if they want)."
Social Wealth Funds (12 links)
Also known as Sovereign Wealth Funds. An alternative for public ownership of wealth that has been widely used around the world. See also Basic Income, which could be funded by these.
The Basic Income Guarantee and Tautological Libertarianism [More...]
"Of course, right-libertarians tell us that they defend property rights because they believe in freedom. Now we see that they’re simply defining freedom as the defense of the property rights system they want to see."
The Big Casino [More...]
This paper uses an analogy to illustrate two things: (1) the economy is and will always be a casino, and (2) in existing societies and most libertarian, liberal, and socialist visions of society individuals are effectively forced to participate in the casino economy. It argues justice requires that individuals must be free from forced participation in such an economy and that the best way to free people from forced participation is the provision of a Basic Income Guarantee.
The Physical Basis of Voluntary Trade [More...]
"This article has put forth a theory of the default conditions a person needs to make a voluntary decision to participate in the economic system. It argues that genuinely voluntary trade requires that individuals have unconditional alternative to market participation that is not thoroughly bad in an absolute sense. This alternative involves individuals having access to the resources or the goods necessary to secure their basic needs which can be understood in terms of Nussbaum’s basic capabilities or Doyal and Gough’s basic human needs."
The UBI Already Exists. It Is Just Unevenly Distributed. [More...]
"The UBI Sawicky describes requires $3.2 trillion [$10.000/year] while capital’s share [unearned income] is $5 trillion. It looks like the UBI already exists. It is just very unevenly distributed." Thus a UBI close to $16,000/year could be easily afforded.
Understanding Claims About Basic Income and Inflation [More...]
A basic income (or any welfare state expansion) would only lead to inflation if it wasn't financed by taxes. As the example of Social Security shows.
VC for the people [More...]
There are reasons to believe that a Basic Income program would be beneficial for growth and allow people to "take chances on more meaningful and ultimately more valuable work."
What's Wrong With a Free Lunch? (book, online)
16 widely varied points of view on the idea of a Universal Basic Income as an antidote to the extreme inequalities of capitalism.


Until unemployment no longer holds out the prospect of death or dishonor every employment contract is made under duress.
Dale Carrico, "Dispatches from Libertopia: An Anthology of Wingnut Chestnuts and Democratizing Remedies"
Some people giving orders and others obeying them: this is the essence of servitude. Of course, as Hospers smugly observes, "one can at least change jobs," but you can't avoid having a job -- just as under statism one can at least change nationalities but you can't avoid subjection to one nation-state or another. But freedom means more than the right to change masters.
Bob Black, "The Libertarian As Conservative"