In ‘Exploitation, Labor, and Basic Income’ Michael Howard undertakes to defend an Unconditional Basic Income (UBI) as non-exploitative, and on a revised conception of what Marx called ‘exploitation’. Without taking issue with the revision itself, I point out that Howard, like many others, fails to defend UBI as non-exploitative. All his arguments fail to establish that the so-called ‘Surfer off Malibu’, a figure who is full-time dedicated to leisure, is not an exploiter in receiving UBI. The strategies to include him as a rightful recipient of a labor-free income rely on the (sometimes far-fetched) attribution of certain contingent features to him that would entitle him to compensation or reward, but that he might also not have. I argue that the best strategy for UBI-advocates is to admit that ‘slackers’ should be merely tolerated as non-deserving recipients, because the UBI-policy will otherwise have good effects. Finally, I raise some questions about these good effects, as they are conceived by UBI-advocates such as Howard.
© 2015 by Lucius & Lucius, Stuttgart