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Full Employment, Unconditional Basic Income and the Keynesian Critique of Rentier Capitalism

  • Alan Thomas ORCID logo EMAIL logo
From the journal Basic Income Studies

Abstract

This paper compares and contrasts the basic income proposal with the alternative policy proposal of the state acting as employer of last resort. Two versions of the UBI proposal are distinguished: one is hard to differentiate from expanded welfare state provision. Van Parijs’s proposal is radical enough to qualify as major egalitarian revision to capitalism. However, while it removes from a capitalist class the power to determine the terms on which others labour, it leaves this class in place and able to exert other powers that distort the macro-economy. These include pecuniary emulation, demand pull inflation, and political resistance to full employment so that the rentier class does not have to contend with entrepreneurs *and* the working class over the distribution of the productive surplus. The state as employer of last resort proposal addresses these deeper issues while also claiming that inflationary pressure will undermine the UBI alternative.


Corresponding author: Alan Thomas, Philosophy, University of York, York, YO10 5DD, UK, E-mail:

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Received: 2019-05-28
Accepted: 2020-06-04
Published Online: 2020-07-07

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