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Basic Income Studies

Ed. by Haagh, Anne-Louise / Howard, Michael

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CiteScore 2016: 0.14

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.112
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.207

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1932-0183
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Locke on Basic Income

Daniel Layman
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Published Online: 2012-01-19 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/1932-0183.1217

Perhaps the strongest attempts to derive support for basic income policy from John Locke’s political philosophy hinge on Locke’s view that the world and its resources were originally owned in common by all persons. This world ownership, many have supposed, gives all persons a natural right to equal shares of resources and thus a right to an equal basic income under conditions (like our own) in which nearly all resources have been appropriated. This reasoning betrays a misunderstanding of Locke’s conception of original world ownership and, once this understanding is corrected, it becomes clear that there is no natural right to equal shares of resources, although there is a natural right to sufficient shares. Consequently, although governments must guarantee sufficiency for their citizens, there is no Lockean reason why this guarantee must take the form of a basic income or a scheme of equal and unconditional payments.

Keywords: distributive justice; full self-ownership; libertarian socialism; libertarianism; political freedom; basic income; universal welfare; welfare policy; welfare reform; welfare state

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Published Online: 2012-01-19


Citation Information: Basic Income Studies, ISSN (Online) 1932-0183, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/1932-0183.1217.

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©2012 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston. Copyright Clearance Center

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