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Basic Income Studies

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

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Why a Basic Income Is Necessary for a Right to Work

Guy Standing
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  • Professor in Development Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London
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Published Online: 2012-12-31 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bis-2013-0007


This article makes the proposition that a right to work can only exist if an individual has a prior right to a basic income. It criticizes the perspective that maximizing the number of jobs is a meaningful way of advancing the right to work, since activity in subordinated labour is scarcely consistent with a freedom-enhancing right to work. In recalling the historical right to practise an occupation, it rejects the notion of a “job guarantee”, as neither feasible nor desirable in a free society or as part of a progressive vision of a Good Society.

Keywords: basic income; job guarantee; economic security


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About the article

Published Online: 2012-12-31

Citation Information: Basic Income Studies, Volume 7, Issue 2, Pages 19–40, ISSN (Online) 1932-0183, ISSN (Print) 2194-6094, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bis-2013-0007.

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