Basic Income and the Labor Contract

Claus Offe 1
  • 1 Hertie School of Governance, Berlin

The paper starts by exploring the negative contingencies that are associated with the core institution of capitalist societies, the labor contract: unemployment, poverty, and denial of autonomy. It argues that these are the three conditions that basic income schemes can help prevent. Next, the three major normative arguments are discussed that are raised in opposition to basic income proposals: the idle should not be rewarded, the prosperous don't need it, and there are so many things waiting to be done in the world. After demonstrating that proponents of basic income stand in no way empty-handed when facing these objections, a third part considers basic income in functional terms: would its introduction help to resolve problems of social and economic order that are unlikely to be resolved in more conventional ways?

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Basic Income Studies (BIS) is the first academic journal to focus specifically on basic income and cognate policies and publishes peer-reviewed research papers, book reviews, and short accessible commentaries that discuss a central aspect of the debate on basic income and related schemes.

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