40 Comp. Lab. L. & Pol'y J. 151 (2018-2019)
Basic Income: Introduction

handle is hein.journals/cllpj40 and id is 175 raw text is: 








                        BASIC INCOME


     More than a half century ago, the Congressionally mandated National
Commission on Technology, Automation, and Economic Progress, noting
the ideas of Milton Friedman, Robert Lampman, and James Tobin, among
others, called for a minimum income allowance, a negative income tax.'
Such a program, it opined, if found feasible, should be designed to approach
by stages the goal of eliminating the need for means test public assistance
programs by providing a floor of adequate minimum income not connected
in principle to labor market participation.2
     The idea has received fresh life today in the wake of the increasing
precarity of work, captured by Guy Standing in his The Precariat: The New
Dangerous Class (2011), a phrase that has come into common usage, and the
threat of structural employment driven by technology, by robotization, and
artificial intelligence. The idea has gained considerable public awareness:
by popularization, in the United States, for example, of Andrew Stein's
Raising the Floor: How a Universal Basic Income Can Renew Our Economy
and Rebuild the American Dream (2016), and in political activism. A
referendum was held in Switzerland in 2016 in which the proposal-of 2,500
Swiss francs per month for every adult-received almost a quarter of the
vote.3 An experiment was run in Finland a preliminary assessment of which
was published in February, 2019, and which will no doubt prove instructive.4
The idea has also generated two scholarly studies: Philippe van Parijs and
Yannick Vanderborght, Basic Income: A Radical Proposal for a Free Society
and a Sane Economy (2017) and Guy Standing, Basic Income: And How We
Can Make it Happen (2017).
     Given the traction the idea has gained, and the serious thought devoted
to it, the Journal thought it both timely and important to cast wide for
comment on these works. We were successful in enlisting Robert van der
Veen and Loek Groot from the Netherlands, Brishen Rogers from the United
States, and Jos6 Noguera from Spain to take it on for us. Unfortunately, in


    1. Technology and the American Economy, Report of the National Commission on Technology,
Automation, and Economic Progress 40 (1966).
    2. Nevertheless, the Commission's proposal would have excluded those whose incomes were above
the mandated floor.
    3. Raphael Minder, Guaranteed Income for All? Switzerland's Voters Say No, N.Y. Times, June 5,
2016.
    4. Free Money Leaves You Happy and Jobless, Finland Finds, Bloomberg Law News (Feb. 8,
2019).

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