40 Comp. Lab. L. & Pol'y J. 223 (2018-2019)
The Second-Best Road ahead for Basic Income

handle is hein.journals/cllpj40 and id is 247 raw text is: 









   THE SECOND-BEST ROAD AHEAD FOR BASIC
                             INCOME


                           Jos6 A. Noguera-

    I. THE NEED FOR A SECOND-BEST OPTION IN THE DEBATE ON BASIC
                               INCOME

     The recent books on basic income (hereinafter BI) by Philippe Van
Parijs and Yannick Vanderborght and Guy StandingI are two of the most
compelling defenses of the proposal so far in all discussion fronts:
principled and pragmatic; economic, social, and political. As a sympathetic
reader myself, I can only be in agreement with most of their normative
arguments. Therefore, I will focus my discussion on the pragmatic and
strategic issues, especially those that have to do with implementation.
Although I also share much of the authors' arguments on this, I am not
persuaded by their answer to this question: Which is the best way ahead for
BI supporters in developed countries with relatively strong welfare systems
if they want to see real progress towards the effective realization of the
ideals behind the proposal?
     For many of these advocates it is quite obvious that BI will not come
to earth (if ever does) as a result of a glorious one-shot implementation by a
committed government who has won a huge electoral majority under its
banner.2 A starting point is the wise acknowledgement by Van Parijs &
Vanderborght that a full BI (that is, a BI with an amount that suffices for an
independent and dignified life, or grants income above the poverty
threshold) is out of the question here and now because of its huge economic
cost. Financing that cost would probably require a politically unacceptable
rise of effective income tax rates for too many taxpayers in our societies.
So, the immediate, one-shot strategy that introduces a full BI is a nonstarter,
at least for the time being. Of course, one could think of a BI in the form of
a social dividend' funded with the revenues from the exploitation of
publicly owned natural resources, as in Alaska, or as proposed by Yanis


    t Josd A. Noguera is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Universitat Aut6noma de Barcelona.
    1. PHILIPPE VAN PARIJS & YANNICK VANDERBORGHT, BASIC INCOME: A RADICAL PROPOSAL
FOR A FREE SOCIETY AND A SANE ECONOMY (2017); GuY STANDING, BASIC INCOME: A GUIDE FOR
THE OPEN-MINDED 93 (2017). From here on mentions of Van Parijs & Vanderborght (2017) and
Standing (2017) books will just include page references.
    2. VAN PARIJS & VANDERBORGHT, supra note 1, at 214.

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