Justice and a citizens' basic income

Journal of Applied Philosophy 16 (3):283–296 (1999)
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Is it possible for a society with a market economy to be just? Unlike Marxists, egalitarian liberals believe that there are some conceivable circumstances where such a society could fulfil the requirements of social justice. A market society need not be exploitative. One proposal that has recently received much attention among political theorists is the suggestion that citizens should receive a basic income. Philippe Van Parijs's Real Freedom for All: What (if anything) can justify capitalism? presents one of the most sophisticated philosophical arguments in favour of a citizens' basic income. In this paper I critically assess Van Parijs's proposal for a citizens' unconditional basic income. I develop three Rawlsian objections which cast doubt on the idea that Van Parijs's proposal can play a foundational role in a viable theory of social justice. I label these objections: (1) the objection from leisure (2) the objection from citizenship and (3) the objection from self-respect.



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Colin Farrelly
Queen's University

Citations of this work

Reconsidering the reciprocity objection to unconditional basic income.Andrew Lister - 2020 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 19 (3):209-228.
Radical liberalism, Rawls and the welfare state: justifying the politics of basic income.Simon Birnbaum - 2010 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 13 (4):495-516.

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