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Monday, February 14, 2011

A Basic Income - Philippe Van Parijs

"A basic income is an income paid by a political community to all its members on an individual basis, without means test or work requirement." p3

"…if one makes the mild assumption that the explicit tax rate applying to the lowest income brackets must remain noticeably lower than 100%, then the following statement holds. Since you can keep the full amount of your basic income, whether working or not, whether rich or poor, you are bound to be better off when working than out of work." p12

"…some of these jobs can by lousy, degrading dead-end jobs, which should not be promoted. Others are pleasant, enriching stepping-stone jobs, which are worth taking even at low pay because of their intrinsic value or the training they provide. Who can tell the difference? Not legislators or bureaucrats, but the individual workers who can be relied upon to know far more than what is known "at the top" about the countless facets of the job they do or consider taking. They have the knowledge that would enable them to be discriminating, but not always the power to do so… A work-unconditional basic income endows the weakest with bargaining power in a way a work-conditional guaranteed income does not." p12

"In the absence of a means test, the tax and benefit structure can be expected to be such that beneficiaries can significantly increase their disposable incomes by working, even at a low rate and on a part-time basis, and without being trapped in such jobs once their skills improve or once they can improve their working time. Moving into the work sphere will therefore be facilitated and encouraged, …" p12

"…I am convinced that any cogent case for basic income as a first-best must adopt some notion of "real freedom" (not only the right but also the means to do what one may wish)…" p13

Philippe Van Parijs, 2000, Basic Income: A Simple and Powerful Idea for the 21st Century., Redesigning Distribution.

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