Governments in the US, the UK and other nations around the world routinely consider and, in some cases, experiment with reforms of their income support systems. The basic income guarantee, a universal unconditional income grant, has received increasing attention from scholars as an alternative to the kinds of reforms that have been implemented. This book explores the political, sociological, economic, and philosophical issues of the basic income guarantee. Tracing the history of the idea, from its origins in the late eighteenth century through its political vogue in the 1970s, when the Family Assistance Plan narrowly missed passage in the US Congress, it also examines the philosophical debate over the issue. The book is designed to foster a climate of ideas amongst those specifically interested in the income support policies and more widely for those concerned with public, welfare and labour economics. Its coverage will enable readers to obtain an in depth grounding in the topic, regardless of their position in the debate.
'Yes, a different world is possible, and it will include basic income security for all. But it will not come about without a thorough discussion involving a broad range of scholars, determined to look beyond the borders of their discipline and their nation, and eager to learn from the failures of the past. This is precisely the sort of collective effort which this book splendidly illustrates.' Professor Philippe Van Parijs, Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, and Harvard University, USA 'Big ideas like these, carefully considered, could change the world. Although not everyone will agree that basic income guarantees should top the progressive social policy agenda, readers of this book will be enriched by the breadth and depth of arguments on their behalf. Ranging from narrative history to technical labour economics, these essays describe a compelling strategy for developing a kinder, gentler economy.' Professor Nancy Folbre, University of Massachusetts, USA 'For anyone researching a Citizen's Income this book is essential reading.' Citizen's Income Newsletter 'The book makes an excellent contribution to the literature…the quality of the essays is truly outstanding…thought provoking, well researched, well written, and well edited.' Journal of Economic Issues
Contents: Foreword, Guy Standing; Acknowledgments; An introduction to the basic income guarantee, Michael Lewis, Steven Pressman and Karl Widerquist. History: In the shadow of Speenhamland: social policy and the old Poor Law, Fred Block and Margaret Somers; Inheritance and equal shares: early American views, John Cunliffe and Guido Erreygers; The guaranteed income movement of the 1960s and 1970s, Robert Harris; A retrospective on the negative income tax experiments: looking back at the most innovate field studies in social policy, Robert A. Levine, Harold Watts, Robinson Hollister, Walter Williams, Alice O'Connor and Karl Widerquist. Debate: Basic income in the United States: redefining citizenship in the Liberal State, Almaz Zelleke; Basic income, liberal neutrality, socialism, and work, Michael W. Howard; Does she exploit or doesn't she? Karl Widerquist; Perhaps there can be too much freedom, Michael Anthony Lewis. Evidence: Income guarantees and the equity-efficiency tradeoff, Steven Pressman; Have the 1996 welfare reforms and expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit eliminated the need for a basic income guarantee in the United States? James B. Bryan; Back to work incentives in a dynamic perspective: an application to French labour markets, Thierry Laurent and Yannick L'Horty; Social minima in Europe: the risks of cumulating income-sources, Stephen Bouquin. Proposals: The political economy of the basic income grant in South Africa, Nicoli Nattrass and Jeremy Seekings; The approval of the basic income guarantee in Brazil, Eduardo Matarazzo Suplicy; The basic income guarantee in Europe: the Belgian and Dutch back door strategies, Yannick Vanderborght; The cost of eliminating poverty in Canada: basic income with an income test twist, Derek Hum and Wayne Simpson; Can a negative income tax system for the United Kingdom be both equitable and affordable? Randall Bartlett, James Davies and Michael Hoy; Index.