Should surfers be ostracized? Basic income, liberal neutrality, and the work ethos
Neutralists have argued that there is something illiberal about linking access to gift-like resources to work requirements. The central liberal motivation for basic income is to provide greater freedom to choose between different ways of life, including options attaching great importance to non-market activities and disposable time. As argued by Philippe Van Parijs, even those spending their days surfing should be fed. This article examines Van Parijs' dual commitment to a 'real libertarian' justification of basic income and the public enforcement of a strong work ethos, which serves to boost the volume of work at a given rate of taxation. It is argued (contra Van Parijs) that this alliance faces the neutrality objection: the work ethos will largely offset the liberal gains of unconditionality by radically restricting the set of permissible options available. A relaxed, non-obligatory ethos might avoid this implication. This view, however, is vulnerable to the structural exploitation objection: feasibility is achieved only because some choose to do necessary tasks to which most people have the same aversion. In light of these objections, the article examines whether there is a morally untainted feasibility path consistent with liberal objectives.
Volume (Year): 10 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
|Contact details of provider:|
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sae:pophec:v:10:y:2011:i:4:p:396-419. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (SAGE Publications)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.