Basic Income and Stakeholder Grants as Cornerstones for an Egalitarian Capitalism

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* Book: Redesigning Distribution: Basic Income and Stakeholder Grants as Cornerstones for an Egalitarian Capitalism. By Bruce Ackerman, Anne Alstott, and Philippe Van Parijs. Verso, 2006.



"Two proposals that would make capitalism much more egalitarian. Volume V in the acclaimed Real Utopias Project series, edited by Erik Olin Wright.

Are there ways that contemporary capitalism can be rendered a dramatically more egalitarian economic system without destroying its productivity and capacity for growth?

This book explores two proposals, unconditional basic income and stakeholder grants, that attempt just that. In a system of basic income, as elaborated by Philippe van Parijs, all citizens are given a monthly stipend sufficient to provide them with a no-frills but adequate standard of living. This monthly income is universal rather than means-tested, and it is unconditional — receiving the basic income does not depend upon performing any labor services or satisfying other conditions. It affirms the idea that as a matter of basic rights, no one should live in poverty in an affluent society. In a system of stakeholder grants, as discussed by Bruce Ackerman and Anne Alstott, all citizens upon reaching the age of early adulthood receive a substantial one-time lump-sum grant sufficiently large so that all young adults would be significant wealth holders. Ackerman and Alstott propose that this grant be in the vicinity of $80,000 and be financed by an annual wealth tax of roughly 2 percent. A system of stakeholder grants, they argue, “expresses a fundamental responsibility: every American has an obligation to contribute to a fair starting point for all.”

With contributions by Barbara Bergmann, Irwin Garfinkel, Chien-Chung Huang, Julian Le Grand, Wendy Naidich, Carole Pateman, Guy Standing, and Stuart White."