Jean-Marc Ferry on the basic income
What is the relation to the universal wage proposal, to the socialization inherent in work? This is an important point, since the critics often argue that a basic income would destroy such socialization. While this argument might appeal to the older generation of salaried workers, to the networked generation, it seems to become a moot issue, since we know from experience that we socialize in a different, and just as valid way. But this intuitive understanding needs sociological and philosophical refinement. It is this which is provided through the work of French philosopher Jean-Mark Ferry, see especially the interview listed just below.
"Pour ma part, je considère plutôt l'allocation universelle comme ce qui renforce, non pas cette liberté négative du droit au travail, mais plutôt la liberté positive de choisir son activité et la capacité du demandeur d'emploi de se présenter sur le marché du travail en tant qu'offreur de travail. L'argument est le suivant : si vous disposez d'un revenu de base, vous avez moins le couteau sur la gorge que si vous n'avez rien et, par conséquent, vous êtes déjà plus à même de négocier vos conditions de travail et de rémunération. D'autre part, vous avez la possibilité de définir vous-même des activités indépendantes : vous pouvez former une entreprise, tenter des activités atypiques qui ne sont pas encore reconnues socialement. Nous nous en remettons donc aux potentialités de la créativité sociale qui sont très élevées en Europe occidentale mais où, comme on le sait, l'initiative individuelle est, hélas, bureaucratiquement gênée, fiscalement entravée et structurellement bridée par la limitation des offres d'emploi et la définition, à travers celle des profils de compétence requis, de l'utilité socialement reconnue par les groupes privés et la puissance publique. Si les individus disposaient de ce revenu de base, ils pourraient participer à la définition de l'utilité sociale et prendre des risques parce que la précarité économique serait diminuée. L'imagination productive ne fait pas défaut, sous nos latitudes, pour inventer les activités nouvelles rentables. De même, la création esthétique et l'innovation scientifique pourraient s'en trouver renforcées.
Example of the continued attention to the basic income proposal: case study of Belgium with reference to the work of Prof. Ferry:
"On the occasion of the publication of "L'allocation universelle", an introductory book on basic income by Philippe Van Parijs and Yannick Vanderborght (see NewsFlash 32), the Belgian media seem to be paying renewed attention to the idea, at least in the French-speaking part of the country. On Sunday June 12, 2005, both authors were invited to talk for one hour about basic income in a live broadcast of the public radio RTBF. On June 22, 2005, one of the main Francophone daily newspapers, "La Libre Belgique", published a double-page debate on the topic. Van Parijs and Vanderborght restated some of the arguments presented in their essay, and tried to show their relevance in the Belgian context. Three intellectuals were asked to give their opinion on the feasibility and desirability of the proposal. Claudine Leleux (University of Brussels) argued in favour of basic income and explained why she feels most attracted by a version of the idea defended by Jean-Marc Ferry, a French but Brussels-based philosopher. The two others were much more skeptical. Jean-Marie Harribey (University of Bordeaux IV and member of the Scientific Council of ATTAC) criticized the idea of disconnecting work and income, arguing that the left should rather go for full employment. Paul Palsterman (scientific council of Belgium's main trade-union CSC-ACV) argued that basic income proponents were too skeptical about the remaining possibilities of collective action in the field of welfare. Finally, on July 9, 2005, the picture of the front cover of the popular weekly "Télé Moustique" featured a typical manager in his three-piece suit, lounging on the beach. It ran as a title: "Tomorrow, paid to do nothing?" While in a long piece a journalist presented the basic income idea and the international debate, including a reference to the Alaskan Permanent Fund Dividend, in a short interview unionist Paul Palsterman restated again some of his main objections. "The BI proponents", he said, "might be good science-fiction authors, but they are bad philosophers." (source: bien.org)
Eric Olin Wright on the basic income:
- Redesigning redistribution, at http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/~wright/Redesigning%20Distribution%20v1.pdf
- Basic income as a socialist project at http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/~wright/Basic%20Income%20as%20a%20Socialist%20Project.pdf
Five books from Eric Olin Wright's 'Real Utopias Project' '
Associations and Democracy, by Joshua Cohen and Joel Rogers, with contributions by Paul Q. Hirst, Ellen Immergut, Ira Katznelson, Heinz Klug, Andrew Levine, Jane Mansbridge, Claus Offe,, Philippe Schmitter, Wolfgang Streeck, Andrew Szasz and Iris Young. Edited and introduced by Erik Olin Wright (Volume I, Real Utopias Project Series, London: Verso, 1995)
Equal Shares: making market socialism work, by John Roemer, with contributions by Richard J. Arneson, Fred Block, Harry Brighouse, Michael Burawoy, Joshua Cohen, Nancy Folbre , Andrew Levine, Mieke Meurs, Louis Putterman, Joel Rogers, Debra Satz, Julius Sensat, William H. Simon, Frank Thompson, Thomas E. Weisskopf, Erik Olin Wright. Edited and introduced by Erik Olin Wright (Volume II, Real Utopias Project Series, London: Verso, 1996)
Recasting Egalitarianism: New Rules for Accountability and Equity in Markets, States and Communities, by Sam Bowles and Herbert Gintis with contributions by Daniel M. Hausman, John E. Roemer, Erik Olin Wright, Karl Ove Moene, Michael Wallerstein, Peter Skott David M. Gordon, Harry Brighouse, Elaine McCrate, Andrew Levine, Paula England, Steven N. Durlauf, Ugo Pagano, Michael R. Carter, and Karla Hoff. Edited and Introduced by Erik Olin Wright. (Volune III, Real Utopias Project Series, London: Verso, 1999)
Deepening Democracy: institutional innovations in empowered participatory governance, by Archon Fung and erik Olin Wright, with contributions by Rebecca Neaera Abers, Gianpaolo Baiocchi, Joshua Cohen, Patrick Heller, Bradley C. Karkkainen, Rebecca S. Krantz, Jane Mansbridge, Joel Rogers, Craig W. Thomas, and T.M. Thomas Isaac. (Volume IV of the Real Utopias Project Series, London, Verso, 2003)
Redesigning Distribution: basic income and stakeholder grants as cornerstones of a more egalitarian capitalism, by Bruce Ackerman, Ann Alstott and Philippe van Parijs, with contributions by Barbara Bergmann, Irv Garfinkle, Chien-Chung Huang , Wendy Naidich, Julian LeGrand, Carole Pateman, Guy Standing, Stuart White, and Erik Olin Wright (Volume V of the Real Utopias Project Series, London: Verso, in press 2005)
Justification of the universal wage, short French-language intro by Gilbert Boss, at http://www.gboss.ca/revenu_universel.htm
Basic Income Studies, new journal
1. Journal Announcement
"Basic Income Studies", a new academic journal devoted to basic income.
"Basic Income Studies: An International Journal of Basic Income Research" (BIS) is a new international journal devoted to the critical discussion of and research into universal basic income and related policy proposals. BIS is published twice a year by an international team of scholars, with
support from Red Renta Basica, the Basic Income Earth Network and the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network.The inaugural issue of BIS will appear in 2006 with articles by Joel Handler, Stuart White and Yannick Vanderborght, and a retrospective on Robert van der Veen and Philippe Van Parijs's seminal article on "A Capitalist Road to Communism". The retrospective includes a reprint of
the original article and a set of specially written comments by Gerald Cohen, Erik Olin Wright, Doris Schroeder, Catriona McKinnon, Harry Dahms, Gijs van Donselaar and Andrew Williams.BIS is currently inviting contributions from academic scholars, researchers, policy-makers and welfare advocates on a wide variety of topics pertaining to the universal welfare debate. The editors are
interested in publishing research articles, book reviews, and short, accessible commentaries discussing aspects of basic income or a closely related topic. BIS accepts research from all main academic disciplines, and welcomes research that pushes the debate into previously uncharted
areas. BIS aims to promote the research of young scholars as well as seasoned researchers, and the editors particularly welcome contributions from non-Western countries.
For more information, please visit our website at www.basicincomestudies.org or contact the editors, Jurgen De Wispelaere and Karl Widerquist, at [email protected] Scholars who want to
have their books considered for review or who would like to review a book for BIS should contact Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon at [email protected]
2. Basic Income Links
More info: a good overview of the basic income debate in the U.S. and Canada, focusing on the Alaska experience, at http://www.dissentmagazine.org/menutest/articles/su05/butler.htm
An interview with Philippe Van Parijs, justifying the idea of the basic income, at http://eis.bris.ac.uk/~plcdib/imprints/vanparijsinterview.html
A critique of the basic income proposals, by Jon Elster, at http://www.geocities.com/hmelberg/elster/AR87COVD.HTM