by Francine Mestrum, for Social Europe, April 14, 2016
Most advocates of basic income only answer the arguments of the right – mainly concerning the willingness to work – and never imagine there can be valid arguments for the left to resist their proposals.
In that sense we have to be grateful to Philippe van Parijs that he addresses social democracy specifically in his defence of basic income. However, his answers are not very satisfactory.
Let me start with the easy point on which we fully agree: social assistance needs fundamental changes. First of all, because poverty should not exist in our wealthy societies and because the current means-testing and control mechanisms are humiliating and do not contribute to the empowerment of poor people. In spite of all academic and economic blah on the ‘multidimensionality’ of poverty, we should never forget that poor people need, in the very first…
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