Why a Uniform Basic Income Offends Justice

  • Julia Maskivker Rollins College
Keywords: Justice, Basic Income, Equality

Abstract

This article explains why the traditional defense of the Basic Income policy is flawed in its assumptions about allocative uniformity. The paper argues that treating everybody identically by way of a uniform grant is ultimately in tension with the  egalitarian rationale behind the Basic Income. Phillipe Van Parijs, the champion defender of the policy proposal, has fervently argued that unconditional receipt of a universal grant will render society more just by way of the egalitarian distribution of  “real freedom” that the policy would elicit. Although Van Parijs is right in supposing that Basic Income will enhance real freedom, his theoretical apparatus is not prepared to address questions of differences in the level of opportunity already enjoyed by the beneficiaries of the policy. This failure poses a problem for normative reasoning, namely, that morally relevant differences among individuals are ignored. This paper concentrates on the implications of this blindness and provides an equality metric that is better equipped to recognize disparity and its moral implications. 

Published
2018-10-24