Miranda Fleischer and Daniel Hemel have written a terrific article, The Architecture of a Basic Income, about a universal basic income, or UBI. They offer concrete policy advice grounded in philosophical priors. They successfully separate questions about fundamental policy design from questions about political packaging. Their paper should become a go-to resource for the increasing swell of interest in UBI policy.
Fleischer and Hemel give the following definition of UBI: “[A] program that ensures that all members of a polity have access to at least a minimum sum of money.” (P. 6.) They provide three philosophical perspectives that support a UBI: welfarism, founded on the premise of declining marginal utility of income; resource egalitarianism, or the idea that ex ante redistribution should support each individual’s ability to develop; and libertarianism, based on the Lockean proviso that individuals’ acquisition of property rights should leave “enough, and as good,” for others.
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