On the Benefits and Justice of an Unconditional Basic Income

Click here to read Amy Downes, dissertation.

Amy Downes writes:

In this paper, I will assess and argue for the introduction of an UBI, laying the basis for this from the perspective of justice and continuing to outline practical, consequentialist arguments to strengthen my case. I address arguments against the proposal both from a moral and a practical perspective, and find that these are all wanting: the moral arguments contradict the argument I make from justice and I find these to be incorrect; and the practical arguments I find to be either inaccurate or wanting because they are superseded by the stronger, unanswerable argument that an UBI is a right as a matter of justice. Motivated by a deep unease at the current state of inequality and the prejudice felt towards low or non-earners, I will draw on my beliefs about human nature and the lifestyle choices I believe people would make were they given a real choice.

I would like to argue that public institutions, such as the state, ought to be neutral with regards to varying conceptions of the good, and that this means we must accept the right of all not to work if this is in line with their conception of the good. It is my contention that all of the arguments posed against the introduction of an UBI are based upon widely accepted assumptions that we need to reconsider, and that therefore these arguments are flawed.