Basic Income Guarantees and the Right to Work

Rutgers Journal of Law and Urban Policy, vol.2, no.1, Fall 2005

This edition of the Rutgers Journal of Law and Urban Policy is forward-looking in a variety of respects. 1. It is published as a booklet which contains the abstracts of papers given at the 10th Congress of BIEN in 2004 (the Basic Income European Network: now the Basic Income Earth Network) accompanied by a CD which contains the papers themselves; 2. There is an associated website on which the papers can also be found, and which also contains subsequent responses:

The papers constitute an important debate between Basic Income and Guaranteed Employment as approaches to social policy reform. William Mitchell and Martin Watts argue that governments have a responsibility to provide a job for anyone who can’t find one; Guy Standing argues that a Basic Income is a necessary precondition for a right to work, as it would give to people the right to a job of their choosing; José Antonio Noguera argues that a Basic Income would contribute to our status as citizens whereas a job guarantee promotes our status as workers; Axel Marx proposes a lottery game which provides the winners with a Basic Income as a means of choosing a sample to conduct a social experiment; Michael Howard asks questions about the nature of work; Erik Olin Wright describes a Basic Income as a socialist project; John Tomlinson thinks that Australia’s mind-set will need to change before either a job guarantee or a Basic Income would be possible; José Luis Rey Pérez distinguishes between the right to work, the freedom to work, and labour rights; and both Philip Harvey and Pavlina Tcherneva and L. Randall Wray suggest that the job guarantee and Basic Income proposals are complementary.

The papers contribute to an important debate, and the means of publication is a model which others might wish to follow.