Basic Income Studies 2 (2) (2007)

Philip Pettit
Australian National University
The basic income proposal provides everyone in a society, as an unconditional right, with access to a certain level of income. Introducing such a right is bound to raise questions of institutional feasibility. Would it lead too many people to opt out of the workforce, for example? And even if it did not, could a constitution that allowed some members of the society to do this – at whatever relative cost – prove acceptable in a society of mutually reciprocal, equally positioned members? I assume in this short essay, however, that none of these problems is insurmountable. I concentrate on the question of how far republicanism makes room for justifying something like a right to basic income, assuming that there are no problems of this kind with introducing and establishing such a right. Any satisfactory argument for a basic income should satisfy two desiderata. First is that of adequacy: the argument should establish a right to an intuitively..
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