A Basic Income Secures Political Freedom

#proposition1 mention

Political Freedom is non-domination. It has historically been gained from holders of significant power to dominate (the monarch, government, the state). This power was curtailed by withdrawing Consent following a critical assessment of its extent and legitimacy.

At the birth of political liberalism, capitalism hadn’t yet made economic actors holders of significant Power to dominate (at least compared to monarchic and state power), so so according to liberalism they were to be protected from domination by the state, not restricted in their own power to dominate.

Today, the holders of significant power are almost exclusively economic actors (measured by how different actors effectively constrain political action, i.e. secure the alignment of implemented policies with their material interests) – to secure political freedom, their power to dominate has to be curtailed.

A Universal Basic Income is an effective way to do this: it affords everyone with the option to say “no” to several forms of economic domination – low wages, long hours, bad working conditions, little say in decisions. (Or at least it makes this option more attainable.)

The fruits of economic domination, which can be traced back to the appropriation of the Commons by the few, need to be redistributed according to generally accepted standards of fairness.This argument goes back to Thomas Paine. See also Standing (2020) and van Parijs & Vanderborght (2017).

Social contract experiments show these to be “security and equality first, market and growth second”.According to research by Bernhard Neumärker.

(This is a second, independent argument for a Basic Income.)

Such a redistribution can effectively be achieved by a significant tax on wealth which provides the material basis for the Basic Income – and it will probably have to be wrangled from the few by withdrawing consent to their domination: strikes, non-payment, civil disobedience.

The (slightly more radical) alternative would be to abolish these structures of domination altogether – i.e. Anarchism.