BASIC INCOME AND JOB GUARANTEES: ALTERNATIVES OR COMPLEMENTS?

Author: 

Professor Michael W. Howard

Any reader of papers online, or any auditor of earlier panels on this topic cannot have failed to notice a perplexing rancor surfacing from time to time - unusual for a group that broadly shares a commitment to equality, individual freedom and opportunity, and recognizing the importance of self-realization through work. In my effort to identify the real issues in the debate and also the source of the antagonism, I have come to two conclusions. First, progress in this debate requires that we get fairly precise about what we mean by income and job guarantees. Second, misunderstanding arises when we are unclear about the circumstances in which we imagine one or another policy applying, or when we shift from an ideal, in which some version of egalitarian justice is thought to be realized, to a situation short of the ideal. Since most authors speak about both the ideal and the most practicable in the shorter term, this confusion is easy to understand. View More