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Preprints, Working Papers, ... (Working Paper) Year : 2024

Should parasites own a share of paradise? Basic income vs reciprocity in social assistance

Abstract

Should society demand reciprocity in assistance? This article replies to Van Parijs' response to the reciprocity objection against basic income in terms of common ownership of external resources. The idea that common ownership of land should give a right to an unconditional income has an old tradition, linked to the utopian literature. However, the search for an ingenious solution that combines different logics of income distribution, notably contribution and equality, omits the qualitative question of reciprocity in assistance. According to the reciprocity objection, individuals who willingly enjoy a share of the social product, through a guaranteed minimum income or a basic income, must contribute to the community in return. This principle is widely shared amongst citizens across countries and cultures, and thus, to be realistic, ideal institutions should incorporate this social demand. From a Rawlsian perspective, we show that the principle of ownership of external resources does not answer this objection satisfactorily in most realistic contexts. We conclude that, in theory, common ownership of external resources should logically give a right to usus, not fructus. In practice, if one takes seriously the goal of reducing poverty, minimum income schemes should presume reciprocity with ex-ante unconditionality, and sanctions would only occur when the breach of reciprocity is manifest. The aim should be reciprocans in paradise.
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hal-04576483 , version 1 (15-05-2024)

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  • HAL Id : hal-04576483 , version 1

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Guillaume Allègre. Should parasites own a share of paradise? Basic income vs reciprocity in social assistance. 2024. ⟨hal-04576483⟩
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