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Alstott, Anne. Good for Women
2001, In Phillipe Van Parijs, Joel Rogers, & Joshua Cohen (eds.), What's Wrong With a Free Lunch? Beacon Press, Boston.
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Added by: Deryn Mair Thomas
Abstract:

A Universal Basic Income (UBI) has much to offer, particularly to women. A UBI could help fill the gaps in U.S. social programs that leave women economically vulnerable. And the tax increase needed to fund the program poses no serious threat to the economy. The libertarian right will surely howl that “high taxes” dramatically reduce work and savings. But economic research challenges that prediction. Raising the right taxes, to fund the right programs, can render freedom and equality compatible with economic growth. Refreshingly, Van Parijs argues the case for the UBI in terms of freedom – a value too seldom invoked in American social welfare policy. For similar reasons, Bruce Ackerman and I have proposed stakeholding – a one-time, unconditional grant to young citizens. Although stakeholding and the UBI differ in important ways, I want to focus on their shared strengths: both proposals could enhance women’s freedom and economic security by breaking the link between social welfare benefits and paid work.

Comment: This text discusses contemporary literature on basic income and argues that UBI and related policies increase economic security and freedom for women. In doing so, it merges contemporary feminist thought with the debates on universal basic income and similar schemes, like participatory income, guaranteed income, stakeholder grants, etc. It discuses the particular economic risks faced by women, as distinct from men, and argues that a basic income mitigates these risks by giving women the agency to decide how they use state-sponsored assistance. The article is also very brief, as it was originally part of a series in the Boston Review, then published as an edited compilation, aimed at stimulating public non-academic engagement in the topic. As such, it might be useful if explored in tandem with some of the other arguments from the series (see Van Parijs, What's Wrong With a Free Lunch?), or as an introductory text to stimulate discussion in a reading group or fundamental-level undergraduate course. Due to its interdisciplinary approach, it would be appropriate for a variety of contexts exploring many contemporary philosophical topic areas in political and social philosophy, including feminist thought, economics, ethics and politics.

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McKay, Ailsa. Promoting Gender Equity Through a Basic Income
2013, In Karl Widerquist (ed.), Basic Income: An Anthology of Contemporary Research. Wiley Blackwell
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Added by: Deryn Mair Thomas
Abstract: Basic Income: An Anthology of Contemporary Research presents a compilation of six decades of Basic Income literature. It includes the most influential empirical research and theoretical arguments on all aspects of the Basic Income proposal.

Comment (from this Blueprint): This text presents several interesting feminist arguments in favour of basic income, while offering some novel criticisms about the way 'work' is typically conceptualised in traditional UBI debates. In particular, McKay points out that most UBI discussion disregards unpaid work, which has a variety of impliciations for gendered labour and class division. Therefore, it can be used, first, to engage students with literature at the intersection of feminist philosophy, philosophy of gender, and philosophy of work; and second, to further discuss philosophical questions concerning how we conceptualise work and what happens when certain forms of work are prioritsed over others.

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Pateman, Carole. Democratizing Citizenship: Some Advantages of a Basic Income
2004, Politics and Society 32 (1):89-105
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Added by: Deryn Mair Thomas
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If the focus of interest is democratization, including women’s freedom, a basic income is preferable to stakeholding. Prevailing theoretical approaches and conceptions of individual freedom, free-riding seen as a problem of men’s employment, and neglect of feminist insights obscure the democratic potential of a basic income. An argument in terms of individual freedom as self-government, a basic income as a democratic right, and the importance of the opportunity not to be employed shows how a basic income can help break both the link between income and employment and the mutual reinforcement of the institutions of marriage, employment, and citizenship.

Comment: This paper explores questions as the intersection of feminism and the basic income literature, offering one of the central cases made in support of basic income by feminists: that a basic income, especially with compared with other forms of stakeholding, has the potential to advance democratization more generally, and women's freedom specifically, by breaking the "long-standing link between income and employment, and end(ing) the mutual reinforcement of the institutions of marriage, employment, and citizenship." The author shows why basic income is preferrable to stakeholding with these goals in mind. The paper would therefore be interesting to discuss in relation to feminist politics or a survey of the basic income literature, especially assigned in tandem with some of the literature treated as UBI canon or core, such as Phillipe Van Parijs' work.

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Robeyns, Ingrid. Will a Basic Income Do Justice to Women?
2001, Analyse & Kritik 23 (1):88-105
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Added by: Deryn Mair Thomas
Abstract:

This article addresses the question whether a basic income will be a just social policy for women. The implementation of a basic income will have different effects for different groups of women, some of them clearly positive, some of them negative. The real issues that concern feminist critics of a basic income are the gender-related constraints on choices and the current gender division of labour, which are arguably both playing at the disadvantage of women. It is argued that those issues are not adequately addressed by a basic income proposal alone, and therefore basic income has to be part of a larger packet of social policy measures if it wants to maximise real freedom for all.

Comment: This paper explores questions as the intersection of feminism and the basic income literature, offering a take on one of the classic feminist critiques of basic income: namely, that the purported conditions of freedom that basic income is supposed to bring about are only really available to members of the population who do not belong to an oppressed or marginalised class. For those that do belong to such groups - in this case, women - the availability of such conditions of freedom will be highly dependent on existing gendered divisions of labour and restrictions on choice. As such, the author argues that proposals for basic income, if they are serious about ensuring real freedom for all, must take this into consideration. The author also challenges existing (at the time of writing) contradictions in the claims being made about the effect of basic income policy on women, as opposed to men. The paper would therefore be interesting to discuss in relation to feminist politics or a survey of the basic income literature, especially assigned in tandem with some of the foundational literature, such as Phillipe Van Parijs' work.

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