For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Reconsidering the reciprocity objection to unconditional basic income"

by Lister, Andrew (2020)


This article reconsiders the reciprocity objection to unconditional basic income based on the idea that reciprocity is not only a duty but a limiting condition on other duties. If the objection were that unconditionality invites people to neglect contributory obligations arising from a duty of reciprocity, people could ask to opt out of eligibility for the benefit so as to avoid liability to contribution. While market failure provides a reason for mandatory participation in social insurance, it will not justify the generous (if conditional) income support egalitarians favour. To sustain the objection, we need to think of reciprocity a limit on duties of assistance and fair-sharing. In this form, the objection resists the inherited assets response, which holds that we can?t have a duty reciprocate benefits we receive from nature or from previous generations.


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Duty to Work

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