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CONTENTS OF VOLUME 5, ISSUE 2 (2010)
‘Behavioral Economics and the Basic Income Guarantee’ by Wesley J. Pech
Abstract: This article provides a critical discussion of the potential contributions behavioral economics makes to the idea of a Basic Income Guarantee (BIG). Behavioral economics suggests that the consequences of a basic income may be significantly different from the ones predicted by the Standard Economic Model. Three topics from this literature are analyzed and linked to the BIG idea: Prospect Theory, Motivation Crowding Theory, and Conspicuous Consumption. The article argues that a basic income may be efficiency enhancing under some conditions, but at the same time incentives related to positional concerns may increase wasteful expenditure following its implementation.
‘Working Through the Work Disincentive’ by Chandra Pasma
Abstract: The work disincentive appears to be one of the biggest obstacles to basic income. There are concerns about paying people for doing nothing and fears of people withdrawing from the labor market because they have income security. It is important therefore for basic income advocates to understand the arguments and assumptions underlying the work disincentive concerns in order to successfully counter them. This article considers the primary assumptions, including those about what motivates people to work, what activities count as good, job availability, the distinction between the disabled and those able to work, and whether it is wrong to pay people for doing nothing; this article also provides a critical assessment.
‘Basic Income and Social Value’ by Bill Jordan.
Abstract: This article suggests that the justification of basic income should take account of the evidence of a divergence between growing incomes and stagnating subjective well-being (SWB) in the affluent countries. It argues that this implies taking the debate outside the orthodox model of economic development and the strict methodological individualism adopted by Van Parijs and others. This demands more attention to social relations and an analysis in terms of the production of social value rather than utility and culture rather than contract.
Research Note: ‘Seigniorage as a Source for a Basic Income Guarantee’ by Nicolaus Tideman and Kwok Ping Tsang
Abstract: A basic income guarantee should be financed from a source to which all persons have equal rights. One such source is seigniorage, the profit from printing paper money. This article reports real seigniorage, measured in 2009 dollars, for the U.S. for the past 50 years. It averaged about $175 per year per person over the age of 20. Thus seigniorage would not have been a major source for a basic income guarantee. But three caveats are in order. First, a practice of giving every adult an equal share of money would have meant a lifetime, interest-free loan of about $4,000 per adult. Second, the Federal Reserve’s response to the crisis at the end of 2008 would have meant an additional loan of about $3,400 per adult for the duration of the crisis. Third, a monetary system without fractional reserve banking would probably entail much greater seigniorage.
‘Review of Robert F. Clark, Giving Credit Where Due: A Path to Global Poverty Reduction’ by Edward Laws
‘Review of Loek Groot, Basic Income, Unemployment and Compensatory Justice’ by David J. Marjoribanks