A Radical Proposal for a Free Society and a Sane Economy?
It may sound crazy to pay people an income whether or not they are working or looking for work. But the idea of providing an unconditional basic income to every individual, rich or poor, active or inactive, has been advocated by such major thinkers as Thomas Paine, John Stuart Mill, and John Kenneth Galbraith. For a long time, it was hardly noticed and never taken seriously. Today, with the traditional welfare state creaking under pressure, it has become one of the most widely debated social policy proposals in the world. Van Parijs combines philosophy, politics, and economics as he compares the idea of a basic income with rival ideas past and present for guarding against poverty and unemployment. In an age of growing inequality and divided politics, when old answers to enduring social problems no longer inspire confidence, van Parijs presents fresh reasons to hope that we might yet achieve a free society and a sane economy.
Philippe Van Parijs studied philosophy, law, political economy, sociology and linguistics at St Louis University (Brussels) and at the Universities of Louvain, Oxford, Bielefeld and California (Berkeley). He holds doctorates in the social sciences (Louvain, 1977) and in philosophy (Oxford, 1980). He directed the Hoover Chair of economic and social ethics at the University of Louvain (UCL) from 1991 to 2016. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and a member of Belgium's Royal Academy of Sciences, Letters and Fine Arts and of the European Academy of Arts and Sciences. He holds an honorary doctorate from Laval University (Québec). In 2001, he was awarded the Francqui Prize, Belgium's most generous scientific prize, and in 2011 the Arkprijs voor het Vrije Woord , an annual prize meant to honour public personalities who illustrate the freedom to speak out.
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