How Basic is Basic Income?

In a certain way, it is funny to see how a debate on an essential element of social policies can go on for decades. Then, implode, because of the semantic confusion that was created about the idea that had hitherto been so passionately promoted. The essential element of social policies was “Income Security.” The idea passionately promoted was “Universal Basic Income.”

In 1986, a Belgian philosophy professor, Philippe Van Parijs, created BIEN, the Basic Income European Network, in which ‘European’ was later replaced by ‘Earth’. The idea was simple. The liberal idea of freedom could never become concrete because inequality of resources was too important. To promote more equality, the best idea was considered to be an equal sum of money given to everyone in society, whether rich or poor, working or not working, ie the Universal Basic Income. It was considered to be the condition for real freedom and real equality of opportunity. The payment had to be unconditional, i.e. without any means of testing. The main goal was to promote social justice.

The idea rapidly gained traction, with Eduardo Suplicy in Brasil, the Red Renta Básica in Spain, and many others, all over the world.

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