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Marx, Communism, and Basic Income

Kandiyali, Jan (2021) 'Marx, Communism, and Basic Income.', Social Theory and Practice .


Should Marxists support universal basic income (UBI), i.e., a regular cash income paid to all without a means test or work requirement? This paper considers one important argumentthatthey should, namely that UBI would be instrumentally effective in helping to bring about communism. This essay puts that claim under the microscope. It argues that previous answers to this question have paid insufficient attention to a logically prior question: what is Marx’s account of communism? The essay distinguishes two different accounts: a left-libertarian version that associates communism with the freedom to live and work how one wants, and a perfectionist version that associates communism with the overcoming of alienated labour and self-realisation in work. It argues that UBI would make steps towards the left-libertarian account but not the perfectionist account. Ultimately, then, the question “should Marxists support basic income?” is shown to partly depend on which account of communism Marxists want to bring about.

Item Type:Article
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo
(AM) Accepted Manuscript
File format - PDF
Publisher Web site:
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:24 September 2021
Date of first online publication:2021
Date first made open access:No date available

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