The Basic-Income Debate

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from Independent Institute,

The Independent Review shares ideas about all things political economy, across all disciplinary boundaries. Nowhere is this more apparent than in our forthcoming Spring 2015 issue.

This special issue, which goes to press just before Saint Patrick’s Day, features the new symposium, The Basic-Income Debate. Basic income, a proposal to replace layers of social-welfare bureaucracy with simple cash transfer payments, is an idea that has been around for decades. (Milton Friedman even proposed a variant in his landmark 1962 book, Capitalism and Freedom.) Yet the topic is again under debate thanks to the bold claims of a new crop of political theorists and philosophers. (Interestingly, some even call themselves libertarians.)

Our symposium contributors … raise a host of interesting questions:

– How strong is the economic case for a basic-income guarantee?

– Is a basic-income guarantee a superior but still harmful alternative to the existing array of government subsidies, transfers, and in-kind payments?

– Or does it represent a positive value that should be strongly embraced by those who celebrate free markets, private property, and individual liberty?

The Spring issue also answers questions on other fascinating topics in economic policy, political theory, and intellectual history:

– Why do Anglo-American historians writing about Hitler’s Germany use the term “Nazi” rather than “National Socialist”?

– Can the philosophical framework erected by welfare-state defender John Rawls be used to support the case for a libertarian society?

– Why are the public and economists strongly at odds on the subject of “price gouging”?

– What are the greatest achievements of the late, renowned economist Gordon Tullock?

– Is compassion a vital virtue for establishing and keeping a free society?

In addition, our Spring 2015 issue offers insightful reviews of new books about Edward Snowden and the National Security Agency, classical liberalism and the U.S. Constitution, the political origins of banking crises, the rise of crown government in America, and social order in the American prison system.

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