ArticlePDF Available

Basic Income and the Gendered Division of Labour

Authors:

Abstract

A basic income has been regarded as a policy that could advance gender justice because of its ability to protect women from some of the consequences of the gendered division of labour. I argue, though, that full justice for women plausibly entails the abolishment of traditional gender roles and that a feminist assessment of basic income should then look at its ability to help us move away from traditional gender roles. I also argue that basic income could meet the demands we should place on our income security policy as we move towards a gender-just society; and I defend basic income against the objection that, given current gender norms, it might lead to a reinforcement of the gendered division of labour.
BASICINCOMESTUDIES
AnInternationalJournalofBasicIncomeResearch
Vol.3,Issue3RESEARCHNOTEDecember2008
Debate:“ShouldFeministsEndorseBasicIncome?
Guesteditor:IngridRobeyns,ErasmusUniversityRotterdam
BasicIncomeandtheGenderedDivision
ofLabour*
JulietaElgarte
UniversidadNacionaldeLaPlata&UniversitéCatholiquedeLouvain
AbstractAbasicincomehasbeenregardedasapolicythatcouldadvancegender
justicebecauseofitsabilitytoprotectwomenfromsomeoftheconsequencesofthe
gendereddivisionoflabour.Iargue,though,thatfulljusticeforwomenplausibly
entailstheabolishmentoftraditionalgenderrolesandthatafeministassessmentof
basicincomeshouldthenlookatitsabilitytohelpusmoveawayfromtraditional
genderroles.Ialsoarguethatbasicincomecouldmeetthedemandsweshouldplace
onourincomesecuritypolicyaswemovetowardsagenderjustsociety;andI
defendbasicincomeagainsttheobjectionthat,givencurrentgendernorms,itmight
leadtoareinforcementofthegendereddivisionoflabour.
Keywordsbasicincome,genderviolence,gendereddivisionoflabour,rolesharing
Feministtheoriescanbeschematicallyunderstoodasembracingtwosetsof
claims:first,asetofnormativeclaims(thatpeopleshouldbetreatedinsuchand

*ThisresearchwassupportedbytheArgentineNationalAgencyforthePromotionofScienceandTechnology
(PICT200601795)andtheNationalUniversityofLaPlata,aspartofacollectiveresearchprojectsupervisedby
M.V.CostaandM.J.Bertomeu.ForveryhelpfulcommentsandsuggestionsIamindebtedtoIngridRobeyns,
JurgenDeWispelaere,andtheBISreviewer.
Copyright ©2009 The Berkeley Electronic Press. All rights reserved.
suchways);and,second,asetofdescriptiveclaims(thatwomenarenotbeingso
treatedinsuchandsuchrespectandbecauseofsuchandsuchcausal
mechanisms).Inansweringthequestionofwhetherfeministsshouldembrace
basicincome,Idrawontheviewthatthegendereddivisionoflabourisacrucial
determinantofmanyseriousinjusticesaffectingwomen,astancethatinvolves
claimsregardingboththetypeofinjusticessufferedbywomenincontemporary
societyandthemechanismscausingthem.
1.ProtectingWomenAgainsttheConsequencesoftheGenderedDivision
ofLabour
The“traditional”gendereddivisionoflabourprescribingaspecializationin
paidproductiveworkformenandunpaidreproductiveworkforwomenhas
beenregardedbyanumberoffeministscholarsastheprimarycauseofwomen’s
socialandeconomicinequality(Okin,1989;Bubeck,1995;Fraser,1996).The
gendereddivisionoflabour,basedonmuchpublicizedgenderidealsand
enforcedbynumeroussocialandlegalnorms,moldsrealpeople’slives.Andit
continuestodoso,evenafterwomen’sextensiveentranceintothelabour
market,sincetheprescriptionstillholdsthatwomenmaychoosetohaveajob
butfamilialresponsibilitiesarestillentirelytheirs,amountingtoasecondshiftjob
(Hochschild,1989).Sowhetherasfulltimehomemakersoras“doubleshifters”,
householdandcareworkarestilloverwhelminglywomen’swork,whichinturn
isnotwithoutconsequenceintermsoftheconditionsunderwhichwomen
participateinthelabourmarket.Womenaremorelikelytoworkparttimeand
towithdrawfromtheworkforcetemporarilytoaccommodatefamily
responsibilities.Thisleadstoalessstableandprofitableworkinglife.
Thatwomeneffectivelybearthemain(orexclusive)responsibilityfor
sociallyusefulyetunpaidandundervaluedhouseholdandcaringworkhas
severaladverseconsequencesforwomen.Themostimmediateandapparent
consequenceisthedeprivationofasufficientandreliableindependentincome,
whichleadstoincreasedriskofbeingdominatedwhilelivingwitha(male)
partnerandtograveriskofpovertyafterlossofthepartner,especiallywhen
childrenareinvolved.
Abasicincomehasbeenregardedasapolicythatcouldadvancegender
justicepreciselybecauseofitsabilitytoprotectwomenfromthedistinct
economicriskstheyfaceduetothegendereddivisionoflabour(Alstott,2001;
Parker,1993).Fullorpartialspecializationinunpaidcareworkputswomenat
seriousfinancialriskinthe(highlylikely)eventofdivorce,fornoorweaklabour
2Basic Income Studies Vol. 3 [2008], No. 3, Article 4
http://www.bepress.com/bis/vol3/iss3/art4
DOI: 10.2202/1932-0183.1136
marketattachmentleadstolowerearningpotential,whilehavingprimary
responsibilityforchildcareafterdivorceresultsingreaterfinancialneedandless
timeforpaidwork.Furthermore,theconsequencesofwomen’smoredisrupted
worklifeextendfarbeyondchildrearingyearsintooldage,sincelowor
intermittentearningsleadtomeagerornopensionandsocialsecurity
entitlements.Bydecouplingbenefitentitlementfrompaidwork,abasicincome
effectivelyprovideslifelongincomesecuritytobothhomemakersandparttime
orintermittentworkers,thusmeetingwomen’sdistinctiveincomesecurity
needs.
Additionally,asVanParijs(2001)pointsout,aliveablebasicincomea
modestbutsufficientandindependentincomewomencancountonwould
substantiallyimprovemostwomen’sfallbackoptionfromanyrelationship.This
enhancedfallbackoptionthroughincreasedeconomicindependencewould
benefitwomenbyincreasingtheirabilitytoexitornotenteranyundesirable
relationships,thusprotectingthemfromdominationanditsdamagingeffects
(Pettit,2007),andbyconsequentlyenhancingtheirvoiceandpowerwithin
relationships.
Thesearestrongprimafaciereasonsforfeministstosupportbasicincome:it
couldprovideincomesecurityforhomemakersanddoubleshifterswhile
endowingallwomenwithanincomeoftheirown,considerablyprotectingthem
fromdominationandenhancingtheirabilitytoshapemorefairrelationships.
However,weneedtoconsidersomeimportanteffectsofthegendereddivision
oflabourthatwerenottakenintoaccountinourpreviousassessment:effectson
women’sstatusandonthelikelihoodofgenderviolence.
2.AbolishingtheGenderedDivisionofLabour
Atleastthreecausalmechanismslinkthegendereddivisionoflabourto
women’slesserpublicstatusrelativetomenand,ultimately,increasethe
likelihoodofviolenceagainstwomen.First,thatwomeninthelabourmarket
typicallyhavetobearasecondshiftathomemakesmanyoptforlessdemanding
deadendjobsevenbeforemarriageortointerruptorreducetheirlabourmarket
participationduringchildrearingyears.Thisleadstowomenbeinglesslikelyto
holdhighlyremuneratedpositionsofprestigeorauthority,whichinturn
reduceswomen’spublicstatusbyassociatingthemwithunpaidand
undervaluedhouseholdandcareworkandwithlowprestige,lowretribution
labourmarketpositions.Second,thatwomenarecollectivelymoreproneto
adjusttheirworkinglifetoaccommodatefamilyneedstriggersstatistical
3Elgarte: Basic Income and the Gendered Division of Labour
discriminationagainstallwomen,makingitlesslikelyforevencareeroriented
womentoholdthemostprestigiouspositions.And,asemployers’hiringand
promotiondecisionsaresupposedtobebasedonmerit,women’slesserabilityto
climbtothetopiseasilyinterpretedassignalinglesscapacityorinadequate
attitude.Third,assuggestedbycrossculturalstudiesandmanytheoriesofchild
socialization,lackofmaleinvolvementinchildrearingcoulddirectlycontribute
toloweringwomen’sstatus,beyondhamperingwomen’sabilitytopursue
sociallyvaluedactivities,sincesonsofdistantfatherstendtodefinethemselves
inoppositiontotheirmothersandarethusmorepronetoexhibittraitsof
hypermasculinitytoasserttheirmasculinitybyfearinganddenigratingwomen
(Coltrane,1988).
Ultimately,women’slowerstatusisboundtohavegravereffectsthanlack
ofrecognition,ascrossculturalstudiesshowthatthelowerthestatusofwomen
inasociety,thehigherthelikelihoodofrapeandviolenceagainstthemis
(Sanday,1981).Giventhatlowerstatusgroupsorindividualsareusualtargetsof
violentattacks,thisisnotsurprising.Butapropensitytowardsviolenceagainst
womenisalsotobeexpectedinmenwiththehypermasculinitytraitsdescribed
above,ascorroboratedbydelinquencyliteratureonrapists(Lisak,1991)
Therelationshiptogenderviolencespeaksstronglyagainstthegendered
divisionoflabourandfortheimportanceofgettingmenmoreinvolvedinthe
domesticsphere(Coltrane,1988;Lisak,1991).Butrolesharingisalsoarguably
theonlywaytoendthemisrecognitionoftraditionallyfemaleworkandafford
womenanequalstatusrelativetomen.Foranumberofotherreasons,including
concernforchildren’swellbeingandthepromotionofcivicvirtue,other
feministscholarshavealsoregardedtheabolishmentofthegendereddivisionof
labourasanecessarysteptowardsajustsociety(Okin,1989;Bubeck,1995;
GornickMeyers,2003).
If,then,fulljusticeforwomenentailsabolishingthegendereddivisionof
labour,thequestionariseswhetherabasicincomecouldnotonlycounterits
negativeeffectsonwomen’sincomesecurityandbargainingpower,butcould
alsosupportthetransitiontowardsasocietywherethegendereddivisionof
labourcouldbeabolishedandfulljusticeforwomenattained.
Aswemovefromoneformofsocialorganizationtoanother(fromasociety
moldedbythegendereddivisionoflabourtoonewhereithaslostitscurrent
ascendancyandisnolongersociallyenforced)weneedanincomesecurity
policythatsupportsthoseatthevanguardwhilealsoprotectingthosewholag
behindandenablingthemtomoveforward.Inmakingrolesharing
economicallyviablewhilekeepingeveryonesafefrompovertyandeconomic
4Basic Income Studies Vol. 3 [2008], No. 3, Article 4
http://www.bepress.com/bis/vol3/iss3/art4
DOI: 10.2202/1932-0183.1136
dependency,abasicincomeschemewouldindeedbeuptothistask:itwould
protecthomemakerswithouttrappingtheminthehousehold,andwould
provideeconomicsecuritytodoubleshifters,whilealsoenablingcouplesto
sharepaidandunpaidworkbyallowingbothofthemtoworklessthanfulltime
ortotemporarilyinterruptlabourmarketparticipationwithoutreducing
householdincomebelowadecentminimum.
3.AssessingaPossibleUnwantedEffect
Takingintoaccountcurrentgendernormsandexpectations,significantnumbers
ofmenmightnotbewillingtoseizethisopportunitytoreduceorinterrupttheir
labourmarketparticipationwhileengaginginextensiveunpaidworkathome.
Introducingabasicincomemightreinforcethegendereddivisionoflabourif
morewomenthanmengettousethisopportunitytoreducetheirlabourmarket
attachment(Robeyns,2000,2001).Giventheconsequencesofthegendered
divisionoflabouronwomen’sstatusandontheincidenceofgenderviolence,
thiscannotjustbewelcomedastheresultofwomen’schoice.Buthowshould
thisaffectourevaluationofabasicincomescheme?
Beinganincomesecuritypolicy,basicincomeshouldbeevaluatedprimarily
intermsofhowwellitsucceedsinprovidingincomesecurityinagivencontext
(and,asarguedabove,itcanbeexpectedtodoquiteagoodjobofthataswe
movetowardsagenderjustsociety).Thisisnottosayitsinfluenceonourability
toattainsociallyvaluableendsotherthanincomesecuritycanthenbe
overlooked.However,theundesiredeffectsseem,inthiscase,moreproperly
imputabletodeficientpolicyinotherfieldsthantoadeficiencyascribableto
basicincome.Allowingwomentowithdrawfromthelabourmarketwithoutfear
ofdestitutionoreconomicdependencyishowbasicincomemightleadtothe
reinforcementofthegendereddivisionoflabour.Butthisisanecessary
consequenceofitsfulfillingitsdutytoprotecthomemakers.Itishardtothink
howapolicythatfulfilledthisdutycouldbyitselfprecludethepossibilityof
reinforcingthegendereddivisionoflabour.Now,giventhattheseadverse
effectsareinpartduetopoliciesinotherfieldsthatarethemselvesdefective,itis
bypromotingchangesintheseotherfieldsthattheyaretobeovercome.Media
regulationsandeducationalandlabourmarketpoliciesallcouldbeusedto
promoterolesharingunderabasicincomescheme,andallwouldarguablyneed
tobereshapedanywayifwearetomovetowardsagenderjustsociety.
5Elgarte: Basic Income and the Gendered Division of Labour
4.PoliciestoMoveForward
Iconcludewithsuggestionsastowhatsortofarrangementsmightarguably
needtobeintroducedtopromoterolesharingandtopreventtheintroductionof
abasicincomeschemefromresultinginareinforcementofthegendereddivision
oflabour.Twotypesofmeasuresseemnecessary:thoseenablingcoupleswilling
tosharethebreadwinnerandhomemakerrolestoactontheirwill,andthose
promotingrolesharingsoastoincreasethenumberofcoupleswillingtoshare
roles.
Enablingmeasuresshouldaimtoredefinethedemandsweasasocietyseton
workersandcaregivers,sothatmeetingcompetingdemandssimultaneously
becomesatruepossibility.Thesemeasuresshouldsecuretheavailabilityofjobs
permittingbothparentsenoughtimetofulfilltheircaringresponsibilitiesat
homepossiblythroughashorterworkweekforallworkersplusarightfor
workerstofurtherreduceworkinghourssoastoattendtocareresponsibilities,
andavarietyofleaves,asendorsedbyGornickandMeyers(2003).Affordable
andeasilyavailablehighqualitycareservicesandadaptableschoolschedules
wouldalsobeneeded(evenifbothparentsarewillingtoworkshorterhours,it
willbedifficultformosttoarrangeworkschedulesinsuchawaythattheycan
dowithoutsomeexternalcare).
Promotingmeasuresshouldaimtochangetraditionalgendernormsandmay
includethefollowing:educatingchildrenandadolescentsdirectlyinschool
classes(preferablytaughtbymaleteachers)discussinghowtocombinework
andfamilyresponsibilitiesforbothgirlsandboys,asadvocatedbyOkin(1989);
fightinggenderstereotypesintextbooks,advertisingandtelevisionshows
directedatchildren(throughprohibitionorthrougheconomicincentivesto
portraymenandwomeninsituationstypicalofrolesharing);andcreating
incentivesforcouplestofollowegalitariangendernorms,whichwouldbegood
initselfandwouldalsohelpestablishrolesharingasnormaland,ultimately,as
normative(BrighouseandWright,2008).
Theseorothermoreefficaciousarrangementsneedtobedesignedandput
intopracticeifwearetomovetowardsasocietywherethegendereddivisionof
labourisabolished,andmenandwomenarenolongerpressedbysocialnorms
andinstitutionstodenyorforfeithalftheirhumanity,andwherewomenno
longerbeartheconsequencesofhavingbeenassignedthelessvaluedhalf.Aswe
movetowardsthisideal,abasicincomecanbetrustedtosupportthoseinthe
vanguard,whilekeepingthoseatthebacksafeandenablingthemtomove
forward.
6Basic Income Studies Vol. 3 [2008], No. 3, Article 4
http://www.bepress.com/bis/vol3/iss3/art4
DOI: 10.2202/1932-0183.1136
References
Alstott,Anne(2001)“GoodforWomen,”inPhilippeVanParijs,JoshuaCohenandJoel
Rogers(eds.),What’sWrongWithaFreeLunch?Boston:BeaconPress.
Brighouse,HarryandEricOlinWright(2008)“StrongGenderEgalitarianism,”Politics&
Society36(3),pp.360–372.
Bubeck,Diemut(1995)Care,GenderandJustice.Oxford:OxfordUniversityPress.
Coltrane,Scott(1988)“FatherchildRelationshipsandtheStatusofWomen:aCross
CulturalStudy,”AmericanJournalofSociology93(5),pp.1060–1095.
Fraser,Nancy(1996)“GenderEquityandtheWelfareState:APostindustrialThought
Experiment,”inSeylaBenhabib(ed.)DemocracyandDifference.Princeton:Princeton
UniversityPress.
Gornick,JanetandMarciaMeyers(2003)FamiliesThatWork:PoliciesforReconciling
ParenthoodandEmployment.NewYork:RussellSageFoundation.
Hochschild,Arlie(1989)TheSecondShift.London:PenguinBooks.
Lisak,David(1991)“SexualAggression,Masculinity,andFathers,”Signs16(2),pp.238–
262.
Okin,SusanMoller(1989)Justice,GenderandtheFamily.NewYork:BasicBooks.
Parker,Hermione(ed.)(1993)Citizen’sIncomeandWomen,BIRGDiscussionPaper2.
Pettit,Philip(2007)“ARepublicanRighttoBasicIncome?”BasicIncomeStudies2(2),pp.
1–8.
Robeyns,Ingrid(2000)“HushMoneyorEmancipationFee?AGenderAnalysisofBasic
Income”inL.GrootandR.vanderVeen,BasicIncomeontheAgenda:PolicyObjectives
andPoliticalChances.Amsterdam:AmsterdamUniversityPress.
Robeyns,Ingrid(2001)“WillaBasicIncomeDoJusticetoWomen?”AnalyseundKritik23
(1),pp.88–105.
Sanday,PeggyReeves(1981)FemalePowerandMaleDominance.OntheOriginsofSexual
Inequality.Cambridge:CambridgeUniversityPress.
VanParijs,Philippe(2001)“RealFreedom,theMarketandtheFamily:ReplytoSeven
Critics,”AnalyseundKritik23(1),pp.106–131.
JulietaMagdalenaElgarte
UniversidadNacionaldeLaPlata
FacultaddeHumanidades
DepartamentodeFilosofía
48e/6y7,1900LaPlata
Argentina
Email:julielgarte@yahoo.com.ar
7Elgarte: Basic Income and the Gendered Division of Labour
... The linkage between BI and addressing gender inequality was first raised by feminists since the British Women's Liberation Movement in the 1970s in the United Kingdom (Yamamori 2014). The traditional gendered division of labor (Elgarte 2008;Baker 2008) raised a gender issue that female engaged in full-time domestic work within a household usually lack autonomy and have low self-esteem, and they have to be materially dependent on their counterparts (Vollenweider 2013) since the domestic work is usually outside of the regular labor market and unpaid (McKay and Vanevery 2000). ...
... Consequently, citizens' ways to contribute to society are expanded and are not limited merely to productive work for economic growth (McKay and Vanevery 2000). Despite further assessment in the empirical cases on how BI would exactly influence the gender equality is required, combining BI with other supplemented measures including, for example, redefining the demands on caregivers or changing gender norms (Elgarte 2008) would be positive to enhance gender equality (Gheaus 2008;Robeyns 2001). ...
Article
Full-text available
A basis of fundamental knowledge of different basic income approaches (BI) is essential to be elaborated for enhancing the prevalent debates on BI as an important solution on social transformation. Aiming to contribute to the current knowledge gaps and future research agendas on BI, this paper elaborates on BI theories and BI empirical cases, linkage, and gaps between these two parts. A total of 152 pieces of literature on BI theories and BI empirical cases were intensively reviewed, which includes BI definitions, positive and negative conceptual impacts of BI argued to bring to human society from social, economic, and policy-and-governance perspectives, as well as the implementation and the outcomes of 15 selected BI empirical cases. Our findings indicate that BI definitions remain imprecise, and the BI empirical cases are implemented in diverse ways. We also identified that many conceptual impacts of BI were not achieved in the reviewed BI empirical cases. We further argue that the policy environment for implementing BI has not been entirely created at present, and a key issue is that the ambiguity between the BI theories and BI empirical cases causes difficulties to generate widely agreed principles guiding the implementation of BI. This paper suggests that future studies on BI should focus more on revising existing BI definitions which need to be simplified, detailed, and unified, generating universal principles guiding the implementation of BI, and developing indicators measuring BI's consequences.
... […] It provides a modest but secure basis on which the more vulnerable can stand, as marriages collapse or administrative discretion is misused' (Van Parijs, 2000, p. 6). This point of view is not isolated among UBI supporters in particular (Alstott, 2001;Sutherland, 2018;Zelleke, 2008), but there are also more cautious and subdued (Baker, 2008;Elgarte, 2008;Robeyns, 2001) or opposing positions (Bergmann, 2008;Husson, 2006). Concerning the age effect on UBI support, arguments formulated by the theorists of basic income consider young people in particular as potential supporters as they are more exposed to a discontinuity in employment as well as older people as they receive low pension benefits (O'Reilley, Moyart, Nazio, & Smith, 2017;Standing, 2017). ...
... The importance of issues related to social policy institutions, especially in the context of challenges faced by ageing European societies and changing labour markets and class and political changes taking place, indicates the importance of the search for optimal ways to combat dysfunctional forms of action. Basic income is perceived as a possible antidote to challenges related to the full realisation of social citizenship (Pateman, 2004;Purdy, 1994;Zelleke, 2005), the need to reform the existing institutions of the welfare state (Bergmann, 2004(Bergmann, , 2008Murray, 2008;Van Parijs, 1992a), new requirements of the labour markets (Baranowski, 2021;Clark & Kavanagh, 1996;Elgarte, 2008) and even the progressive automation of production processes (Arntz, Gregory, & Zierahn, 2017;Dermont & Weisstanner, 2020;Hughes, 2014;Lucarelli & Fumagalli, 2008). ...
Article
Full-text available
In recent years, the issue of unconditional basic income has become both an element of a broad discussion among theoreticians and practitioners responsible for public policy and a basis for the experiments aimed at investigating social and economic consequences of introducing this programme; however, there is a lack of empirical analyses focused on public attitudes towards basic income. Based on the data from the European Social Survey Round 8 (n=41,830), we examined the level of support for introducing basic income and identified its individual-level determinants in 22 European countries. Our analysis focused on the systematic differences (both in the level of support for basic income and the strength of the impact of sociopolitical factors) between particular countries and different European regions, namely Western, Southern, Northern and Central-Eastern states. The results confirm that the support for basic income varies according to (a) the region of Europe as well as (b) the key role of the socioeconomic position of the individual.
... Finally, a UBI can be seen as a means to reconsider the idea of labour in advanced capitalist economies. A basic income would reward activities that cannot be compensated for in the formal market, including voluntary, family, domestic and care work, which are mostly performed by women (Elgarte, 2008;Pateman, 2004). According to some authors, in the current phase of 'Cognitive Capitalism', the production of value happens both inside and outside the workplace, and wages compensate only for a fraction of the value created (Lucarelli and Fumagalli, 2008). ...
Article
Trade unions are often said to be hostile to a universal basic income (UBI). Their judgement may be affected by factors such as their work ethic, perceptions of the unemployed and preferences for labour decommodification. Yet, most studies fail to sketch out the reasons for which unions oppose or support a UBI from a normative standpoint. To understand the impact of ideology on unions’ appreciation for a UBI, I integrate results from 62 questionnaires with 27 in-depth qualitative interviews. This study illustrates that unions’ preferences for a UBI are associated with their theoretical understanding of labour, diverging substantially across welfare regimes. Whereas unions from Bismarckian and Nordic countries are generally opposed to a UBI, organizations from Liberal and Mediterranean countries tend to see UBI as a legitimate policy option. However, in some circumstances they set aside the policy for pragmatic reasons, thus disconnecting their normative orientations from perceptions of its concrete viability.
... Rather, for basic income to be emancipatory, it ought to be complemented by other policies that would strengthen its emancipatory power, e.g. a reduction in working time, a variety of leaves, affordable and high-quality care services and adaptable school schedules and measures aimed at the deconstruction of male and female norms of citizenship (cf. Elgarte, 2008;Robeyns, 2007). ...
Article
Full-text available
This article examines the idea that basic income has transformative power. It does so by scrutinising Erik O. Wright’s theory of transformation from a feminist-Bourdieusian perspective. Rather than assuming a direct link between basic income and actors’ turning away from the capitalist labour market, this is a perspective that emphasises conditions of possibilities for practices beyond paid work and employment. To explore actors’ practices, I analyse how basic income would interact with both the objectified social structures and incorporated dispositions – above all, with actors’ dominant disposition to paid work. I argue that for basic income to transform capitalism, a transformation of the habitus is needed.
... According to some authors, women would have good reasons to back a basic income scheme (Fraser, 1994;Elgarte, 2008;Pateman, 2004). This strand of literature highlights that women are concentrated in unpaid and poorly valued activities, including service, informal and care work. ...
Thesis
Full-text available
In the literature, trade unions are said to be hostile to a universal basic income. However, most studies fail to sketch out the very justifications for which unions decide to oppose, or vice versa support, a UBI. In this study, I try to disentangle unions’ positions towards a universal basic income, looking at the factors that may encourage trade unions’ support for a UBI across countries, industrial relations and welfare regimes. The research employs a mixed-methods approach, integrating results from 62 individual questionnaires with 27 in- depth qualitative interviews. Contrarily to what often stated, the picture of trade unions and basic income is far more complex that it might seem from the surface. I individuate four causal channels of unions’ support for a UBI: high levels of socio-economic insecurity; poor levels of welfare generosity; low degrees of institutional embeddedness; moderate work ethic. Among the others, trade unionists from Liberal and Mediterranean countries are not necessarily opposed to the basic income’s main tenets (universality, conditionality), fixing them as a “North Star” toward which to address their long-term strategies. However, they may be forced to renounce to these goals as a result of political and practical constraints.
Article
Chile has become the first country in the world where an equal number of men and women will draft the new Constitution due a parity law that was passed in March 2020. In addition, this historic opportunity will take place during one of the worst health pandemics in recorded history, COVID-19, which has revealed deep gender inequalities. The new Chilean Constitution, drafted with gender parity, will have a unique opportunity to grant a right to a universal basic income (UBI), which has been targeted to address some of the worst consequences of the pandemic: the increase in poverty, unemployment, and vulnerability of women. This article reviews the theories developed to justify a UBI and the feminist critics who argue that not all UBI is equally advantageous to women. The misconception that a ‘morally neutral’ model is sufficient and women-friendly disregards the way in which it encourages stereotypes that feminists have fought for centuries. We argue for the development of public policies with a gender focus, especially the right to a ‘gendered UBI’. This means a UBI that meets two basic requirements: first, that every citizen or resident be guaranteed the same amount of income from birth; second, that caregivers be provided with management rights to turn the UBI into a compensatory income that can also promote changes in gender roles, encouraging men to become caregivers.
Article
Is a social investment strategy compatible with the provision of an unconditional basic income? Prima facie, these two scenarios look like incongruent policy alternatives. While social investment – an influential policy paradigm at the level of the European Union – aims at promoting public services and maximum labour market participation, basic income is paid in cash and has sometimes been presented as the key component of a post-work future. In this article, we explore this apparent incongruence and show that these two visions for welfare reform are not necessarily incompatible. We argue that they may share a number of substantial points of agreement, and indeed may reinforce one another according to a logic of institutional complementarity. In particular, we claim that a partial basic income (i.e., a modest unconditional income guarantee, whose amount would be insufficient if one lives alone) could enhance or complement the key functions of a social-democratic version of the social investment strategy. By doing so, we conclude that the integration of a basic income into a social investment package could contribute to overcoming criticisms of the social investment agenda. At the same time, it could rescue basic income from the numerous critics who see it as an unrealistic policy proposal.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is predicted to have a deep impact on the future of work and employment. The paper outlines a normative framework to understand and protect human freedom and justice in this transition. The proposed framework is based on four main ideas: going beyond the idea of a Basic Income to compensate the losers in the transition towards AI-driven work, towards a Responsible Innovation approach, in which the development of AI technologies is governed by an inclusive and deliberate societal judgment; going beyond a philosophical conceptualisation of social justice only focused on the distribution of ‘primary goods’, towards one focused on the different goals, values, and virtues of various social practices (Walzer’s ‘spheres of justice’) and the different individual capabilities of persons (Sen’s ‘capabilities’); going beyond a classical understanding of capital, towards one explicitly including mental capacities as a source of value for AI-driven activities. In an effort to promote an interdisciplinary approach, the paper combines political and economic theories of freedom, justice and capital with recent approaches in applied ethics of technology, and starts applying its normative framework to some concrete example of AI-based systems: healthcare robotics, ‘citizen science’, social media and platform economy.
Article
This paper examines Philippe Van Parijs’s basic income proposal from the perspective of care ethics. To this end, the characteristics and policy implications of care ethics are first specified, and an analysis is conducted as to whether the basic income can accommodate itself to the needs identified by care ethics. The paper argues that the basic income does not constitute a sufficient response to the fact of universal human dependency and people’s inevitable care needs, does not treat care as a public value to an adequate degree, and cannot adequately identify and address the structural inequalities of care produced by the current socioeconomic system. The basic income can be a ‘caring’ initiative. A caring basic income should be part of an adequate response to the inevitable care needs caused by universal human dependency. It should play a part in the recognition of the primary and fundamental value of care, help to ensure that the giving and receiving of care should not be discriminatory or disadvantageous, and actively challenge and correct the inequalities of care today. This means that the basic income should be complemented by other policies that are based on care ethics.
Article
This article investigates how a basic income could transform families and gender power relations within them. We draw on Hirschman’s exit, voice and loyalty framework to argue that a basic income can offer a structural foundation for a radical shift towards more equitable family relations. This is because a basic income can support couples through economic uncertainty and reduce women’s structural vulnerability to economic dependency within marriages that strips them of exit and voice. We build our case on novel data from an understudied social experiment from the late 1970s called the Manitoba Basic Income Experiment, or Mincome. Using difference-in-difference regression with individual fixed-effects, we analyze three types of family outcomes: separation, bargaining power and marital conflict. We find that during Mincome unhappy couples became more likely to consider separation, but that separation overall did not increase. We also find that Mincome reduced marital conflict associated with financial stressors and that some measures of wives’ bargaining power increased. Taken together, our results speak in favor of the view that a basic income has the potential to foster more equitable family lives.
Article
Full-text available
This article addresses,the question,whether,a basic income,will be a,just social policy for women.,The implementation,of a basic incomewill have,different effects for different groups of women, some of them clearly positive, some of them negative. The real issues that concern feminist critics of a,basic income,are the gender-related constraints on choices,and,the current gender division of labour, which are arguably both playing at the disadvantage of women. It is argued that those issues are not adequately addressed by a basic income proposal alone, and therefore basic income,has to be,part of a,larger packet,of social,policy measures,if it wants,to maximise,real freedom,for all.
Article
Full-text available
Perhaps the most intractable aspect of gender inequality concerns inequalities within the family around the domestic division of labor, especially over child care and other forms of caregiving. These enduring gender inequalities constitute a significant obstacle to achieving “strong gender egalitarianism”—a structure of social relations in which the division of labor around housework and caregiving within the family and occupational distributions within the public sphere are unaffected by gender. This article explores three kinds of publicly supported parental caregiving leaves that bear on the potential for public policy to transform this private realm of inequality: (1) equality-impeding policies (e.g., unpaid caregiving leaves), (2) equality-enabling policies (e.g., paid caregiving leaves given to families), and (3) equality-promoting policies (e.g., paid caregiving leaves given to individuals rather than families). The authors defend the third of these as necessary, given the importance of cultural constraints on the slow erosion of the gender division of labor over caregiving activities.
Article
The conception of social justice presented and defended in Philippe Van Parijs’ Real Freedom for All entails, among other implications, the justification of an unconditional basic income. It was the subject of seven critical comments that forms issue 22(2) and part of 23(1) of Analyse & Kritik. In this article a comprehensive reply is offered.
Book
Boken �r en antropologs unders�kning av f�rh�llanden mellan kvinnor och m�n med j�mf�relser mellan 150 kulturer med resultaten att synen p� sexualitet, f�rh�llande mellan kvinnor och m�n samt tillg�ng till f�da till stor del samvarierar.