Are Basic Capital Versus Basic Income Debates Too Narrow?

Prabhakar, Rajiv (2018). Are Basic Capital Versus Basic Income Debates Too Narrow? Basic Income Studies, 13(1), article no. 20180015.



Basic income and basic capital are two common ideas for redesigning distribution. Basic income provides people with a regular income from government. Basic capital provides people with a lump-sum grant. An important part of scholarly debate concentrates on the merits of basic income versus basic capital. This paper claims that these debates are too narrow. First, current debates overlook the way that a chief inspiration for both ideas, Thomas Paine, wanted basic capital and basic income to be complements not substitutes. Second, it is more instructive to compare basic capital or basic income with a wider set of alternatives than with each other. Widening the debates would benefit the discussion of a basic capital or basic income.

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