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Hayek, Freedom, and the Universal Basic Income

Summary:
Friedrich Hayek was a champion of free markets, limited government, and “a certain minimum income for everyone … a sort of floor below which nobody need fall even when he is unable to provide for himself.” That’s not quite the same thing as a Universal Basic Income – Hayek thought that benefits should be restricted to those who were genuinely unable to work – but it’s pretty close. In a new essay for the Niskanen Center, I explain how Hayek’s republican conception of freedom makes sense of what might otherwise appear to be an inconsistent mess of policy positions. And I explain why even though Hayek himself stopped short of endorsing a full UBI, Hayekians shouldn’t. Those of you who are interested in digging deeper into the arguments can read the full paper on which this

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Friedrich Hayek was a champion of free markets, limited government, and “a certain minimum income for everyone … a sort of floor below which nobody need fall even when he is unable to provide for himself.” That’s not quite the same thing as a Universal Basic Income – Hayek thought that benefits should be restricted to those who were genuinely unable to work – but it’s pretty close.

In a new essay for the Niskanen Center, I explain how Hayek’s republican conception of freedom makes sense of what might otherwise appear to be an inconsistent mess of policy positions. And I explain why even though Hayek himself stopped short of endorsing a full UBI, Hayekians shouldn’t.

Those of you who are interested in digging deeper into the arguments can read the full paper on which this essay was based, published earlier this year in The Future of Work, Technology, and Basic Income, edited by Michael Cholbi and Michael Weber.

Matt Zwolinski
Hi. I’m an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of San Diego, a co-director of USD’s Institute for Law and Philosophy, and the founder of and frequent contributor to the Bleeding Heart Libertarians blog. My research interests are generally in the intersection of ethics, law, and economics, with two specific areas of focus.

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