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For the Purposes of the Current Debate, I Don’t Think Hayek Supported a “Basic Income Guarantee”

Summary:
This is an old Matt Zwolinski post from 2013, but they have resurrected it on social media (presumably because of its relevance to the ongoing policy debate). (Zwolinski in turn linked to his case for a BIG a few weeks before.) But I think it’s fundamentally wrong. The post is titled, “Why Did Hayek Support a Basic Income?” And yes, there’s this quote: “a certain minimum income for everyone…a sort of floor below which nobody need fall even when he is unable to provide for himself.” But if you look at the book, here’s the context of Hayek’s quote: So you see, Hayek says in several places that he has in mind people who are unable to support themselves getting enough help from the government in order not to starve to death. We already have this in the United

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This is an old Matt Zwolinski post from 2013, but they have resurrected it on social media (presumably because of its relevance to the ongoing policy debate). (Zwolinski in turn linked to his case for a BIG a few weeks before.) But I think it’s fundamentally wrong.

The post is titled, “Why Did Hayek Support a Basic Income?” And yes, there’s this quote: “a certain minimum income for everyone…a sort of floor below which nobody need fall even when he is unable to provide for himself.”

But if you look at the book, here’s the context of Hayek’s quote:

For the Purposes of the Current Debate, I Don’t Think Hayek Supported a “Basic Income Guarantee”

For the Purposes of the Current Debate, I Don’t Think Hayek Supported a “Basic Income Guarantee”

So you see, Hayek says in several places that he has in mind people who are unable to support themselves getting enough help from the government in order not to starve to death.

We already have this in the United States. The people pushing a BIG want to overturn the system that Hayek is supporting above. They want EVERYBODY, including Bill Gates, to get a (gross) check from the government. It is not need-based. That is one of the points in its favor, according to proponents of BIG.

Anyway, Zwolinski linked to a fantastic Jim Manzi piece critiquing both a negative income tax but also a BIG (implicitly).

Robert Murphy
Christian, Austrian economist, and libertarian theorist. Research Prof at Texas Tech and author of *Choice*. Paul Krugman's worst nightmare.

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