Basic Income: a way forward?

Keskustelu 12.12.2013 klo 13-15
Pikkuparlamentin Kansalaisinfo, Arkadiankatu 3, Helsinki
Tapahtuma Facebookissa.

Basic income has long been promoted in Finland and across the world as a new economic right and a way to rationalise social security systems. Yet, its implementation has faced obstacles everywhere. What kind of a right should basic income be from the legal perspective? What are the main challenges in implementing a basic income scheme, and how can we overcome them?

Researchers Leticia Morales and Jurgen De Wispelaere from McGill University in Montreal will discuss these issues in the event organised by BIEN Finland – Suomen perustuloverkosto.

Leticia Morales: Basic Income for Keeps: A Constitutional Solution for a Political Problem?

There are two different ways in which a basic income, once instituted, may fail to achieve its goals. On the one hand, a basic income may not be sufficiently “robust” to respond accurately to changing social circumstances. On the other hand, a basic income may not be sufficiently “resilient” to withstand future political pressures for modification or even outright abolishment. In this presentation I examine whether enshrining a right to a basic income in a Bill of Rights, protected by constitutional review, might offer a solution.

Jurgen De Wispelaere: Bootstrapping Basic Income? On the Politics of Policy Design

Basic income is often regarded as a unique policy for reducing poverty, social inequality and social exclusion. But the idea faces important political challenges that are hard to overcome. In this talk I want to examine several aspects in which basic income design itself might facilitate its political adoption. The main lesson is that we need to think carefully about how policy design has direct political effects, as building on those might allow basic income to “bootstrap” itself into place.


Leticia Morales is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Health and Social Policy (IHSP) and the Faculty of Law at McGill University. Her research focuses on the topic of social and economic rights and their constitutional protection, with specific reference to issues of philosophical justification and democratic legitimacy.

Jurgen De Wispelaere is an MHERC Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Health and Social Policy at McGill University, where he also teaches in the Department of Philosophy. He is completing a PhD on the politics of basic income at the University of Tampere. His published work on basic income has appeared in Analyse und Kritik, The Political Quarterly, Social Services Review, Policy and Politics, International Social Security Review, Politics and Political Studies. He is a founding editor of the journal Basic Income Studies and co-editor of The Ethics of Stakeholding (Palgrave, 2003) and Basic Income; An Anthology of Contemporary Research (Wiley, 2013).