Version 3.2

Degrowth and basic income

Where are we and what next?

Basic income (BI) is defined as a “periodic cash payment unconditionally delivered to all on an individual basis, without means-test or work requirement” (BIEN, n.d.). Pilot interventions have demonstrated the policy’s value for addressing the social crises of poverty and inequality (Standing, 2017; Lowrey, 2018), unfreedom and insecurity (Fitzpatrick, 1999; Widerquist, 2013), poor conditions of labour (Gilroy et al., 2013; Gilbert et al., 2019), and the lack of recognition given to unpaid, reproductive work (Schulz, 2017; Lombardozzi, 2020).

BI also features widely within the post-growth literature. Parrique (2019) describes it as one of degrowth’s “poster child policies” (p.524) due to its perceived ability to redistribute wealth, facilitate exit from wage labour, achieve wellbeing within planetary boundaries, and promote social collaboration (Kallis et al., 2020).

However, less than 1% of journal articles on BI address the environment (MacNeill and Vibert, 2019) and “only a handful of authors have proposed detailed basic incomes in a degrowth perspective” (Parrique, 2019, p.525). This is reflected among BI pilots which largely align with green growth: focusing on BI’s potential to stimulate wage labour and neglecting its impacts on consumption and ecological footprints. The dominant targeting/randomisation methodologies favoured also prevent the study of collective, social impacts (Langridge, 2021; Langridge et al., 2022).

This paper argues for greater collaboration between post-growth and BI scholars and practitioners both in the production of knowledge on post-growth compatible BIs and in the design of pilot interventions which ask the questions necessary for understanding BI’s role in a post-growth transition.


Day: 2023-08-31
Start time: 12:00
Duration: 00:15
Room: ZV-8-3
Type: Paper Presentation
Theme: Degrowth as a political project?


Concurrent Sessions