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‘Basic income? Basic capital!’ – Origins and issues of a debate
Journal of Political Philosophy (2003)
  • John Cunliffe
  • Guido Erreygers, University of Antwerp
The current concern with ‘stakeholding’ has generated a debate between the advocates of a regular basic income stream, such as Van Parijs, and those in favour of a one-off basic capital grant, such as Ackerman and Alstott. The preference for either the one or the other can be explained to a large extent by different views on rights, responsibility, and paternalism. In the paper we show that some of the arguments used in the present-day debate were anticipated in the mid-nineteenth century by two unduly neglected French-Belgian theorists. These were on the one hand Joseph Charlier, who in 1848 presented what seems to be the earliest case for an unconditional income stream, and on the other François Huet, who in 1853 proposed to give to all young adults an ostensibly unconditional capital endowment. We consider the differences between their proposals, and assess the connections to the present-day debate.
  • basic income,
  • basic capital,
  • stakeholding,
  • François Huet,
  • Joseph Charlier,
  • Philippe Van Parijs,
  • Bruce Ackerman,
  • Anne Alstott
Publication Date
March, 2003
Citation Information
John Cunliffe and Guido Erreygers. "‘Basic income? Basic capital!’ – Origins and issues of a debate" Journal of Political Philosophy Vol. 11 Iss. 1 (2003)
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