Monday 9 July 2012

Let it Bleed...

Probably the best way to express my admiration for "Let It Bleed: Libertarianism and the Workplace", a piece jointly written by Chris Bertram, Corey Robin and Alex Gourevitch is to say that I wish I could write something half as brilliant.

I find the discussion on universal basic income particularly timely for Australia, given the indifference demonstrated by the Gillard government towards social security, and the outright hostility we can expect from a Coalition government:
"Though many libertarians take any voluntary contract, no matter how desperate the circumstances of the worker, as a proxy for consent, most Bleeding Hearts believe that as long as workers have a reasonable alternative to not working-in the form of a universal basic income (UBI)-it cannot be said that their agreement to take a job is coerced. (Though Bleeding Hearts usually defend the UBI as a requirement of justice rather than liberty, they also defend it as a hedge against employer coercion. More recently, John Tomasi has conceded that when economic conditions are such that 'workers effectively have no choice but to keep their current job, no matter how nasty' they will be 'vulnerable to coercive abuses' of their employers-which is merely an amplified version of Hayek's position.)"
If you read the article (and I cannot urge you enough) make sure you read and reflect on Julian Sanchez's "presignation letter to Cato", that set the whole debate in motion, and Corey Robin's initial assessment (both linked to at the beginning of the article).

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