The United States’ partial and uneven recovery from the 2008 financial crisis—marked by the ballooning of the low-wage service sector, the gutting of public-sector unions, and persistent racial disparities in wages, employment rates, and wealth—calls for a new economic platform that would unite the employed and the unemployed, strengthen worker power, and point the way to a more democratic economy for the country as a whole. Two such policy proposals have recently been gaining traction on the left: a universal basic income, on the one hand, and a job guarantee on the other.
Here, Dissent convenes a roundtable on these two proposals. Should the left champion jobs for all or advance a basic income as part of a broader anti-work politics? Can we do both? How should we as a society define and value work? And how can activists frame transformative demands that balance the constraints of our political moment with more utopian visions?
Kathi Weeks argues that a universal basic income is the best way, at this juncture, to respond to the inadequacies of the wage system.
Darrick Hamilton explains why a federal job guarantee would go a long way toward addressing racial disparities and building an inclusive U.S. economy.
Alyssa Battistoni makes the case for a universal basic income as part of a new vision of environmental justice.
Tonight in Brooklyn: join Alyssa Battistoni, Darrick Hamilton, Pavlina Tcherneva, and Jesse Myerson for a live version of this roundtable. Click here for details. The event will also be filmed and posted afterwards on the Dissent site for those who cannot attend in person.