Income for All: Two Visions for a New Economy

Income for All: Two Visions for a New Economy

In a special roundtable, Kathi Weeks, Darrick Hamilton, and Alyssa Battistoni examine the contending proposals for a universal basic income and a federal job guarantee.

Works Progress Administration poster by Harry Herzog, 1936, via Library of Congress. (Click for large version.)

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.

This roundtable appears in Dissent as part of New Economy Week: From Austerity to Prosperity, a week of online and in-person events being convened by the New Economy Coalition from November 9-15.