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Unconditional Freedom

Unconditional Freedom

Universal Basic Income and Social Power

by David Casassas

Translated by Julie Wark

How Universal Basic Income could help liberate the working classes

'A carefully argued case for basic income as central to a democratic transformation of society' Carole Pateman, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, UCLA

'This path-breaking work throws new light on how we understand work, freedom, and emancipation in today's highly precariatised and insecure world ... A must-read' Sarath Davala, Chair, Basic Income Earth Network

As the rich get richer and take more of our wealth, our democratic freedoms are also in danger. The elite are gaining large profits without contributing back to society, hollowing out our public services and institutions and preventing the vast majority of us from living our lives to the fullest.

In Unconditional Freedom, David Casassas argues that for us to live freely, we need unconditional resources such as Universal Basic Income. In a sharp and lucid analysis, he shows that UBI would not only liberate us from the nightmare of social exclusion and precarious employment, it would also increase our bargaining power as individuals and collectives, opening doors to democratise our lives.

David Casassas is Associate Professor at the University of Barcelona, where he teaches social and political theory. He was the Secretary of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) and he is now a member of its International Advisory Board. He has widely published on republicanism, socialism and basic income and is the author of the highly praised Spanish book The City in Flames: The validity of Adam Smith’s commercial republicanism.

Julie Wark is a translator and human rights activist. She is correspondent for Europe for CounterPunch and author of The Human Rights Manifesto and Against Charity (with Daniel Raventós).

'A carefully argued case for basic income as central to a democratic transformation of society. Basic income must be seen not just as an anti-poverty policy but as a means for achieving both individual socio-economic independence and collective self-government. It can become the fulcrum around which lack of freedom within employment, domestic life and throughout social life more generally can be confronted. [It] can thus be seen as vital for solving a political problem, which also demands the appropriate universalist policies and structure of rights to uphold unconditional freedom for everyone.'

- Carole Pateman, political theorist, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Political Science UCLA

'An ethical defence of basic income constructed on the value of republican freedom, an important proposal in an era of rentier capitalism that allows plutocrats to pocket more and more wealth. We need a new system of distribution with basic income acting as an anchor.'

- Guy Standing, author of 'The Corruption of Capitalism' and 'The Precariat'

'David's path-breaking work throws new light on how we understand work, freedom, and emancipation in today's highly precariatised and insecure world. He is provocative and equally tender in his treatment of human condition in our particular moment of capitalist evolution, painstakingly sketching what true emancipation looks and feels like, and what role a basic income could play in the process. A must-read for students and teachers, policymakers and activists who are keen to make this world a better place for all of us.'

- Sarath Davala, Sociologist, Chair, Basic Income Earth Network

''This is a very important and timely book. The focus on 'social power' adds a new and much needed societal dimension to research and debate about basic income in an age of economic and political upheaval. This excellent book … is a must-read for anyone wanting to gain a broader perspective on basic income reform.'

- Louise Haagh, author of 'The Case for Basic Income'

'Casassas firmly retraces the Republican case for basic income to its traditional Left-wing origins of combatting structural domination and unequal social power. A timely anti-dote to those propagating the myth of basic income as a trojan horse of the Right!'

- Jurgen De Wispelaere, Visiting Professor, Götz Werner Chair of Economic Policy & Constitutional Theory, University of Freiburg

'A useful, militant book, useful because it clearly, rigorously, and skilfully sets out the basic principles of the universal basic income, and militant because it doesn’t hide its position, which I’d describe as radical. In this, [Casassas] follows the advice of our mutual friend and teachermentor, Antoni Domènech, for whom, "If you don’t know how to be sufficiently radical, you’ll always end up in the folly of hyperrealism."'

- Daniel Raventós, author of 'Basic Income: The Material Conditions of Freedom'

Introduction: Cap and Life

Part One: Cartographies Of Social (Dis)Order: Why Something Like a Basic Income?
1. Psychosociology and Politics of Elitist Verticalism
2. The Fallacy of Autogenous Social Orders
3. The Liberal-Organicist Synthesis
4. Resisting Tutelage: Fraternity for the Civilising of a Conflictive World

Part Two: Holding the Gaze: Republicanism and Democracy
5. Socioeconomic Independence and Worlds in Common
6. Bargaining Power: Exit Options for Entry Doors and the Emancipatory Potential of Basic Income
7. Universalisation of Citizenship and Universalisation of Property
8. Unconditional Freedom: Basic Income as Predistribution

Part Three: Flexible, Multi-Active Lives: The Dimensions of Social Power
9. Basic Income and Democratisation of Work
10. Why Do We Want Bargaining Power?
11. Our Flexibility Is Our Freedom

Part Four: The Dream Is Over: Post-Neoliberalism (or Why a Basic Income Now And How)
12. “Wanting Everything Back”: Basic Income in Contemporary Social Movements
13. Societies of the Market or Societies with Markets?
14. Grappling with Customs in Common: A People’s Political Economy?
15. Leaving the Proletariat and Becoming Free Workers

Epilogue: Unconditional Freedom at the Frontiers of Capitalism



Published by Pluto Press in Jan 2024
Paperback ISBN: 9780745348636
eBook ISBN: 9780745348643

140mm x 216mm