Simon Birnbaum on "Exit Strategy or Exit Trap? Basic Income and the ’Power to Say No’ in the Age of Precarious Employment"

Abstract: An increasingly influential claim is that exit-based empowerment through an unconditional basic income offers the cornerstone of an effective general strategy for empowering precarious workers in contemporary labor markets. However, it is plausible to assume that supporting the ‘power to say no’ — to avoid or leave unattractive jobs — will empower precarious workers only to the extent that it offers the basis of a credible exit threat. In this article, we argue that a basic income-induced exit strategy amounts to a hollow threat. In light of a realistic understanding of how labor markets operate and how the opportunities of disadvantaged workers are presently structured, we show that the basic income-centered exit option can easily become an exit trap rather than an empowered fallback position.

Feel free to bring lunch. Coffee will be provided.

Simon Birnbaum (Photo: IF)

Simon Birnbaum is associate Professor in Political Science and Senior Lecturer at Södertörn University. Most of his work focuses on theories of social justice, republican citizenship, and the future of the universal welfare state. One part of this research agenda concerns the rights and duties of social citizenship in a just economy and, in particular, the evaluation of proposals for a universal basic income. Simon has addressed these issues in several publications, including the monograph Basic Income Reconsidered (2012).

This event is hosted by the PPE Network at Stockholm University