Economic Rights and a Universal Basic Income


  • Dr Elise Klein


This paper examines the case of a basic income as a way to secure and resecure rights in Australia. The paper argues that the negligence of economic rights has resulted in an increased threat to civil and political rights and highlights a need to secure economic security for all. The article first explores current trends in growing inequality and the persistence of poverty in Australia. Following this, the paper analyses structures within the economic and political systems that are contributing to these trends. The paper then proposes a basic income as part of a way to address structural injustice through presenting basic income as a ‘rightful share’.


A Articles/Books/Reports

Ackermann, Bruce, Anne Alstott and Phillipe Van Parijs, Redesigning Distribution: Basic Income and Stakeholder Grants as Cornerstones for an Egalitarian Capitalism (Verso, 2006)

Altman, Jon, Basic Income in Australia and New Zealand: Perspectives from Neoliberal Frontiers (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016)

Altman, Jon, Culture Crisis: Anthropology and Politics in Aboriginal Australia (UNSW Press, 2010)

Altman, Jon, ‘Modern Slavery in Remote Australia?’ (2017) 150 Arena Magazine 12

Altman, Jon, Public Policy: Progressive Ideas in the Neo-Liberal Ascendancy (Policy Press, 2014)

Atkinson, Anthony B, Inequality: What Can Be Done? (Harvard University Press, 2015)

Australian Council of Social Service, ‘Poverty in Australia’ (Research Report No 194, Australian Council of Social Service, 2012)

Brown, Wendy, Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism's Stealth Revolution (MIT Press, 2015)

Burchell, Graham, Colin Gordon and Peter Miller, The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality (University of Chicago Press, 1991)

Cahill, Damien, The End of Laissez-Faire?: On the Durability of Embedded Neoliberalism (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2014)

Community Affairs References Committee, Australian Senate, Bridging Our Growing Divide: Inequality in Australia, the Extent of Income Inequality in Australia (2014)

Douglas, Bob, ‘Advance Australia Fair? What to Do About Growing Inequality in Australia’ (Research Report, Australia21 and The Australian Institute, May 2014)

Douzinas, Costas, The End of Human Rights: Critical Legal Thought at the Turn of Century (Hart Publishing, 2000)

Dunlop, Tim, Why the Future Is Workless (New South, 2016)

Ferguson, James, Give a Man a Fish: Reflections on the New Politics of Distribution (Duke University Press, 2015)

Foodbank Australia, ‘The Facts, Hunger in Australia’ (2015) Foodbank Australia <>

Foucault, Michel, Ethics: Subjectivity and Truth (Penguin Books, 1994)

Fowkes, Lisa, ‘Impact on Social Security Penalties of Increased Remote Work for the Dole Requirements’ (Working Paper No 112/2016, Australian National University, 2016)

George, Henry, Progress and Poverty (Doubleday, Page & Co, 1920)

Hardt, Michael, and Antonio Negri, Empire (Harvard University Press, 2000)

Hardt, Michael, and Antonio Negri, Multitude (Penguin Books, 2004)

Harvey, David, A Brief History of Neoliberalism (Oxford University Press, 2005)

Harvey, David, The New Imperialism (Oxford University Press, 2003)

Jackson, Tim, Prosperity without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet (Earthscan, 2009)

Jordan, Kirrily, and Jon Altman, Better than Welfare? Work and Livelihood for Indigenous Australians after CDEP (ANU Press, 2016)

Kirkup, Alex, and Tony Evans, ‘The Myth of Western Opposition to Economic, Social and Cultural Rights? A Reply to Whelan and Donnelly’ (2009) 31(1) Human Rights Quarterly 221

Klein, Elise, Developing Minds: Psychology, Neoliberalism and Power (Routledge, 2016)

Klein, Elise, ‘Norms and Women’s Economic Empowerment’ (Background paper to the UN High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment, 2016)

Lawrence, Rebecca, ‘Governing Warlpiri Subjects: Indigenous Employment and Training Programs in the Central Australian Mining Industry’ (2005) 43(1) Geographical Research 40

McKay, Ailsa, ‘Why a Citizens' Basic Income? A Question of Gender Equality or Gender Bias’ (2007) 21(2) Sage Journals, Work, Employment and Society 337

Miller, Chris, and Lionel Orchard, Australian Public Policy: Progressive Ideas in the Neoliberal Ascendancy (Policy Press, 2014)

More, Thomas, and Dominic Baker-Smith, Utopia (Penguin Books London, 2012)

Moreton-Robinson, Aileen, Sovereign Subjects: Indigenous Sovereignty Matters (Allen & Unwin, 2007)

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Divided We Stand: Why Inequality Keeps Rising (OECD Publishing, 2011)

Paine, Thomas, Agrarian Justice (Wideside Press, 2010)

Piketty, Thomas, Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Belknap Press, 2014)

Palley, Thomas, Neoliberalism: A Critical Reader (Pluto Press, 2005)

Russell, Bertrand, Roads to Freedom. Socialism, Anarchism and Syndicalism (Unwin Books, 1918)

Sanyal, Kalyan, Rethinking Capitalist Development: Primitive Accumulation, Governmentality and Post-Colonial Capitalism (Routledge, 2007)

SEWA Bharat, ‘A Little More, How Much It Is ... Piloting Basic Income Transfers in Madhya Pradesh, India’ (Research Report, SEWA Bharat (supported by UNICEF), 2014)

Simmons, Randy, ‘If You Really Want to Help the Poor, Remember Milton Friedman’, (2008) 26(3) PERC <>

Standing, Guy, A Precariat Charter: From Denizens to Citizens (Bloomsbury Academic, 2014)

Standing, Guy, Basic Income: And How We Can Make It Happen (Pelican Books, 2017)

Standing, Guy, The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class (Bloomsbury, 2011)

Weeks, Kathi, The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Post Work Imaginaries (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2011)

Widerquist, Karl, and Grant McCall, Prehistoric Myths in Modern Political Philosophy

(Edinburgh University Press, 2017)

Woetzel, Jonathan et al, ‘How Advancing Women’s Equality Can Add $12 Trillion to Global Growth’ (Research Report, McKinsey Global Institute, September 2015)

B Other

Farland, Kate, ‘Current Basic Income Experiments (and Those So Called): An Overview’, Basic Income Earth Network (online), 23 May 2017 <>

Lennard, Natasha, ‘Noam Chomsky: Trans-Pacific Partnership Is a “Neoliberal Assault”’, Salon (online) 13 January 2014 <>

Rudd, Kevin, ‘Howard’s Brutopia’, The Monthly (online), November 2006 <>

Widerquist, Karl, History of Basic Income (2014) Basic Income Earth Network <>

Workplace Gender Equality Agency, What Is the Gender Pay Gap? (2017) Workplace Gender Equality Agency <>