Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Democracy and the Right to Income

Pierre-Étienne Vandamme


Two widely endorsed moral principles – sufficiency and reciprocity – lie at the core of existing systems of social protection. The tension between these two principles accounts for most political conflicts around the appropriate form of social protection and for the contemporary normative crisis of the welfare state. International human rights law is also ambiguous on this issue. As a result, the human right to a decent standard of living – maybe the most fundamental of all rights – is widely abused. This paper considers sever-al ways of improving social protection in order to protect this fundamental right. It argues for the recognition of a right to a subsistence income, its unconditionality, its constitution-alization, and reviews several objections from a variety of perspectives.

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