Mainstreaming utopia (updated)

by John Quiggin on March 26, 2013

The final post in our seminar on Erik Olin Wright’s Envisioning Real Utopias is by Marc Fleurbaey, with the collaboration of his seminar students Inka Busack, Joaquin Garcia, Jacob Girard, Kathryn Long, Anthony Sibley, Jiemin Wei.

There are many details of the book which could be commented upon and praised or criticized, but this short text will focus on three questions which appear central in the Real Utopias project.

* Why focus on capitalism versus socialism?
* What role for market transactions?
* What is the status of utopian research?

A final version of the response is now available here

One of the examples of real utopia put forward by Wright is the idea of a Universal Basic Income (UBI). In its simplest, and arguably most utopian form, the idea is that every member of the community would receive a payment sufficient to sustain a decent standard of living. Implementing a UBI in this fashion would pose a huge, arguably insuperable, financing challenge in the context of a market economy. The same isn’t obviously true of a closely related idea, a guaranteed minimum income (GMI)
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