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Reading: Basic Income and Dependency: Improving social relationships in Madhya Pradesh

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Basic Income and Dependency: Improving social relationships in Madhya Pradesh

Author:

Marta Verani

London School of Economics and Political Science, GB
About Marta

Msc Anthropology and Development Management, Class of 2017

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Abstract

The most heated debates over the effectiveness of basic income programs revolve around the question of whether basic income fosters dependency. Critics of social assistance view dependency as an intrinsically negative state to be in, linked to “laziness” and oppression. They argue that basic income programs create dependency between the recipients of the programs and the provided service, and that this would reduce beneficiaries’ incentives to work. This paper contributes to the debate over the effectiveness of basic income programs by specifically analysing their impact on relationships of dependency. Throughout this analysis I will challenge the thesis that basic income fosters dependency by analysing two basic income pilots conducted in Madhya Pradesh, India. This paper finds that the fundamental assumptions underlying the concern that basic income fosters dependency in Madhya Pradesh are flawed. Relations of dependence are already present in the social fabric of rural India, and they are not intrinsically negative but instead represent ways through which people actively improve their position. Therefore, the question of basic income creating dependency is not the primary concern, and a more relevant policy question arises: how does the provision of basic income shape pre-existing relationships of dependency? I will show that basic income can play a transformative role in allowing people to improve their relationships of dependency.

How to Cite: Verani, M., 2018. Basic Income and Dependency: Improving social relationships in Madhya Pradesh. The Public Sphere: Journal of Public Policy, 6(1), pp.59–87.
Published on 01 Jan 2018.
Peer Reviewed

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