Getting Paid and Paying Attention
Basic Income, Theology, and Economics in a Time of Pandemic
Keywords:economy, theology, Canadian Anglican and Lutheran bishops, basic income, COVID-19, neoliberalism
This essay explores some of the theological and economic presuppositions at work in the advocacy for Universal or Guaranteed Basic Income arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. This is not to undermine the movement toward basic income, but to use this development – including the churches’ involvement therein – as a starting point to ask certain theological questions about the way in which this intervention has been configured in neoliberal capitalism. We argue that this intervention can serve as an individualized remedy to a growing, and ubiquitous, social and economic need as the gap between rich and poor expands. This is a logic and strategy that is commonplace in neoliberal capitalism as it denies public goods and government responsibility in favour of privatization and individual consumptive “freedom.” This essay examines the ways in which neoliberalism offers its own theological account of individual freedom, which is itself a secularized form of Christian anthropology.
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