Book Presentation: Welfare for Markets. A Global History of Basic Income

This event was part of KWI’s annual theme „More or Less“ and took place on 18 January 2024. Moderator: Danilo Scholz

The idea of a government paying its citizens to keep them out of poverty – now known as basic income – is hardly new. Often dated as far back as ancient Rome, basic income’s modern conception truly emerged in the late nineteenth century. Yet as one of today’s most controversial proposals, it draws supporters from across the political spectrum. In their book Welfare for Markets. A Global History of Basic Income, Jäger and Zamora trace basic income from its rise in American and British policy debates following periods of economic tumult to its modern relationship with techno-populist figures in Silicon Valley. They chronicle how the idea first arose in the United States and Europe as a market-friendly alternative to the post-war welfare state and how interest in the policy has grown in the wake of the 2008 credit crisis and COVID-19 crash.

ANTON JÄGER is a lecturer at University College, Oxford. With Daniel Zamora, he is the co-author of Welfare for Markets: A Global History of Basic Income (2023). He writes for outlets such as the The Guardian, The New York Times, Jacobin, and New Left Review.

DANIEL ZAMORA is a professor of sociology at the Free University of Brussels. He is the co-author of The Last Man Takes LSD: Foucault and the End of Revolution (Verso, 2021) with Mitchell Dean and Welfare for Markets with Anton Jäger (UCP, 2023).

YouTube Video