The right to work and the right to develop one's capabilities
Analyse und Kritik
De Gruyter Oldenbourg
101 - 113
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I understand the claim that there is a right to work as the claim that involuntary unemployment is an injustice that requires of justice enforcement institutions to stop it. I argue that in present conditions of high productivity it is more consistent with the liberal tradition to proclaim a right to develop one's capabilities than a right to work. The steps of my argument are: (1) An important though not the only reason for considering unemployment unjust has been what I call the Promethean idea of society. (2) The Promethean idea is implied by the liberal idea of rights. (3) There are two conceptions of the Promethean idea, the centralist and the autonomous one. (4) Only the latter is acceptable. (5) Involuntary unemployment is unjust even if the dole is decently high. (6) The injustice of unemployment can be stopped only by institutions that enable everyone to use their capabilities in realizing the Promethean idea. (7) One such institution is basic income. (8) As employment is not necessary for survival, we should replace the right to work with a right to develop one's capabilities.