Basic Income and the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

  • José Luis Rey Pérez Pontifical Comillas University
Keywords: Basic income, rights of persons with disabilities, brute luck, universal design, reasonable accommodation


The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities presents a social approach to disabilities. In accordance with this conception, the origin of the discrimination suffered by persons with disabilities is mainly social because we have designed our society without universal access for everybody. There is a normality criterion, based on physical capabilities, intelligence, race and gender that excludes many people from that canon. The different contemporary liberal theories of justice have discussed disabilities thinking about how the State could compensate brute luck. In this context, does universal basic income play some role? Van Parijs in Real Freedom for All defends a unanimous criterion to compensate for brute luck. That compensation would be made before distributing an equal basic income among everybody. In this paper, UBI will be studied in the context of the debate about rights of persons with disabilities. Firstly, the argument given by Van Parijs will be discussed because the unanimous requirement does not fit with a social understanding of disabilities. Secondly, if we consider a right to UBI, it is necessary to study which role this right can play in the life of people with disabilities and if we can say that this right has a universal design. In this point, it will be studied whether UBI can establish some type of indirect discrimination against people with disabilities and if so, which type of reasonable accommodation would be necessary to eliminate that discrimination.


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How to Cite
Rey Pérez, J. L. (2019). Basic Income and the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Age of Human Rights Journal, (12), 1-12.