Basic Income: The Left Libertarian Case for a Tax on Attention

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Adam Binks


Taking a left libertarian account of distributive justice, Steiner argues for a basic income funded by a tax on land. In this essay, I argue along similar lines for a basic income funded by a tax on the involuntary drawing of attention. I first argue that the involuntary drawing of a person’s attention denies them their liberty to direct their attention. I then show that attention is a production factor in some modern work, taking the paradigm case of advertising. With these premises, I conclude that when attention is a production factor, part of the product is owed to those whose attention was drawn --- and extend this to argue for a universal basic income, funded by work which takes involuntary attention as a production factor, and is situated in public spaces.

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