Basic income and citizenship

Image: Ali Yılmaz


The debate on the institution of an unconditional basic income is fundamental for the future of both the welfare state and social citizenship.

“As of 2005, the basic citizenship income is instituted, which will constitute the right of all Brazilians residing in the country and foreigners residing in Brazil for at least 5 (five) years, regardless of their socioeconomic status, to receive, annually , a monetary benefit” (Art. 1o, Law 10835, of 08/01/2004).

This article has a triple objective: to discuss the meaning of the law that established the citizen's basic income in Brazil; to link the contemporary debate on basic income to the theory of citizenship, which has played, and still plays, an important role in debates on social modernization; and relating both, basic income and citizenship, to the current process of commodification of social relations.

As far as I know, Brazil was the first country to have a law establishing universal basic income. This was certainly an important event in the history of social citizenship in this country, although this does not mean that the law is actually implemented. And the main difficulty in implementing a citizen's basic income is that it takes place in a global context characterized by a comprehensive process of commodification of social relations.[I]

Since the implementation of basic income would help to reduce the dependence of the poorest sections of the population on market forces, it can be argued that the institution of social citizenship in Brazil faces the contradictory, or at least paradoxical, situation of living with the two opposing trends of commodification and decommodification.[ii] Its outcome therefore depends primarily on the struggle between these two conflicting forces.

I develop my argument in the following three sections. In the first, I discuss the meaning of this law through the debate on citizenship income in Brazil; in the second, I link the problem of basic income with the theory of citizenship; and, in the third, I discuss both basic income and citizenship in relation to the problem of commodification.



At least symbolically, this basic income law is of great importance for social policy (not only) in Brazil. It establishes that as of 2005, every Brazilian citizen or foreigner residing in Brazil for at least five years has the right to a basic income, regardless of their socio-economic status. This income, to be paid monthly in cash, will be in the same amount for each beneficiary. The amount of the basic income, which must be sufficient to cover the minimum costs of food, education and health, will be determined by the State. It will be implemented gradually, starting with the poorest segments of the population. In addition to this limitation of gradual implementation, the basic income law is subject to the restrictions of the fiscal responsibility law.

Despite these limitations, the law represents, at least symbolically, an advance in the development of citizenship in Brazil. This is especially true if we consider, on the one hand, the dimension of poverty in Brazilian society and, on the other, the strong resistance to the idea of ​​a citizenship income unrelated to work. Therefore, this basic income law represents a symbolic victory on both fronts.

Apart from an article published in 1975 in which the economist Antonio Maria da Silveira postulated the implementation of a negative income tax as a way to combat poverty (Silveira, 1975), and another proposal presented by Roberto Mangabeira Unger and Edmar Bacha, in 1978, that basically shifted the focus of Silveira's proposal from the individual to the family (Unger and Bacha, 1978), the first attempt to introduce a citizenship income in Brazil took place in 1991, when Senator Eduardo Matarazzo Suplicy presented his project to the Brazilian Senate minimum income.

Thereafter, Eduardo Suplicy became the main proponent of a citizenship income in Brazil. However, since then, his conception of citizenship income has changed, progressing from the initial idea of ​​a minimum income, still linked to the conception of a negative income tax, to that of a universal basic income. Over a period of more than a decade, his struggle to turn his proposal into federal law became a near obsession. Writing articles for newspapers and academic magazines, giving lectures and taking part in debates with politicians, trade unionists, intellectuals, students and other people from different sectors of Brazilian society, he managed to persuade many people of the relevance of his project.

In the beginning, the project, whose objective was to combat poverty, appeared in the form of a minimum income. It was narrow in scope and aimed at people with very low incomes. In his text “The construction of a civilized political economy”, Eduardo Suplicy presented the main features of his conception of a guaranteed minimum income: “I would like you to think about the concept of a guaranteed minimum income, which will be paid to each person who has no income up to a certain level, say 50.000 cruzeiros. The person would have the right to receive, in the form of negative taxation, a proportion of 50% on the difference between his income and that defined minimum level, so that there would always be an incentive to work. Therefore, an adult earning zero cruzeiro income would be entitled to 50% of 50.000 cruzeiros, or 25.000 cruzeiros. The person who, doing some activity – and here comes the administrative difficulty of knowing – selling hot dogs or doing a cleaning service, earns 10.000 cruzeiros a month, therefore, would receive 50% of the difference between 50 and 10.000. Your income would increase by 50% of 40.000, going from 10 to 30.000 cruzeiros. Thus, all adults whose income did not reach the defined level, regardless of whether they were working or not, would receive that supplement” (Suplicy, 1992: 21).

In its first version, the minimum income bill, presented to the Brazilian Senate by Eduardo Suplicy, was inspired by the idea of ​​a negative income tax, formulated by economist Milton Friedman, of the Chicago School, in his book capitalism and freedom, 1962. In chapter seven of his book, in which he deals with the problem of poverty, Friedman argues that his proposal aims to mitigate poverty, without distorting the functioning of market mechanisms (Friedman, 1984).

Despite their different names, the negative income tax and the minimum income have the same basic structure. Both share the concern to combat poverty and contain a mechanism aimed at encouraging potential beneficiaries to seek employment. Thus, a poverty line is established and it is suggested to give each individual with an income below this line 50% of the difference between the income obtained in the labor market and such poverty line. If, for example, the poverty line is fixed at BRL 100 per month and the person has a monthly income of BRL 40, he would receive BRL 30, that is, 50% of the difference between BRL 40 and BRL 100 .The objective is twofold. In both cases, the idea of ​​giving only 50% instead of the entire difference, that is, R$30 instead of R$60, is understood as a mechanism to prevent lazy people from avoiding the job market.

Although Eduardo Suplicy's minimum income project was aimed at all adults with an income below the poverty line, regardless of whether they were employed or not, this work incentive mechanism appeared explicitly in his proposal. In fact, in Eduardo Suplicy's proposal, this mechanism is even reinforced. If, in the example above, the beneficiary who works and earns some income from the market receives 50% of the difference, those who do not work and have no income receive only 30% of the difference. Thus, even considering that the gross values ​​received by both may be the same amount, the income received by the person who does not work is equivalent to a smaller percentage of the value established for the poverty line.

As an economist and politician, Eduardo Suplicy knew very well that his project would be criticized mainly by his conservative colleagues. He also seemed to be aware of possible counter-arguments from advocates of a reciprocity based on the ideology of work. In this he was not wrong, as the criticism his bill received during the Senate debates clearly shows. By the way, the words of senators José Eduardo Andrade Vieira and Beni Veras are good examples. During the debate on Eduardo Suplicy's project, Vieira stated that everyone agreed that those who work deserve to earn a salary sufficient to cover the costs of food, clothing, education and housing, but he could not see how to give money to those who do not. work, those who were not able to produce or perform an activity because they lacked qualification.

The effects, according to Andrade Vieira, would be disastrous: “I think we all agree that those who work, those who have a profession, those who develop an activity whether in Rio Grande do Sul, whether in Rio Grande do Norte, in Acre or in Espírito Holy, deserve a living wage; deserve an income, the fruit of their work, that allows them not only to feed their families, but to clothe them, educate them, shelter them in decent housing, with running water, with light, with those minimal comforts that the modern world offers its citizens. But to extend a minimum income to those who don't work, who don't produce, who, for reasons of an educational nature, are unable to develop an activity that allows them to earn an adequate income, I think it's reckless, due to the adverse consequences that this project can entail ” (Vieira, in Suplicy, 1992: 85).

Beni Veras' argument has the same tenor. According to Veras, for whom the natural inclination of most people is not work, giving them money without demanding a counterpart would lead to social paralysis: “People are not necessarily good or bad, but their tendency is not work and dynamism. There are people of various natures, those who are motivated to work and those who, receiving insurance of this type, would be encouraged to cross their arms and lose initiative. We would therefore have, very soon, the possibility of a society anesthetized in its initiative, people who would receive unemployment insurance, would completely lose the stimulus to fight for life. This issue should concern us, because it is a truth that can be seen in countries that adopted similar systems and had a decrease in people's initiative to work” (Veras, in Suplicy, 1992: 106).

At another point in the debate, Beni Veras was also concerned about financing the minimum income. The latter, according to Veras, would be financed only by people who work: “(What) generates wealth in society is work because it adds something extra, creates additional value. This additional value can be used by society as a whole to encourage people's initiative and work. As we give people resources without asking them in return, there is a lot of generosity, it sounds very good in our hearts. But what do these people add to the pool of society's wealth that might actually be wealth? Because when we distribute for nothing, we are not adding anything to society, which is who will ultimately pay the entire bill. There is no one else to pay the bill but those who work, those who have initiative, those who have businesses, those who sweat their shirts, those who work the fields” (Veras, in Suplicy, 1992: 115).

But we cannot fail to consider that Eduardo Suplicy himself was not free from the influence of the same work ideology. He was always ready to emphasize his concern to keep in his design a mechanism which would prevent people from choosing idleness over work. This becomes clear in the words quoted below: “An important advantage, which must be observed, is that it is always convenient to work in relation to the situation of not working” (Suplicy, 1992: 30). For this reason, argues Eduardo Suplicy, there is no risk that some individuals will avoid the labor market because of the minimum income; so, according to his design, working would automatically become everyone's preference.

This same concern still persists in his most recent conception of basic income, presented in his 2002 book on the subject: “Basic income always makes the effort of work worthwhile. Once a person can maintain the full value of his basic income, whether he is working or not, he will certainly be better off when he is working than when he is unemployed” (Suplicy, 2002: 94).

After a long debate, the Senate approved a modified version of Eduardo Suplicy's minimum income bill. It is interesting to note that by modifying the original proposal, the Senate introduced a change that partially removed the burden of the mechanism that encouraged people to look for work. The senators' intention was to reduce the total amount of payments. But by reducing the amount of payments to employed beneficiaries from 50% of the difference between the established poverty line and the amount of money earned by them in the labor market to 30% of that difference, they put those who worked and those who did not work in the same same condition. In so doing, they inadvertently weakened the original work incentive mechanism.

The Brazilian Senate approved the modified version of the minimum income bill on December 16, 1991, precisely eight months after Eduardo Suplicy had presented it to the Senate. From there, the project went to the Chamber of Deputies, remaining there for four years. In the meantime, similar bills were presented to the Chamber of Deputies, but none of them was ever approved. Although the discussion of his minimum income project did not advance in the Chamber, Suplicy continued to refine his proposal, seeking to fill in any gaps that were revealed during debates in the Senate and in other sectors of society.

In this regard, it is worth remembering that Eduardo Suplicy submitted two other bills to the Senate both with the aim of paving the way for the implementation of his previous proposal. The first was intended to establish an official poverty line.[iii] Identifying and measuring poverty would enable long-term planning for its eradication; at the same time, it would allow establishing the baseline from which to start implementing the citizenship income. The second project sought to define the sources of funding for citizenship income.[iv] Thus, Suplicy intended to respond to one of the main criticisms of his minimum income project, which referred to the lack of resources to finance it (Suplicy, 2002: 342-30).

In the process of re-elaborating his original proposal, Eduardo Suplicy benefited both from concrete experiences and from academic and political debates on the subject. In this, at least, his struggle succeeded. In 1995, the debate was boosted by the first experiments. Brasília, Campinas and Ribeirão Preto, three important Brazilian cities, have adopted minimum income programs (Fonseca, 2001; Suplicy, 2002).

Although the minimum income programs adopted since 1995 in the three cities, as well as in other locations, present important differences in relation to Suplicy's original proposal, we could hardly imagine such experiments without referring to Suplicy's project. However, while Suplicy's minimum income proposal was aimed at individuals, most minimum income programs implemented in some Brazilian cities are aimed at families with school-age children, and are conditioned, among other things, to the attendance of these children. the school.

The change in focus from the individual to the family and conditioning the benefit to the children's school attendance were inspired by economist José Marcio Camargo. He suggested that the program should start by focusing on school-aged children, rather than the older ones as suggested by Eduardo Suplicy. In disagreement with Eduardo Suplicy's proposal to start implementing the minimum income program for the elderly, Camargo maintained that the best solution to the problem of poverty in Brazil would be a program that complemented the income of all formal workers, as long as it was conditioned their children's school attendance. For him, this new focus could solve the problem of informality, forcing employees to demand formal work from their employers, and would help to escape the poverty trap, increasing the education of future generations (Camargo, 1992).

Ana Fonseca analyzes this shift in focus from the individual to the family in her 2001 book on the family and the minimum income policy (Fonseca, 2001). For her, this change implied a loss of the important dimension of universality, which was part of Eduardo Suplicy's project. It argues that the individual is a citizen and as such has the right to an income. For this reason, income for the individual contributes to expanding citizenship rights. By focusing on families with school-aged children, the programs implemented in many Brazilian cities lost this universal dimension, despite their objective being to break the poverty trap (Fonseca, 2001: 20).

The tendency of Brazilian social policy to focus on the family rather than the individual was reinforced by the Bolsa Família Program, whose objective was to unify the various federal income transfer programs. Although the unification of the various existing programs represents a step forward for social policy, this program is still very restrictive. It conditions the benefit to a set of counterparts, reaches a limited number of beneficiaries (only people in conditions of extreme poverty), and distributes a very small amount of money to beneficiaries.[v] Despite these limitations, Eduardo Suplicy himself considers this program to be a first step in the trajectory of implementing the basic income.

The concrete experiences of a minimum income family program motivated many studies and debates, the results of which can be seen in the considerable existing literature on the subject (Suplicy, 2002: 131). In addition to these experiments and the Brazilian debate on the subject, Suplicy's interaction with Basic Income European Network (BIEN) contributed greatly to its shift from minimum income to basic income. Indeed, the works of Philippe Van Parijs and other members of BIEN were of crucial importance for the entire international debate on the subject. They contributed to transform basic income into a central theme of the contemporary social and political agenda. Eduardo Suplicy's political and intellectual activities are among the main contributions to this debate, but that does not diminish the importance of his connections with BIEN as probably the most important source of influence for his shift from minimum income to basic income.

The main differences between minimum income and basic income can be summarized as follows. The minimum income is only aimed at people in conditions of poverty, who would receive a certain amount of money during a limited period of time[vi]; basic income is aimed at all members of society, who would receive a certain amount of money, sufficient to cover their basic needs for food, education and health.

Before completing this section, I think it is necessary to remember that President Lula sanctioned the law that created the Bolsa Família Program one day after sanctioning the Basic Income law. I believe that behind the adoption of this alternative program was the intention to reduce the influence of Suplicy's ideas. It should not be forgotten that in early 2002, when the Workers' Party (PT) decided that Luis Inácio Lula da Silva would be its candidate for the presidency of Brazil, Eduardo Suplicy also presented his name as an alternative candidate.

At that time, on the eve of the PT's decision confirming the candidate of his choice, Eduardo Suplicy published an article in the press in which he promised, as the future president, to implement the citizenship income as early as 2005. He argued then that “the citizenship income will be important to simultaneously help Brazil fight poverty, raise the level of employment, improve income distribution and ensure a greater degree of freedom and dignity for all people” (Suplicy, 2002a: 3). Unlike Eduardo Suplicy's proposal, Lula's campaign emphasized the pursuit of full employment, in addition to the Zero Hunger program. Although the difference between them seems to be only the emphasis on employment, it is deeper than it appears at first glance.

As shown above, Suplicy's project was also intended to combat unemployment, but it was not tied to the labor paradigm of full employment. For that reason, he is more sensitive to contemporary technological changes and their effects on employment. By proposing an unconditional basic income, Eduardo Suplicy's project also contributes to rethinking the relationship between citizenship and work, calling into question the postulate according to which the citizenship of poor people must inevitably be conditioned to their performance in the labor market.



For the purposes of this article, the best way to analyze the relationship between basic income and citizenship theory is to start with TH Marshall's concept of citizenship, since the social dimension of citizenship directly refers to the material reproduction of society (Marshall , 1965). Although some authors prefer, in this case, the term economic citizenship, I believe that the concept of social citizenship is more appropriate for a sociological theory. On the other hand, choosing TH Marshall's theory is justified by its strong influence on studies of modernization processes, as can be seen in the works of authors such as Talcott Parsons (1967; 1971) and Reinhard Bendix (1996).

TH Marshall's theory of citizenship is formed by the following analytically distinct elements: civil citizenship, political citizenship and social citizenship. According to TH Marshall, each of these dimensions of citizenship corresponds to a set of rights. Civil citizenship refers to the rights necessary for individual freedom; political citizenship refers to the rights necessary for the exercise of political power; and finally, social citizenship includes, in addition to economic security and well-being, the right to share in socially produced wealth, i. i.e., the right to live a dignified life according to civilized standards (Marshall, 1965: 78-9).

According to TH Marshall, each of these three elements of citizenship appeared in a different century. Thus, in analyzing citizenship in British history, he relates civil citizenship to the eighteenth century, political citizenship to the nineteenth century, and social citizenship to the twentieth century. Although TH Marshall does not defend a logical or historical priority in the advent of each of these three elements of citizenship, his analysis, based on the British experience, if generalized can feed evolutionary conceptions of citizenship (Mann, 1987).

His conception of citizenship thus influenced many scholars of societal modernization processes. Parsons, for example, one of the main figures of modernization theory, builds on TH Marshall's analysis, although he intends to go beyond the latter, as he himself writes at the beginning of his article on citizenship for black Americans: “ I would like to begin this discussion with an analysis of the meaning of the concept of citizenship, drawing heavily on the work of TH Marshall, while trying to go beyond it in some respects” (Parsons, 1967: 423).

In his analysis of the evolution of modern European societies, when dealing with the issue of citizenship, he also adopts TH Marshall's evolutionary scheme. He again acknowledges his debt to TH Marshall, writing the following words in a footnote: “our whole discussion of citizenship owes much to the work of TH Marshall Class, Citizenship, and Social Development” (Parsons, 1971: 21). Despite his criticism of evolutionary theories of citizenship, Bendix also bases his analysis of the development of citizenship in European societies since the eighteenth century on TH Marshall's scheme (Bendix, 1996: 111).

TH Marshall's theory was used by José Murilo de Carvalho to study the development of citizenship in Brazil (Carvalho, 2001). By adopting TH Marshall's typology to analyze the Brazilian case, Carvalho concludes that in the advent of citizenship rights in Brazil there is a sequence different from that identified by TH Marshall for Great Britain. For José Murilo de Carvalho, citizenship is a historical phenomenon, which follows different trajectories according to the particular history of each country. Thus, even though, in the Western tradition, different countries have the same objective of achieving full citizenship, the different historical experiences indicate the particularity of the processes in each of them. Furthermore, he adds that real experiences are not linear and sometimes include regressions and deviations not foreseen by Marshall.

Therefore, José Murilo de Carvalho states that “the English course was just one among others. France, Germany, the United States, each country went its own way. Brazil is no exception” (Carvalho, 2001: 11). When comparing the Brazilian case with that of Great Britain, José Murilo de Carvalho identifies two main differences. The first is that in Brazil there has been a greater emphasis on social rights than on other rights. The second difference has to do with the sequence followed by the history of citizenship in Brazil, in which social rights were the first to materialize. According to José Murilo de Carvalho, “as there was logic in the English sequence, an alteration of this logic affects the nature of citizenship. When we talk about an English or North American citizen and a Brazilian citizen, we are not talking about exactly the same thing” (Carvalho, 2001: 12).

Although his analysis is not a defense of linearity, the picture he describes of the history of citizenship rights in Brazil appears with an inverted sequence of the English case. Thus, in the Brazilian case, citizenship began with social rights, continued with political rights and ended with civil rights. For him, “the inversion of the sequence of rights reinforced the supremacy of the State among us” (Carvalho, 2001: 227). This supremacy of the State, which is conceived almost as solely responsible for the implementation of social rights, helped to create a passive conception of citizenship (Carvalho, 2001: 126). Furthermore, he argues that the limited scope of social policy, benefiting only groups of urban workers, reinforced the view of rights as a privilege (Carvalho, 2001: 114).

Wanderley Guilherme dos Santos, another scholar of the emergence of citizenship in Brazil, formulated the concept of “regulated citizenship” to explain the particularities of this country (Santos, 1994). According to Wanderley Guilherme dos Santos, the concept of regulated citizenship, applied in the analysis of the type of citizenship that emerged in Brazil after 1930, finds its substance in the link between citizenship and occupation. In other words, “citizenship is embedded in the profession and the rights of citizens are restricted to the rights of the place they occupy in the production process, as recognized by law” (Santos, 1994: 68). In fact, Vargas's policy was intended to consolidate political control over the workforce.

However, in the context of the 1930s in Brazil, when many politicians considered the social issue to be a matter of the police much more than of politics, linking citizenship to the occupation meant recognizing that entire categories of workers deserved the protection of the law. Compared to the situation prior to 1930, these rights represented an advance in the development of citizenship in Brazil, even if they were implemented by the State. Furthermore, it would be fair to recognize that the top-down implementation of social rights resulted at least in part from the long-standing demands of the workers' movement, whose struggle for social rights anticipated their implementation by the state. A good example, in this regard, is the fight for the eight-hour workday during the first three decades of the twentieth century (Silva, 1996).



The link between citizenship and occupation, or more precisely between citizenship and work, is, however, much more than a Brazilian particularity. The entire architecture of the welfare state (welfare state), including his conception of social citizenship, could not be understood without this link with work. Studies on the systems of welfare state clearly show how social rights were conditioned to performance in the labor market. Although each country has its own specificity, all systems of welfare state they were based on the idea of ​​full employment, that is, on the expansion of the commodification of the workforce. For this reason, the crisis of welfare state it cannot be separated from the unemployment crisis (Gorz, 1983; Offe, 1985).

Probably the most important contradiction of the welfare state resides precisely in the fact that the very notion of social rights consists in the relative decommodification of work, while their maintenance depends on its opposite, that is, the deepening of the commodification of the workforce promoted by full employment. This seems to be what Gustav Esping-Andersen means when he states, in a recent book, that “the concept of decommodification only has relevance for individuals already completely and irreversibly inserted in the wage-earning relationship” (Esping-Andersen, 2000: 35).

In his typology of systems of welfare state, developed in another book, Esping-Andersen classified them according to their degree of decommodification, starting with the Anglo-American model, the weakest, passing through the Franco-German model, considered medium, until arriving at the Nordic model, considered the most strong. The more commodified the model, the more the well-being of poor citizens depends on their performance in the labor market, and vice versa (Esping-Andersen, 1990).

TH Marshall's theory of citizenship has been very important to scholars of systems of welfare state. It was with the welfare state that social rights gained prominence, giving substance to the modern conception of citizenship. The conquest of these rights by social movements, and their guarantee by the State, meant limiting the free action of market forces and protecting society from their destructive effects (Polanyi, 1944).

The logic that drives social rights is, therefore, the fight against the logic of the market. Its leitmotiv is the decommodification of work: not the perverse decommodification caused by unemployment, but the one that supports citizenship rights regardless of whether the individual is employed or not. The citizenship basic income belongs to this right category. Now, in the current circumstances of persistent mass unemployment crisis, inability of the labor market to absorb the new generations of potential employees, in addition to the growing mass of people freed from work by the technological revolution and the so-called productive restructuring, the possibility of a return to full employment seems far from a real possibility (Offe, 1995).

That is why the debate about the institution of an unconditional basic income becomes so important for the future of both the welfare state and social citizenship, and not just in Brazil.

* Joshua Pereira da Silva is a retired professor at Unicamp. Author, among other books, of Critical Sociology and the Crisis of the Left (intermediate).

Originally published in Joshua Pereira da Silva. Why Basic Income?, Sao Paulo, Annablume, 2014.



Bendix, Reinhard (1996), National Construction and Citizenship, Sao Paulo, Edusp.

Camargo, José M. (1992), “Poverty and Minimum Income Guarantee”, in Suplicy (1992), p. 215-216.

Carvalho, José Murilo de (2001), citizenship in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Brazilian Civilization.

Esping-Andersen, Like (1990), The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism, Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press.

Esping-Andersen, Like (2000), Social Foundations of Postindustrial Economies, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Fonseca, Ana Maria M. da (2001), Family and Minimum Income Policy, São Paulo, Cortez Editora.

Friedman, Milton (1984), Capitalism and Freedom, Sao Paulo, Abril Cultural.

Gorz, André (1983), Les Chemins du Paradis, Paris, Galilee.

Mann, Michael (1987), “Ruling Class Strategies and Citizenship”, Sociology, Vol.21, No.3, p. 339-354.

Marshall, TH (1965), “Citizenship and Social Class”, in Marshall, TH, Class, Citizenship, and Social Development, New York, Anchor Books, p. 71-134.

Offe, Claus (1985), Disorganized Capitalism, Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press.

Offe, Claus (1995), “Full Employment: Asking The Wrong Question?”, Dissenter, Winter 1995, pp.77-81.

Parsons, Talcott (1967), “Full Citizenship for Negro Americans?”, in Parsons, T, Sociological Theory and Modern Society, New York, The Free Press, p. 422-465.

Parsons, Talcott (1971), The System of Modern Societies, Englewood Cliff, NJ, Prentice Hall, Inc.

Polanyi, Karl (1944), The Great Transformation, Boston, Beacon Press.

Rifkin, Jeremy (2000), The Age of Access, New York, Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam.

Santos, Wanderley G. dos (1979), Citizenship and Justice, Rio de Janeiro, Editora Campos.

Silva, Josué Pereira da (1996), Three Speeches, One Sentence: time and work in São Paulo – 1906/1932, São Paulo, Editora Annablume/Fapesp.

Silva, Josué Pereira da (1998), “Minimum Income, Work and Citizenship: The Suplicy project under debate”, Economic Studies, FIPE-USP, v.28, no.4, pp.713-725.

Silveira, Antonio M. da (1975), “Income redistribution”, Brazilian Journal of Economics, v.29, no. 2, Rio de Janeiro, p. 3-15.

Suplicy, Eduardo M. (1992), Minimum Income Guarantee Program, Brasilia, Graphic Service of the Federal Senate.

Suplicy, Eduardo M. (2002), Citizenship Income, São Paulo, Cortez Editora/Editora Fundação Perseu Abramo.

Suplicy, Eduardo M. (2002a), “A just and civilized Brazil”, in Folha de S. Paul, 17/03/2002, p.3.

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Brazil: Law No. 10.835, of January 8, 2004: Establishes the citizenship basic income and provides other provisionssystem. (

Brazil: Law No. 10836, of January 9, 2004: Creates the Bolsa Família Program and other measuressystem. (



[I] According to Gustavo Esping-Andersen, de-commodification consists of the effort to reverse the commodification process carried out by capitalism: “The flowering of capitalism came with the weakening of pre-commodified social protection. When the satisfaction of human needs came to imply the purchase of commodities, the problem of purchasing power and income distribution became salient. When, however, labor power also becomes a commodity, people's right to survive outside the market is at risk. This is what constitutes the central conflicting question of social policy. The problem of commodification lies at the heart of Marx's analysis of the development of classes in the process of accumulation: the transformation of independent producers into propertyless wage earners. The commodification of the workforce implied, for Marx, in alienation” (Esping-Andersen, 1990: 35). For another recent look at contemporary changes in capitalism, with an emphasis on deepening this commodification process, see Jeremy Rifkin's book The Age of Access, from which I quote the following words: “The distinguishing feature of modern capitalism is the expropriation and transformation of various facets of life into commercial relations. Land, human labor, production tasks and social activities that previously took place in family units were absorbed by the market and turned into commodities. Furthermore, whereas commerce was concerned with discrete transactions between sellers and buyers, commodification was limited in space and time to either trading or transferring goods or time spent performing services. All remaining time was still free from the market or not subordinated to market considerations. In the emerging immaterial economy, network forces drive all remaining free time into commercial orbit, making every institution and every individual a captive of an all-pervasive 'commerciality'” (Rifkin, 2000: 96-97).

[ii] When talking about decommodification, Esping-Andersen states that “the concept refers to the degree to which individuals or families can maintain a socially acceptable standard of living regardless of participation in the market” (Esping-Andersen, 1990: 37).

[iii] Senate bill no. 2661 of 2000.

[iv] Senate bill no. 82 of 1999.

[v] These values ​​have been corrected several times, but they remain too low.

[vi] See chapter 5 of this book for more details on the Minimum Income Guarantee Program.

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