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By Richard K. Caputo (eds.)

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The sheer size of the program in practice means that few instruments currently in place have the comprehensive reach that a universal BI requires; moreover, the philosophy underlying BI often proves incompatible with the use of instruments closely associated with a “controlling bureaucracy” (Standing 2002; Offe 2005; Handler and Hasenfeld 2006). The impact of all of this, however, implies a “hard choice” between setting up new institutions from scratch or recombining several administrative instruments in novel ways—in both cases, an administrative challenge fraught with complexity and risk—or, alternatively, compromising on the actual performance of a BI in terms of target efficiency or administrative efficiency, more generally (De Wispelaere and Stirton 2011, 2012a).

One might object to this overly pessimistic analysis on the grounds that expressed support from currently marginalized individuals or groups should not be so lightly dismissed. After all, those groups may one day be in a position to genuinely effectuate policy influence, at which point BI support pays off in real terms. However, this argument hinges on the view POLITICAL FEASIBILITY OF BASIC INCOME 23 that political support is sticky, and that political factions who have once expressly supported BI would continue doing so when their power position improves.

Notes * We are grateful to Richard Caputo for the invitation to contribute to this volume and for written comments on an earlier draft. We are also grateful to Lindsay Stirton for permission to use the fruits of a longstanding collaborative effort in the institutional feasibility section of this chapter. José A. Noguera also thanks financial support by the National Plan for R&D and the CONSOLIDER-INGENIO Programme of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (MICINN, Grant Nos. CSO2009–09890, CSD2010–00034-Simulpast).

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