Resolved: UBI Meets the Catholic Demand for a Just Wage

One of the great advantages of Catholic social teaching is that it is normally stated in general terms of values, principles and goals, not specific programs. It is the reason that Catholic social teaching doesn’t fit into either political party’s platform and why Catholics of good standing in the Church can exercise prudential judgement and come to different conclusions.

As Catholics we are called to honor the human dignity of each person we encounter and encouraged to approach conversations with civility, clarity, and compassion. In this spirit, Dr. Ward and Dr. Pakaluk debate whether a universal basic income (UBI) aligns with Catholic social teaching’s call for a just wage.

Dr. Ward defends the resolution and Dr. Pakaluk opposes the resolution. IHE Executive Director Joseph Capizzi moderates this Oxford-style debate.

Sources for Affirmative:

Sources for Negative:

Wyscinski, Stepan Cardinal. 1995. All You Who Labor: Work and the Sanctification of Daily Life. Sophia Institute Press.
Kearney and Mogstad (2019) UBI As a Policy Response to Current Challenges
Hoynes and Rothstein (2018) UBI in the US and Advanced Countries
Cass, Oren. June 15, 2016. “Why a Universal Basic Income is a Terrible Idea.” National Review.
John Paul II. 1981. Laborem Exercens [Encyclical letter]. Retrieved from: http://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_14091981_laborem-exercens.html.
Pius XI. 1931. Quadragesimo Anno [Encyclical letter]. Retrieved from: http://www.vatican.va/content/pius-xi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xi_enc_19310515_quadragesimo-anno.html.
Sumner, Scott. 2019. “A UBI will not eliminate poverty.” The Library of Economics and Liberty.

About the Speakers

Joseph Capizzi (Ph.D.) is the Executive Director of the Institute for Human Ecology and an Ordinary Professor of Moral Theology at The Catholic University of America.

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Kate Ward (Ph.D., Boston College, 2016) is a scholar of Christian ethics whose research focuses on economic ethics, virtue ethics, and ethical method.

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Catherine Pakaluk (Ph.D, 2010) joined the faculty at the Busch School in the summer of 2016, and is the founder of the Social Research academic area, where she is an Assistant Professor of Social Research and Economic Thought.

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Posted on October 29, 2020