Economic liberalism is authoritarian, because it forces to economic “independency”

“Authoritarian Personality” is the label of an attitude of people 1) who are willing to sacrifice their own individual interests in exchange for something that is perceived as “greater” and abandon many possibilities of a free life and 2) who demand the same sacrifice of the others. This includes frequently resentment to people who take too many liberties, suspiciousness against people who dance out of the line. Research on Authoritarian Personality was originally intended to contribute to an explanation of German National Socialism. Ironically some decisive aspects of the theory of the Authoritarian Personality seem also to be true in a society considering itself as liberal. Economic liberalism claims a society, in which all individuals could – and should – stand economically on their own feet. Living on social welfare benefits is defamed as “dependency”. Claiming to teach self-responsibility and self-help, the welfare state presses those who depend on social welfare benefits into the race to the bottom of precarious employment. The demand that everybody should live on self-earned money and nobody should depend on welfare benefits can be seen as a contemporary manifestation of Authoritarian Personality. Complying with this demand is frequently connected with 1) resignation concerning a fulfilling and challenging working life and 2) resentment against those welfare recipients who are suspected of going better than they deserve. It is argued that the precept of economic liberalism to stand on your own feet and to be economically independent has authoritarian and therefore illiberal implications.
In this paper the Authoritarian Personality is analyzed as a main obstacle on the way to the introduction of an Unconditional Basic Income.

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