“Two wrongs don’t make a right…”
Why is righting a wrong, wrong? If we felt like that there would be no compensation for current injustices. We make people pay compensation for the wrongs they do now.
The vast majority of us – some would argue all of us – or our families, contributed to the progress that could enable us all to live comfortably well in comparison to our ancestors – even the rich made a contribution to that. A fair redistribution of wealth recognises that fact.
Forcing the vast majority of poorer people to continue working, just to eke out a miserable existence, is hardly social justice when others, especially those benefitting from past injustices, can simply live off ill gotten gains of the past, and indeed continue to use those gains in order to increase their share of wealth today.
Giving people a basic income takes coercion out of the work equation; the vast majority of people will continue to work in order to improve their living standards as they always have done but this time with a real safety net that ensures survival and recognises the part all people have played in the progress we have made. It might even spur us on to do better.
To argue that such a basic income implemented as a form of redistribution is as “unearned” as the income that currently gives certain families wealth privilege is as hard as arguing that someone deserves to be rich because their ancestors exploited other human beings and stole their land and resources from them.