There is a strong case to be made for granting each individual a basic income as a condition for securing dignity and respect. By contrast, an economy of esteem eschews universality and equality attached to each person and instead focuses on the differential ranking of persons, which appears to poorly fit with the idea of a universal basic income. This chapter argues that social esteem requires equal availability of sources of social esteem, that basic income plays a key role in securing these preconditions for social esteem, and that the positional and competitive economy of esteem must be ‘tamed’ by background measures such as basic income in order to avoid clashing with the need for securing dignity and respect.