Last updated 1 month ago by UtrechtCentral.com
The idea of a universal basic income for all has been around for some time now although its implementation has been lagging. This has prompted Germany to start a small campaign into the implementation of a ‘basic income plan’ for its citizens to find out how effective it is.
Effect on social security
The idea is that 120 German citizens will receive a basic income of €1,200 per month in an attempt to see if a basic income can liberate the mind and stimulate positive initiatives from within the individual. What effect will it have on social insecurity? Will people make smart choices when they have less financial worries?
Similar studies in Europe
Similar campaigns have already taken place in other parts of Europe.
In Finland, they found that a basic income resulted in lower stress levels and more autonomy among the recipients. The beneficiaries reported having more control over their own life. Some Fins decided to take on a poorly paying job in order to have more to spend at the end of the month. Others took a chance to finally quit their poorly paid job.
In Spain, the basic income rule is already in effect for 850,000 families who belong to the poorest in the nation.
Less bureaucracy and administration
Advocate of the basic income concept, Rutger Bregman, who wrote a book titled, “Free money for everyone”, believes that basic income results in less bureaucracy, and administrative work for the issuing party.
Professor Ingrid Robeyns of the Utrecht University, who discussed the topic back in 2017, believes that a basic income is indeed possible but that it would result in the discontinuation of existing social allowance systems. In specific referring to monthly allowances intended for lower income groups to pay rent or for those who run a household with children.
The next important question according to Robeyn is funding; which organisation will ensure the basic income is paid out every month? Would it be a governmental ministry? The tax office? Or the local municipality?
Current social security system flawed
Many would agree that the current social benefits system is flawed in some ways. To be eligible for social benefits, the candidate must meet certain conditions and is expected to apply for jobs every week; even if those jobs are unsuitable for the candidate. Hence, the end goal of the one receiving the benefits is to “get the money”. One can only imagine the effects this can have on the individual that feels trapped in a system that might seem unfair.
A shift in power
With the introduction of an unconditional basic income, this entire system of control and inequality fades away. Power is shifted from the hands of the one with too much power to the one that is seeking true fulfillment in working life.
The notion above is further confirmed by Bregman who explains that the concept of free money is larger than one might think. A basic income is about freedom. Freedom from poverty, but also the freedom to pursue a past time or profession in life one has always desired. This is of course a one-sided view of the coin but perhaps the best case scenario.
Larger studies required for better results
It sounds promising, almost Utopian, and that may well be the problem according to philosopher Prof. Ingrid Robeyn’s. Although still somewhat unsure about how we can transition from the experimental phase to actual implementation, she is convinced that a trial of just 120 people is too small to fully understand the effect a basic income will have in the real world.