Support Grows for Unconditional Basic Income

Money for Free

VPRO Backlight (2015)

Film Review

Money for Free is about Unconditional Basic Income (aka Universal Basic Income), a form of social security system in which all residents of a country, city or region receive an unconditional sum of money in addition to any other income they receive.

The documentary profiles Michael Bohmeyer, a German web developer who crowd funded a UBI (German residents can apply for it through his website), New York venture capitalist Albert Wenger (who helped fund Bohmeyer’s UBI),  and British economist Guy Standing. Standing has conducted UBI experiments in India and Namibia.

All three see a strong need for UBI in a globally economy that is rapidly shedding jobs and leaving millions of young people permanently unemployed.

At present Bohmeyer has raised 12,000 euros, which means eight people (chosen by lottery) receive his UBI.

Most opponents of UBI claim it will destroy people’s motivation to work. Standing’s experiments in India and Namibia show just the opposite. People who received a UBI in his pilot program increased their economic activity and eared income (as a result of improved nutrition and health).

The filmmakers also interview Alaska residents who receive a guaranteed income from a resource tax on the state’s oil industry.

France, Netherlands and Finland all have basic income pilot schemes in the pipeline. Switzerland will hold a referendum on UBI later this year.

They will also hold a referendum on whether to prohibit private banks from creating money

17 thoughts on “Support Grows for Unconditional Basic Income

  1. Its interesting that Trudeau promise in last Canadian election to increase the basic retirement income by 10%.I hope its inacted ,if I ever return to Canada I will need it.

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  2. Pingback: Support Grows for Unconditional Basic Income, Film and Review | Talesfromthelou

  3. “Most opponents of UBI claim it will destroy people’s motivation to work. Standing’s experiments in India and Namibia show just the opposite.”

    This is what infuriates me. I do not exist to “work,” nor have I ever existed to “work”. Is taking care of me my responsibility? Yes, most certainly. But “work”, today, as you know, simply means a person slaving away at a dead end job while the pig gets piggier. Screw that! The pigs want more wealth, let them work for it, for once!

    I pursued my art, my career, my entire life, as I still am, and I worked damn hard and paid the price for pursuing it, over and over again. I have worked harder and more fiercely at the art I love than a platinum-spoon-in-mouth elite-swine has ever worked for one single penny.

    But, from the inception of this evil system/order, the people whose broken backs this wealth and power has been built on, the working class and poor, should have been getting a cut of the pie they were responsible for making, baking and serving.

    So I hope this spreads all over the world, and soon! And if it is cut down, then I hope the people rise up and take back what is, and has always been, rightfully theirs!

    I will reblog this soon!

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    • The biggest problem with work at present is that it doesn’t take care of people – it doesn’t provide them enough for food, heating, rent and medical bills. And if they decide to have children, they’re totally screwed.

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      • Agreed! I

        have been considering this for a long time now. And we have been conditioned/programmed to believe life must be lived one way , and one way only; and that is according to the dictates of the society/culture we have grown up in. And my society/culture has been indoctrinated/brainwashed, by the powers that be, to believe work,. consume, work, consume, ad-infinitum, is the only true definition of life and living.

        There is nothing wrong with working, or even working hard, as long as work is something we love to do and it affords us the means to live in a healthy, secure and content manner. And in this case, it is no longer work that we are doing, it is life and joy. Otherwise, work becomes what it is to most of us today, enforced, miserable slavery.

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    • Excellent point, Alan. I think the only feasible way to establish a UBI is by banning private banks from creating money and restoring the right of money creation to the public. I suspect this is why the Swiss also have a referendum this year to do exactly this. Iceland also has a bill in Parliament proposing to ban private banks from creating money. And both the US and UK Green Party include this in their platform (and a lot of us in the New Zealand Green Party are lobbying hard to include both sovereign – ie publicly controlled – money and a UBI in our 2017 election platform).

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  4. Good point, Skywalker. I think the point the film tries to make is that Alaskan oil belongs to Alaskan residents, not to obscenely rich oil companies like Exxon – which still hasn’t finished paying out for the Exxon-Valdez oil spill by the way (which was 30 years ago).

    UBI is simply another step on the road to restoring the commons, the notion that all people have a basic right to the means of subsistence by virtue of being born.

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  5. My immediate, unthinking reaction: I’m all for a basic guaranteed income. That’s what makes me at bottom a socialist. I’m also all for automation so long as the increase in productivity is translated into a reduction in work-time for everyone, that is, a sort of analogous “basic guaranteed reduction in work-time” for everyone with every significant incremental gain in productivity, especially in regard to the most menial and mind-numbing of tasks . Indeed, the current productive capacity of our economy is such that if industrial production was geared to human need rather than to mindless consumption, you could probably reduce the mandatory workweek for most everyone down to around 15 or 20 hours per week, and a quick and dirty back-of-the-envelope calculation, given a chronic real unemployment rate of twenty to twenty-five percent, without even changing anything pertaining to the aims of production, suggests a work-week that should be no more than 30 hours.

    (Parenthetically: for the hard-bitten, dyed in the wool believer of the ‘free enterprise’ system, why not have every person in the nation own an equivalent ‘dividend paying share’ in every ‘private for profit company’ in the nation? If shares can be bought and sold publicly in the stock market, why can’t they be publicly allocated in the same fashion? Everything would remain privately owned, only owned by everybody at one and the same time, and at the end of the day, everyone would get what is rightfully his or hers by way of a dividend payment on the sacred basis of the institution of ‘private property.’)

    The most compelling part of the film for me comes some 23 minutes into the film, when Guy Standing suggests that one positive effect if only from experimenting with the paradigm of a guaranteed basic income would be a shift in consciousness among the participants: instead of seeing themselves as individually and solely responsible for their dire straits or unemployment, it would occur to them that their fate was both collective and the result of a failure that was systemic. They would suddenly find themselves aware of themselves as being members of a “class” — presumably, the “working class.” In these neoliberal times — in no way different from other times under the rule of capital — that would be a serious step forward toward challenging the rape. For the first step forward out of untenable and abusive circumstances is to be aware of the untenability and abusiveness of those circumstances.

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  6. Pingback: Unconditional Basic Income: a hand out or a hand in? | Hundredgivers

  7. Pingback: Unconditional Basic Income: hand out or hand in? - Hundredgivers

  8. Pingback: Support Grows for Unconditional Basic Income – Site Title

  9. Pingback: Unconditional Basic Income: hand out or hand in?

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