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