Germany’s Basic Income Experiment: $1,095 a Month For 6 Months

Date: 2020-04-14 17:15:28

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As the Covid-19 crisis hits the world’s economy, the idea of an unconditional basic income is high on the agenda.

In Germany , the organizers of a lucky-dip system that offers contestants basic incomes of 1000 euro per month, say it is needed now more than ever.

This month’s draw for a basic income for 30 people by the German organization ‘My Basic Income’ (Mein Grundeinkommen).

Normally the draw takes place in a studio, but with the restrictions in place in Germany to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, this month the draw is taking place online.

The people that win are given a basic income of 1000 euro for six months.

With the virus hitting the world economy, many people are finding themselves unemployed or without an income.

Michael Bohmeyer founded My Basic Income in 2014. He says states are too slow in testing the concept for a basic income and that’s where his organisation comes in.

“Of course, we are not a state and can’t test a basic income for everyone,” he says.

“But we want to try this out when the state is being too slow, instead of doing nothing and getting no answers about the questions for the future”

The incomes are funded fully by donations.

Anyone can enter online, no matter your nationality or residency, by registering with the My Basic Income Website. All that is needed is a residential address and an email address.

Bohmeyer says that even though the money is allocated in draws, the system is nothing like lotto or gambling. “When you play lotto you have to buy a ticket to have a chance of winning. With us you don’t buy anything and you can still be a part of it,” he says.

“And still, 120 000 people donate small sums each month so that other people can get a basic income.”

Normally the basic incomes are paid monthly for a year.

But in April the organization decided that the need was so high, because of the new coronavirus, that more people would get the income, but only for six months instead of a year.

“Now with the corona crisis, we have a far higher need to discuss basic incomes. We are realizing that it is not sustainable as a society to have a situation when people get their only income from employment” says Bohmeyer.

“Like now, when no-one can work, the whole income that people need to survive disappears. Still, this emergency basic income that is being debated is a great idea. But it is still not a real unconditional basic income, because it takes money that the state has in reserves. A real permanent basic income has to involve a redistribution of wealth within the society.”

According to Bohmeyer, studies following the people that have won the income have shown that most have continued working.

But it has given people a sense of security, so that if work disappears they will still have an income to survive.

Tonći Vidović, a software developer who grew up in Berlin but who now lives in Bournemouth in the UK, won the basic income of 1000 euro per month for a year in August 2019.

He says that as a freelancer it gave him more options to pick which jobs he wanted to do.

“For a freelancer this is a fantastic thing. Because it gives you the freedom to not having to take any job. Normally you take whatever comes your way that looks quite ok, just because you have to pay rent. Having the freedom to think about it, to say no to some opportunities, feels very luxury. Feels very good,” he says.

The next round of 10 of the yearly incomes of 1000 euros will be announced on April 29.

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