GERMANY: Michael Bohmeyer Starts Crowdfunding Organization to Finance Individual Basic Incomes

[Josh Martin]

Martin Bohmeyer, a 29-year-old web developer in Germany, has been living on a self-imposed basic income for the past half of a year.  He crowdfunded this basic income and after seeing its effects firsthand, Bohmeyer is now crowdfunding even more to finance other peoples’ basic incomes.  His initiative, “Mein Grundeinkommen” has already raised enough for almost two full basic incomes of €12,000 per year.  Bohmeyer encourages his website visitors to submit their information to possibly be one of the winners of a basic income.  The winners are to be chosen at random, but this project has generated responses from people saying what they would do with a basic income.

For more information, read the following links:

Should we all get €12,000 a year?The Local, 25 July 2014.

Mein Grundeinkommen home page

Should we all get €12,000 a year? (Source: The Local)

Should we all get €12,000 a year? (Source: The Local)

Bundestag considers emergency basic income petition

Berlin: A petition supported by several basic income groups in Germany, and signed by over 176,000 people, was debated by the Petitions Committee in the Bundestag on Monday 26 October. The petition called for a basic income of €1000 a month to be paid to all Germans to mitigate the effects of the corona crisis. This would be paid for at least six months but ‘should last as long as necessary’.

The petition was initiated by Susanne Wiest from Mensch in Germany, and supported by the OMNIBUS für Direkte Demokratie, Mein Grundeinkommen, and Expedition Grundeinkommen after the crisis hit Germany in March. It declared, “We have to ensure that no one falls through bureaucratic cracks and into poverty that threatens their existence.” The petition was initiated at the start of the crisis, and quickly got the signatures needed to bring it to the Bundestag for consideration. Combined with similar petitions put forward on and openPetition, nearly a million people in Germany put their names to the idea of an Emergency Basic Income to support people through the corona crisis.

Economist Bernhard Neumärker from Freiburg University and Freiburg Institute for Basic Income Studies (FRIBIS), presented a model calculation at the meeting that he said could be implemented immediately. It provided for a net basic income of €550 per person per month by combining existing social programmes. “You don’t have to change the social system, you just have to shift payments.” He proposed suspending all payments on mortgage principal and interest, lease and rent during the so-called ‘net basic income’. After the crisis these payments would be added to the net basic income and transform it into a permanent unconditional basic income of 1200 to 1500 Euros.

Politicians, even some who otherwise support basic income, were sceptical. There were the usual doubts about not targeting money ‘to those who really need it’ from the CDU and SPD. Timmon Grimmels from the SDP said that the party, while sceptical of basic income, doesn’t entirely dissapprove. Katja Kipling, leader of Die Linke (the Left Party) and a long-time supporter of basic income, was sympathetic but felt that the money for the Neumärker proposal took too much from middle class and poor people and not enough from top earners. Neumärker replied that it is the other way round, with his model capital incomes will share in the loss of labour incomes during lockdown and social benefits for needy people are not touched.’

A vote was not taken during this meeting but will happen in the next few weeks. Lisa Ecke, writing for Neues Deutschland, felt that the proposal was likely to be rejected.

Supporters of the petition say however that they will be increasing pressure on the government before the vote. “A basic income not only counteracts existential fear during the crisis, but also helps us progress in areas such as equality and trust in democracy,“ Susanne Wiest said in the hearing

Michael Bohmeyer, founder of Mein Grundeinkommen, said in a statement after the debate, “[Basic Income is necessary] in order to adapt to the challenges of our time: master the digital economy, overcome the divisions in society and develop potential that is still lying idle today due to our culture of mistrust.”

Sources (in German):—wir-hoffen–dass-das-krisen-grundeinkommen-noch-kommt–9466822.html

GERMANY: Basic Income party Bündnis Grundeinkommen prepares for participation in upcoming election

GERMANY: Basic Income party Bündnis Grundeinkommen prepares for participation in upcoming election

Bündnis Grundeinkommen gathering at Brandenburg gate. Credit to: Enno Schmidt and Bündnis Grundeinkommen


The Bündnis Grundeinkommen, Germany’s political party campaigning on the single issue of introducing a basic income in the country, has held an open air event in preparation to participate in their first national election.


Hosted together with Kulturimpuls Grundeinkommen eV (a German broadcaster), the event took place on July 29th at the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin. There was a celebratory tone to the day with music provided by Kiezkneipenorchester, Juri di Marco and Bertram Burkert, and entertainment in the form of slacklining, by world record slackliner Alexander Schulz. Guest speakers included: Prof. Dr. Sascha Liebermann, Head of Education and Social Change in The Department of Education at Alanus College in Germany, Dr. Liebermann was one of the first advocates of UBI in Germany and adopted the campaign slogan “freedom instead of full employment”; Martin Bohmeyer, a 29 year-old web-developer, who self-imposed a basic-income in his own personal trial in 2014 and is now running an initiative called Mein Grundeinkommen in order to crowd-source for other individuals; Ralph Boes, a sit-in protester in central Berlin, who campaigns and argues for a guaranteed “livable income”; Prof. Dr. Bernhard Neumärker, Director for The Department of Economic Policy and Order Theory at The University of Freiburg; Enno Schmidt, who, in 2006 with entrepreneur Daniel Häni founded the Swiss Basic Income Initiative (Initiative Grundeinkommen) in Basel, which, in 2013 submitted 126,000 signatures in favour of the introducing of an unconditional basic income, leading to the UBI referendum in June of 2016; and Susanne Weist, the first chairman of the Bündnis Grundeinkommen, who received attention in 2009 due to her petition to the German Bundestag to introduce a basic income.


The press team at Bündnis Grundeinkommen said that “humans need security to thrive” and that “basic income is a secure economic base” which would allow humans to live in a new way, “pursu[ing] the lives they want to live”. The BGE:Open Berlin event was described as “a visual impression of this concept”, with Alexander Schultz’s slacklining performance embodying the concept of “basic income as a permanent earnings floor no one could fall beneath, offering security and personal freedom”.


Talking about the possibility of a UBI being introduced to Germany, Susanne Wiest, chair of Bündnis Grundeinkommen, said: “Basic Income may not only be about social security, but also about a better work-life balance and higher [level of] happiness. The days of people being exploited by the market wage would end. If people only work in jobs they enjoy, they would be more passionate about their work. No one would be excluded from society because they can’t find a job”.


Cosima Kern, vice chair of Bündnis Grundeinkommen, added: “Maybe the most important change would be a feeling of a shared prosperity, that we are all together in this”.


Commenting on the day itself, the speeches and the entertainment, Enno Schmidt stated that it was “amazing to see this UBI performance directly in front of the Brandenburger Tor, the symbol of the capital of Germany”. Regarding the meteoric rise of the party and of its origins, Mr Schmidt described how the co-founder of Bündnis Grundeinkommen Ronald Trzoska conceived of a party for basic income “on the day of the popular vote about the introduction of an UBI in Switzerland”. Although Germany does not have “the right of a people’s initiative, like the Swiss have”, Mr. Trzoska envisioned that a party could be formed within the MMP system at the German Bundestag, and campaign for the single issue of a UBI.


Mr. Schmidt stressed that the purpose of the Bündnis Grundeinkommen is “short and clear: unconditional basic income is electable”. It is a tool that means that “the people can do something for their ideal”. He did warn that “many make the mistake of mixing other issues with unconditional basic income and disguising the idea”, rather than focusing on it being an unassailable right, or, as he puts it: “[an] idea [that] is the human being”. There is often, also, too much focus, he says, on the concept of political parties, which are divisive and compartmentalizing. The time for political parties, as he sees it, is over. The “post-party party” of the single issue, such as the Bündnis Grundeinkommen, is more of a democratizing “social movement”, allowing direct participation and ensuring that the “trap” of waiting is avoided and that there is no temptation to “submissive[ly] attempt to participate in old sick forms”. “The party”, he summarized , “is a signal, it is an art form, it is a life platform and allows life for the unconditional basic income”.


On September 9th and 10th, German UBI activists met in Göttingen at BGE:open to discuss the political progress of UBI in Germany and worldwide. The elections the Bündnis Grundeinkommen participate in will take place on September 24th, 2017.


More information at:

[In English]

Albert Jöerimann, ‘GERMANY: Single-issue political party founded to promote UBI’, Basic Income News, October 5th 2016

Kate McFarland, ‘GERMANY: Basic Income Party Set to Participate in National Elections’, Basic Income News, July 9th 2017

Josh Martin, ‘GERMANY: Michael Bohmeyer Starts Crowdfunding Organization to Finance Individual Basic Incomes’, Basic Income News, August 10th 2014

Barrett Young, ‘GERMANY: Ralph Boes’ Sanction Starvation’, Basic Income News, September 11th 2015


[In German]

Grundeinkommen eV Hompage, Grundeinkommen TV

BGE:open air Berlin – #GrundeinkommenIstWählbar, 29.7.2017’, Youtube, August 8th 2017

Prof. Sascha Liebermann Interview, Unternimm Die-zukunft De

Mein Grundeinkommen homepage,

Wir-Sind-Boes Homepage, Wir-sind-boes.De

Initiative Grundeinkommen Wikipedia page, Wikipedia.Org

Peter Bierl, ‘Bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen [Let’s talk about: Unconditional Basic Income]’, Süddeutsche Zeitung De, September 26th 2016

Homepage, ‘BGE: open 17.5 in Göttingen from 9 to 10 September’, Bündnis Grundeinkommen.De

GERMANY: Bündnis Grundeinkommen prepares campaign launch in Berlin

GERMANY: Bündnis Grundeinkommen prepares campaign launch in Berlin

Earlier in July, Bündnis Grundeinkommen (BGE) was officially recognized as a national political party in Germany. The party is campaigning on a single issue: the introduction of an unconditional basic income for Germany.

BGE is now preparing for its official campaign launch event on July 29 in Berlin. The event, called BGE: Open Air, will feature a combination of talks and artistic performances.

DUNDU, CC BY 2.0 Kris Duda

Performers include the high-wire artists of One Inch Dreams (the team behind Alexander Schulz’s recent highly publicized high-wire walk to the summit of Scotland’s Old Man of Hoy)–symbolizing balance in society and freedom with a sense of security–as well as the “gentle giant” puppets of DUNDU. The event will close with a concert from a brass jazz combo.  

Guest speakers include Enno Schmidt (co-founder of Switzerland’s basic income referendum campaign), Sascha Liebermann (Professor of Sociology at the Alanus University and co-founder of Freedom Instead of Full Employment), Michael Bohmeyer (founder of Mein Grundeinkommen), Ralph Boes, and Bernhard Neumärker (Professor of Economic Policy at University of Freiburg). BGE chair Susanne Wiest and vice chair Cosima Kern will also speak at the event.

BGE: Open Air will kick off BGE’s campaign for Germany’s federal elections, held on September 24.

More information, including a detailed schedule, is available on the website of Bündnis Grundeinkommen and BGE’s Facebook event page.

Edit (July 22): This article originally stated that Helwig Fenner would represent Mein Grundeinkommen at BGE: Open Air. Since this time, Michael Bohmeyer, the organization’s founder, has agreed to speak. Founded in 2014, Mein Grundeinkommen crowdfunds money to distribute in the form of year-long “basic incomes” to individuals chosen by raffle. To date, it has awarded 99 basic incomes.

World premiere of Basic Income documentary Free Lunch Society

World premiere of Basic Income documentary Free Lunch Society

A new documentary on basic income — Free Lunch Society by Austrian director Christian Tod — premiered in Copenhagen’s Bremen Theatre on March 20, 2017, to a crowd numbering in the hundreds.

The 90-minute film covers a range of “highlights” of the basic income movement, such as (for example) Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend, Manitoba’s “Mincome” experiment, campaigns for guaranteed minimum income in the 1960s US, the 2008 basic income pilot in Namibia, Switzerland’s 2016 basic income referendum, and current concerns about automation. Along the way, it features interviews with prominent basic income proponents — including, among others, billionaire businessman Götz Werner (founder of the German drugstore chain dm-drogerie markt), libertarian political scientist Charles Murray (American Enterprise Institute), venture capitalist Albert Wenger (Union Square Ventures), Mein Grundeinkommen founder Michael Bohmeyer, Swiss referendum co-founder Daniel Häni, economist Evelyn Forget, and writer and entrepreneur Peter Barnes.

In an interview about the film (“Curiosity and the desire to improve the world”), Tod explains, “The film takes as its point of departure an ethical justification of basic income founded on the premise that natural resources belong to us all.” Tod’s musical selection — centered around the song “This Land is Your Land” — reflects this orientation toward the subject, as do his cinematographic decisions to include clips of natural scenery interspersed between the vintage footage and talking expert heads. (As he says in the same interview, “What might not come across quite so clearly in the completed film are elements which strike me as extremely important such as the countryside, the Earth, natural resources. I had wanted these aspects to be more prominent, but then the narrative would have suffered.”)

Tod has also acknowledged the influence of the science fiction series Star Trek: The Next Generation on his thinking about basic income and, eventually, the film: “It presents a society where there’s no money, where people only work because they really want to, and where they are driven by human curiosity.” Correspondingly, Free Lunch Society begins and ends with scenes from Star Trek.

About the interview subjects in his film, who were chosen in part to emphasize the political diversity behind support for basic income, Tod notes, “It’s interesting that they are almost all business people: owners of technology companies, CEOs of large or small companies, people who can afford to think about making the world a better place.”

Asked about the most surprising thing he learned while making the film — in an interview following the film’s premiere (see below) — Tod mentioned the discovery that “basic income was such a big thing in the United States in the 1960s,” tested in experiments and nearly voted upon.


Watch the Trailer

YouTube player


World Premiere Event

Most of Copenhagen’s Bremen Theatre 648 were filled at the world premiere of Free Lunch Society on Monday, March 20, 2017.

Director Tod states, “It was a fabulous evening in a tremendous location. It was very special to have the world premiere of Free Lunch Society in Copenhagen, because my film career started in this beautiful city 10 years ago, when I studied at Copenhagen university’s film department. The premiere on Monday was, so far, the peak of my career in filmmaking. Almost 650 people watching my vision and applauding, laughing and apparently liking it, is hard to top.”

The film’s world premiere was followed by short interviews with Tod and Bohmeyer, as well as a panel discussion with Uffe Elbæk (Leader of the Danish green political party The Alternative; Danish: Alternativet), Steen Jakobsen (Chief Economist at Saxo Bank), and Dorte Kolding (Chair of BIEN-Danmark). All three panelists were sympathetic to the idea basic income, although Elbæk explained that The Alternative was not prepared to endorse it — though they would be willing to pursue pilot studies, and though the party’s political agenda includes the provision of benefits to the poor “without specific control measures” (that is, without conditionalities like work requirements, similar in spirit to a basic income). Jakobsen advocates a negative income tax, as proposed by Milton Friedman, as a way to increase the purchasing power of the lower and middle classes and produce a more equitable distribution of wealth.  Watch below (panel discussion and debate in Danish).


YouTube player


The world premiere was followed by several other showings in Copenhagen, including one which was held as part of BIEN-Danmark’s Annual Meeting (March 25, 2017), with showings in Austria scheduled in late March and early April.


More Information

Free Lunch Society Official Facebook page.

Jannie Dahl Astrup, “‘Free Lunch Society’: Øjenåbnende ørefigen til kapitalismen,” Soundvenue, March 20, 2017 (film review, language: Danish).  


Thanks to Karsten Lieberkind for helpful information and reviewing a draft of this article.

Photo: Free Lunch Society promotional image from CPH:DOX.