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Germany: Discussions on unconditional basic income

Which analytical models exist to defend UBI, and how convincing are they? What would the introduction of an UBI mean for different parts of society? What would be the associated opportunities and risks?

To answer these, and many more questions, the Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel has programmed a series of interdisciplinary lectures, in order to share both further directions of research and also to make some academic contributions. These academic events will happen between April 23rd and July 2nd 2019, at designated rooms and auditoriums at the University, as indicated below.

This lecture series come from various academic disciplines and touch on a broad spectrum of questions and aspects.  They will also be accessible to interested members of the public.  At the end of each 45-60 minutes paper presentation, there will be space for discussion between the authors and the audience.  The papers will be recorded and made accessible after the event.

General and increasingly extensive discussions of the reforming idea of an unconditional basic income (UBI) seem to have come to stay, especially among the younger generations. One basic income experiment after another is springing up around the world.  For the first time in Germany, the current state of Schleswig-Holstein has taken up the theme, and has introduced a ‘social security for work yet to be undertaken’ in the state parliament, alongside its coalition agreement.  So, the idea of an UBI in particular, together with the Liberal Party’s [FDP = Freie Demoktratische Partei] concept of a citizen’s wage and further initiatives, are being discussed in Germany, and trials are being conceived.

Such a UBI would definitely represent a deep intrusion into the pre-existing architecture of the welfare state, the job market, the economy, the family life of both female and male citizens, and the whole community in Germany and abroad.  The moral model of a ‘working society’, which developed alongside industrialisation and the rise of capitalism and whose scope has extended ever further in the last few decades, would be abandoned or at least significantly marginalised. That’s because UBI would change the normative way of life for every adult until retirement age, which still is paid employment. The broad distribution of material prosperity, mostly organised in accordance with the criterion of performance at work, would also change considerably.

Summary of lectures:

23rd April 2019 (Tuesday): Dr. Alexander Lorch – Philosophical reflections on an unconditional basic income.

26th April 2019 (Friday): Prof. Dr. Roswitha Ploch – Unconditional basic income – opportunities and hurdles in the political implementation of a good idea

30th April 2019 (Tuesday): Dr. Thieß Peterson – Macroeconomic effects of an unconditional basic income

10th May 2019 (Friday): Prof. Dr. Hilmar Schneider – Do we need an unconditional basic income or better Maths lessons?

17th May 2019 (Friday): Prof. Dr. Ute Fischer – Liberation or backwards roll?  Opportunities and limits of a UBI from the perspective of gender.

24th May 2019 (Friday): Prof. Dr. Gesine Stephan – Field experiments in labour market research: potential, challenges and practical examples

31st May 2019 (Friday): Prof. Dr. Ueli Mäder – Social security democratised (rather than economised)

7th June 2019 (Friday): Prof. Dr. Michael Opielka – Basic income in the labour of the future.  On the relationship between payment in cash, kind and service in the welfare state of the future.

11th June 2019 (Tuesday): Prof. Dr. Thomas Straubhaar – Unconditional basic income.  From Utopia to reality.

21st June 2019 (Friday): Prof. Dr. Nicole Mayer-Ahuja – Unconditional basic income – an emancipatory response to changes in the world of work?

2nd July 2019 (Tuesday): Dr. Manuel Franzmann – Democritisation of leisure?  Unconditional basic income from the point of view of educational theory.

Article reviewed by André Coelho

About Rebecca Rosewarne

Rebecca Rosewarne has written 1 articles.

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2 comments

  • RaoulW

    “The moral model of a ‘working society’, which developed alongside industrialisation and the rise of capitalism and whose scope has extended ever further in the last few decades, would be abandoned or at least significantly marginalised.”

    The moral model of a “working society” would be rescqued from the narcissistc (and authoritatian) ideal of grades and money relations that supposedly can inform us of everything. A UBI grounds our desire for reciprocity not in the external signals of simplifying systems, but in our capacity for reflection. It means more responsibility. External signals are still useful and a UBI would make way for more social feedback mechanisms, also.

    In the first place, the “working society” we’ve been enjoying has also always rested on a politically involved broad middle of people and countless unpaid contributions in the social and entrepreneurial sphere beyond that.

    A reinterpretation of the history of a “working society” in such a classist way isn’t something I’d expect to read here though I guess this goes to show that the workers of the world still have a long way to go in terms of re-claiming the narrative. Starting in our heads. This is the same kind of nonsense that divides the Germans and the Greeks, founded in faith based economics, as many “empirical reality aware” economists such as Steve Keen, Yanis Varoufakis, Guy Standing and Erik Reinert ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDI6jLbsiec ) could add to.

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