A new English translation of Adrienne Goehler’s recent book

A new English translation of Adrienne Goehler’s recent book

Earlier this year we announced the publication of Adrienne Goehler’s new book on Basic Income. The article appears below. An English translation is now available, which can be downloaded here.

This new edition features additional material: an interview with Sarath Davala, and an essay by Julio Linares.

In 2010, Götz Werner and Adrienne Goehler wrote 1000€ für Jeden: Freiheit, Gleichheit, Grundeinkommen (1000€ for everyone: Freedom, Equality, Basic Income). Now Adrienne Goehler has written a new book, Nachhaltigkeit braucht Entschleunigung braucht Grundein/auskommen ermöglicht Entschleunigung ermöglicht Nachhaltigkeit (Sustainability needs Deceleration needs Basic Income | Livelihood allows Deceleration allows Sustainability).

To see further details, click here.

To read an interview with Adrienne Goehler, click here.

Adrienne Goehler has provided the following translation of the website page about the book:

If we had unrestricted basis income for everyone, what would the consequences be? Would it increase freedom and equality and so dim down the ever faster accelerating times? Would it help to save the environment with its restricted resources?

Over the last two years, Adrienne Goehler has been addressing these and other burning questions of our time while working at the “Institut für transformative Nachhaltigkeitsforschung” in Potsdam. In this book that presents the results of her inquiries, she embarks on a journey from research to politics to art. She invited people from the most diverse parts of society to contribute essays, interviews, stories, images, and artistic interventions concerning the relationship of sustainability, deceleration, and basic income. She constellated insights into the financial world with suggestions contributed by experts in agriculture, development policy, climate change, and ecology. Artists address the most important questions of our time: What do we need for a good life and do we have enough of it for all of us? How will “work” look like in the future, and who will be employed? If we learn to think of unpaid and poorly paid social work as equally important as other kinds of work, will that lead to more gender equality? How do we identify meaningful tasks that would fulfill our lives? And last not least: Would implement an unconditional universal basic income as a basic human right be in tune with the seventeen goals of sustainability, as declared by the United Nations? The book offers insights into the possibilities and contradictions of our actions. It presents all the important aspects of contemporary debates concerning universal basic income. A passionate wake-up call: We need to break out of frozen patterns of thinking and acting, strive for knowledge, and move around more freely.

Complaints about acceleration were already associated with industrialization, but in its present extent, its intensification and radicalization, it no longer concerns only working conditions, but the whole of life. Acceleration has totalized itself. The philosopher Byung-Chul Han, author of the book “Fatigue Society”, describes the most important change from capitalism in Marx’s time, when factory owners and workers faced each other in a clearly defined relationship of exploitation, to today’s self-exploitation relationships, in which people became entrepreneurs of themselves, caught in the illusion of self-realization. Thus neo-liberalism formed the oppressed worker into a free entrepreneur who worked incessantly on his self-optimization. We are constantly saving time through faster transportation, fast food, faster information media and tools, and therefore we are packing more and more into the day. Hartmut Rosa calls it, “quantity increase per time unit”. We believe that we have to be available 24/7, as if we were all on call at all times. The present with its unreasonable demands makes us pant, our fantasy lies idle under states of exhaustion and multiple fears. We find ourselves in a hamster wheel whose speed we cannot determine and which many believe we cannot leave. The significantly high increase of depression and burnout are symptoms of this too much, which is at the same time a too little. The time researcher Barbara Adam therefore states: “We need not only an ecological ‘footprint’, but also a ‘timeprint’. I remember with longing “Momo”, the character in Michael Ende’s novel. Momo realized that anyone who has the time of mankind has unlimited power. She brought back time stolen by grey ‘time thieves’ to the people, when she realized that by saving time people had forgotten to live in the now and enjoy the beauty in life. And I am thinking of John Franklin, the polar explorer, whom Stan Nadolny memorialized in his novel “The Discovery of Slowness”, because his perception refused everything fast and superficial and transformed slowness into calm. Time and the feeling of permanent acceleration, breathlessness, is the subject of many interviews. I also feel connected to the idea of deceleration as a further prerequisite for the chance to lead a sustainable life. Hartmut Rosa, who imagines the process of the great transformation as successful only in connection with a different way of dealing with time, is also connected to this idea. And with a basic income.

In addition to the immense challenges outlined above, there is another Herculean task: the comprehensive redefinition of life and work as a result of ongoing digitalization, with which gainful employment will change qualitatively and quantitatively in a variety of ways, some of them very fundamentally. In conjunction with the increasing importance of the service sector, a working society is emerging in which a growing part of the population does not have continuous, let alone lifelong, gainful employment, but instead works independently or on a project-based basis, often accompanied by poorer pay and greater insecurity.

With the start of the digital age in 2002, people were able to store more information digitally than in analogue form for the first time. Another ten years later, the term ‘Work 4.0’ came into circulation to describe the fourth industrial revolution.

Since then, there have been a large number of studies that look at the impact on working life to date. Many of them assume a significant loss of traditional jobs, which will in future be done by machines, and predict radical changes. A frequently quoted – and now also widely criticized – study by the scientists Osborne and Frey from Oxford University assumes that 47 percent of gainful employment in the USA is at high risk of being automated in the coming years. The Davos World Economic Forum estimated in 2016 the number of jobs that will be lost in the next five years in the 15 most important industrial and emerging countries as a result of the “fourth industrial revolution”, 5 million. Women’s jobs were particularly affected. Companies such as Siemens, SAP, Telecom and the big ones in Silicon Valley agreed with these forecasts, which clearly boosted the discussion about an unconditional basic income, because it was strengthened by a rather unexpected side.


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 Change.org 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):

Germany: Discussions on unconditional basic income

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

Germany: The HartzPlus experiment is starting, and the basic income discussion is there to stay

Germany: The HartzPlus experiment is starting, and the basic income discussion is there to stay

Anna, 29 – Participant in the HartzPlus experiment in Berlin, Germany

The HartzPlus experiment is starting in Germany this month. Previously summarized, the experiment will involve 250 welfare beneficiaries, subject to the Hartz IV welfare scheme. For three years, the randomly selected participants will receive 416 €/month, whether they comply with the Hartz IV conditions or not. For comparison purposes, the minimum wage in Germany is around 1500 €/month, and the poverty line stands at approximately 1100 €/month. So, just like the recent experiment in Finland, this is an test which on objective terms cannot be said to be reproducing a “basic” income, in the sense of providing the basic for achieving a minimum dignified standard of living (in this case, in Germany). Like in Finland, it is mainly testing the effects of introducing an unconditional element on the income of a group of people, for a limited period of time.

Other propositions have been vocalized in Germany, mainly in response or even as an expression of protest against the Hartz IV, enforced in the country since 2003. One of such voices has been Berlin Mayor Michael Müller, a long time Social Democratic Party (SPD) official. However, what Müller is defending, in essence, is a job guarantee, over a basic income. Beneath the “basic income based on solidarity” concept lies a fundamental distrust in Berlin’s citizens: that the latter must be coerced into municipal or social service jobs, in exchange for their “basic income” (a gross amount or around 1500 €/month). However, the proposition has been popular in Germany for a long time, with the Social Democratic Party and the Left Party having subsidized public employment in Berlin between 2002 and 2011.

While politicians and voter’s stomach for Hartz IV is running dry, after more than 15 years of enforcement, clear justification for a UBI kind of policy still seems to be lacking on the public arena. For instance, funding a basic income is still publicly presented as value of basic income times number of recipients which, of course, leads to prohibitive costs. This comes at a time when ever more studies demonstrate that providing a basic income to citizens can cost much less than that to the State on a net basis, or it can even be calibrated in such a way as to be cost neutral (by applying changes to social security schemes and taxation).

Hilmar Schneider, an economist for the IZA Institute of Labor Economics, actually thinks that creating a financial floor for poor people means spending money on all the population. Internally, he is also thinking in a “value of basic income times number of recipients” mentality, not understanding the income transfer mechanism inherent in basic income implementation. According to him, present day low paid jobs will become less attractive, which sounds reasonable to assume, since most people only accept those jobs because they are permanently threatened with destitution. What might not be so reasonable to assume, however, is to think that it may lead to price increases, and a general downward trend in income for many people. If people can accumulate a basic income with whatever income they can get from paid work, within a properly setup tax structure which incorporates basic income at its core, a rise in poverty is surely questionable.

More information at:

David Martin, “Berlin mayor calls for basic income in Germany – or does he?“, DW, March 20th 2018

Arthur Sullivan, “Germany’s “money for nothing” experiment raises basic income questions“, DW, 28th February 2019

André Coelho, “Germany: The first basic income experiment in Germany will start in 2019“, Basic Income News, 16th December 2018

Germany: The first basic income experiment in Germany will start in 2019

Germany: The first basic income experiment in Germany will start in 2019

Basic income is going to be tested in Germany. The setup of the experiment will be similar to the one now ending in Finland, which means there will be an unconditional cash transfer to 250 randomly selected people among those already receiving benefits (250 others will act as the control group), and evaluate the impact in terms of labor market behavior, health and social relations.


Behind this initiative, to be initiated in May 2019, is the Sanktionsfrei organization, a non-profit managed by volunteer professionals from administration, IT-tech, communications and law. Sanktionsfrei (meaning “free from sanctions”), with headquarters in Berlin, specializes in helping sanctioned citizens by the Hartz IV social security system in Germany. It will conduct this experiment in Berlin, for a 3-year period, accepting volunteers who may apply for it through their website.


The basic income pilot, named HartzPlus, will be conducted as a scientific experiment, led by professor Rainer Wieland, from the Bergische Universität Wuppertal. The Sanktionsfrei team and professor Wieland are about to test a different approach to social security than the one applied in Germany at the moment (Hartz IV system), which has been reported as intrusive, bureaucratic and aggressive (sanctions). Those characteristics, contrary to what is considered by the system’s defenders, do not lead to increased willingness to pickup paid work (the objective of the program), but to resistance, decreased motivation and a generalized discredit in the social security system. Throughout the experiment, people will be checked for variations in mental health, life control, self-efficiency, sociopolitical values, among other indicators. No initial hypothesis will be considered; the experiment aims to offer scientifically informed insights to future social policy in Germany.


As for financing, Sanktionfrei is relying on private donors as the sole financing mechanism. Participants will receive unconditionally the amount from whatever sanctions they will be subject to by job centers (e.g.: by not responding to certain job offers or refusing to get suggested training actions); Sanktionsfrei will always try to recover the sanction money through legal action, and if it does, the participant will transfer the contested amount back to Sanktionsfrei. Otherwise, each participant gets, for the whole time period of the experiment, the full amount of their social security benefits, no questions asked.



More information at:

Tobias Kaiser, “Grundeinkommen wird in Deutschland getestet [Basic Income is tested in Germany]”, Gründerszene, December 6th 2018

André Coelho, “Finland: Going through a basic income experiment”, Basic Income News, April 20th 2018

HartzPlus website