Telekom CEO Timotheus Höttges on Digitization and Basic Income

By Kate McFarland 

Basic Income Earth Network

In a recent interview with Handelsblatt, Telekom CEO Timotheus Höttges talks about the changing nature of work, especially potential job loss due to digitization — to which, he admits, his own company is not immune — and the demand for more specialized skills. In response to a question about why he supports an unconditional basic income (“bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen”), he notes that jobs are becoming more project-based, with permanent full-time employment becoming less of a norm. 

Between digitization and project-based work structures, we should expect that workers will need more time to retrain as well as more periods of unemployment or part-time employment — and, according to Höttges, Germany’s current welfare system is ill-equipped to support such workers. Thus, he believes that the government should replace its complex system of subsidies with an unconditional basic income.

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