Universal basic income: An option for Europe?


What if people no longer had to worry about their income? Marwa Fatafta has often asked herself that question. "So much anxiety and stress would simply vanish," said Fatafta, who came to Germany as a Palestinian migrant and made a life for herself in Berlin.

"To me, it was clear quite early on that freedom also means being financially independent," Fatafta told DW. At first, she had hoped to live from her art, but when she realized it would not give her a regular income she gave up that dream. Today, Fatafta works for Access Now, an organization that promotes digital personal rights.

Fatafta is one of about 2 million people in Germany who has applied to the Basic Income Pilot Project. Starting next spring, 122 of the applicants will receive €1,200 ($1,422) per month for three years. No strings attached.

The study initiated by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) and My Basic Income, a Berlin-based nonprofit, hopes to determine the effects of an unconditional universal basic income (UBI) on society.

Different financing plans

"The study is a major opportunity to transfer the theoretical debate on unconditional basic income that has been ongoing for years into social reality," said Jürgen Schupp of DIW, who heads the survey. "We want to find out whether paying out an unconditional basic income over a longer period of time leads to statistically significant changes in actions and perceptions."

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