money-houseIn some regions of Spain and Greece, youth unemployment is now above 70%. The latest figures released by eurostat also indicate that long-term unemployment is currently at record levels in the EU, with nearly half of all unemployed people having been out of work for more than a year. And there is also a clear disparity between the North and the South; the average EU unemployment rate is 10.8%, but the jobless rate is half the average (5.4%) in 23 of Germany’s 39 regions and twice the average (21.6%) in 13 out of 19 regions in Spain.

Many of you have sent in suggestions for ways to bring down unemployment in the European Union, but today we’re going to look at an idea we haven’t discussed yet. We had a comment sent in from Bruno who put forward a radical solution:

citizen_icon_180x180Why not just give an Unconditional Basic Income (UBI) to everyone so each individual can develop themselves and create their own job? We are too dependent on big business to create jobs for us. Let’s change that and give a chance to small business to flourish.

Many Nobel prize winners speak about this economic alternative. The UBI aims at minimizing economic disparity and simultaneously eradicating poverty. We need some change because, in our current economic system, the rich are getting richer and most of us are getting poorer.

An Unconditional Basic Income has been proposed under different names (and with several variations) since at least the 18th century. Generally speaking, however, it is a recurring cash transfer granted to all citizens without any conditions attached. Typically, this transfer would be enough for a person to survive (and “live with dignity”) but not enough to disincentivise economic activity.

Earlier this month, the European Economic and Social Committee – a consultative body of the EU composed of employers’ organisations, trade unions and civil society – hosted a conference discussing the possibility of introducing a UBI at the EU level. The conference was arranged by the organisers of a recent European Citizens’ Initiative calling for just such a European Basic Income. Although the Citizens’ Initiative failed to gather the required 1 million signatures, it did receive the backing of 285,000 Europeans and the organisers now hope to petition the European Parliament.

To read some in-depth analysis of the European Union’s social policy options once a new European Commission and European Parliament are in place, be sure to check out the recent report published by our sister think-tank, Friends of Europe

We recently spoke to Katarína Neveďalová, a Slovakian MEP who sits with the  Social Democrats in the European Parliament. What did she think of Bruno’s suggestion?

Katka NevedalovaI think this idea is very good and I personally support it, but it is the role of the individual Member States to decide whether they will support it or not, because it has to be agreed by every single Member State before it can be implemented Europe-wide. One problem is that there is an enormous variety in income in the European Union, because wage levels are very different, so it would be difficult to set one basic income that is Europe-wide. Nevertheless, I believe in a few years we can develop something like a UBI for everybody, which would help to support people and fight poverty. But we have to find the sources of funding for this, and the sources of funding are in the Member States, so it’s their decision to take.

Out of the 34 MEPs who publicly backed the ECI for a Basic Income, 22 were  Greens (including their two joint-candidates for European Commission President, José Bové and Ska Keller). However, a Universal Basic Income is not mentioned anywhere in the Greens’ campaign manifesto (nor in any manifesto published ahead of the European elections next month).

We spoke to Reinhard Bütikofer, a German MEP and co-spokesperson for the  Greens in the European Parliament, and asked him what he thought:

Well, I’m really not sure how many Green MEPs support a Guaranteed Basic Income. I do know that my own national party, the German Green Party, has had extensive discussions for quite some time on this issue. And, ultimately, when we voted in our party conference we decided to reject the idea. In theory, the Guaranteed Basic Income may sound very attractive, but when you look into the specific models that have been offered, there’s always a dark side to it. And some of the proposals I have seen would not end up generating more social justice – quite the opposite.

So, I think some of the ideas might be integrated into a broader system of social justice and social responsibility, but I’m not convinced that a Guaranteed Basic Income is the key to promoting social justice and, as Bruno seems to believe, also strong industrial development. I think we should always meet promises to implement such fundamental overhauls of the welfare state with a lot of suspicion, because such a sweeping change would have so wide-ranging an impact that it is really very hard to evaluate the effects beforehand. In such a case, it’s always best to employ the maximum possible caution.

Would a guaranteed cash transfer paid to all European citizens help fight poverty and promote stronger economic growth? Or would it just encourage people to stop working and decrease social mobility? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions!

Vote 2014

Voting is closed in our Debating Europe Vote 2014! The results are now in, so come and see what our readers thought!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Images Money

137 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

    • avatar

      collective death?

  1. avatar
    Stefan Aldimirov

    Of course not! Ya building communism again? Where is the individual’s stimulus to find a job and work his money?

    • avatar

      The wish and the possibility to have more money than the others.

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      What you mean “again” ? Where has true communism been built?
      Surely not Russia.

    • avatar


    • avatar

      Why does a rich person continue to work?

    • avatar
      Sarah Stern

      poor Stefan, if you don’t have any ideas what useful thing to do without money incentive….

  2. avatar
    Karel Van Isacker

    Give to those who really need it instead of giving money for electoral reasons like is being done in Greece for example.

    • avatar

      But who really needs it?
      That requires rules and requirements so everyone is treated the same, you need applications, you need people to evaluate the applications, and you need people to control no-one is cheating, and you need people to control the people that control it.
      All this is unproductive work, – so no, here is 20 bucks for the day, now go make your own life.

    • avatar
      Sarah Stern

      Eric, I agree

  3. avatar
    George Titkov

    There have been such experiments in the past and they show that people do not stop working, on the contrary, people are free to contribute to the society without the fear of going broke. Do some research before labeling this as communism, they’ve tried this in Canada but canceled the project for political reasons.

  4. avatar
    Xavier Schoumaker

    I love how individualist theories are nothing else than theories.
    It’s time we face the reality of simplification instead of justifying a world of waste because we have to all pretend we’re busy doing something important. Grow-up.

  5. avatar
    Daniele Scaramelli

    It is a challenging topic that requires some basic knowledge of economics and of the debate that has being going on for decades. Nothing to do with communism. At least once, please spare us low-level comments. Read some books and then come back.

  6. avatar
    Paul X

    So even an MEP can see the major flaw in the UBI theory “But we have to find the sources of funding for this”

    UBI is a complete pie in the sky dream, of course everyone (even me) would love some extra cash but it doesn’t grow on trees does it?

    Is it to be rob the rich to give to the poor?..though even the rich will be entitled to UBI so that’s a bit of a problem isn’t it?

    Other theories I’ve seen include the money will come from all the reduced administration costs for the current benefits systems? Err… ok so you sack a load of people who currently work in the social security sector, but then they will still be paid UBI so how much savings is there going to be made?

    There is only a finite amount of wealth in Europe and if you are giving it away then someone, somewhere is paying for it……. and at the end of the day it doesn’t matter where it looks like it’s coming from (bankers, big corporations etc) the costs will eventually filter down to the consumers, i.e the very people who most need UBI

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      So is it a zero-sum game then?
      Because capitalists have been banging the drum that it is NOT. And that we shouldn’t hate the rich because it is not a zero sum game.

      The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few – especially since the “few” would have their “needs” met too.
      having 20 cars and yachts is not a “need”.

      We can tax financial transactions that don’t produce ANYTHING. They just shuffle money around and STEAL OURS.

    • avatar

      Funding is with higher taxes. That way the cost will mostly payed by highincome earners. They wont like it at first, but more equality in europe will benefit the economy for the benefit of all.
      Most people would end up having the same as they do today, they would pay more, but also recieve more back.
      If you sack the people that are currently doing unproductive work such as evaluating if you are writing enough job applications, you would save the difference from their current salary down to the UBI.
      I would prefer not to fire them, but have them go to the communities and do social work.

    • avatar

      Actually, a lot of the slightly longer term calculations say eradicating poverty through basic income is cheaper than the cost of keeping poverty. As for the shorter calculations. It would replace most welfare, so we already have a chunk of the money needed. Suggestions for the other chunk range from dipping into our overlarge military budget, to the more popular solution of raising income taxes slightly. Right now a scary number of millionaires avoid paying taxes. Large companies are given cash ‘bonuses’ from government. Making sure the rich pay their taxes will help with the other chunk. If a higher tax is set then because everyone’s getting bi, the only ones who end up with slightly less money than theydo now will be higher earners who canafford the loss.

  7. avatar
    Stefanescu Dan

    cnd au dat comuni?tii bani f?r? s? munce?ti? E o m?sur? capitalist? care ncurajeaz? consumul ,produc?ia ?i crearea de noi locuri de lucru ( nu zic de munc?) ?i la un momentdat ?i reluarea credit?rii ! C?TIG? TOAT? LUMEA ! Austeritatea determin? sc?derea consumului intern u.e. ?i afecteaz? inclusiv b?ncile dar n primul rnd popula?ia

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      Te-as lua in brate dar nu sunt gay lol xD
      Bravo pt comentariu!

  8. avatar
    Nando Aidos

    … a guaranteed cash transfer paid to all European citizens…
    It depends…

    But I believe it would be much more beneficial to set another goal

    – an employment format that would provide for everyone along one’s lifetime.

    There would be less retirement. Retired people want to be useful. Change the existing employment concepts and start a new era. Just as we have LLL (Life Long Learning) programs, let’s institute LLE (Life Long Employment) with the appropriate exit points for those who really cannot work all through life.

    The “garanteed cash transfer” approach has been tried in “countries under development” in Africa and South America and has been shown to work. But there is a fundamental reason for this mechanism – these countries do not have the information systems to identify who needs and who doesn’t (Just give money to the poor, J. Hanlon). Under these conditions a small amount is given to everybody under some earnings threshold (Bolsa Famlia – Brazil and Mexico).
    I do not see Europe in the same boat. We have the systems to know who needs and who doesn’t, and we have a much higher earnings level.

    • avatar
      Georgios Machairas

      This was actually the best well thought comment I have read so far(no offense to anyone else) ! I agree with the fact that we have disparities both inside the EU and well known differences with Africa and Asia.

    • avatar
      Monique de Wilt

      why would everybody have to be employed? certainly not to be useful. I see a lot of people that are not being employed doing really useful work like taking care of others, gardening, and volunteering. I also see a lot of employed people doing very useless work and even work that is damaging our planet and its resources. Often they hate the work but they cannot quit their work out of fear of having no income. A basic Income gives the people an opportunity to choose what kind of work they find most useful.

    • avatar
      nando aidos

      Monique, ok, “employment” in the traditional sense is a confusing word. I agree with you that there are people who work taking care of others, etc… and this is, in my view, valuable and useful work. Older people need to do something to feel “useful”, believe me. But the question then should be – why isn’t this kind of work properly financially rewarded? For all I have studied, people do not like to be on the “dole”, receiving handouts. It is demeaning. So we do have to change the way we, as a society, look at “work” or “emplyment” and remuneration for this work which today does not get recognized by the economics of any country. And it must be!

  9. avatar
    Kastrati Arlinda

    Basically, it needs a structured argumentation of each side. ’d not try to outline the topic. Id vote the first as think that it would strengthen the motion and undermine the social instability.

  10. avatar
    Daniele Scaramelli

    Cash transfers to poor people in developing countries and unconditional basic income are two different things, both worth discussing.

  11. avatar
    Jaume Roqueta

    when BCE and conventional banks create money! aproximately 1 euro/person and day!. they give it to rich people, or investing funds, or in form of grants to science… instead of this, recent created money shoud go directly to gobernments or as a basic income. I think it is not enought… it would give 30 euros/person month… but if it is given only to the poorest maybe we can increase to 200-or 300 euros/month… about motivation and pshicology… please…keep economist far away on opining about psicology of common people… they are psicopats and they belive everypeople is like them… economist should simply don’t speack about my motivantions.. neither they coleges the politicians… we are from different species.

  12. avatar
    Jaume Roqueta

    if you divide the increase of world GDP between the amount of people in the would you obtain 1euro/person x day!…. this money is created as it is not coming from the space!… right!?

  13. avatar

    A basic income would be better than the complicated array of welfare benefits because it would save on the costs of bureaucracy. Currently, wages in many countries are too low and there is no social justice. Stopping a race to the bottom is very important too. A basic income could also add legitimacy to the European Union.

    • avatar
      Csaba Loppert


    • avatar
      Sarah Stern

      basic income is absolutely different from communism, people in communism were forced to work and had no choices about many things…basic income offers a basis for what you really want to contribute to community and society and also for what you ethically feel is ok…so if you choose so you wouldn’t work in a cafe that doesn’t sell fair trade cafe, in a supermarket that is full of chinese and other slavery products, it would enable you to produce your own veg in a community garden because then you would have the time to do so, it would enable you to start business that now often don’t bring enough profit to finance your and your families basic needs…this little businesses could be based on fairtrade and interconnectedness with the nonhuman part of nature and much more…

  14. avatar
    Kaled Al-frzai

    This is the exact thing i asked the European law professor at my university.It is a useless question,it would only be a near comunistic utopic measure that would make eastern europe happy and lazy and the western people sad and outraged.

  15. avatar
    Szabolcs Galambos

    Instead of this, there should be a minimum salary limit in every EU country, calculated from the average EU salaries.

  16. avatar
    Borislav Sotirov

    Basic income is a great idea. It is a needed adaptation of economy and answer to technologization and automatisation.
    Basic income is a small dividend to citizen. It is not communism, and those thinking so have no knowledge what communism means. It is about ownership of capital – could it be private or not. Basic income is a modification of capitalism not its exchange. Except contemporary rich social benefits that transfer goods from workers to nonworkers, Basic income is less lavish but granted to everybody. That benefits workers and takes from social beneficiaries.

    • avatar
      Sarah Stern

      thanks for the statement

  17. avatar
    Borislav Valkov

    Basic Uncoditional Income should be enough for satisfaction of the primal needs: food and shelter. Anything above these needs are not basic and therefore not covered by UBS. If that’s what EU tries to implement then I am OK!

  18. avatar

    The idea of an unconditional basic income for everybody is, in its serious version, based on the assumption that everybody is living the Western (bourgeois, Protestant) model of an autonomous, self-responsible, innovative and creative individual. However, if this individual ever existed, it is certainly not a mass phenomenon in the highly specialised, consumption and entertainment oriented society of today. Hence, here I more or less I agree with Mr. Bütikofer, the German Green MEP above, that such an income could mean more harm than help for most individuals in our societies. I think, the social security arrangements we currently have in countries like Germany or Austria are sufficient to help our citizens in need. The most important is not the “free lunch” but to have agencies which help people to get back to work, to produce their own incomes. At the end, any prosperity whether on individual or collective level is based on work.

    • avatar
      nando aidos

      I agree. This concept of an “uncontitional basic income”, obviously calculated on averages, assumes an “individual citizen” that does not exist on the average, and thus it is a concept based on a falacy.

    • avatar
      Sarah Stern

      Hello Bastian, I assume you are still fit and healthy. As an Austrian and having the eyes open for Hartz 4 and other living contexts I invite you to put yourself in the sandals of people who cannot afford a healthy and even less an ethical lifestyle and are forced into jobs they would not do if they were not threatened to loose their material life basics which is often followed by losing close relationships that can only subsist, when those life basics are given…what I have seen also in Austria is children were taken away from their mothers, families who emotially wanted to do so not being able to take care of their sick or eldery family members, couples separating because they were not fit enough for competition….most people only seem to realize this when close friends or family members are in the situations and otherwise still have the fantasy of fair chances for everyone…this is an invitation to wake up to the social realities of people in your country…thank you for reading

  19. avatar
    Jan Vannieuwkerke

    Good idea. Even 100 euro a month per person makes a big difference. It would rise consumption immediately thus increasing VAT and creating jobs. But it is perhaps beter to give the amount -partially- in food & clothing coupons to be sure the cash will not be used for other purposes. The money should be spent in the own nighbourhood.

    • avatar

      Yup, another one who thinks this money will just appear out of thin air just because politicians will it.

    • avatar
      Sarah Stern

      Here is the Website of the Basic Income Earth Network

      and there is a “BIEN” page on facebook aswell

  20. avatar
    Iliyanna Shukerova

    I consider this an interesting idea but I would toy with it a long time before taking any action. Many other ideas spring from it like – making it a temporary financial support for the poorer countries. I do not think it will be effective in countries like Greece and Italy and Spain where you have many young people jobless not only because of a bad labor market but also because of unwillingness on their behalf. Giving them free money would just stimulate them even further to lounge. On the other hand this will be the effect on the poor people in Bulgaria for example. I mean the minorities use to stealing and recycling for their bread. They would enjoy some fresh free cash and continue living on the back of others. This money however could be used for creating suitable jobs for them, or for their specialized qualification. Another idea is to use that money for work and qualification programs abroad throughout the whole of Europe. Instead of France or Italy or any other better off country having to feed and give social benefits to all the gypsy people from Bulgaria and Romania, why not offer them a temporary program for working or getting a qualification and then return them to their countries so they can be adequate and earn their bread instead of steal it. Why not offer education for their children stimulating them with employment or some kind of social benefit. This is much more effective instead of just giving away money.

  21. avatar
    Iliyanna Shukerova

    Give them this money for recycling for example! Instead of giving it to the big companies which are tampering with the public tenders as they please thanks to the corrupt governments and administrations

  22. avatar
    Margit Kuuse

    I somehow noticed that most of the comments in favour of the basic income are well written and intelligent while the ones against it are normally just angry shoutings against communism (which has actually nothing to do with the basic income)..

    • avatar
      Paul X

      Well written? I’ve yet to see one well written post saying exactly where the money is coming from?

    • avatar

      @Paul X

      The reason you haven’t seen any comments about where the money will come from is because the answer, for the time being, is simply “It depends.” It depends on how much we want to make the UBI. It depends on what administrative costs can be cut from other welfare or what welfare can be cut altogether. It depends on whether we’re willing to increase our debt to cover it or if we’re going to cut other things.

      There are tons of things that will need to be sorted out before it can be properly implemented, but the question now is not yet “How do we implement this?” but rather “Would it be a good idea?” We need to first convince people that a UBI can be a good idea before we start setting every little detail in stone otherwise people will start arguing against the details and dismiss the idea as a whole. If someone came out and said that UBI was supposed to be £50,000 per person per year and all that money would come from the education budget, it would be easy to pick apart why that would be a bad idea, so we have to start with getting the idea into peoples’ heads that the UBI as an idea is a good thing. Then we can start working on the details.

  23. avatar
    Nadezhda Ogden

    Instead of thinking of new kinds of benefits, cash incentives et. Why don’t you bring back all the business from Asian countries back to Europe so people can work and have some dignity instead of relying on the state!

    • avatar

      Exactly also we have to buy from each other rather then from abroad… There is a huuuuge gap in this I think.

  24. avatar
    Carlos Echaide Gorriz

    It is not a good idea, but i like the last comment before mine, it is more about an effort of those huge European companies than that “Basic Income” that will be a dissaster for Europe.

  25. avatar
    Carlos Echaide Gorriz

    It is not a good idea, but i like the last comment before mine, it is more about an effort of those huge European companies than that “Basic Income” that will be a dissaster for Europe.

  26. avatar

    Do you know what we need ? We need to do MUCH MORE business inside the Eurozone we need to keep our factories and business inside the Eurozne, we need to motivate our investors to invest inside rather then abroad… We are fools !!!

  27. avatar
    Luis Prenda

    O desemprego é um grande mal das sociedades dos nossos dias, prejudica toda o desenvolvimento profissional de jovens, adultos como a situação social e financeira de todo o agregado familiar.

  28. avatar
    Egon Witte

    Of course…This will create creativity and a new sense to work..Work makes proud and creative..

  29. avatar

    Let’s make our society a civilization. Finally !

  30. avatar
    Laurent Lhomme

    Basic Income would’ve be cool, but our politicians will never allow it to happen. An article on Slate explained that in western democracies, decisions do not belong AT ALL to the people, but are only taken by a few groups of people who know each one another.

    And that’s why I’ll die of starvation in the street in two months, despite all my efforts, as there’s no job available, and as I don’t get the right to any financial help nor family to temporary help me.

    And I’m afraid, yes, because next winter I’ll sleep outside. But I’ll not become a gangster just because our government is not able to act in the interest of citizen. Nobody cares. Actual system is just completely stupid and corrupted. Jobs are given to who-knows-the-boss. For the random guy, just die in silence with no money at all.

  31. avatar
    Rune Hjertsted Jørgensen

    I’d like to hear some intelligent, well-informed arguments against unconditional basic income. So far there has been none, as far as I can see. Economists (and this is very stereotypical, so sorry for that) do not know what really drives a human being. Their field is money, and they think money is the base motivator for everyone. It is not, and every minute we keep acting like it is, is a minute of untold hurt for untold millions in the world.
    Basic Income can not stand alone, but it is a step in the right direction. Together with more worker-owned businesses, we might really make a better society for all.

  32. avatar
    João Miguel Castro

    It will only be doable and beneficial to the economy and the society at large if enforced together with increased labor market flexibility. In addition, it must be indexed to the annual macroeconomic performance, penalized by government budget deficits and lower than minimum wage. It cannot be an add-on to the existing state-run safety net but a replacement for all the other social security cash transfers from state pensions to unemployment benefits, thus effectively being run as a kind of citizen’s dividend. By principle it shouldn’t be awarded to underage persons.

  33. avatar
    Randy Newt

    An UBI`d remove the investment obstacle for full fledged automization. Crap jobsd become more expensive.
    The “rationale” behind exploiting humans vs investing in machinery is simple: its easier to lobby for exploitative labour laws.

    Of course all those menial workers are dumb and too lazy to have a life of their own. -.-

  34. avatar
    Dimitris Asimomytis

    Yes, because this way you will engage motivation and leadership while you will be reducing inefficient moral hazard and inefficient forced cooperation between economic agents. In essence you isolate survining needs from motivation.

  35. avatar
    Bartu Kaleagasi

    Yes. An unconditional basic income would form a social safety net unlike any other – one that does not discriminate between the rich and the poor. Everyone, no matter how affluent, would be able to afford the basic resources to survive. This would prevent issues such as anxiety, lack of innovation, and the need for transfer payments such as unemployment and welfare benefits. Furthermore, a UBI initiative would allow people to pursue more creative positions without having to fear for their lives when they switch careers or lose their job.

    Nevertheless, it is important to outline the importance of automation in the future of UBI. The most convenient scenario for the implementation of basic income would be one in which automation can replace a certain proportion of jobs, which would then allow people to have shorter working hours and thus decrease over-working and lack of sleep among adults.

    Lastly, UBI would erase the stigma of being on food stamps or unemployment benefits. Since everyone would be benefiting from this paycheck, there would be no clear-cut difference other than their additional work salary on top of the basic income. This may help to improve the distribution of income in Europe. Would this cause inflation due to a rise in disposable incomes? Yes. Would this inflation be enough to completely counteract the positive effects of UBI on lower-income households and entrepreneurs? I don’t believe so – but more solid economic research may be required to find this out.

    Supporting UBI is supporting a step towards a society with greater social mobility and opportunity. As world economies start to transition towards the social democratic model, basic income would be an excellent stepping stone.

  36. avatar
    Pedro Redondeiro

    I am very divided, about the answer, because it would mean that the abusive users os social schemes, would be ven more abusive, menaing that if a mesaure like would be to put in place, then there should be created a stong framework to make sure that everyone would be obligated to be productive to society! ;) Oh, and just to clarify some “brihgt” mindas over here, that call this type of meausres “communist” Measures, i say Switzerland, that is putting foward a similar measure and it is NOT a COMUNIST country at all! ;) So social equality it is not linking and should not be linked to comunism, the true comunism is Russia and China! And trust me these two are defenitely NOT good, in things like equality! :)

  37. avatar

    Everybody should have the basic minimal needs covered by a median income. I’m not talking here about free money or social benefits, but being paid accordingly. Regardless the country of residence. It’s called MINIMUM WAGE. As a consequence the poorest members from the east should raise the minimum, while richest western ones should lower it and no more welfare tourists, Bam !

  38. avatar
    amar negusie

    three dirty papers inside three clay buckets.

  39. avatar

    Funding is the biggest problem to UBI, that is pretty clear, but in reality – these money can be found, however the decision that has to be made is political, meaning we have a very slim chance of getting this to work. Generally – if you get extra money each month you will be helping economy, as you will be spending them – that will affect the economy in a positive way – especially in poor member states. The UBI shouldn’t be the same in each country, it should be based on the country standards. I’m puzzled how people miss the main point of the basic income – this is not about the money – it is about stopping the social outcast of people who cannot afford to integrate in their communities, and these very same people are getting money currently but trough different forms (unemployment help, social help programs, etc.), however as the money are not enough, this help doesn’t make a difference. The people that are getting them are not being able to integrate back in the community, grow and prosper and remain in the very same poverty loop that helps neither state nor the individual.
    Thus said, UBI will help really poor people as they will get something extra on the side that can be spent on their personal development and growth. Lets talk about middle class – the people that are the back bone of the economy in each member state. Most of these people live a decent life, on a tight budget – they plan their expenses carefully and rarely have the ability to spend on something extra (that language course you wanted, or investing in a new business, or pursuing that hobby, looking for the job that you really wanted where the pay is not that good). Same applies when you chose your education – you are interested in Science, but job doesn’t pay well, what do you do… I can tell you, you find, or at least try to find a job that pays better, even though you are not passionate about it. Now imagine there is UBI, and it is enough to pay for your basic needs (food, medicine, a place to sleep). You can now follow your passion, without fearing you won’t have enough for decent living and starve. That is what UBI is about in my opinion. Be sure, there will be people who will take advantage of it, the same way they are taking advantage now with the many different social benefits/help systems in place. This is not going to change unless someone “train” people what is right and what is wrong, and how these people can help themselves. This is one of the main arguments besides the funding, and if you carefully review it you will notice that the very same people that approved “social assistance programs” for people in need , are now telling us that UBI will make people more outcast and live them jobless as they will have everything they need in order to live and lounge all they want for the rest of their lives. And if we agree to that argument, we already lost our future. It is clear, we need to change the system – it is failing, and we need step up and make a difference. UBI is a step forward into a new social system that will help people follow their dreams, and to be thought that money is not the goal, it is the means to get to your goal.Cheers!

  40. avatar

    Just to make myself clear, the Unconditional Basic Income should opposes the dearest bankers principle : “- You don’t make enough money ? No problem… Take a second or 3-rd job !… “.
    – Enough with this bull**crap ! One job, decent wages, more family time.
    And the companies that outsourcing jobs on a regular basis should be terminated or banned to do business in EU.

  41. avatar

    Should everyone in the EU receive an Unconditional Basic Income?

    No, not everyone. Take romanians and bulgarians out of the list. They don’t deserve it because, … hmmm, they are romanians and bulgarians. Just kidding :)

  42. avatar
    catherine benning

    It is imperative that every European worker has a basic income. In every State of the union. That is what is basically a minimum wage. Those who disagree with this concept are cutting off their noses to smite their faces. I never can understand why the downtrodden working man always shoots himself in the foot. Indoctrination has a lot to answer for. Free thinking should be a mandoatory lesson in each and every school.

    Every European citizen needs a basic wage unless we collectively want to emulate a third world lifestyle. And it is not communism, that is a ridiculous viewpoint pushed out by the capitalist hard right to confuse and win over fools.

    And a debate on it.

  43. avatar
    Sarah Stern

    Yes, I want it…as long as we as humans are using money I wish that everyone has access to what the basics needed and to free gardenland aswell…let’s live in dignity not in slavery…

    So many of us have neither access to healthy and fair food choices nor can afford “ethical consumtion” because of being permanently stressed out with survival…this is really sad :-(

    With basic income and access to gardenland we could create a future that is joyful :-) this is what I would prefer

  44. avatar
    Luc Sabbe

    Every citizen should be able to live in dignity. A number of them did fall by accident into poverty. They should be helped as much as possible, but where is the solidarity between family members, friends and even neighbours that kept people out of poverty 100 years ago? In Belgium there is a minimum income of more than 1000 euro. It is even called ” living fee”!. The consequence is already felt: there is a complete lack of initiative now in the Belgian society, and a lot of misuse of that money. So I am against this unconditional income. There is nothing in life that can exist without conditions; except love (and even there…)

    • avatar

      Do you think hunger and depression will be a better alternative to the “lack of initiative ” ? Most of people forget the ’20’s Big Depression. The solution apply in U.S was big national projects government founded, as Freeways / Highways construction. Why not learn from mistakes / causes / solutions ?

  45. avatar
    Sarah Johnson

    I am for the basic income. At the current system only recognises you as being productive if you are working, yet a basic income would recognise those who don’t work but contribute to society in other ways. carers, stay at home mothers, volunteers etc.
    research has shown that young children with 1 parent at home do better in school and are more emotionally stable than those with working parents. a UBI would recognise this and give people the option to be full time parents.
    there would however have to be a system in place to stop providers of essential services (ie accommodation, child care providers etc) raising the cost of their services to absorb the extra income.

  46. avatar

    Put it this way. No more 3-rd world wages !

  47. avatar

    It look very “unattractive” for “I want to get rich yesterday” sort of capitalists, but it should be 0 point, the start, the very origin of the reference axis for any further social upgrades. Why not prove it to the world, Yes We Can !

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      While i agree with you, please don’t use that lying dirt bag’s “slogan”.
      His “hope and change” meant more austerity and more bailouts for the rich in America.

    • avatar

      @Limbidis Arian

      Yes We Can Too ©. No relation whatsoever with Obama presidential campaign. Better ?

  48. avatar

    I totally support UBI.

    Automation is rushing ahead. Half of the current jobs will disappear in the coming 20 years (at least in Western Europe). This will happen across the spectrum, blue collar, white collar. Only the most creative jobs and robot maintenance are somewhat safe. And unlike before 2000, no new jobs will pop up anymore, as more and more is produced with less and less work force.

    Wealth is concentrating in the hands of the few. Even these wealthy people will realize that in countries with 80% unemployment no one is able to buy all the (fancier and fancier) products that are being produced.

    Apart from that, get rid of all the social security bureaucracy and let people choose how they want to live.

    How to fund it? Increase VAT on non-essential products. 0 tax on wages.

    If you think people will loose meaning in life, what is the meaning of working in a call center, shifting around papers in an office or cleaning toilets?

    UBI is not communism, there are hard core capitalists in favor of UBI, which is actually a reason for some of the left leaning folks to be against UBI.

  49. avatar
    Paul X

    @ Alpha

    If the question is “is it a good idea” then the answer is no because UBI will go to those who don’t need it as well as those who do

    And where the money comes from is fundamental to the whole concept, there is not some big pool of money lying around waiting for UBI, somewhere costs are going to have to be be cut and something is going to suffer…and to do this to provide a handout to someone who earns 500,000 Euros a year is wrong

  50. avatar
    Limbidis Arian

    UBI is not communism first of all – let’s get the obvious out of the way.
    It’s NOT. Read a book dammit instead of spewing non-sense ( i’m almost sure Marcel or Tarquin will find a way to spin this anyway ).
    Secondly, people have been SCIENTIFICALLY proven to NOT be motivated by money unless the job is menial and boring – and we can ALREADY automate those.
    So why not automate boring jobs and leave creative jobs to those who WANT and LIKE doing them.

    “B-but, but but., but..LESS PEOPLE WILL WORK !!!!”
    So what? Seriously.
    Less people “working” in soul-crushing jobs = more time for REAL passions, for REAL ..LIVING, for education and research.

    This could be a new way of life for Europeans.
    We could dedicate our spare time to environmental repair, green energy development, education, science, the PROGRESS OF MANKIND dammit, not more “paper-pushing” for some corporation who wants its share of PROFITS.

    This “individualistic” mindset is just backwards.
    The neo-liberal ideology, austerity and that the poor are ‘lazy” are not only bunk but also DANGEROUS ( they give rise to far-right groups )..they’re just BUNK !

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Limbidis Arian
      Not that I doubt your veracity but would you please be so kind as to furnish the forum with a bona fide source [preferably academic] for your claim:

      “…people have been SCIENTIFICALLY proven to NOT be motivated by money unless the job is menial and boring…”

      as if true, it would be great to use such a fact in future debates.

  51. avatar

    Let’s cut the crap. Would you preferred a minimum wage “abuser” or a white collar arrogant neocon banker jobs outsourcer CEO CFO high rank politician oligarch lobbyist crook money launder champagne sipper felon? Who would you give your sweaty worked tax money ?

  52. avatar

    The question is tricky. Whether this should be good or bad, whatever the answer is, first things come first.

    The first issue is that Europe should resolve illegal emigration issues. Otherwise unfortunate fellow human beings from all over the world will run in masses to “Promised Land of Europe” which “offers unconditional basic income”.

    The second issue is that Europe has to establish a unified economy throughout all the countries, that will guarantee such an “unconditional basic income”. Otherwise crowds of people will jump from one country to the other country.

    Additionally, this economy should have such aspects that will guarantee the “unconditional basic income” in the future.

    An also relative issue is that Europe has not a Constitution yet. Without it almost nothing of the above can happen properly.
    Weak countries, without a European Constitution, will keep being weak while strong countries hypocritically will keep accusing them of being weak.

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      Fully agree, UBI will help MORE integration and “more Europe”.

    • avatar
      Paul X

      “Otherwise crowds of people will jump from one country to the other country”

      We’re too late on this one already………..

  53. avatar

    Absolutely must there must be a Base on minimal wage.Ofcourse in more forwarded countries no need from that but in the poor countries with poor politics should be and must be mandatory.

  54. avatar
    George Șavlovschi

    Removing the worry of food and requirements for a decent living shouldn’t only be the norm, or in discussion but should be a basic human right! I approve of this!

  55. avatar

    did you hear about the proposal from Philippe Van Parijs, it can be an answer to Katarína Neveďalová’s question and doubt ( the Slovakian MEP): Criticizing is easy. Making proposals is harder. Here is one, simple and radical, yet — I shall argue — reasonable and urgent.

  56. avatar
    Jan Kristoffersen

    It would be an important step towards the future where unemployment will rise due to emprovements in technology.

  57. avatar

    A basic income, only to keep basic needs covered, I don’t think will make people stops to work! Oppossite, people will work without be afraid of be break up, and they will be more efficients and more focus to works in which they can be better on. Also many people could think about start business with great ideas without be afraid of lost the basics. So, yesss!!

  58. avatar
    Paul X

    I disagree making proposals is easy……making serious, realistic, workable proposals is hard

    As usual with people like this he writes lots of paragraphs of waffle justifying how much we need this and what a brilliant idea it is, but only one line about how it is going to be funded
    He basically proposes making everything more expensive by harmonising VAT and then will give a basic sum of money to every person in the Eurozone……… presumably this is so they can still afford to buy the same stuff they could before the VAT increase?

  59. avatar
    Tarquin Farquhar

    Define what is meant by “BASIC INCOME” first.

    Some countries in the EU believe such an income would include the running of a car, holidays, servants, free alcohol, free cigarettes – others in the Northern EU are a bit more pragmatic.

    • avatar
      Paul X

      Yes he explains what basic income is but as usual there is very little detail on how it will be funded

      “There are as many ways to fund it as there are countries in the world” I believe he says at one point?….so what are they?

      Reading between his waffling answer the only way to fund it is by Tax, and you only get tax from people who are working (income) or people who are spending (VAT) Yet these same working and spending people will also recieve UBI so just who is net contributing to this system? it’s like the holy grail of money…..everyone is a winner and nobody is paying? …dream on

    • avatar

      Catherine, the danger I see with this type of “unconditional” basic income is further social isolation of already weaker parts of our populations and at the same time, under the EU regime, it would mean an additional powerful pull factor for immigration from outside Europe.
      I prefer the current social security system as we have it in Germany/Austria which financially is the same as a basic income (about € 800) but keeps the receipient in a regular communication with social agencies which are supposed to help the person to reintegrate sooner or later in the value producing stream of life.
      To me, the interviewee in your video represents very much the kind of individual I have sketched in my other posting. But this type of people will get along anyway economically and do not need unconditional incomes. Those who lack income in our societies, usually also need some kind of social (communicative) support.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Catherine Benning
      Oh, err, I see several posters have highlighted the weaknesses in your ‘explanation’.

      The words ‘glass’, ‘houses’,’throwing’ and ‘stones’ appear most apposite at this juncture, what sayest thou oh faux Brit?

  60. avatar

    I think a basic income (say £5000 per year) would be enough to
    1) Allow subsistence living without fear of starving/freezing
    2) Wipe out the need to claim most benefits
    3) Provide a mechanism for the ambitious to have genuine choice of employment, by making most minimum wage/zero hours contracts obsolete
    4) Add to social cohesion by negating the workers/shirkers rhetoric favoured by the ignorant
    5) etc, etc.

    • avatar

      Well David, with regard to #1) the Fund Stream with your name on it only has 4999 pounds in it – So what will happen to you next year?

  61. avatar

    You cannot be for free trade and for a basic income at the same time.

    And besides, everyone will move where the ‘basic income’ is the highest. And why work? You get a basic income anyhow.

    Or the basic income is gonna be the same everywhere. I do see a problem with that. To put it at the ‘highest’ (ie German/Dutch/Finnish/Austrian) level we cannot afford that. Or is it gonna be the same everywhere in which case for most in Northwest Europe it will mean a serious reduction.

  62. avatar

    Instead of money for free, support new business activities reduce taxes to small companies and help this small companies to support the unemployed people.
    Promote unemployed people to open small business contribute for a more wide and durable help, reduce taxes and social taxes for more then two years. It’s not a Shin to be able to work. It’s a shin to close and do not help other to engage work.

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      You can’t “promote small businesses” because BIG businesses will innevitably destroy them AND because you are missing the point.

      And it’s not “money for free”, it freeing people of SLAVE-like jobs and being able to work in the field they want. Usually far more produtctive than a damn paper-pusher or some corporate boot-licker.

  63. avatar

    Don’t give a fish to a man help him to understand how to get more fish. The Work policies in EU must change, the are many problems the people are very “far from Brussels” and the are many people doing nothing there, it means that this money is to calm down the masses ? reduce taxes to small companies and promote the opening of new companies be criative instead of beeing politicians, The EU parlament it’s not a companie to gain money the politics must understand that politics are to rule countries not to make money into there pockets. Give and open hand of new rules and taxes instead of charge more from people.

  64. avatar

    Even if you want it, it’s not going to happen. Enforcing such a law does not concord with EU’s opt-out policy, and requires additional political leverage which Bruxel is not capable of.

  65. avatar

    This is the only way that makes any sense and according to tests already made it would work just fine. Test shows increased life quality, decreased sick leave, no one who already had a job would quit working, the only one who stopped working was moms with children and teenagers who instead attended school which resulted in less drop outs and nearly 100% of them finished their education. It also seemed to have the ability to free peoples time and more individual projects and businessess and jobs was created. So it’s a win-win thing for everyone and the whole society. Brainwashed rich people have to stop thinking they HAVE to have ‘slaves’ in society for it to work and for them to feel rich. It’s an outdated mindset and this is the future.

    • avatar

      Well said Michael !:-)

  66. avatar

    Nothing will change for the better economically until we change the present parasitic, deceptive and unsustainable banking system! Debt-free currency and the ‘Gift’ Economy have a great potential. For those of you interested in a higher perspective and potential on money, p!ease take a look at Berne Hückstad’s ~ Gradido (Based on the cycles of Nature) Also Charles Eisenstein’s ~ Sacred Economics…. * Both books are a Free Download, if you want ! ……as well as Positive Money .org. The creation of money MUST be brought back into the hands of the people and away from a parasitic ruling elite – for who, too much is never enough !

  67. avatar
    eusebio manuel vestias pecurto

    Eu defendo que os paises comprogramase os paises mais desenvolvidos da Europa deviam fazer mais reformas como nos sistemas de financiamento dos partidos e criar uma nova economia de regas na produtividade e em regas de desenvolvimento Mas há uma questão que ainda não conseguiram resolver Eu defendo novos competidores os empreendedores sociais de mercado conjuntamente com a sustentabilidade e a inovação com evolução humana criam novas oportunidades num mercado mais rico e mais justo

  68. avatar

    I think we also have to consider the cost of not putting basic income in place. Right now there aren’t enough jobs for the working age people we have. With automation that’s only going to decrease. Yet 1st world countries are more productive than ever. Through the recessions our resources didn’t change. Uk and usa had more than enough to meet everyone’s needs.
    The main problem is that money trickles up, not down. If we don’t put more money in the hands of the poor we’re going to end up with a world where the handful of jobs available go to the few lucky ones (or more likely the already rich) and everyone else is either demonised on welfare or begging in the streets. Some might say we’re there already.
    We need to get out of this mindset of blaming the poor for being poor, and accept that we’re fast heading toward a future where we don’t need everyone to work. We can either ignore it while people suffer, run from it by creating meaningless jobs out of thin air, or see it as something positive. Wouldn’t you like knowing you can afford to spend more time with your family, go back to school to improve your prospects, or know that if you lose your job you won’t end up on the streets?
    I’m disabled, but because the government is pinching pennies from the poor I can’t get the help I need like transport to work or any kind of security blanket if I start a new job and find the environment too overstimulating or discriminatory against someone with my issues. Bi would mean I could spend more time on my home buisness and have greater independence and get a lot more out of life by working on things that matter to me.
    Basic income could change a lot of lives for the better.

  69. avatar
    Frances Elaine Leader

    We need to resolve the extreme poverty enacted by the false austerity imposed by our corrupt governments all over the EU. We INSIST & DEMAND that this idea becomes LAW in Europe – then more of the public might come to respect the unity that the EU aspires to create among us.

  70. avatar

    So if you receive an “unconditional basic income” you are STILL UNEMPLOYED! The secret to not being unemployed is to get off ones ass and look for gainful employment and pay your own way. What the hell ever happened to this generation of freaking lazy, slothful bums looking for a perennial handout?? Stop listening to the socialists who are the greediest SOBs on the planet and start taking care of yourself your self worth and your families again. Everywhere socialism rears its pathetic head throughout history – it has failed. You want a free basic income? From WHO?? Who is working to generate all this wealth to hand out to everyone? Think again – that too will soon dry up.

  71. avatar

    Not living in the reality are we now, your reasoning fails big time dude, we have had kind of socialism in Scandinavia for a long time and as you know these countries are by far the most successful countries in the world. You muricans have a hard time to distinguish between socialism and communism which is not the same thing. Your ‘reasoning’ is so outdated and comes from the conditioning and brainwashing when the industrialism took on in the 1800’s. You seriously need to update. There is no lack of jobs on this planet, there’s tons of things that needs to be done but there’s no one paying people for it. People are not lazy, that’s just a easy scapegoat for mindless non thinkers to use and it’s a lie and a big fail. On the contrary, when people are given money they always seem to make good for it, for every dollar given the value of that dollar will be like 4-5 dollar in a short time. The money to pay for this is already at hand, we the people have worked hard for this for over 150 years. The rich just have to stop stealing from the people, they are taking everything and they are in fact the ones who are getting ‘handouts’ not the poor. The big bailouts of the banks are in fact ‘socialism’ handouts to the rich, nothing more. By 2050 about 50% of all jobs and professions will be gone so there is no ‘go out and get yourself a descent job and pay for yourself’ anymore. That’s an illusion we need to leave behind to be able to move on. I’ve seen numbers there’s already 10 people on every job on this planet and increasing so how do you suggest we ‘just go out and find yourself a descent job’ when there are none?

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