Germany begins trial for universal basic income

Germany will provide the citizens a monthly stipend of €1,200, or about $1,430, which is just above the country's poverty level.

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With the social and financial damage COVID-19 has done to worldwide economies, Germany will experiment with universal basic income over a three year period with 120 volunteers. The experiment will be conducted by the German Institute for Economic Research and funded by 140,000 individuals’ private donations.

Germany will provide the citizens a monthly stipend of €1,200, or about $1,430, which is just above the country’s poverty level. These citizens will be compared to 1,380 other German citizens not receiving universal basic income (UBI).

According to Business Insider, BUI is “the idea that a government should pay a lump sum of money to each of its citizens, usually once a month, regardless of their income or employment status, effectively replacing means-tested benefits.”

Supporters of UBI said this experiment is needed for financial security especially among the marginally poor as it will help with unemployment, hunger and other financial and emotional distresses. Andrew Yang, the former Democratic presidential candidate hopeful for 2020, said “universal basic income is needed in order to prevent a worsening of the humanitarian and financial crisis the country is facing right now,” True Activist reported.

But critics of BUI call it a “neoliberal trojan horse” and said the idea is too expensive and will deter citizens from wanting to work.

Jürgen Schupp, who is leading the study, told a German newspaper “that it would improve the debate about universal basic income by producing new scientific evidence,” Business Insider reported.

“It is — on both sides — shaped by clichés: Opponents claim that with a basic income people would stop working in order to dull on the couch with fast food and streaming services,” Schupp said. “Proponents argue that people will continue to do fulfilling work, become more creative and charitable, and save democracy. We can improve this if we replace these stereotypes with empirically proven knowledge and can therefore lead a more appropriate debate.”

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