From the idea of a basic income to the political movement in Europe

First calls for a basic income in Germany were made in 1982 by the independent unemployed initiatives. They refused forced employment and demanded a basic income, the so-called Existenzgeld, securing both livelihood and participation which they wanted to use to live an independent life and to work self-organised. Their definition of poverty includes several forms of individual and social work. They criticised the incapacitation and the existential enforcement created by gainful employment as well as state intervention in education and cultural life. Instead, they asked for self-organised education and culture, political activities free from material fear for livelihood and self-organised material production in solidary economies. The fight for the livelihood benefit was and still is accompanied by additional claims: minimum wages and reduction of working hours, use of public infrastructures free of charge, gender equality in the distribution of gainful employment and reproduction as well as the acquisition of production conditions and means of production. Although the unemployed initiatives (independent from state, church, welfare organisations and labour unions) acted against the background of rising mass unemployment in Germany, their political agenda reaches much wider than only to the topic of unemployment and aims to be a society-changing concept.

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Ronald Blaschke From the idea of a basic income to the political movement in Europe - development and questions

translated by Katharina Messinger


1. Short history of the idea of a basic income in Europe and the US

2. The idea of a basic income becomes the political call of a wide, but politically differently coined movement in Germany

3. The European Basic Income Movement

4. Market liberal and emancipatory approaches to reasoning for and design of a
basic income

4.1 Occupation, welfare state and radical democratisation of society and economy
4.2 Public goods, infrastructure and services
4.3 Redistribution
4.4 Gender equality
4.5 Reduction in use of natural resources
4.6 Global Social Rights

5. The European Basic Income Movement – Questions



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