In the midst of the economic crisis unleashed on a global scale by the pandemic of coronavirus, Germany started a project that will deliver, over three years, a basic income of $1,466 per month to more than one hundred people for no particular reason or conditions.

The motives? “We want to empirically study whether and in what way the regular contribution of a sum of money above the subsistence level influences the behavior of people”, declared Jürgen Schupp, of the German Institute for Economic Research.

“We will analyze what people do when they have material security for three years. Do you spend the money or save it as a financial reserve? Do you stop working or do you work less? Are you becoming more social and giving more?”, he indicated.

The plan, called “My basic income”, will deliver this amount to 122 people drawn from among some two million volunteers after a long selection process. They all live alone and are between 21 and 40 years old.

To sign up, they did not have to show any document and neither should they have shown financial problems; in fact they can work without inconvenience.


“It is in this age group that the great decisions in life are made. We want to know if an unconditional basic income affects these decisions and how,” explained Michael Bohmeyer, one of the initiators.

“The debate on basic income is dominated by ideological convictions. We want to know what it really is,” he added.

Likewise, according to the organizers, which also include the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Commons and the University of Cologne, it is a question of studying whether the beneficiaries use their new freedom for the benefit of the community.

The grant is financed by donations from some 181,000 contributors and the project will be scientifically evaluated in the framework of a long-term study.

To do this, the scientists will carry out periodic surveys among the participants to ask them how their daily lives change in terms of work, finances, family and relationships, social contacts and possible psychological changes. On the other hand, they will analyze hair samples to determine the level of stress.

For these 43,200 euros that participants will receive in three years, they will not have to declare taxes.

A new test

This is the second initiative of its kind promoted by the Berlin private organization “Mein Grundeinkommen” (“My base income”). A first experiment, on a smaller scale and aimed at low-income people, took place in 2017, during which 85 people received $1,220 per month.

According to what was published by the DW chain, the promoters of this text want to show that giving money to citizens without conditions could be an effective way to solve many of the problems of today’s life, such as pressure and stress to which the Germans go through every day to earn enough money to make ends meet.

The organizers of this income assure that with a measure like this the population will be freer, more creative, happier.

The allocation of a basic income, sometimes also called “universal income”, has already been tried in other countries, but it is often limited to the socially disadvantaged. And in Germany this question is discussed over and over again on the political level, but at the moment there are no majorities that support it.

On this occasion, a total of $6.3 million will be donated for this project.

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