The future of work is going to be characterised by keywords, such as big data, automation, standardisation, job losses, the gap between rich and poor, the crumbling of the social market economy and many more similar terms. Is an unconditional basic income the key to innovation, an increase in GDP, and a new type of human and social coexistence? Does an unconditional basic income really finance itself because savings in administration and increased production due to automation can then cover the expenses? Who is going to pocket the bill for an unconditional income? The state or the wealthy elite ‑analogous to the “Giving Pledge”?
In a continuation of her Duet interviews, Dr Caldarola, author of Big Data and Law, talks to sociologist Prof. Dr Jürgen Schupp, co-author of the recent book “Basic Income – From the Vision to the Creeping Welfare State Transformation” 1, about the paradigm shift regarding unconditional income in the digital age.
You teach and conduct research on the concept of an unconditional basic income and coordinate a pilot project with the aim of empirically testing the feasibility of a basic income. Around 290,000 private individuals have made donations to finance a monthly unconditional basic income for 122 recipients for a period of three years. These are payments totalling 5 million euros that are being redistributed within society. Before we start, could you briefly introduce our readers to the idea of an unconditional basic income? Where did it come from and who came up with the concept? What does an unconditional basic income mean? What advantages and disadvantages does it offer and what developments or trends can we observe at the global level?
Prof. Dr Schupp: The first demand for a guaranteed income appeared in Thomas More’s novel Utopia, more than 500 years ago. In 1797, Thomas Paine, one of the founding fathers of the basic income debate, put it this way: “It is proposed that the payments, as already stated, be made to everyone, rich or poor. It is best to do so to avoid envious distinctions. It is further right that it ought to be so, because it takes the place of the natural inheritance, which is every man’s right over and beyond property which he has acquired or inherited from people who acquired it. Anyone who does not wish to accept it may throw it into the common fund”.2 The editors of a notable historical overview of the basic income, Philip Kovce and Birger P. Priddat, classify the proposal of the native Englishman and honorary French citizen Paine as an alternative to the welfare system for the poor which is what was known at the time and to the social security system, which only developed in Germany 100 years later. The authors saw this proposal as a basic security that ensured that everyone should be provided with a one-off share capital upon entering adulthood and later with a regular basic pension.3
An unconditional basic income grants every citizen of a country a permanent and indefinite (lifelong from the perspective of the individual) basic income that ensures every individual a livelihood – and prevents poverty and thus enables social participation. Such a legal entitlement would exist without there being a primary obligation to be gainfully employed or other similar obligations- without having to rely on existing personal or family income or assets of a spouse or other dependent persons.
In this debate, it is important to distinguish between an unconditional basic income which is meant to combat hunger and absolute poverty and is to be implemented in less economically developed countries. In economically developed industrial and welfare states, however, it is intended as an alternative or supplement to existing social security systems and is to be introduced as a general civil right. The fight against poverty is not the main issue here. Rather, the reduction of (social) bureaucracy and the separation between gainful employment and income security and the introduction of a new civil right become more important in this debate.
We currently have a world population of 8 billion people and are well on the way to reaching the 10 billion mark. How many people would benefit from an unconditional income? What would happen to the billions of people living in poverty who have no education? Are they all to receive an unconditional income?
Unconditional basic incomes are intended as a permanent and indefinite payment on the part of the state to secure the livelihood of citizens. Paying everyone an unconditional basic income at the global level is something we are far from achieving but which is worth striving for and yet cannot alleviate the real problems of the world. You address the problem of poverty. When it comes to poverty – that is, people dying of hunger because they are unable to feed themselves – I do indeed see a need for action. World Bank field experiments on this topic show that an unconditional direct payment to people living in extreme poverty in less developed countries is a superior alternative for tackling hunger to traditional forms of developmental aid, where funds are paid in lump sums to states that use and distribute these funds at their own discretion.
In Germany, we also know what poverty means and, as a legal right, we know that the state grants a basic wage such as Hartz IV, social assistance and basic security in old age. However, an unconditional income would not be limited to those people who are affected by financial need or who either must or can turn to the state because of their poverty. Indeed, even the wealthy would receive an unconditional basic income. The advantage of an unconditional basic income with regard to poverty would be that all those poor people who, out of shame or other reasons, do not visit the authorities today and do not submit an application would also be included. This is the so-called hidden poverty that we know in Germany and that is missing in today’s statistics. This phenomenon of hidden poverty would be virtually eliminated by an unconditional income, since the journey to claim benefits from a government agency would be a thing of the past.
Should Industry 4.0 become a reality in industrialised nations, meaning achieving the next step in automation, the production of goods and services would become so efficient and cost-effective that not only the industrialised but also developing countries, such as African nations, could be supported with a system of. unconditional basic income payments. Feeding people is not a matter of resources. Rather, it is primarily a problem of distribution – an asymmetry between the highly developed rich countries and the less developed countries. As a result, we still have a high percentage of poverty. We, meaning the UN but also Germany, have committed ourselves to achieving so-called sustainable development goals – including the fight against global poverty – by the year 2030. We have been very successful since the signing of the agreement in question – at least until the outbreak of Covid, when the positive development trend reversed again. Instead of falling poverty numbers, we are now seeing rising numbers again. This shows how difficult it will be to achieve this goal by 2030.
The Taylorism associated with work and thus partial automation already began with the industrial revolution. With the use of digital technologies, automation is progressing even more because machines and digital tools are taking over the labour of many workers in greater numbers than ever before. The “remaining” work that people can still do will be in particular areas, such as nursing, or will require specific cross-disciplinary skills that only a small number of people will be able to provide. Is an unconditional income the solution for the many unemployed of the future?
I would view that in a more nuanced way. An unconditional basic income would, at least for a while, alleviate worries about the future for those who are affected by technological progress and who might lose their jobs in the future. People actually want to keep their jobs. They want to earn further qualifications and gain social recognition by being employed and working. They therefore would want to do the jobs that are no longer available and compensate by taking on new ones. Empirical studies on technology (e.g., AI) and work development show that it is less a matter of entire classes of jobs being eliminated than individual areas of a job. These studies also show that employees have opportunities for further development over the course of their careers; this also includes being able to summon up the courage to choose a path to self-employment.
For those jobs where entire types of activities are lost because companies are no longer viable on the market and are no longer competitive, an unconditional income would help to deal with the spectre of unemployment. But money alone does not guarantee people new fields of employment. At this point, we need a more effective mechanism that, on the one hand, reduces the fear of financial collapse and, on the other hand, creates incentives for people to invest in activities or professional fields and get set for the future. Those are our future tasks and here the state must take on a supporting and guiding role.
In a previous interview with Daniel Goeudevert, it was said that the freedom to choose good or evil in the digital age was being reduced by the application of big data, algorithms, AI… as well as by the presence of an information overload and the use of agnotology. This statement was justified by the fact that people hardly seem to be in a position to understand digital processes anymore, particularly given that they are not really transparent anyway. As a result, it is difficult for people to assume responsibility, if they can hardly form their own judgments. Is an unconditional income a solution for increasing the scope of the freedom of choice and independence again? Or to put it another way: If I receive an unconditional income, am I then free and no longer dependent on an employer?
In a world of basic income, people are definitely in a better position to reject certain working conditions. We would then be able to speak more freely towards an employer we don’t like or whose working conditions we don’t like. In the current system, employees cannot simply say “no” because otherwise they would lose their jobs and thus the financial security for themselves and their families for the next few months. The freedom to say “no” to existing employment or bad employment increases with the introduction of an unconditional basic income.
The variety of options which, generally speaking, are more readily available to the employer than to the employee – would shift in the direction of the employee. I don’t think that an unconditional basic income will stop everyone from working. This is also confirmed by a series of field experiments, such as were recently held in Finland. For people, freedom from work is not the goal for a meaningful life. People want to participate in the labour market because work may be exhausting at times, but, in most cases, it is also fulfilling. Work promotes social aspects, creates interpersonal connections and promotes social integration. That’s why we also need to look closely at what people are actually doing when unconditional payments are being made.
The latest field experiments have so far confirmed that people don’t usually quit, but might perhaps work less in their existing jobs, especially if other tasks, such as raising children or caring for older family members, have to be accounted for. Work will not become obsolete. Rather, an adjustment to the work-life balance will take place. The same can also be observed in the case of childless employees who do not need to care for older family members. Some spend more time doing their hobbies and this creates space for creativity. Others get involved in volunteer work or in the neighbourhood and here the aspect of a common good is strengthened. These activities become more important because people can put more effort in these new fields.
We must therefore broaden the concept of employment in general so that it includes diverse forms of work which are not remunerated at the moment – including civic duties within a democratic society that are definitely important to the system as a whole. This is something we experienced, for example, during the pandemic but also with the flood disasters last year. Therefore, focusing on paid labour in competition with work done by machines or robots isn’t sustainable in the long term. We must reconsider the whole concept of work. We have to take a closer look at what is actually done with the new spare time when – and I agree with you – paid work becomes scarcer. The importance of personal services will increase in areas, where there are sure to be an increase in needs, not least due to demographic changes. And this emotional activity cannot always be substituted by paid work alone. Rather, this type of labour which people do of their own free will serves the entire community. The anxiety and fear that arises when paid work becomes scarcer, – i.e. All the mental and health issues, such as stress and, in the worst-case scenario, depression, would decrease with the introduction of guaranteed payments. This is shown by field studies, such as the study from Finland mentioned above. In Germany we still don’t have enough empirical facts. It is also possible that people sit passively in front of the television, PC, streaming services or social media and invest their unconditional money in digital platforms to pass the time. This is an empirical question about which we know far too little. For this purpose, research should be carried out so that more facts and insights emerge and clichés and stereotypes are eliminated.
Big data, algorithms and other digital tools do not produce qualitative but rather quantitative aspects. Many portals offer log-in screens aimed at standardisation. What will happen to creativity, disruptive innovation, human values, human togetherness? Would these values flourish again with the introduction of an unconditional income, and would that have a positive impact on the GDP?
I do not rule out the possibility of an unconditional basic income offsetting dwindling innovation, certain values and the common good. But I am also enough of a realist to know that it cannot be a panacea for socio-political change processes which can only be solved by a monthly cash payment. We need enough space and prosperity in our society so that creativity, collectivity and important values are able to flourish and advance. It is a question of how our education system will continue to develop, which skills will be considered to be desirable, which curricula we will have and in which direction we will head and how we will educate the next generation to shape our future. And it is this very generation which is facing enormous challenges with regard to climate change: an immense task, especially for the governments.
An unconditional basic income would be a new evolutionary process, a shift in paradigm which would trigger many new questions and set many spiritual, moral and economic forces in motion. For example, what does work mean for people? Will they be satisfied and comfortable without work and without a regular workflow? What could then bring meaning to our lives and what could give us satisfaction? Today, investment is taking the place of work. What comes next? Will we able to manage those changes and how will the state react to this transformation or “change”?
Evolution? I would say that compared to our existing social security system, an unconditional basic income is more than an evolution. This is a transition to a new system where there is no need for an evaluation by an agency. Our current support payments – unemployment insurance, health and nursing care insurance, pensions, etc. – are based on the premise that people can no longer help themselves. The moment a person has assets or lives in a partnership with someone who is wealthy, the existing assets are taken into account in our social security system and although the person in question is deemed to be in a state of need – which the community supports through tax payments- their support is decreased. This is currently under debate and is the topic of much discussion. It’s about sanctions – i.e., the reduction of state benefits – for those unemployed who do not comply with the obligation to report to a job centre. In a world of unconditional basic income, every citizen would receive a reliable cash payment at birth as a “natural inheritance”- as a basic endowment. This applies both to people who live in modest circumstances as well as to the very wealthy.
It’s similar with German child support benefits, which come closest to the idea of an unconditional basic income. Every child receives child support benefits from birth up to a certain age, regardless of the income level of their parents and the amount depends on the number of children. The current debate about basic child security is aimed at a change in child benefit, where the state would like to give every child the same amount of money as a tax relief or as a positive payment, because, as things stand, the child benefits of a multimillionaire’s child are higher than those due to the income of parents who are on social welfare. The current debate on basic child security in the coalition agreement of the new “traffic light coalition” government shows that this topic is on the daily agenda of leading politicians.
This example also makes it clear once more that a change of course is required – namely from a payment currently aimed at supporting those who benefit from the payments into a future which guarantees money payments. This is an institutionally significant change but the central question of an institutional transformation- especially with regard to what form tax-based financing would have to take- still needs to be discussed and democratically resolved.
Social market economies are based on labour. They depend on the prosperity of the individual, the income of the state, and financial provisions for illness and old age. Is the promise of a social market economy crumbling? Is the unconditional basic income a solution?
The question is whether the individual will continue to be entitled to protection in the future in the event of special needs, for example, due to illness or disability. Above all, however, this has to be synchronised with work incentives. Paid as well as unpaid labour is the foundation of any social market economy and an indicator of a nation’s prosperity.
The usual measure of prosperity is quantified by calculating the gross national product, which currently includes all paid services that are performed in an economy. The calculation of the gross national product would have to be adjusted because of the increase in unpaid labour. We need to make the change from our current system to a new system in an intelligent fashion; our existing calculation of the gross national product must be overhauled ‑not to mention adjusting our tax system and our social security accordingly. One thing, however, is clear: Citizens do not want to completely give up the achievements they already have – even in a system of unconditional income.
People with multiple disabilities receive higher payments and this system should also be maintained and should not be compensated with a lump-snum payment of basic security, as is the case for people without disabilities. These people have health restrictions due to their disability and are therefore in need. That is why a welfare state will still be required in the future which balances unconditional basic incomes and paid workloads through tax deductions and social security contributions. These elements still need some adjustment. For the lower income groups, in particular, it is important to find a suitable mechanism to ensure that the incentives for doing paid and taxable work remain high. Then the idea of a social market economy will also remain sustainable and be transformed to include an unconditional basic income as a universal income for all citizens.
With the advent of digitalisation, we are experiencing a power shift from the state to the private sector. The new players are called GAFAM. Are they also behind an unconditional basic income and will they configure it so that people have the income needed to buy their products and services? Will they ensure that people’s freedom of choice expands?
A healthy degree of scepticism is definitely warranted concerning this question. It is striking that a number of multi-billionaires who are associated with global companies are conspicuously attached to the idea of an unconditional basic income. We have to wonder if they want their platforms and services to be in continuous demand and are thus trying to ensure their use with a basic income financed by the state through taxes.
The premise of a basic income must include a high level of willingness to work and to do something for society, and that purely consumptive behaviour does not benefit society. The idea of polarising growing economic inequality, which is reflected in your question, should not be accelerated by a basic income. Rather, reducing the degree of economic inequality would be desirable – however, supporters of the idea of a basic income come from camps which are both supportive and critical of capitalism; Therefore, the question of how it is to be financed and using what sort of tax is a central aspect for shaping the future distribution of income and wealth.
If we assume that power does shift from the state to the private sector, then it becomes obvious that social and statutory duties of care, which are meant to be performed by the state, are not to be passed on to the private sector. The assets of this GAFAM are cleverly managed from a tax point of view – for tax-saving purposes, they are often placed in foundations, where the ostensible purposes of the foundation in question do not necessarily coincide with the state’s duty of care and the democratically agreed upon goals of a welfare state. The founders themselves define the purpose of the foundation to suit their financial goals and their preferences. GAFAM makes a lot of money, becomes even more powerful through insight into data, increases their efficiency via automation and so on. Consequently, if there is less paid labour, there will be at the very least a decrease in payroll tax revenues because we are taxing human labour and not machine labour. That is why we need new types of taxes.
One possible approach could be natural resource taxes, such as higher taxes on oil and other natural resources that could not only fund universal basic income schemes, but also our interactions for the good of our planet. We are familiar with the CO2 tax, which does not tax work, but instead CO2 emissions only.
The recently deceased Götz Werner advocated an increase in consumption tax: “Taxes per se are not the problem”. The cardinal error lies in the system of tax collection. It starts where something is done. That is the reason why a feeling of injustice is gradually creeping in. It would be much fairer and more comprehensible to levy the tax only when the service is being used. Whether consumption taxes would really be fairer at the social level has to remain doubtful so long as, for example, the prices for daily needs and housing rise and the amount of basic income were not adjusted, commensurate with inflation.
Another possibility would be taxing money transactions- even if it is only at a low-level. Austria, for example, had proposed a financial transaction tax of 0.94% on all financial transactions made in Austria but a 2019 referendum on this proposal voted against it. These types of approaches are being discussed as a way to refinance unconditional basic incomes. Perhaps we need a mix of different types of taxation because both paid and unpaid labour exist.
According to the Federal Ministry of Finance, roughly 3 million people in Germany earn less than 2000 euros (gross income) per month although they work full-time, while 10 million earn less than 12 euros an hour. Since 2010, the inequality of annual incomes in Germany has been on the rise again. Wages and salaries of the richest 10% have increased particularly sharply. The bottom line is that the poorest third has benefited little or have even lost ground in Germany over the last three decades. Nevertheless, during this period taxes were lowered for the top third of income groups and significantly increased for the bottom half. Almost half of the population has hardly any savings or provisions for old age or for the family. Could an unconditional basic income help stop the widening gap between rich and poor? Will the rich be funding this universal basic income?
Containment will depend on how any basic income has been designed and funded. If we look at income tax, for instance, the top 10% would have to pay a disproportionate amount of tax and the question for politicians would then be how much of an income tax burden the top 10% could be expected to bear. Therefore, the answer is that with a basic income – as is currently being discussed – one could drastically reduce the existing inequality. On the other hand, it is also true that with such a basic income, the top 10% would also receive a basic income. So, while you would pay more on balance, as a recipient of a basic income you would of course receive a tax-free allowance, which would be set at double the current tax-free allowance. Whether the polarisation between rich and poor can be curbed depends very much on whether future tax rates are in the lower income levels (i.e., just above the unconditional basic income). If this is used for relief and there is an incentive for gainful employment (i.e., additional work is not penalised as is currently the case with Hartz IV recipients, where 80% of the additional income is lost), then it might succeed. This means that the threshold would have to be set above the basic income limit as well as of additional gainful employment, so that the inequality between rich and poor would be compensated. What would definitely be resolved would be the phenomenon of hidden poverty which I mentioned earlier.
In the USA there is an initiative entitled “the Giving Pledge” which was started by Warren Buffet. Very-wealthy members of society pledge to give away a large part of their wealth during their lifetime. Is “the Giving Pledge” a template for an unconditional basic income? Do Germany’s wealthy-elite bear some responsibility for the gap between rich and poor because their salaries have doubled since the early 1990s? Will the crisis of social inequality be alleviated or exacerbated?
The Giving Pledge trend is difficult to recognise among Germany’s top earners. Even if donations are by no means low at around 10 billion euros a year, as a DIW study found, these amounts could still be increased.
We cannot do without our current welfare state because it takes on important and systemically relevant tasks in our community that are not carried out by the top earners. A development which is based on voluntary donations or voluntary taxes would be a good thing – and there are isolated initiatives such as “Give directly” in the USA, which also generously finance research in the field of unconditional basic incomes.
However, it would require a lot of optimism to believe that the German wealthy elite would get carried away by this movement and do something to counteract inequality of their own accord.
A lot could be achieved if the wealthy elite stopped avoiding paying taxes, which at the moment they can do in many perfectly legal ways and if they accepted that taxation ultimately secures the future of their assets in Germany. Ultimately, this also includes tax compliance and a willingness to pay as opposed to tax evasion – even if tax avoidance is often considered a virtue these days. It would require a reassessment of Mammon among the top earners who now claim tax avoidance is simply good form or make a sport out of tax avoidance. Tax payments are ultimately a guarantee for maintaining social peace. When social inequality reaches dangerous levels, violent clashes can ensue – as the yellow vest demonstrations in France have shown – which endanger even the wealthiest. At that point the wealthy elite will have to retreat to separate communities in order to be able to live peacefully and still be able to enjoy their wealth. I would be a proponent of tax compliance and advocate that tax compliance be made a virtue. The current slogan ” the person who pays a lot of taxes is stupid” is naive. Those who pay a lot of taxes also contribute to the functioning of our society and pay their share towards solving the problem of polarisation in our society. The honest taxpayer should be appreciated and their contribution valued more than someone who avoids taxes professionally, takes their earnings and assets across the border with 3 clicks and thus does nothing to finance German tax authorities who in turn support social institutions, judicial systems, the armed forces, the police, emergency services and so on.
You advocate financing an unconditional basic income through a financial transaction tax. I assume you make a distinction between real and financial economies: The real economy, meaning the economy that employs people and usually produces goods, and a financial economy, where financial transactions take place (mostly using algorithms and automated processes). In 1970, financial and real economies were still in sync. By 1990, however, the financial world was already leading by 2:1. In the year 2000 the ratio was 3:1. Today the world’s financial wealth is at $300 trillion. That’s almost four times as much as all real economic values combined. Is this financial economy and its returns financing the pandemic today and will it perhaps be doing the same for unconditional incomes? If this is the case, then we must not forget that real and financial economies are dependent on one another. What impact will this dependency have on the real economy – especially if the real economy employs fewer and fewer people – given that the financial sector needs the real economy, its investments and huge tax write-offs? Will we still depend on the real economy and, if so, would the conditions have to change?
While I am no expert at assessing the relationship between real and financial economies at the macroscopic level, the fact remains, however, that the base of the German real economy will have to grow in the next few years so that we can face the challenge of climate change and also cope with other difficulties, such as demographic ones, in a very short period of time. The financial industry uses digital tools to a large extent because speculations are analysed and processed by algorithms in a matter of seconds. Investors are only interested in the profit margin and less in overriding issues such as the environment, species protection, fair trade, etc. In a real economy, paid labour performed by people is diminishing because machines are taking over many work aspects and production has also become faster owing to automation. This means that if we don’t succeed in broadening the concept of work and attracting people to do unpaid work for the common good, innovation or similar, we will be facing a difficult situation. It is quite possible that plans which we originally had will dissipate after we have earned so much so quickly from the financial sector and that we return to the real economy after all.
Considering all these challenging situations, immense sums of money will be required to enable the kinds of investments needed for these very challenges. The interaction between the real and financial economies is required to achieve aims that should be stimulated and fuelled via a market mechanism in order to gain the acceleration needed. But money is not the only reason why the pace of the decarbonisation transformation of our economy is currently slowing down. In many cases, bureaucratic issues of citizen participation and approval procedures prevent climate goals from being achieved on time. But the central bank is certainly also required to grant credit to sectors pursuing long-term goals and values that are both relevant and significant. We therefore have to assume there is a certain level of control in the financial sector. We will need intelligent financial and monetary policies.
I remain, however, sceptical as to how much a basic income can really contribute to this problem. In the next few years, immense efforts in the real economy will be required to manage and achieve a transformation towards a regenerative economy. Above all, this requires a high level of trust between citizens and politicians as well as state institutions.
There are also opponents of unconditional income who often say it cannot be financed. Is it realistic to think that the savings in administration as well as the low production costs due to automation will cover the expenses of an unconditional income? And what about developing countries and the third world? A lot can be calculated or estimated which can lead to different results depending on one’s creativity. Will the realisation of an unconditional income depend on who comes up with the more convincing calculation? And will people understand this calculation so that they can decide whether they are for or against an unconditional income?
In Germany we live in a democratic community, whose government is elected by parliament. First of all, none of the parties represented in the Bundestag is currently in favour of introducing an unconditional basic income; supporters can only be found within the party Die Linke, as well as among the Greens, but they by no means form the majority of their parliamentary groups.
Whether and how an unconditional basic income will be realised is a political process that must first be decided within the framework of our parliamentary constitution. It is simply a matter of an institutional (re)control process, requiring democratically elected majorities. Achieving this is a difficult and sensitive matter, especially with the additional tax burdens, as coalition negotiations have shown very clearly. A broad alliance is needed that is willing to initiate and implement a fundamental change in our taxation and social system.
I am convinced that the courage to make a fundamental change will increase in the future. In addition to the changes mentioned in the labour market, we will also be facing a demographic challenge because our traditional systems will find it increasingly difficult to finance our social security due to these demographic changes- and we must not forget the increase in bureaucracy in a few years, when the baby boomer generation leaves the labour market and is no longer an active contributor. At present, these problems are still being ignored to a certain extent. However, we might soon reach the breaking point and then the question of the system in place will certainly have to be discussed more broadly.
My favourite quote:Jürgen Habermas
“When the Utopian oases dry up, a desert consisting of banality and helplessness starts to take over”.
Of course, the promise of social security made by Otto Bismarck more than 150 years ago and his so-called equivalence fiction will also need to be reconsidered, i.e., that all social benefits are equivalently linked to the income earned from work. In this context, the equivalence of contributions will need to be revisited, i.e., that every citizen may in future receive a fixed amount at a subsistence level, on which they can build in order to privately supplement and increase their individual social security. Then people will no longer be held accountable to a social law requiring a high tax ratio in relation to their income and, at the same time, are financially less secure in relation to previous generations because society is getting older and fewer young people pay into social security in relation to the older people who benefit from the system. Here I see opportunities for an open-ended debate about guaranteed income systems – be it for all or parts of the population. This is a big undertaking that will certainly require more than one legislative period and for which we need social consensus. This will require charismatic personalities who can bring an idea to completion. Dieter Althaus was one of the politicians who, as early as 2006, advocated a systemic restructuring of taxes and social security contributions towards a citizen’s income. Let’s see what happens…
Prof. Schupp, thank you for sharing your reflections on the shift in paradigm regarding unconditional income in the digital age.
Thank you, Dr Caldarola, and I look forward to reading your upcoming interviews with recognized experts, delving even deeper into this fascinating topic.
2 Paine in Kovce/Priddat 2019: 86
3 Kovce/Priddat 2019:29