Germany is starting a new Universal Basic Income (UBI) experiment for a small number of citizens, who will be getting monthly payments of €1,200, or about $1,400 as a part of a study to see how effective this type of program can be. For the study, 120 volunteers will be getting the monthly payments, and their experiences will be compared with 1,380 other people who do not receive the payments. The study has been funded entirely through independent donations, which about 140,000 people contributed to, and will not require any funds from taxpayers, according to Business Insider.
The study will last for three years, and intends to measure how UBI impacts the economy as well as the personal health and well-being of the people involved.
The study is being conducted by the German Institute for Economic Research, who will be surveying the participants about how their lives have been affected by the program.
In Spain, officials are now seriously considering the implementation of a UBI program for the country’s poorest citizens. However, similar plans in other regions have not been accessible to the average person, especially undocumented workers, and those who make a living in the informal economy.
Last Year, Italy began a very limited Universal Basic Income program, which in reality was more of an unemployment program that included some low wage workers. Unfortunately, many applications were rejected, and the qualifications excluded many of the people who needed it the most, so the program could not really be called “universal.”
Former US Presidential candidate Andrew Yang who ran on a platform advocating UBI has said that the conditions experienced in the current pandemic have only strengthened his case.
At the start of the coronavirus crisis, Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey shocked the world with his promise to donate $1 billion, or about 28% of his wealth, and a significant portion of that money will be going towards UBI-related projects.
Earlier this year, Jack Dorsey appeared on Yang’s podcast to discuss their shared interest in UBI.
The interview was published as Dorsey was announcing his $5 million contribution to Yang’s universal basic income organization “Humanity Forward.”
Yang says Humanity Forward plans to use Dorsey’s donation to distribute small cash payments of $250 to nearly 20,000 people who have been affected by the recent economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. So far, Humanity Forward has given away about $2 million in financial assistance to people struggling in the current economic conditions.
Last month, Dorsey donated $3 million to mayors across the United States so they could launch their own UBI test programs. According to Forbes, Dorsey’s donation will help fund UBI pilot programs in 15 different cities across the US.
Millions of people in the United States are now unemployed as a result of the ongoing pandemic and associated lockdowns, and the $1200 that was sent out to a limited number of US citizens as a part of the recent stimulus package could only go so far. UBI advocates like Yang and Dorsey believe that now is the time to start monthly payments, since so many people are in desperate need of money for basic necessities.