Themes

Themes of the Conference

Social security

Within the basic-income movement, it is argued that basic income is part of a social security framework covering all members of society, which is reliable, preventative and – most importantly – compatible with human rights. Within the degrowth/ post-growth movement, it is assumed that a good life for all is not possible unless all members of society enjoy adequate and unconditional social security. It is argued that fears about financial survival, precarisation and rifts within society impede the required transformation processes. There is also a discussion on the link between the impacts of climate change and poverty in the Global South.

Democracy

Within the basic-income movement, it is argued that basic income empowers people to participate in political and democratic processes in all public-political spheres, including the economic sphere – because a) this participation in principle becomes accessible to all in material terms, b) recognition of a basic income for everybody within a community also means equal recognition of all members of that community and c) basic income allows political and democratic participation without being vulnerable to blackmailing in terms of one’s own basic material security. At the same time, it is stressed that a basic income must be introduced through democratic channels and that its introduction requires a high level of acceptance within society. In the degrowth/ post-growth movement, it is argued that a sustainable transformation towards a society, style of production and consumption with significantly lower levels of resource use and less environmental destruction can only be achieved through democratic channels and that sustainable production and consumption require democratic organisation.

Alternative economy/solidarity economy

There is discussion in parts of the basic-income movement on organising production and distribution in a democratic and solidarity-based fashion, so that they are primarily driven by the public interest, people’s needs and cooperation, rather than by profit and competition. Social security with basic income supports participation in decision-making and democratic processes and a basic belief in solidarity, including in the economic sphere. It also allows material security and free time to develop and expand alternative/solidarity economic activities. Feminist approaches in particular call for the present distinction between paid and unpaid work to be eliminated and for gender equality in the distribution of care work. Parts of the degrowth/post-growth movement argue that the democratic and solidarity-based organisation of production and consumption, i.e. solidarity economy – as opposed to the profit- and competition-driven economy – is the only way to halt exploitation of resources and environmental destruction. Furthermore, concrete possibilities and the necessity of free time for individuals to engage in various forms of cooperative work in the informal unpaid sector are being discussed and practical approaches are tested.

Individual and collective time sovereignty

Within the basic-income movement, it is argued that a basic income allows people to be sovereign – in both quantitative and qualitative terms – regarding the amount of time spent on individual or collective work and other aspects of life. Quantitative refers in this context to the amount of time, e.g. the number of hours spent on paid employment. Qualitative refers to the way time is used, e.g. the goals pursued through an activity performed within the time concerned. Time sovereignty is closely linked with the topics of social security, democracy and solidarity economy. In the degrowth/ post-growth movement, it is argued that reducing the amount of time spent on paid employment and making more time available for other activities is a transformative project on the road to a post-growth society.