Within the event series “Freiburg Discourses” (Heinrich Röder), Prof. Dr. Friederike Spiecker and Prof. Dr. Bernhard Neumärker met on 25 October 2019 at the University of Freiburg for a discussion on Unconditional Basic Income.

Prof. Spiecker is co-author of the book “Irrweg Grundeinkommen” (with Prof. Dr. Heiner Flassbeck), Mr Neumärker holds the Götz Werner Chair for Economic Policy and Constitutional Economic Theory at the University of Freiburg and is founding director of the “Freiburg Institute for Basic Income Studies” (FRIBIS).

It was remarkable that Prof. Spiecker clearly and empathically saw and addressed the undervaluation of women’s work and non-profit unpaid work in general, the degrading and rather paralysing than promoting practice of the Hartz IV legislation, including its magnifying effect on the low-wage sector, structural unemployment and the increasingly precarious work and living situation of very many people, but that she resorted to the primacy of gainful employment and the demand for higher minimum wages to solve the problems. Where one could have written behind the description of the problem as a solution: “Unconditional Basic Income”, she relied on the old economic methods of calculation.

Prof. Neumärker took up statements from her lecture in order to disenchant the old way of thinking and transfer it into a logical understanding of Unconditional Basic Income.

Both were largely in agreement in the description of the problem, diametrically opposed in the perspective of the solution.

By Enno Schmidt