Austrian debate on introducing a basic income

A petition was launched in Austria on Monday aimed at introducing an unconditional basic income. If the initiators manage to gather 100,000 signatures within eight days the proposal must be discussed in parliament. Every Austrian citizen would receive 1,200 euros per month, and the costs would be financed by a financial transaction tax. Is this a step towards a fairer society or a completely unrealistic concept?

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Der Standard (AT) /

Stop pitting poor and rich against each other

The plan could mend the gap in society, economist and philosopher Philip Kovce writes in Der Standard:

“With the basic income we will no longer be pitching poor against rich, workers against entrepreneurs, security against freedom. Since everyone would receive the basic income, it is a social measure. Since it would be granted unconditionally, it is liberal. ... By contrast, the consequence of renouncing the security and freedom of a basic income can be readily seen in the devastating consequences we have witnessed for years: the minimum resources system in Austria, Hartz IV in Germany, social welfare in Switzerland - all of them are perfect examples of the kind of social policy discourses contaminated by neo-liberalism which have torn the insatiable affluent society asunder.”

Die Presse (AT) /

In cloud cuckoo land

Die Presse finds the idea of a basic income completely unrealistic and mocks its academic proponents:

“A petition is currently running for the introduction of a (practically) unconditional basic income of 1200 euros a month - an idea that wouldn't be worth even mentioning were it not that it is receiving support from academic circles. For example from the 'economist and philosopher' who teaches at two German universities and argued in all seriousness in a commentary piece in Der Standard newspaper that this is a 'civil right', especially since 'all the pointless bullshit jobs' that are solely a result of the compulsion to work' would then disappear. So Mr economist will clear away his own mess, we can assume. And we see: whereas elsewhere tremendous effort is going into constructing a better future, here in cloud cuckoo land they prefer to build their own virtual land of milk and honey.”