Michael Bohmeyer is the founder of a Berlin-based startup called “Mein Grundeinkommen” or “My Basic Income.” In the six years since he first asked for donations, his company has given more than 650 people a no strings attached stipend of 1,000 euros a month for one year.
The idea has been to test whether or not a basic income payment could, among other things, improve people’s happiness and improve the way that governments manage their social welfare systems. According to this recent NY Times article, Germany spends almost a third of their GDP on social welfare.
Since founding “My Basic Income,” Michael has gone on to publish a book and also partner with the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin. And so far, his findings seem fairly positive. Instead of valuing the money itself, people seem to really value the sense of security that it brings.
Few people quit working, because a basic income is exactly that — basic. Instead, people seem to be using it to do things like quit that job they hate in order to find a better one. The payment provides some downside protection and that can be empowering.
This is obviously not a new concept. It’s been tested and even implemented in many places around the world, and it has become increasingly popular as an idea in recent years. So here are some additional data points. If you’re interested in this topic, you may want to check out what Michael has been up to since 2014.