GERMANY: 30 Seconds to finish BIG Petition

In the beginning of 2009 more than 50,000 people supported the petition of Susanne Wiest, who demanded a Basic Income for Germany. Almost 2 years later a public hearing on the issue took place. And almost another 2 years later, on 28th June 2013, the topic was closed after 30 seconds without a further discussion.

The left-wing online journal “Neues Deutschland” commented in an article: From a political point of view this was a clandestinely funeral of an objective which some years ago attracted great attention – and which actually can not be eliminated with a usual form of ticking off.

The factions of the Green and Left Party voted against the finishing. In a statement of the Green Party they explain: It is important for the subscribers to combine the general principle of justice and emancipating social policy with the importance of public institutions and financial feasibility. Considering the increasing growth problem and broad restructuring of the economy by processes of rationalization we need in the long term a transformation of the social state.

Katja Kipping, the leader of the Left Party published also a personal statement against the finishing of the petition, because the principle objection and the social importance of a discussion on the Unconditional Basic Income is not taken into account. Considering the increasing social division in Germany and Europe I consider it for necessary to discuss alternative ideas and practical approaches seriously also in the German Bundestag to improve the social situation of the people.

Both parties, Left and Green, as well as the Pirate Party, suggest in their election manifestos an enquiry commission to continue the discussion on Basic Income within the German Bundestag. The petition brought this discussion into the parliament and the mentioned parties refuse a finishing of the petition in the meaning to end the discussion. The elections on 22nd September 2013 will show what is going to happen further.

Links used within the text (all in German):

Video of the public hearing:
Article in Neues Deutschland:
Statemet of the Green Party:
Statement of Katja Kipping:

Karl Widerquist

About Karl Widerquist

Karl Widerquist has written 873 articles.

Karl Widerquist is an Associate Professor at SFS-Qatar, Georgetown University. He specializes in political philosophy. His research is mostly in the area of distributive justice—the ethics of who has what. He holds two doctorates—one in Political Theory form Oxford University (2006) and one in Economics from the City University of New York (1996). Before coming to Georgetown he was lecturer in Political Theory at the University of Reading (UK) and a Murphy Fellow at Tulane University in New Orleans (LA). He has written or edited six books. He is the author of "Independence, propertylessness, and Basic Income: A Theory of Freedom as the Power to Say No" (Palgrave Macmillan 2013). He is coauthor of "Economics for Social Workers" (Columbia University Press 2002). He is coeditor of "Basic Income: An Anthology of Contemporary Research" (Wiley-Blackwell 2013), "Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend: Examining its Suitability as a Model" (Palgrave Macmillan 2012), "Exporting the Alaska Model: Adapting the Permanent Fund Dividend for Reform around the World" (Palgrave Macmillan 2012), and "the Ethics and Economics of the Basic Income Guarantee" (Ashgate 2005). He is currently under contract to author or coauthor two more books: "Prehistoric Myths in Modern Political Philosophy" (Edinburgh University Press 2014) and Justice as the Pursuit of Accord (Palgrave Macmillan 2015). He was a founding editor of the journal Basic Income Studies. He edited the USBIG NewsFlash for 15 years and the BIEN NewsFlash for five years. He is one of the founding editors of Basic Income News on the website. He has published more than a twenty scholarly articles and book chapters. His articles have appeared in journals such as Political Studies; the Eastern Economic Journal; Politics and Society; and Politics, Philosophy, and Economics.

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