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Ten Freiburg theses on basic income

Masterclass by Claus Leggewie at the Freiburg FRIBIS shows the potential for a basic income to overcome crises

Freiburg, Aug 24, 2022

“An unconditional basic income can be a very effective instrument for overcoming a wide range of social, economic and ecological crises with which our societies are increasingly confronted,” says political scientist Prof. Dr. Claus Leggewie (University of Giessen), who, as a visiting professor at the Freiburg Institute for Basic Income Studies (FRIBIS), conducted a masterclass on the topic with 14 doctoral and master’s students. The result of the masterclass are ten theses that show the potential of an unconditional basic income (BGE) for crisis management and prevention. The theses are intended to act as an impulse in science, politics and society. 

Through a BGE, every citizen of a community would receive a lifelong participatory income. As an individual legal entitlement, the basic income is neither tied to gainful employment nor to a prior assessment of need according to income and assets, origin and education, occupation and age.

The ten Freiburg theses include:

  1. The BGE supports the desire for self-determination, which arises from freedom and responsibility for oneself and others.
  2. The BGE is already a reality in parts (e.g. in the form of child benefits). Further development is an ongoing "real utopian" process. The debate about it negotiates which ideas of the future we seek to implement.
  3. A basic income society can give people a better ability to prove themselves, to develop and to contribute with their various talents.
  4. A guaranteed basic income opens up opportunities for emancipatory processes for all genders, reduces dependency relationships (i.e. reduces “power over”) and at the same time calls for responsibility for oneself and others (i.e. encourages “power to”).
  5. The scope for freedom that a guaranteed basic income is designed to open up is not first created by a revolutionary break. It is based on experiments and measures that are already taking place and that are compatible with all political camps and milieus.
  6. The meaning of life is not only created in the area of leisure time, but also in the professional, paid (wage) work of generative, social and material reproduction.
  7. The BGE strengthens existing tendencies towards shorter daily, annual and lifetime working hours and can thereby protect against impoverishment and mass unemployment.
  8. Flexible working conditions are only desirable if they strengthen the self-determination of workers and are negotiated on an equal footing. The prerequisite for this is the (high) qualification and recognition of the workforce, which in turn is protected by collective employment contracts.
  9. With regard to the necessary (worldwide) ecological transformation, the BGE offers possibilities to strengthen and promote local and global initiatives of transformation towards more sustainability.
  10. Social innovation must be supported by society, by the majority of citizens. A BGE against the will of the majority of the population only (re)produces incapacitation and hierarchical power relations.

The collaboration with political scientist Claus Leggewie was extremely enriching for the young researchers at FRIBIS. The ten Freiburg theses on unconditional basic income capture the results of this collaboration and bring them to a broader public. Both Prof. em. Dr. Claus Leggewie and the Executive Director of FRIBIS, Prof. Dr. Bernhard Neumärker, are available for interviews.

The ten theses are available for download on the FRIBIS website: Ten Freiburg Theses on Basic Income.


About the Freiburg Institute for Basic Income Studies

FRIBIS - Freiburg Institute for Basic Income Studies - is a consortium of six institutes at the University of Freiburg for research on unconditional basic income.



Tobias Dumschat
Office of Public Relations FRIBIS
Freiburg Institute for Basic Income Studies
University of Freiburg
Tel.: 0761 203-67927

Sarah Brender
Office of University and Science Communications
University of Freiburg
Tel.: 0761/203-95391