Sally McGrane A Guaranteed Monthly Check Changed His Life. Now He Sends Out 650, New York Times, November 6 2020
Michael Bohmeyer’s website, “My Basic Income,” has given randomly selected people almost $1,200 a month for a year to see if it improves their lives. His answer: Yes.
Enjoying life is no trivial matter for the slight, serious Mr. Bohmeyer, whose experimental, grass-roots platform has thus far given more than 650 randomly-selected people 1,000 euros a month, around $1,165, for a year, no strings attached, just to test a thesis. Namely, that what people need to thrive in a rapidly changing world is not more money, but more security, and that an unconditional basic income — a monthly sum to cover living expenses that, if implemented, would be paid by the government and received by everyone — could enable this.
The idea has resonated in Germany, a wealthy country that spends about a third of its G.D.P. on a robust social welfare system. In the six years since Mr. Bohmeyer first called for donations “My Basic Income” has raised about €8 million, thanks to 140,000 or so private donations of sums as low as a couple of euros a month.
He started reading the French philosopher Michel Foucault and reflecting on his own life. “Who am I, how do I want to live? What do I need for a good life?” he said. “Hard questions, but it’s totally cool if you have the chance to ask them.”
He noticed other changes, as well: His relationship with his partner improved. He was more patient with his 2-year-old daughter. His chronic stomach cramps went away. He started to wonder if a basic income, like the one he had, could help other people find more balance and equanimity in their lives, too.
See also the Basic Income European Network (BIEN) site.