Germany Begins Three-Year Universal Basic Income Study

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Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. commence / kəˈmɛns / (v) – to begin or start

    The project will commence next month.

  2. periodically / ˌpɪər iˈɒd ɪk ə li / (adv) – in a manner that is happening regularly

    The car needs its engine oil changed periodically.

  3. prominence / ˈprɒm ə nəns / (n) – the state of being famous or well-known

    The model rose to prominence after she appeared in several TV commercials.

  4. plague / pleɪg / (v) – to cause a repeated problem for someone or something

    Poverty continues to plague the country.

  5. empirical / ɛmˈpɪr ɪ kəl / (adj) – based on scientific research or experience

    His statement had no empirical basis. It was purely his opinion.


Read the text below.

Germany has recently commenced a three-year study to determine the effects of a universal basic income on the country’s economy and its citizens’ welfare.

A team of researchers from the German Institute for Economic Research is conducting the study by giving 120 volunteers a monthly basic income of €1,200 (about ¥150,000) for three years. To determine the income’s impact, the beneficiaries will answer survey questions about their lives, employment, and emotional well-being. The researchers will then compare the experiences of the beneficiaries with those of a group of 1,380 people who will not receive any money from the study.

The study is funded by private donations from around 140,000 individuals.

Universal basic income is a concept in which a government periodically gives a fixed amount of money to its citizens regardless of their work, salary, or employment status. Its advocates claim that it promotes equality, provides financial security, and encourages people to pursue fulfilling work or their creative passions.

However, critics of the program think that it is too costly and encourages unemployment. They also believe that the beneficiaries may end up spending the money on drugs or other illegal things.

In recent years, universal basic income has gained prominence in different Western countries, as financial crises and income inequality continue to plague the region.

The study’s lead researcher said that the team hopes to provide empirical evidence to improve discussions about universal basic income. He added that the new evidence can show whether or not the concept would have a positive impact on the economy and citizens’ welfare.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think the study should have been funded by the government instead of private individuals? Why or why not?
• Do you think your country would benefit from a similar program? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• Do you think your government is doing enough to improve people’s welfare? Why or why not?
• Are you satisfied with your country’s current economic performance? Why or why not?