There's no such thing as a free book

"There's no such thing as a free lunch," the old saying goes. The new Moving Docs film Free Lunch Society looks into the viability of an unconditional basic income for everyone.

Now we've got some free books to go with the free lunch. Yet again, nothing's really for free... You'll need to tell us in one sentence what you'd do if your basic needs were taken care of by receiving a basic income from the state.

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Tell us and win a book: what would you do if you had a citizen's basic income?

Would you quit your job? Pursue your long life dream of becoming a professional drummer? Make no changes and put the extra money in your mattress?

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Will basic income keep Europe together?

In old factory towns, former mining villages, urban slums and rural hamlets across Europe,  a shared disillusionment with the political establishment has grown to a level that hasn’t been seen for over a century.

The people who inhabit such places, whatever European nation they happen to reside in, are overwhelmingly those who lost out when the post-war economic settlement was dismantled and deregulated in the 1980s.

Often geographically and socially isolated, they find themselves on the losing side of globalisation. In contrast, the elites live in a cluster of metropolitan cities that are ever more interchangeable: populated by highly mobile, highly skilled workers. These people are the winners in today’s great game of connection, the AirBnB landlord, the frequent Uber customer.

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We might ask what, if anything, could unite these two groups? Even if it were possible to take the coder running a startup in East London and transplant her to the Welsh valleys, or the Barcelona PR specialist and ask him to operate out of a rapidly depopulating coal mining town in Asturias, there would still be the far bigger challenge of bridging the divide between the centre and the periphery of the wider European economy.

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For richer or poorer: Is the world really moving towards basic income?

Recent years have seen a flurry of activity in media studios and government offices aimed at weighing up the pros and cons of basic income. Today, across Europe and North America, a number of countries are taking steps to launch investigate pilot schemes.

There is no shortage of backing for such initiatives, from a wide variety of sources. From the French Senate to the Italian city of Livorno, from the New Zealand Labour Party to the Namibian village of Otjivero – we can see new a will to experiment with basic income.

But despite the diverse spread of interest in making basic income a reality, the challenges, even of mounting a pilot scheme, are often formidable.

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Five reasons why everyone is talking about Citizen's Basic Income

Since the 2008 financial crisis, big questions about inequality, rapid technological change, and the future of the welfare state have come to dominate politics across Europe and North America.

Almost a decade later, the initial response of governments to that year’s events (top-down austerity measures, tax breaks and bank bailouts) has been credited with fuelling a rise in populism. So it’s not hard to see why progressives across both continents are engaged in a wide-ranging search for alternatives.

Increasingly, centre-left politicians have started to give serious consideration to 'citizen’s basic income' as the cornerstone for a new social settlement in the twenty-first century. Only this week, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon included funding for research into the concept as part of her Programme for Government.

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Citizen's Basic Income explained in 2 minutes

What would life be like if your government made sure every citizen was financially secure – regardless of whether they worked or not?

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Selected for Moving Docs 2017: Free Lunch Society

Globalization, automation, Donald Trump. The middle class is falling apart. One hears talk about the causes, rather than about solutions. Time for a complete rethink:

An unconditional basic income means money for everyone - as a human right without service in return! Visionary reform project, neoliberal axe to the roots of the social state or socially romantic left-wing utopia? 

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Free Lunch Society - Moving Docs

What would you do if your income was taken care of? Just a few years ago, an unconditional basic income was considered to be a utopia. Today, it is more imaginable than ever before – intense discussions are taking place across the world. The film searches for possibilities and experiences of an idea that has even gained the support of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.