An experiment to give away money as "basic income" is underway in Germany. In 2014, Michael Bohmeyer, a 31-year-old German entrepreneur, launched "My Basic Income" ("Mein Grundeinkommen"), and this month, the project, made possible through crowdfunding, issued $1,100 checks to 26 people to use however they want.
Leftists in Germany tend to support the idea of basic income while others in the country say the idea might take away incentives for people to work.
If basic income were to be implemented, the government would ultimately abolish the bureaucratic welfare state and would instead divide the money equally across the total population without basing the payouts on status or qualifications of the applicant.
"A basic income paid out to everyone could unleash enormous amounts of creativity," said Bohmeyer, who left his internet startup business before forming his basic payment experiment, according to a Chicago Tribune report.
"Machines are going to be taking care of just about everything for us over time," said Bohmeyer. "So to be able to work creatively, people need some security; they need to feel free. And they can get that with a basic income."
Every few weeks, Bohmeyer picks more people through drawings to receive the monthly checks. The experiment team picks from a pool of more than 66,000 applicants. Drawings take place whenever enough donations are collected. So far, 31,449 people have made donations.
Germany is not the only country considering implementation ofuniversal basic income; several other European countries have floated the idea, too.
The Dutch city of Utrecht plans to carry out an experiment in which the population of the city is divided into groups that receive different levels of welfare, including one that will get unconditional basic income. Payments will range from $1,000 to $1,450 per month. Switzerland plans to hold a referendum on creating a universal income. In 2017, Finland will implement an experiment where everyone is paid $876 a month.
Carsten Koschmieder, an economist at Berlin's Free University, said in an interview with Business Insider universal basic income in Germany will most likely not be implemented for years.
"The idea hasn't even found a consensus in any of the parties," he said. "There are just too many concerns in all the parties that people wouldn't have any incentive to go to work and [there are] too many unanswered questions about who would pay for it."