Is there unconditional happiness?

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Is work a part of a content life, or is it a necessary evil to make a living? Is only the paid work valuable and how important is the unpaid work that people do in families or volunteer work? What is performance in society?
The idea of ​​an unconditional basic income touches on such fundamental questions. Proponents believe that the separation of work and basic income brings the meaning of work to the fore. Opponents consider them unrealistic because an unconditional basic income leads to false incentives. In any case, it forces you to ask yourself why you work. A fundamental discussion that fits well into the theme week for happiness.

Issues addressed:

  • Importance of work for human self-realization
  • Distribution of income and wealth
  • Income equity
  • Unconditional basic income



As an introduction, the students discover the topic for themselves and develop their own ideas and questions by spontaneously answering the question: What would they do if they received 1000 euros every month for nothing in return? Would that change your plans for your life? Would you want to go to work? Would their relationship to work change? The answers can be discussed in partner work and then collected in class.

A survey expands the range of possible answers and introduces new points of view. To do this, the class asks people in groups in different social conditions. Together they think about which groups could be interesting for the survey in order to receive a wide range of answers. Which factors could play a role in this? Age, education, type of employment ...? You could, for example, employees from various industries (e.g. retail, creative professions, craftsmen, self-employed, employees); Interview students, housewives or the unemployed. The class is divided into working groups, each of which surveys one group (worksheet 1 "Survey").

This link opens a new browser window (here the offer remains in the same browser window): survey

The answers are collected and evaluated in the class discussion. How do the answers differ and what are the reasons for the differences? Did you expect the answers or what surprised you? At the end of this phase it is compiled what speaks for and what against an unconditional basic income. What questions do the students ask themselves? Do you see a connection to happiness in life?

An information phase now follows. The pupils first read the background article about the various concepts of unconditional basic income in the knowledge pool of Planet Schule. Some other models are also presented in the film "Fair Pay", which deal primarily with a fair distribution of income. You can use worksheet 2 "Basic income information" for information security.

Background text:
Unconditional basic income - lottery win for everyone?
Film excerpt from Fair Pay on income equity (timecode 20:05 - 23:39 min.)
"Fair pay"

In the class discussion it is first discussed whether the most important questions the students had with the help of the materials could be clarified or whether further information needs to be researched.

This link opens a new browser window (here the offer remains in the same browser window): information

On the basis of the information, the students now prepare a pro and con discussion about the unconditional basic income. The aspect of happiness should also play a role in the discussion: To what extent could the unconditional basic income contribute to all members of society being able to live more happily? Or does it favor certain groups while others lose out? Would the concept lead to more justice in society? To prepare for the discussion, you can use Worksheet 3 "Pros and Cons-Discussion".

This link opens a new browser window (here the offer remains in the same browser window): discussion

The lesson suggestions in the Planet Schule knowledge pool "Fair Pay - why do you earn more than me?" focus on income equity: is it fair if the boss earns a multiple of his employees? What is a fair wage anyway and how big can income differences be? The film becomes concrete and looks at two examples: Ben, a young dental technician who works in the disco on weekends so that he can also afford extras. For Patrick, Ben's boss at the disco, a fast car and membership in the golf club are no problem.

Fair Pay: Why Earn More Than I Do?