Featured Documentary

Money for Free 2015 - 49 min.

Synopsis:

Money for Free makes the case for a new economic system intended to minimize financial inequalities by introducing viewers to the concept of a guaranteed basic income. By highlighting social experiments currently taking place, the filmmakers introduce viewers to some of the people working towards a large-scale redistribution of wealth.

Michael Bohmeyer, a young entrepreneur from Berlin, first experienced the benefits of limited financial stress upon quitting his self-made company. Earning €1,000 per month in his semi-retirement, Bohmeyer noted a significant drop in anxiety as well as improved health thanks to having a reliable basic income. Bohmeyer was inspired to create a crowdfunding project as a social experiment. Each time the fund reaches €12,000, one raffle winner receives an annual basic income of €1,000 per month. The raffle is unconditional in that no one is restricted from competing for it.

In its fifth cycle one lucky winner was an eight year-old boy, whose parents were quite happy to have not only rent money, but also funds to take a family trip and purchase books for their children each month. Bohmeyer explains that in order to succeed people need to feel safe and secure, not unlike children who crave closeness to their parents and unconditional love. By providing a basic income, he feels citizens are given this sense of security, which enables them to enjoy greater peace of mind, improved well-being, and heightened productivity.

Being of a similar mindset, economist and basic income advocate Guy Standing conducted an experiment in India where 6,000 participants were given a guaranteed, unconditional cash income for 18 months. Standing traveled to Groningen, a province in the Netherlands, to encourage the undertaking of income experiments there as well. Standing voices his concern that income tax and social security are failing, and that there are too many people living on the edge of debt. As with Bohmeyer, Standing believes a new way of thinking about money and the value of people is overdue.

These are just two of the subjects profiled here, as Money for Free takes viewers through parts of Europe, India and the United States to investigate different models for providing guaranteed basic income. The audience will be left with several perspectives to consider with regards to how the scales of wealth can be rebalanced in a way that is beneficial to all.