Free Lunch Society
Free Lunch Society
THIS SCREENING IS PART OF THE JUSTICE FORUM SERIES AND WILL INCLUDE A POST-FILM DISCUSSION.
Imagine receiving a cheque every month that would cover your essential needs. How would you spend your time? What would you do with the extra cash? Unconditional basic income, guaranteed annual income, and negative income tax are just a few of the names for the social security program that has been gaining momentum around the world.
Organized by thematic chapters, Christian Tod’s expansive film is intercut with fascinating interviews, archival footage, and lively pop culture references. Tod travels the globe to talk to social scientists, economists, and even one eccentric billionaire, all of whom are quick to point out the revolutionary potential in separating work from income. The idea of providing people with a guaranteed wage first gained popularity in the 1970s. From Germany to Alaska to Namibia to Canada’s very own Mincome experiment in Dauphin, Manitoba, we meet ordinary people who participated in basic income programs. Their experience and insight is deeply compelling. Touted as a being the only sensible solution to redistributing exceedingly disproportionate and concentrated wealth, basic income has a multitude of additional benefits including addressing increased mechanization, and job loss. People across the political spectrum — from socialists to libertarians, and even free market conservatives — have embraced the idea. But not everyone is a superfan.
While many on the left think it’s a great way to address growing inequality, some labour unions vehemently oppose the idea. Free market economists such as Milton Friedman have endorsed the idea as a means of dismantling the welfare state, even as right-wing factions declare that it would make people lazy. Perhaps it’s this splintering of ideologies that makes the idea of a post-work society so compelling and terrifying. -SC