PANEL “Digital Capitalism and Universal Basic Income”

re:publica 2017: “Love out Loud”
Tuesday, May 9, 18:45 to 19:45, stage 9

With: Dmytri Kleiner (Telekommunisten), Meera Zaremba (, Timo Daum (DAS FILTER), Magdalena Taube. (Berliner Gazette),

The idea of a universal basic income (UBI) is moving beyond its “leftist utopia” status: According to Deutsche Telekom CEO Florian Höttges, digitalization will make the middle class of knowledge workers unemployed and UBI seems to be the only ‘show in town’ capable to save us. In his international bestseller “Post- Capitalism” Paul Mason even suggests that basic income will be the social welfare system of the 21st century. But there is also reason for doubt: Isn’t the UBI a neoliberal strategy to make us all poorer in the end?


This panel discussion will trace the development of the concept of the UBI from “a liberal idea of emancipation from the necessity to work” to “the conservative dream of an ultimate deregulation tool”. To discuss why the UBI is being today propagated as a lifesaver for the middle class of knowledge workers whose jobs are under threat from algorithms, the panel will bring together three contrasting positions: Dmytri Kleiner ( will talk about the idea of the UBI as a neoliberal plot; Meera Zaremba ( will introduce a hands-on approach; and Timo Daum ( will problematize the role of UBI in digital capitalism. The panel will be moderated by Magdalena Taube ( The panel discussion is a collaboration with Berliner Gazette. The independent online newspaper has published a series of controversial articles on the idea of the UBI (in German) including statements by the three panelists: Dmytri Kleiner (Warum das bedingungslose Grundeinkommen eine neoliberale Idee ist, die dich ärmer machen wird), Timo Daum (Sozialstaat durch Crowdfunding? Bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen und digitaler Kapitalismus) and Meera Zaremba (Update für den Sozialstaat: Warum wir das Bedingungslose Grundeinkommen brauchen).