Michael Opielka, The Feasibility of a Basic Income. Implications for Social Policy and Social Work (2015)
Michael Opielka, The Feasibility of a Basic Income. Implications for Social Policy and Social Work, in: Bütow, Birgit/Gómez Jiménez, María Luisa (eds.), Social Policy and Social Dimensions of Vulnerability and Resilience in Europe, Opladen/Berlin/Toronto: Barbara Budrich Publishers 2015, S. 35-46
This paper discusses some normative and political aspects of the feasibility of a welfare reform based upon the idea of a basic income. Firstly, it will make the case for the increasing irrelevance of a wage-centered welfare state, in the wake of recent increases in economic productivity, and, more significantly, the increasing social inequality confronting disadvantaged citizens. Secondly, it focuses on some current debates in Germany, arguably the heartland of the welfare architecture of wage-based social insurances, in order to assess the practical implications of various theoretical approaches. Finally, the paper discusses some implications of the basic income debate on social work and social work education. It shows that without taking a social policy reform towards a Basic Income as short-term perspective the debate itself can be seen as a trigger for a policy change away from a welfare-to-work normative towards a guarantist normative based on human rights. This change corresponds with the structural orientations of social services and social care: They have been connected almost always to the citizen status and not to wage-centered labor.