Work--Laziness--Guaranteed Income

German Fall Conference, September 18-20, 2009, in Fuldatal, near Kassel

As markets get more liberal and more global, changes in the value of work for pay have gained renewed interest. It spans from the demand for a right to gainful employment, to the fair division of work and salaries, to the complete separation of work from the question of subsistence in the form of an unconditional or guaranteed base salary, heavily in excess of the minimum income already guaranteed in many states. For the first time in recent history, employment no longer has to be a necessary evil to secure a living, and work has the chance, as free, deliberate activity, to be an expression of human productivity.

But where does all this lead? Most people are convinced that man is lazy by nature (as discussed in Fromm's paper "Is Man Lazy by Nature?" (1975)). And, if not, is he not alienated from his own human powers to such a degree that he searches for his welfare only in consuming, and in the acquisition of "made" capital?

The fall Conference, near Kassel, will ask these questions. It will strive to add to "The Psychological Aspects of the Guaranteed Income," an article Fromm published already in 1966, and will discuss the question of an "unconditional base income for everyone" in connection to the question about the purpose of work today and the speculation about human laziness.

Speakers will be: Klaus Widerström (on Fromm's understanding of a guaranteed income), Stephan Krull (on the right and future of work from the viewpoint of Unions), Burkhard Bierhoff (on Fromm's picture of humanity and his concept of productivity), Götz Werner (Entrepreneur and prominent advocate of an "unconditional income"), as well as Wolfgang Bonss (Publisher of Fromm's study "German Workers and Employees," about the future of work for pay.)

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