Basic Income Café is an interactive experience and discussion piece on basic income.
Central to the project is the interactive installation Basic Income Café by Martina Huynh, where coffee is used to visualize the cash flow in two alternative economies. As a visitor, you get a free cup of coffee as your ‘basic income’ while playfully experiencing the tax flow and where your basic income coffee came from. The coffee metaphor is used as an accessible context to provide insight into a complex concept and to enter into conversations about work and income.
“Do you prefer to first work in order to earn your cup of coffee, or first drink a coffee that enables you to work?”
The idea of an unconditional basic income (UBI), is an increasingly prominent topic in progressive economics. This complex idea is often understood in a rather simplistic scenario where every citizen receives a guaranteed monthly income, hopefully enough to live by, with no questions asked. But basic income is not basic income!
In this interactive installation visitors playfully experience two different basic income economies using coffee instead of money. When interacting with other visitors the social dynamics of a basic income scenario can be tested: What happens to our work ethics? Will enough people ‘go to work’ (grind coffee beans)? What surprising situations will arise in this new economy? And what other alternative economies can be imagined?
By creating an environment in which these social and economic futures can be prototyped, the café acts as a conversation and research tool to find out what how our definitions of work and income are shifting today.
According to the Basic Income Earth Network “A basic income (UBI) is a periodic cash payment unconditionally delivered to all on an individual basis, without means-test or work requirement.”