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Free Lunch Society

A film by Christian Tod

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film stillWhat would you do if your income was taken care of?

Just a few years ago, an unconditional basic income was considered a pipe dream. Today, this utopia is more imaginable than ever before—intense discussions are taking place in all political and scientific camps.

FREE LUNCH SOCIETY provides background information about this idea and searches for explanations, possibilities and experiences regarding its implementation.

An unconditional basic income means money for everyone - as a human right without service in return. But is this concept a visionary reform project, neoliberal axe to the roots of the social state or socially romantic left-wing utopia? Depending on the type and scope, a basic income demonstrates very different ideological visions. Which side of the coin one sees depends on one's own idea of humankind: inactivity as sweet poison that seduces people into laziness, or freedom from material pressures as a chance for oneself and for the community. Do we actually need the whip of existential fear to avoid a lazy, depraved life in front of the TV set? Or does gainful employment give our lives meaning and social footing simply because we haven't known anything else for centuries? 

That basic income is a powerful idea is indisputable. From Alaska's oil fields to the Canadian prairie, from Washington's think tanks to the Namibian steppes, FREE LUNCH SOCIETY takes us on a grand journey exploring one of the most crucial questions of our times.

Featuring internationally renowned social scientist, scholar, and activist Frances Fox Piven and professor of economics and director of the Center for Equitable Growth at the University of California, Berkeley Emmanuel Saez.

"A compelling viewing experience [and] an excellent opportunity for a campus or school wide conversation. Each chapter of the film takes up a different aspect of the argument, allowing for shorter chunks to be shown without sacrificing overall meaning… it would be an excellent addition to any college or public library collection. Highly Recommended." Alan Witt, Business Librarian, SUNY Geneseo, in the journal Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO)

"Unique, smart and wonderfully fun... FREE LUNCH SOCIETY is the best and most engaging, thorough introduction to basic income that one can hope for." Amy Downes, Editor of the book 'It's Basic Income: The Global Debate'

"Fascinating interviews, archival footage, and lively pop culture references." —DOXA Documentary Film Festival

"Intriguingly wonky... A pretty compelling argument!" The Stranger

"At a time when walls, fears and cutbacks are narrowing the horizon, Christian Tod’s 'Free Lunch Society' reflects on the concept of Unconditional Basic Income, providing a refreshing and illuminating view of the present as a vast realm of unthought-of opportunities." New Notions Cinema

"[Universal Basic Income] is certainly more "bi-partisan" than one might initially imagine." TrustMovies

"The first international film dedicated to one of the most crucial questions of our times." Moving Docs

"Christian Tod, an economist as well as a filmmaker, look[s] at some interesting previous experiments with providing everyone an income free from their labour." The Globe and Mail

"Tod’s documentary wrestles with economic and political ideals. It’s an essay film." POV Magazine

"Features interviews with prominent basic income proponents—including, among others, billionaire businessman Götz Werner (founder of the German drugstore chain dm-drogerie markt), venture capitalist Albert Wenger (Union Square Ventures), Swiss referendum co-founder Daniel Häni, and economist Evelyn Forget." Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN)

2017 Docaviv Documentary Film Festival
2017 Bergen International Film Festival
2017 DOXA Documentary Film Festival
2017 CPH:DOX Documentary Film Festival
2017 Docville Documentary Film Festival

92 minutes / Color
English; German / English subtitles
Closed Captioned
Release: 2017
Copyright: 2017

For individual consumers (home video)

This DVD is sold for private, home use only.

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For colleges, universities, government agencies, hospitals and corporations

This DVD is sold with a license for institutional use and Public Performance rights.

Subject areas:
Business, Capitalism, Economics, Ethics, Globalization, Neoliberalism, Political Science, Politics

Watch the trailer:

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