Free Lunch Society

Directed by Christian Tod

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

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.

"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, "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

"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, Educational Media Reviews Online

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Select Accolades

  • 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 2017


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