Within and also outside the basic income movement, it often seems unclear what the difference is between a prerequisite and a condition.
It is also often said that an unconditional basic income (UBI) would only really be unconditional if everyone worldwide received it.
Is this really the case or is the word “prerequisite” simply equated with the word “condition”?
If you look in the Duden and also other works of the German language, you will very quickly find that “Prerequisite” is also a synonym for “condition” and vice versa.
Within a sentence or a text, synonymous words can be interchanged without changing the core meaning of the statement.
A simple example of synonymous words is: the orange / the lemon. However, such cases of absolute synonymy are very rare. Within linguistics there is even a discussion whether it is possible that two words can be absolutely equivalent.
This is because synonymous does not yet mean that the sense of a synonym is perfectly the same as the sense of the related word. There are almost always deviations of varying degrees, which can affect the conceptual core, the level of language, or even the emotional content of a word. Most synonyms carry characteristics and convey content that can be assigned to a particular style level, a region, a group, or a specialized language.
One can put a condition on something/someone (man-made).
But one cannot put a condition to something/to someone (circumstance MUST BE THERE!).
In the case of the UBI this means:
Clearly someone must be born to get a UBI, but nobody can put a condition for it (“Child, you must be born now!”).
THAT a child is there / was born, is just a PREREQUISITE.
Some in the basic income movement say, a basic income is only THEN a basic income, if it is unconditional, then the unconditionality is a PREREQUISITE for it to be called basic income at all.
Since now once a country cannot pay out an unconditional basic income to all humans on the world, conditions must be created, who is entitled for an unconditional basic income. Here, ways must be found to make it not a condition. A citizenship, for example, would be such a condition, since one can acquire one or even lose one again.
Therefore, one cannot make a UBI conditional on citizenship.
A main residence is a condition, because you can have your main residence somewhere else at any time, which means that I could “fulfill” this myself at any time.
So you have to find something that is already given, such as life – a deceased person cannot simply live again in order to receive an unconditional basic income. Or the fact that one is human. An animal or a plant cannot simply become a human being in order to get an unconditional basic income.
Well, and so I came to the place of birth, because this is an accidental and immutable event, that is, a prerequisite, and cannot be changed afterwards.
And thus the model basic income as a human right was born, according to my birthplace principle, everyone receives it unconditionally. And thus an unconditional basic income can also be implemented on a national level, which until then did not seem possible.
I myself run a learning portal about synonyms, verbs, translations and a word game for learning synonymous words and new languages since 2012. This portal already exists in five languages (German, English, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian).
written by Alexander Zirkelbach