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Give everyone a state income: proposal

Published: 12 Apr 2012 09:57 GMT+02:00
Updated: 12 Apr 2012 09:42 GMT+02:00

A philanthropic movement wants to create a Swiss Utopia by ensuring that every citizen receives an “unconditional base income” of 2,500 francs ($2,729).

Supporters are currently trying to raise 100,000 signatures to trigger a referendum. The ideais backed by artists, therapists, filmmakers and socialist politicians, such as former Vice-Chancellor Oswald Sigg,and National Councillor for Basel, Sylvia Schenker, online news site Le Matin reported.

The initiative is also supported by a Geneva-based organisation, BIEN, which stands for Basic Income Earth Network. The group was formed in 2001 by like-minded individuals, who strongly believe in the benefits of providing a base income for all.

 “The beauty of the idea is obvious: for the first time in the history of mankind, a sovereign and independent living is within reach of everyone, not only those who have the benefit of great fortunes,” Albert Jörimann, president of BIEN told Le Matin.

The idea for unconditional base income derives originally from Thomas More’s Utopia. It has been placed before the Chambers on previous occasions but never succeeded.

“I do not see how to implement such a project,” President of the Commission for Social Security and Public Health and National Councillor, Stephane Rossini, told Le Matin.

“The initiators do not explain how we would make the transition.”

There are fears that such a system would chronically reduce people’s motivation to work, online news site Blick reported.

In particular, economics professor Monika Bütler told the site she was concerned about the effect of the unconditional nature of the income.

“Excitingly enough, people answered this question very differently when it was asked personally," co-initiator Daniel Hani told Blick.

Lyssandra Sears (news@thelocal.ch)

Your comments about this article

2012-04-19 04:29:37 by pfalzfreund
Those who have earned, have stolen nothing. Those who expect a guaranteed minimum income are those who will establish a new base line for poverty. As humans it behooves us to assist those in need but it is not incumbent upon us to promote dependence and sloth. Do you want a minimum income? Do minimum work. Want more? Work more.Intelligent investment creates jobs and generates wealth. I have worked every day since I was 9 and am now reaping the rewards. It has taken me 50 years but I am financially secure. Too many work for a year or so and give up because it is too hard. Life is hard! But, as Voltaire said..."Compared to what?"
2012-04-15 20:46:42 by asteriks
rich are rich because they steal profit created by workers, so, of course, money produced in swisss should belong to all people in swiss. all money should be shared and not only 2500. of course, in such case, riches would escape, even they have so much they can not spend all that money but they like to possess more then they really need in their life. therefore they propose 2500, so, riches would stay in swiss.
2012-04-12 12:16:03 by mirena
I believe that such a system would gradually reduce people's motivation to work and would stimulate laziness instead of activity. In a way, people are "designed" to move in the direction of smallest effort and resistance.
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