• Switzerland's news in English

Give everyone a state income: proposal

Lyssandra Sears · 12 Apr 2012, 09:42

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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.
Today's headlines
Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Could Montreux host the 2026 Games? Photo: Ivo Scholz/Swiss Tourism

Montreux is to put itself forward as the host city for the 2026 winter Olympics as part of a potential bid by the cantons of Valais and Vaud.

Geneva car share scheme could help reduce city traffic
Catch a Car is aimed at short hops within a city. Photo: Catch a Car

Catch a Car, already in Basel, launches in Geneva next month.

Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Female employees in Switzerland earn 19.3 percent less than their male colleagues. File photo: Randy Kashka

Switzerland's gender pay gap means from today, Friday October 21st, women in the country will effectively be working for free for the rest of 2016.

Swiss luxury watches stolen in Paris raid
Police outside the Girard-Perregaux watch store on Thursday. Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

The 10 Girard-Perregaux watches are worth half a million euros in total.

Brother-in-law arrested over murder of Swiss teacher
The victim worked in a school in Stabio, near the town of Mendrisio. Photo: Oliver Graf

The primary school teacher was found dead in Ticino earlier this week.

Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Designed to house 20,000 people, the bunker was built in and over two motorway tunnels. Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben

The Local takes a tour of the Sonnenberg bunker in Lucerne, opened 40 years ago at the height of the Cold War.

Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
File photo: Renato Bagattini/Swiss Tourism

Skiers in Switzerland pay the highest prices for their ski passes of anywhere in Europe, according to research.

Eco group fights Bern over wind farm plans
There are currently more than 30 wind farms in Switzerland. Photo: Alpiq

Wind turbines are “gigantic and destructive” machines, says Paysage Libre Suisse.

Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Antoni Da Campo will now carry out his military service. Photo: Antoni Da Campo

A Swiss man who was told he would not be accepted for military service because of his strict veganism has finally succeeded in making the army change its mind.

Geneva terror suspects to receive compensation
File photo: Emran Kassim

The Swiss public prosecutor has dropped the case against them.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
Photo: File
Bern argues over passports for 3rd generation foreigners
Photo: Broad Bean Media
Muslim pupils must shake hands – ‘no ifs and buts’
jobs available