• Switzerland's news in English
 
app_header_v3

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

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.
Today's headlines
Swiss refuse to ban controversial weedkiller
File photo: Phillippe Huguen/AFP

Swiss farmers can continue to use the weedkiller glyphosate after the lower house of parliament decided on Friday not to ban it.

People in Switzerland ‘fly too much’ says environment body
File photo: Swiss International Air Lines

People in Switzerland travel by plane twice as much as their neighbours, a WWF spokesperson has said.

Bern: shared parental leave ‘too expensive’
Switzerland has no statutory paternity leave. File photo: Robert Valencia

Parliament rejects a bill which would have granted fathers some paternity leave.

UN: Fear of ageing 'shortens your life'
The number of people over 60 worldwide is set to double by 2025. Photo: Hernan Pinera

New data from the World Health Organization highlights the widespread prevalence of ageist attitudes worldwide.

Swiss helicopter crash: technical fault ruled out
Two pilots died in the crash on the Gotthard pass. Photo: Michael Buholzer/AFP

Technical failure was not to blame for the crash involving a Swiss army helicopter on the Gotthard pass on Thursday.

Turkey angry after Swiss tout ‘kebab ban’
Is banning the burqa as 'foolish' as banning the kebab? Photo: Jason Ramos

Turkish kebab chefs are up in arms after they misunderstood a spoof campaign to ban the kebab in Switzerland.

Study: Swiss ski resorts are losing their snow
Snow was thin on the ground in Gstaad last December. Photo: The Local

Could spring skiing soon be a thing of the past?

UBS fined $15m for misselling investments
File photo: Martin Abegglen

The Swiss private banking giant is accused of selling risky derivative investments to inexperienced investors in the US.

Two dead in Swiss army helicopter crash
The crash happened near the hospice on the Gotthard pass. File photo: swiss-image.ch/Heinz Schwab

Two people died and one other was injured when a helicopter crashed on the Gotthard pass in the Swiss alps on Wednesday.

Bern wants Swiss women to work longer
File photo: Candida Performa

The lower house of parliament has voted to extend women's retirement age by one year to 65.

Sponsored Article
7 tips for learning Swiss French
Photo: Lara de Salis
Features
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Lifestyle
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Politics
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
Lifestyle
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Politics
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Health
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
Lifestyle
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
National
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
National
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
Photo: File
Politics
Bern argues over passports for 3rd generation foreigners
Photo: Broad Bean Media
Education
Muslim pupils must shake hands – ‘no ifs and buts’
Photo: AFP
Society
Swiss ‘slave children’ to finally get compensation
Photo: Jan Geerk/Swiss-image.ch
Lifestyle
Zurich named ‘greenest’ city on the planet
Photo: Swiss
National
Brawl over seats forces Swiss to abort flight
Photo: Daniel Stockhammer
Culture
Research shows typical Swiss chalets ‘not actually Swiss’
Photo: AFP
National
Switzerland to get nationwide disaster alert system
Photo: S3
National
Swiss space firm boss left badly injured in violent attack
Photo: ETH Zurich
Education
ETH Zurich crowned best uni in continental Europe – again
File photo: Martin Abegglen
National
Report: Swiss citizenship rules leave some stateless
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
National
Fatal crash: pilot told to fly below safe altitude
Photo: Peter Linke
Business & Money
Elderly Italian on benefits stashed €1m in Swiss bank
Photo: Stuart Richards
Society
Court sides with chickens in dispute over noisy henhouse
4,367
jobs available