Monday, October 07, 2013

A UBI for Switzerland?

Switzerland will hold a referendum on a Universal Basic Income:

Switzerland will hold a vote on whether to introduce a basic income for all adults, in a further sign of growing public activism over pay inequality since the financial crisis.

A grassroots committee is calling for all adults in Switzerland to receive an unconditional income of 2,500 Swiss francs ($2,800) per month from the state, with the aim of providing a financial safety net for the population.

Organizers submitted more than the 100,000 signatures needed to call a referendum on Friday and tipped a truckload of 8 million five-rappen coins outside the parliament building in Berne, one for each person living in Switzerland.

There's no hints yet on its chances of success, but I'll be watching it closely. I've long argued that a UBI should be one of the key goals from the left. Quite apart from ensuring basic wellbeing for all (without the stigmatisation of the benefit system), it will also give us control over our lives and permanently remove the employers' boot from our neck. And if Switzerland votes for one, we'll have a chance to see about the implementation details.