If average citizens were faced with the possibility of being guaranteed a basic monthly income whether employed or not, would that ultimately affect their perspective about work?
The Swiss believe that their perspective would barely change, despite the looming vote on a initiative that would provide adults with a national basic income of 2,500 francs ($3,450) a month, while each child, on the other hand, would receive 625 francs ($860) a month.
According to the Independent, majority of Swiss residents will still keep themselves employed or would continue looking for jobs even if the new policy were approved. The Swiss are known to be pragmatic, and this could be proof of that trait.
In a survey which interviewed 1,076 Swiss residents, 350 believed that that the new income scheme would cause people to stop working altogether. However, only 2% appealed to that idea, while 8% considered it, depending on the circumstances. The rest, after being asked about themselves, would remain in the work force, hardly causing a dent in the future of Swiss unemployment.
In addition, the initiative’s committee relayed in a statement that, “the arrangement of opponents that a guaranteed income wouldn’t reduce the incentive of people to work is largely contradicted.”
The Local reports that this proposal was one of the five subjects which the federal government had approved on Wednesday; the ballot box would begin collecting votes on June 5. The committee which pushed the initiative consisted of intellectuals, artists, and writers, as well as a number of Swiss celebrities and music icons, who found the rationale behind the idea of breaking the link between employment and income something to seriously consider. However, traditional and left politicians are not so comfortable with this endeavor.
The Daily Mail calls the scheme “a bid to end poverty,” while Opposing Views claimed that it could be a “promising idea.” Opposing Views goes on that this could be a step to “provide solutions to longstanding problems” in developed countries, and that the basic income system would come in handy “due to reports that automation will replace millions of jobs in the next decade or so.”
The plan would cost the government around 208 billion francs ($275 billion) a year, with about 153 billion francs ($209 billion) would be levied from taxes, while 55 billion francs ($78 billion) would be transferred from social insurance and social assistance spending.
Switzerland would be the first country in the world to have unconditional basic income if ever the policy comes to fruition. This would then give other countries to gauge the effectiveness of the policy, as developed societies continue to face high unemployment. In addition, this would test the efficiency of various targeted welfare programs.
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