The initiative for an unconditional basic income obtained 23% “yes” votes in Switzerland as a whole, 19.5% in German Switzerland, 28.3% in French Switzerland and 21.9% in Italian Switzerland. This is a very respectable result for something that just a short time ago was completely unknown, was backed by practically no political forces, and was proposing a fundamental paradigm shift.
Large cities returned quite impressive “yes” scores. A number of places even achieved majorities for UBI, such as four central districts in Geneva (Pâquis 54.6%, Mail-Jonction 52.9%, Cluse-Roseraie 51.1% and Prairie-Délices 50.8%), two in Zurich (districts 4 et 5, 54.7%) and the village of Sarzens in Vaud (51.4%). [+]
"What would you do if your income were taken care of?" The Unconditional Basic Income raises what might now well be called the world's biggest question. It's been in fact written on a 110x72 meters poster, installed on Plaine de Plainpalais on 14th may in Geneva by the Swiss network for UBI. That day the poster officially won a Guinness Book award of the world's biggest poster. The event got live covered for half an hour on a big screen on New York's Time Square! [+]
Most Europeans support the idea of a “basic income” paid to every individual to cover their basic needs, according to the first EU-wide survey on the subject. Governments would pay the same amount of money to each person, regardless of whether they work.
The poll, conducted by German company Dalia Research in April, was the first EU-wide survey to address the proposal of a basic income, defined in the poll as “an income unconditionally paid by the government to every individual regardless of whether they work and irrespective of any other sources of income”.
The preliminary results found that about 58 percent of respondents were aware of the idea of a basic income, and 64 percent would vote in favor of the policy in a referendum. [+]
Why the US economist and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich is in favor of the Swiss initiative and what that has to do with robots.?
Interview with Robert Reich by Michael Soukup
You are a prominent advocate of basic income, on which Switzerland votes in June. Why?
Sooner or later we cannot do without Basic Income, we just won’t have another choice. The technological progress kills more and more jobs. The British economist John Maynard Keynes said in 1928, in 2028 nobody has to work anymore to ensure his living thanks to the technical progress.
Are we not working more than ever? [+]
An unconditional basic income (UBI) for everyone, the subject of a popular vote in Switzerland on 5 June 2016, is - according to Ralph Kundig - the logical response to developments in the economy. These imply less and less connection between employment and the economy, and consequently between employment and the social safety net. Ralph is the president of BIEN-Switzerland, the association fighting to introduce an UBI in Switzerland
Big data, learning machines, digitization, open source: all are developments which threaten jobs, even highly qualified ones. Unemployment is rising and social security costs are mushrooming, with fewer and fewer workers to pay for it and feeble economic growth. The way things are going means that neither the economy nor social security can any longer remain dependent on employment.
We are already seeing that salaries no longer bear much relation to the usefulness of the work done. The proportion of the population whose revenue is derived from work is a mere 40%; all the others accomplish tasks which are equally necessary to value creation but are unpaid, such as caring for family, learning, volunteer work or art and culture. In the 21st century, the concept of paid work as the sole source of income, social integration and human value creation has become obsolete.
The president of SwissICT, Thomas Flatt is in favor of unconditional basic income (referendum on June 5th):
Computer scientists have finally arrived in the real world. We're now part of the establishment. Not only are our representatives suddenly present in parliament, we were also present at the WEF (World Economic Forum). Plus, the main subject of the forum were our very own inventions. Like always, bad news sells better than good news. That's why recently we've seen a lot of headlines stating that in the next few years 5 million jobs will be lost in the industrialized world. This study is rather conservative though, since others estimate that in the next 10 to 20 years we'll loose about 50% of our jobs.
However IT (Information Technology) also creates new jobs, many in fact. That's at least what our optimists say. Sure, IT will create new jobs and it'll be easy to train all the dismissed taxi drivers, industrial workers, and call-center workers into robot specialists and software developers. It's even easier than the job-search for a 50 year old computer scientist. But let's not fall into pessimism. We've survived the invention of electricity, of the steam engine, of the railway, of cars and of many other inventions. Industries and jobs came and went and were replaced by new ones. The same thing will happen this time - or will it? Either way, the winners will be those who anticipate what might happen in 5 to 10 years, and those who prepare their goods and services for this world of tomorrow. [+]
On January 27th 2016, the Swiss government announced on which initiatives we'll vote on June 5th 2016, and one them will be about the unconditional basic income. The campaign has thus officially begun!
Our networks are organizing and are constantly gaining new enthusiastic members, who want to be a part of the historic vote. Our funds, which are necessary to finance the campaign, are also growing thanks to your support. Small, like the 5 CHF/month by Duccio or big, like the 10'000 CHF by Clément, every donation counts! It's small streams that give birth to big rivers.
It's hard to say whether the referendum will be a success or not, as too many people have never heard of unconditional basic income. They are very vulnerable to the misinformation of its detractors. Our goal is that people get objective information. For this, everybody can help: talk about it, send an information mail to your friends, share our Facebook posts and invite your friends to like our page. You can also take part in our actions and participate in the campaign funding. [+]
On January 27th, the day our government announced the date of the referendum, a golden fleet in favor of basic income arrived in Bern. Our activists arrived with a golden Tesla car, golden bikes, rickshaws and toy cars. They revealed the results of the study conducted by Demoscope Research & Marketing, which was conducted on a panel of Swiss citizens in October 2015. [+]
The 46th edition of the World Economic Forum ended on January 23rd. The danger that represents the 4th industrial revolution for employment was at the heart of the debates. MIT economist Erik Brynjolfsson underlined that "we're heading towards a future with incredible amounts of wealth and little work" . His university just published a report stating that 47% of all jobs in the US could be automated within 20 years. Another study by the WEF shows that artificial intelligence will destroy 7.1 million jobs in the next five years in the 15 main world economies and will only create 2 million new jobs. [+]