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Robert Reich: It will not work without the Basic Income

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.?

Robert Reich
dvancement opportunities have been halved – Robert Reich (16 january 2014).

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? [+]

A basic income pilot in Lausanne!

Panorama de Lausanne

The inevitable "All work deserves a salary but all salary deserves work" has been pronounced. However the idea of a Lausanne laboratory to test a basic income has made it's way. The idea: "to study the effects of giving a basic income to group of people already receiving State assistance" explained Léonore Porchet. This in order to see "which are conditions that encourage or discourage the efforts of those receiving social assistance in the search for a job", she explained.

The Communal Council of Lausanne accepted this postulate of our friend, activist and member of the Council, Laurent Rebeaud Greens Vaud. The Municipality will have to consider implementing a basic income pilot project, that will allow to test this idea. Léonore Porchet brilliantly defended this postulate in front of the Communal Council and made her voice heard. The experiment is excpected to be conducted on a sample of people which already receive State assistance. Similar experiments are expected in other countries like the Netherlands and Finland.

An unconditional basic income is a logical response to how the economy is evolving

Logo Le Temps

Ralph Kundig face

Ralph Kundig – Published on Friday, February 5th, 2016 on LeTemps.ch (FR)

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.

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As soon as 2016?

The president of SwissICT, Thomas Flatt is in favor of unconditional basic income (referendum on June 5th):

Thomas Flatt
Thomas Flatt
president of SwissICT, entrepreneur, consultant and member of a board of directors

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. [+]

98% of the Swiss people love work!

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Image: Samuel Asunscion

Image: Samuel Asunscion

98% of the Swiss people love work!

          If an unconditional basic income were to be approved by the population, only 2% of the Swiss people would stop working. Another 8 % would consider this option in some circumstances.

Results of the DemoSCOPE study

Dear friend,

The campaign has begun! On Wednesday 27th of January 2016, a golden fleet has taken the first results of the study, revealing that 98% of the Swiss people would continue working with basic income, to our capital. Our new website initiative-revenudebase.ch was launched especially for the referendum and completes our communication network. Talk about it, participate in the campaign for this historic vote and don't forget to vote YES on June 5th 2015!

Summary:

Happy reading!

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