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Motion to the Geneva cantonal parliament: “A pilot experiment of UBI in Geneva”

Ginevra Gran Consiglio

As we announced last June, the proposed motion, “A pilot experiment of unconditional basic income (UBI) in Geneva”, was tabled on 11 September 2019 in the Geneva cantonal parliament (Grand Conseil) by a group of deputies from the Greens and the Socialist Party (SP).

The text of this motion calls on the government (Conseil d'État):

  • to set up a UBI pilot in the canton of Geneva, lasting a minimum of five years and involving a sufficiently large and representative sample, with a view to eventually introducing the UBI in Switzerland;
  • to involve the University of Geneva and the BIEN Switzerland association in the definition of the framework and parameters of the pilot as well as in its follow-up, with a multidisciplinary approach;
  • to publish the first evaluation of the project in the third year in order to assess the effects of such a system on the beneficiaries and also on society as a whole.

The following considerations are mentioned:

  • the changes in the work environment due to new technologies in manufacturing and services, in particular artificial intelligence, big data, Uberisation, self-buying/checking, and their consequences: on the one hand, the precariousness of income from gainful employment and, on the other, the growing demand for supplementary or alternative income from social benefits;
  • the encouraging result in the city and canton of Geneva of the national initiative for an unconditional basic income, voted on in 2016;
  • the UBI pilots which have already been conducted, in particular in Finland, the Netherlands and Canada;
  • the pilot projects under study in the municipalities of Zurich and Lausanne in response to parliamentary postulates;
  • ongoing debate on UBI in many countries, notably in the European Parliament, France, the United States, Canada, India and Mexico;
  • various expressions of support around the world, both on the left and the right of the political spectrum (for example, Benoît Hamon or Thomas Piketty in France), and in economic and new tech circles, with support from personalities such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk;
  • the fact that the responsibility for the social security system in Geneva is mainly at the cantonal level;
  • the need to promote the development of activities that support ecological transition;
  • the opportunity for the canton of Geneva to prove that it is capable of grasping the challenges and consequences of the revolution that is happening, and of providing a lasting socio-economic response to it.

The proposal was drafted by a working group in a joint effort of BIEN Switzerland and the Geneva Greens, in particular Ralph Kundig, President of BIEN.CH, Frédérique Perler, Vice-president of the Greens, member of parliament at the time of the proposal, now Mayor of Geneva, and Pierre Eckert, member of parliament. It was signed and supported by about twenty deputies, mainly from the Greens and the SP.

Full text of Motion No. 2587 (IT)

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