Swiss reject basic income plan
June 6, 2016
The Swiss voters have voted against the proposed security that ensured a basic income for all. About 23% of the population supported the move. The proposal was to provide assured income to every adult irrespective of whether or not they work. In addition, some amount was also committed for the children. The logic the supporters gave was about the 50% work that people do without getting paid. Say, looking after your children, cleaning your house etc. 77% of the Swiss voters rejected the proposal. With robots, machines and software gradually eating up jobs everywhere, this move was seen by the supporters as an effort to promote equal distribution of wealth.
The Swiss voters however understand that even if the move could have made their life much easier, such move would have invited a huge population from outside. Economic migration would have been inevitable. And it is very difficult for a nation surrounded by land to resist such migration. This was probably the greatest fear of the Swiss voters as this article says.
The Govt also suspected a deficit of around 25 billion dollars per annum. And ultimately imposing higher taxes would have been necessary, damaging the economy and probably a growth in unemployment and inflation.
Developed nations practice Guaranteed Minimum Income to it’s citizen, provided they fulfil certain criteria. A basic income plan, however ensures that every citizen, irrespective of his/her condition gets some payment from the Govt. Historically, such experiments have yielded mixed outcome. Results from the experiments conducted in the Canadian province of Manitoba concluded with reduction in working hours. Some people, albeit utilised the time for education and maternity leave. A scheme for unemployed launched by Uganda also saw positive changes, as per the report.
However, experiments have failed to provide any concrete results yet.
Some people suggest that basic income scheme is inevitable. As it will be the only way left for the the robot owners to make money. This is because as more and more people get unemployed, the consumer base will decrease. Basic income will probably still help the robot owners to find customers.
The argument will continue in future, till a concrete result is obtained from the experiments that shall be conducted in near future by Canada, Finland and The Netherlands.
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