My Dear Husband is born in Switzerland and spent the first 20 years of his life there. It was not until he took me to Switzerland for the first time sometime back in 1999 that I found out what I had been missing; the food! Because more than amazing landscapes and of course family, there is nothing like the cheese and the chocolate!
Apart from that though, Switzerland is one of the most democratic countries there is, if not the. Anyone can basically bring something before a referendum, having collected at least 100,000 signatures for that cause or ideas.
This Sunday such a referendum takes place and this time it has been much discussed in the international news, especially the economical orientated ones – the first universal basic income referendum. Basically the Swiss are voting for unconditional income, where each citizen are guaranteed a fixed income, whether or not he or she are working. 2500 Swiss Francs monthly for adults plus a monthly allowance of 625 Swiss Francs for each child. This income does however cancel out all social insurance and assistance making it the responsibility of the citizens and not the state.
The idea of the proposal is to break the link between employment and income and changing the idea of work into something you want to rather than have to.
The subject is to say the least controversial and has sparked a lot of debate. On one hand the proposal is believed to relieve people of the pressure to make ends meet thus enabling them to be both more creative as well as productive. Furthermore, studies un Finland (where similar measures are being implanted, although on a smaller scale) have shown that this model could be very beneficial and empowering to women by giving them more options regarding the whole work/home relation.
On the less positive scale, there are those who belive that the proposal will making people lazier now that they don’t have to work and have also expressed fear that some products or services will disappear because people won’t want to work in certain areas any longer. Furthermore, there are those who think that further tax hikes will have to be implemented in order to fund this “citizen’s salary”.
Whether being against or for it, it truly is an interesting and groundbreaking proposal that challenges everything we know and are used to. On one hand, it sounds like a dream, on the other; how will it play out in reality if it goes through? One thing I do belive, though, even though it probably won’t get passed this coming Sunday, it has surely given the Swiss, and the rest of the world, lots to think about.
What do you think?