Friday, January 10, 2014

Basic Income: A Cultural Impulse

Growing wealth disparity in Switzerland has led to a referendum on an unconditional basic income, which could serve to narrow the gap 
Continuing coverage of the basic income movement, an article in today's European CEO on the Swiss initiative and discussing some sides of the argument. 
If the motion were to pass then a basic income would serve as a system of social security. Swiss nationals would receive a staple monthly income on top of any salary they are earning and irrespective of their current employment status. At the rate of CHF2,500, a basic income system would drain a third of Switzerland’s overall GDP, strip the clout of national government and afford even more power to the people on how they wish their money to be spent.
Vast swathes of cash are funnelled towards alleviation of poverty in Europe, yet the sad fact is it remains a constant blight on communities and economies throughout the region. Proponents of basic income draw attention to the costs of welfare administration. They believe cutting out the middlemen could, in large part, produce enough money to introduce a basic income and prevent the population from falling into desperate circumstances.
“It would simplify all current social security systems – making them far cheaper to administer, easier to understand, less prone to error, bureaucratic capriciousness and fraud,” says Barb Jacobson of the European Initiative for Basic Income.
In the video below, an interview with one of the major activists behind the Swiss initiative on a guaranteed basic income, Enno Schmidt, cofounder of the Basic Income Initiative.  The Swiss measure was introduced by BII grassroots activists who collected the 100,000 signatures needed for the referendum. 


Enno Schmidt is an artist and author of the 2008 film Basic Income: A Cultural Impulse.  See the full film below with English subtitles via youtube.  (If you don't see subtitles, click on the "cc" in the lower right tool set of the youtube screen.)

For more information about the movement for unconditional basic income, also visit the Basic Income Earth Network here (BIEN), with listings for the twenty national affiliated basic income networks here, and The U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network here

More, too, at The Post Scarcity Daily.

*Photo credit/via EuropeanCEO, "Members of Generation Basic Income pose with eight million coins of Swiss five-cent. The coins were dumped in front of the Swiss house of Parliament when the activists submitted over 130,000 signatures to organize a nationwide referendum guaranteeing all Swiss nationals a basic income of CHF 2,500 a month."

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