June 6, 2016

Swiss Voters Reject Guaranteed Income In Referendum

[From article]
Swiss voters rejected by a wide margin on Sunday a proposal to introduce a guaranteed basic income for everyone living in the wealthy country after an uneasy debate about the future of work at a time of increasing automation.
Supporters had said introducing a monthly income of 2,500 Swiss francs ($2,563) per adult and 625 francs per child under 18 no matter how much they work would promote human dignity and public service.
Opponents, including the government, said it would cost too much and weaken the economy.
Provisional final results showed 76.9 percent of voters opposed the bold social experiment launched by Basel cafe owner Daniel Haeni and allies in a vote under the Swiss system of direct democracy.
[. . .]

Conservative Switzerland is the first country to hold a national referendum on an unconditional basic income, but others including Finland are examining similar plans as societies ponder a world where robots replace humans in the workforce.
[. . .]
Employers heaved a sigh of relief that Switzerland, where unemployment is only around 3.5 percent, had not become the first country to embrace the guaranteed income measure.
The Swiss government had urged voters to reject the campaign, saying the scheme would cost too much and undermine social cohesion.
Interior Minister Alain Berset said the vote showed Swiss voters supported the economic and social system in place "and that this system works well."
[. . .]

An advanced social safety net already supports people who cannot pay for their own livelihood. Fewer than seven percent of people lived in poverty in 2014, official data show.


Swiss reject free income plan after worker vs. robot debate
By Silke Koltrowitz and Marina Depetris
Yahoo News
June 5, 2016

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