Monday, May 16, 2016

Universal basic income, a new challenge in Swiss

In Switzerland, a referendum for the introduction of basic income is again considered.

Basic income is a concept in which every citizen are given a certain amount of money monthly regardless of their position. It guarantees that people can live without working unless they want to possess luxury goods. It is similar to public protection system, but it is simpler because it needs not to examine each person's economic status. In addition, people who are not willing to work albeit they can do are also given the income. Therefore, basic income is expected to exclude persons with a low performance from the labor market. It will lead to the improved unemployment rate and enhanced productivity in each company, theoretically.

However, basic income has not been introduced yet all over the world. There are a couple of reasons. First, basic income will increase the social cost. Different from the public protection, wealthy people can receive the basic income. Also, poor people need more amount of aid such as medical cost. The introduction of basic income is not feasible considering the fiscal status even in most developed countries.

Second, there is criticism for giving money to unworking people. They worry that basic income system will make citizens lazy. It will result in the decrease of tax income. It means that basic income cannot be sustainable.

In this time, some people oppose to the basic income. They claim that basic income will make women quit the job. I understand their concern, but I am doubtful about their comment. If women tend to withdraw from the job after receiving basic income, to be blamed is not basic income but traditional employment system in which women are less likely to gain a high salary.

In Swiss, there was a discussion about the introduction of basic income. Equal payment was also proposed in the other day. It is relatively easy to conduct a referendum on a novel public policy in Swiss, but realizing it is not.

In my estimation, basic income will not be approved at this time. Nonetheless, discussion about such an innovative policy is somewhat worthy.

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