(382) Switzerland holding referendum on basic guaranteed income

Switzerland.svgThe idea that an advanced industrial country will soon hold a national referendum on whether or not to make available to all adults a guaranteed  basic minimum income is absolutely fantastic.

What a role model for Canada!  Imagine knowing that you and your neighbours would never fall below a certain minimum standard of living ever again.  Imagine powerfully bolstering this society against precarious employment, downward mobility, food insecurity, social exclusion, austerity and crime while making it physically healthier and happier.  You know, sometimes there are magic bullets and some problems can be solved by throwing money at them.

Concern over inequality seems to have allowed Swiss activists to force a referendum on the basic guaranteed income which would be the equivalent of nearly three thousand Canadian dollars a month.  This is dramatic stuff: 120,000 signatures were quickly collected for  the petition required to secure the referendum, backed up by the emptying of a twelve-wheeled dump truck full of five cent coins in front of the Swiss parliament in Bern.  There were enough coins to represent each of Switzerland’s eight million people.  The date for the referendum has not been set but it follows legislation driven by public anger earlier this year that caps executive compensation.  Wow!  This is a very serious contrast to shut-down America, cut-back Britain and a Canada still deeply in the throes of failed neoconservative policy.  We bet many Canadians have no ability even to imagine this kind of prosperity and security.

Swiss vote for sweet minimum monthly wage: $2800
RT.com – see pictures of coin demonstration