by Claudio Grass
In early June, the Swiss will be called upon to make a historic decision. Switzerland is the first country worldwide to put the idea of an Unconditional Basic Income to a vote and the outcome of this referendum will set a strong precedent and establish a landmark in the evolution of this debate.
The Swiss public will have to approve or reject a change in the constitution that would allow for the introduction of an Unconditional Basic Income (UBI) or a preset, monthly minimum income to be paid out by the government to every adult and child in the country if their income falls below a specific threshold. Even though details of this proposal have been few and far between, the most commonly cited amount of this guaranteed income would be 2,500 Swiss Francs for adults and 625 francs for children. The architects of the proposal stress that this government-guaranteed payment, unlike the current benefit programs, will be entire “no questions asked”, i.e., it will not be means-tested and will apply to every person legally living in Switzerland.