The Swiss take a referendum on guaranteed yearly income, by @DavidOAtkins

The Swiss take a referendum on guaranteed yearly income

by David Atkins

This is interesting:

Switzerland will hold a vote on whether to introduce a basic income for all adults, in a further sign of growing public activism over pay inequality since the financial crisis.

A grassroots committee is calling for all adults in Switzerland to receive an unconditional income of 2,500 Swiss francs ($2,800) per month from the state, with the aim of providing a financial safety net for the population.

Organizers submitted more than the 100,000 signatures needed to call a referendum on Friday and tipped a truckload of 8 million five-rappen coins outside the parliament building in Berne, one for each person living in Switzerland.

Under Swiss law, citizens can organize popular initiatives that allow the channeling of public anger into direct political action. The country usually holds several referenda a year.

In March, Swiss voters backed some of the world's strictest controls on executive pay, forcing public companies to give shareholders a binding vote on compensation.

A separate proposal to limit monthly executive pay to no more than what the company's lowest-paid staff earn in a year, the so-called 1:12 initiative, faces a popular vote on November 24.
The idea of guaranteed income has been gaining popularity elsewhere in the world, as well. Jacob Hacker received a warm reception in the UK with his proposal for "predistribution", and just last week the President of Cyprus announced a basic minimum income program also.

It's on the far edge of public policy right now, but it won't be for long. Globalization and mechanization of labor are creating a world for which the traditional answers of the last century or so on both the right and the left will be inadequate. In a world where just a few people can exponentially increase productivity, profits and personal wealth while firing workers and cutting wages, traditional Keynesian stimulus and taxation schemes are increasingly moot. Executive-to-worker pay ratios and minimum incomes will eventually be necessary.

Once these are more widely adopted, the biggest issue will be that of free rider countries that refuse to institute them in order to lure capital investment away from countries that take care of their people. Much like the EU is attempting to do with Ireland and other free rider countries in Europe today, it will take global action to bring scabbing featherbedder nations in line.

But this will eventually happen absent civilization collapse. It's the only option that makes any sense.