Switzerland has turned its back on a basic income scheme, in which the federal government would have given every resident a monthly payment – expected to be around 2500 Swiss Francs ($2,500) – “regardless of their income and assets”.
Although voters rejected the move in a referendum at the weekend, Switzerland isn’t the only country weighing up a basic-income experiment. Around 10,000 people in Finland could soon be paid €550 each month if the government goes ahead with a universal basic income pilot project.
A working group has advised the government to trial the tax-free wage, roughly equal to unemployment and welfare benefits that cover food, personal hygiene and clothing and other daily expenses, in 2017 for two years. A poll showed that the proposal has overwhelming support, with 69% of Finns agreeing with the plan.
The Netherlands and France are considering similar moves. A basic incomeexperiment is due to start in the Dutch city of Utrecht in 2017. While some have criticized the plan, saying it will simply discourage the unemployed from looking for work, Nienke Horst, a project manager for the Utrecht city government, told Quartz that “we think that more people will be a little bit happier and find a job anyway”.
How would a basic income for everyone work?