Sunday, 5 June 2016

Swiss Vote On Basic National Income

The idea of a national income has been around for a while but it is the Swiss who have actually picked it up and are running with it as they today hold a referendum on the introduction of an unconditional national income, which they claim will tackle poverty and inequality.
The proposal is that the Swiss government will pay each of its citizens £1,800 per month, whether they are working or not.
Those on the pro side argue that robots, machines and computers are increasingly replacing humans in the workplace and don't need to be paid a salary so workers can be freed from employment with the state stepping in to support them.
What is not being explained is how much this would cost or how it will be funded by the Government but analysts estimate the bill would come to £143 billion and have to be funded by austerity cuts and substantial tax increases for those who choose to remain in work.
I understand the argument that it has the potential to tackle many of the issues in our society around poverty and inequality while closing the divisive gap between the rich and poor but polls have suggested the majority of voters will reject the scheme and until someone can provide a breakdown of the figures it seems madness to even contemplate such a drastic move.
It is an intriguing thought though but appears to be dependent on people taking the £1,800 but remain working to pay for the percentage of people who come out of work and the more of those there are, the less Government funds there will be to spread around and that will bring a whole hosts of problems.  

7 comments:

Keep Life Simple said...

I think this is coming because of AI and ML. White collar work is gonna be hit harder than blue collar work. It will be cheaper to replace accountants with an AI in the cloud, than replacing a plumber with a robot, for example.

In the US only 50% of Americans pay income tax. The rest pay nothing or get government stipends. If the remaining 50% that work begin losing jobs to robots and AI, it is easy to imagine a handful of companies in every industry making huge profits (having replaced many thousands of employees with AI) and thus paying huge taxes that are paid out to the citizenry.

Falling on a bruise said...

It is one to park for later consideration but it needs further planning to how exactly it will work because the details are very vague.

Keep Life Simple said...

Expect the first wave of AI job losses by 2020. The BPO's get it and will pursue aggressively.

Keep Life Simple said...

Ha ha, they voted it down 78% to 22%. Maybe there is hope for them still.

Keep Life Simple said...

I tell you what will help with equality - everybody work!

Falling on a bruise said...

Sensible Swiss. Everybody working would be the ideal but large part of the welfare bill is in-work benefits, people on such a low wage the government has to top it up.

Keep Life Simple said...

I would prefer the government offer education and training so people can do something better than minimum wage work.