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SWITZERLAND: National Referendum will be held on Basic Income

Following a successful campaign aiming at collecting more than 100,000 signatures, Switzerland will hold national referendum to vote on basic income.

On October 4, 2013 activists delivered more than the necessary 100,000 to call for the vote. The organizing committee for the initiative has been collecting signatures for months in preparation for this event. The proposal is for a substantial basic income of 2,500 francs ($2,756US) per month for every adult legal resident of Switzerland.

Along with the signatures, supporters held a large demonstration outside the Federal Palace in Bern. At the demonstration they dropped a dump truck load of 8 million five-rappen coins, one for each person living in Switzerland (see video below). Assuming the signatures are valid, the government is now obliged to schedule a vote in the near future.

For more on the initiative see:

Alice Baghdjian (author) Denis Balibouse (reporter), and Gareth Jones (editor), “Swiss to vote on 2,500 franc basic income for every adult,” Reuters, October 4, 2013. Reposted by MSN: http://news.msn.com/world/swiss-to-vote-on-dollar2800-monthly-income-for-all-adults?stay=1

VIDEO: “Switzerland: Parliament forced to debate basic income for nationals Ruptly TV, Oct 3, 2013: Enno Schmidt, founder of Generation Basic Income Initiative, talks through the aims of the unconditional basic income initiative.

Max Rivlin-Nadler, “Swiss to Vote on Guaranteed $2800 Monthly Income for All Adults,” Gawker, October 5, 2013.

Common Dreams staff, “Swiss Showing the World How to Take on Pay Inequality Common Dreams, Saturday, October 5, 2013. This story includes photos and embedded video.

Ivan Botoucharov, “The Abolition of Poverty in Switzerland: A Template for Europe?One-Europe, 04 Oct 2013

Anna Edwards, “Streets of Basel paved with gold: 15 TONS of five cent coins are dumped on city’s streets as protesters demand a basic minimum income for every Swiss household,” The Mail Online, 4 October 2013. This story includes pictures of how the coins were assembled to be dropped during the demonstration in Bern.

If you know of other stories on this issue, please leave the full info and link in the comments section. Please note what language the story is in.

Karl Widerquist

About Karl Widerquist

Karl Widerquist has written 878 articles.

Karl Widerquist is an Associate Professor of political philosophy at SFS-Qatar, Georgetown University, specializing in distributive justice—the ethics of who has what. Much of his work involves Universal Basic Income (UBI). He is a co-founder of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network (USBIG). He served as co-chair of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) for 7 years, and now serves as vice-chair. He was the Editor of the USBIG NewsFlash for 15 years and of the BIEN NewsFlash for 4 years. He is a cofounder of BIEN’s news website, Basic Income News, the main source of just-the-facts reporting on UBI worldwide. He is a cofounder and editor of the journal Basic Income Studies, the only academic journal devoted to research on UBI. Widerquist has published several books and many articles on UBI both in academic journals and in the popular media. He has appeared on or been quoted by many major media outlets, such as NPR’s On Point, NPR’s Marketplace, PRI’s the World, CNBC, Al-Jazeera, 538, Vice, Dissent, the New York Times, Forbes, the Financial Times, and the Atlantic Monthly, which called him “a leader of the worldwide basic income movement.” Widerquist holds two doctorates—one in Political Theory form Oxford University (2006) and one in Economics from the City University of New York (1996). He has published seven books, including Prehistoric Myths in Modern Political Philosophy (Edinburgh University Press 2017, coauthored by Grant S. McCall) and Independence, Propertylessness, and Basic Income: A Theory of Freedom as the Power to Say No (Palgrave Macmillan 2013). He has published more than a twenty scholarly articles and book chapters. Most Karl Widerquist’s writing is available on his “Selected Works” website (works.bepress.com/widerquist/). More information about him is available on his BIEN profile and on Wikipedia. He writes the blog "the Indepentarian" for Basic Income News.

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