SWITZERLAND: Only 2% of people would stop working if they had a basic income


Critics of basic income have been proven wrong once again. Giving everyone the means to survive would not make people lazy. A new opinion poll carried out in Switzerland shows that only a tiny fraction of the population would stop working if they had a Universal Basic Income (UBI). What is more, most young people believe UBI will be implemented in the future.

The survey was conducted by DemoSCOPE and released on January 27, 2016 (you can read the full results here)Among the 1076 respondents, only 2% said they would stop working completely, while another 8% said they would ‘rather’ stop working. This trend is also persistent among the youth, were only 3% said they would stop working. However, about a third of the respondents think “others would stop working.”

53% say that, if they receive a UBI, they would spend more time with the family. 54% of the Swiss would like to pursue further education,  while 22% in total would want to start a business or be self-employed.

67% believe basic income would “relieve people from existential fears”

The survey shows another striking result: 67% of the respondents, and particularly the youth, think basic income would “relieve people from existential fears.”

With a basic income, 40% would engage more in voluntary work, a trend that is even more important among supporters of the idea (60%).

The campaign for basic income in Switzerland is now entering an historic phase. After 125,000 Swiss citizens had signed a popular initiative back in 2013, a nationwide referendum will be held on June 5 this year, despite the opposition of both houses of parliament last year.

A majority (56%) of the respondents think basic income will never happen, but 16% think it will be implemented after more than 10 years, and another 15% think that it will take more than 25 years. Only 3% of Swiss people think basic income will be implemented after the referendum.

People under 35 are more optimistic: 58% of them are confident that basic income will become a reality in Switzerland.

The survey results are encouraging for the basic income movement. According to the campaign group Generation Grundeinkommen,“the Swiss are ready for a universal basic income!”

About Stanislas Jourdan

Stanislas Jourdan has written 40 articles.

Co-Founder of the French Movement for basic income. Also journalist in a previous life.


  • Monika

    The concept is a wonderful idea. Iam for it. My question is. What happens if a person has a monthly income of Sfr. 10’000. Will they receive the Sfr 2500 on top of their income?
    Thanks for responding.
    Krgds Monika

    • Andre Coelho

      Hello Monika,

      I don’t know exactly how the Swiss intend to implement Basic Income; at the moment the issue is to write the basic income policy on the Swiss Constitution (which is no trivial matter). However, in a basic reasoning around redistribution of income, it makes sense to have the relative higher incomes finance basic income. That is: everyone receives the basic income, as an universal and unconditional right, but after tax collection, the relatively better off effectively pay more than they receive (so that those worse off can have a minimum income amount under which they cannot go).

      So, answering directly to your question, chances are that the person earning 10000 Sfr will actually be left with a little less income after receiving the basic income and paying her tax. Let’s say 5% or something.

      Hope I have clarified.

      Best regards,

      André Coelho

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