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Switzerland: A basic income experiment is on the verge of starting in Switzerland

Rebecca Panian

 

The Swiss village of Rheinau is being targeted for a basic income experiment. The idea is being promoted and produced by the Dorf Testet Zukunft organization (Village of the Future Test). It started in 2016, through a popular initiative, and it had already been approved by more than 25% of the Reinhau population, at the time. Although Reinhau is only habited by 1300 people, 813 have already registered for the experiment. That is above what the organization needed for starting funding, which was 651 registrations.

 

The basic income test itself is planned to start as early as 2019, given enough funding is secured, which starts now. The Dorf Testet Zukunft will have to raise over 5 million Swiss Francs (4,4 million Euros). The plan is for this amount to be distributed unconditionally to all registered participants, for a year. The money will be distributed according to age, such that until 18 years old children receive 550 €/month, the 18-22 years old bracket receive 1100 €/month, from 22 to 25 years old 1640 €/month and above that a 2190 €/month stipend is specified. According to the organization, income from other sources will be discounted over the basic income, up to its maximum value. However, no one will be left with less income than presently, and all people with less income than the basic income value will have more than before (during the experiment). The exact and appropriate experimental mechanism and values are in accordance with villagers and the local council, since the project is open to comment and contributions from all involved.

 

Dorf Testet Zukunft’s team is composed by several dedicated people, headed by project initiator and filmmaker Rebecca Panian, Reto Ormos (financial expert) and Reda El Arbi (Communications), among others. There is also a scientific team dedicated to the project, including Jens Martignoni (FleXibles), Aleksandra Gnach (linguistics professor at ZHAW), Theo Wehner (ETH Zurich) and Sascha Liebermann (Alanus Hochschule). Other support come from activists like Daniel Häni, Götz Werner and Enno Schmidt.

 

Funding is planned to be done through a crowdfunding process, using Wemakeit, a crowdfunding platform founded in Switzerland in 2012. Data is to be collected from recipients during its duration, with a focus on answering general questions such as “What happens to the people?” and “What happens in the community?”, and analyzed afterwards. A documentary film is also planned, directed by Rebecca Panian, which main drive is a search for an answer for “how we want to live in the future”.

 

The idea is, in a nutshell, can be condensed in the following words written in the Dorf Testet Zukunft’s website:

 

“We want to test a possible new future as realistic as possible. This requires pioneers who dare and try it out. Best case: we can encourage people to discuss about the idea of the basic income because we are convinced that a system change must come from the people. Not prescribed from a government.”

 

More information at:

Dorf Testet Zukunft website

About Andre Coelho

André Coelho has written 200 articles.

Activist. Engineer. Musician. For the more beautiful world our hearts know it's possible.

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The views expressed in this Op-Ed piece are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of Basic Income News or BIEN. BIEN and Basic Income News do not endorse any particular policy, but Basic Income News welcomes discussion from all points of view in its Op-Ed section.

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