February 20, 2017

Nearly four of five Swiss reject guaranteed basic income plan-TV

People cast their ballots during a vote on whether to give every adult citizen a basic guaranteed monthly income

Around 78 percent of Swiss voters have rejected a proposal to introduce a guaranteed basic income for everyone living in the country, projections by the GFS polling group for Swiss broadcaster SRF showed on Sunday.

Supporters had said introducing a monthly income of 2,500 Swiss francs ($2,563) per adult and 625 francs per child under 18 would promote human dignity and public service at a time of increasing automation. Opponents, including the government, said it would cost too much and weaken the economy.

Even though opinion polls had shown the initiative by Basel cafe owner Daniel Haeni and allies has scant chances of victory, public interest in the matter was huge, far beyond Swiss borders.

Supporters said introducing a monthly income of 2,500 Swiss francs (2,250 euros) per adult and 625 francs per child under 18 would promote human dignity and public service. Opponents, including the government, said it would cost too much and weaken the economy.

Campaigners tried to gain international attention by creating a poster bigger than a soccer field asking “What would you do if your income was secure?” and showing it in Geneva and Berlin, and, via a video of the performance, in New York.

They had also handed out free 10-franc notes to passersby.

Switzerland with its system of direct democracy is the first country to hold a national referendum on an unconditional basic income, but other countries including Finland are examining similar plans.

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