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Unconditional base income?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Grisu, Aug 3, 2013.

  1. Grisu

    Grisu Draghetto Retired Moderator

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    So in Switzerland a federal initiative to grant a unconditional base income has been launched last spring.

    Last week the necessary signatures had been collected, which makes it the fastest federal initiative ever.

    http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/swiss_news/Initiative_launched_for_guaranteed_income.html?cid=32468670

    So what do you think?
    • Is Switzerland to be the spearhead for global socialism?
    • Massive Idiocy?
    • Could it work?
    • Or what?
     
  2. Grisu

    Grisu Draghetto Retired Moderator

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    Now, I don't think the thing has any real chance at the vote, their's too many uncertainities, and Switzerland's currently doing much too well too risk such big experiments.

    Personally, I can't see how this could possibly work. And I don't even want to think about the costs.
     
  3. BvBPL

    BvBPL Pour Decision Maker

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    It is a great idea.
     
  4. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    Probably the Swiss are doing it to avoid having the EU robbing the EU citizen's money stacked in swiss banks.
     
  5. Grisu

    Grisu Draghetto Retired Moderator

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    How so?

    The main problems I see with this is how are we gonna pay for it without totally wrecking our tresury. Or racking taxes so high that those 2500.-- become a joke? (note that those 200 bn are more or less currently our whole expenses..

    Furthermore why would anybody work at all? a couple without kids could live decently with 5k.
     
  6. BvBPL

    BvBPL Pour Decision Maker

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    Levy high taxes against the richest to subsidize the unconditional income.

    What would be so bad if lots of people didn't work? They would find something more fulfilling to pass the time. People who continue to work will do so for the love the job.
     
  7. Loppan Torkel

    Loppan Torkel Deity

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    Would you care to explain the proposal a bit further?
    It might be evident but I'm not sure.

    It's SFr2500/month which would be given to all that earn less or don't earn anything at all? An unemployed and a McDonalds employee would earn this amount, perhaps even those with lighter education?

    The taxes will likely rise a bit and those who earn just above SFr2500 might get less to spend per month?
     
  8. IdiotsOpposite

    IdiotsOpposite Boom, headshot.

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    Whether it works or not, have no fear. The banks have funds in Switzerland, and so the US will stop this socialist "for the people" nonsense before it gets any real ground.
     
  9. Borachio

    Borachio Way past lunacy

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    Arggh! I've been waiting so long for someone to do this. It seems such a no-brainer to me.
     
  10. Loppan Torkel

    Loppan Torkel Deity

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    I foresee a great house-bubble implosion in Switzerland. Also - an increase in applications for Swiss citizenship.
     
  11. Grisu

    Grisu Draghetto Retired Moderator

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    Everybody, whether they work or not, will get this amount (unconditional). So yes, low income guys would probably get about the same as people who don't work at all.

    I'd say, those who earn only slighty more than 2500 now will demand a lot more (rightfully) or don't work at all anymore. So basically, costs for everything would rise, which in turn would mean that living 'with dignity' would not be possible anymore with a mere 2500...so they'd have to raise it..and on and on and on....unless I'm missing something rather big.
     
  12. Borachio

    Borachio Way past lunacy

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    I don't agree. I don't think people are as motivated by money as you seem to suggest. True, people at the moment like to feel their work is valued. But people really don't care that much what the differential really is in absolute terms - as long as there is a small differential. So that a society could function just as well (if not better) with the richest only getting paid, say, five times the lowest wage.

    The big advantage of universal benefits - and unconditional base income is only one example - is that they are extremely easy to administer and very difficult to defraud (provided you have some kind of personal identification scheme of course).
     
  13. Loppan Torkel

    Loppan Torkel Deity

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    So, a pretty hefty inflation is to be expected and nothing really changes? I don't get this, but going by this information I'd be sceptical...

    The bankers won't be happy about this... :mischief:
     
  14. Hakim

    Hakim Parasocial

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    Sounds like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_income.

    I mostly support it, although $2,730 is much too high in the beginning. I'd start at a 10th of that and then increase it gradually, carefully studying the effects.

    One advantage is that you can get rid of a lot of bureaucracy as social benefits, unemployment benefits, basic pensions and study grants can be removed.

    It will political suicide to try lower this basic income however (other than through inflation). The various benefit systems of today can be decreased individually e.g. unemployment benefits can be reduced in a program for "creating jobs". Likewise, it will be harder promote specific areas if their respective system is replaced with basic income. You can't encourage studies with higher study grants if there are no study grants. To summarize it removes tools for different parties to express their political ideologies in a party program.

    Imagine doing something like this on a global level.
     
  15. Borachio

    Borachio Way past lunacy

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    I think it would be a very good idea on a global level. And, given time, might very well come about.

    There's already talk of eliminating global poverty, and this is just such an attempt. (Though I realize it would be confined to Switzerland to begin with.)

    I think it's very hard to argue against it, as a principle.

    It seems to be a fundamental human right to be able to feed, cloth, and house oneself at some kind of basic level.
     
  16. History_Buff

    History_Buff Knight of Cydonia

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    Well, there's the fact that increasing minimum wages doesn't seem to create inflation. So I don't think you can say for that this would actually cause price spirals. It seems like it would at first glance, but economics is anything but intuitive.

    And many economists from all sorts of political persuasions promote this sort of basic income. It's not even just a lefty thing.
     
  17. Terxpahseyton

    Terxpahseyton Awake

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    I think this is a splendid idea. I am not actually sure it is a good idea as such, but find its potential begging for a try.
    So go for it Switzerland! :)
    I don't think the inflation-argument holds near as much water as you seem think Grisu.
    First: wages for work people want to do may even sink at times, as people could effort a decrease while still making more than before. Moreover, in the new working environment, more people can be expected to actually enjoy their work as the entire job market would be forced to be more accommodating to its workforce in terms of the enjoyment of the work itself. But yes, wages for work people really do not want to do but are in high demand nevertheless would have to rise and that would then mean higher prices. So you are probably right that some kind of inflation will take place. But not as simply as: basic income --> people need to be paid so much that basic income becomes self-defeating.
    Secondly: The basic income would come from somewhere where it already was before. It is supposed to be refinanced as I understand. The money offered for consumer goods would not increase, it merely would change who demands what. If for example the basic income is financed by sales tax and income taxes, than what it really means is those that work and earn income and buy goods finance the consumption of others by doing so. If everyone worked and earned the same money and spend the same money, then the unconditional income would have no effect at all. It would simply be another step in the circulation of money with no bearing on the economy. But as some earn and consequently spend more, a redistribution takes place. Which btw makes it weird that in your OP it is was claimed this was not a matter of redistribution - it obviously is. However, it is also fundamental different from other redistribution schemes, as it seeks to fundamental alter the stance of anyone on the job market. It redistributes but at the same time directly changes the living situation of everyone in a beneficial way. And the effect will be a fundamental alteration of the job market and the jobs its provides.
    If this alteration is actually survivable is a good question. I hope we can finally find it out :) All I know is that if this works, then it would be absolutely fantastic and I don't think we can know until we give it a try..
     
  18. Borachio

    Borachio Way past lunacy

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    Doesn't everyone already get a base income anyway? I mean, no one can afford to live on no money at all can they? (Barring certain exceptional people like the Queen, and real survivalist types)

    The alternative to an unconditional base income is means-tested benefits - which we have at the moment; which are very expensive to implement and quite easy to defraud.

    That's not say that an unconditional base income would completely eliminate other "tested" benefits (like various incapacity payments), though.
     
  19. bhsup

    bhsup Deity

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    Let 'em reach a personal state of bliss on their own f'ing dime, not mine. This is a horrible idea. That said, not my business and if Switzerland wants to ruin itself, that's its own business.
     
  20. Borachio

    Borachio Way past lunacy

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    ^ Predictable.

    But it's a point of view, certainly.
     

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