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Income for all? Pro and con arguments in Swiss vote 03 июня 2016, 14:44

On Sunday the Swiss will vote on whether to provide the entire population with a basic, unconditional income, a world first.
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©Tengrinews ©Tengrinews

The Swiss will head to the polls Sunday to vote on whether to provide the entire population with a basic, unconditional income, in what would be a world first, AFP reports.

But the issue is a contentious one. Here are the main arguments used by the opposing sides.

- In favour -

- Proponents maintain that providing an unconditional, basic income (UBI) to all, near the level of an acceptable minimum wage, will help fight extreme poverty and even out inequalities.

- They believe a UBI would give people more flexibility to renegotiate conditions in underpaid jobs, to take time off to study or attempt to open their own business.

- They say a UBI would help families and women especially by giving both parents the flexibility to stay home with children longer if they wish, thereby adding value to working in the home, and providing each family member with more financial independence.

- They insist a UBI could be easily financed by eliminating the need for other costly social programmes, and through an increase in the sales tax (VAT) or a small fee on all electronic transactions.

- They say a UBI is necessary in a world where work is being transformed by technologies that are making more and more jobs obsolete and worsening already high unemployment.

- They insist it is human nature to want to be productive, and that providing people with a UBI would allow them to seek out more valuable and rewarding activities.

- Opposed -

- Opponents describe the UBI proposal as a "utopia" that cannot work in practice.

- They balk at what they say will be the exorbitant cost of providing a UBI, insisting it would require deep spending cuts and soaring tax hikes.

- They insist many people will simply stop working, leading to lower productivity and output as well as dwindling tax revenue, to the detriment of the overall economy.

- They maintain that rather than promoting gender equality, a UBI would eliminate much of the progress already made in this area by putting more pressure on women to stay home rather than work.

- They question the need for a UBI in a country like Switzerland, which already has a well-functioning social security system, and warn that financing it through a VAT increase would particularly impact the poor.

- They maintain that a UBI would not create more jobs and would fail to reduce unemployment levels.

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