Switzerland is famous for being a place that knows how to handle money, which makes this radical idea all the more intriguing – the Swiss government will vote on a proposal to introduce a ‘basic unconditional monthly income’. Under the scheme, every citizen of Switzerland would receive a monthly payment of 2500 Swiss francs per month, regardless of whether they were working or not. Children would 625 francs per month.
The idea has been put forward by a group of intellectuals, the Independent reports, and while it hasn’t had a mass show of support, the federal government announced it will vote on the matter, making if the first country to vote on the matter.
Finland has also considered a basic income strategy, which is designed to replace all welfare payments with a monthly lump sum of 550 euros.
Research carried out in Switzerland found that only two per cent of people would give up working, however a third of people surveyed suspected that more people would stop working if they were guaranteed an income.
The Swiss payment equates to $3450 or around $860 per week in Australian dollars, and gives pause for thought. Would people really be inspired to continue working? And does a one-size fits all payment work in our culture?
One thing is for sure, it would cut out a lot of the confusion about what we are entitled to and possibly save us days communicating with Centrelink and filling out forms.
But what impetus would there be for an 18-year-old, fresh out of school to get a job? And who would man our cafes, stack shelves in our supermarkets, pick fruit if there was a basic wage one could rely on? One can only assume that this would force prices up on essentials and rent, too.
While on the surface, getting $3450 in your bank account might seem like a great idea, we’re not so sure… But if Switzerland was to go ahead with it, perhaps the world would pay attention.