Switzerland considers a mandatory basic minimum income for everyone

In Switzerland, they were counting coins, dumping 8-million coins before the Swiss parliament buildings in a push for a Basic Minimum Income for all citizens. The Left says it will fight poverty, the Right thinks it will reduce bureaucracy. The concept was tried in one Manitoba town in the 70s. Today, we examine Minimum Income as part of our Project...
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In Switzerland, they were counting coins, dumping 8-million coins before the Swiss parliament buildings in a push for a Basic Minimum Income for all citizens. The Left says it will fight poverty, the Right thinks it will reduce bureaucracy. The concept was tried in one Manitoba town in the 70s. Today, we examine Minimum Income as part of our Project Money.



The Swiss will soon vote on a plan that pays each adult about $2800-dollars a month, just for being.


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Committee members delivered 126,000 signatures to the Chancellery to propose a change in the constitution to implement a minimum monthly disposal household income given by the govt to every citizen living in Switzerland. (Reuters/Denis Balibouse)


Eight million coins were dumped at the Swiss Parliament buildings in Bern as a publicity stunt by activists who've triggered a referendum on the idea of an unconditional minimum income... for all Swiss citizens.

They want to see a new kind of society where everyone gets a basic income -- no strings attached. It's an old idea -- and it comes with a basic minimum of skeptics. But it also has advocates across the political spectrum.

Today, as part of our Project Money, we explore the feasibility and potential impact of the idea.

Daniel Straub is part of the Swiss campaign for a basic minimum income which would be unconditional. We reached him in Zurich, Switzerland.

There has been discussion in Canada about some form of this idea and even many attempts at establishing minimum incomes -- including a famous example from the 1970s in Manitoba.

We convened two Canadians who have spent a lot of time thinking about these kinds of plans.

  • Evelyn Forget is a health economist at the University of Manitoba. She is a leading expert on the impact of the Manitoba experiment.

  • Finn Poschmannis the Vice President of research at the C.D. Howe Institute. In the 1990s he worked as a Parliamentary researcher who looked into how feasible it would be to introduce a basic minimum income plan in Canada.

Would you support an unconditional minimum income for all Canadians. Do you agree or disagree with the concept, philosophically... or is your opinion based more on practicalities -- Do you believe it would be affordable?

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This segment was produced by The Current's Sujata Berry.

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