Our society is experiencing profound and irreversible changes. With robotics, digitalization, artificial intelligence, the collaborative economy or putting clients to work and the big data, the production of goods and services requires fewer and fewer people. The consequence is an imbalance in the labor market to the disadvantage of workers, resulting in steadily rising unemployment and downward pressure on wages. Although shareholders benefit from this development, the middle class is seeing a drop in it’s purchasing power. This triggers low demand and reduces production needs and economic growth.
Technology not only allows the implementation of basic income, but demands it in order to maintain a stable economy and to prevent social unrest.
Among its numerous advantages… the UBI:
Eradicating poverty. Basic income establishes a new social contract and a new standard for human dignity. It recognizes the right to life of all human beings, regardless of any market value. It removes the stigmatization and the humiliation of people whose only crime is to not earn enough income in an economy that can’t guarantee full employment.
Recognize all the unpaid work that’s being done for the good of society today, like taking care of our household, of our children, of our parents, of our neighbors, of our common goods, of our culture, of the arts, of the knowledge shared on the internet and so on. According to official statistics, the percentage of necessary yet unpaid work today is 20% higher than paid work.
Will encourage entrepreneurship by reducing the risks for the employers. They could hire employees motivated by their project, who agree to start with low wages, since they already get basic income. It would allow to run businesses even if they are unprofitable, like permaculture, crafts and social support.
Would democratize education and trainings, since at any point our lives we could alway choose to pursue an education or further training.
Would allow a sharing of work chosen rather than undergone by giving workers the necessary security to negotiate their work conditions (today 90% of people would reduce their work-time, while many are desperately looking for jobs).
Simplifies and improves the welfare state, by replacing several benefits and by eliminating control mechanisms, which are pretty inefficient anyway. It wold also eliminate the threshold effects of existing benefits that discourage professional insertion.
Would bring democracy within families by reducing dependence on other family members.
The feasibility of financing basic income has been recognized (see financing). The middle class is automatically protected by basic income from any additional taxes whose could tend to be work disincentive. Because from Right to Left, all political partners agree when it comes to encourage employment and the success of our economy.
Basic income would eliminate disgraceful jobs since it removes the economic constraints of having to perform them. These asks will be automated, performed by people (self-service), abandoned (if possible) or better paid. The development of part-time jobs will also enable people engaged in low-paid activities to dedicate themselves to these tasks. Anyway, it’s not worthy of a modern democracy to force people into these jobs.
Switzerland is already an extremely attractive country. Immigration can thus be controlled like it is nowadays. Basic income will only be distributed to citizens and immigrants with a valid residence permit. If needed, one could imagine a delay before making basic income unconditional for immigrants.
Basic income would protect us from social dumping: It’s much harder to reduce an income provided to all equally than it is to cut wages and benefits here and there that only touch small niches of the population.
Finally, the initiative only proposes the principle of UBI. It will be up to parliament, political actors and the people to apply this principle. It’s application will be the result of political consensus. The true danger doesn’t lie in saying YES to basic income but in not adapting in time to the great changes of the 21st century.