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Switzerland’s Proposal to Pay People for Being Alive - NYTimes.com


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A fascinating experiment:

This fall, a truck dumped eight million coins outside the Parliament building in Bern, one for every Swiss citizen. It was a publicity stunt for advocates of an audacious social policy that just might become reality in the tiny, rich country. Along with the coins, activists delivered 125,000 signatures — enough to trigger a Swiss public referendum, this time on providing a monthly income to every citizen, no strings attached.

Every month, every Swiss person would receive a check from the government, no matter how rich or poor, how hardworking or lazy, how old or young.

Poverty would disappear.

Economists, needless to say, are sharply divided on what would reappear in its place — and whether such a basic-income scheme might have some appeal for other, less socialist countries too.

I'm happy Switzerland is trying this. Can't wait to see the consequences.

If everyone has a guaranteed income, community values change:

Evelyn Forget, a health economist at the University of Manitoba, has done some of the best research on the results. Some of her findings were obvious: Poverty disappeared. But others were more surprising: High-school completion rates went up; hospitalization rates went down. “If you have a social program like this, community values themselves start to change,” Forget said.

The result is a better educated and healthier society.

The worry is that Mincome disincentivizes work:

There are strong arguments against minimum or basic incomes, too. Cost is one. Creating a massive disincentive to work is another. But some experts said the effect might be smaller than you would think. A basic income might be enough to live on, but not enough to live very well on. Such a program would be designed to end poverty without creating a nation of layabouts. The Mincome experiment offers some backup for that argument, too.“For a lot of economists, the issue was that you would disincentivize work,” said Wayne Simpson, a Canadian economist who has studied Mincome. “The evidence showed that it was not nearly as bad as some of the literature had suggested.”

I don't think work would be disincentivized.

People who wanted to live well would still have to work hard.

On the other hand, an end to poverty has many tangible benefits to society.

Less crime and more health being two of those benefits.

I truly believe creativity would flow unfettered. 

I believe that, too!

Another potential benefit would be ending corporate welfare for companies like McDonald's and Walmart:

The advocacy group Low Pay Is Not OK posted a phone call, recorded by a 10-year McDonald’s veteran, Nancy Salgado, when she contacted the company’s “McResource” help line. The operator told Salgado that she could qualify for food stamps and home heating assistance, while also suggesting some area food banks — impressively, she knew to recommend these services without even asking about Salgado’s wage ($8.25 an hour), though she was aware Salgado worked full time. The company earned $5.5 billion in net profits last year, and appears to take for granted that many of its employees will be on the dole.

Absurd as a minimum income might seem to bootstrapping Americans, one already exists in a way — McDonald’s knows it. If our economy is no longer able to improve the lives of the working poor and low-income families, why not tweak our policies to do what we’re already doing, but better — more harmoniously? It’s hardly uplifting news, but minimum incomes just might be stimmig for the United States too.

Making it so people don't HAVE to work for fast food places and Walmart would change our society.

http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-03-02/news/37389936_1_idli-subsidised-canteens-dmk-government

Hungry people line up for breakfast...It's no scam, but a state government-sponsored scheme.

I like Naveen's comment :Need to wait and watch as to how the Govt is able to support this scheme. The cost of raw materials, wages of the workers and cost required to maintain the facilities, not to mention the fuel costs for cooking gas itself will outweigh the income generated. Is the Govt subsidising this scheme and providing the extra costs?

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