Swiss citizens veto unconditional basic wage, fear being replaced by robots

Every day in a daze, the monthly income of 10,000 Swiss people may not agree

On June 5, local time, Switzerland held a referendum to decide whether to issue 2,500 Swiss francs (about 16,000 yuan) to each adult citizen per month. If the referendum is passed, Switzerland will become the first country in the world to offer an unconditional basic wage to all.
Maybe you’ll complain about “God’s injustice”. But don’t worry, what is even more “eye-catching” is the plot reversal, and the Swiss are likely to veto this “beautiful” proposal.
According to the latest poll conducted by the Swiss Broadcasting Group, 71% of the public will vote against it, 26% will choose to agree, and 3% have reservations. This also indicates that the motion is basically hopeless to pass.
Why do the Swiss see money as dung so much?
Reasons for worrying about work beingrobot(26.600, 0.45, 1.72%) replaced
One of the sponsors of the “unconditional income” proposal is Daniel Traub, who has been working with a group of intellectuals to push the initiative through since 2013. In their view, if the vote can be passed, it will not only relieve people from worries about life, but also make them more creative. And why is the amount fixed at CHF 2500? Promoters such as Traub argue that 2,500 Swiss francs a month is a “basic amount for people to live with dignity”.
Traub pointed out that the proposal of unconditional basic income has the significance of the times.informationindustryThe revolution will threaten jobs, and many jobs will be replaced by Robots in the future. “We are currently facing two choices. If we do nothing, human beings will lose the most basic living guarantee, and the other choice is to ensure people’s most basic living needs in the future.”
In October 2013, a year and a half after the “unconditional basic income” initiative was launched, it collected 126,000 signatures from Swiss, meeting the requirements of a national referendum in Swiss law.
To promote the referendum, during the morning rush hour on March 14 this year, proponents handed out money to commuters passing by at Zurich railway station in Switzerland, each getting a 10-yuan note. However, few people care.
Officials cannot replace today’s social security system
According to Gao Shengan, Minister of the Swiss Embassy in China and Director of the Political Section, the motion neither defines a basic income level nor provides a plan for financial support. Therefore, the impact of the proposal on state finances is unclear.
Gao Shengan explained that if each person is given 2,500 Swiss francs per month, the total cost is estimated to be 208 billion Swiss francs. Although a large part of the funds can be provided by converting social security funds, at least 25 billion Swiss francs will need to be supplemented by additional taxes. This new system will be very expensive and will have a huge impact on the working population and the economic environment associated with the surcharge.
The initiative’s sponsors have claimed that establishing a guaranteed basic income would cost no more than maintaining the current system, and that the initiative would promote voluntary work. But this has not persuaded the Swiss Federal Council and the Swiss Parliament, so the government has advised voters to reject the motion.
Gao Shengan bluntly stated that, in fact, both the Swiss Federal Council and the Swiss Parliament opposed the motion. They firmly believe that the introduction of an unconditional basic income will not only profoundly alter the country’s social cohesion, but also weaken Switzerland’s economic and social security system. This will exacerbate existing labour and skills shortages in Switzerland. In addition, massive spending cuts or tax increases are necessary to fund the UBI, but are not yet a complete replacement for today’s social security system.
Gao Shengan said that, in fact, the working-age people in Switzerland are generally self-reliant. And those individuals or families who cannot support themselves can receive support from social benefits such as daily unemployment benefits, disability pensions, social assistance, etc. The motion aims to introduce a very different welfare system. If Swiss voters pass the motion, it would mean a huge change in social organization in Switzerland, “and there is a real risk that more people will lose their motivation to work, especially for those with low incomes.”
Swiss take away motivation to find work
A monthly income of CHF 2,500 is not a lot of money for a Swiss citizen. The poverty line announced by Switzerland in 2015 is that the monthly income is below 2,219 Swiss francs, which is about 14,750 yuan. The average pre-tax income of the Swiss is nearly 6,500 Swiss francs (about 43,207 yuan). Corresponding to high incomes are high prices in Switzerland. According to statistics, as one of the most expensive countries in the world, a meal in Switzerland costs about 20 Swiss francs (about 130 yuan) per person, and in urban areas, the house price per square meter is also as high as about 11,000 Swiss francs (about more than 70,000 RMB). So it seems that a monthly income of 2,500 Swiss francs is not enough for local residents.
Nick, a Swiss, is engaged in Sino-Swiss trade. He came to China in 2011 and returns to China every two years on average. He said he would vote against in the June 5 referendum by mail-in ballot.
Nick said that in Switzerland, only a small number of Swiss people, such as students, unemployed people and apprentices, cannot reach the income level of 2,500 Swiss francs. For his part, he believes the referendum proposal, if passed, could affect not only the economy but also the Swiss education system.
Nick introduced that Switzerland has a relatively mature apprenticeship system, and about two-thirds of junior high school graduates will go directly to vocational and technical schools instead of traditional high schools. Under this system, students will be apprentices in enterprises as soon as possible and learn in practice. If they can earn money without working, this is likely to prompt them to give up their apprenticeships, which will ultimately affect the Swiss education system. Giving them a fixed 2,500 Swiss francs a month will deprive them of motivation to look for work. “It’s not a good thing for these groups of people or for society as a whole.”
“I will vote against it.” Parikh, from the Swiss canton of Vaud, said without hesitation in an interview that he thinks the referendum is unnecessary for a country with high welfare such as Switzerland. And this referendum, if passed, would have a devastating impact on the country, as well as a negative impact on the job market. “As a newcomer in the workplace, this is very detrimental to me seeking job opportunities.” Once this motion is passed, increasing the money supply will inevitably lead to inflation. Living in Switzerland, you may need to make more money, and labor costs will also increase.
Swiss Thomas Thomas thought it was an interesting referendum, and although he himself had a positive view of the referendum, he predicted that it would not pass because the proposal did not give practical questions such as where the money would come from. answer.
The quality of civic education determines the direction of the referendum
This is not the first time the Swiss have rejected “pie from the sky”. In March 2012, Swiss voters rejected by 66.5% the union’s proposed six-week annual paid vacation benefit proposal. Opponents argue that more holidays will not reduce work stress, but will increase the cost of work and affect the Swiss economy.
Why are the Swiss so rational? Yi Xianrong, a professor at Qingdao University, believes that the Swiss people were able to choose the option that the government and the economic community wanted them to choose in many referendums, including this unconditional basic wage, because after long-term political participation, they formed a cautious attitude. , rational overall awareness, but also has an important relationship with their higher education level and high quality.
Sending money to induce inflation will not increase purchasing power
Economist Yu Fenghui said that the majority of Swiss citizens opposed the motion, showing that the Swiss are rational and have a clearer understanding of the possible impact on the economy.
From the perspective of economics, this policy will affect two major aspects of macroeconomic regulation. On the one hand, it is the impact on the amount of money put in. If 2,500 Swiss francs are distributed to everyone, inflation will be triggered, and the actual purchasing power will not increase.
On the other hand is the impact on taxation. This money comes from the government’s fiscal balance. The government will increase taxation for this, which will increase the living burden of ordinary people (48.510, -0.39, -0.80%). He believes that giving everyone money brings little real benefit to people’s lives, and the positive effects are offset by the negative effects of inflation and increased taxes. If you want to improve benefits, it is better to propose tax cuts and other methods.
Beijing Times reporter Wu Hongli

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Published on 12/17/2022