Would an unconditional basic income save democracy or breed laziness?

Published on The Irish Times, by Joe Humphreys, June 6, 2015: The idea of a living wage has been around since the 1700s, but Switzerland is set to put it to a vote next year … //

  • … Progressive thinkers such as Thomas Paine and Bertrand Russell were fans but, in every age, predictable objections kicked in: it would be too expensive; it would be open to abuse; it would make people lazy … //


  • As for turning citizens into sloths: “No, I think the current system is driving many people into laziness,” says Enno Schmidt, a visual artist-turned-activist who is visiting Ireland this week to support the campaign.
  • “Laziness is a healthy reaction towards things whose meaning one does not see and does not want to do. With the basic income no one has to be lazy. You also no longer have excuses why you do not do what you really want to do” … //

… Blind to status:

  • Under the referendum proposal, every citizen would be guaranteed a yearly income of 30,000 Swiss francs (€29,000), regardless of other wealth or employment. The payment is blind to status, and would be made to stay-at-home carers and fat-cat bankers alike … //


  • “In Europe and the US, democracy is being dismantled. People are deprived of their rights. There is a growing oligarchy. An unconditional basic income gives democracy a fresh breeze, refreshes human rights and empowers people. In the wage-depending [economy], a residual of the mentality of slavery lives on. I sell my lifetime for a certain time; in return, I have free time. That has nothing to do with work and the meaning of work but with disciplining and power over others” … //


  • Whichever way the costs are worked out, Schmidt says the key thing is to break the link between work and income. This will help individuals, and society, to value things that don’t carry a price tag.
  • Returning to his own experience, he admits it might have been easier to stay as a nonpoliticised artist, but he felt “the medium of painting was no longer sufficient”.
  • He spent time working in commerce and studied the banking system, and “in the idea of the unconditional basic income, for me, it all comes together”.
  • In art and society, what is most lacking, he says, is for people to perceive themselves other than just as “paid functions”.
  • Enno Schmidt and Che Wagner, of the Swiss Basic Income campaign, are attending the Basic Income Ireland summer forum in Dublin on June 13th; basicincomeireland.com

(full text).

Related Links:

on en.wikipedia: Basic Income Earth Network BIEN is a network of academics and activists interested in the idea of a universal basic income based solely on citizenship and not on work requirement or charity …; Official Website;

GREECE: Is Syriza about to implement a basic income? on BIEN, by Stanislas Jourdan, Feb 28, 2015;

Other Links:

Nigeria: Group Advocates National Basic Income Scheme for the Unemployed, on allAfrica, by Nedum Noble, June 7, 2015;

Why is the TPP Deal Such a Big Secret? on Dissident Voice, by The Real News Network (TRNN), June 7, 2015;

Canada Evades its Genocidal Legacy to Mask its Ongoing Crimes, on Dissident Voice, by Kevin Annett, June 6, 2015: When the Killers conduct the Autopsy, don’t expect the Truth;

Can “authoritarian developmentalism” be tested at the ballot box? on Pambazuka News, by Eyob Balcha Gebremariam, June 3, 2015: In today’s Ethiopia, the government seeks to legitimize its rule by delivering on socio-economic aspects and justifying its actions against civil and political rights of citizens as a price paid for peace, stability and development;

Prof. Dr. Feliks Tych passed away (1929-2015), an outstanding Rosa Luxemburg Researcher, on Socialist Project, June 1, 2015;

Fed Will Not Be Able to Put Out This Fire – Bill Holter, 27.39 min, uploaded by Greg Hunter, May 26, 2015;

The power of stupid ideas: three generations that have never worked *, on Working Class Studies, by Sherry Linkon, May 11, 2015: Commentary on Working-Class Culture, Education, and Politics … behind the statistics lie households where three generations have never had a job’ (ex-British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, 1997) … // … Debunking welfare myths is an important job for social scientists but so is trying to understand what purpose these myths serve – and why they retain their power;

Dirk Müller zitiert Zbigniew Brzezinski / (de.wikipedia): Europa als Brückenkopf der USA in Eurasien, 14.59 min, von Deutschland+Russland am 11. Dezember 2014 hochgeladen;

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts: If the Currency Collapses and You Try to Flee Into Gold, There Won’t Be Any, 41.31 min, uploaded by Greg Hunter, Jan 8, 2014;

Reminder: There Are Still 3 Times More Unemployed Workers Than Job Openings, on The Atlantic, by Jrdan Weissmann, June 12, 2013: In every single major industry sector, there are too many job hunters vying for too little work.

Comments are closed.