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On Sunday, the citizens of Switzerland, population 8 million, voted in a referendum that proposed three radical additions to its federal constitution, pushing an idea Making Sen$e first did a story on about two years ago:
The proposal lost, 77 percent to 23 percent. But supporters claim that this is just the beginning of a transition as inevitable as the eight-hour day once was and pointed to the following figures from a recent survey of Swiss voters.
As we described in our story two years ago, in the U.S., the idea of a minimum income has long been floated, often by libertarians, as an alternative to an over-bureaucratized nanny state. It is also seen, by those on the left, as an answer to un- and underemployment, a persistent problem even now in supposedly low-unemployment America, as our monthly U-7 Solman Scale, still above 12 percent, makes clear. And what’s driving proponents is the specter of vastly increased un- and underemployment as human jobs give way to technology, as the Swiss survey above suggests.
The income proposed by Swiss promoters of the referendum: about $30,000 a year.
Watch our report on the topic here:
READ MORE: What’s the welfare initiative uniting liberals and conservatives?
READ MORE: How a basic income in the U.S. could increase global poverty
Paul Solman has been a business, economics and occasional art correspondent for the PBS NewsHour since 1985.
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