Switzerland’s proposed ‘unconditional basic income’ (UBI) could become an official policy as early as next week. On Sunday, voters will decide whether every Swiss man, woman, and child should receive a monthly no-questions-asked payment designed to help alleviate the stress of paying for basic needs. Campaigners for UBI have fought hard for several years to bring the question to the public, but analysts say it’s unlikely to pass. A recent poll showed 72 percent of voters are inclined to reject the proposal, following advice from the Swiss government and most of the country’s political parties.
In an effort to rally support for the initiative, its campaigners hit people where they can feel it: their bank accounts. The campaign raised funds to hold a lottery of sorts, in which one citizen will be paid 2,500 Swiss Francs per month for a year—the amount proposed under the UBI policy. With a monthly check like that, supporters of the initiative argue that it would become much easier for Swiss citizens to have children, pursue higher education or job training, and it would diminish or potentially eliminate the need for some social programs geared toward low income residents.
The ballot measure for Sunday’s vote, if approved, would translate into a monthly payment of $2,500 for each adult citizen, as well as around $625 per month for each child. Foreign residents who have lived in Switzerland for more than five years would also be eligible for the payments, under the initiative.
Finland and Holland are preparing to experiment with similar programs, and some cities in Canada and Spain are considering it as well. Imagine what your family could do, if you didn’t have to worry as much about paying for basic needs.