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Switzerland Fights Poverty By Paying Its Citizens

Sara Newman |
November 13, 2013 | 8:11 p.m. PST

Executive Producer

Basic income may be Switzerland's solution to international poverty issues, (Wikimedia commons)
Basic income may be Switzerland's solution to international poverty issues, (Wikimedia commons)

While President Obama recently announced his support for the Democratic proposal to elevate minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, Switzerland is considering providing all citizens with a monthly income—no work needed.  

According to the New York Times, this fall activists gathered 125,000 signatures in support of a proposal to provide all citizens with a $2,800 monthly income—regardless of age, employment status, or marketability.  

Artist Enno Schmidt helped develop the basic-income scheme, designed to eradicate poverty throughout the country while providing a safety net that would allow people to pursue their creativity and innovation. 

As the co-founder of the Basic Income Initiative, Schmidt has become the figurehead of the proposal, giving interviews with international news sources to break down the radical proposal. 

“Basic income means enough money to live without need,” Schmidt told The Real News Network. “It's simply to say, today we are rich enough and there are goods enough that we can say everybody needs an income to live. And why shall we--why have we to bound it to conditions?”

Even some conservatives support the proposal, excited that this program would rid of the complicated bureaucratic processes involved in the dispersal of benefits in other Western countries and encourages greater economic responsibility from citizens by making them manage the single lump sum. 

Some people are so excited about this proposal to reduce poverty and homelessness, that experts have even considered how to adopt the proposal to work in the United States. 

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