Saturday, June 4, 2016

No, you're thinking of Sweden...

Romansch, I'm looking at you...
Sick of exchanging your time and services for money? Well, so are the Swiss. That's why they're holding a referendum today on a measure that would guarantee all citizens a monthly income of 2,500 Swiss Francs, the equivalent of $2,555. Yes, the good people of Switzerland might well be putting their feet up and saying adieu, Auf Wiedersehen, arrivederci and chau to-seriously? Four languages guys? Hey, why not have a referendum on eliminating a couple of those?

Anyway, it's called universal basic income and you get it whether or not you do anything. $2,555 a month just for being Swiss which, unless Ricola ads and The Night Manager have lied to us, looks kind of awesome.
After some high altitude horn blowing, these Swiss people are probably
heading back to the ski lodge for some hot chocolate and cheese with holes in it.
And with that I'm officially out of hackneyed Swiss stereotypes. You're welcome.
Oh right, clocks, they love clocks.
Guess I had one more in me.
It's possible you might be one of those rare and insufferable people who totally loves what they do and can't help chirping at the rest of us about how we should just follow our bliss, but more likely than not you work so you don't starve to death and the UBI probably sounds pretty great. But if nobody works, how do you keep your society running like a meticulously detailed and expertly handcrafted clock? Got me. Voters apparently have the same question because support for the referendum is something like 25% which seems weird because who wouldn't want to tell off their boss and go climb an Alp or something?

Ok, so lazy Swiss hippies got a bunch of signatures together and put free money up for a vote, right? Welp, the UBI is not supposed to replace working, that's why the 'B' stands for basic. You can still have a job and enjoy a higher standard of living, this just keeps you from dying in a gutter somewhere. Also, it's about protecting people from robots.
Above: UBI supporters dressed up like robots to highlight the threat of
losing jobs to automation...I think. For all we know these could be actual
robots who have already replaced the demonstrators. Behold: our grim future.
North Carolina is going to lose
their shit over this.
Yes robots, or more plausible things like automation and software that does the office-monkey type stuff better than we can. But instead of fighting against the inevitable, we can gracefully step aside as our superiors robot co-workers become more and more integrated into our society. While our jobs become increasingly irrelevant, we just punch out earlier and work shorter weeks, falling back on our UBI. Shorter work weeks mean less commuting and consequently less carbon emission. Also, less reliance on salaries gives workers more leverage when it comes to choosing and changing jobs.

It's a shame this measure's going to get trounced at the polls because it would be awesome to see if it can work. Sure, there's probably some drawbacks the UBI supporters aren't dealing with but from here it sounds like the first step towards the moneyless utopia of the future where instead of focusing on financial gain, everyone will work to better themselves and the rest of humanity. 
Or the future will just look like this. It could go either way.

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