Last Sunday's vote in Switzerland on a proposal to introduce an unconditional basic income has fueled a debate in neighbouring Germany. Direct democracy campaigners say Switzerland could serve as a model for Europe.
Michael von der Lohe, director of the non-governmental Omnibus for direct Democracy group, says the Swiss ballot introduced a “new dimension” to the discussions about an unconditional basic income for all.
“I’m very grateful to the Swiss because this vote confirmed my personal conviction to really have arrived in this world. The discussion has reached a new dimension.”
Von der Lohe says campaigners succeeded in raising awareness of this topic with a question that hit it on the head: ‘What would you do if your income were taken care of?’
In his personal comment – available in the German original version - he praises the Swiss system of democracy, giving citizens a direct say even on issues such as how society could be organised.
He concludes that Germany would do well to introduce a similar system of participatory democracy at a nationwide level too.
On June 5, just over 23% of Swiss voters approved – while 77% rejected - the initiative by a group of humanists, artists and entrepreneurs. They had collected more than 126,000 signatures to force a nationwide vote.
Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch