Swiss village considers a crowdfunded basic income for all inhabitants

A village in northern Switzerland is considering giving each inhabitant 2,500 francs ($2,540 U.S.) a month as an experiment with basic income, with the cash raised by crowd funding.

The idea of paying people money irrespective of whether they work or not has found favour with technology billionaires such as Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk. Finland launched a pilot project to test the idea last year, and Italy’s new populist government has also pledged to introduce a system of this kind.

In Switzerland, such a proposal was rejected in a national plebiscite in 2016. Not content to let the idea die, a group of aficionados decided to find a municipality to serve as an incubator. Rheinau on the Rhine river in the German-speaking part of the country got selected, its Mayor Andreas Jenni said on Wednesday.

The experiment slated for 2019 will only go ahead if roughly half the village’s 1,300 inhabitants participate, he said. Earnings and social benefits would count against the payment, which wouldn’t come from the government budget but from private sources.

“The goal is to figure out and to study what people do with the money and these new possibilities.”

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