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  • Technological progress has radically changed production methods.

  • When I worked as a sound engineer in the sixties

  • this is how much equipment you needed in a recording studio.

  • Today, the studio is in here!

  • And because now everbody can be their own sound engineer

  • I and many others have had to retrain to find new work.

  • We have seen similar transformations in many different areas.

  • Today production methods have changed dramatically.

  • On the slides you will see :

  • 3D printers

  • which are already being used to print construction materials for houses.

  • We've all heard about theuberizationof the economy

  • for example with Airbnb.

  • Self-service checkouts

  • where customers replace cashiers in shops.

  • Self-driving cars

  • like Teslas

  • which you may even be able to summon with your phone

  • The robot from Boston Dynamics

  • which mimics human behaviour

  • particularly in the way it moves and gets up when it falls.

  • So we are now in theFourth Industrial Revolution”.

  • What is different compared to the other industrial revolutions?

  • Before, when jobs became obsolete because of technological progress

  • other jobs were created.

  • But before, machines just replaced our arms and legs

  • today machines also replace our brains.

  • So the jobs under threat today

  • are not only manual ones

  • but also highly qualified ones

  • such as accountants, analysts, journalists, etc.

  • Serious studies, e.g. at Oxford University

  • suggest that within 20 years

  • 47% of today's jobs will disappear

  • and few new jobs will be created.

  • This means that only few people

  • with very specific skills and qualifications

  • will be in paid, formal work.

  • For example

  • Kodak used to employ 145,000 workers

  • to produce 200 billion pictures.

  • Today Instagram

  • produces twice as many images

  • with 13 employees.

  • Consequently

  • the overall payroll is shrinking

  • and at the same time

  • the dividends are increasing as investors

  • (the owners of the means of production)

  • reap the benefits of technological progress.

  • These advances in technology

  • as my co-speaker Guy Standing said

  • are the result of discoveries and innovations

  • made by our ancestors.

  • They worked to make our life easier.

  • However

  • they did not predict that life would only be only easier

  • for people who own the fruits of these technologies

  • i.e. the owners of the means of production.

  • Why does this have a profound effect on the economy?

  • Because there is downward pressure

  • on employment and wages

  • which reduces the purchasing power of the middle classes

  • essentially the bulk of the formal workforce.

  • This then reduces consumption

  • and produces a deflation process

  • which domestic banks are trying to fight

  • and finally the loop is closed by reduced demand.

  • Therefore, advances in technology contribute to the economic crisis.

  • Another important aspect is that

  • robots do not get paid

  • they work around the clock

  • but without contributing to social security

  • and they are not unionized.

  • The fact that robots do not contribute to social security

  • threatens the whole social insurance system

  • described just now by my colleague to my right.

  • Social insurance is threatened by

  • because it is primarily based

  • on funding by social security contributions and taxes

  • paid by employees in formal work.

  • We are at a turning point.

  • We have to find another way

  • to fund our social security system.

  • I will now run through the main principles of a UBI

  • which is basically a monthly pension.

  • Whether a UBI should provide enough money

  • to live off is open for debate.

  • The initiative for a Swiss popular vote on a UBI specifies that it should.

  • However there are other projects

  • for example in Finland

  • where the UBI is not intended to provide enough money to live off

  • at least initially.

  • A UBI is paid to each individual for their whole life.

  • Regardless of whether the person is wealthy or well-paid

  • and without requiring anything in return.

  • This is very different to the current social security system.

  • There are several UBI models

  • some with left-wing support

  • others backed by the right wing.

  • This is perhaps because the principle behind UBI

  • is in itself neutral

  • but implementation is political.

  • Especially how much should be paid

  • how it will be funded

  • and what social benefits it will replace.

  • Basic income is currently a trending topic worldwide

  • with many pilot schemes in different places.

  • The picture shows Guy Standing at the Indian pilot scheme.

  • I myself was invited last month

  • to a three-day seminar at the Mexican senate

  • to consider introducing a UBI there.

  • They decided on a concrete resolution

  • to examine the different options

  • and find the right match for their social and economic conditions.

  • The difference between a social security system and a UBI is quite clear.

  • A UBI is an economic base

  • from which one can then begin to work.

  • People can choose what kind of life they want:

  • working more to have more money

  • doing volunteer work for less money

  • doing creative work

  • taking care of the family.

  • The current social security system

  • which is targeted and conditional

  • is problematic in many ways

  • some of which have been mentioned by my co-speaker Patricia Schultz.

  • It particularly disadvantages women

  • because it is based on the idea of having a full-time job for life.

  • For example

  • unemployment benefits are not granted to those who work less than 50%

  • which is often the case for women.

  • A break in contributions of more than 18 months

  • means a loss of benefits.

  • Women are also disadvantaged by the pension system.

  • But there are other issues too.

  • People on benefits can be discouraged from taking up paid work

  • if it provides less income than social security payments.

  • This is particularly true for low-paid workers with dependent family members

  • for whom they receive additional benefits, who are often women.

  • [I am going to move faster, because time is running out]

  • The government often argues that

  • Article 12 of the Federal Constitution guarantees a life with dignity for the entire population

  • and that this is provided for by our social security system.

  • However to be eligible for social assistance

  • citizens have to give up Article 13 which guarantees respect for privacy.

  • Because social assistance is conditional

  • inspectors may come into beneficiaries' homes at any time

  • to inspect the beds, the number of toothbrushes

  • and also their bank accounts.

  • The UBI also raises the question of motivation to work.

  • This image shows the situation before and after a UBI.

  • In the current situation, the main motivation to work is to make a living.

  • However, there are many other reasons to work

  • which have been highlighted by studies of retired or wealthy populations.

  • Other reasons to work emerge such as the desire to live an active life

  • helping others and personal fulfilment.

  • Does a UBI mean that we will stop working?

  • In my case, definitely not, the proof is that I am here today as a volunteer.

  • The initiative for a Swiss popular vote

  • on the introduction of a UBI was launched in April 2012.

  • The proposed wording of the law is interesting

  • in particular the second sentence

  • which says that the UBI is granted to everyone

  • and should be sufficient to live in dignity

  • and participate in public life.

  • This means that the aim of the referendum

  • is to have a enough UBI to refuse a job.

  • It has been fascinating to see how much media coverage the initiative has received worldwide.

  • To come to the financing:

  • For a basic monthly income at CHF 2,500 for adults and CHF 625 for children

  • the Federal Council says that CHF 55 billion could be saved on social benefits

  • Economie Suisse suggests the savings are higher

  • between CHF 60 and 70 billion.

  • Our estimates are of approximately CHF 62 billion

  • leaving a funding gap of CHF 18 billion.

  • But apart from talking about the cost of a UBI,

  • it also important to consider the returns it will bring.

  • Introducing a UBI will allow people to undertake activities

  • or take up paid work easier than today

  • which will greatly improve economic productivity.

  • From our point of view, UBI is not a cost

  • but would bring real returns to the Swiss economy.

  • In the current Swiss political debate

  • UBI would be funded from existing revenues

  • as you see in the slide to the right.

  • However, we could also fund a UBI from additional sources of income.

  • There is a proposal to introduce a micro tax

  • on all financial and economic transactions.

  • These transactions came to a total of CHF 100,000 billion in 2012.

  • A micro tax at just 0.2% of this total

  • would generate the entire CHF 200 billion needed to fund the UBI.

  • Financing the UBI is not really the problem.

  • The issue is making political choices about how to do it.

  • The Swiss Federal Council and opponents of the UBI initiative

  • simply say that it is problematic in many ways

  • in particular the financing.

  • I'd also like to point out that social progress

  • for example the abolition of slavery in the USA

  • has always faced the argument that it was bad for the economy

  • including granting women the vote (in Switzerland in 1971).

  • To conclude, in our opinion

  • the government has not really taken the initiative seriously.

  • The Swiss Federal Council has taken a very superficial approach to the popular vote

  • and is suggesting a financing method that will make implementation impossible.

  • They are suggesting taxing the first CHF 2,500

  • which would be a disaster for the economy.

  • Everybody on the left and the right knows that

  • this funding proposal will never be adopted.

  • To conclude, I would simply remind you that

  • we will vote on the principle of a UBI

  • so votingyeswill give the government a mandate

  • to study the best way to implement a UBI.

  • The proposal does not set a time limit on implementation

  • so it can be put in place as the government sees fit.

  • I think we can say very objectively that

  • a UBI will be implemented if we reach a political consensus on how to set it up

  • and also if there is enough economic and social pressure

  • to push the parliament to take action.

  • There are referendum materials by the door for you to take

  • and some stickers. Thank you very much.

Technological progress has radically changed production methods.

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B1 US social social security swiss security system initiative paid

The Swiss Initiative for an Unconditional Basic Income

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    王惟惟 posted on 2020/01/12
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