The Swiss version of democracy is one of the world's most direct, meaning that the vote of the people is able to make laws rather than just elect representatives. Recently the Swiss people have brought forth a proposal to give a basic income of 2,500 Francs (2,800 USD) per month regardless of employment status. There are some news articles here, here, here, and here which talk about the proposal.
The idea is not a completely new one according to the Business Insider article linked above: "the idea has a long history, drawing support from the likes of the English-American revolutionary Thomas Paine and the economist Milton Friedman." The proponents of the action argue that it will stimulate economic creativity when every person does not have to worry about losing his or her job. The opponents argue that it will instill laziness by allowing unproductive members of society to have a comfortable lifestyle.
My questions are:
- Have there been any serious economic studies of the ramifications of such a policy?
- The program is supposed to cost 1/3 of GDP; how will the Swiss pay for such a program?
- Has this ever been tried before, albeit on a smaller scale?