Sunday, June 05, 2016

Referendum Clickbait

77 percent of Swiss voters have rejected the advice of Vox and Charles Murray and voted against the Basic Income proposal in a referendum today. As the aforementioned cast indicates, the basic income idea has attracted a varied intellectual coalition around it.

But that raises the question of whether an idea with so many different motivations embedded in it can really be the miracle that it appears. For the advocates in Switzerland, the proposal was about freedom to pursue dreams and impending idleness due to robots, which is a long way from the anti-poverty agenda which would be undermined by getting rid of current anti-poverty programs.

But perhaps the last best words on the proposal are the bemusement from newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung --

Bezeichnend ist es dennoch, wenn ausgerechnet eine direktdemokratische Randerscheinung eine derartige Beachtung findet, während wichtigere Entscheidungen der Schweizer Politik gewöhnlich ignoriert werden. Einmal mehr zeigt sich, wie verzerrt die hiesige Abstimmungsdemokratie im Ausland herüberkommt.

[rough translation] Nevertheless it is significant, if just a marginal direct democracy proposal receives such attention, while important decisions of Swiss politics are usually ignored. Once again this shows how distorted the foreign view is of local direct democracy. 

UPDATE: Vox declares that defeat is victory, because it caused a debate on the topic, where "debate" is defined as ... being covered by media outlets like Vox!

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