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EU takes small steps towards an Unconditional Basic Income

During the last week European economists as well as the President of the European Central Bank startet discussing the concept of helicopter money

On March 10, 2016, Mario Draghi the President of the European Central Bank, said in a press conference that he found the concept of helicopter money "very interesting". After this statement the idea became increasingly popular in Europe and is largely discussed at the moment.

Draghi's statement was followed by another statement from the Member of the Executive Board of the ECB Peter Praet who declared: "Yes, all central banks can do it. You can issue currency and you distribute it to people. That’s helicopter money. Helicopter money is giving to the people part of the net present value of your future seigniorage, the profit you make on the future banknotes. The question is, if and when is it opportune to make recourse to that sort of instrument which is really an extreme sort of instrument."

The same week in Switzerland, the umbrella organization TradeSwitzerland (HandelSchweiz), wo represents a lot of big enterprises, called for stabilizing the Swiss economy with a small amount of helicopter money (100 CHF a month for every citizen).This also brought the concept of helicopter money to the political scene in Switzerland and was soon connected with the discussion about an Unconditional Basic Income, which can be seen as the big brother of helicopter money. The big difference lies in the temporality of helicopter money, while a Basic Income shall give safety to peoples scheme of lifes. But in the end both instruments work as an efficient economic stimulus plan.

Whatever concept is being discussed at the moment, the path is clear: An Unconditional Basic Income is becoming socially acceptable!


Mario Draghi's statement

Interview with Peter Praet

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