Unconditional Income in Switzerland?

Switzerland! (Photo credit: nicolasnova)

RT takes a look at at a proposal before the Swiss Parliament to make everyone eligible for a guaranteed income.
James Pilant

From around the web.

From the web site, RapidBI Ecademy.


Dear Ecademists,

Signatures are being collected for a proposal aimed at introducing an unconditional basic income for everyone living in Switzerland.

Organisers of the initiative, launched in Bern on Thursday last week, consider a guaranteed income a civil right and stressed it was neither a redistribution initiative nor a call to abolish social welfare.

The group, including a former senior government official and an ex-chief economist of a leading Swiss bank, has 18 months to collect at least 100,000 valid signatures to force a nationwide vote on the issue.

They believe that with a basic income of CHF2,500 – children would receive one fourth of that – everyone could live in “dignity and freedom”, without being plagued by existential fears.

From the web site, weekidmuze.


Development aid, economic growth policies and other measures have failed to tackle poverty effectively. Hundreds of millions of people are still suffering from poverty and hunger. Based on the current policies poverty will persist for many more decades to come. Therefore, developing countries are considering alternative ways. In Brazil, Namibia and South Africa a basic income is now by many considered to be the best way to end degrading poverty once and for all. Brazil is the first country worldwide that has adopted a law that calls for the gradual introduction of a basic income. In South Africa and Namibia, the trade unions, churches and many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are trying to persuade their governments to introduce a basic income. And in Namibia, the BASIC INCOME GRANT COALITION has conducted a two-year pilot project. The positive results have exceeded expectations.

From the web site, Boiling Frogs.


Launched one year ago by two basic income groups from Basel and Zurich, the swiss initiative for basic income still has until august to make sure it has the 100.000 signatures to succeed and trigger a referendum, as specified under the Swiss law.

Yet, basic income activists were happy and smiling when welcoming me at the train station in Geneva two weeks ago. With more than 110.000 signatures collected so far, much of the job has been done already.

A referendum within two years?

But even though the press is now unanimous that they are on the verge to succeed, the activists now aim at collecting 130k signatures by august, just to make sure they reach the quorum.

If this goal is reached, then the government will submit their proposal to a votation, where all swiss electors will be invited to vote yes/no to the proposals of the initiative which aims at embedding the principle of basic income into the constitution, like it already is the case in Brazil.

Literature and Business Education

Literature and Business Education

The Importance of Literature in Professional Life.wmv – YouTube

Adam Crowley in a wonderful presentation talks about the importance of understanding literature for the professions. In my introductory lectures to my business law classes, I often refer to the importance of other courses like science, math, English and literature. Business teaching can only go so far in educating a human being, we need more intellectual nourishment to be whole.

Adam Crowley
Adam Crowley
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Teaching With Film – Business Ethics – Professional Ethics- People Will Talk with Cary Grant

People Will Talk  – YouTube This is a brief excerpt.

See if you can find all the ethical questions in the film!

People Will Talk = Click this link and you can buy it at Amazon.com for (currently) $11.97 new or $4.95 used.


Cary Grant and Business Ethics

People Will Talk is a great film for teaching. The story of an eccentric doctor played by Cary Grant who has an even more eccentric friend offers many ethical conundrums. Jeanne Crain is the love interest in the film. During the first half, she is troubled and a largely passive character. I was waiting for my intrepid students to call me out on this, since I am a vigorous supporter of powerful women characters but somehow they missed this. When she became a more vibrant and powerful character in the second half, I would’ve been justified but my prepared defense was unnecessary.

Should a doctor disclose all pertinent facts to a patient? Professional Ethics

Is concealing your qualifications immoral?Professional Ethics – Business Ethics

Is using any means including those outside the current science to heal moral or immoral? Professional Ethics – Business Ethics

Is the comfort of patients more important than the calls of procedure and timeliness on the part of the nursing staff?

What attitude should be taken toward unmarried mothers? Ethics

Is attempting to dig up the dirt on a colleague immoral? Professional Ethics – Business Ethics

Is living off of your relatives wrong all the time? or is it wrong depending on the circumstances?Ethics

At what point is a crime “paid for?” Ethics


Can a kiss equal a marriage proposal? (A good proportion of my class says no. I differ.) A matter of curiosity

Is a story more effective as persuasion or a presentation of facts? (Bet you have that one figured out.) A matter of what I believe – the class tends to go along with me.

Does a movie (especially a good one) explain a moral problem more clearly than a lecture (although they get a brief one anyway!)?

I observe my classes carefully and I use some of the same films each year. But I experiment with new ones each year as well. This was a new one. It was a great success. The class was delighted with it and paid careful attention. Their assignment was to write down all the moral conundrums they observed. We are going to discuss them tomorrow.

James Alan Pilant

Cover of "People Will Talk"
People Will Talk- Business Ethics
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A World War II Melodrama with Gary Cooper

The Story of Dr. Wassell – YouTube

Everyone is very brave including America’s allies.


Gary Cooper

I’m very fond of Gary Cooper films. “Love in the Afternoon” is one of my all time favorites. It is odd to think that I who have loved the film for more than two decades have now arrived at the same age as Gary Cooper in that film. Here below is that film – http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/FLXUYnBwLXI/

I don’t know whether or not you can work the link. It’s a Chinese web site and they may be suspicious of occidentals.

But back to The Story of Dr. Wassell. Dr. Corydon Wassell was an Arkansan, a very real person not a fictional archetype. The story is full of references to Arkansas including a long soliloquy to Arkansas catfish.  The film is fun to watch but the heroics so incredible as to defy rational belief. Of course, that is to be expected in a wartime film. This is directed by Cecil B. DeMille and carries his trademark taste for complex action sequences. If you are not tolerant of heroism without limits, you probably will find the film ridiculous. An interesting side note is that Wassell was a uncredited advisor on the film and all of the money he was due from the film he donated to charity.

James Pilant

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Sterling Hayden On “Career”

These wonderful paragraphs are by Sterling Hayden, a Hollywood actor. He was a man of many talents and I’ll think you’ll like the writing. This is from the Wikipedia entry to which I am indebted. JP

The sun beats down and you pace, you pace and you pace. Your mind flies free and you see yourself as an actor, condemned to a treadmill wherein men and women conspire to breathe life into a screenplay that allegedly depicts life as it was in the old wild West. You see yourself coming awake any one of a thousand mornings between the spring of 1954, and that of 1958 ‑ alone in a double bed in a big white house deep in suburban Sherman Oaks, not far from Hollywood.

“The windows are open wide, and beyond these is the backyard swimming pool inert and green, within a picket fence. You turn and gaze at a pair of desks not far from the double bed. This is your private office, the place that shelters your fondest hopes: these desks so neat, patiently waiting for the day that never comes, the day you’ll sit down at last and begin to write.

“Why did you never write? Why, instead, did you grovel along, through the endless months and years, as a motion‑picture actor? What held you to it, to something you so vehemently professed to despise? Could it be that you secretly liked it—that the big dough and the big house and the high life meant more than the aura you spun for those around you to see?

“‘Hayden’s wild,’ they said. ‘He’s kind of nuts‑but you’ve got to hand it to him. He doesn’t give a damn about the loot or the stardom or things like that—something to do with his seafaring, or maybe what he went through in the war . . .'”[2]:151

I believe we all tussle with the issue of whether to write or not to write. I have erred on the side of writing. There may be those of you who think it would have been better if I had remained silent. But here I am. I feel very much like he did some of the time. I think many of you do too.

James Pilant

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I’ve Been Gone for a While.

I have not written for ten days. I have felt a little burned out. Over the last two years I have written 1,602 posts. Sometimes you need to stop for a while. I felt I was becoming formulaic and boring. Certainly I was boring me.

One day in class, I noticed that I often present original ideas that I have developed from my extensive reading but I never seem to talk about my thinking. In my blogging, I have often simply responded to the thoughts of others. Response is not enough. I believe a writer, particularly a writer concerned with social justice, must of necessity present ideas about what can and should be done. It’s not enough to stand against things, you must also be for things.

Another thing I do at school is carry out my plan to remake the world. I preach endlessly the importance of not accepting my ideas as revealed truth but for my students to develop their own thinking processes so that they can consider and weigh facts to make good decisions based on their own experiences, observations and judgment. My faith in their ability to change themselves and then the world is not always apparent to readers of my blog, and it should be.

Sometimes the weight of the power of the 1 percent leads me to conclude in despair that nothing can be done. That is wrong. We have seen this kind of history with the power of the Robber Barons in the 1890’s and the early years of the 20th century. Their power, their money, their influence in the government were all reduced by the energy and faith of social movements drive by the need for change. That is happening again with Occupy Wall Street.

So, I return to writing the blog with some new ideas, a changed focus and a dedication to faith that change is possible and, in fact, inevitable.

James Pilant

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I Showed the Documentary, Gasland, Today

Films receive a wide variety of responses in the college classroom. The response to Gasland was excellent. The class paid careful attention, had good questions and comments. I knew of the film but did not intend to use it in class. My Tuesday-Thursday class actually asked to see it. So, I read up on it, and it struck me as useful. I’ve shown it in three classes now with the same positive results in each class.

Josh Fox

This is a Josh Fox film. The first time you see it, you are shocked by his story of unregulated drilling of natural gas known as fracking. But is only the second time, you realize the skill of our documentarian. The film never sags. It always keeps the audience engaged. The film is well paced and its plotline beautifully constructed. I’ll be watching for any of his films in the future. It may well be that his work will grow in skill as time goes by.

It is troubling to consider that for most of us, Josh Fox is our only defense against the practice of fracking. Only a handful of states regulate it, and the response of most of officialdom to complaints is basically to drop dead.

You see, an act of Congress relieved the giant energy companies of the need to comply with federal environmental laws. Federal agencies aren’t even allowed to study what the companies are doing. We only have partial knowledge of the chemicals being used, and the very fact that these companies essentially placed themselves outside the law through a compliant Congress raises suspicions of their motives.

I think until strong regulation is enacted to deal with the fracking problem, I will be using the film in class.

Below is a link to the web address for Josh Fox’s film, Gasland.


And here is the link for the trailer.


Here is the link to buy it on Amazon.com.


I recommend it for classroom use at the college level.

James Pilant

Tapwater that ignites.
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Riki Lindhome makes you laugh and cry at the same time

Listen to this – amazing talent.

Pretty in Buffalo

It has been a couple of years since I discovered the duo, Garfunkel and Oates, the comedy-musical team of Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci. They have a You Tube site where you can see much of their of their off beat song writing talent.

Riki Lindhome - courtesy of UCB Comedy
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Rush Limbaugh Refuted


I found this on Facebook and I am delighted to put it on my blog for you to see. Rush Limbaugh is not alone in this kind of talk. I have seen a great deal of criticism aimed at the protestors alleging everything from rats and drugs to public sex. This defamation is an attempt to discredit the movement while avoiding talking about the very serious issues that these protestors are raising. I don’t like it. It’s not fair. Although, it is exactly the response I expected from much of our beltway media.

We need change and we need it badly – not just on Wall Street but in the media as well.

James Pilant

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“Visionary works of art inspired by blind rage” (via NewSong40)

This is a really fascinating post from an obviously well read author. The insights there are very appealing and display a clever imagination.

But you might go there just to see the picture (thumbnail below). That was my first thought. I have another from this set of artists on my wall in the living room of my home.

James Pilant

Special thanks to NewSong40.

"Visionary works of art inspired by blind rage" So ran the headline of the advertising blurb for a documentary by Andrew Lloyd Webber in last week’s TV guide. The documentary was part of ITV’s “Perspectives” season and was entitled A passion for the pre-Raphaelites. “The Industrial Revolution:” the blurb continued, “A turning point for mankind but not necessarily for the better. Mass productivity went together with mass poverty. Soaring profits saw soaring prostitution. And increasing mechanis … Read More

via NewSong40