Campaign for Universal Peace

by Peter Kasser

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Peace is not a Dream. Peace is a Project

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25th April 2023, Berne/Switzerland - Wishes 4 / 5 / 6

In the name of Peace and Justice.

I have three wishes today, which I present to you in the name of Peace and Justice - in the hope they may be fulfilled.

My first wish for today is about conflicts between nations. Conflicts between nations can lead to war - and we don't want wars, we want peace.

In most cases, conflicts between nations concern border issues. When nations don't agree on their common border, you have a border conflict. And border conflicts need to be resolved in order to avoid war.

The nauseating fact is that the vast majority of today's nations, even the most peaceful ones, do have border conflicts with their neighbours.

Did you know that Switzerland is having a border issue with two of its neighbours, Germany and Austria? Well, it's a fact, even if most Swiss don't even know about it.

The conflict is about the exact borderline in Lake Constance. Switzerland holds the view that the border runs through the middle of the lake, while Austria (and to some extent Germany) thinks that the whole lake belongs to all the adjoining countries, as a sort of condominium.

Now it's unlikely that the three countries involved will go to war against each other anytime soon. But the dispute persists and must be resolved.

If we want Peace, we must make sure that all border conflicts are resolved. And it is my wish that Switzerland makes the first step, to give a good example to the rest of the world, by contacting its neighbours and find a peaceful solution to this problem soon - it's easy enough!

Such is my first wish for today, addressed to the people and the government of Switzerland.

With this, I'm now coming to my second wish for today. And I'm again speaking to all the Swiss citizens, and in particular to the members of the Swiss federal government and the Swiss federal parliament.

We're talking about poverty.

Poverty in Switzerland? No, surely there must be some misunderstanding!? There can't be any poverty in Switzerland, such a rich country!?

Yes, there is poverty in Switzerland. And I'm not talking about a few hundred or a few thousand people living in poverty, or a few ten thousand people - no: there are hundreds of thousands of people living in poverty in Switzerland.

This is disgraceful.

The main purpose of a society is to guarantee the safety and the well-being of its members. If a society is unable or unwilling to take care of the basic needs of all its peoples, it has failed. If a society accepts poverty in its midst, it's not fulfilling its basic role.

My wish is that poverty be eradicated in Switzerland, once and for all - not in a hundred years' time, but now. Of course you will say, yes, but we're already doing a tremendous lot to reduce poverty and alleviate misery and pain.

That's very true. And all the established social schemes to avoid poverty are impressive and a great achievement for a modern civilized society. But it's not enough.

\We don't want poverty. Not in Switzerland, not anywhere in the world. Poverty has to be eradicated, everywhere in the world, once and for all.

And I think Switzerland is predestined to make the first step. Because Switzerland is not only very rich but also highly developed and democratic, imbued with a huge sense of responsibility.

Poverty is a question of money, money available to cover the costs of the five basic human needs for survival, namely food, shelter, clothing, education and medical services.

These costs are used to calculate the so-called poverty line. The poverty line defines the minimum amount of money that has to be available on a monthly basis in order to cover the costs of the basic needs for one's own survival. The poverty line in Switzerland is set at CHF 2'289 per month.

There's only one way to eradicate poverty in a given country once and for all: by paying to every single citizen of that country the minimum amount of cash needed to survive without poverty, unconditionally, without questions asked whether the person is rich or poor, working or not, law-abiding or not.

Then, by definition, there will never again be poverty.

And since we want our citizens not just to survive but to live a decent life, the suggestion is to increase the minimum amount of the poverty line by some ten percent (for a new total of about CHF 2500 per month) in order for the people to be able to participate in some social life, to afford to go to a concert from time to time, or to have an evening out at a restaurant maybe, or buy a present for a friend - not to live in luxury but to live in decent secure human way.

A few years ago, there was a vote in Switzerland, by way of popular initiative, about the introduction of a so-called Unconditional Basic Income, UBI. The reasoning of the proponents went along similar lines as the argument presented here, claiming it to be a very basic human right for everybody to survive. Their suggestion as to the amount of monthly payments was, what a nice coincidence, CHF 2500.

The popular initiative at the time was rejected by a margin of more than 70 percent of the voting population. Of course, there are thousands of reasons to reject the idea. There's only one reason to act: we want to eradicate poverty, once and for all.

The Swiss by nature being a prudent folk and suspicious of radical changes of any kind, need time to think it over and get accustomed to new ideas. I therefore suggest to consider the possibility of a "slow" and gradual introduction of the UBI, by offering a payment of a symbolic CHF 100 per month at first, and then gradually raising this amount to a maximum of CHF 2500 per month, over an extended period of, say, ten or twenty or thirty years' time.

The Swiss love compromises. This would be a compromise - postponing the introduction of the Paradise on Earth by a few years.

With this I'm coming to my third wish for today.

It's about Switzerland and Europe.

For centuries, Switzerland has tried to keep out of European politics - the buzzword being "neutrality". Neutrality was reasonable at a time when neighbouring countries kept fighting against each other in endless wars, with no real winner in sight over the long run. Today, the risk of war in (Western) Europe is zero, neutrality, in the context of Western European politics, has lost its meaning.

Today, Switzerland is an integral part of Western Europe and of the Western World in general. And yet, over-cautious and ever-suspicious Switzerland continues to obstinately trying to keep apart and not to actively participate in European affairs. It prefers to passively adopt all kinds of laws passed down by foreign countries, in order to be accepted as a more or less equal partner in European affairs.

This is not worthy of a proud and independent state! This has to change!

For many years, the possibility of Switzerland joining the European Union as a full member had been discussed. This is not an option. The EU itself has become an obsolete artifact which needs to be reinvented in order to become a fully functional politico-economic entity.

That's where Switzerland should step in.

It is my wish that Switzerland take the initiative and re-invent the EU, on its own terms. The ultimate aim must be to form a unified political entity, with one common constitution, one government, one parliament, one currency, one military organization, one judicial system. Anything else will not work, will be a waste of time and effort.

There are many brilliant minds living and working in Switzerland. They should sit together and ponder the question of how to create a unified (Western) European State, with Switzerland as a full and proud founding member. The inclusion of Eastern European countries, including Russia, Turkey, the Caucasus and Central Asian countries, at this stage seems premature and unrealistic - this would be a possible follow-up project at a much later stage.

Such is my third and last wish for today. And with this I say, in the name of Peace and Justice: Thank you!