Finland is killing its experiment with basic income
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Finland is killing its experiment with basic income
Finland is killing its experiment with basic income

Karin Olli-Nilsson, Business Insider Nordic

Finland's basic income experiment made headlines around the world when it launched in 2017, and is now in its second and final year.
The project involves 2000 unemployed Finns, who receive roughly $690 every month - no strings attached. No official findings have yet been published, but some participants reported lower stress levels at an early stage.
While the experiment is still attracting attention internationally, Finnish decision-makers have already made a silent U-turn, scrapping plans to extend the project.
The Finnish government is now eyeing different social welfare solutions.

Since the beginning of last year, 2000 Finns are getting money from the government each month - and they are not expected to do anything in return. The participants, aged 25-58, are all unemployed, and were selected at random by Kela, Finland's social-security institution.
Instead of unemployment benefits, the participants now receive €560, or $690, per month, tax free. Should they find a job during the two-year trial, they still get to keep the money.
While the project is praised internationally for being at the cutting edge of social welfare, back in Finland, decision makers are quietly pulling the brakes, making a U-turn that is taking the project in a whole new direction.
"Right now, the government is making changes that are taking the system further away from a basic income," Kela researcher Miska Simanainen told the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet.

The initial plan was for the experiment to be expanded in early 2018 to include workers as well as non-workers early in 2018, but that did not happen - to the disappointment of researchers at Kela. Without workers in the project, researchers are unable to study whether basic income would allow people to make new career moves, or enter training or education.

"Two years is too short a timeframe to be able to draw extensive conclusions from such a vast experiment. We ought to have been given additional time and more money to achieve reliable results," professor Olli Kangas, one of the experts behind the basic-income trial, told Finland's public-service broadcaster YLE.
In recent years, a growing number of tech entrepreneurs have endorsed universal basic income (UBI), a system system in which every individual receives a standard amount of money, simply for being alive.
Entrepreneurs who have expressed support for UBI include Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, and Google's futurist and engineering director Ray Kurzweil.

These tech moguls recognize that UBI, as well as combatting poverty, could also help solve the problem of increased robotization in the workforce, a problem they are very much part of creating.(...)

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2018 Apr 20 03:17

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