Quote of the Day:
“There is a fear that with basic income they would just stay at home and play computer games,” Heikki Hiilamo, a professor at the University of Helsinki, told the paper.
–Fox News Report on Finland's Experiment with Basic Income
Basic income is all the rage among certain elites today.
San Francisco is among the big U.S. cities considering creating a basic income.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that basic income could be established to “to make sure that everyone has a cushion to try new ideas.”
Meanwhile, Finland is ending its one-year experiment with a universal basic income, and there are hints in news stories that it might be because it created a different kind of cushion from the one of which Mr. Zuckerberg spoke so glowingly: a cushion in a chair to sit home all day.
Finland is planning to reduce benefits for those who do not actively seek employment.
Finland's experiment gave monthly stipends of 560 euros ($685) to 2,000 unemployed people aged 25 to 58 selected randomly. No strings attached:
Recipients have been free to do as they wished — create start-ups, pursue alternate jobs, take classes — secure in the knowledge that the stipends would continue regardless.
The Finnish government was keen to see what people would do under such circumstances. The data is expected to be released next year, giving academics a chance to analyze what has come of the experiment.
I'm "keen" to see what people did with their unearned income, too. I'm willing to bet that some did not pursue jobs, take classes or paint rr write masterpieces, what with human nature being as it is. Is in mean to conjecture that some Fins in the experiment did not spend their time at all well? .
Finland has actually reversed course on that front this year, adopting rules that threaten to cut benefits for jobless people unless they actively look for work or engage in job training.
“It’s a pity that it will end like this,” said Olli Kangas, who oversees research at Kela, a Finnish government agency that administers many social welfare programs and has played a leading role in the basic-income experiment. “The government has chosen to try a totally different path. Basic income is unconditional. Now, they are pursuing conditionality.”
The demise of the project in Finland does not signal an end of interest in the idea. Other trials are underway or being explored in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Canadian province of Ontario, the Netherlands and Kenya.
In much of the world, the concept of basic income retains appeal as a potential way to more justly spread the bounty of global capitalism while cushioning workers against the threat of robots and artificial intelligence taking their jobs.
But the Finnish government’s decision to halt the experiment at the end of 2018 highlights a challenge to basic income’s very conception. Many people in Finland — and in other lands — chafe at the idea of handing out cash without requiring that people work.
It has been found again and again that the best way to "more justly spread the bounty of global capitalism" is by . . . capitalism. It is capitalism that allows people and countries to leave poverty behind.
And it is work that contributes to making our lives meaningful. Unfortunately, sometimes it is only necessity that pushes us towards this meaningful endeavor.
There is another fairness issue with basic income: somebody is working to produce the income that is spread to a demoralized, new leisure class.
That is unfair and just might be the reason that "many people" "chafe" at the idea of handing out cash without requiring recipients to bestir themselves to earn it.