To Lift Quality of Life and Economy, Finland Champions Universal Basic Income
Under the plan receiving support by 70 percent of the country, every adults would receive a monthly allotment of €800
To Lift Quality of Life and Economy, Finland Champions Universal Basic Income
By Jon Queally / commondreams.org

As a way to improve living standards and boosts its economy, the nation of Finland is moving closer towards offering all of its adult citizens a basic permanent income of approximately 800 euros per month.

The monthly allotment would replace other existing social benefits, but is an idea long advocated for by progressive-minded social scientists and economists as a solution—counter-intuitive as it may first appear at first—that actually decreases government expenditures and unemployment while boosting both productivity and quality of life.

"For me, a basic income means simplifying the social security system," Finland's Prime Minister Juha Sipilä said last week. 

Though it would not be implemented until later in 2016, recent polling shows that nearly 70 percent of the Finnish people support the idea.

According to Bloomberg, the basic income proposal, put forth by the Finnish Social Insurance Institution, known as KELA, would see every adult citizen "receive 800 euros ($876) a month, tax free, that would replace existing benefits. Full implementation would be preceded by a pilot stage, during which the basic income payout would be 550 euros and some benefits would remain."

As reporting by the UK-based Metro notes:

While it may seem like a standard basic income would encourage people not to work, it’s actually designed to do the opposite.

Under the current welfare system, a person gets less in benefits if they take up temporary, low paying or part-time work – which can result in an overall loss of income.

However, a basic rate of pay would allow people to take up these jobs with no personal cost.

And the idea, according to Irish writer and researcher Anne B. Ryan, author of the book Enough Is Plenty, is one that deserves much more serious attention and consideration that it currently receives. In this primer on the idea, Ryan explains the essential features and positive benefits of a universal basic income:

Basic income is a regular and unconditional distribution of money by the state to every member of society, whether they engage in paid work or not. Basic income is always tax-free and it replaces social welfare payments, child benefit and the state pension as we currently know them. It also extends to all those who currently receive no income from the state. Ideally, a basic income would be sufficient for each person to have a frugal but decent lifestyle without supplementary income from paid work.

Basic income would bring into the security net all those not served by the current system: casual and short-contract workers who get no or limited sick pay, holiday pay or pension rights; self-employed people and business owners; those doing valuable unpaid work, including care, which adds value to society and economy. Basic income would increase everybody’s capacity to cope with financial shocks and uncertainties and would improve general quality of life, while supporting many different kinds of work, with or without pay.

Currently, those receiving welfare are badly served by the system: if they take paid work, especially low-paid or temporary, they often lose out financially, in a ‘benefits trap’. With basic income, there would always be a financial incentive for people to earn a taxable income, should a job be available. Employers would also welcome the ending of the benefits trap.

As Quartz reports, previous experiments with a basic income have shown promising results:

Everyone in the Canadian town of Dauphin was given a stipend from 1974 to 1979, and though there was a drop in working hours, this was mainly because men spent more time in school and women took longer maternity leaves. Meanwhile, when thousands of unemployed people in Uganda were given unsupervised grants of twice their monthly income, working hours increased by 17% and earnings increased by 38%.

According to Ryan, advocates of the basic income model will likely be well-served by additional and larger experiments with its implementation. "Basic income is not a panacea; it will not solve all our social, ecological or debt problems, nor does it claim to," she wrote.  "But it creates the conditions for creative solutions, rather than blocking them, as much of our present social security system does."


Photo: Flickr/ Euro Note Currency

4.0 ·
1
What's Next
Trending Today
Who Are You? Watching This Breathtaking Video Could Be the Moment You Change Your Life
2 min · 22,543 views today · "Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need so you can...
When You Kill Ten Million Africans You Aren't Called 'Hitler'
Liam O'Ceallaigh · 15,021 views today · Take a look at this picture. Do you know who it is? Most people haven’t heard of him. But you should have. When you see his face or hear his name you should get as sick in...
How to Criticize with Kindness: Philosopher Daniel Dennett on the Four Steps to Arguing Intelligently
Maria Popova · 11,011 views today · “Just how charitable are you supposed to be when criticizing the views of an opponent?”
10 Shocking Facts About Society That We Absurdly Accept As Normal
Joe Martino · 10,231 views today · When you take a moment and look around at the world, things can appear pretty messed up. Take 5 or 10 minutes and watch the 6 o’clock news. Chances are, the entire time, all...
What It Really Means to Hold Space for Someone
Heather Plett · 9,431 views today · How to be there for the people who need you most
Rap News Special Edition: Hillary Clinton Vs Donald Trump
7 min · 7,788 views today · Hello world. RAP NEWS is back for a special episode on the 2016 USA Election mayhem, feat. Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump + a touch of Jill Stein & Gary Johnson. This one's...
The International Criminal Court May Start Prosecuting People Who Commit Crimes Against the Environment
Tara Smith · 6,621 views today · The International Criminal Court is not known for prosecuting people responsible for huge oil slicks, chopping down protected rainforests or contaminating pristine land. But...
Caitlin Moran's Posthumous Advice for Her Daughter
Caitlin Moran · 6,514 views today · My daughter is about to turn 13 and I’ve been smoking a lot recently, and so – in the wee small hours, when my lungs feel like there’s a small mouse inside them, scratching to...
Humanity's Greatest Challenges Aren't Technical, They're Human
8 min · 5,760 views today · Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is incomplete as we commonly know it. Later in his life, Maslow wrote about a stage beyond self-actualization. Nichol Brandford explains how to...
Ten Ways We Misunderstand Children
Jan Hunt · 4,769 views today · 1. We expect children to be able to do things before they are ready. We ask an infant to keep quiet. We ask a 2-year-old to sit still. We ask a 3-year-old to clean his room...
The Journey From Syria (2016)
71 min · 4,011 views today · Reporter Matthew Cassel spent a year documenting the journey of Syrian jeweler Aboud Shalhoub as he travels from Turkey to Greece, and through Eastern Europe to the Netherlands...
10 Photos That Show the Magnificent Light Shining on Standing Rock
Josue Rivas · 3,025 views today · Despite all the news of pipeline regulation, court appeals, and activist arrests, Native photographer Josue Rivas reminds us that it is actually a peaceful place.
The Culture of Maximum Harm
Daniel Quinn · 2,931 views today · People have lived many different ways on this planet, but about ten thousand years ago there appeared one people who believed everyone in the world should live a single...
Welcome to Marinaleda: The Spanish Anti-Capitalist Town With Equal Wage Full Employment and $19 Housing
Jade Small · 2,911 views today · With virtually no police, crime or unemployment, meet the Spanish town described as a democratic, socialist utopia. Unemployment is non-existent in Marinaleda, an Andalusian...
American Cartel: How America's Two Major Parties Helped Destroy Democracy
Frank Castro · 1,797 views today · Cartel: An association of manufacturers or suppliers with the purpose of maintaining prices at a high level and restricting competition.
The Little Engine That Couldn't: How We're Preparing Ourselves and Our Children for Extinction
Daniel Quinn · 1,291 views today · In a recent semi-documentary film called Garbage, a toxic waste disposal engineer was asked how we can stop engulfing the world in our poisons. His answer was, "We'd have to...
Prince Ea Just Put The School System on Trial and Found it Guilty of Killing Free Thought
6 min · 1,242 views today · Albert Einstien once said "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid". Today Prince...
Schooling the World (2010)
66 min · 1,182 views today · If you wanted to change an ancient culture in a generation, how would you do it? You would change the way it educates its children. The U.S. Government knew this in the 19th...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 1,170 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
The Left Deserves Better Than Jill Stein
Kate Aronoff · 1,165 views today · Stein’s Green Party run doesn’t offer a plan to win, or to build power. The Left is capable of so much more.
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
To Lift Quality of Life and Economy, Finland Champions Universal Basic Income