The Finland experiment: news and opinion

Jurgen De Wispelaere, Antti Halmetoja and Ville-Veikko Pulkka have written an article about the Finnish Basic Income experiment:

… The Finnish government’s refusal to extend or expand the experiment may not come as much of a surprise once the budgetary implications are taken into account but it nevertheless amounts to one more disappointment amongst those closely watching how the experiment is progressing. And disappointments have been plentiful with this project. …

… for the government, basic income reform is a continuation of decades of efforts to boost labour market activation of the Finnish unemployed. At best, basic income is business-as-usual with a different tool kit — the goal posts haven’t shifted, not by a long shot. Sipilä was keen enough to experiment with basic income — but on his own terms, which are not those shared by many in the basic income movement. …

The strict activation focus was always going to play havoc with any attempt at demonstrating the broad transformative potential of basic income. But if UBI had not been framed within the activation agenda, the experiment might never have happened. This is a difficult paradox for basic income advocates to negotiate. Last but not least, the idea that political decision-makers are expected to patiently sit around for two or three years to allow an experiment to run its course in a highly contentious area such as social security reform is naive. Basic income experiments are instruments within a political process and compromise and uncertain outcomes are part-and-parcel of the enterprise. Yet, for now at least, basic income experiments appear to be the only game in town.

To read the article, click here