Finland pulls the plug on guaranteed basic income experiment

Finland pulls the plug on guaranteed basic income experiment, by Thomas Lifson.

In oh-so progressive Scandinavia, Finland tried and quickly discovered that the latest hot idea among the techno-lords of Silicon Valley (and their lackeys in the California Democratic Party) is a dud. The failed idea for the way the rest of us should live is so-called Universal Basic Income. …

Business Insider Nordic reports that this is such a bad idea that when Finland actually tried it, the failure was obvious so quickly that the experiment was terminated.

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. …

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. …

The grim future of a basic income world:

The vision of a mass of people kept alive at a “basic” level (inevitably to be described as “impoverished” and unacceptable for a decent human being) is an inverted form of feudalism. The serfs are kept alive at a basic level, not through toil in the fields, but through their utility to serve as a voting bloc to legitimize rule by the overlords. Their dependents, who can’t or who refuse to do useful work for others, will vote for their stooges to keep the checks coming. Hey, it beats work! Meanwhile, the productive classes – especially the petty entrepreneurs (aka, bourgeoisie) – are tolerated as a politically powerless faction to be taxed to pay for the subsidies to the idle. …

They are going to have to try Oakland and Stockton, because Finland now refuses to be their test case. Idleness is not a path to happiness, whether it is welfare recipients or the idle children of inherited wealth. We are homo faber – our human nature is to act upon our environment to improve our lives, and has been since the dawn of history. When we don’t act that way, trouble ensues.

Didn’t the Australian Green’s Richard di Natale recently suggest something similar – basic income with no requirement to work?

hat-tip Stephen Harper