Is Finland’s basic universal income a solution to automation, fewer jobs and lower wages?

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Is Finland’s basic universal income a solution to automation, fewer jobs and lower wages?

Post by Sassy on Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:17 pm

Both left and right are promoting the idea of a basic wage for everyone, currently on trial, as a solution to the new world of work

When he got the letter after Christmas saying he was entitled to an unconditional income of €560 (£478) a month, Mika Ruusunen couldn’t believe his luck. “At first I thought it was a joke. I had to read it many times. I looked for any evidence it might be false.”

But the father of two was not the victim of a scam. He has been selected to take part in an experiment being run by the Finnish government, in which 2,000 unemployed people between the ages of 25 and 58 will receive a guaranteed sum – a “basic income” – of €560 a month for two years. It replaces their unemployment benefit, but they will continue to receive it whether or not they find work. The government hopes it will encourage the unemployed to take on part-time work without worrying about losing their benefits.

Ruusunen lives in Kangasala, a half-hour bus ride from where we meet in Tampere, the country’s second city, known as the “Manchester of Finland”. Like its namesake, the signs of the 19th-century wealth generated by the industrial revolution are strikingly visible.

Today, the Finnish economy continues to struggle in the wake of the financial crisis, which hit just as communications giant Nokia’s star was starting to wane. This left Ruusunen, who lost his job as a baker two years ago, struggling to find work. He was unemployed when participants for the basic income pilot were randomly selected, but had started a paid IT apprenticeship by the time he got the letter.

“For me, it’s like free money on top of my earnings – it’s a bonus,” he tells me. But he thinks the basic income will make a big difference to others who are unemployed, especially those who are entrepreneurially minded. “If someone wants to start their own business, you don’t get unemployment benefits even if you don’t have any income for six months. You have to have savings, otherwise it’s not possible.”

Juha Järvinen, another participant in the pilot scheme who lives in western Finland, agrees the benefits system holds the unemployed back. He has been unemployed for five years since his business collapsed. “I have done a lot for free – wedding videos, making web pages – because I’ve liked it. But before a basic income I would get into trouble if I got any money for that work.”

Finland’s experiment is a variation on the idea of a universal basic income: an unconditional income paid by the government to all citizens, whether or not they’re in work. The Finns have long been perceived to be at the cutting edge of social innovation, so this is a fitting setting for the first national experiment of its kind.

But the idea of the basic income has captured a zeitgeist extending far beyond the borders of Scandinavia. Enthusiasts include Silicon Valley’s Elon Musk, former Clinton labour secretary Robert Reich, Benoît Hamon, the French socialist presidential candidate, and South Korean presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung. On Friday, Glasgow city council commissioned a feasibility study for its own basic income pilot.

The basic income is a big idea with a pedigree. It owes its roots to Thomas Paine, the 18th-century radical, who in 1797 proposed paying all 21-year-olds a £15 grant funded through a tax on landowners. Since then it has captured the imagination of many a philosopher, but until the past couple of years never gained much political traction beyond the fringes.

So what explains the sudden jump this centuries-old idea has made from political fringes to the mainstream?
An idea whose time has come?

There is now a growing band of politicians, entrepreneurs and policy strategists who argue that a basic income could potentially hold the solution to some of the big problems of our time. Some of these new converts have alighted upon the basic income as an answer to our fragmenting welfare state. They point to the increasingly precarious nature of today’s labour market for those in low-paid, low-skilled work: growing wage inequality, an increasing number of part-time and temporary jobs, and rogue employers routinely getting away with exploitative practices.

This grim reality collides with an increasingly punitive welfare state. Our welfare system was originally designed as a contributory system of unemployment insurance, in which workers put in during the good times, and took out during temporary periods of unemployment. But a big chunk of welfare spending now goes on permanently supporting people in jobs that don’t pay enough to support their families. As the contributory principle has been eroded, politicians have sought to create a new sense of legitimacy by loading the system with sanctions that dock jobseeker benefits for minor transgressions.

Anthony Painter, a director at the RSA thinktank, paints a picture that will be familiar to viewers of Ken Loach’s film, I, Daniel Blake. “You are late for a jobcentre appointment – so you get a sanction. You’re on a college course the jobcentre doesn’t think appropriate, so you get a sanction. Your benefits are paid late, so you face debt, rent arrears and the food bank. That’s the reality for millions on low or no pay – they are surrounded by tripwires with little chance of escape.”


More at:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/feb/19/basic-income-finland-low-wages-fewer-jobs



It makes perfect sense. The administration costs of different benefits is so high, this way you have that income, if you want more it's up to you and you don't get penalised if you take a part time job, with all the paperwork and lapses in benefit that you normally get.
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Re: Is Finland’s basic universal income a solution to automation, fewer jobs and lower wages?

Post by victorismyhero on Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:32 pm

and what do I constantly keep banging on about????
It could be partly funded at least by a technology tax, applied to companies that ues tech to supplant workers...
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Re: Is Finland’s basic universal income a solution to automation, fewer jobs and lower wages?

Post by Sassy on Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:37 pm

Completely agree and it's something that Corbyn has been promoting for some time now, trying to get others on side for it.
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Re: Is Finland’s basic universal income a solution to automation, fewer jobs and lower wages?

Post by Guest on Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:39 pm

With robots gradually taking away many human jobs. This would have to be the way forward surely.

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Re: Is Finland’s basic universal income a solution to automation, fewer jobs and lower wages?

Post by Jobless Oddball on Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:02 pm

£478 a month...............sod that..................it'll mean I'll have to take a pay cut!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Re: Is Finland’s basic universal income a solution to automation, fewer jobs and lower wages?

Post by Aspca4ever on Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:31 pm

Anthony Painter, a director at the RSA thinktank, paints a picture that will be familiar to viewers of Ken Loach’s film, I, Daniel Blake. “You are late for a jobcentre appointment – so you get a sanction. You’re on a college course the jobcentre doesn’t think appropriate, so you get a sanction. Your benefits are paid late, so you face debt, rent arrears and the food bank. That’s the reality for millions on low or no pay – they are surrounded by tripwires with little chance of escape.”

In the past 20+ years the ability for corporations to SQUEEZE the hourly work class for their lowly pay per hour while - slicing benefits back to the bare bones has been the 'NORM'.  Sure we read about those marvelous techy jobs: Google/FB/Microsoft/INTEL in silicone valley that we'd all dream of working at, but the reality is the grunt work for middle America is a production line employment job that awards you more demerits per minor infractions then they provide you with a pay rate increase for 'JOB PERFORMANCE'!
And these are not a 'living wage job'; these are still those 'minimum wage jobs' = $7.25 an hour

The Federal Minimum Wage of $7.25 per hour is the minimum hourly pay any non-exempt worker in the United States can be paid for his work. The Federal Minimum Wage is applicable nationwide, and overrides any state laws that provide a lower minimum wage rate to ensure that the local minimum wage in all states is at least $7.25 per hour. The Federal Minimum Wage was last updated in 2009.



http://www.minimum-wage.org/wage-by-state.asp

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The number of greedy/low paying/abusive corporations that take advantage of their hourly & salary labor work force - while promising better benefits {down the road/in the future/when profits are better} and then they don't ever make them available.  3 paid holidays: Christmas/News Years and maybe Thanksgiving and 1 week paid vacation {use it or lose it} and zero sick leave days.  But loads of listed demerits that will earn you a infraction; enough infractions in any given pay period and it's immediate termination.
Zero unemployment benefits when you are fired. Suspect
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Re: Is Finland’s basic universal income a solution to automation, fewer jobs and lower wages?

Post by Sassy on Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:38 pm

Those who fight against the Corporations are deemed 'subversive' and very often their names are passed around companies and they can't get a job. Many people in the building industry here were on 'black lists'. There are so many ways that businesses and the rich and keep their thumb on the ordinary man and woman, and it never seems to change.
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Re: Is Finland’s basic universal income a solution to automation, fewer jobs and lower wages?

Post by Guest on Thu Mar 30, 2017 9:30 pm

We must have entrepreneurial zeal, Britain as a nation strives on competition, it is inventive, state of the art, and way ahead of the curve, the trick is to secure the basic safety nets in place for those who lack ambition, and yet at the same time inspiration for those who think and act creatively.

You cannot have a society that rewards laziness, everyone should be encouraged to succeed!

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