Finland launches first basic income test in Europe


While debate is still raging between defenders and opponents of the idea of ​​a universal basic income, Finland has decided to take the plunge and set up a pilot project in the country.

An article from EurActiv Germany.

Artificial Intelligence, Biogenetics or the Internet of Things: The “Fourth Industrial Revolution”, also known as Industry 4.0, is about to change the world of work.

According to the latest study on the future of the work of the World Economic Forum, more than 5 million jobs in the 15 most industrialized countries are expected to disappear by 2020. A turnaround that economists and social experts are calling for to anticipate, The introduction of a universal basic income.

The idea is not new. As early as 1974, the Canadian government introduced a five-year test program in the town of Dauphin, Manitoba, known as the Mincome experiment. Since then, the concept has been debated. The differences between partisans and opponents of the idea seem irreconcilable, especially from a political point of view.

> Read: New EESC President defends basic income

Except in Finland, where since 1 January 2,000 Finns have received a universal basic income of 560 euros per month, which is not taxed. Candidates were selected from citizens already benefiting from unemployment or other forms of income subsidy. Housing subsidies and other subsidies will continue to be paid to them, and the 560 euros will always be allocated to them if they find work.

The Finnish unemployment rate was around 8% last year and up to 20% for young people. The pilot project is therefore taken very seriously by Helsinki, which hopes to make citizens less dependent on social assistance. Other mechanisms have also been developed to promote part-time employment.

A government press release confirmed that the aim of the project was to “answer the burning question: does basic income help fight unemployment? “. The statement also highlights the need to reduce bureaucracy.

>> Read: Universal income, special solution

A New World of Work
The World Economic Forum study also confirms that changing the professional landscape will force employees to be more specialized. The survey notes that there is already a skills gap in all sectors, and that within five years companies may face an unprecedented shortage of potential candidates in the lower paid sectors.

“Without urgent and focused action to manage the medium-term transition and create an armed workforce with the skills needed in the future, governments will soon face unemployment and growing inequality. The businesses will have fewer and fewer customers, “warn the study’s authors.

Read: Parliament prepares robotic job revolution

It remains to be seen whether universal basic income will make it possible to replace more effectively the social systems which have not succeeded in overcoming these difficulties.

Critics of the system consider that it is not financially viable and ensure that it will not achieve its objective, the reduction of unemployment.

This is not, however, apparent from previous experiments, carried out on a smaller scale. The Mincome experiment in Canada resulted in a drop in the number of absences due to illness, an improvement in the skill level of young people. Only 1% of participants had decided not to work.

The Netherlands will test a similar program in 12 cities this year. This project relies on family structures to allocate between 800 and 1,300 euros per month to beneficiaries.

France and Scotland could soon follow this example. Guy Standing, an economist at the origin of the global network for universal income, recently told the Guardian that “Scotland is clearly confronted with a sense of insecurity, a stagnant standard of living, ect. Number of members of the ATS means that there is a real possibility of launching a pilot project there. ”

In Germany, the opposition is still great. To implement such a project would require enormous changes to the country’s social system.

However, the multiplication of pilot projects in Europe should encourage governments to address this issue.




>> Read: The idea of a European unconditional basic income is making its way

—– note ——–
Basic income is a basic right.
We have missed a turning point in the industrialization period of the last two centuries. That of taxing machines that replaced humans. Machinery has been left without payroll taxes, which has enriched 0.1% instead of mechanization being beneficial to all.
The basic income could have been established for over 100 years if the machines had been taxed.
The basic income is only a necessary transitional phase, the goal remains the total abolition of money.

Ray Fox

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