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Finland Discovers What You Already Knew Universal Basic Income Doesn’t Work Rate Topic: -----

#1 User is online   Censport 

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 12:31 AM

Finland Discovers What You Already Knew – Universal Basic Income Doesn’t Work
granitegrok.com
by Steve MacDonald
10 February 2019


(Too short to excerpt.)

From January 2017 through December 2018 the Finnish government gave 2000 people a universal basic income. Money for nothing. The theory, as dumb as it sounds, is that if the government provides unemployed people money, they will go find work.

When it launched the pilot scheme back in 2017, Finland became the first European country to test out the idea of an unconditional basic income. It was run by the Social Insurance Institution (Kela), a Finnish government agency, and involved 2,000 randomly-selected people on unemployment benefits.

It immediately attracted international interest – but these results have now raised questions about the effectiveness of such schemes.


I have a question. How is it that people running institutions whose job, at least in theory, is understanding people, have no clue about human nature?

What Does Free Money Do?

Believe it or not, people who received free money felt less stress. But they did not go out and find work*. And the addition of income to the jobless did not improve the local economy.

Did it help unemployed people in Finland find jobs, as the centre-right Finnish government had hoped? No, not really.

Mr Simanainen says that while some individuals found work, *they were no more likely to do so than a control group of people who weren’t given the money. They are still trying to work out exactly why this is, for the final report that will be published in 2020.


The Finnish Government is center-right? Center right of what? The universal basic income is a socialist idea. The suggestion that people in the government thought it would change human nature is a socialist idea. Just ask a Socialist.

Economics writer Grace Blakely makes this point in the New Socialist, adding that “without fundamental structural reforms to our economic system, UBI will only be a sticking plaster papering over the cracks”.


That’s a fancy way of saying end capitalism and free markets.

Socialism “works” when you force it on people then give them no other choice. In the absence of a choice, and any free exchange of ideas to challenge the reported outcome, “success” is inevitable.


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#2 User is offline   Ticked@TinselTown 

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 01:29 AM

What absolute imbecility...
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#3 User is offline   Buckwheat Jones 

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 08:12 AM

Though you’ve probably already seen this:

https://www.foxnews....willing-to-work

Perfessor PoofyHair included this in aoc’s MoneyForNothing rollout, got slammed hard for it, blamed it on Republican hacking, then said it was a first draft that was mistakenly released.

Tucker was waaaay too easy on him.
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#4 User is offline   Natural Selection 

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 10:42 AM

View PostCensport, on 11 February 2019 - 12:31 AM, said:

Finland Discovers What You Already Knew – Universal Basic Income Doesn’t Work


That's because Finland didn't measure the one metric politicians really care about. They should have asked the recipients if they would vote for politicians who supported a continuation of the UBI checks. That's the real reason they're floating this program. The political party that promises to support UBI checks will get the votes of those recipients that have become dependent on the money. Just like welfare...
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#5 User is online   zurg 

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 11:41 AM

I know about this program. Everyone in Finland knows about it, and just about everyone knew it would fail when it was tried.

The back story is that, Finland has been shifting steadily to the right little by little over the past couple of decades. This has happened because 1) people there are pretty well plugged in and not stupid (when they aren’t drinking), 2) the successes of Nokia and Kone other companies world wide have given them an even better appreciation of capitalism, 3) most still dislike Russia, the eastern neighbor enough to show them how it’s done right, 4) the influx of African and Middle Eastern immigrants to Europe, while sparing Finland for the most part, has made people more nationalist and conservative.

So the center-right government is more or less like centrist republicans. But understand that they’ve been shifting from social democrats, although even they weren’t as extreme as AOC and the rest. AOC in Finland would be in the communist party which has less than 5% support.

Finally, there’s actually speculation that the government did this test as a “we’ll show you folks once and for all that this ain’t gonna work”. The population is homogeneous enough that everyone understands why that would be useful and acceptable. Show the left that it doesn’t work and then don’t do it again. So they pulled the plug and said “we’ve seen what we were intending to measure and we won’t do this again”.

They probably did a really good thing here. At least for Finland and the rest of the Nordic countries. It cost only 2000*500 = 1,000,000 euros a month. Mere pittance for a great experiment.

American left will ignore this. AOC especially.
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#6 User is online   Censport 

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 01:59 PM

HuffPo covered this from another angle, naturally.

Finland Gave People $640 A Month, No Strings Attached. Here’s What Happened.
The world’s most prominent trial of universal basic income has ended — and the first results are in.
Huffington Post
By Laura Paddison
02/08/2019


Tuomas Muraja’s life took an unexpected turn at the end of 2016. He received a letter telling him that he would be getting a monthly sum of €560 ($640) from the Finnish government, no strings attached, for two years.

“It was actually like winning the lottery,” said Muraja, who was one of 2,000 people randomly selected from a pool of 175,000 unemployed Finns, aged 25 to 58, to take part in one of the most prominent universal basic income trials in the world.

Since losing his staff job as a journalist in 2013, Muraja has struggled to find permanent work. Every month he was trying to scramble together money for his rent of about $2,270 from freelance writing gigs, which came sporadically and often paid late. The government’s basic income scheme gave him freedom. He could keep the cash, even if he found work, and he wouldn’t have to contend with the constrictive bureaucracy of Finland’s complex welfare system.

“When you feel free you are creative, and when you are creative you are productive, and that helps the whole of society,” said Muraja, who has written a book about his experiences with the trial.

Finland’s universal basic income test, which cost the government about $22.7 million, was designed and administered by the country’s social insurance agency, Kela. The experiment aimed to help the country assess how to respond to the changing nature of work and ― given its 8-percent unemployment rate at the time ― how to get people back into the labor market.

The trial ended in December. While final results won’t be available until 2020, preliminary results were revealed on Friday.

On employment, the country’s income register showed no significant effects for 2017, the first year of the trial.

The real benefits so far have come in terms of health and well being. The 2,000 participants were surveyed, along with a control group of 5,000. Compared with the control group, those taking part had “clearly fewer problems related to health, stress, mood and concentration,” said Minna Ylikännö, senior researcher at Kela. Results also showed people had more trust in their future and their ability to influence it.

“Constant stress and financial stress for the long term – it’s unbearable. And when we give money to people once a month they know what they are going to get,” said Ylikännö. “It was just €560 a month, but it gives you certainty, and certainty about the future is always a fundamental thing about well being.”

Aware that Finland’s trial is under an international spotlight, Olli Kangas, scientific leader of the scheme and professor at the University of Turku, expressed hope that the experiment not be written off on the basis of preliminary employment results. “The whole truth is much more complex, we need many more studies and research to find out,” said Kangas.

Universal basic income is an idea that’s been swirling around for centuries and has been tried across the world. While it has come to mean many different things, in its purest definition, a universal basic income is granted to everyone, regardless of wealth, income or employment status, on an unconditional basis.

The policy has supporters on both sides of the political spectrum. Those on the left say it will help tackle poverty, reduce yawning inequality and help people fend off the threat of their job being automated. For advocates on the right, UBI is seen as an attractive way to simplify complex systems of welfare payment and reduce the size of government.

Tech billionaires, such as Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, have thrown support behind the idea amid anger over their own extreme wealth. It’s also caught the attention of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D.-N.Y.) who has floated UBI as part of a Green New Deal – the umbrella name for a host of policies to tackle climate change and reduce inequality.

But it’s controversial, too. First, there’s the cost. One estimation by journalist Annie Lowrey, who has written a book on UBI, says a $1,000 monthly payment would cost around $3.9 trillion a year. Other critics see UBI as an expensive, free handout that will discourage work and encourage laziness.

These longstanding tropes of the “lazy” poor hold no water for 31-year-old Tanja Kauhanen, another participant in Finland’s scheme. While the results so far may have shown no improvement in employment, she believes UBI helps people who are struggling. “Think about it. It’s such a carrot to get a job immediately, even if it’s low paid.”

Kauhanen used the money ― and the time freed by no longer having to apply to multiple agencies for welfare benefits ― to take a telemarketing job. Pay was low, but topped up with the basic income, it dramatically changed her quality of life. It helped her finally sort out finances, after years of scouring grocery stores for the cheapest bread, milk and cheese. “I could go to a restaurant and have a normal dinner without thinking that, OK, I am going to have to eat noodles for the rest of the month,” she said.

The end of the scheme was a shock, she said, for everyone who participated in the trial. “We all are in big trouble now to be honest, because what would happen to you if your income decreased by €600?”

She’s still working at her job, but is already running up debt and desperately searching for better-paying work.

The end of Finland’s scheme was also a blow to those who had hoped the trial would be expanded and extended. Politicians “wasted the opportunity of a lifetime to conduct the kind of trial that Finnish social policy experts had done preliminary research for for decades,” said Antti Jauhiainen, a director of the think tank Parecon Finland.

He said the government was never really behind the experiment, because it was “simultaneously pushing for cutting the existing benefits and adding surveillance and control of the unemployed.” The Finnish government has now introduced an “activation model,” which requires unemployed people to complete a minimum of training or work to receive full benefits.

The announcement that Finland had no plans for more UBI schemes followed the cancellation of another UBI trial in Ontario, Canada. That test, launched in April 2017, involved 4,000 people on low incomes who received up to $13,000 a year for individuals, and up to $18,000 for couples, although payments were reduced by 50 cents for every dollar they earned.

The program was axed in 2018, following the election of right-wing politician Doug Ford. The government cited the “extraordinary cost for Ontario taxpayers.” All payments will cease by March.

But there are experiments that are still going. A program in Kenya, for example, run by the charity GiveDirectly, has been giving out unconditional money since 2016 to more than 21,000 people in villages across the country in a trial set to last 12 years. Initial results show a boost to the well being of participants.

And there are others on the horizon. In the U.S., a trial is about to kick off in Stockton, California, that will give $500 a month to 100 low-income families. And in Oakland, the tech incubator Y Combinator intends to start a UBI trial this year that would hand $1,000 a month with no strings attached to 1,000 people across two U.S. states for three years. In India, the main opposition party is running on a pledge to introduce a guaranteed minimum income for the country’s poor.

As a policy idea, UBI is certainly not dead yet. “Whether UBI is considered workable will of course depend on the results of these kinds of experiments and the political situation,” said Matt Bruenig of the People’s Policy Project. “It’s important to remember that there is a basic income program in the United States already that has been running for around 40 years: the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend. So it’s not as hypothetical as some people seem to think.” Alaska hands residents annual, unconditional checks of $1,000 to $3,000.

Finland is readying itself for elections in two months, and some hope that UBI could be back on the table. Kauhanen is among them. “I loved the basic income experience,” she said, “and I wish that it would be for all people in Finland. I know it’s expensive, but on a smaller scale, I think it would be just what we need because right now in Finland, the poor people are the ones who are getting cut off.”


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#7 User is online   zurg 

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 02:55 PM

^ What Huff Po writes hasn’t been my relatives’ and friends’ experience, hearing about it from the local media and other channels. It hasn’t been a success. BTW, the people I know are a good cross section of average Finns.
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#8 User is online   Censport 

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 03:56 PM

View Postzurg, on 11 February 2019 - 02:55 PM, said:

^ What Huff Po writes hasn’t been my relatives’ and friends’ experience, hearing about it from the local media and other channels. It hasn’t been a success. BTW, the people I know are a good cross section of average Finns.

Well, you noticed that the first person they mention is... a journalist.
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#9 User is offline   Ticked@TinselTown 

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 06:54 PM

View PostBuckwheat Jones, on 11 February 2019 - 08:12 AM, said:

Though you’ve probably already seen this:

https://www.foxnews....willing-to-work

Perfessor PoofyHair included this in aoc’s MoneyForNothing rollout, got slammed hard for it, blamed it on Republican hacking, then said it was a first draft that was mistakenly released.

Tucker was waaaay too easy on him.


I think Tucker is feeling the pinch of losing sponsors for his show...

But AOC's advisor was nothing short of a fast talking snake oil salesman using the Ishkabibble hair and the manic hand gestures to mesmerize the sheeple.
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#10 User is offline   MontyPython 

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 07:29 PM

View PostTicked@TinselTown, on 11 February 2019 - 06:54 PM, said:

I think Tucker is feeling the pinch of losing sponsors for his show...

But AOC's advisor was nothing short of a fast talking snake oil salesman using the Ishkabibble hair and the manic hand gestures to mesmerize the sheeple.


Ish Kabibble! Now there's a name I haven't heard in decades.

:coolshades:
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#11 User is online   zurg 

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 08:12 PM

View PostCensport, on 11 February 2019 - 03:56 PM, said:

Well, you noticed that the first person they mention is... a journalist.

Good point! :lol:
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#12 User is offline   Howsithangin 

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 01:12 AM

View PostCensport, on 11 February 2019 - 03:56 PM, said:

Well, you noticed that the first person they mention is... a journalist.

journalists aren't people
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#13 User is offline   Natural Selection 

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 10:36 AM

View PostCensport, on 11 February 2019 - 01:59 PM, said:

The end of the scheme was a shock, she said, for everyone who participated in the trial. “We all are in big trouble now to be honest, because what would happen to you if your income decreased by €600?”

She’s still working at her job, but is already running up debt and desperately searching for better-paying work.


Just as I said in post #4. Recipients would become dependent on the UBI checks.
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#14 User is offline   MADGestic 

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 08:58 PM

I can see why the experiment might not be considered a failure, since the primary purpose of research is to gather data and test hypotheses. I'm also curious whether the participants continued to receive welfare/unemployment benefits during the trial; I don't see anything suggesting they were required to give that up.

Thinking this would lead to lower unemployment was misguided, as those more willing to take a risk (and/or use the opportunity for additional job training) would be outweighed by those deciding to relax: "I don't have to panic and scrounge anymore; I can take it easy". There must be other ways to combat unemployment without just throwing more money at people. However, don't discount the value of reducing folks' anxiety; excess stress is unhealthy and counterproductive.

These are interesting experiments albeit (usually) extensions of the welfare state.
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