Finland to introduce guaranteed annual income

Finland is introducing a universal basic income:

Finland isn’t the only European locale flirting with a universal basic income. Greece is currently testing a pared-down minimum-income plan. Next year, Switzerland will hold a vote on the issue. The Swedes are at least aflutter about it. And in January, some low-income residents of Utrecht, the fourth-largest city in the Netherlands, will begin receiving a guaranteed monthly income (about $1,000 per month for a single adult or $1,450 for a couple or family) instead of their current welfare benefits. In about 50 of these test cases, the payment will be unconditional. Since Utrecht announced this plan, at least one other Dutch city has pledged to follow suit and six others are considering it. More.

The reason given is, to simplify many overlapping programs in face of high unemployment.

Reality check: I suspect an underlying reality: Artificial intelligence wants your job.

Developing the right policy around welfare entitlements requires first grappling with the fact that vast numbers of people who were employable in vital sectors when my parents (96 and 91) were young may not be employable in a decade’s time, due to AI.

AI is not going to destroy everyone’s job, of course. But many less skilled white collar jobs will disappear. Increasingly, jobs will be the special creations of people who can originate information or otherwise do things that can’t really be automated.

I’m struggling to understand all this myself, but so far: It’s no use shouting at a person to go get a job if his skills are limited to recounting how angry he is with the pronoun structure of English or people who wear leather.

Won’t the main thing be, how to keep him from interfering with more fortunate people who either have a job to do in life or accept that they don’t, without making themselves a problem? Thoughts welcome.

See also: Silicon Valley is disrupting unions?

  • Ron MacDonald

    They’re nuts, now every single Roma and Muslim will be migrating there.

  • mauser 98

    also….. Finland to commit suicide

  • V10_Rob

    Maybe this movement can be hijacked into a voucher system. You get the social security warm fuzzies, and the economic competitiveness. Your tax dollars don’t go to a school district, you get a chit to take to the school of your choice, which has to compete for your patronage. Likewise, you get a chit for medical exams and treatments, to spend at the doctor or specialist of your choice, for health concerns unique to you. Make them transferable between family members at least.

    Behold: stealth capitalism.

    “Won’t the main thing be, how to keep him from interfering with more
    fortunate people who either have a job to do in life or accept that they
    don’t, without making themselves a problem? Thoughts welcome.”

    Some of the greatest evils ever devised originated from comfortably well-off idealists with time on their hands and a grievance to nurse.

  • Hard Little Machine

    In Finland’s case it makes sense since welfare benefits are taxed. Finland fully recognizes that the amount of money is insufficient to allow anyone to sit home and do nothing. It’s low enough so that people will have to go out and get a job.

  • BillyHW

    This blog is drowning in vaginas.