Finland’s basic income never failed, our ‘jobs’ did

Basic Income Earth Network

This past week, Finland released the final results from its two-year “basic income” experiment. The program produced a modest increase in working days among basic income recipients and noticeable improvements in perceived happiness and healthiness.

Is this a surprise? When governments give people cash assistance, of course, their lives will improve. And with financial stress alleviated, these recipients will still find productive uses for their time. 

Simply imagine the unearned suffering billions of people could have been spared if governments had implemented basic income prior to the pandemic and global economic depression. 

Basic income skeptics should consider which system failed when confronted with the current avalanche of suicide, descent into addiction, and hungry mouth these twin crises have created. But according to the government’s standard, Finland’s basic income experiment still “failed” because recipients only increased their working days by a week or so.

Let that sink in. Despite proof that the program improved basic income recipients’ physical and mental well-being, it was deemed a failure because it did not fix every aspect of the labor market in two years. Recipients worked more, but that apparently still was not enough. 

Maybe the standard by which success is judged is, therefore, the true failure.

Our current situation shows us that the government was dead set on keeping us in jobs at all costs. And the natural result of that obsession to “preserve work” is that governments are now bailing out corporations instead of their people.

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