Finland: Governmental announcement of the basic income experiment: the Greens’ response
As we’ve recently reported here, Finland’s Ministry of Social Affairs and Health announced their plan for the basic income experiment, and requested citizens’ opinions on it, on the 25th of August. We’ve also reported Finnish experts’ responses here, including a critical remark by Osmo Soininvaara, a former Minister of Social Services from the Finnish Green League and a long-time UBI advocate. This article reports more detail of the Green League’s response (Vihreä liitto, the Green Party of Finland).
An unconditional basic income has been a part of the Green League’s platform since it was founded in 1987 by Soininvaara and others. The Green League published a detailed plan for UBI implementation in 2007. It was the first detailed plan for such a scheme by a political party in Finland.
On the 29th of August, we at BIEN visited the headquarters of the Green League in Helsinki. Heidi Hautala, a Member of the European Parliament, offered us a brief comment on the government’s experimental plan. Here is the video:
After shooting the video, Hautala also noted the necessity of a European-wide move towards UBI.
Ville Ylikahri, one of the Green League’s experts on UBI, commented in a similar tone:
I think about the government’s basic income experiment the same way that Osmo Soininvaara and Heidi Hautala do: experimentation as such is a good thing but the risk is that the government’s badly designed experiment will be a reason to say afterwards that basic income doesn’t work. The experiment focuses too much on combining work income and social benefits, while it neglects all the other aspects of basic income. The main problem in this experiment is that it lacks taxation changes completely. But, saying that, I understand that any kind of experiment on basic income would be a hard thing to do.
Ylikahri is a member of the Helsinki City Council and Secretary General of the green think tank ViSiO (The Green Cultural and Educational Centre). Ylikahri has published a book on UBI and has been involved in UBI research and the formation of both the party and ViSiO’s detailed UBI plans.
The experiment won’t provide proper information about basic income, and the model without taxation changes is too expensive. The Greens have decided that we will continue to develop our own basic income model.
Reviewed by Genevieve Shanahan.