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Finland: Governmental announcement of the basic income experiment: the Greens’ response

Heidi Hautala at the headquarters of the Green League

MEP Heidi Hautala at the headquarters of the Green League in Helsinki

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:

https://vimeo.com/181462278

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.

Ville Ylikahri, second from right, at the headquarters of the Green League in Helsinki. Taken by Toru Yamamori

Ville Ylikahri, second from right, at the headquarters of the Green League in Helsinki. Taken by Toru Yamamori

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.

 

Outi Alanko-Kahiluoto, the Head of the Green Parliamentary Group, gave a statement about the government’s proposal here [in Finnish]. According to Ylikahri, the statement says:

 

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.

Toru Yamamori

About Toru Yamamori

has written 113 articles.

Toru Yamamori is a professor at Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan.

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One comment

  • I don’t know enough about Finnish social security, but here in the UK it could be quite simple. In 2009, a think tank set up by Iain Duncan Smith,( later work & Pensions Secretary from 2010 to 2016) published a report ‘Dynamic Benefits’, which set out the case for the Universal Credit (UC).. The UC is a failure, but ‘Dynamic Benefits’ uses a series of graphs showing the withdrawal of means tested benefits on the same graph as actual taxes, because they both have exactly the same effect on the individual. Withdrawal of benefits is a massive tax equivalent on the lowest incomes.
    ‘Dynamic Benefits’ could be used as an statement of the case for a Basic income by asking a simple question:
    “How can we put everyone on the same basis, where everyone has the same percentage taken out of whatever income they have from other sources?”
    Here in the UK we could use Iain Duncan Smith’s own literature to answer the ‘set up to fail’ type problems pointed out by the Finnish Greens..
    Clive Lord
    .

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