News; News & Events

FINLAND: New Government Commits to a Basic Income Experiment

The new Finnish government has committed to a Basic Income experiment as part of its programme for government, published last month.

For more updated information on the situation in Finland, please read this article.

The commitment consists of one line: ‘Implement a Basic Income experiment’, in the ‘Health and Welfare’ section of the programme.

The main party of government, the Centre Party and the new Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, are known to be supportive of Basic Income, but his new government partners, the populist Finns Party and conservative NCP have not spoken publicly on the issue. The scant reference to Basic Income raises some doubts about the government’s commitment to the policy.

Nonetheless, this marks the first commitment from a European country to implement a Basic Income experiment and will be the first experiment in a developed nation since the 1970s. Other experiments have been performed more recently in India, Namibia and Brazil. Every experiment so far has reported very positive results with improved economic performance, health, housing and other outcomes. It also reflects the increasing interest in Basic Income worldwide with prominent European parties like Podemos in Spain and D66 in the Netherlands adopting it as a policy.

The government has not released a timescale nor any further details about the experiment. For more updated information on the situation in Finland, please read this article.

About Liam Upton

has written 107 articles.

Creator of the Basic Income Now activist website, moderator of the reddit /r/basicincome community and active member of Basic Income Ireland.

The views expressed in this Op-Ed piece are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of Basic Income News or BIEN. BIEN and Basic Income News do not endorse any particular policy, but Basic Income News welcomes discussion from all points of view in its Op-Ed section.


  • Jct: As Social Credit Engineer Major Clifford Hugh Douglas predicted almost 100 years ago, as the lever of technology gets longer and longer and it takes less and less human work to get things done, the wage will be replaced by a National Dividend, a share of the robot paychecks to buy the things produced that robots don’t need. Nice to see him vindicated. is my political program over these many decades in Guinness Record Politics (most elections contested, most elections lost) and the share of robot paychecks has always been part of the dream program offered by John The Banking Systems Engineer. Watch their crime levels go down and trading levels go up with more money in the hands of people ready to use it.

  • Dan Campbell

    Will Finland make a mark in the history books, for triggering a world-wide trend?

    Let’s see. It’s gotta start somewhere.

  • Alaska has a small basic income. Why does everyone always forget to mention it?

  • Mikko Körperich

    Sorry, but this article is misleading and gives a wrong picture of what’s happening in Finland right now. We have a new parliament with three right wing parties that has so far become popular for making cuts and the idea of basic income proposed is not real basic income, because it has demands.

  • Congratulations new governs the Finland

  • No Name

    I live in Finland. Didn’t know anything about this. Well I’m unemployed and make about 750 euros a month in welfare + housing subsidy. If I work 160 hours a month as a truck driver then I make 1500 euros after taxes. So basically unemployment doesn’t pay, but neither does employment lol. What am I gonna do .. start investing in stocks, with what money.
    To me, this whole thing sounds like a clique of politicians is gonna pocket themselves a lot of cash somehow, probably by having their own businesses offer services on how this is implemented for example in govt financial transfers etc. This is probably announced as a government program to reserve government debt into the project so that the politicians and their cliques get to gather that money back to themselves.. as it usually is. The people get the scraps.

    • No Name

      continued… also..
      in Finland and probably everywhere where there is housing assistance money… the landlords set the rent money to what ever that housing assistance money is. Right now there is a real estate bubble bursting and housing and construction starts are very slow, the prices of housing near capital area is sky high.. this is probably a way to add more bubble money to housing. The price of rents can never go down because landlording is Finland #1 profitable business, better money than a mobile phone gaming giant called Supercell or a has been mobile phone company named Nokia. If u work and rent here, the rents take about 1/2 of your income, food and everything else takes the other half so yuor broke by next paycheck.

      I mean.. they talk about a ‘living wage’ but the money will end up in the rent bubble.. It doesnt matter to what they raise the ‘basic income’ because that money cannot be saved by those that get it.. and most that get it either pay obscene rents of housing loans. Housing gonna probably eat more of that money in the future and the bubble will continue..

    • Daniel

      Do you get 750 euros/month in spending money PLUS a subsidized apartment. Or does a portion of that 750 euros/month have to be used to rent subsidized housing?

      Here in Ontario, you get $249 CAN/month for spending money (“basic needs”) plus $372/month that goes towards subsidized housing. So outside of housing, you only have $8.18 CAN/day for food, clothing, public transit, phone, etc (if your city doesn’t have public transit, you have to get a car. Which costs even more money). You can’t afford to go out and have a drink with a friend at a bar. Because that drink will eat up your entire daily budget allowance. You can’t have a social life basically. You have to stay indoors and isolate yourself. Because friends don’t want to hang out with you if you’re poor.

      And you have to get on a long waiting list in order to get subsidized housing. 68% of the people who eat at food banks/soup kitchens in Toronto don’t have any subsidized housing. They pay market rates. Which are significantly higher than subsidized housing. That $372/month apartment (subsidized housing) the government gives you would probably cost $800+/month at market rates in suburban Toronto, let alone central Toronto.

    • Pedro

      Ahhhh, it sounds so unfair that the government isn’t making someone else pay for your drinks out at the bar with your friends. My heart breaks for you.

    • Hornet

      The solution to your concerns is to link Basic income to the other people’s spending.

      The more the people spend the more we get paid as Basic Income.

  • Michael Bryant

    I feel that raw Energy will soon become our basic income.

    On most worlds, available energy depends on solar output and planetary conversion into the low-hanging fruit we enjoy on Earth today as fossil fuels.
    Materials scientists, engineers, life scientists and dreamers across humanity are rapidly dismissing these inefficient sources and going directly to photovoltaics, atomic, and planetary conversion through winds, tides and geothermal. Even biological engineering is opening up entirely new pathways that may one day transform our planetary chlorophyll production into a limitless, on-demand power plant.
    Regardless who wins the engineering race to ubiquitous and (practically) free energy, the end result will be the same… World energy independence for all people of all socio-economic classes and demographics.
    When you take that inevitability and attach it to any number of simultaneous advances in information, environmental, health and manufacturing technologies – you get rapid explosions of significant quality-of-life improvements for all of humanity. Freedom from existential discomfort, significant reductions in resource-based conflict, plummeting mortality rates for the poorest of the poor. All taken for granted by the average “developed” nation, but a dream for most of people.
    With energy so readily available- meeting basic human needs such as food, shelter, education, communication, transportation and safety becomes the default norm. Previous human energy output in pursuit of these basic needs becomes redirected to solve other puzzles. Mental/spiritual health, physical wellness, personal life satisfaction, entertainment, the pursuit of higher knowledge, artistic endeavor, environmental stewardship, positive societal change…
    All of these human endeavors not tied to meeting basic survival needs lead to increased personal productivity and contentment- the type of productivity which logically carries over to everyone around them – ESPECIALLY those less fortunate. The sick, the feeble, the helpless, the hopeless, the old, the young and even the temporarily ignorant or incompetent.
    Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness can finally become the de-facto reality for all of humanity.
    I have very real concerns for our world economy when we no longer pay for energy. Portable, automated, efficient and decentralized resource management, manufacturing methods, telepresence, labor pool, time management tools, health/nutrition monitoring, personalized medicine, replacement organs, intra/intercellular repair… All from the comfort of your own home ANYWHERE on the planet without regard to what will power it all…
    The bottom line? Free energy demonetizes, decentralizes and democratizes all fundamental quality-of-life standards for everyone.
    Where is the fanfare? Where is the collective human effort into supporting/encouraging this imminent inevitability? What good is money when you can create life’s necessities on a whim? Who is preparing the world’s puppeteers to release their hold on our monetary livelihoods? What rash decisions will be made in an attempt to monetize the Sun?
    No worries – I’ll continue blowing the trumpet until I’m perpetually blue in the face.
    It’s only air, after all…

  • Squid Cap

    TL;DR: it is planned to fail, it is replacing 1/3 of the benefit system while keeping the other 2/3 intact and those last 2/3 are the ones that Basic Income is trying to fix. The first 1/3 already works fine.

    The way te current Conservative government proposes basic income is an experiment planned to fail. We have three benefits: unemployment, rent and welfare to fill the gaps that were formed when rent control was abolished. This has lead to massive raises in rent, for me personally and i’m about average, it has meant a raise from 430€ to 620€ in five years. The rent goes up 5% each year and the benefits just had their indexes frozen, they are not even keeping up with inflation. But that has happened slowly, over twenty years now.

    That means that you have to get welfare as unemployment and rent benefits goes directly to landlords and you get your food money from welfare.. Working while receiving unemployment benefit is possible, you just don’t get the 30€ per day but can work part time, which is a huge step forwards for people in trouble. Rent benefits stay the same, for a while but if you do get salary for few months, it is adjusted: it decreases or stops completely. But even this is not the main problem, you stil are a head working even part time, barely but in the plus side.

    Then comes the last part, welfare. It takes every penny you got and decreases the amount you get. That makes it sure that until you can pay your rent in full and everything else, you are not going to get any more money. Very VERY often you have to pay for “extra” benefits you received in the earlier months. Or if it’s short period of working, you have to live on your savings until they are gone. This is not good, it basically says: “either get good steady job that last years or don’t work at all”. Living expenses are high, in estimation you need 1200€ per month to have good quality of life, which is still very precious value to us. Steady job salary start from 1000€.

    So we have active Basic Income movement and we are making grounds, getting more and more support. This does not fit with conservative government that is actually “blackmailing” as we speak on unions to accept their deal or else. No, literally that is the situation, unless they accept the deal, governemnt will punish everybody by taking away parental leave days, decreasing time when you get increased benefits (a system that works, you don’t drop to basic level of sustenance, ie welfare afer losign/quitting a job and has helped people to get new jobs).. So they come up with this monstrosity:

    Let’s make Basic Income and make it EXACTLY the same amount you get from unemployment benefits and do not touch the other two systems. It changes NOTHING. It is planned to fail. So instead of praising this as good news, call it what it is: Finnish government plans to bury Basic Income with rigged, unconstitutional experiment.

    We are getting much closer to the end goal with the unification of the three systems, one to rule them all type of deal that is planned for 2017. But of course, the Basic Income experiment is hurried to happen before the unification. If they don’t get to do it before, it is not going to happen at all, they wil just say that the experiment is not going to happen.. It is very clear case of burying a movement. It is also the last promise the parties make that actually went in to the new government programme, so if they don’t do that, then they have not made a single promise but turned every one of them 180..

  • sofoklis

    I wish!! Sorry people but when they say basic income they mean a realy low basic income. I’m fortunat to be Greek and i’m proud of it but i’ve gained a lot of experience in these last 7 years. Soon you’ll hear that Finland has way too many benefits and that Finnish people have a lot of holidays and dont work enough. Your Unemployment is going to rise a bit more…. you know the drill…. welcome to the club. I hope you’re better than us in fighting against the Neo European Shock therapy. I hope i’m wrong!

  • Lucas

    “Brazil. (..) has reported very positive results”

    Brazilian here and this make me laugh… Where are the positive results?!?!?

  • Kelly89

    This would only work in the U.S. if universal healthcare were also instituted. Many seniors and people with disabilities could not survive on what would no doubt be a low monthly income if all that income went to pay for health insurance. Take away social security and medicare/medicaid (which is likely what conservatives would demand in exchange) and replace those two things with $1000 or less a month, and you’re going to find a lot more people living on the streets or the average lifespan of those in the U.S. taking a dramatic decline when healthcare is out of the majority of that population’s reach.

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