Finland: Seminar and podcast on the preliminary results from the Basic Income trial

Finland: Seminar and podcast on the preliminary results from the Basic Income trial

Minna Ylikännö. Picture credit to: Kela

A half-day seminar called “Finnish Basic Income Experiment – Science meets social security reform” happened on the 4th of April, hosted by Kela, to focus on the presentation and discussion of the recently concluded (the cash transfer’s stage) basic income trial’s preliminary results. At the seminar, other Kela researchers communicated their analysis on the data, such as Olli Kangas (on the overall evaluation of the experiment), Ohto Kanninen (register data analysis) and Signe Jauhiainen (subjective wellbeing and financial stress)

The results had already been discussed by Minna Ylikännö, a senior researcher at Kela, on a podcast recorded in February, hosted by Jim Pugh and Owen Poindexter. In this conversation, Minna confirmed that the experiment has been more limited in scope than was originally planned by Kela researchers, and that to date there has been no observable effect on take-up of employment (on the long-term unemployed participants in the experiment). Answering a phone survey (around 30% of the participants), Minna refers that those in the BI trial reported significantly higher levels of life satisfaction and well-being, more confidence in the future and self-perceived better mental health in comparison with the control group. Even though the data analysis process is not over yet, this process may not a include a second phone survey.

Minna Ylikännö also recommends, in the eventual pursuit of other basic income-type of trials, that a careful consideration of all factors which can motivate/demotivate people to look for a job, including a series of subjective factors which enables them to do so. In her words: “it’s not just about financial incentives, it’s about well-being”. In the referred podcast, the hosts commented that, in talking about basic income experiments, people tend to project their own desires or fears, over the results which can easily be spinned in positive and negative directions.

Germany: Discussions on unconditional basic income

Germany: Discussions on unconditional basic income

Which analytical models exist to defend UBI, and how convincing are they? What would the introduction of an UBI mean for different parts of society? What would be the associated opportunities and risks?

To answer these, and many more questions, the Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel has programmed a series of interdisciplinary lectures, in order to share both further directions of research and also to make some academic contributions. These academic events will happen between April 23rd and July 2nd 2019, at designated rooms and auditoriums at the University, as indicated below.

This lecture series come from various academic disciplines and touch on a broad spectrum of questions and aspects.  They will also be accessible to interested members of the public.  At the end of each 45-60 minutes paper presentation, there will be space for discussion between the authors and the audience.  The papers will be recorded and made accessible after the event.

General and increasingly extensive discussions of the reforming idea of an unconditional basic income (UBI) seem to have come to stay, especially among the younger generations. One basic income experiment after another is springing up around the world.  For the first time in Germany, the current state of Schleswig-Holstein has taken up the theme, and has introduced a ‘social security for work yet to be undertaken’ in the state parliament, alongside its coalition agreement.  So, the idea of an UBI in particular, together with the Liberal Party’s [FDP = Freie Demoktratische Partei] concept of a citizen’s wage and further initiatives, are being discussed in Germany, and trials are being conceived.

Such a UBI would definitely represent a deep intrusion into the pre-existing architecture of the welfare state, the job market, the economy, the family life of both female and male citizens, and the whole community in Germany and abroad.  The moral model of a ‘working society’, which developed alongside industrialisation and the rise of capitalism and whose scope has extended ever further in the last few decades, would be abandoned or at least significantly marginalised. That’s because UBI would change the normative way of life for every adult until retirement age, which still is paid employment. The broad distribution of material prosperity, mostly organised in accordance with the criterion of performance at work, would also change considerably.

Summary of lectures:

23rd April 2019 (Tuesday): Dr. Alexander Lorch – Philosophical reflections on an unconditional basic income.

26th April 2019 (Friday): Prof. Dr. Roswitha Ploch – Unconditional basic income – opportunities and hurdles in the political implementation of a good idea

30th April 2019 (Tuesday): Dr. Thieß Peterson – Macroeconomic effects of an unconditional basic income

10th May 2019 (Friday): Prof. Dr. Hilmar Schneider – Do we need an unconditional basic income or better Maths lessons?

17th May 2019 (Friday): Prof. Dr. Ute Fischer – Liberation or backwards roll?  Opportunities and limits of a UBI from the perspective of gender.

24th May 2019 (Friday): Prof. Dr. Gesine Stephan – Field experiments in labour market research: potential, challenges and practical examples

31st May 2019 (Friday): Prof. Dr. Ueli Mäder – Social security democratised (rather than economised)

7th June 2019 (Friday): Prof. Dr. Michael Opielka – Basic income in the labour of the future.  On the relationship between payment in cash, kind and service in the welfare state of the future.

11th June 2019 (Tuesday): Prof. Dr. Thomas Straubhaar – Unconditional basic income.  From Utopia to reality.

21st June 2019 (Friday): Prof. Dr. Nicole Mayer-Ahuja – Unconditional basic income – an emancipatory response to changes in the world of work?

2nd July 2019 (Tuesday): Dr. Manuel Franzmann – Democritisation of leisure?  Unconditional basic income from the point of view of educational theory.

Article reviewed by André Coelho