Finland is testing an unconditional basic income

On may 1, which most Finns spend in t-shirts and not at work, Steffi than with any other (Steffie Eronen) is playing with Jack at his old Volvo. Standing next to her eight-year-old nephew who wants to learn how to change the wheels of a car. Than with any other, a short woman with a deep voice, which is rare, but heartily laughing, in fact, wanted to do nothing, like all the others. The whole family gathered at the parents of her husband on a typical holiday. But then her little nephew said that everything about the car, is a typical male work, and passion for work than with any other awakened. “What the child really believes in it, brought me into such a rage that I could not stand it.” And, ultimately, for her, in fact, still — spend your holiday whether it is day or not. For the question about work or idleness has for 39-year-old female a completely different meaning than for most Europeans.

Nee German is one of two thousand people in Finland who get the money even if they don’t work. Even if she’s not actively looking for work. For than with any other became part of the state of the experiment: since the beginning of this year, Finland is testing an unconditional basic income.

This is a hot topic, which is now fueling the controversy surrounding the social state of the Western sample. Left-wing critics of capitalism want to free people from coercion to paid employment so that the state guaranteed to all its residents financially secure existence without reciprocal services from them. The most recent and also entrepreneurs, such as the giants of Silicon valley, Peter Thiel (Peter Thiel) and Elon Musk (Elon Musk) or Chapter Dax Timotheus Khetges (Timotheus Höttges) and Joe KAESER (Joe Kaeser) also require a basic income that people receive money and when a work take on the robots. Just as furiously as these supporters, and critics speak out: leaders of trade unions, who fear the end of the employment of the century, the social Democrats, who are unhappy that corporations want to avoid their responsibility for the social sphere, conservative economists, who fear a sharp increase in the number of idlers, if a person will not be forced to work more due to the lack of material needs. What is missing until now, opponents and supporters, is the empirical basis for their thesis: what really happens if the people will not have to work more? Whether they will be lazy or will release their new powers? The Finnish experiment gives first answers to these questions.

Steffi than with any other would never have become a participant if she was looking for work. She moved here six years ago, when fell in love with one Finn. They married and had a daughter. Her husband works as an electrician at a construction company and gets monthly about three thousand euros gross. While they are economical enough. “But I wanted to be independent. I don’t want to experience fear because of the financial situation and wish that I could contain,” she says. When the child reached the age for kindergarten, she went to the labour exchange to find work.

However, because she could not fluently speak Finnish, she was not given a job, even in the supermarket. Its mediators to find work made her an offer: the country needs social workers and so she supports financially all those who are perfected in this area. So than with any other had begun training to be a social worker and became one of approximately 177 thousand people, who receive money from the labour exchange.

And it is this filing of unemployed has become six months of the lottery to conduct a unique experiment. Marjukka Turunen (Marjukka Turunen), a top lawyer at Kela — the social office of Finland, were selected milking management. The woman in the square horn-rimmed glasses and short cropped blond hair 20 years working for this organization: “the Problem of the current system is the following: people start to work full time or they do not work at all and need support. All intermediate options are unsuccessful,” she says. Therefore, it will explore: whether people work more or less if they will receive money but will not to anything to be forced? From the filing of the unemployed had to choose two thousand people, which from the beginning of the year, each month will be transferred for 560 euros. Without the state, as before, demanded services in return, such as active job search, improving work skills or anything like that.

The unexpected freedom of choice

The Finnish Parliament can not be suspected until now in any social romance. In a country ruled by a coalition of right-wing and centrist. However, they were irritated that the unemployed receive taxpayer money and still rather sit at home. For most of the unemployed no interest that is partial or low-paid work. As soon as they have something to earn, then pay them accordingly be reduced. For many there is no difference — they work or stay at home. The majority chooses the second option.

Steffi than with any other still kept the letter in which she was informed of their future unconditional income. It is filed in the blue folder you brought than with any other, and is stored in the living room. It came from the fact that then it will get even more emails from the exchange. However, it is no longer any forms, statements, any evidence that she had filed. There is only letter size in nine pages.

“The decision about the basic income” is written in the title, just briefly, as the following sentences. “You were chosen for the experiment. From 1st January You will be guaranteed a basic income”. Below are 24 dates. These days, the Finnish state will transfer to the account than with any other 560 euros. Just.

“It was so incredible when I received this letter. I proceeded from the fact that the experiment is only for Finnish citizens,” she says. She put the letter on the table in the living room, went to Facebook and typed the name of the project: Perustulo. She wanted to know if other people it’s a letter from the Department. And so she read the lines that appealed to the public man, living in 350 kilometers to the North of Finland: “I am one of two thousand citizens, who from next year will receive basic income. I feel free. I feel once again a full citizen,” said the stranger. Than with any other sent him a message: do we have somewhere to check in. Is it true that we just can earn?

Less stress, more satisfaction

She still maintains contact with Arvinen Juha (Juha Järvinen). 38-year-old man came to the lottery office, he also received unemployment benefits. However, he always worked. Have Arvinen strong muscular arms, scars in two places show that he is engaged in physical labor. He is fluent in English, can also do programming. A teenager Arvinen learned to develop the pictures and thus earned his first money. After leaving school he learned how to make a website. Later he engaged in the production of the video. Somewhere later he learned to make doors and Windows with architraves.

The remnants of his last works fit in a box from under footwear: you still have 1500 brochures from companies involved in manufacturing of wooden frames. It went well, no more did the window frames. “The problem was not in the work a problem was myself,” he says today. Arvinen peddling small things. He grabbed for all new orders, without having to perform old. He was not hired for a job, trying to do everything himself. And then came this large order, which has not been paid. Unpaid bills for material became more and more. “At some point I was like paralyzed. And once I threw up when I went into the Studio,” he says. Three years ago, he finally declared bankruptcy.

Arvinen wife is a nurse. Only her salary, the family couldn’t live. Which is why Finn has asked for unemployment benefits. And then he received a letter from the stock exchange. Officials sent him on a computer course. There he was to study how a program works writing, that he, who has several decades can programming. “No one does voluntarily in these courses and therefore they do not function,” he says.

Basic income as motivation

On daily life than with any other main income so far has not had any effect. She gets up every day at quarter past. Then has Breakfast with her family, then her husband takes daughter to kindergarten. Before lunch she alone is the only time that she has to study. However, in most cases, she does not have time to do everything that we planned. These are days, like today. It half worked the job, and then had to pause to pick up the daughter. Then came the usual things: to do the shopping for dinner, dentist, to look at new shoes for the baby.

And yet 560 euros is a big difference. For every minute of the remaining time she can use at their discretion: if it works, then it nothing is subtracted. If she stays home, she has no fear for its existence. “I used to think about ten hours of work, what have I to do with this? I would have to save the receipt, and it was deducted from my allowance,” she says. “And now each earned Euro is one Euro more”.

Incentives the major income

The leader of the experiment to observe this effect in most participants. “We can already see that many are doing extra work,” says Tolonen. As a result, yesterday’s unemployed have to pay more taxes and spend more money on consumption. “Many have also founded the firm. Previously, they did not dare, because they did not have financial guarantees”, — said the lawyer.

Economist Ernst Fehr (Ernst Fehr) refers to those researchers in the field of Economics that explore how people behave when it comes to money. The Finnish experiment had originally a definite impact on the psyche of its participants. “Definitely you can say: people have less stress and thus they become more happy,” he says.

Fer calls the impact of a basic income for unemployed stimulating effect: “they were losing money, if they found a job. And now people are more inclined to get a job.” Thus basic income justify part of the money which it stands. A side effect that did meanwhile many liberals friends of the basic income.

Because in the present confusion it is unclear who actually speaks for and who is against a basic income. While many technical firms speak for speak against associations of employers and are here in an unusual unity with the unions, who also reject this idea. Politician of the CDU Dieter Althaus (Dieter Althaus) has even developed its own model of financing basic income, while the “Green” most are undecided. Conversely, the FDP wants to re-using liberal money people to reduce social expenditures of the state, and the “Left” at the moment there is absolutely no unity in this discussion.

Even receiving the money than with any other broken into two parts: “I fear that many firms will be able to use basic income to reduce salaries,” she says. After all, everyone supposedly enough to live on.

At the same time she believes that people always have incentive to earn more. Ultimately the money from the state only cover basic needs. “There will always be people who want more. After all, everyone wants to improve their situation and their lives,” says than with any other.

Currently the family lives in a small three room apartment on the outskirts of the city. She dreams about how to move someday with my family to a bigger house, maybe even your own. It is also her incentive to as soon as possible again to start to work. “To stay home is not an option for me. Then I would get bored, and besides it would be untapped potential,” she says. Two years later, she finished her studies. After that, she would most like to support drug addicts or refugees.

The full emancipation of the man

“It’s just great that finally appear information about how really works the main income,” says economist fer. He rather refers to the skeptics: “If everywhere will be introduced such a system, I expect that there will be a subculture that will only exist at the expense of basic income and illegal work. And even if it is only a tenth of society, it undermines the population’s recognition of the social state”. Work for others — it functions in Western society only in case if the other actually wants to work.

And therefore, the Juha to Arvinen are often treated with hostility. He supposedly “lazy hippie” lives “at the expense of others” and also he is guilty, Narodiv four children and not working.

His house is a mixture of multi-colored villas and dreams of the informals in the woods in Northern Finland, the nearest big city is at a distance of one hour drive. “It is not true that I don’t want to work. But there’s no work here,” he says. At least no one that would be called “home — work”. In the end he had to agree to work for one Euro per hour in the cleaning firm. He calls it “slave labor”.

Humanists in the tradition of Erich Fromm (Erich Fromm) consider a basic income as the full emancipation of man. Fromm argued in 1966 that in a society of excess, no one should be more afraid of dying from starvation and thereby may be released from the psychology of fear. The latter is the reason why people agree with the conditions, which they don’t want to. “A guaranteed income would first do to free people from economic threats and make them independent,” wrote social psychologist.

Arvinen first entered again a few weeks ago in my old workshop. He uses it now for his latest project. He has learned how to make drums from wood and deer hides. Some he sells for 900 euros. In order to give the tree a round shape, it must be heated. However, Arvinen there was no boiler to heat meter boards. Thus he developed his own technique: he wraps the material in aluminum foil and put it on a quarter of an hour on the stove. This idea fits the definition of the work of the sociologist Manfred Pulseco (Manfred Füllsack). This Austrian refers to the work as an attempt to solve the problem. And thereby income primarily represents a one — work.