Finland is considering a plan to give everybody free money

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Re: Finland is considering a plan to give everybody free money

#21  Postby Macdoc » Dec 07, 2015 10:54 pm

That's a start but living wage varies and the places where the least expensive shelter do not have the jobs.

Australia does have a living wage at $17 per hour and super annuation plus free healthcare but there is still too wide a gap and housing is becoming impossible in some cities.
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Re: Finland is considering a plan to give everybody free money

#22  Postby Beatsong » Dec 07, 2015 11:00 pm

Matt_B wrote:How about just making sure that everyone in work is paid a living wage?


Great idea, but how is that going to help people not in work?
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Re: Finland is considering a plan to give everybody free money

#23  Postby THWOTH » Dec 08, 2015 12:31 am

Better idea than giving free money to bankers that's for sure.
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Re: Finland is considering a plan to give everybody free money

#24  Postby jamest » Dec 08, 2015 12:49 am

I can't see how this can work, for it seemingly takes no consideration of the fact that no people are financially equal. Therefore, surely, it can only serve to benefit those people who are not at the extremes of either poverty or wealth... the 'middling sorts'.

The whole point of a Welfare State is that it should seek to redistrubute wealth from the rich to the poor, not to all, since then the poor will get less than they would/should.

This is the sort of policy which would uttelry destroy The Conservative Party, in the UK. I can't imagine how it could be 'popular', anywhere. :scratch:
Last edited by jamest on Dec 08, 2015 1:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Finland is considering a plan to give everybody free money

#25  Postby I'm With Stupid » Dec 08, 2015 1:19 am

jamest wrote:The whole point of a Welfare State is that it should seek to redistrube wealth from the rich to the poor, not to all, since then the poor will get less than they would/should.

I guess the argument would be that it's just a simpler way of achieving the same thing, so you don't have to have a complex system of checks. Obviously you would actually increase the tax on the wealthy so that they effectively don't get this benefit. In principle, it's no different from allowing everyone to use the NHS for free, even though there are plenty of people who could afford to insure themselves privately. In fact, in the UK, isn't child benefit applicable to everyone regardless of income levels? I don't really have a problem with that, but politicians don't like it, because means testing enables them to have a lower rate of income tax, which is what looks better to the voter, even if you're effectively throwing away a lot of money in the process.

The issue you're going to have with this is that while that amount of money might be an average living wage for the country, it doesn't reflect the different costs that people have. I can only assume that rents in Helsinki are more expensive than elsewhere in the country, for example. People with children have much higher costs than those without. And people with disabilities would still presumably need additional support to pay for certain services and facilities.
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Re: Finland is considering a plan to give everybody free money

#26  Postby OlivierK » Dec 08, 2015 2:50 am

Beatsong wrote:Personally I wouldn't have a problem with the idea of paying a basic income to the poorest 10% or 20% of the population, that IS enough to eat and pay rent (or combined with building enough social housing to house them), with some kind of tapering mechanism to make sure it's still advantageous to work.

This is very hard to achieve, as the tapering rate acts as an additional tax in practice. When my kids were young, I was not working (I'm still not) and my wife was working part time (now full time). If I'd taken up a day a week of work, as I had an opportunity, I would have earned enough that I'd be paying tax at 15%, while also having one tax benefit based on the lower income of a family reduced by a taper of 30c per dollar, and another based on joint income also reduced at 30c per dollar, in effect a 75% marginal tax rate, which is not much of an incentive to work.

I'd like to see a scheme like this tried somewhere, because I think that if done well, it could solve a lot of problems of our current systems. With a system of paying parents at half the rate on behalf of each of their children, the effect would be very similar to current tax arrangements in Australia for tax-free income and family tax benefits.

Call me a cynic, but means-testing the universal income would just lead to the very wealthy structuring ther affairs so that their reportable income fell just below the rate at which the benefit was lost, and achieve very little. Far better to tax them extra, even through regressive consumption taxes, and then give back universally at a flat rate to balance that.
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Re: Finland is considering a plan to give everybody free money

#27  Postby laklak » Dec 08, 2015 3:07 am

Hell Oliver, you barely scratch the surface of cynical, though you're certainly correct - those who can will rejigger their finances to get the check. But here's a more cynical take - the poor this is supposed to help will blow the vast majority of the extra dosh on booze, fags, and scratch-off lotto tickets. The landowners, knowing there's extra money floating about, will raise their rents and the publicans will charge more for a pint. The bankers, shysters, tricksters, and lawyers will wheedle what little hasn't already been spent at the corner cafe or pub out of the punters, and within months we'll be exactly where we were before we started the noble social experiment.

The plain fact of the matter is if you took ALL the money and property that exists and spread it around equally to every person, within a generation the wealth would be concentrated in hands of the One Percenters and the rest of us would scramble about in the dust for their table scraps. It has always been thus, and having smart phones and Google won't change that. The majority of the planet are chumps, and will soon be separated from their new found wealth.
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Re: Finland is considering a plan to give everybody free money

#28  Postby THWOTH » Dec 08, 2015 3:25 am

There may be an inflationary cost to pay, but the Fins can only really do this while their GDP outstrips their public spending, or else they'll just be borrowing money from their children and grandchildren unto the seventh generation - and beyond.
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Re: Finland is considering a plan to give everybody free money

#29  Postby Matt_B » Dec 08, 2015 5:45 am

Beatsong wrote:
Matt_B wrote:How about just making sure that everyone in work is paid a living wage?


Great idea, but how is that going to help people not in work?


I'm not suggesting that we get rid of benefits entirely, just that the vast majority of in-work benefits wouldn't be required if people were paid enough to live on.
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Re: Finland is considering a plan to give everybody free money

#30  Postby Thommo » Dec 08, 2015 7:12 am

Beatsong wrote:Personally I wouldn't have a problem with the idea of paying a basic income to the poorest 10% or 20% of the population, that IS enough to eat and pay rent (or combined with building enough social housing to house them), with some kind of tapering mechanism to make sure it's still advantageous to work. I don't believe in the whole thing about having to starve people to give them an incentive to work, there aren't enough full time jobs to go around and developments in technology mean that's only going to become moreso. I think it's time to challenge the idea that it's so terribly important everyone works economically all the time, rejoice in how much wealthier we've become as a society and just accept using some part of that wealth to keep people from destitution regardless. Confined to those who need it, that could actually be achievable.


I agree with a lot of what you said, almost all of it in fact - a good post! The problems we have all exist at the lower income end of the scale, particularly at the spectrum of income where people are having to make cost-benefit decisions of whether they can afford to work because of the benefits they lose. That is absolutely bananas and solving it is one of the attractive features of Finland's proposal. The criticism tends to be that rather than focusing on that few percent of the population basic income applies across the board, and so creates problems with areas of the system that currently work fine.

Fundamentally all people's level of need and the amount of support they require (at times in their life) can be drastically different. The sick, the disabled, the abused, people who've been deprived of education all NEED to have higher levels of support. 800 Euros a month is never going to allow those people to get by, although in some cases more now and (possibly) less later might.

To not have targeted and conditional benefits seems grossly inhumane to me. Similarly you're going to have "cost of living" issues in all sorts of other areas. Currently housing benefits (at least in the UK) reflect the actual cost of living in the area you live. A flat rate creates a problem there. Maybe you can live in Aberdeen on £130 a week, but London? Fat chance.

Of course if you start making all these changes the system costs more and more and becomes harder and harder to fund and becomes less and less simple - and more like what we have now. Perhaps testing will show that it can be funded and can have positive consequences, if Finland goes ahead we might well find out.

The one point you make that I disagree with however is that there aren't enough jobs to go around and that technology is making this more the case. History has shown the exact reverse, For example, in 1841 22% of people worked in agriculture and fishing (and that itself was a huge decline from earlier history) today less than 1% do. The destruction of the vast proportion of jobs in a necessary area of economic activity simply pushed labour into other areas of economic activity. Countries throughout Europe (and the west in general) have constant large influxes of migrants specifically to fill jobs that otherwise would be empty.

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THWOTH wrote:There may be an inflationary cost to pay, but the Fins can only really do this while their GDP outstrips their public spending, or else they'll just be borrowing money from their children and grandchildren unto the seventh generation - and beyond.


Do you mean GDP here, or do you mean tax revenue? Government spending is one of the figures that is added together to derive GDP, GDP is (barring pathological malfunction) necessarily at least as large, and in all real cases exceeds government spending by a long way (even in a communist country like Cuba).
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Re: Finland is considering a plan to give everybody free money

#31  Postby THWOTH » Dec 09, 2015 2:51 pm

Thommo wrote:
THWOTH wrote:There may be an inflationary cost to pay, but the Fins can only really do this while their GDP outstrips their public spending, or else they'll just be borrowing money from their children and grandchildren unto the seventh generation - and beyond.

Do you mean GDP here, or do you mean tax revenue? Government spending is one of the figures that is added together to derive GDP, GDP is (barring pathological malfunction) necessarily at least as large, and in all real cases exceeds government spending by a long way (even in a communist country like Cuba).

Yes, tax revenue, my bad.

Going by the discussion here I can almost hear the pre-echo of the right-minded ramping up to decry the immorality of 'the unearned wage' (except for trust funds and stock portfolios of course).
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Re: Finland is considering a plan to give everybody free money

#32  Postby GrahamH » Dec 09, 2015 4:03 pm

THWOTH wrote:
Thommo wrote:
THWOTH wrote:There may be an inflationary cost to pay, but the Fins can only really do this while their GDP outstrips their public spending, or else they'll just be borrowing money from their children and grandchildren unto the seventh generation - and beyond.

Do you mean GDP here, or do you mean tax revenue? Government spending is one of the figures that is added together to derive GDP, GDP is (barring pathological malfunction) necessarily at least as large, and in all real cases exceeds government spending by a long way (even in a communist country like Cuba).

Yes, tax revenue, my bad.

Going by the discussion here I can almost hear the pre-echo of the right-minded ramping up to decry the immorality of 'the unearned wage' (except for trust funds and stock portfolios of course).


It depends what affect such spending has on the economy. If it stimulates growth tax revenues could potentially increase. If you borrow money to build industry you might make money overall and be gifting your grandchildren a legacy rather than borrowing from them.

I'm not saying I think it would go one way or the other, just pointing out that borrowing and spending above your income isn't necessarily the road to financial ruin.
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Re: Finland is considering a plan to give everybody free money

#33  Postby ScholasticSpastic » Dec 09, 2015 5:36 pm

laklak wrote: - the poor this is supposed to help will blow the vast majority of the extra dosh on booze, fags, and scratch-off lotto tickets.

This bit only makes sense if one assumes that people are poor because they are somehow deficient. The only deficiency that the poor have in common is a deficiency of money. Take it from someone that has spent the entire first twenty years of his independent life poor: I wasn't that way because I couldn't budget, or because I wouldn't work, or even because I was too proud to ask for help. I was that way because I had NOTHING TO BUDGET, and I couldn't get a decent job, despite my above-average intelligence and pretty fucking awesome work ethic.

Now I've broken into the rock bottom portion of the middle class and the only thing which has changed about me is my luck. So please fuck off with the assumption that people are poor because they've made bad decisions. You can't make a GOOD decision until you've got something to make the good decision with. Hell, working this good job that pays a living wage and offers insurance benefits is actually easier than the very first shitty job I had when I didn't have any work experience. So I'm not even willing to buy the bullshit claim that people make more money because they work harder. It's simply bullshit.

And that entire time I was worried about how I was going to pay the rent, or how I was going to eat, that whole fucking twenty years while my teeth were rotting out and I suffered from severe health problems which could have been taken care of by mediocre medical treatment which was beyond my budget, I was making too much money to get welfare of any kind.
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Re: Finland is considering a plan to give everybody free money

#34  Postby Macdoc » Dec 09, 2015 9:51 pm

laklak wrote:
- the poor this is supposed to help will blow the vast majority of the extra dosh on booze, fags, and scratch-off lotto tickets.


way to eructate Faux news.... :nono:
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Re: Finland is considering a plan to give everybody free money

#35  Postby ScholasticSpastic » Dec 09, 2015 9:59 pm

Macdoc wrote:
laklak wrote:
- the poor this is supposed to help will blow the vast majority of the extra dosh on booze, fags, and scratch-off lotto tickets.


way to eructate Faux news.... :nono:

I'm not picking on laklak- I've no idea whether he was speaking seriously or in jest. But I'll happily pick on the ubiquity of this sort of thinking, and what it indicates about the real status of class mobility in the United States. If there were significant class mobility the way we like to pretend there is, people would be a lot more careful about saying this sort of thing because you wouldn't know whether you were talking to a middle class person from the middle class, or perhaps to a formerly poor person. We talk big-picture about participating in our economy as if it were a meritocracy, but it becomes very, alarmingly clear that we've all accepted that this is not really the case if you pay attention to the nuances of the words we use and/or the assumptions underlying our claims about the poor.

Too many people are comfortable thinking about their own poverty as a temporary inconvenience while thinking about others' poverty as if it were a congenital disease and/or a moral condemnation of their character. Unfortunately, these are all demonstrably false.
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Re: Finland is considering a plan to give everybody free money

#36  Postby Onyx8 » Dec 10, 2015 12:35 am

Iirc all the studies they do on welfare recipients e.g. show that they do less drugs and booze than most people. Which makes sense given they barely have enough to eat.
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Re: Finland is considering a plan to give everybody free money

#37  Postby skepticofskepticism » Jun 22, 2016 6:27 pm

Wow, nobody has actually figured the real reasons why out of all the years past, the Finns specifically chose this particular time to discuss a basic income. They could have easily picked up 2006 or 07 to discuss. But why didn't they?

The entire Western world - with the exception of a few countries - is stuck in massive debt levels that no orthodox policies are able to attack. No matter what the central banks throw, and the government does, people are not spending more, they are not going out to purchase things which they don't need and are devoting higher shares of their incomes to pay down their debt and increase savings.

What you're seeing in Europe is what has been going on in Japan for the last 20 years: debt deflation.

GDP by definition is the net spending in the economy by consumers and government. To increase it, spending has to go up. But consumers after decades of borrowing from the future, have hit that future and now are devoting greater share of their incomes to pay this debt down, which is causing a deflationary pressure. Comsumers cut back on spending to pay their debt, this reduces the spending level in general across the board, which either shrinks the GDP or causes it go sideways and not up or down. Meanwhile more babies are coming into the labor force, which means they will be looking for jobs. But the economy is not growing, which means addition of these people will either lower incomes even more (burdening the income levels from which the people are paying their debt), or unemployment running high (which is what is happening).

The government can either increase its spending to offset the deflationary pressures, but given how this is a panacea, the alternative to start awarding everyone a basic income, which can be used by people to pay their debts down.

That is what is happening. This is nothing about progressivism, or automation or any other oversold, simple concept popular with the people who run to them when they can't understand complicated stuff.

Basic income is nothing about what the media and everyone else is talking about, it is about the disaster that the neoliberal policies have caused across the world.
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Re: Finland is considering a plan to give everybody free money

#38  Postby tuco » Jun 22, 2016 10:28 pm

I do not think so. Just quick check, can you cite your sources or did you figure it out on your own?
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Re: Finland is considering a plan to give everybody free money

#39  Postby ScholasticSpastic » Jun 27, 2016 8:01 pm

skepticofskepticism wrote:
GDP by definition is the net spending in the economy by consumers and government.

Couldn't you even bother to get this part right? I mean, come on, it's really easy to check on this lie. You should at least be discriminating enough while spouting deliberate counterfactual nonsense to avoid the obvious stuff.

I find no definitions of "GDP" which agree with what you say it is by definition.

Gross domestic product (GDP) is the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country's borders in a specific time period.

Read more: Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Definition | Investopedia http://www.investopedia.com/terms/g/gdp ... z4CoHpTNuR
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The value of a country's overall output of goods and services (typically during one fiscal year) at market prices, excluding net income from abroad.

Read more: http://www.businessdictionary.com/defin ... z4CoI2au2J

GDP measures the monetary value of final goods and services—that is, those that are bought by the final user—produced in a country in a given period of time (say a quarter or a year). It counts all of the output generated within the borders of a country. GDP is composed of goods and services produced for sale in the market and also includes some nonmarket production, such as defense or education services provided by the government. An alternative concept, gross national product, or GNP, counts all the output of the residents of a country. So if a German-owned company has a factory in the United States, the output of this factory would be included in U.S. GDP, but in German GNP.

http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fan ... cs/gdp.htm
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