Finland has decided to experiment with the idea of offering its citizens a universal basic income that they would keep, whether they work or not.
The Daily Wire reported:
In a report replete with revealing admissions, the New York Times explains the rationale behind Finland’s new two-year experiment with the so-called “universal basic income,” a welfare benefit the government will hand out to about 2,000 randomly selected unemployed people, spanning all classes, “from white collar coders to blue collar construction,” to see what they do with their “free” taxpayer money. Unlike previous welfare benefits, this one will not require that the recipient remain unemployed. Instead, they will continue to receive the check for two years, regardless of how much their financial situation improves.
As Finland’s generous welfare system is structured now, unemployed individuals who receive government benefits are dis-incentivized from working, since as soon as they do they risk losing that guaranteed money.
The NYT reported:
While entrepreneurs are eager to put these people to work, the rules of Finland’s generous social safety net effectively discourage this. Jobless people generally cannot earn additional income while collecting unemployment benefits or they risk losing that assistance. For laid-off workers from Nokia, simply collecting a guaranteed unemployment check often presents a better financial proposition than taking a leap with a start-up in Finland, where a shaky technology industry is trying to find its footing again.
Globalization and automation were put forward as the impetus for the program, set to supposedly protect vulnerable populations. However, as the NYT continued it became abundantly clear what the program’s real motives were, and the political class as the group needing protection from a wave of populism:
The search has gained an extraordinary sense of urgency as a wave of reactionary populism sweeps the globe, casting the elite establishment as the main beneficiary of economic forces that have hurt the working masses. Americans’ election of Donald J. Trump, who has vowed to radically constrain trade, and the stunning vote in Britain to abandon the European Union, have resounded as emergency sirens for global leaders. They must either update capitalism to share the spoils more equitably, or risk watching angry mobs dismantle the institutions that have underpinned economic policy since the end of World War II.
Well, they’ve got the “bread” part covered; now they just need to figure out what the “circus” for the masses is going to be. It’s interesting to see that in the same article, just sentences apart, the argument for protecting the masses is followed by the real reason behind this unsustainable welfare system.
While there is something to be said for work-for-welfare programs — something that the left gets their knickers in a twist over — this is a different beast.
The NYT wrote: “They must either update capitalism to share the spoils more equitably, or risk watching angry mobs dismantle the institutions that have underpinned economic policy since the end of World War II.”
Or perhaps get the government out of the way and let the free market work? It’s one thing to have reasonable regulations and protections to counterbalance some of the negatives of capitalism, but where we’ve gone is far from reasonable.
This is a pretty transparent argument for government control and the obliteration of capitalism. The government has stuck their hands in where they don’t belong, causing the problems, and then it goes on to blame capitalism for the mess they created.
That’s not to say that capitalism is without its problems, but it’s the best system humans have thus far devised, and history bears out the fact that big government is absolutely not the answer to the few negatives that come from fallible human beings in a capitalist system.