The one clear result of Finland’s basic income trial: It made people happier

  1. The worst part about being poor isn't that you don't have much, it's how easy it is to lose what little you have. 2 months without a job could mean you're fucked

  2. 2 months without employment is equally dangerous at many points along the wealth-earnings spectrum. A recent example is the government shutdown that drove many government workers into financial ruin after just one month of no pay.

  3. But to be fair, that's the behavior of most. The moment they actually get a leg up, they instantly increase their spending instead of reinvesting that new income. If you're not making money while you sleep, then of course you're vulnerable in that way.

  4. *being poor in the US, in many other countries, there are unemployment benefits, welfare etc. to prevent a fall like this.

  5. My low income jobs and outlandish fines for low level traffic offenses, often times wiping out multiple weeks worth of disposable income, lead me to have a very strong dislike of American police, and their system of policing for profit.

  6. I know a girl who was on disability benefits for quite a few years. She was told that she was allowed to earn something like £100 a week on top of that. So when she felt well enough, she'd work, earn a bit of money to top up her benefits and then not work when she didn't feel up to it. One day the benefits office contacted her, said they had "changed their decision" and decided she'd actually been earning too much and made her pay back something like £5000 at the rate of £11 per week. It really stressed her out and made her never bother trying to work again.

  7. All the experiments I've seen have been really terribly designed. They tell the participants from the outset that this is a short duration experiment. Well no shit people don't quit their jobs... that would leave them stranded when it's over.

  8. Also not mentioned often but important is that a universal basic income would be taxed back from most people so it could cost the government less than the current Byzantine welfare and food stamps system. The argument is almost exactly the same as for universal health care.

  9. People need to stop posting so much on the findings of the Finland basic income trial. They just released the first years findings, and not the end result. They need to go through the last year's data (it was a two year study) then write a complete report of their findings for it to be finalised.

  10. But them being happier doesn't require a bunch of data to be analysed, therefore they can release this as one of their preliminary findings.

  11. Finn here. Although this is big and good thing this experiment has its flaws. Some speculate if it is designed to fail in the first place but I'd like them to include more people form different backgrounds. Now everyone was unemployed so data will be quite narrow.

  12. Indeed. Also consider the following: The response rate for the happiness questionnaire was 31% for the study group and 20% for the control group. There was no questionnaire done before the study, only after. Source:

  13. People seriously need to stop referring to Finland's trial as UBI because it's no different from the UK's benefit system.

  14. What do you mean by this, AFAIK the people participating in the trial did get an UBI, that was the point of the trial? Yes, the rest of the people have the more common welfare system you describe. I have no idea what the normal welfare people not part of the trial get has to do with the trial, are you confusing two things here?

  15. Poland has a quasi-UBI. Every family with 2+ children gets money each month per child until the the kid is 18. Current results after 2 years of the system: poverty considerably decreased, but so did the number of women in the workforce - lowest than any point within the last 2 decades. Because who wants to spend most of the day at work, when you could be spending time with your kids?

  16. Political notes out of the way first. I think at some point UBI is going to be a necessity. At some point machines/robots/computers will advanced to the extend that a large portion of the public is effectively going to be out of work. There are solutions, like lower hours spread between multiple employees to keep everyone employed to some extent, but the underlying fact is that a massive paradigm shift is coming, and there need to be at least some way of addressing it.

  17. My niave optimism wants to suggest that many people, not all, but enough would be empowered to discover and explore their talents and callings for the good of all.

  18. Idk if this would work in America. Wouldn't inflation just go up and everything become more expensive because people have this "extra" money to spend? then the poor would be fucked again because everything costs more and their wages + universal income is barely enough to cut it. I don't know shit about economics so this might be wildly incorrect but is there a way to prevent costs from rising if a UBI is introduced in America?

  19. Inflation has gone up regularly, year over year, while wages haven't. So clearly, earnings isn't a driver of increasing inflation, or they'd both have stagnated.

  20. It's already well known that having enough money to keep the bill collectors off your back reduces stress and negative emotion. It's beyond that that money doesn't do you any good emotionally. The thing is, it's relatively simple to make enough money to not be poor enough to keep the bill collectors away, don't make horrible choices. Graduate high school, get a full time job (any job), and don't have kids before marriage, and you have an incredibly slim chance that you'll be poor in life. UBI just gives you incentive to not do any of that. It's more government action that incentivizes terrible behavior and weakens the fabric of society so that people will continuously look to the power elite to take care of them and be completely at their mercy.

  21. The YouTube channel 'Kurgasagtz - In a Nutshell' has a video that goes into detail about UBI .

  22. Happiness follows GNP per capita as an asymptote. Very poor countries are unhappy, middle income ones a lot happier, wealthy ones a bit happier than that. Very rich countries are only marginally more happy than their wealthy followers. The same tends to be true - with greater scatter, of individuals in any oen country. So, give a bunch of low income people free money and they get a bit happier. Well, gosh.

  23. I know that this story it going to get me some hate but I don't really care. I will start by saying Finland is straight up home to the nicest people in the world! There is no comparison in that regard. That said though here was my experience during the years I lived there. I met tons of what I call "career alcoholics" or people who got free money from the government and mostly just drank it away. I spoke with many of them. Most had never had a job or had not worked in the past 30 years. They were just a drain on society and the others even though they had a somewhat good life paid high taxes just to be where they were. The clearest example was a man I knew who had a girlfriend and two kids. He worked 2 full time jobs as a warehouse worker and as a taxi driver. Great guy who I came to know and love. His next door neighbor once had me help get some stuff out of her apartment. She was about 60 years old but looked 80 due to her extreme smoking. I talked some with her and learned that neither her nor her boyfriend had ever worked a full time job. They watched TV alot and sadly that is about all I could learn. She had the same apartment in the same location as this man who was breaking his back and barely able to make end's meet. And this was not the only case.

  24. Haha, grasping at straws, I see. The whole point was productivity, not 'happiness'. You can make people significantly happier by getting them a steady supply of drugs or booze, but that doesn't exactly do wonders for the country. The whole point was to see if, without the extra anxiety, people would actually become more interested in creating and doing stuff. And in that regard, the experiment failed. Trying to sugarcoat this won't help.

  25. I don’t know about you but I’d rather look back on my life knowing that it was happy and not productive, instead of productive and not happy. Its not an economically sound argument by any standard but I’m ok with that.

  26. Gimmie dat free booze and you got yourself a president. For real, why hasn't a president just said those four sweet words. Free Booze For All!

  27. In my book, the main point of anything that has anything to do with humans is to make us happier. What else is there really?

  28. I feel like if everyone got a UBI of $5OO a month then everyones rent would go up by $500 a month. I mean if the UBI goes to everyone then obviously landlords will know you have an extra $500 a month so why wouldnt they do it?

  29. They said it was a failure on other news sites as they didn't get work, which I I wouldnt blame them for.

  30. Finland's total population is 5 million, New York City's is roughly 8 million. These systems seem great on paper, but how would the US give 200 million adults $1,000 a month, every month?

  31. USA spends so much money on the military do cutting that could be a nice start. Not that Finland has too much extra to spend.

  32. Everyone benefits from free money. Everyone. But UBI will bankrupt any nation. It is not a sustainable system. Tests of UBI that show that people benefit from free money are worthless because small scale tests of UBI do not burden the system with unsustainable costs.

  33. It was also absolutely clear that it didn't help people be more productive AT ALL. So it really is just people living by getting resources created through the labor of others - taken by them with the violent force that is the state.

  34. The problem i have with the subject of UBI is that most people look at it and ask "So when do I not have to work anymore?" UBI isnt supposed to encourage or inspire laziness; it's supposed to help prevent things like automation and overpopulation being the death knell of people's work prospects.

  35. Finland is both a member of the European Union and the Eurozone. They are not big enough to be able to flaunt the budget deficit rules of no more than 3% per year and no more than 60% of GDP under the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP).

  36. It would be so nice to have happiness of as many people as possible as the primary goal of what politics and economics are for.

  37. Keep in mind that this experiment is being made on “la creme de la creme”. We are talking about Finnish people, the ones that have one of the highest IQ in Europe (and the world), that are highly educated and disciplined and since they know they’re being part of an experiment they don’t act 100% natural with their personal finance.

  38. That's weird. I read an rt article about the uni that Finland is conducting, stating that while the people receiving the money were less stressed, they actually worked less and if they were unemployed, they would not seek work.

  39. Question for people more knowledgeable than me. For the poorest of the poor, they already get substantial benefits in the way of rent payments, food benefits, free or reduced medical care, etc, so wouldn’t a UBI not measure up to that amount? Unless we can somehow afford a large enough UBI that any income people have outside of UBI can be used solely for discretionary purposes rather than living expenses. So in the end, having a UBI would actually be bad for poor people because they get more now than they would with a UBI?

  40. As I read the comments, most of the people can't imagine how to finance it. But in my opinion it is pretty easy. There would be no other benefits, just this one for every human being. So no unemployment, widowed, job seeker, start up, homelessness, education, childcare... Etc which means the aid is avaliable for everyone the same way and it will make it more difficult to abuse the system with illicit applications. Not to mention less bureaucracy.

  41. They trialled this with the unemployed and it didn’t significantly help with solving the problem of them being unemployed.

  42. So much suffering would be relieved and at what cost? The super rich are a little less rich? A clear move for a truly beloved society.

  43. We should at least follow Singapore's lead, to at least help the very poorest of society. Their intangible benefits are deft worth more than a few hundred dollars per month

  44. I am on public assistance ('welfare') in Canada, second level, something called 'person with multiple barriers to employment'. I won't bore strangers with why, but it's not uncommon for persons too young to get gov't pension but being over 60 and having multiple minor health problems that makes employability a challenge. There are multiple complicating factors, but never mind the details.

  45. Like people pay enough taxes to worry about whose expense. Every government is in debt. No one noticed it ? Even Saudi’s running deficits

  46. Again, on paper, sure, lets just get the rich to pay for it sounds great, but how do you get congress to turn that into a law without republicans ripping it apart? Half the country doesnt vote, and the republicans are masters are scaring the people that do. Most of the countrys voters would see this and think "socialists want to create new taxes to help the lazy". I dont agree with that statement, but its perfect fodder for hardcore republicans and their corporate masters

  47. If this is the end result that's a massive setback for UBI. "We're going to use this much money only to make people happier? No way!"

  48. Giving people money makes them happy? That's millions well spent to determine such a radical result. And if that's they one clear answer from the study, then the next step is definitely not implementation.

  49. Happy people?!?! We can't have that now, can we? Our whole society would implode. We'd lose all motivation for buying status symbols and stepping on eachother!

  50. The one obvious truth of people pushing socialism: They are lying about something; with the intent to fool a people into effective suicide.

  51. UBI is not socialism. You may consider it a step towards socialism if you want, but it doesn't have to be. There are hardcore conservatives that support UBI, because it offers a more security for everyone.

  52. Billionaire: but...but....how do we push product down peoples throat if theyre.......happy? 😭😭

  53. I dont like basic income for the simple fact that people will just use it like welfare. I know i know it sounds bad, but if you are doing something like this people need to at least try and better them selves.

  54. In Scandinavia we have a basic income on the form of reasonably solid unemployment benefits (so NOT a UBI, and just to make sure everyone gets this: Scandinavia is still not socialist).

  55. I think the biggest reason for this is when you are poor it doesn’t even thanks a month or two of being out a job to lose everything you had. If you don’t have the money save you likely can’t pay rent becauSe you don’t have a job now you don’t have a place to live. You don’t have money to take a bus to go job searching your stress of searching for a job has now turned from that to what can I eat or where can I sleep. Some people might abuse it, but it would save so many people from ending up in very hopeless places.

  56. I don't think a lot of the biggest countries give a fuck how happy their citizens are, so until it blesses them with ~so much more money~ it won't translate to us.

  57. Only way to make it work: cancel all other benefits (disability, healthcare, food stamps, whatever) and give the money to everyone instead. I don't think it'll be enough to allow for job-free comfortable living tho...

  58. You deposit $1000 in a bank. The bank can now loan out $900. You can still withdraw your $1000. This is how banks create money. Instead of the $900 plus interest that comes back to the bank from the loan, it should go to basic income. If we want to make basic income work, we must start at the root of money creation.

  59. So your solution to funding UBI is to slowly deplete bank deposits until they’re insolvent and the entire financial system collapses?

  60. ...That you can withdraw your money and the bank can loan your money does not mean that both can happen at the same time for all their customers.

  61. There is more than enough wealth in the world to have every man woman child dog and cat living in the lap of luxury for the entirety of their existence. But we still have poverty. The people who own the wealth now, control the automation. At what point are they supposed to suddenly turn into benevolent overlords who treat all of us like beloved pets once we are no longer able to contribute anything to the economy?

  62. i hate how they are saying the trial failed to create employment. the way ubi creates employment is by giving the whole population more disposable income. that cannot happen when only 2000 people get a basic income.

  63. UBI is the solution. Andrew Yang 2020. He calls it’s the freedom dividend. He understands jobs are being taken by automation. He understands taking away people’s existential survival threat by providing a UBI is good for everyone as a whole.

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