Finland’s national basic income

All Finnish citizens could receive a monthly €800 ($1190) stipend under new proposals.

Finland’s national basic income

The government of Finland are considering the implementation of a tax-free national basic income that would be paid to every citizen, replacing all other benefit programs. The proposal is being drawn up by the Finnish Social Insurance Institution (Kela) and it would see all adults paid a monthly sum of €800 ($1190) regardless of whether or not they receive any other income.

With unemployment at record levels in Finland, the basic income is expected to provide a boost to the economy and encourage many citizens to re-enter the work force. Under the present system, most unemployed people would be worse off taking a low-paid temporary job due to the loss of welfare payments.

The national basic income has the backing of the Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipilä who when asked about the scheme, said, "For me, a basic income means simplifying the social security system.”

The Finnish aren’t the only country considering introducing a national basic income either, with Switzerland expected to hold a nationwide referendum on the issue in 2016.

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What do you think about this proposal? Would this work in Australia? If you’re currently a welfare recipient would you be happy to move to a universal monthly stipend?


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    Happy cyclist
    8th Dec 2015
    This sort of scheme has been talked about for some years. Personally I think its excellent and would save millions in the long run and raise everybody's standard of living. People will immediately say "why should rich people get the money" but they miss the point that those rich people will more than repay the money if FAIR income tax is part of the deal. I think its a brilliant idea. Would do away with all the various welfare payments and the huge cost of administering them, and everyone would have a reasonable income. Being as we always have a certain number of people unemployed it would allow those people who don't want to work not to work and for the rest of us, our income from work will be extra. Of course the thousands currently employed in the welfare industry would need to be helped to find alternative employment but they would still be getting a fair payment while looking for work. I will be watching Finland with great interest. There is lots of information about this sort of scheme on the internet - your article barely touches on all the benefits including the huge boost to self-esteem and the consequent probable lessening of mental health issues in the community.
    8th Dec 2015
    Could work but it may be the start of the finish for the Finnish.
    8th Dec 2015
    What a great idea! I can see that system solving many problems with the economy and illegals etc. It would also free up the social security bottleneck and dramatically reduce running costs. No more 57million unanswered calls. But can we afford to give everyone $1200 per month? That would cost around $331b which is more than double the current bill of $154.
    8th Dec 2015
    IMHO I don't think Finland is doing all that well and needs to try some left of field ideas.
    Population is 5.4m with a labour force of around 2,382,000 of which a massive 670,000 are Public Servants, compared to Australia's 1.9m.
    Taxes are much higher compared to Australia with VAT already at 24% . Income taxes are also high.
    Government debt is at 57% of GDP. Productivity is low for a globalised economy which is highly industrialised and high tech. . With a government state budget of $136b they simply cannot afford to give each person $1200 per month. Unless they are planning on giving the money to the 10.5% unemployed??
    I don't know what they do to keep warm in the arctic but if they are getting $1200 a month to stay in doors that could mean less industry and more entries in the wife carrying races?
    8th Dec 2015
    bring it on ,my pension will double
    8th Dec 2015
    What normally happens is this system will come in, then after a few changes of government it will be tweaked and means testing will come in. You know the common cry. "Why should people who are working also get $1200 a month when they shouldn't get anything and the unemployed and single mothers etc should be getting $2400 a month".
    Bit like Australia's original social Security levy that was rolled into the PAYG scheme and the funds already held eventually rolled into consolidated tax revenue. Now Pensions are no longer an entitlement even though you have contributed to them your entire working life. Now it's a Social Security handout that the Government begrudges paying out to anyone. But I'm sure Finnish Governments are different;-)
    8th Dec 2015
    Hi Mangomick,
    I wish that the younger generation was aware of this rip-off by the government. They had borrowed/used our monies and then claimed they couldn't pay it back.
    (Following, your comment copied and pasted").
    "A bit like Australia's original social Security levy that was rolled into the PAYG scheme and the funds already held eventually rolled into consolidated tax revenue. Now Pensions are no longer an entitlement even though you have contributed to them your entire working life. Now it's a Social Security handout that the Government begrudges paying out to anyone. But I'm sure"
    8th Dec 2015
    Would this be on top of the full age pension I already receive? If not, it would be a drop in my income.
    8th Dec 2015
    This is what needs to happen as unemployment is only going to get worse as technology eliminates the need for jobs and work. Good on Finland of showing the way!
    8th Dec 2015
    Sounds an excellent idea - well said Happy Cyclist
    8th Dec 2015
    There are so many things that would go horribly wrong depending on who was bringing it in. I would have to see a lot more research and analysis about it before I could ever endorse it. Public policy changes on this scale are actually very scary. Could you imagine this scheme being introduced by Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott? "Here's your $1200 per month, and you will now be charged $12,000 a month for you lifesaving medication". Indeed, is there anyone you could trust to implement this?
    8th Dec 2015
    If "they" did it here, does that mean the end of Centrelink and if so that'd pay for a bit for everyone 'cos C'link are just a drain on EVERYONE including some of the poor souls that I have seen "working" there.

    I told one young sheila there that "C'link must have the best educated employees (all smiles) and then I said that all employees must have Phds in the right hand not letting the left hand know what it was doing. She suddenly turned all sour.

    I just can't figure them out.
    8th Dec 2015
    Makes a lot of sense. Everyone gets enough to live on, and the productive/skilled can work and earn more. Much better than lying about employment statistics (someone who works 1 hour per week is not employed!) and pretending all can contribute to the knowledge society. Plus older workers are more likely to give up their jobs and retire, creating opportunities for younger people.

    The money will circulate in the economy creating a multiplier effect. It is not as economically insane as it may first appear.
    8th Dec 2015
    HALLELUJAH! At last. I have personally been advocating for just such an initiative for almost 20 years. It's the only way we can ever hope to contain our ever increasing welfare budget and clean up the convoluted welfare "industry" we now have. Brilliant.
    8th Dec 2015
    Dream on, you know what would happen, with the lying scum we have running the country.
    8th Dec 2015
    YEP !!
    8th Dec 2015
    Yeah I can suffer a 530 Bucks a Month pay cut if it'll make them happy !! :-(

    9th Dec 2015
    ''And just in case you are tempted to dismiss the idea as socialist nonsense, this is what Friedrich Hayek, intellectual godfather to the Thatcher revolution, had to say about it in Law, Legislation and Liberty.

    “The assurance of a certain minimum income for everyone, or a sort of floor below which nobody need fall even when he is unable to provide for himself, appears not only to be wholly legitimate protection against a risk common to all, but a necessary part of the Great Society in which the individual no longer has specific claims on the members of the particular small group into which he was born”.

    Amen to that.

    The Greens claim they have actually been pushing for a variation of this scheme, and they justify supporting the taper rate changes by saying they are pushing for a further change that will ensure every retiree receives a set minimum income, regardless of assets. Good luck with that!

    There is no way this Government is ever going to concede that battlers are entitled to anything more than a few crumbs under the table, handed out grudgingly and with a public complaint about these ''leaners'' being a burden.

    Technology is taking jobs. But those whose jobs it takes are stamped with the label ''bludgers'', told to try harder, and threatened with having their welfare benefit cut off. The disabled are branded ''fakers'' and told they are a ''burden on society''. And senior citizens... well, I don't have to say it, do I? But those who took the Government's advice and tried hard to save for old age, (those who were ''lifters'') but couldn't achieve self-sufficiency, are now being completely done over - left with minimal incomes and forced to drain all their hard-earned savings to live, until they are as poor as those who already qualify for ''welfare''.

    Meanwhile, the cost of administering the complex social security system is hideous and I suspect if we could put a cost on the stress the various rules, tests and admin systems put on both Centrelink employees and their clients, it would run into the billions.

    I've been saying for a long time that our system is broken and we need to start thinking creatively if our society to survive the technology revolution. Don't think creative thinking is a strong point with the LNP though. The only creative thinking they can do is to dream up more ways to bleed the poor to make the wealthy even richer. And as for Shorten... well, I'm not sure he can think at all!
    9th Dec 2015
    I am ! He Cant ! :-)
    9th Dec 2015
    What's that parti? I don't know what you're talking about, but I agree with what you just said. That's right, I agree with "I am He cant." :7)
    9th Dec 2015
    You knew darn well Frank ! :-) The last sentence ! :-)
    He can take a Slow Boat to ! With His own Money !! :-(
    9th Dec 2015
    I agree with what you're going to say next. he he he he
    I think this is how it went. David Speers wasn't the only one taking a deep breath. It was 3.5 years ago.

    Speers: "Do you think Peter Slipper should return to the Speaker's chair while the civil claims are still being played out?"
    Shorten: "I understand the Prime Minister's addressed this in a press conference in Turkey in the last few hours. I haven't seen what she said, but let me say I support what it is that she's said."
    Speers: (Short pause to facilitate oxygen intake.) "Hang on, you haven't seen what she said . . ."
    Shorten: "But I support what my Prime Minister's said."
    Speers: "Well, what's your view?"
    Shorten: "My view is what the Prime Minister's view is."
    Speers: "Surely you must have your own view on this, Bill Shorten?"
    Shorten: "No, when you ask if I've got my view on this, that's such a general question it invites me to go to lots of places."
    Speers: "Well, the specific question is whether Peter Slipper should return as Speaker of your parliament while he's facing civil claims of sexual harassment."
    Shorten: "Sexual harassment is an incredibly serious matter. Ah, there should be no tolerance of sexual harassment, that's my view. On the other hand, these matters are yet to be established, and I support what our Prime Minister has said."
    Speers: "But you don't know what that is."
    Shorten: "I'm sure she's right."