Still, the world’s largest national basic income experiment represents a big leap towards experimental governance, a transformation that has been given strong emphasis in the current government program of the Finnish state. Additionally, the Finnish trial sets the agenda for the future of universal basic income at large. Its results will be closely followed by governments worldwide.
The basic income experiment may thus well lead to the greatest societal transformation of our time.There are few important things one should understand when following the headlines on the Finnish basic income experiment:
- Basic income is the most comprehensive political reform of our century so far.
- The Finnish basic income experiment is officially referred to as an incremental reform of the welfare model, not as an indicator of a complete paradigm shift.
Looming explosion of robotics and automatisation is estimated to take over various jobs in short period of time, resulting in major changes in the structure of work.At present, citizens in Finland are entitled to a minimum level of social security support that is the same as the amount of its suggested basic income (560€ a month). In official statements, the basic income experiment is said to aim to reduce bureaucracy, to unravel disincentives and to decrease poverty in society. Government documents do not mention changes in the structure of work and income, nor do they offer comments on looming technology-induced unemployment. Hence, basic income is seen as an additional element to the Finnish universal social security system. Elsewhere, basic income has been envisioned as a solution for rising inequality, exacerbated by the explosion of robotics and the automatisation of routine work. Top politicians in Finland, however, have not explicitly made these connections.
- The basic income trial is a part of a larger shift in policy-making.
Fruits of experimental culture: due to an innovative interpretation of traffic law, the book of law doesn’t oblige the driver to be inside the vehicle. Thus, Finland can test driverless vehicles in real urban environment.This new form of policy-making has come to be known as “co-design” or “co-creation” of policy. In short, the term refers to the engaging of relevant stakeholders and citizens in the policy-making process from its early phases onwards. As further described in this article, which looks at the policy-making model that was created by Nordic think tank Demos Helsinki, more human-centered and experimental governmental steering can encourage trust and make policy more user-oriented, targeted and efficient.
The basic income trial will pave the way for about 20 other large-scale experiments in Finland that have been launched or will be launched by the country’s ministries in the coming months. With the preparation work for the basic income trial, the Finns have spotted a handful of legislative problems that will need to be tackled in order to foster further experimentation. Experimental culture in general has encouraged civil servants to take a permissive attitude to legislation and thus enabled further innovative experimentation (well demonstrated by this case, where traffic law was reinterpreted so that it allowed Finland to become the first country in the world to test driverless vehicles in real urban environments). Lastly, preparing the large experiment has already forced the country to open up the discussion on and solve important issues in relation to the ethics and practices of experimenting. All this lays as a solid groundwork for building a forerunner governance system in the country.
Demos Helsinki has written widely on basic income, and its experts have been consulted for features in The Guardian, Forbes, Business Insider, Futurism, and other media. The Design for Government report completed last year by Demos Helsinki proposed a new, quick-to-implement model for including experiments and behavioural approaches into Finnish policy design. It has been translated into English and is available for free download here.
Full Article http://www.demoshelsinki.fi/en/2016/08/30/thousands-to-receive-basic-income-in-finland-a-trial-that-...