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Thread: Finland abandons "free money" experiment

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    Default Finland abandons "free money" experiment

    Amazon's Jeff Bezos is sometimes in the news advocating "universal basic income" in the US, meaning giving away free money to people and hoping they'll work and be productive anyway. What a lot of people don't know is that other nations have already experimented with this idea, and not surprisingly, it always results in failure.

    Finland was the latest to try. I heard about this when they first started the program and I called it from the start, that it could only fail. Thank God Finland had sense enough to stop the program rather than double down on it as too often occurs with these kinds of insane policies.

    Quote Finland is killing its experiment with basic income
    • Finland's basic-income experiment made headlines around the world when it launched last year, but it will end later this year.
    • The project involves giving 2,000 unemployed Finns roughly $690 every month, no strings attached.
    • While the experiment is still attracting attention internationally, Finnish decision-makers will not extend the project.
    • The Finnish government is now eyeing different social-welfare projects.

    Since the beginning of last year, 2,000 Finns have been getting money from the government each month — and they are not expected to do anything in return. The participants, ages 25 to 58, are all unemployed and were selected at random by Kela, Finland's social-security institution.

    Instead of unemployment benefits, the participants now receive €560 ($690) a month, tax-free. Should they find a job during the two-year trial, they still get to keep the money.

    While the project has been praised internationally for being at the cutting edge of social welfare, back in Finland, decision-makers are pulling the brakes and taking the project in a whole new direction.

    "Right now, the government is making changes that are taking the system further away from a basic income," Miska Simanainen, a Kela researcher, told the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.

    The initial plan was for the experiment to expand in early 2018 to include workers as well as people who are not working, but that did not happen, to the disappointment of researchers at Kela.

    Researchers say that without workers in the project, they're unable to study whether the so-called basic income would allow people to make new career moves or enter training or education.

    "Two years is too short a time frame to be able to draw extensive conclusions from such a vast experiment," Olli Kangas, a professor who's one of the experts behind the basic-income trial, told Finland's public-service broadcaster YLE. "We ought to have been given additional time and more money to achieve reliable results."

    In recent years, an increasing number of tech entrepreneurs have endorsed universal basic income, a system in which people receive a standard amount of money simply for being alive.

    Entrepreneurs who have expressed support for universal basic income include Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, Chris Hughes, a Facebook cofounder, and Ray Kurzweil, Google's futurist and engineering director.

    These tech moguls say that universal basic income in combination with other methods of combating poverty could also help solve the problem of increased automation in the workforce — a problem critics say they have been very much a part of creating.

    At the 2018 TED conference, Kurzweil made a bold prediction about the future of "free" money, saying that universal basic income will have spread worldwide by the 2030s and that we'll be able to "live very well on that."

    But contrary to universal basic income, which advocates say should apply to all citizens regardless of background, Finland's trial is targeting people in long-term unemployment.

    The Finnish government argued that existing unemployment benefits were so high and the system so rigid that a person who was unemployed might choose not to take a job because they would risk losing money — the higher your earnings, the lower your social benefits. The basic-income trial was designed as an incentive for people to start working.

    But last December, the Finnish Parliament passed a bill to take the country's welfare system in quite the opposite direction. The new "activation model" law requires job seekers to work a minimum of 18 hours or enter a training program within three months and stipulates that if they don't manage to find a job, they lose some of their benefits.

    And Petteri Orpo, Finland's finance minister, already has plans for a new project once the basic-income pilot concludes this December.

    "When the basic-income experiment ends this year, we should launch a universal credit trial," Orpo told the Finnish newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet, referring to a system similar to the one in the UK, which collects several different benefits and tax credits into one account.

    Official findings from Finland's basic-income experiment could be published as early as next year.
    http://www.businessinsider.com/finla...eriment-2018-4


    Notice above:
    • Activists didn't get the results they wanted so they're doubling down and saying they want the experiment expanded for a longer period of time.
    • Finland's finance minister now wants to switch from just giving away "free money" to loaning "free money" and expecting it to be paid back later. Brilliant!
    • No one bothers to mention the basic economics principle that no one is going to do any damn work without an incentive, or that productive work is what drives economies, not printing meaningless paper.
    • The technocrats' drive toward a Matrix-like scenario continues.

    Just give everyone "free money" so they can vegetate listlessly on consumer goods produced by robots, and surely they'll be applying for jobs and the economy will be booming in no time. Right?

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    Default Re: Finland abandons "free money" experiment

    Well the reasons to end this test are mostly ideological, not academic. I find it slightly short-sighted not to explore the possibilities fully. Ps. I don't care about this personally as I spend my days working.
    "Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere."
    - Albert Einstein

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    Default Re: Finland abandons "free money" experiment

    You're right. There is no academic debate to be had. Economics is not such a new science that economists don't already understand the correlation between giving people "free money" and lack of incentive to work. It's common sense. If you have a choice between working hard for money, or sitting on your ass for money, most people are going to opt to sit on their ass and stuff their face for free every time. If they were completely honest with themselves, people would admit this is the real reason they want it so bad. Selfishness before common sense.

    Nor is there any confusion as to the relation of printing "free money" and runaway inflation. The value of money decreases when you don't have to do anything for it. And the idea that robots can be used to take the place of all human labor is just begging to be rendered into lazy cattle whose existence becomes at the discretion of the state.

    I think the biggest problem is that many universities don't teach basic economics as part of a standard education anymore.

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    Default Re: Finland abandons "free money" experiment

    Quote Posted by A Voice from the Mountains (here)
    Amazon's Jeff Bezos is sometimes in the news advocating "universal basic income" in the US, meaning giving away free money to people and hoping they'll work and be productive anyway. What a lot of people don't know is that other nations have already experimented with this idea, and not surprisingly, it always results in failure.
    I'm assuming the quoted text are your thoughts, and the bolded is that which I wish to raise a point on.

    In principal there is nothing wrong with the idea, except perhaps the word 'money'. There is no reason for humanity to continue in this debt/slavery model. However, unless the paradigm is turned on its head from the bottom up it will NEVER change.

    Imagine if the educational curriculum was completely rewritten to educate the children with entirely new concepts. Values of sharing and helping, genuine co-operation and assistance to one another. How surplus could be divided equally and shortages planned against.

    I asked the head teacher of my eldest's school once, "How can anything ever change if we keep doing the same thing?

    We are educating our children to fit in to a capitalist/corporate world where they seamlessly mesh, cogs in the machine, at the same time we teach them about recycling and conservation. We build a dichotomy into their foundations that is insurmountable. Everything could change in just two generations if we had the intelligence, wisdom and foresight to desire such change. But it can never happen as long as the current system exists. How can you change it, it is self-preserving as the power of massive wealth controls the script.

    The only thing that ever brings change is catastrophe, and wisdom seldom survives such a cataclysm.

    I can see a world where people freely offer their productivity for the common good, simply because they understand that what it best for them is best for all. No concept of power, control, or superiority. We do have both the intelligence and technlogy now to create such a world, what we lack are the preachers - and should they ever arise they will most likely be assassinated quite quickly.

    "It's a rat trap baby, and we've been caught."
    Last edited by Ewan; 28th April 2018 at 20:21. Reason: Italicise a section; change a word

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    Default Re: Finland abandons "free money" experiment

    Quote Posted by A Voice from the Mountains (here)
    You're right. There is no academic debate to be had. Economics is not such a new science that economists don't already understand the correlation between giving people "free money" and lack of incentive to work.
    What if nobody needs to work a bad job anymore. Ai is here and it will only get bigger and bigger. Universal basic income is the clear solution to this.

    I am a big proponent of universal basic income. The idea that people will just vegetate with free time is not completely true. Some people will focus on self development, creative arts, true education (not forced education), and entrepreneurial endeavors. Basically they will focus on a life's work instead of slaving away for some oligarch. With a universal basic income model research would increase by ten fold, the internet would be enriched, awareness would be enriched. Also there would be a new renaissance of sorts in terms of creative arts. People would focus on their talents or raising their family correctly instead of the wage slavery model.

    The open movement is also something I strongly advocate that goes hand in hand with universal basic income. Universal basic income in combination with the open movement I feel is a basis for utopia. Models for an optimal society. And we have to also think about the long term future. Universal basic income without open movements like open science makes a corporate oligarchy society. So I feel the open movement is an important thing to mention with universal basic income.

    A little bit about the open movement:

    Last edited by Omni; 22nd April 2018 at 00:12.
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    Default Re: Finland abandons "free money" experiment

    I think you just explained how the characters in STAR TREK "earned their living" Omni (folks have been trying to figure that one out since the show was conceived. The "What" was very idealistic & sounded wonderful, but never has explained the "how").

    24th Century Economics - "The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives ... We work to better ourselves, and the rest of humanity..."

    Last edited by KiwiElf; 22nd April 2018 at 03:23.

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    Default Re: Finland abandons "free money" experiment

    Quote Posted by KiwiElf (here)
    I think you just explained how the characters in STAR TREK "earned their living" Omni (folks have been trying to figure that one out since the show was conceived. The "What" was very idealistic & sounded wonderful, but never has explained the "how").

    24th Century Economics - "The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives ... We work to better ourselves, and the rest of humanity..."
    Wow, that is some really amazing feedback. Thanks Kiwi.
    Universal Basic Income:
    Last edited by Omni; 22nd April 2018 at 06:31.
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    Default Re: Finland abandons "free money" experiment

    Quote Posted by A Voice from the Mountains (here)
    You're right. There is no academic debate to be had. ...

    I think the biggest problem is that many universities don't teach basic economics as part of a standard education anymore.
    I totally understand your point. It is very traditional point of view to economics and how things are ran in the world where there was a job for everybody to do. However, times are changing and pretty soon approx. 60% of jobs will be gone. These people will fight for their food if necessary. The masses will always revolt when hungry enough.

    This said, I think it would be smart move to explore the possibilites fully. This experiment is not that expensive to run as unemployed would get about the same about anyway. If it appears that people just sit around their asses as you said, so be it. I mean, then we need to find out strategy to survive in automated world based on evidence and research.

    Personally I would not like to see chaos rising, but I do fear that the next level can only be found after great pain and suffering. In general in seem to be too primitive specie to handle the fruits of a few great smart men can bestow.
    "Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere."
    - Albert Einstein

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    Default Re: Finland abandons "free money" experiment

    A major re-education would be needed.

    Perhaps the experiment is not working because it's still surrounded (trapped?) by the existing/traditional "economic system"/paradigm?

    I could imagine it becoming a bit like Avalon; everyone would naturally gravitate ("work") toward that which they are naturally inclined/gifted to?

    Think "commune".

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    Default Re: Finland abandons "free money" experiment

    Quote Posted by KiwiElf (here)
    Perhaps the experiment is not working because it's still surrounded (trapped?) by the existing/traditional "economic system"/paradigm?

    I could imagine it becoming a bit like Avalon; everyone would naturally gravitate ("work") toward that which they are naturally inclined/gifted to?

    Think "commune".
    People would become entrepreneurs, musicians, artists, activists, be around their family, focus on self development, the collective would research the internet a lot more probably and get into the more occulted truths, crime would go down (poverty is a prime catalyst of crime), small business numbers would rise, there would be more political focus, there would be more focus on what the shadow government does, people would have accomplishments of life work...

    I have been advocating to cybernetic black project science sources to release black projects to the public under open science. I think it is optimal to release the best Ai, hardware, and frequency science along with UBI + Open Movement + Disclosure.

    And once we have a public space program there will be incentive to make great money because people will want interstellar space ships.
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    Default Re: Finland abandons "free money" experiment

    Your thread kinda reminded me of the "perfect Utopia" portrayed in earlier TREK, but also aspects of the movie ELYSIUM (except everyone would have it "good") . Showing my love of ancient sci-fi here, but also a very old - and very good IMO - movie called, "Things to Come" (1936)

    I often wonder, how far we could advance under just such a system?
    Last edited by KiwiElf; 22nd April 2018 at 09:37.

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    Default Re: Finland abandons "free money" experiment

    Quote Posted by Ewan (here)
    In principal there is nothing wrong with the idea, except perhaps the word 'money'. There is no reason for humanity to continue in this debt/slavery model. However, unless the paradigm is turned on its head from the bottom up it will NEVER change.
    Money itself is not equivalent to the idea of debt slavery.

    Money was invented as a means of exchange for exchanging goods and services.

    If someone gives you "free money," what have you offered in return? Nothing, otherwise it wouldn't be "free"; you would have worked for it.

    What you are really seeking to avoid is working, and presumably, the suffering that comes from work. All world religions are about alleviating suffering, and most agree: you can never completely do it.

    If you want "free money," you don't actually want to trade goods or services. You just want "good boy points" from the government, so you can go exchange your "good boy points" for chicken tendies.

    Anyone can print off "good boy points" for people. It doesn't mean they actually have any inherent value. Paying people for nothing automatically devalues currency. If people are ignorant enough to continue these policies long enough they'll learn the hard way, that you can't just "free money" yourself and the rest of society out of misery.

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    Default Re: Finland abandons "free money" experiment

    Quote Posted by KiwiElf (here)
    Perhaps the experiment is not working because it's still surrounded (trapped?) by the existing/traditional "economic system"/paradigm?

    I could imagine it becoming a bit like Avalon; everyone would naturally gravitate ("work") toward that which they are naturally inclined/gifted to?

    Think "commune".
    Yes, as in communism, which is what you are describing, and which has been tried many times and failed just as many.

    We had societies of volunteers attempting exactly what you describe in the United States in the 1800's. Two examples:

    Quote Brook Farm

    Life on Brook Farm was based on balancing labor and leisure while working together for the benefit of the greater community. Each member could choose to do whatever work they found most appealing and all were paid equally, including women.

    [...]

    The community was never financially stable and had difficulty profiting from its agricultural pursuits. By 1844, the Brook Farmers adopted a societal model based on the socialist concepts of Charles Fourier and began publishing The Harbinger as an unofficial journal promoting Fourierism. Following his vision, the community members began building an ambitious structure called the Phalanstery. When the uninsured building was destroyed in a fire, the community was financially devastated and never recovered. It was fully closed by 1847.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brook_Farm


    Quote New Harmony, Indiana

    The Harmonists built a new town in the wilderness, but in 1824 they decided to sell their property and return to Pennsylvania.[8] Robert Owen, a Welsh industrialist and social reformer, purchased the town in 1825 with the intention of creating a new utopian community and renamed it New Harmony. While the Owenite social experiment was an economic failure two years after it began, the community made some important contributions to American society.[9]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Harmony,_Indiana


    Socialism and communism actually aren't new ideas at all. They have been discussed to death. Study 1950's Cold War literature and you will find lots of enlightening information as to why North Korea is a hell hole and South Korea is the richest nation per capita on Earth.

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    Default Re: Finland abandons "free money" experiment

    Quote Posted by A Voice from the Mountains (here)
    Quote Posted by KiwiElf (here)
    Perhaps the experiment is not working because it's still surrounded (trapped?) by the existing/traditional "economic system"/paradigm?

    I could imagine it becoming a bit like Avalon; everyone would naturally gravitate ("work") toward that which they are naturally inclined/gifted to?

    Think "commune".
    Yes, as in communism, which is what you are describing, and which has been tried many times and failed just as many.
    Err no, communism is not what I was getting at... please scroll up to post #5 onward (the word "commune" may not have been appropriate in this context, I don't know if there is a correct word to describe it - I'm pretty sure the concept of STAR TREK's economy wasn't based on communism ) I was thinking more of "community" - like Avalon.

    Some members just lurk and rarely post anything, at the other extreme we have regular prolific posters , but most of us fit somewhere inbetween. All contribute as a whole to a common cause, we don't get paid for doing it.

    Expand on that basic idea of working to better ourselves & others
    Last edited by KiwiElf; 23rd April 2018 at 10:41.

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    Default Re: Finland abandons "free money" experiment

    Quote Posted by KiwiElf (here)
    Err no, communism is not what I was getting at... please scroll up to post #5 onward
    I read what you were talking about. Check the examples I posted. You were talking about communities where people only do whatever work they feel is suited to them, correct?

    So the examples I posted above should be entirely relevant to you, and yes, they are on the socialist/communist end of the spectrum. You may have used the word "commune" without thinking but this is in fact the origin of the term, exactly as you are imagining a utopia of only doing what suits you. The idea is that the rest of the community will pick up the slack from everything you don't feel like doing. It doesn't work so well.

    Quote (the word "commune" may not have been appropriate in this context - I'm pretty sure the concept of STAR TREK's economy wasn't based on communism )
    Don't be so sure. I know lots of fans put Star Trek on a pedestal, but it pushed social boundaries in its time and has only become increasingly SJW in more recent years. Remember who runs the film and TV industries. I'll do some deeper digging into Star Trek's creators later and I'll share with you what I find.

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    Default Re: Finland abandons "free money" experiment

    Oops I added to my post above - "communities" - sorry. Yes, I do get where you're coming from. I'm tending to think more along the lines of where the planet is heading into the future technologically as well.

    Hypothetical: 3-D printers I'm sure will evolve into "replicators" of sorts. Robots may be used to do many - not all - of the dangerous & hard labour jobs. I'm fairly confident Free Energy Technology will surface globally in our near future, eliminating the need for an economy based on oil. Possibly eradicating disease & poverty will come with that. (We all know those technologies already exist) .

    That would drastically change the way we currently - and have done - things in the past.

    Quote You were talking about communities where people only do whatever work they feel is suited to them, correct?
    Ummm not quite... I'm certainly not suggesting loafers get a "free ride". Everyone would need to contribute something, as they are able. It would require a huge educational & philosophical change, too.

    Re STAR TREK - I'm referring more to the original concept, not so much later variations (Gene Roddenberry)

    Certainly, the playing field between uber rich and uber poor needs balancing out.
    Last edited by KiwiElf; 26th April 2018 at 09:33.

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    Default Re: Finland abandons "free money" experiment

    Work is a form of action and responsibility. There is a certain satisfaction to work (or at least there should be) because it usually involves creation of some sort, an active molding of universal forces. If and when we hand that creative responsibility over to robotics and AI, we are doing something more than just trivially delegating annoying chores so that we don't have to do them anymore. We are also signing over our entire relevance and power in the creative process.

    Think about it this way. In an "ideal" world where no one has to work anymore, and everyone is simply fed and provided the fruits of robotic labor, what would make people fundamentally different than how we treat cattle right now? Cattle are fed, get fat and lazy, don't have to do anything, and are protected... until we kill them and eat them. In the wild they may have to struggle for their freedom, but once in captivity, that sounds a lot like the kind of utopia you're talking about, to me anyway. Not to mention the nightmare possibility of AI deciding that humans are useless -- and they would be right at that point.

    I'm also skeptical of the idea of educating people into not being passive and lazy in such a scenario. Education itself is something many people become "addicted" to in a certain way, never wanting to leave school, because they often face no real responsibilities there either. Many people go straight from being a student to being a professor with no real world experience, simply because they love the laid back atmosphere of not having to do any real work or having to face a scary world.

    There are many things you can't teach people through any means other than experience, and often the kind of adverse experience that "puts hair on your chest" as they say. To take struggle out of the human experience is gutting perhaps the most significant part of the human experience, and I'm not convinced that this is a great idea. Life is bound to go way out of balance by trying to eliminate any meaningful form of adversity by delegating it all to AI and robots.



    Btw, on Star Trek, didn't take me long to find this article:

    Quote Gene Roddenberry: The Original Social Justice Warrior
    [...]
    In addition to a diverse cast, there are several notable episodes that show Star Trek’s progressivism. The Vulcan concept of “infinite diversity in infinite combinations (IDIC)” was introduced in “Is There No Truth in Beauty?” In the following exchange between Spock and Dr. Miranda Jones we get a good explanation of it.

    “The glory of creation is in its infinite diversity.”
“And the ways our differences combine to create meaning and beauty.”
    http://www.treknews.net/2015/11/18/g...-original-sjw/

    The article is defending Roddenberry's progressivism for his time and shies away from mentioning specific political ideologies, but reading between the lines, it's all there, including an apparent friendliness to the Russia of his era (Communist USSR) and anti-Vietnam messaging. It's easy to say the Vietnam War was a mistake today, and I believe it was meant to be unwinnable, and meant to demoralize the US and our military (lots of indications of that in history), but the larger context for all of this within the Cold War was to diminish the prestige of the US system in the world and elevate the platform of communism.

    The Democrats of that era were also vocally in favor of appeasing the Soviet Union and criticized any hard line taken against the communist regime. Now that the USSR has collapsed and Russia has moved towards a more open society, we see that the rhetoric from Democrats has reversed, and the formerly-sympathetic attitude toward the USSR has turned into open hostility and pure propaganda directed at Putin's Russia. So even from what little I found in a quick search, the signs are all there, and if I spent some time digging further into this guy, and not just reading between the lines of an article which was meant to be favorable to him, I'm confident I could find some real gems.
    Last edited by A Voice from the Mountains; 23rd April 2018 at 10:04.

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    Default Re: Finland abandons "free money" experiment

    So, what's the solution(s)?

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    Default Re: Finland abandons "free money" experiment

    Quote Posted by KiwiElf (here)
    So, what's the solution(s)?
    Where did I ever say I had one?

    All I can tell you is what hasn't worked in the past, and that all major religious and philosophical paradigms in the world agree that some form of suffering will always be part of the human condition, until we cease to exist.

    Jordan Peterson does great lectures on setting goals, facing adversity, and triumphing over challenges. Without this kind of stuff in our lives, what would we be living for? Something like pure hedonism it seems.

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    Default Re: Finland abandons "free money" experiment

    LOL I'll change it to an open question - I don't have the answers either . But I'm not suggesting no-one works, or AI or robots-for-everything being allowed to take over & eventually wiping us out, or even become "substitute slaves". (Come to think of it, there weren't too many robots in TREK; a few "interesting androids", though ). People still controlled the machines & the computers.

    The way I see it, what we have now and in the past isn't working too well for the majority. There's got to be a better way(s). Comes back to that ST quote, I think:

    "The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives ... We work to better ourselves, and the rest of humanity..."


    There has to be a middle ground.

    Apologies Omni, this discussion has probably gone way off topic from what you envisioned
    Last edited by KiwiElf; 23rd April 2018 at 11:18.

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