Is universal basic income working? We went to Finland to find out | CNBC Reports
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Is universal basic income working? We went to Finland to find out | CNBC Reports


I’m in Finland. It’s one
year after the launch of a first-of-its kind experiment
here in the country. We’re talking about
universal basic income. Here’s how it works. Researchers randomly selected
2,000 unemployed people between the ages of 25 and
58 from around Finland. Each month those 2,000
people receive €560, which is about
670 bucks, tax-free. What they do with the money
is entirely up to them. The purpose of the experiment is to address
unemployment here in Finland. The government hopes that it will
encourage unemployed people to take jobs instead of being afraid of
losing their unemployment benefits. So one year into the
experiment, is it working? We went to Finland
to find out. It wasn’t easy finding someone who is
actually receiving the free money. Researchers are keeping
the names of the recipients private to try to keep
the results consistent. But we did manage to find
Mika Ruusunen on Facebook, and he agreed to meet us
at his office in Tampere, about two hours
north of Helsinki. So, we are going meet
Mika now at his office. He’s here, he’s agreed to meet
us during his lunch break. The fact that we’re meeting him at his
office is actually a promising sign. It means that he has a job, so
we’ll see what he has to say. Hi, Mika? Hi! Nice to meet you. Nice to meet you, too. Thanks so much for
having us here today. Okay, great, excellent! Let’s get started! Mika was doing an internship at an IT
company, where he now works full-time, when he found out he was selected
for Finland’s basic income trial. When you first found out that you
were going to be part of the trial, did you tell people or did
you want to keep it a secret? When I first received the letter I opened
it and I didn’t understand it at all. And so I gave it to my wife and
asked her, “What the heck is this?” Mika had been unemployed
for 16 months before he decided to go back to school
to switch career paths into IT. Do you find there’s less
bureaucracy than there was when you were receiving benefits
for being unemployed? Yeah definitely, that’s the best
part of the basic income. That it would mean
much less bureaucracy. People who are using the system
are already using the system. The basic income encourages
people to do work. Mika said the €560 a month
wouldn’t be enough to live on. But it’s given him flexibility for
things like a family vacation or the possibility of
starting his own business. He’s proud to be part of
the experiment in Finland, but he’s not sold on the
idea that you should continue receiving free cash
even when you’re well-off. There’s no getting out. If I won a million bucks at the lottery
they would still give it to me. It’s a pretty
weird idea. It’s strange. Our next step was to find out
what the researchers think about the universal basic
income experiment so far. Kela is the arm of the Finnish government
that’s implementing the trial. So we’re at the office
here at Kela in Helsinki. We’re about to meet with one
of the main researchers now. Researcher Miska Simanainen
said he won’t actually hear from any of the participants until
the trial concludes at the end of 2018. But the experiment
has already revealed one of the biggest issues
with universal basic income, funding. We had to make many
practical compromises during the design
process of the experiment. Researchers only had enough funding
to hand out cash to 2,000 people. And they chose to limit their sample to
participants who were unemployed. Do you envision a world where
eventually there could be everyone in Finland has
universal basic income? There is a strong consensus
between political parties that the current social security
system should be reformed. But we found there is disagreement
about how to reform the system. Is the idea that universal basic
income is actually going to take the place of some of the
other benefits here in Finland? That’s the way that
the discussion is that if we’re going to give you
universal basic income, then we’re going to
cut from other sectors. This is Antti Jauhiainen, he’s the author
of a book about welfare in Finland. He sees universal basic
income not as a way to replace the current welfare
system, but as an added benefit. Our path shouldn’t be
to create low-wage jobs but to really improve education
and to improve people’s skills. And I think giving the kind
of freedom that through universal basic income would
provide, might help with that. It looks like the trial is
off to a good start here. But it still seems like
it’s a long way away from universal basic income being
universal here in Finland. Hey guys it’s Elizabeth,
thanks so much for watching. If you want to check out more of our stories, we
have an Explains about universal basic income and other CNBC Explains up
on our YouTube page. While you’re at it give us some suggestions,
we’re looking for other ideas. And subscribe to our channel. See you later!

100 Comments

  • Charles Smart

    He can start a business on 670 dollars a month? Lies this is propaganda. Welfare only works because you have to qualify for it… If everyone gets $1000 per month prices will adjust accordingly.

  • Mistaarnold

    What good is the data if people know it’s an experiment and it will be cut off? We need to know the behavior of humans if they know they will receive this money for the rest of their lives.

  • bite me

    hahahaha… so they give the "basic income" then they turn around and cut the used to be "welfare program", and maybe more. Maybe it's a trade off and not so bad after all…. NOT!

  • protochris

    There's no way you can blindly see if this works if it's based on a 2 year goal with an expectation built in. In the USA, there would be plenty of kids hanging out at their parents while getting girls pregnant by day.

  • Ray Milligan

    sure Finland doesn't have Military , we have been throw money at the Black Community for years, in the form of Welfare, section 8 , food stamps , free college , wik , and on, and on an on and hows that been working for you America ?

  • MrWildbill47

    The experiment is done and failed miserably, they have discontinued it and basically even the strongest supporters admit it failed, very few found work, so much so that it was counter to the general population, even many that found work quit after a short time because they could do just fine on the handout.

  • james moylan

    To Bill Turner and his claim "Socialism its a failure.:"
    As you can see from my reply.
    $655 a DAY per person on the planet is gambled "illegally" on currencies .
    So when some after a south east Asian country south American African European country says that "Socialism its a failed experiment. "
    I reply."no mass speculation is a failed experiment as the wall street crash has proven! And the brokers of wall street were not socialist "
    And these attacks on countries are illegal.
    Especially if using savings and pensions to destroy the currency of the country's of the pension or savings holder.
    So how much is $677 a day 5 days a week.
    …………677
    ……………5
    —-''————–
    ……………35
    …………..35
    ………….30
    ……………..5
    ……………8
    ………….3
    ………..3
    So$ 3,385 (a lot more)
    I have further information on my you tube under the video "BRETTON WOODS UNITED NEWS. "On you tube.
    I also have a front page financial times headline 2019 And odhams history of ww2 recently uploaded.
    This is a great material for song writers as the bretton woods world economic peace treaty not only created the highest ever levels of upward social mobility of all time ever recorded but the first ever youth culture. And what better way for youth to be protected than full financial independence. Especially women.

  • Jon Olsen

    I hear a lot of silly talk about how universal basic income would raise up prices or encourage people to stop working. What a bunch of nonsense! What it would do, among other things, is virtually eliminate poverty in one stroke. Brilliant! This would also have the effect of reducing crime and giving consumers more expendable income, which would help stimulate the economy. Most people wouldn't stop working. They'd simply have less financial strain. The UBI would supplement incomes–not be a replacement. Such a suplement would help make people less-stressed out and enjoy a higher quality of life. Or so one can easily imagine…

  • Aviator168

    The trial in Finland is flawed. Finland does not have tech industry that automates people out of work. If our tech industry gives back $12k for every $55k job it kills, it will work.

  • lasserbream

    One thing the interviewer forgot to explain as UBI recipients who earns over certain amount say for example $150k/yr it will be fused to there income tax, so its cheaper to get it back through income tax.
    Personally I don't see the problem of citizen of different wage group gets it wether they don't work or working this system actually helps middle class, the unemployed and small business.

  • Richard Huzzey

    So how is this different than unemployment benefits in the USA.There is nothing that prevents you from looking for employment while laid off. In fact it was encouraged when I was unemployed. This video is a fsrce . The money for this program comes, if adopted, again from increasing taxes.

  • Njörun Ránsdóttir

    Everywhere in the world, we are too scared to spend on life: healthcare and the money needed to feed and house oneself, but we have no problem spending on death: greedy corporate extravagance, wars, arms dealing, etc. You already know where to cut the money from to make this work, but you pretend taking it off the backs of the middle class is the only option. It’s not the only option. It’s just the only option people in power are willing to consider because they are chickenshit.

  • Casperian

    Why is this propagandized garbage showing up in my suggestions??? Give it up YouTube, you can manipulate the algorithms to show these pack of lies all you like but you can’t manipulate the truth. Most of us have principles that you can’t deceive of us out of, unlike yourselves.

  • Xander Ellem

    $560 a month, shit in Australia that won't even cover half a months rent, let alone food, electricity etc. It's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick but if that's all an unemployed person is getting they're fucked.

  • Happy Fox

    OK, I have a friend in the government, she works really hard, loves her job and is a true patriot, the type that loves the freedom of the country but with that comes the power to strike the government down as an equal….

    And she has a lot to complain about with the government, it's not that she doesn't love her government, it's basically like making sure that your needs and the needs of others are met without too many unnecessary restrictions, especially when it comes to big companies not paying enough tax.

  • Melissa anderson

    yea but I don't see.. any money flowing yet.. and why.. not Winnipeg too getting ready for the money flowing man

  • Melissa anderson

    what pissed me off.. is that what were pretty much programs and now the robots are kicks in.. this world and then what the fuck man

  • Joel

    UBI sounds great…who wouldn't want free money? But, ah, nothing is free…another program that will put an overall burden on tax-payers. Tax-payer funds are better used to help people learn modern skills that address automation and get them on a program to pay the government back for footing the bill once they land a good paying job in their new career. It's the idea of teaching a person to fish rather than feeding him every day. On a side note, UBI is flawed because it doesn't address how people spend their money/income. Most people are irresponsible and impulsive with their money. Anyways…I'm no expert, but from a subjective standpoint it's a bad idea…like free education…why not address the skyrocketing prices of tuition rather than giving away degrees for free. College used to be affordable not that long ago.

  • Kurtis Mitchell

    I have a better idea, let's fire all the civil servants and see what hapens. For good measure let's abolish property taxes at the same time.

  • Kurtis Mitchell

    Central banks are probably gonna fund crap like this eventually. All it will cost is getting a microchip (mark of the Beast) implanted in you.

  • John Ellis

    he purpose of this sick façade, that everyone needs more wealth, is to obscure the fact that the laboring-class is the 50% working poor that is killer-cop terrorized into doing all the manual labor for starvation wages. For the more educated upper-half of society has always hoarded all the land, wealth, political power and healthcare.
    A better way, outlaw wealth by everyone desiring to own no more than needed to have a comfortable life. For wealth is property that has been plundered from the one billion least educated who are now starving, and held back from the trust fund needed to overcome global warming.

    For wealth is power that creates an intelligence dictatorship, a master-slave relationship where equality is impossible. For wealth is glory and temptation so overpowering that honesty is impossible. For wealth makes gratitude impossible. So, if heaven can do it, why can't we?

  • Engineer Ahmed

    UBI saves 5 times money compared to conventional welfare 1. saving on welfare infrastructure costs
    2. wasted money by recipients ie a random 1000 $ GIFT is honestly worth only 100$ CASH for recipient
    3. Dystopian population growth ie child support encourages recipients to produce more babies becoming way bigger drain on system .& those kids produced irresponsibly, grow up to suffer worst as they got severer competition & no family money support

  • Denzel Dickenson

    thats why i live the idea of an opt in UBI. so if you feel well off you don't take it. or if you do want it you can donate it.

  • John Casey

    WAIT!!! 2,000 unemployed people and gave them money… to test UBI… isn't that just welfare… you can't lose? How is that an accurate test?!?!

  • Dylan Wang

    No data no story CNBC. No one wants to listen to people guessing. No one cares how anyone thinks. Give us numbers.

  • desertrose0601

    Nice try but a random 2000 people is not “universal” anything. The whole psychological effect of a UBI could only really be felt if everyone in the society receives the same thing, thereby evening everything out for everybody.

  • nextari

    Useless video with almost no content. Universal Basic income is completely ridiculous. How about univrsal basic sex, too? Christmas Presents? He said "it gives me more options to take a family vacation". Are you f'ing kidding me?

  • Demetrius Middleton

    I was hoping to see numbers and statistics to show whether or not it's actually working! Not hear people's opinions on how they feel for receiving it

  • Alex Reyes

    So they found only one respondent who participated in the research. But the experiment is successful on that guy. So it has a 100% success rate so far.

  • Syklone

    This was a sham experiment. It was not unconditional, it was not universal, and it did not cover basic needs, This is classic double speak – using the label of something genuinely good and implementing it in a half arsed way so that it will fail and discredit the method. Utterly shameful.

  • Cookie 7

    Free money ? we are in this universe for a purpose to keep the humananity alive.with basic needs humanity will die.this is 20th century not flintstone age.we now have to call this freedom Dividend ,Humanity contributed to advance the world first economically,technologically medically,scientifically,Educationally,ecologically etc..so that humanity go forwards not hungry and deteriorated .but to progress and have a chance to succeed,live healthy ,whole and wiser for the next younger generation.pride comes fall and society will not be a nice place to live.we can called this humanity deserve to live healthy and have a life of full for the next generation.universe was given too without human to create it and we are in it. not "you"."we" the word "Give"is universally and eternally Good and it was Good ! Humanity that is not broken and hungry is very Good.Earth in the universe advanced , robots will clean and do the Job for Humans.welcome to the 20th century.we all have brain to calculate math but sadly a lot wants to calculates humanities Pride.Freedom Dividend is to put Human important and Valuable,it is univesally Good!

  • PockASqueeno

    This doesn’t sound like UBI. UBI is, by definition, universal. And my understanding is that UBI isn’t supposed to add to the national budget; it’s just supposed to replace our current welfare system. So in other words, let’s say hypothetically that the government spends a total of $15 billion/year on social security, food stamps, unemployment, etc. So what’s supposed to happen is that we get rid of all those programs and split that $15 billion between, let’s say 15 million people if that’s the country’s population. So every person, regardless of their income, would get $15 thousand a year, and all other welfare programs would be abolished completely to make up for that.

  • darren marchant

    it is critical to expand into the space environment, however there is a logistical problem that is preventing the practical implementation of this. that logistical problem is launch cost. as much as new advancements and commercialization are helping to reduce this to a new minimum, it is still too expensive to launch the equipment needed to build the infrastructure that will allow humanity to do those things that we need to do. the root of the problem is philosophical. imagine if the first people to cross the land bridge into the north American continent had to bring all of their food, fuel, houses, and tools with them to the new land as well as continue to be reliant on resupply from the old home. the answer to this problem is to place on the moon enough of an industrial infrastructure in miniature to take lunar material and produce everything that a modern society will need. these will have to be operated by humans. there is no getting around that. once that is in place the most valuable export from Earth will be people with a desire to go into the great frontier.

  • Jovan Pakal ‎זבולן

    It worked in Alaska for 40 years and they have oil. It will work in America because we have AI technology. What does Finland have except lazy unemployed people living off American slaves?

  • Brad Gudim

    The "Freedom Dividend" VAT should be ALL businesses (corporations and owner/operators) Also consumers. A sliver from all business transactions, and sliver from all consumption. I think all those slivers combined would be sufficiently fulfill the $1000/month.

  • Reiden Lightman

    You take an unemployed person, give them some money so they can get a shower, a nice outfit, print out a resumé, and maybe they can actually get a job. What do homeless people in America do? Beg for spare change, go days without showering, scrap for soda cans to take to a recycling center, dive into dumpsters. I doubt homeless people actually want to do that, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

  • Juan Cruz

    You should have just traveled to Alaska , every Alaskan get 2,000 dollars no questions asked. They working their butts off

  • Duhizy

    Disregard any result of this soo called study, they are doing it for a year and only giving it to unemployed people? This isn't UBI. To really see what would happen, you would actually have to do the experiment for about 10 years, because that's the only way that people would feel secure enough to use it as a backbone to reeducate themselves if they so choose. Soo many are stuck in their shitty jobs that they can't get out of because they either don't have the time or money to gain new skills. If you tell people that you will support them for 10 years with a UBI in a nation where education is free, the number of people that go to school specifically to get into high paying fields like computer science or medicine would pay for the cost of the experiment alone through increased tax revenue. This isn't an experiment that would ever allow you to see the true benefits of a UBI system, it's something that a nation has to commit to implementing for everyone as a replacement for welfare. Just pick out a set period of time, get rid of welfare programs and cut out a flat check every month instead. You can reevaluate after that period of time is over and decide if you want to keep it or return to the previous arrangement.

  • B Ruble

    Thanks for investigating and sharing this segment. We’ve had trickle-down economics in the US for a long time, which is obviously not working for majority of Americans. I support trickle-up economics (or trying it, at least) for a change in order to see if it will create the transformation that Andrew Yang [and other visionary leaders and economists] think it will.

  • Christo Leőn

    Of course it works and we have the smartest person to make it work..You guessed..Andrew Yang as President of the United States of America!!👍☑️🇺🇸😁

  • Reyne Manzano

    @2:12 The man admits that the basic income “encourages people to work” not sure why they didn’t emphasize this confession. In fact, it’s almost cut off

  • Reyne Manzano

    Here’s a more informative video on the idea and it’s merit: https://youtu.be/4cL8kM0fXQc. The speaker is economist Greg Mankiw. If you’re an economy student at a university, there’s a good chance he wrote your textbook

  • Joshua B

    Should’ve named it basic in come. Universal means everyone, as in employees, caregivers, grandmothers, young adults and homeless and a couple rich folk. THEN record the data.

  • Art-maGination

    Don't need to research due to the fact that a more money to spend is always a good thing. Who would disagree with that?

  • Jordan P

    What a woefully inadequate experiment. What can possibly be learned from this? Think of all the factors and effects that arent being considered. This doesn't add any useful info the question: does universal basic income have merit?

  • J NO

    Seriously, he’s spending the money on a vacation. That right there proves it all BS.
    In the USA we will have homeless people with $12,000 rolexes.
    I bet everything thing I own and all my future non parasitic children on it

  • N F

    Guys, listen. The illuminati is real. They are the corporate conglomerates that exist across countries. How do they impact your lives? Mainly as central banks. To gain a seat at the central bank you need to buy it, hiring so many people, having so much clout, that earns you a seat. JBL, comcast, disney, they have seats. They decide when to print money, and when to give bank bailouts. I'm going to let you in on a secret, 90% of the world is poor. 9% is well off. 1% is rich. These are facts. Research economics, look into central banks. We need to have a revolution, full blown. Molotov cocktails and rioting. All of that. They are responsible for inflation and income disparity. You will see why once you research it. There's no reason we can add a VAT tax to companies like netflix, goodle or amazon to pay for universal basic income. 90% of people used to need to farm to feed everyone. now, less than 5% do and that alone feeds everyone. Is that value returned to us the people? No. We don't have to put up with their shit. Theres enough land and resources that everyone could own houses. Feed their families, send their kids to college. The food is there, the lumber is there, the labor and free time is there. They want you to sit at cash registers 40 hours a week, scraping by paying for only a roof over your head and 2 meals a day. Slave wages, it's modern slavery, wake up. They dont want you to make your own kids capable so they can give their own kids a better chance. But the reality of the human condition is that there is no perscribed purpose in our lives. Theres no objective purpose. Its for each person to decide themselves. Follow your heart. Kill corruption. Find evil, destroy it. This is a call to action, the end times are upon us. Its time to get serious. Wake up, don't be complacent. Consider this your call to arms.

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