The Finland Chapter

This category contains 36 posts

Finland’s Basic Income Experiment “Failed”, But It’s A Success In Policymaking

It seems paradoxical to characterise Finland’s universal basic income experiment as a success in policymaking, especially after global news outlets rushed to pronounce its failure. In fact, the experiment was scheduled – from the start – to conclude at the end of 2018, and it is also not ending because of “failure”: Kela, the country’s national welfare body, “has refused to publish any results until it is finished, for privacy reasons and to avoid biasing outcomes”. In this vein, with the initial hypothesis that a basic income would “promote employment” and the implementation of a two-year trial to test this hypothesis with 2,000 unemployed Finns, the more precise “failure” is the government’s decision to reject extra funding, even before the pilot has run its full course, and its findings, studied. Continue reading

Finland Is Running A Basic Income Experiment, And There Is Much To Learn

Which is why the universal basic income experiment in Finland is so fascinating. (Finland, where I spent six months in, also has a special place in my heart). “The New York Times” ran a feature on December 17, describing the experiment as underscoring “the deep need to find effective means to alleviate the perils of globalisation … to lessen the vulnerabilities of working people exposed to the vagaries of global trade and automation”. But what is even more useful is a 62-page working paper – translated and abridged from a report in Finnish – published by Kela, or the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, in September. Continue reading

Throwback: Two Days In A Finnish Elementary School

When I was on exchange in Helsinki, Finland last year, I visited a Finnish elementary school for two days (after trying my luck through different channels), where I – armed with a short presentation on Singapore and the Chinese language – interacted with teachers, helped out for a cooking class, and tried to communicate with the young schoolchildren with whatever Finnish I knew. That was a great experience. Continue reading


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