Copenhagen 2016 – Day 2
Friday, September 23, 2016
Basic Income and the Nordic Model
The second day of the conference will consist of presentations from a number of politicians, researchers and activists followed by panel discussions.
The main focus of this part of the conference is to stimulate the cooperation between the active members of the national and local basic income groups in the Nordic countries. It has been a longstanding wish from many activists in Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and the Faroe Islands to form closer ties between our countries because there is so much common ground, not least in the idea of the modern universal welfare state.
This day will be dedicated to a closer look at how an unconditional basic income (UBI) may be the next step in a natural development of the Nordic Model.
Panel discussion topics suggested by Jouko Hemmi, BIEN Finland
- What would be the impact (challenges, opportunities) of UBI on the Nordic labour market – particularly from the perspective of small and micro businesses as well as self-employed people, considering that they all play a tremendously important role in the cooperation between the Nordic countries. Is it a theme to be handled in the field of socio-economic research?
There is a quickly widening gap between rich and poor (even between employed and unemployed) – a very dangerous development which is accelerating faster than anticipated. The longer we wait to reverse this fatal development, the worse the consequences will be.
- There is a great need to change our attitude towards work in order to meet the needs and demands of the modern labour market. How can the Nordic community of paradigmatic (!) innovators and pioneers implement UBI to contribute to this process?
Two quotes from Jouko’s speech at the Athens UBI Conference, September 2014:
“The Finnish philosopher Georg Henrik von Wright testifies to the fact that UBI really is feasible! He said aptly: ‘Reduction of unemployment and concurrent growth of economy are incompatible motives.’ Wright argues that the ‘economy sprouts from the society’s entirety and is subject to the entire sphere of life: unemployment is, therefore, not an economic problem but a social one’.”
“Götz Werner, one of the richest entrepreneurs in Germany: ‘We still combine work with income: income is glued to work rather than to people. When work is rationalized away, it’s the best thing that can happen. The problem is that we think that work would be paid. This is a mistake. What needs to be paid, is that you are for example able to conduct this interview. The interview itself is unpayable. Or how do you want to measure the value of the interview? Or the value of the work of a teacher or a judge? So income is not the payment for work, but the facilitation of work. This is a Copernican revolution in our thinking. This shift in consciousness is a major challenge’” (in interview by Wiener Zeitung 29 September 2013)
UBI poses a revolutionary paradigm shift in the history of mankind. Referring to UBI, Rutger Bregman (in Business Insider, 9 June 2016) says that without big ideas the world would be without all of our most fundamental beliefs: “I always like to point out that almost every milestone of civilisation that we have now, like democracy, or the end of slavery, or equal rights for men and women, or even the beginning of the welfare state. These were all regarded as utopian fantasies once. It has to start somewhere.“
- How could we adjust UBI to the Nordic community? Could it happen by harmonizing our legal systems, through common UBI pilot projects and/or participating in those carried out by other countries, cities etc. What else?
- How could we further develop our understanding of a universal UBI model in favor of the Nordic community? (Like by teaching in schools, universities, by arranging courses of lectures etc.)
How can our Nordic pedagogical skills be utilized in the education of the principles of UBI and in the planting of its concept in the minds of an adaptable Nordic population? A notable education project called HundrED started in Finland this spring. To its main goals belong new openings in education like teaching and learning of emotional and consciousness skills. It would be worthwhile considering how we could incorporate this or/and other such projects or organisations in order to be acknowledged by those whose mission it is to guide and bring up our youth towards a better future and a sustainable world for mankind.
- UBI’s impact on fine arts. What kind of strengths, potential weaknesses etc. would emerge through UBI if also small and micro entrepreneurs receive UBI every month?
- Social cohesion and justice (current public social services constitute very expensive, immense bureaucracy and heavy control machinery equivalent to each Nordic country.
- UBI as a tool for strengthening the Nordic peoples’ societal participation, for instance through deliberative, i.e. participatory and interactive democracy.
- Contributions to education and pedagogy, e.g. new methods of teaching like those of emotion and consciousness skills.
- Would UBI tighten or weaken economic cooperation between the Nordic countries?
- Would the Nordic Welfare community succeed in better contributing to international peace work with the help of UBI? For instance by enhancing cooperation within the Nordic society between NGO’s (citizens organizations), state and municipal organizations.
Proposal for a workshop theme from Halldóra Mogensen, Iceland
Regarding themes for the workshop, my favorite thing about UBI is the ways in which it could influence human behavior. Moving away from a culture of violence, where we attempt to control with rules and regulations and threats if said rules are broken. Our societies are ruled by violence. If we are able to influence people’s behavior by creating a system that moves us out of scarcity and into abundance, setting competition and survival to the side, nurturing love over fear…perhaps the rules will become superfluous. Control and violence becomes unnecessary. What will our world look like then?
Also to be discussed
The organizational structure within the Nordic movements, national as well as local groups. Funding and subscriptions practises.
Communication and interactions between the BI movements and academic institutions.
Communication with politicians, political parties and labour unions.