FINLAND: Basic Income experiment authorized by Parliament

Kela, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, announced on December 14 that the Finnish Parliament has passed the act authorizing an experiment of basic income. The experiment is set to begin on January 1, 2017.

For a few years, my heart tells me the Universal Basic Income is the only way forward. It’s the same feeling I had, when we started the Herculean cooperation as a more sustainable way of doing business. The capitalists in this world warned me that it was better to started a “limited corporation” to “keep the power” (which has proven to be complete rubbish).

What fuels that feeling?

  • Taxes (hidden or not) raise at ridiculous rates for the middle class, which makes it virtually impossible for these people to start a venture around their idea. Instead they all have to do jobs they don’t like, with two people, killing their personal lifes.
  • Burn-out rates are exploding. I still meet people who think it’s a “fad”. It’s not. By the way: we see a lot of burn-outs in Financial Institutions. The values of the employees don’t match the values of the Financial Institutions anymore.
  • Individualism and polarisation keeps rising. I think we can all agree they are not a good thing. People become jealous, hate it when somebody is succesfull…
  • Digital disprution improves our way of life, but reduces the number of available jobs. I believe we need even more disruption to gain our quality of life back.
  • The number of people on the planet is exploding and huge economical migrations are ungoing in our backyard.

When it comes to the Universal Basic Income, you hear the same capitalists yell about the risks:

  • People will become lazy: I don’t believe a basic income will lead to more lazyness, on the contrary. Every Human Resource Manager will tell you that money is not a motivator. It’s purpuse that motivates them. People will do things they are good at, without having to worry about making money. It will unleash a lot of talent which isn’t unleashed today. The people who want to be entrepreneur will pay a lot less taxes to support the current system, and will thus create more job opportunities.
  • It will kill innovation: on the contrary. People will use their full potential to experiment without being scared of losing money.
  • Companies won’t find people who want to work: the number of jobs is decreasing, so the number of people who want to work will increase. On top of that, companies will be able to invest more in the best people – because of less taxes. Working will become a lot more fun.
  • It’s unaffordable: many expert studies show the opposite. The RSA has calculated it would only require 1% extra GDP. I also believe that people will spend more, as they are sure they will have money every month and don’t have to save for “dark times”.

I believe the rewards are better than the risks. Think about it.

 

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How about putting People First in 2013?

Running a company is about creating stakeholder value. All the CEO’s in the world know that. But there are many stakeholders and is there any order? I believe in the following order:

  1. Happy employees believing in the company
  2. Produce awesome customer experiences, through great suppliers, that generate profit
  3. Of which part should be given back to society
  4. And all this will eventually create shareholder value in the long run

O yeah, before the Unions become fans of my blog post or you think I’m some kind of anti-globalist: YOU NEED ALL 4, not only the happy employees…

I’ve been in many businesses, profit and non-profit, in many sectors and I can’t find examples where the order should be different. If you do, let me know!

I’m even convinced that changing the order won’t create ANY value.

  1. Customers first? Of course listening to customers is crucial, but they are not always right and they definitely don’t have all the info at hand to give the right feedback. It needs to be interpreted by employees. Customers come second, because without them, it’s impossible to make any money.
  2. Society first? Without profit, you shouldn’t give back. It would be ridiculous and very short-term. 
  3. Shareholders first? I guess we all saw the effect of that in the past years. However, shareholders are crucial. I’ve been in business with good ones and bad ones. The good ones invest for the long run and help to push the company forward. The good ones believe in the order above.

Through my work at Special Olympics I’m even more convinced that people and volunteers come first. You first need a great team that believes in the project, you then need “customers” buying into the project and then you can start giving back to people with an Intellectual Disability. And that’s what will make the Board very happy.

Here’s an inspiring video on the volunteers, the employees, of the Olympic Games 2012 in London.

Every company will probably say they put their people first. But do they actually? We have a great barometer for you: the Hercules Trophy. It’s all about Employer Branding and if you don’t understand that, you probably don’t understand the order above. On one day we can easily tell which ones care and which ones don’t.