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A 32-hour dive into basic income

What is the Basic Income Hack all about?


The developer event for basic income solutions, or the Basic Income Hack, brings together coders, researchers, activists, thinkers, politicians, graphic designers, information designers and communication specialists interested in developing a basic income scheme. Finland’s first ever Basic Income Hack is organised in Helsinki 4-5 March 2016.

Understandably, the transformation of working life – for example, the increase in temporary work, the offshoring of many traditional jobs to low-cost countries and automation – have brought the debate on basic income into the spotlight in different parts of the world. Accordingly, the recent interest in basic income in the US is mainly a response to the loss of professions through digitisation and robotisation. As we await the era of self-driving cars, it may be worth considering what will happen to the livelihoods of the commercial drivers of vehicles of all sizes, from trucks to cars.

Finland is one of the world’s frontrunners in planning a basic income trial which will test issues such as whether a basic income can genuinely eliminate the complexities of the social security system or welfare traps. A group led by the Finnish social security agency Kela – a group in which Sitra is also involved – is currently developing a basic income trial of this kind for the year 2017.

In other words, now is the time to bring forward your ideas concerning a basic income system.

This is why, in collaboration with Demos Helsinki and Open Knowledge Finland, Sitra will organise a two-day Basic Income Hack on 4–5 March 2016. The event will continue non-stop from Friday morning to Saturday evening. Click here for more information on the event.

The goal is to have the most diverse possible range of groups involved. As ideas, the results of the hack may also have an impact on the ongoing review of the basic income trial to be conducted by a group of representatives from various research institutes, led by Kela.

Many questions remain unanswered regarding basic income. Although the following questions are by no means intended to limit the content of ideas developed at the hack, the teams could ponder and work on them.

  • What would form a functional basic income model?
  • How would such a model look on the basis of the existing data?
  • How would any given way of organising the basic income trial work best?
  • How might the basic income be made easy to understand for the general public?
  • How could payment data be made easily available by mobile phone, for example?
  • What are the key problems associated with basic income – and how might they be solved?
  • What would be the best ways of informing the public about the basic income trial?
  • What would basic income art or other creative material, such as a game, be like?

The date for the presentation of hack results and the award ceremony will be Tuesday 8 March. The event is open to anyone who is interested but will be held in Finnish.

The results of the hack will be posted here shortly after the final event also in English. Stay tuned!