Creative social policy and universal basic income

Stream: Basic income, policy experiments and the competition state
Date: Monday, 9 September 2019
Time: 1.30 pm – 3.10 pm


Modern sciences have been tremendously successful at creating techniques and technologies of redistribution and management of social welfare, but they have been less successful at reflecting on the purposes and aims of social and political development. The idea of creative social policy is an attempt to create meaning to technocratic social policy. The purpose of social policy is, from this perspective, to support people on their life’s quest to realise their own creative potential.

This paper will assess to what extent existing proposals for a Universal Basic Income (UBI) live up to the aims of creative social policy. It will do so by situating UBI in a context of speculation as a rationality governing current labour and financial markets. UBI may, in theory, help people realize their individual creative potential, but will UBI work if people are increasingly exposed to financial risk? Might UBI in fact, enhance such exposure? Some scholars have argued that the securitization of debt is linked to entire populations being tied to the generation of surplus value via financial assets.

This paper will argue that conceptualised the right way, UBI may be a part of creative social policy, particularly if it is complemented by schemes that redistribute the financial risks of entrepreneurship. Hence, creative social policy could be a way of channelling peoples’ productive capacities towards sustainable social, political and economic development, rather than consuming and draining such capacities the way current financial and labour markets do.


Johannes Kananen (Presenter), University of Helsinki, Finland
Johannes Kananen is Adjunct Professor of Social Policy and currently woks as Senior Lecturer at the Swedish School of Social Science, University of Helsinki. His research interests include historical and contemporary developments of the Nordic welfare state model and labour market/unemployment policy.