Experimenting with Wellbeing: Ubi, Immaterial Labour and the Production of Uncertainty

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 15:30
Oral Presentation
Lisa ADKINS, University of Newcastle, Australia
Hanna YLĂ–STALO, University of Helsinki, Finland
This paper is concerned with UBI (Universal Basic Income) and especially with the ongoing UBI experiment in Finland. This trial has gleaned praise from progressives around the world, not least because of its apparent break from the compulsions of workfarism. In this paper we stress, however, that the Finnish UBI experiment must be understood as part of a broad programme of government reform and especially as part of strategies aimed at the restructuring of labour. We elaborate how the UBI experiment is a behaviourist intervention designed to enhance the wellbeing of unemployed populations at a time in which productivity increasingly turns around wellbeing, that is, at a time in which wellbeing is increasingly defined as a productive, value producing, capacity. In this context we suggest UBI must be understood as a policy intervention which forms part of a broader strategy of the restructuring of labour and the emergence of new notions of productivity.