Finland Will Give 2000 Unemployed People $590 Every Month, No Strings Attached, Even After They Get A Job
from the money-for-nothing dept
Back in 2015, a Techdirt Podcast explored the fascinating idea of a universal basic income guarantee, something that the Swiss considered, but ultimately rejected in a referendum. The idea of giving money to everyone, regardless of what they do, or how much they earn, is intriguing and attractive for many. But what effect would it have on how people live and work? That's what Finland hopes to find out from an experiment it is conducting in this field, as a story in the Guardian reports:
Finland has become the first country in Europe to pay its unemployed citizens an unconditional monthly sum, in a social experiment that will be watched around the world amid gathering interest in the idea of a universal basic income.
Under the two-year, nationwide pilot scheme, which began on 1 January, 2,000 unemployed Finns aged 25 to 58 will receive a guaranteed sum of €560 (£475).
As that indicates, this isn't a universal basic wage, since it's aimed at just a few of those receiving unemployment benefit, and the money will replace existing financial support. On the other hand, it isn't just some kind of creative accounting, because they will continue to receive the monthly sum even if they find work. There are already plans to roll it out more widely.
As the Guardian notes, other parts of the world, including Canada, Italy, the Netherlands and Scotland, are also looking to try out the idea. At a time when there are fears that automation may well reduce the total number of workers needed in industry, it's great to see these experiments exploring an approach that could help to alleviate social problems arising from this shift.