Biz-novosti

Finland is trying out basic income for some citizens


The randomly selected Finns will receive €560, or around $587, each month for the next two years - even if they find regular, steady jobs or rake in extra cash by participating in the gig economy.

Kangas said the basic income experiment may be expanded at a later date to other low-income groups such as freelancers, small-scale entrepreneurs and part-time workers.

The concept of countries bestowing an income to unemployed citizens isn't new, but it's a hard one to implement. A jobless person may refuse a low-income or short-term job in fear of having his/her financial benefits reduced significantly under Finland's generous and complex social security system. According to an analysis conducted by the Economist in June, Finland could convert its current non-health transfer payments into a universal single-rate payment equivalent to $10,500 per person per year.

The Finnish government agency KELA is responsible for the social benefits of the country.

"It's highly interesting to see how it makes people behave", said Kangas.

The idea of a universal basic income has gained traction in recent years, as it is seen as providing a safety net to the ever more uncertain and automated job market, but others are concerned that it would induce laziness and prevent some jobless people from seeking work. Y Combinator launched a small pilot program to test Basic Income in Oakland, offering 100 residents up to $2,000 per month just for existing. "Will this lead them to boldly experiment with different kinds of jobs?"

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Finland's basic income experiment is for the betterment of the unemployed citizens. It is an assurance that they will receive the given amount of money even if they start working.

"We hope basic income promotes freedom, and we want to see how people experience that freedom", the company announced in a blog post.

The basic income experiment is one of the measures by Prime Minister Juha Sipilä's centre-right government to tackle Finland's employment problem.

Finland isn't the first country to consider basic income guarantees.

Switzerland voted to reject the universal basic income proposal to subsidize a guaranteed monthly income for its citizens; however, challenges continue to rise around the world.

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