Here’s an experiment that’d likely be argued over by cable news hacks for weeks on end if it were to ever be enacted here. Finland is offering 2,000 unemployed citizens a monthly income of $590 in an effort to learn how that money will help (or not help) those participants get back to work. The $590 figure represents “a trial version of basic income,” and will be allotted regardless of whether the recipients find employment or not.
Marjukka Turunen, the head of the legal benefits unit for the country’s federal social-security agency (Kela), told Business Insider that the test will help ease the nation’s overcomplicated social security system, and that it will also give them an idea of how people act when they’re literally handed free money. Those pissed off about the idea argue that they’ll sit around all day, enjoying the endless luxuries that $590 a month can provide, while those in favor of the idea believe they’ll put that dough towards improving their lives. Guess we’ll have to wait and see. Or, as Turunen put it to Business Insider, “Some people might stay on their couches, and some might go to work. We don’t know yet.”
That being said, Turunen remains optimistic that the money will be used by at least a few beneficiaries to start their own businesses, despite the fact that country provides few economic safeguards to small business owners who fail. As she also explained to Business Insider “The system nowadays, it’s pretty negative for people who try to do something—even little—in their lives and get something out of it.” She believes a basic income will give potential risk takers a safety net to, you know, actually take a risk.
This seems like a one-and-done experiment—at least in Finland—as Turunen doubts it’ll lead to larger basic income studies, mainly because the whole thing’s tax-free status can hurt in a nation of just over five million people. However, similar studies can be found from Canada, to Kenya, to India, and even Silicon Valley.
Anyway, to those reading on our sister site Finnish Complex, good luck with all that. The results should be riveting, and make great fodder for somebody, even if they are several years away.
source: complex.com BY GAVIN EVANS