What’s your New Year resolution? Well, Finland seems to have shown the whole world her own New Year resolution, but this isn’t just about the new year, it’s a two-year resolution; and this is an experiment to see how giving jobless people monthly stipends will be helping them get jobs.
The federal social security institution, Kela, will be distributing about $590 each month over the space of two years to jobless Finns, and even if they find work within this period, the money will continue coming at the beginning of each month. One of the past year’s popular theories of how to solve poverty was the basic income plan, and the government really wants to see what this will result in.
Under the universal basic income plan, people receive a standard amount of money just for being alive, and irrespective of the income status of a person, everyone who receives the fund will not fall through the cracks, or go completely below the poverty level.
According to the head of Kela’s legal benefits unit, Marjukka Turunen, the experiments will be helping the government see if the basic income plan will help sanitize Finland’s messy system of social security. Turunen predicts that residents will automatically fit into one of 40 different benefit systems such as sick, unemployed or student.
The experiment will also provide clues on people’s behaviors when they receive free money. Some are of the opinion that when jobless people receive free money, they tend to give up the will to get jobs and they become lazy while some claim that jobless people will be using the money to make their lives better.
Turunen also suspects that the experiments will compel few jobless people to venture into entrepreneurship as they will likely use the monthly income to start a business; but then, it’s a pretty risky move as Finland doesn’t give unemployment benefits to business owners who had failed businesses, which will likely discourage some.
It’s a very cool move, and more nations need to put in a similar effort to reduce or even eliminate poverty. Let’s just wait to see the impact this will have on the economy and the country as a whole.