In January, Finland began giving its citizens a universal basic income of roughly $500 a month, and will continue to do so for two years. The program is the first of its kind in Europe, and the country is already seeing some great benefits.
What Is Universal Basic Income?
According to Investopedia, a universal basic income is:
“Basic income is a system similar to Social Security, in which all citizens of a country receive a set amount of money on a regular basis. This money is typically provided by the government or a similar public organization. This income, provided unconditionally, is given in addition to any income for which a person works. The goal of a basic income system is to allow every person to have a fair chance at an adequate quality of life. It is a way to combat income inequality and ensure that each citizen has enough money on which to live.”
The participants are reporting less stress and a greater incentive to work. They also have more time to go after their own business ideas. Unlike other unemployment programs, the recipients do not have to demonstrate that they are seeking employment.
If the recipient finds work, then they will still receive the stipend. So, that removes the disincentive to find work that many other welfare programs suffer from.
The program was introduced to tackle Finland’s unemployment problem.
Finland isn’t the only place trying out this universal basic income. Canada’s largest province, Ontario, is trialing a universal basic income as well. Around 4,000 people will be given C$16,989 per year with no strings attached. It is being hailed as a solution to poverty.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said that the program is needed to address “new changes” in the world. She said:
“From technology to Trump, it is a time of greater uncertainty and change.”
“This is no time to retreat, this is no time for the government to cling to the status quo, or step away from its responsibilities. This is the time for us to be focused and fair.”
This is a three-year pilot program that will assist those in need of employment and those already receiving assistance.
Check out this video for more information about the basic universal income (after the jump):
Featured image via Twitter.