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Finland Ditches Basic Income; US Is Up Next

A trial is set to take place in America in 2 states
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2018 9:40 AM CDT

(Newser) – It looks like universal basic income won't get the green light in Finland. A little more than a year into a two-year trial, the Finnish government says it won't expand an experiment that sees 2,000 unemployed Finns paid $685 per month in basic income, rather than financial benefits, with no restrictions on spending, reports the BBC. As the money isn't cut off when a person takes a job, designers hoped the trial would encourage participants to find temporary work, even though that wasn't a requirement, per the Guardian. But though the trial results won't be released until late 2019, a February report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development highlighted the challenges of adopting a universal basic income system, in which all Finns would've been paid.

Only possible with an income tax hike of 30%, universal basic income could increase income inequality and raise Finland's poverty rate from 11.4% to 14.1%, the OECD said, recommending a universal credit system, in which benefit payments are grouped in a monthly sum. Still, plan designer Olli Kangas says the government should've approved a request for more funding to expand the trial to a wider population, including people with jobs. "Two years is too short a period to be able to draw extensive conclusions from such a big experiment," he tells Sky News. Venture capitalist Sam Altman of Y Combinator now plans to test basic income in the US. A trial in two states will see 1,000 people given a $1,000 monthly salary for three to five years, reports the BBC. (Read more Finland stories.)

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