Sunday, January 8, 2017

Universal basic income experiment in Finland

Finland government seems to decide to an experimental implementation of basic income.

In Finland, unemployed citizens will receive monthly income up to 560 euros for two years. The amount of payment would not be reduced even if the receiver gets a new job, different from a conventional scheme of the unemployment compensation.

Independent: Finland launches universal basic income pilot of 560 Euros a month

Not every jobless people will get the basic income. Whether a person is subjected to this experiment is randomly determined. The government aims to investigate the influence of this new scheme on the motivation of the citizens for working.

Traditionally, unemployment insurance scheme was criticized as it deprives citizens' motivation to seek a new job. It will be terminated soon after getting the salary, leading to the decrease of total income.

On the other hand, basic income scheme is also worried to make citizens lazy. You can easily imagine that some people would have no more work if they get regular income. So far, some minor studies have suggested that guaranteed income does not eliminate workers' motivation. Finland's experiments will examine the hypothesis with more reliable evidence.

In my opinion, basic income scheme will be successful in some particular situations. In a highly sophisticated society, limited numbers of people with high productivity earn a dominant percentage of revenue of the whole society. In other words, it is not necessary for many people to work to survive. At the same time, entertainment and some regions of activity not essential for survival such as philosophy, literature, sport, and art, are established as a subject to devote one's life. The combination of a few experienced producers and many happy consumers is a stereotype of an ideal society, I think.

In addition, I believe every citizens will want to contribute to the society in some ways when they are economically satisfied. Humans motivation is to shift to higher dimension according to the stage of achievement from one's safety to others' happiness. Therefore, I do not think basic income scheme will ruin the virtue in our community.

Finland has more than eight percent of jobless citizens. It means that they do not have to work at least for maintaining the minimal structure of the society. It is sorry for them to get an unwanted job. Actually, 560 euros in a month is not enough to live. Also in this meaning, it is merely an experiment. Nonetheless, I hope Finland's challenge will be fruitful.

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