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The Daily

Finland Considering Basic Income Pilot Project

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Sep 4, 2015
1280px-Flag_of_Finland_with_border.svgThe government of Finland, with the support of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, is considering a limited experiment with basic income, in which everyone gets a monthly cash payment, regardless of need, employment, or lack thereof, according to the BBC

Basic income is an idea that has technically been around since at least the 16th century, when the concept was articulated by Thomas Moore in his book Utopia, though it has been attracting increased interest over the past few years from both the political left and the right. While the particulars may vary between theorists, the general idea is that everyone gets a cash payment every single month. No thresholds, no needs, no tests, no requirements—essentially no strings at all. If you're alive, you get paid. Proponents say that, at the very least, such a scheme is far easier, and cheaper, to administrate than the scores of byzantine bureaucracies that support current governmental welfare systems, and consequently would be much more difficult to game. This is generally what the different theories have in common. 

Where the theories differ tends to be, one, just how big the cash payment should be, and, two, how the program would actually be funded. Finland's experiment is still in the earliest of early stages, and so the government isn't even sure whether it even wants to begin implementing such a program in and of itself, let alone how much it would pay and how it would be paid for, though figures being bandied about range from between 400 to 700 euros a month. No doubt they're probably watching the Netherlands very closely, where over 30 different municipalities are currently experimenting with it on a local level, including Utrecht, a city of more than 330,000.