Finland has decided to end the universal basic income experiment and no longer give free cash to jobless Finns. For more than a year, the government tried to address issues like unemployment and automation by handing out money to unemployed people.
This week, Finnish lawmakers decided to stop the funding of the program that has caught the world’s attention. Starting this year, jobless Finns will no longer have access to government handouts unless they are actively looking for a job.
The universal basic income came with no strings attached and benefited about 2,000 people in Finland. Now, the government wants to add some conditions to the program.
Finland is not the only country to give free money to unemployed people. Several other countries and municipalities including the Netherlands, Kenya, Ontario in Canada, and San Francisco Bay Area in California are testing similar programs.
The basic income is designed to address the growing inequality and offer workers a safety net when their jobs are taken by robots and AI-powered machines.
Working Finns Don’t Like the Program
In Finland, the program was put on hold because many taxpayers don’t want their money to be given to people that refuse to work. Especially young people in Finland with no college education are not seeking a job. Older Finns are concerned that these youngsters would just stay at their parent’s home and play video games instead.
The basic income has been an idea touted by thinkers for centuries. Free money has been seen as a solution to the economic anxiety affecting employees worldwide. Some of the most prominent supporters were civil rights activist Martin Luther King, economist Milton Friedman, and philosopher Thomas Moore.
Silicon Valley is still pushing for the myth that a universal basic income would prevent mass joblessness in the case of widespread automation and give all people the opportunity to enjoy a labor-free life.
Image Source: Wikimedia
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