Finnish basic income trial creates happiness, but not jobs

Finland's experiment involved seeing how the livelihoods of 2,000 jobless people were affected by being given €560 a month. Unlike with regular unemployment benefits the participants were free to take up part-time jobs and weren't required

Finland's experiment involved seeing how the livelihoods of 2,000 jobless people were affected by being given €560 a month. Unlike with regular unemployment benefits the participants were free to take up part-time jobs and weren't required

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The study conducted by the government's Finland's Social Insurance Institution, known as Kela, found that the 2000 participants in the trial have been less stressed while receiving the no-strings attached funds from the body during the trial.

Finland - the world's happiest country previous year, according to the United Nations - is exploring alternatives to its social security model. Critics argue that it only reduces the incentive for jobless people to look for work.

Universal basic income (UBI) has become a hot topic in many Western developed nations, where it appears that automation and advancements in AI might gradually increase unemployment to potentially unsafe levels.

The former IT consultant had been unemployed for almost a year before "winning the lottery", as she described the trial. On Friday, the social services agency Kela revealed a preliminary assessment of how receiving 560 euros (R8,677) of free money a month affected the livelihoods of 2,000 randomly selected jobless people aged between 25 and 58. "It gave me the security to start my own business". The average number of days in employment during the year was 49.64 days for the recipients of a basic income and 49.25 for the control group. The Finnish trial was a bit different, as it focused on people who were unemployed.

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The basic income has been controversial, however, with leaders of the main Finnish political parties keen to streamline the benefits system but wary of offering "money for nothing", especially ahead of parliamentary elections due in April.

It said that the study of the employment effects of the basic income experiment is based on register data for the first year of the experiment.

"Even though the basic income model developed for the experiment is not likely to be adopted as such for more extensive use, I think the experiment was very successful", social affairs minister Pirkko Mattila said in a statement on Friday. Like healthcare and education, income would become a right of citizenship. The current leading party the Center has said that it supports basic income, but its vistas include application and requirements for the recipients, not considered as part of a basic income solution. The results for the second year of the experiment will be published in the first few months of 2020.

The Finnish report was unveiled just a day after a group of Democrat lawmakers in the United States put forth, advocating for government-guaranteed "economic security" for all who are "unable or unwilling to work", among other things.

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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