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The Nordic country took on the task of proving the effectiveness of universal basic salary; its experiment is crucial for the future application of the concept
Since 2017 Finland has been carrying out an economic experiment. The idea was to provide 2,000 unemployed citizens with a basic income of 560 euros per month without any conditions. Its primary objective was to test if this economic support helped people to find work and also to get them out of poverty, contributing in turn to the sustainability of Kela, the Finnish Social Security system.
The universal basic income has its origin from the ideas of a Minimum income devised in the and the purpose of an Unconditional one-off grant thought at the end of the 18th century. This consists of giving every person a basic salary so that each one has enough resources to cover their basic needs and help them out of poverty.
This concept is based on the idea that no one can be free to the extent that he does not have a guaranteed material existence. Among its most fervent defenders are politicians, writers, and economists such as Osmo Soininvaara, Jeremy Rifkin, Florent Marcellesi, Yanis Varoufakis, Philippe Van Parijs and Juan Carlos Monedero.
The application of this basic universal salary is criticized from several political spectrums taking into account the nature and implications of it. On the one hand, it is said that this system is too expensive and unsustainable for States while discouraging people from being productive and working. On the other hand, it is argued that this system does not take into account important issues such as the distribution of wealth or labor exploitation.
Considering the controversy of the concept, there are not many cases around the world that this experiment has been carried out. In Latin America, for example, countries such as Argentina and Brazil tried to implement this type of program, but they were only applied to a particular sector of society.
Other cases where the application can be seen is in 1951 in Canadian territory, there was implemented a social security program under which people over 65 years were given a universal pension, very similar to the situation of a town in Kenya, where adults receive $ 22 a month (up to 2028), and in Italy and Utrecht - the Netherlands, a project that covers this subject is being carried out.
What was the result of the Finnish experiment?
Finland in this issue was the focus of attention since 2015. In this year the Conservative government announced its intention to apply this concept to the country, but first, they had to experiment with a small number of people to know if it was successful and could be carried out in all the territory. Thus, between 2017 and 2018, 2,000 unemployed people were chosen to receive 13,440 euros for two years (560 monthly) regardless of their economic situation and whether they found work in these two years.
Once this experiment is finished, the first conclusions have been drawn from it. One of the early conclusions, as stated by the Minister of Health and Social Affairs of this country, Pirkko Mattila, is that "the impact on employment seems modest." This refers to the fact that few participants found work, which was one of the main objectives of the implementation of this income.
On the other hand, what this experiment did was to show that the people who had received this subsidy had had a definite increase in their quality of life since they found that the people who received this income seemed happier and healthier than other unemployed people they did not have the necessary income during those two years.
It should be noted that the Finnish government since early 2018 had already decided not to extend the experiment for more years, contrary to the Kela that had requested to extend the time of the experiment and inject more resources for its implementation in a larger sector of people in the country. in order to make the results of this project reliable. It will touch waiting for the results of the complete study that will not be revealed until 2020.
LatinAmerican Post | Juan Sebastián Salguero Bernal
Translated from "¿Sueldo para todo el mundo? Así le fue a Finlandia con su experimento"