In a daring plan to end poverty once and for all in their country, Finnish government authorities are working on a plan that will pay every citizen in the country a monthly income.
It’s called a basic income plan and the country hopes to eventually give each Finnish citizen €800, or about $866, each month.
While exact details of the plan won’t be released until November 2016, the Finnish government plans to eliminate earnings-based social programs, like unemployment insurance, and pay everyone the same amount. A first phase of the plan will reportedly pay citizens €550, about $595, each month, according to Huffington Post.
Contrary to critics of the plan, the government believes offering its people a basic income will encourage currently-unemployed people to enter the workforce, even if it’s for a lower-paying job.
The plan is currently being drafted and has the support of Finland’s prime minister, Juha Sipila, as well as most parties in the Finnish parliament. Sipila was quoted by the BBC as saying:
“For me, a basic income means simplifying the social security system.”
Because the program won’t require the government to calculate earnings for each individual to deem them worthy, the proposed program is less “judgemental” than the current system of welfare benefits. Paying citizens the same amount will also reduce government costs and shrink the bureaucracy.
Despite the naysayers, there has been a real world example of a similar plan that was implemented in the town of Dauphin in Manitoba, Canada during the 1970s.
In their 5-year experiment that was recently unearthed, Dauphin effectively eliminated poverty by offering a “mincome.” The results did see a drop in workforce participation which was attributed to people going back to school, an option that became more affordable.
Switzerland is also planning to hold a referendum on basic income where the policy, like many of the country’s issues, will be decided by popular vote. Current proposals for a Swiss basic income plan to offer its people $2,500 Swiss francs a month, which translates into just under $2,500.