Finland Is About To End Poverty In Their Nation Forever — Here’s How

Finland will be the first nation to provide every citizen with a basic guaranteed income. The Finnish government is still working out the details on how the program will work, but as of right now, things are in motion for every single person in the country to receive €800 ($870) every month. Finland’s welfare system will be dismantled as they switch to the new BGI system.

Qaurtz reports that Finland intends to implement a BGI in order to combat the nation’s unemployment rate. They report:

“It may sound counterintuitive, but the proposal is meant to tackle unemployment. Finland’s unemployment rate is at a 15-year high, at 9.53% and a basic income would allow people to take on low-paying jobs without personal cost. At the moment, a temporary job results in lower welfare benefits, which can lead to an overall drop in income.”

If Karl Marx, Marco Rubio, Milton Friedman, and Martin Luther King Jr. walked into a bar, they could very well come up with a proposal for a BGI that they all agree that should be implemented. Okay, that might be a bit of a stretch, but for an idea that sounds so radical, it really isn’t. In fact, Richard Nixon almost implemented a guaranteed annual income, in the form of the Family Assistance Program. The FAP was passed in the House, but ultimately died in the Senate. There hasn’t been a serious attempt to get a BGI implemented in the United States since then, but the idea is once again gaining momentum in the U.S. as more nations across the world seek to eradicate poverty, while reducing the bureaucracy involved in traditional welfare systems.

However, those bureaucratic welfare systems do have a proven track record. Which is why some people on the left still hold out against transitioning traditional welfare systems to a BGI system. Most BGI advocates dismiss this by pointing out that there are examples of successful BGI programs that have been implemented at the local level. The most notable experiment with a BGI was in Dauphin, Manitoba, in Canada. For five years, between 1974 and 1979, poverty that stems from a lack of income was completely eliminated in Dauphin.  For various reasons the program called the “Mincome” was abandoned.

So Finland will be the first nation to actually institute a basic guaranteed income on a national scale. If it is successful, they may provide the data needed to show the world a new way to end lack of income-based poverty. As The Economist points out, creating a BGI in the United States would lift 50 million Americans out of poverty overnight. With the potential to ensure that everyone has the ability to lift so many people out of poverty so quickly, it may just be that a basic guaranteed income is an idea whose time has finally come.

Featured Image Credit: By Avij (talk · contribs) (Own work) [ECB decisions ECB/2003/4 and ECB/2003/5 or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons