After just two years, Finland has abandoned its experiment with giving its citizens a basic income. The plan, which took effect at the beginning of 2017, gave 2,000 unemployed Finns a monthly stipend of 560 euros, equivalent to around $690 U.S., which amounted to more than $33 million over the course of two years, just for this limited experiment.
Unlike unemployment benefits, those receiving this stipend were under no obligation to prove that they were actively looking for work at any point. Also, unlike unemployment benefits, the 2,000 recipients would still get the stipend even if they found jobs. Finland’s plan for a universal basic income has received support from celebrities and CEOs, including Richard Branson, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Tesla and Space X CEO Elon Musk.
One expert who took part in designing the program, Olli Kangas, told a local public broadcaster that he thought more time was needed to tell whether the program could work in the long run. “Two years is too short a period to be able to draw extensive conclusions from such a big experiment,” Kangas told YLE. “We should have had extra time and more money to achieve reliable results.” Kangas told the BBC that support for the project had dried up since it was first implemented.
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