Finland’s Universal Basic Income Trial Has a Great and Unexpected Side Effect
We’ve talked about Universal Basic Income (UBI) here, several times in the past already. But in short, UBI is a new financial system that comes as a response to the increasing automation that, slowly but surely, covers more and more of the job sector, thus leaving an increasing number of people unemployed. This system, basically, offers every member of the community a monthly sum of money so as to make up for the ever-increasing shortage of jobs.
But since this is a new idea, UBI is still in its testing phases, with researchers trying to see what effects one such program will have on society over the long term. Presently, several communities in Finland, Canada, and Kenya are seeing UBI being implemented. In Finland, some 2,000 people receive 560 euros per month each over a period of two years. The recipients do not have to report whether they are looking for a job or how they are spending the money.
Now, Marjukka Turunen, head of KELA, the legal unit at Finland’s social insurance agency, said that besides cutting bureaucracy, as well as reducing the level of poverty, this UBI trial also has a positive impact on the recipients’ mental state. It is able to significantly reduce their stress levels.
“There was this one woman who said: ‘I was afraid every time the phone would ring, that unemployment services are calling to offer me a job,’” Ms Turunen said in an interview for Kera News.
That woman was unable to take on a stable job since she had to take care of her elderly parents.
Ms Turunen added: “This experiment really has an indirect impact, also, on the stress levels [of people] and the mental health and so on.”
In this program, even if a participant is able to find work, he or she will continue to receive the monthly UBI payment, thus reducing their fear of losing out by getting a job. This program was also introduced in Finland as a way to possibly tackle with the country’s 8 percent unemployment rate.
For a better look at what automation will bring in the near future, take a look at this video below.