Let’s start on the positive side: There are people like Sina Martinen, who took part in the experiment and created her own coffee shop during that time.
“Overall it was a good experience,” she says. “Especially when I was self-employed, I came to the conclusion that a basic income is a great option. It takes a long time to set up a business and the economic situation is uncertain.”
The experiment was intended to show whether a basic income would help reduce the large income gap between the population and simplify the complex Finnish social system. Will it motivate people to first look for low-paying or part-time jobs, or ideally to set up a small business themselves.
2,000 randomly selected unemployed people aged 25-58 will no longer receive unemployment benefits by the end of 2018, but instead have a basic income of €560 per month – no taxes, no questions, no conditions. Everyone can, and should, earn extra money without deductions.
Better health, less unemployment
It worked for Marttinen, but not with most of the others. This is the result of the project evaluation. There was 2,000 times more security, less social bureaucracy, less stress, and better health. After the experiment, there were fewer unemployed.
But there may also be other reasons, says Mina Ellicano, head of research at Kela social agency: “In January 2018, an activation form was introduced as part of the unemployment system, which primarily affected those without a basic income. This makes it It is difficult to assess the employment effect.We can only say that the observed effects are due to both the basic income and the activation model.But to what extent and how, we do not know.
Political discussion follows
So, one of the main questions has not been answered, and it is now clear that exactly what the skeptics suspected after the presentation of the initial balance sheet is happening: that Finland will not provide basic income, but will only simplify the social security system, with more lump sums for individual groups From recipients, rather than ‘treating’ each case individually according to a long index of criteria, as was the case previously.
And that there are special financial advantages only for people who do something for society on their own. But all of this should only be resolved after a thorough political debate, at the earliest in eight years, according to Elicano.
Not good news for Ayla Jeskanen, a seriously ill woman who also earned this basic income for two years but was still without a job at the end of the experience: “My life has gotten worse since then. I’ve been treated like scum again. Everything, it is all late, now you have to wait forever to get your money back.”
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