Summary of Free Cash in Finland. Must Be Jobless.

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For decades, the idea of universal basic income has been relegated to the policy fringes, dismissed as a pie-in-the-sky ideal far removed from the hard-nosed realities of a capitalist, workaday world – but no more. With politicians increasingly feeling the populist heat from voters angry about economic dislocation, governments are quietly coming around to a radical rethink of social welfare policy. International Business Times chief editor Peter S. Goodman offers up a digestible, jargon-free overview of the debate. getAbstract recommends his insights to anyone looking for an easy entry point to an increasingly relevant policy discussion.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How to define universal basic income,
  • Why policy makers are giving the idea a closer look, and
  • What both advocates and detractors have to say about the concept.
 

About the Author

Peter S. Goodman is the editor in chief of the International Business Times.

 

Summary

A Finnish experiment with universal basic income could reverberate far beyond the Nordic country. The idea that all citizens should receive steady paychecks from the government to cover their basic food and shelter needs – regardless of whether they work or collect other income – may be coming into the mainstream. The objective of basic-income programs is to provide people with a baseline of security that frees them to pursue educational and vocational ventures to enhance their future employment prospects and, in turn, improve society at large. In the experiment, the Finnish government will randomly choose about 2,000 unemployed people across the socioeconomic spectrum to receive a basic income without having to navigate the time-consuming bureaucratic labyrinth of the unemployment office. The universal basic income is gaining traction as governments worldwide seek to address populist blowback from voters fed up with rising levels of economic insecurity and wage stagnation against a backdrop of globalization. Policy makers are increasingly willing to acknowledge that traditional unemployment schemes may be inadequate to address growing employment gaps in a new economic age.

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