For the next two years, 2,000 unemployed Finns will receive 560 Euros (roughly $581) every month as part of an experiment to reduce poverty and raise quality of life. The handouts will continue even if participants get part-time employment, start a business, or go back to school, giving researchers new insight into how a free basic income program could encourage or depress the country’s workers.
The hope is that such an economic safety net will embolden people to pursue valuable-but-risky career moves like founding a startup or getting an advanced degree. But giving people free money could equally inspire hundreds to follow their passions for TV-watching or partying.
“Some people think basic income will solve every problem under the sun, and some people think it’s from the hand of Satan and will destroy our work ethic,” admitted research lead Olli Kangas to The New York Times. “I’m hoping we can create some knowledge on this issue.”
Finland has a similar philosophy when it comes to dealing with the country’s homeless population: simply giving people a place to live.