Since the beginning of last year, 2,000 Finns have been getting money from the government each month — and they are not expected to do anything in return. The participants, ages 25 to 58, are all unemployed and were selected at random by Kela, Finland’s social-security institution.
Instead of unemployment benefits, the participants now receive €560 ($690) a month, tax-free. Should they find a job during the two-year trial, they still get to keep the money.
While the project has been praised internationally for being at the cutting edge of social welfare, back in Finland, decision-makers are pulling the brakes and taking the project in a whole new direction.
“Right now, the government is making changes that are taking the system further away from a basic income,” Miska Simanainen, a Kela researcher, told the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.