Basic Finnish Income. Blessing or Curse?

Imagine waking up knowing that no matter what that you’ll have cash coming in? For thousands of Finns, this will soon become a reality.


Morning rays in Ukkokoli, Finland Courtesy of Flickr

Here in the United States, we do have our own social security program that is commonly used for the unemployed and retired, but Finland is in the process of developing a different idea about how to go about such funds coming from their government. In some ways, one could say that Scandinavian countries have shown a sense of real forward thinking. Their stance on things such as education, marriage, and even the indestructible Nokia mobile phone have indeed shown a sense of care to their people. That is why they have started a movement to create a basic income (560 euros) for all Finns regardless of employment or position.

But the questions that come up from such a thing are Would it work? or Would it just add to the very problems that they are trying to fix?

Leonid Bershidsky, a columnist of the Bloomberg View tells us that the liberals view this as a way to eliminate poverty and libertarians view it as an opportunity to shrink government. Sure, these are great possibilities, but is such a thing too bold?

As I was speaking with my mother Valerie Riddle about this subject, she brought up the point, “After the 560 is spent, wouldn’t they be back to poverty?” A great point. So, for something like this, it would be a great idea to increase national financial knowledge by teaching all private citizens how to keep a budget. I work at a bank and am a college student, so I am the first person to say that keeping a budget is the only way to stay above the water.

With this in mind, Paivi Hietikko, a local of Pori, Finland says “A basic income would encourage people to take a temporary job,”. Because she works at Pori’s centre for the unemployed, she may be on to something.

We do have to return to the undeniable fact that if this is imposed on all Finns, there would be a pretty hefty income tax put on any outside income besides the government’s help. And according to all of the personal testimonies of Finns that I have perused, Finland is already a super expensive country to live in. So, this may end up turning into a blessing for some, but a bit of an annoyance for others.

The idea of limiting government though, is a great idea. If Finland were to effectively pull this off, their whole social security system would be taken and exponentially simplified. I am a firm believer that when government gets simplified that they have less problems. When they have less problems, they give the little guy a much easier time.

At the end of the day, this is a great idea in theory, but there are a few problems as we have seen. There also is the fact that this is only 560 euros per month when it has been said that 970 is actually the amount necessary for the average Finn to live (food, rent, bills inclusive).

-Loren Riddle WR 121-19



2 thoughts on “Basic Finnish Income. Blessing or Curse?

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