All eyes were on Finland in January 2017 when they announced they would test the idea of a “basic income program,” which would randomly give 2,000 unemployed citizens a $685 check each month. The hope was that the money would be used to help fuel the economy. A little over a year since its inception, Finland’s government announced on Tuesday that the project was a failure.
The program’s idea, which was the first of its kind in Europe, was at the time praised by Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk who claimed an adequate basic income is needed for all citizens to balance an economy.
The two moguls may be retracting their original statements, however, as Finnish government officials proclaimed the experiment from the last year was a failure and did not yield any beneficial results for the economy or the country.
In fact, since people were being incentivized to do nothing, the unemployment rate increased a fair amount. According to USA Today, the unemployment rate over the year span exceeded 8 percent. In comparison, that would be double the 4.1 percent unemployment rate in the United States for the same time period.
Finland’s officials were basically learning as they went as such a program had never been tested before. In February of 2018, a think tank completed an economic survey of Finland and discovered for this basic income strategy to work, the country would need to increase the country’s income tax to an excess of 30 percent.
The BBC reported that Finland will release their own findings to the public sometime before the year is over. “The eagerness of the government is evaporating. They rejected extra funding [for it],” Olli Kangas, one the creators behind the unorthodox premise, said.
“I’m a little disappointed that the government decided not to expand it,” Kangas said. Those who supported the idea of the basic income program originally stated it would allow people who were unemployed to have some wiggle room to find another job since the program acted as a safety net.”
Finland’s government announced that they will seek other alternative methods for reforming the Finnish social security system.