Would you prefer a wage or an unconditional income?
Finland has decided to give 2,000 citizens the equivalent of A$844 per month for two years, no strings attached.
Crucially participants still get the money even if they find work. They can supplement the unconditional income with paid work as much as they like.
The debate on whether this policy is affordable, not socialist enough, morally wrong or simply the best idea since sliced bread, will expand as more jurisdictions try the experiment.
It will be a challenging discussion because the idea either pitches hard or soft at so many long-held beliefs.
Here are a few of them…
- Money for nothing is always a bad idea
- Laziness is inevitable if you give people all they want
- Give people a safety net and they will soar way above it
- Entrepreneurs just need a start
- Robin Hood wasn’t such a great guy so why do all that over again
- You can’t give money to everyone so all the rich buggers get it too
- Labour has to be remunerated
- Unemployment is just an inevitable consequence of the economic system
- Mess with balance between capital and labour and the sky will fall in
Basic income raises fundamental questions about work. What it is, does and even if we need it in a modern society. And this is a debate we have to have. Not just for the moral and economic questions about work but because work will have to change [link to buying car post] as economies automate.
So, what do you think?
What would you feel about $844 a month just for being a citizen? More importantly, what would you do with the money?