Imagine this: as you’re worried about how to pay bills and make your rent, you get a check from the government for $876. Every month.
That’s what Finland is doing. The Nordic nation is getting closer this month to finalizing a solution to poverty: paying each of its 5.4 million people $876 tax-free a month — and in return, it will do away with welfare benefits, unemployment lines, and the other bureaucracy of its extensive social safety net.
The concept, called basic income, has been a popular source of debate among academics and economists for decades, though Finland would be the first nation in the European Union — and the first major nation anywhere — to actually implement the idea on a universal basis. The basic income was popularized by the economist Milton Friedman in the 1960s as a “negative income tax.”
The Finnish proposal, which is still being drafted…
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