Should Adults Get an Allowance, Too?

Mar 12th, 2016 • Category: Featured

By CATE GARRETSON, age 10

Finland could be among the first countries to pay a basic income to all adult citizens, an idea that is being considered by nations around the world.
Finland could be among the first countries to pay a basic income to all adult citizens, an idea that is being considered by nations around the world. PHOTO: Christopher Andrews/Flickr

Finland is planning an experiment in 2017 to help combat poverty in the country. The experiment will give a group of Finnish citizens a basic, universal income, almost like an allowance, to cover living costs. If the plan works, all adults in Finland could receive about 800 euros a month (around $875).

Olli Kangas, the designer of the experiment, hopes the program will help unemployed Finns take part-time jobs, notes Fast Company.

Critics are afraid the plan could upset Finland’s shaky economy. However, the plan is projected to be easier for all Finns to access than previous forms of benefits, welfare and social security. Because all adult citizens will receive the same amount, it is intended to help fight income inequality in Finland.

According to a poll done by Kela, a Finnish government agency, 69 percent of Finns support the basic income plan. Finnish citizen Paivi Antturi told IndyKids she thinks the plan could work, but she has some concerns. “[It could be] helpful for those who work as freelancers, but I’m not sure it would necessarily change the mindset of anyone who doesn’t want to work.” But the Finnish government believes the plan could give the unemployed the opportunity to go back to school or to take jobs that otherwise would not have paid enough.

During a similar experiment in Uganda in 2013, working hours went up by 17 percent, and earnings increased by 38 percent, according to Quartz. Y Combinator, a startup company in Silicon Valley, CA, is already making plans to fund a similar program in the United States.

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