Finland’s Folly

In January 2017 Finland became the first country in Europe to pay free basic income in a pilot program, which evoked enthusiasm around the world. It was a much-heralded socialistic experiment.

However, the Finnish government reportedly announced Tuesday that it will end the country’s universal basic income program by year’s end — and appears to be taking on new measures to cut benefits to those who do not actively seek employment.Finland was considered the first European country to pay a monthly check of $685 to its unemployed between ages 25 and 58. It was a pilot program — serving 2,000 randomly selected jobless people.

The initial move was met with skepticism from citizens who questioned whether an unemployed young person would be motivated to find a job if they were making a steady income, albeit small. “There is a fear that with basic income they would just stay at home and play computer games,” Heikki Hiilamo, a professor at the University of Helsinki, told the paper. This fear appears to be justified by the government’s cancelation of this program.

A little Bible understanding could have saved Finland some time and money. In 2 Thess. 3:10, the bible states, “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.’” This was written to early Christians who were sitting around and waiting for the Lord to return. Of course the scriptures say Christians need to take care of widows, orphans and the poor, and throughout history Christians have led the way in this. However, for those with strength and opportunity, they were created to be productive.

When DOVE’s first church planting team moved to Scotland many years ago it was confronted by multitudes of unemployed, glue sniffing, secondary school dropouts. The “dole” at that time gave young people the option to drop out of school at age 16 and start getting a check in the mail. As you may imagine, given that choice, many of the youth opted to quit school and start getting a check. A number of these young people gave their hearts to the Lord, gained a value for work and went on to live productive lives. The gospel brings with it what is called by mission’s experts “redemption and lift”.


Finland to end its universal basic income program by year’s end by Edmund DeMarche  Follow him on Twitter @EDeMarche.

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