South Korea has started Basic Income Experiments

Posted on November 1, 2020

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The governor of Gyeonggi province which surrounds the capital Seoul has introduced a COVID-related cash transfer program of 100,000 won (equivalent to about 85 US$) every three months to all residents of the province. He suggests that this amount should be gradually increased to 430 US$ and paid on a regular monthly basis. The money is paid in a local currency so that it can only be used in local businesses in order to strengthen the regional economy.

The governor has gained experience with cash transfer programs as a local mayor when he started a basic income for young university graduates of 24 years in his town who often had difficulties to find a job. When he became governor he extended the program to the graduates of the whole province and then started a similar cash transfer program for local farmers. Eventually he wants to introduce a universal basic income for all citizens of South Korea. He plans to finance such a program through taxes on the private exploitation of the commons such as land, which is a public asset, carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels, and digital services using data produced by citizens.

You can find out more about this initiative in the Korea Herald “Gyeonggi Province sets example for universal basic income“, the websites Seoul “UBI in Korea Starts with The Youth Basic Income Project in Gyeonggi-do” and Nikkei Asia “Universal basic income gains support in South Korea after COVID“. You may also want to read the report of the Korea Basic Income Fair in September and short video (7 minutes) of Wall Street Journal about the experiment in Gyeonggi Province.