Podcast
The New Poor
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The New Poor

In-work poverty: when having a job is worse than not having one

 

Voiced Ben Cohen 

Словарь Ножницы Перевод Значение Замена

Wasting six years and draining my parent's savings account for a master's in cultural anthropology was not a smart choice. Surprisingly, a liberal arts degree is not a foundation of a successful career. It left me with exactly one career destination: working the graveyard shift at a greasy spoon on the outskirts of Helsinki.
My wages barely cover the bare necessities. I'm biking to work to save on gas. Yup, biking in Finland, the country that has only two seasons: winter and slightly warmer winter. I rarely go out, I don't date and generally steer clear of any activities that involve spending money due to the complete and continuous lack thereof. I'd rather be unemployed, literally.
This year in Finland their authorities are testing a new economic strategy known as Basic Income. They will be giving free money to jobless citizens, about 550 euro per month, no questions asked, no prerequisites whatsoever. The point is to see if this will impact people's motivation to look for a job. I'm seriously thinking of quitting my job to qualify for this program.
I get that others may abuse the system. But will such guaranteed income hamper my job search? I doubt it. It will remove the threat of poverty so that I won't have to settle for a menial job. Perhaps this way I'll find a better application for my academic knowledge than serving fried eggs to truck drivers.