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S. Korean province holds fair on Basic Income policy Updated: 2019-04-29 16:04:00 KST

Gyeonggi-do Province held its first Basic Income Fair on Monday in Suwon, just south of Seoul, to let people know what a basic income is and how it could benefit society.

More than 18-thousand people came to listen to local and international experts discussing the idea.

Gyeonggi-do is at the forefront of the initiative in Korea, having introduced a Youth Basic Income system just this month.

For now, the program applies only to people born in 1995 who have lived in Gyeonggi-do Province for more than 3 years. This year they get a one-time payment of around 860 U.S. dollars in what the province is calling "local currency."
This means gift certificates or prepaid cards issued by the city that for the most part can only be used at small and mid-sized businesses.

Small business owners welcomed the event because it helps their sales.

"Lots of young people are getting a basic income in the form of this 'local currency.' But many don't know how to use it or what it looks like. Here they can learn about it by purchasing our products, so its good for us."

"Gyeonggi-do Province will work with other regions in Korea in the future to study basic income in more depth. This kind of fair will help in coming up with good policies."

And to inform the public about the trend internationally, Gyeonggi-do Province explained the various pilot programs in other countries.
For instance, the Finnish government began a pilot program in 2017, giving a basic income to 2,000 unemployed people, which some see as a major step towards improving quality of life.

"The event is also about people experiencing how their lifestyles would change if they were provided a basic income. The participants have been enjoying activities ranging from sports to virtual reality."

Some say the basic income system is an "irresponsible" or "populist" cash handout. But others say it can not only improve people's lives but also lead to higher economic growth by boosting consumption.
Ko Roon-hee, Arirang News.
Reporter : krh@arirang.com
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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