Moving forward with innovative government policies

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Finland’s progressive policies
By Jerry Brownstein
Finland’s prime minister Sanna Marin is the youngest female head of government in the West, and she has spearheaded an acceleration of her country’s progressive policies. Ms Marin leads a coalition gov-ernment in which all five parties are led by women, and they are aiming to set Finland on a course that uses innovative ideas to improve people’s lives. One of those ideas is a four day work week with six hour working days. Marin said, “I believe people deserve to spend more time with their families, loved ones, hobbies and other aspects of life. This could be the next step for us in working life.”

Another positive program that is championed by Finland is their “Housing First” concept. Like most coun-tries they had struggled with the problem of taking care of the homeless. The government had built many short term shelters, but this did not solve the problem because it did not create a way for people to es-cape the trap of homelessness. They couldn’t get jobs without a housing address, and without a job they couldn’t get a flat. It was a vicious circle. In 2008 Finland started ‘Housing First’ with the goal that every citizen should have a residence. Under this program all homeless people are eligible to receive a small apartment and free counselling without any preconditions. It has been a great success as the number of homeless people is declining toward zero.

Finland has also been a leader in exploring the use of Universal Basic Income as the best way to reduce income inequality and provide for those who are in need. In this system every citizen has the right to start getting a monthly payment the day they turn 21, and they will continue receiving it for the rest of their lives. The amount of monthly payment needs to be just enough to live a simple life, because if it is more than that too many people may decide not to work. Finland has already experimented with this idea and they are looking into being the first country to implement it.

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