Benjamin Hall | CNBC
Mika Ruusunen was selected to participate in Finland's universal basic income trial.
Less bureaucracy, more flexibility
Reducing bureaucracy in the welfare system is one of the main aims of the universal basic income trial in Finland. The government is testing whether basic income is a more flexible policy than existing welfare programs for providing assistance and work incentives to an evolving workforce.
"It is assumed that this would be a policy that could activate people through different mechanisms and, well, we want to find out if that's the case," said Miska Simanainen, a researcher at Kela, the government organization overseeing the trial.
Finland's universal basic income experiment launched January 1, 2017 and will run until the end of 2018. Official results from the trial won't be released until it concludes. Experts said it's not surprising the Nordic country known for its generous welfare benefits, like universal free education, is at the forefront of a new economic experiment.
"We have had political discussions on basic income for many years, actually, for a couple of decades in Finland," Simanainen said.
The idea of free money has become more popular in recent years thanks to advocates in Silicon Valley like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg. They see universal basic as a cushion for workers whose jobs might be replaced by automation or robots. Advocates argue free money could provide workers with flexibility to retrain for a new career, pursue creative interests, or start their own business.