Basic income experiments gain momentum – The Korean Herald


“In Korea, the idea of basic income has been floated for a decade. But it is only recently that the debate on the amount and source of funding gained traction, after Lee Jae-myung first introduced the youth allowance program in 2016 as the mayor of Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province.

In April, Lee, who won the Gyeonggi Province governorship in 2018, launched the Youth Basic Income program across the province, which is the most populous in the country with a population of 12.34 million as of 2014. Gyeonggi Province encompasses 31 cities or counties surrounding Seoul. 

“The basic income will be an alternative to realizing a fairer world in the era of the ‘fourth industrial revolution,’” Lee said in his opening remarks at the 2019 Basic Income Exhibition, which ran April 29-30. 

Twenty-four-year-olds who have lived in Gyeonggi Province for three consecutive years or who have lived in the province for more than 10 years in total are eligible to receive the money. 

Upon submitting an online application, qualifying 24-year-olds are given 250,000 won [212 USD] in the form of “local currency” every quarter for a total of 1 million won over a year. The local currency can be used at traditional markets, restaurants and shops in Gyeonggi Province, which officials believe will also boost the local economy.

No conditions — such as job-search efforts or parental income levels — are attached. 

In the first quarter of this year, 124,438 people — 82.93 percent of those eligible for the benefits — applied for the allowance.”