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Solution to Korea jobless woes

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By John Burton

President Moon Jae-in faces a host of economic problems. Growth is slowing. Job creation is being hobbled by hikes in the minimum wage. Youth unemployment remains high. Domestic consumer spending is weakening. Lagging productivity threatens to lead to a loss of global competitiveness, while squeezing profit margins. Exports are slipping due to soft overseas demand and the U.S.-China trade dispute. All these factors are undermining confidence in the economy and threatening to increase jobless numbers.

So what should Moon do? Perhaps he should consider introducing universal basic income (UBI), which provides a minimum monthly payment to every citizen, no matter if they are rich or poor.

A recent two-year UBI experimental program in Finland found that although it did not solve the country's unemployment problem, it did make its recipients happier and less stressed. Perhaps, more importantly from the viewpoint of Moon's struggling government, "basic income recipients trusted politicians considerably more," according to the study.

UBI has recently been touted across the political spectrum. Progressive politicians like the concept because a minimum income offers a safety net to the unemployed and those holding vulnerable jobs in the gig economy. Right-wing libertarians support the idea because it........

© The Korea Times