South Korea: Lottery for “Another Life” – Tio Su-ki Basic Income Pilot for and by young people


Daejeon, South Korea. Started in October 2016 a group of young people from Daejeon in South Korea initiated the ‘Tio Su-Ki project’, which was presented by the Basic Income Korea Network (BIKN) at this year’s Universal Basic Income (UBI) summit in Lisbon. The pilot was realized through donations by over 200 participants, out of which 3 winners were selected in a lottery-style competition. The winners received 500,000 won (around 370 €) per month for six months – and all three reported better quality of life and stronger focus on their life goals and interests. One of the winners explained the experience: ‘People who eat bananas think differently from those who never do and know more than those without experiencing bananas. I think that the basic income experiment gave me a lot of money, so I can imagine another life.’

Inspired by the presentation of “My Basic Income” at Seoul’s 2016 UBI summit, Tio Su-Ki aimed at raising awareness for the societal impacts of UBI in a country, which still has the second longest average working hours in the OECD. It responded specifically to a situation that sees many young South Koreans with huge student loans, precarious part-time jobs and a general climate of weak labor unions and a tumultuous political situation. As the organizers of the pilot observed, many South Koreans still perceive the idea of UBI to be a direct contradiction with national labor ethics and perceptions, which are focused around ‘honest work’ as the legitimacy for wages. The project is part of a wider movement in South Korea, which is gathering support for multiple pilot studies with varying designs in other cities including Seoul, Seongnam and the Hankyoreh 21 project.

The project title encapsulates the ambition to give spare time to fast-paced, city lives. Participants were asked to fill in a questionnaire on Kakaotalk, a Korean social network, after which three winners were selected randomly, all of them in their twenties and early thirties. Promotion for the project included a Basic Income monopoly game and events.The gamified design of the pilot was a major contributing factor for building curiosity and interest in the project.

More information at:

Scott Douglas Jacobsen, “Seoul National University Economy professor Lee Keun says South Korea needs BI”, Basic Income News, January 21st, 2017

Karl Widerquist, “SOUTH KOREA: Basic Income Coalition created with aim to support candidates in elections”, Basic Income News, May 27th, 2010

About Marleen Boschen

Marleen Boschen has written 1 articles.

The views expressed in this Op-Ed piece are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of Basic Income News or BIEN. BIEN and Basic Income News do not endorse any particular policy, but Basic Income News welcomes discussion from all points of view in its Op-Ed section.

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