Kim Lag Jung from Gyeonggi Province was interviewed about the South Korean Youth dividend program. The interview took place at the 2019 Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) Congress in India.

The interview covered the dividend and its reported benefit for local youth, local business owners and how it has affected the national conversation about basic income and whether it could be expanded to include more ages.

Since 2016, 3,500 South Korean youth have received the equivalent of 1,000,000₩ (US$872) in local currency that can be used at local small businesses. The youth dividend started in Seongnam city, but from 2019 it was expanded to 150,000 youth across Gyeonggi province with 31 cities.

In 2020, because of Covid-19, Gyeonggi Province gave the local cash 250,000₩ (220$). This was essentially a Covid Basic Income given to every citizen. Small businesses and traditional markets, especially street marketers were pleased with the program.

In addition, in April 2020, the first international South Korea Basic Income fair was hosted in Gyeonggi province. Another online fair was held in September 2020 with 150,000 participants. The fair will be held in April 2021 again.

Yujoo city in Gyeonggi province has begun an agricultural basic income project. The project will be implemented if it gains approval from the local legislature. Cultures and Arts Basic Income and basic income for pregnant women are being discussed as well.

In March 2022 with the presidential election, basic income will be a hot issue on the agenda. Basic Income Korean Network (BIKN) is trying to lead the basic income conversation during the election.

With Gyeonggi province, BIKN and a member of the national assembly from the Basic Income party was elected in 2020. This demonstrates basic income is becoming a widely discussed issue in Korea. Even few public schools are giving cash coupons to students to spend at the school cafeteria.

Below is the transcription of four interview questions being asked in the video.

  1. What is the biggest benefit of the youth dividend?

The Youth Basic Income was implemented in April 2019. Before that, it was implemented in 2016 in Seongnam city. Lee Jae-Myeong started it. Now he is the Gyeonggi provincial governor. He changed the Youth dividend to the youth basic Income and has been implementing it in 31 cities and districts. We had conducted a survey on 3,500 youth basic income recipients. The results say that the youth had difficulties not having any income and planning their future was hard due to financial difficulties such as unemployment. However, now that they have the youth basic income, they can make their future plans with it. That is the biggest surprise of the basic income research result.

2. What have business owners said about the Basic Income?

In Korea, Youth basic income gives local cash, which can only be used in Gyeonggi province. Its youth satisfaction rate is high. The reason why? Because there is a well-established infra structure for Basic Income consumption supported by Gyeonggi province. Small businesses and traditional markets, especially street market traders receive the local cash so that local business gain from it. Also, self-employed people and small business people are highly satisfied with the Youth basic income so that Basic Income is being widely spread and well known in Korea.

3. How has the youth dividend affected the national conversation about Universal Basic Income?

The youth dividend, implemented in 2016 in Seongnam city and the youth basic income, started in 2019 in 31 cities and districts, has a big impact on the Basic income discussion and basic income policymaking nationwide.

For example, starting the youth dividend in 2016, through the Youth Basic Income in 2019, now we discuss about agricultural Basic Income, Agricultural subsidy, Cultures and Arts basic income in Korea. Some local governments made it a reality. Political party members are having various discussions of the Basic Income legislation. Therefore, I am confident that the basic income will become a reality soon.

4. Will the youth dividend expand to include more ages in the future?

Yes. I am certain that its expansion will include infants, the elderly and cover all ages. As I mentioned earlier, right now, we are discussing the agricultural basic income, Agricultural subsidy, Cultures and Arts basic income, and the pregnant women basic income etc.

Written by: Mok Hwakyun (Moka)

The video is provided below:

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