Money

Universal basic income: far-fetched socialist dream or future fact?

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It is a utopian idea, literally, but is enjoying a renaissance as politicians and policy wonks grapple with technology-driven changes that could redefine our very understanding of work.

 

If robots and machine intelligence threaten to render many white-collar jobs obsolete, then what will people do for money?

Enter the concept of a “universal basic income”, a flat sum paid to all regardless of your existing wealth or ability to work. It is one of the rare ideas that has support from both the libertarian right — which favours tearing up the welfare state — and the left wing.

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  • Thorvid

    Unless this it duscussed openly in society as a whole, soon, we are already heading to the dystopian future. We already see the gap getting bigger currently 8 men have amassed as much wealth as 1/2 the World!

    The real impact of robots on the general working population is generally being downplayed in the mainstream media, it’s promoted as ‘amazing’, ‘good’, ‘cool’. The other issues are ignored.
    Anyone to trying to discuss any of the social issues, and recommending solutions like unerversal basic income are framed as stupid or ridiculous schemes that will make people lazy and not look for work. Pilot/Trial schemes are also dismissed (look at the criticism of the Trial in Finland from the establishment.)

    Or they are portrayed as doom merchants as it’s not what happened in the past. While I agree it isn’t what happened in the past, to a certain extent. In the past, it didn’t happen so fast or accross every industry at the same time. With robots it’s going to happen very very quickly. Whole sectors of jobs, that employ millions Worldwide will be wiped out, more or less overnight. For example driving, and retail assistants. We already see automated stores (Amazon grocery, pick a car manufacturer), these will be an everyday reality in the next 5 years, if not before.
    We are seeing massive resistance from the establishment, (bankers, tech companies, investors etc) to any idea that brings in profit share for the 97% of us who will be unable to find any work, (not due to laziness, but due to the simple fact there will be no jobs for the majority of the Worlds human beings).
    Which of course is shortsighted by this establishment, as if they don’t allow this lack of income for the masses to be addressed, who will be able to afford all products the robots are merrily producing, delivery and serving?

    They do not entertain any system that dilutes thier profits. So unless the general public get highly involved in an open discussion about how we handle this rapidly approaching reality, it will be too late. The wealth of a small handful of people will grow, while us the masses will have nothing, literally nothing.