Suppose you no longer have to work – you just receive a minimum basic income and then you get to pursue your passions, whether it’s watching TV, traveling, doing art or whatever. Does this sound attractive to you?
This is the basic premise offered by the tech guys as a solution to the pending robotic revolution, where most jobs will be done by machines. They call it the universal basic income or UBI for short. It sounds attractive on the surface: infinite leisure time. But what if you like to travel? Travel takes money and I bet the minimum basic income is just that – minimum. Minimum basic income would probably cover only food, clothing and housing. So how are you going to watch movies? Or create art? Or doing anything else? All of that takes …yep, more money.
And somebody would have to pony up the money for all of those folks who are not working, you know, those freeloaders, the 47% of the takers (actually, it could probably rise much higher, maybe 90% if the robots becomes essentially a superior human). It would have to be out of the super duper wealthy’s pocketbooks, the owners of the capital that are getting the money from the robots. You think they don’t want to be taxed now (see the articles relating to the leaked materials from a Panama law firm), why would they want to be taxed to give the “freeloaders” money for UBI.
Besides, mankind spent eons struggling to survive so we have not evolved for the life of leisure. We’ve evolved into a problem solving species, constantly working, not content to just lie back (at least most of us). So a lifetime of leisure might not work. There was a book out a couple of years ago with the same premise. I will have to find it and read it because I think it will become even more important.
The tech guys will be providing funding to research how UBI could work, but I think the concept is just an excuse for them to continue the robot solution and not think about the consequences of a massive unemployment and their role in it. Back when I was a kid, these kind of guys were not known for their social skills and today they appear to still be lacking in those skills. Somebody needs to knock their heads and say, “Boys, you need to get real. Look around you, or better still, spend time with the poor or the folks out in the country. Why do you think we have a Trump or Sanders revolution?”
If the Trump side are showing their hatred and bigotry against the blacks and foreigners, what do you think will happen when you have over 50% without jobs and nothing to do? They may eventually turn their focus toward the real culprit: the wealthy, which would include the tech guys. And this may happen sooner than we think.
If you want to read the article that prompted this post, just click here.