Unconditional Basic Income (UBI)

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Lance Kennedy
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Unconditional Basic Income (UBI)

Postby Lance Kennedy » Sat Oct 17, 2015 8:20 pm

Reference : New Scientist, 3 October 2015, page 28

It appears rather probable that developments in computing and robotics will eliminate a large percentage of jobs. One estimate is that half of all jobs will be gone in 20 years. How do we provide for all those people who are not working?

The leading proposal is the UBI. This simplifies the whole thing by having governments provide a basic income to everyone, regardless of whether they are working or not, or whether they have another income. Several experiments have already been carried out, in which it was shown that people receiving the UBI still wanted to work, and still did work when work was available.

Already we are in a world where a large part of the total economy of western nations is dominated by a very few large companies which employ very few people. What happens when such companies take over almost all economic activity, and most people are unemployed?

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Re: Unconditional Basic Income (UBI)

Postby landrew » Sat Oct 17, 2015 10:18 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:Reference : New Scientist, 3 October 2015, page 28

It appears rather probable that developments in computing and robotics will eliminate a large percentage of jobs. One estimate is that half of all jobs will be gone in 20 years. How do we provide for all those people who are not working?

The leading proposal is the UBI. This simplifies the whole thing by having governments provide a basic income to everyone, regardless of whether they are working or not, or whether they have another income. Several experiments have already been carried out, in which it was shown that people receiving the UBI still wanted to work, and still did work when work was available.

Already we are in a world where a large part of the total economy of western nations is dominated by a very few large companies which employ very few people. What happens when such companies take over almost all economic activity, and most people are unemployed?

Almost none of us are doing the jobs our grandparents had, yet the disappearance of those jobs hasn't put us all in the breadline. Notwithstanding the advent of welfare, new jobs were created in place of those which became obsolete.

In the early 19th century, the appearance of threshing machines caused widespread riots by farm workers who feared for the end of their jobs. The most famous of these were the Swing Riots which resulted a number of the protesters being hanged or sent to Australia. In retrospect, if they'd had their way, and mechanization of grain harvesting had never happened, a loaf of bread might cost you $50 today.

By the same token today, we're seeing the taxi industry being displaced by motorists who are choosing to hire out their cars using services like Uber and Lyft. No one likes abrupt changes in their livelihood, but if society chooses it over taxis (the way they chose automobiles over horses and buggies) so be it. I don't think we need to get excited about loss-of-jobs due to automation, because it's never hurt us overall in the long term, throughout our history.
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Lance Kennedy
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Re: Unconditional Basic Income (UBI)

Postby Lance Kennedy » Sat Oct 17, 2015 10:39 pm

Hmmm

I understand your point, but I do not think I agree. In the past, simple jobs involving production were replaced by automation, but in the next 20 years, much more complex jobs will go. For example, another article I read stated that the whole profession of accounting will disappear, with new and smarter software.

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Re: Unconditional Basic Income (UBI)

Postby Gord » Sat Oct 17, 2015 11:49 pm

As a communist, I wonder why this thread got posted twice. As a lazy person...meh, whatevs.
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Re: Unconditional Basic Income (UBI)

Postby landrew » Sun Oct 18, 2015 12:07 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:Hmmm

I understand your point, but I do not think I agree. In the past, simple jobs involving production were replaced by automation, but in the next 20 years, much more complex jobs will go. For example, another article I read stated that the whole profession of accounting will disappear, with new and smarter software.

Good point. I guess it depends whether the Artilects win or not.
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Re: Unconditional Basic Income (UBI)

Postby Matthew Ellard » Sun Oct 18, 2015 12:31 am

Lance Kennedy wrote: For example, another article I read stated that the whole profession of accounting will disappear, with new and smarter software.


Humans are creative animals and will always find new complex scams to cheat on tax or in criminal ways. Professions like accounting and law are are dynamic and responsive to new scams being introduced. Therefore I am suggesting these occupations are "self generating feed back loops" that will always exist. :D

We had a series of lectures from a bloke from the OECD, who made the witty closing comment, that as accountants and lawyers don't actually produce anything their "population" is really a healthy indicator that the economy has enough fat to support them. That made me laugh. :D


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