ALL TOPICS. ALL SIDES. ONE PLACE.

The Latest

THE LATEST

THE LATEST THINKING

THE LATEST THINKING

The opinions of THE LATEST’s guest contributors are their own.

The Basis for Universal Basic Income

Robert Dimuro

Posted on February 10, 2019 15:32

0 user

Is a welfare system based on universal basic income the best way forward in an increasingly automated world?

As new innovations and technologies continue to transform our world, large groups of people are in danger of being left behind economically. This is primarily because of how rapidly automation is replacing human labor across the nation.

Although it’s true that jobs are being created by the production and maintenance of an increasing number of automated machines, more jobs are being eliminated than added in this process. Specifically, these lost jobs are entry-level jobs that are in high demand for young people who are newly entering the workforce and also for anyone looking to make extra money for his/her family.

Undeniably, many people depend on the source of income from entry-level jobs to survive and make a living. Many of these entry-level jobs could cease to exist in the foreseeable future and disappear in rapid succession. From self-driving vehicles to automated cashiers and sales agents, a new wave of automation will shock our economy and workforce. Since no company will forsake the implementation of new technologies that are more efficient, productive, and cost-effective than paying wages, widespread automation may result in widespread unemployment.

Staunch libertarians and objectivists reject any kind of public provisioning for those who are struggling in poverty, having unwavering faith that the free market and private initiative will take care of every societal ill. This viewpoint won't be easy to defend if human labor is rapidly displaced by automation, plummeting the supply of human jobs. In this context, providing universal basic income (UBI) to all citizens could become a reality. This would be purely a practical necessity rather than an ideological push towards a socialist economy.

In another article, I will discuss the pros and cons of UBI and its potential effects on society. Here, I want to emphasize that, despite how outlandish UBI may seem from a capitalistic perspective, it may be necessary for capitalism’s continued existence. There is always room for manual labor in a Kibbutz-style society; however, the logical conclusion of innovation continually wrought by capitalism is a society in which manual labor becomes unnecessary for survival. In this hypothetical society, man wouldn’t be judged on his ability to produce but rather on his intellectual acuity, creativity, and ability to bond with others.

For this utopia to exist, capitalism must continue to be the basis of our economy, and people must be able to survive and thrive within it. However, in principle, a purely laissez-faire economic system will not ensure that this happens, as it hinges on the ability of individuals to earn money in order to survive. At one time, this system was nearly perfect, as it incentivized productive work in a labor-intensive economy. However, in today's world, even in automation’s primitive stages, our economy has completely transformed, resting more and more on the growth and innovation of multinational corporations that are hurtling towards a future in which they can sustain themselves with limited human involvement.    

Robert Dimuro

Posted on February 10, 2019 15:32

Comments

comments powered by Disqus
Source: Quartz

Universal basic income (UBI) is either a miracle cure for ailing capitalist economies or a dead end for a doomed, under-employed...

THE LATEST THINKING

Video Site Tour

The Latest
The Latest

Subscribe to THE LATEST Newsletter.

The Latest
The Latest

Share this TLT through...

The Latest