(T)he debate about being an independent, self-reliant individual is moot. It’s not about morality, it’s about reality. Most Americans really have no choice. Since government has become so large, it’s almost impossible to live an entire life without collecting some form of government assistance. This reality has been forced upon you by a short-sighted and ignorant electorate. But ignorant as they may be, this is a democracy…and this is the new reality you get to live in. You can decide to take advantage of it or be taken advantage of.
Thus, to truly enjoy the decline you must take as much government money as possible.
On an earlier post, I flirted with the idea of government providing a guaranteed income to people who are both out-of-work and who have few prospects of ever finding work due to automation and the inevitable termination of entire career fields.
Mind you, this isn’t something I favor or am advocating. I’m not even saying that there is certainly a time in the future at which it might become a good idea. Instead, I think it’s an interesting proposition that’s at least worth exploring.
We know that about 1/3, maybe more, jobs in the US are expected to be eliminated due to the Rise of the Machines. Honestly, I’m less worried about the robots. I’m worried about the people who control the robots, but maybe that’s a topic for a different time.
I’m sure there are plenty of jobs that robots or software won’t be able to do for a long, long time if ever. Even then, however, we can only fill so many of those jobs with so many people in our growing population. Maybe some of you believe that new technology will result in new career opportunities. It’s possible. I don’t think my job even existed in 1997 (thankfully, it’s also resistant to automation). Who’s to say what 2037 might look like?
If you’re like me, you think that stupid humans have no chance of keeping up with the robots and that it’s inevitable that employers will gleefully push us out of the workforce wherever they can. Your plastic pal who’s fun to be with doesn’t need health insurance, doesn’t take vacation, doesn’t have any need for meeting with OSHA or EEOC requirements, and doesn’t talk back or call off of work. What’s not to love?
Given this reality, we have to entertain the possibility that the future involves millions of idle, unemployed people who are going to get restless as they get hungry. The argument becomes whether or not we should carry out the largest wealth redistribution in history, from the Bot Lords to the Fleshy Slobs. Pay what used to be the working and middle classes enough to subsist and keep the Internet turned on.
I would suggest that there’s a tipping point at which it’s not so much a moral imperative as it is a matter of survival for the ruling class. Unless they decide to use the robots to “cull the herd.” That’s a possibility too, I guess. Hopefully, they’ll be more open to paying us off.
For my part, I find Clarey’s point above to be very seductive. Whether or not we like to admit it, the direction of the US is toward socialism. We only really hate the word, but nobody refuses any entitlements ever. I really wonder why we shouldn’t take everything we can get. It’s not like the government money ever has to be paid back or covered with tax dollars.
Shouldn’t we all be allowed to join in on the free ride?
This is a Discourses post and that means we’re free to examine issues and ideas from a non-ideological viewpoint. There aren’t any right or wrong answers. It’s just an opportunity to look at a topic from a different perspective. So let’s begin.
You don’t have to answer any of these questions to participate in the discussion. Some people might find them useful as a jumping off point. Up to you.
- If you’re opposed to the idea of a guaranteed basic income, what is your opinion of Social Security? Is it really any different?
- When do you believe a basic income would become necessary? Would you base it off of labor force participation rate, unemployment rate, or what? Or should we start entertaining the idea right now?
- What career fields would you recommend to kids today to avoid being cucked out of a job by a droid? What is likely to be a growing field either in spite of or because of the increase in automation, besides Robot Ass Polisher (I suspect robots will polish other robots’ asses though)?
- How do you think a universal basic income would affect individual rights and liberty? At this point, aren’t we all just wards of the state?
- What would you consider to be fair for a basic income? Do you apply a means test or is it universal? Do we just allow enough for food and necessities or should it be enough to ensure everyone can have the latest iPhone?
- If you had the option of going on the dole and it was almost sufficient for you to maintain your current lifestyle, would you do it if it meant that you wouldn’t be allowed to work ever again or start your own business? You’d be taken care of for life, but never have the opportunity to better your circumstances or become rich. Would you do it?
That should work for starters.