What is your take on Universal Basic Income?

In listening to your shows and reading your books for the last several months, I'm convinced by your advocacy for co-ops and the idea that labor-saving technological innovations would result in less labor time for the same amount of income and no need for layoffs under a co-op model as opposed to a capitalist model, which "saves" labor by eliminating jobs. However, what happens when a technology comes along that eliminates or greatly diminishes entire sectors of the economy or the need for a majority of workers in that field? Accounting comes to mind. Prior to the invention of free software that allows more people to do their taxes with relative ease, armies of highly skilled and knowledgeable accounts were needed. Software meant being a CPA was not a guaranteed long-term career option. The same goes for travel agents. I'm an academic (or struggling to be an academic, playing the adjunct game, which you have spoken of perceptively); the end result of online courses seems to be the elimination of a huge percentage of higher ed teaching jobs (which I think would be disastrous for a democracy, but that's another question). Thus, my question: what is your take on Universal Basic Income? Do you see this as a viable solution? The book Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work by Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams has got me very excited about the prospects for full automation and "100% unemployment." To what extent do we have to de-valorize work, labor, toil on the ideological level? To what extent is this even possible? I would love to hear a whole show about your views on the possibilities and problems with UBI. Thanks! You're doing great and much needed work!

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  • Matt Hauske
    published this page in Ask Prof. Wolff 2017-04-30 18:58:55 -0400