As the march of the robots continues, society and big business may become so rich and unemployment and labour displacement may grow so great that basic income policies — redistribution policies ensuring a minimal income level for all citizens — become inevitable to support the displaced masses who have been driven out of work by automation, and to support demand in the economy. In the most advanced economies today such as Switzerland, there are already such proposals. Ultimately, such policies are not necessarily such a great shift from the redistributive welfare systems of today. The difference, of course, is that the welfare nets of today are set up to incentivise work, and keep a workforce fit for manual work. The welfare nets of a superabundant future in which automation has displaced most labour will need to be designed to give people the resources and skills to live a fulfilling life in a world where their manual labour may not be needed. The fact that our economies have not collapsed over the previous industrial revolutions and since the birth of the welfare state is reassurance that such a transition is possible.
Which got Frances thinking:
Thought experiment. Combine Rick’s post on global greying with this and see what you end up with…. http://t.co/ziMClxvz8W
— Frances Coppola (@Frances_Coppola) October 10, 2013
A future in which we can all grow old comfortably, perhaps, and lead those 32 cubed working lives we were promised?
Alas, I don’t have time to give much brain power to Frances’s thought experiment this morning (I will tackle it at some point) but you might. Any ideas?