Universal Income? For everybody?
I read an article this past Saturday, shared in the Conversation Community at Google+, about the idea of Universal Income. It was re-posted from an article written at FastCompany.com by journalist Ben Schiller. http://www.fastcoexist.com/3040832/world-changing-ideas/a-universal-basic-income-is-the-bipartisan-solution-to-poverty-weve-bee
An idea with support from the right and the left.
The article suggests that persons on both the right and left of the political spectrum are discussing this idea. Why? For various reasons, but one that will have a very real effect on the discussion is already just a decade or two away from making an idea like this a necessity. That being the advance of robotics and artificial intelligence, and how the convergence of the two will put many people out of a job.
What would it be like for everyone to be provided with a live-able income? Whether you need it, or not?
I think that if we had a universal income, that there will still be winners and losers, as a result of the cause and effect of taking risk. Some, perhaps many, will enjoy the security of everything being taken care of for them. No worries. But others will not be happy with what is. They will want more, and they will want to take risks to get more, to experience more. Some will win, and some will lose, based on the risks they take. For them, and I’m probably one of them, risking, and gaining, in pursuit of something other than what is given, or allowed, is what makes life interesting, and stimulating. I think that’s part of our humanity.
Would Universal Income cause us to become dependent, like children, or pets, or would our humanity be set free to pursue the things that we really love to do?
It may be that the masses will accept everything being taken care of for them, like children, or pets. On the other hand, if decent food, clothing, and shelter are provided for, the imagination, and talents of men and women, whose income generating work will be displaced by robots and artificial intelligence soon, anyways, could be freed up to pursue those things that really drive their passions. Travel, art, photography, music, creating, sports, cooking, gardening, exploring, adventuring, discovering, and sharing those discoveries, etc… It’s possible that a universal income scenario could actually usher in a new creative renaissance for mankind. Or, act as an economic pabulum and pacifier for a robot controlled existence.
Something to truly consider, and I am happy that you gave a link to the story.
I believe you are right when you say there would be winners and losers in that kind of society.
One thing that came to mind was the druggies and having more income to support the habit. (loss) but possibly could see a decline in the need for them to commit crimes to gain money for the habit. (win)
Single mothers may not need to go to work and put children in day care. (definate win) But the daycare centers would dwindle, possibly only being open to give a break when needed. (a loss for the care workers)
As for me, I would love to see the utopian world professed in futuristic shows like Star Trek, where the need to gain more is replaced by the need to understand more. Where the need to be one up on your neighbor is replaced by feelings of “what can I do to help my fellow man”. It is a wish as old as the hills, and perhaps…just perhaps its time has come. I hope I live to see it.