Universal Basic Income. What is it? It’s a basic allotment of cash every month for every citizen of a certain age in the entire country. A security payment of sorts. Enough for your basic needs. Regardless of income level. The exact same amount for every person, including the wealthy. Automation in the technology sector will only continue to rise.
If we are careless, we may find ourselves in a land of squalid poverty. If we are careful, we may just manage to rid ourselves of the drudgery of repetitive work. Automation across all sectors of manufacturing and service industries will continue to claim traditionally human jobs. Jobs that consistently put food on the table will become sparse and hard to find, with fewer hours and more unstable scheduling. Looking towards the future and recognizing that we have a tremendous amount of potential as a species is paramount to our success as a people. Experts from Elon Musk to Stephen Hawking to Neil DeGrasse Tyson have warned of increased automation and our impending need to press this issue at a national level.
Some critics of UBI suggest that it is impossible politically to get this type of legislation to a vote. The Nixon Administration managed to get this to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote in 1969. And with him being an unpopular President at the time, this shows us how popular an idea of this magnitude would be. The only reason this didn’t get voted on was that Progressives shut the bill down to try and get more. A worthy goal. Maybe bad timing. And until just a few years ago, very little political will has been put towards this common sense idea. Elected leaders in the State of Hawaii just passed a bill through the House in support of UBI implementation. Hawaiians are pleased with the progress. Talks are currently underway within the political structure.
A sustainable social safety net without the unending, complicated bureaucracy is worth the effort. This type of preemptive planning would result in the overall decline of extreme poverty. Benefit fraud would be a thing of the past as people are given the freedom to possibly chase after an old dream that was put away for the sake of family survival. Unions will be strengthened due to workers becoming more emboldened to stand up against unfair or unsafe conditions.
Fortunes made from technological advances would be fairly distributed amongst the populace and more social equity would be achieved. Social dependence on a work schedule would end. There would be more hours available to those previously left out of certain career fields. Creating a better distribution of hours worked amongst the populace. Stay-at-home parents, grandparents, caregivers, and volunteers would all feel compensated for their efforts in the community. We could possibly strive for something even greater. Once we are free from mundane tasks we can focus as a people, and look towards a healthier future.