An earlier incarnation, called the negative income tax, was pitched by the conservative economist Milton Friedman in the early 1960s as a way to curtail the growing government antipoverty programs of that era. ...... among many tech elites and their boosters, the idea of a basic income seems to have morphed from an antipoverty strategy into a radical new way of seeing work and leisure. ....... the economy is becoming increasingly dominated by machines and software.
A Future Without Jobs? Two Views of the Changing Work Force
A problem I have with the idea of a universal basic income — as opposed to, say, wage subsidies or wage insurance to top up the earnings of people who lose their job and must settle for a new job at a lower wage — is that it relies on an unlikely future. It’s not a future with a lot of crummy work for low pay, but essentially a future with little or no paid work at all. ...... They see a future in which a small group of highly skilled tech workers reign supreme, while the rest of the job world resembles the piecemeal, transitional work we see coming out of tech today (Uber drivers, Etsy shopkeepers, people who scrape by on other people’s platforms). ...... techies have a philosophical bent toward big ideas, and U.B.I. is very big. ..... Norwegians work 20 percent fewer hours per year than Americans; Germans 25 percent fewer. They have taken much more of their wealth in the form of leisure rather than money. ......
And, by the way, I’ve read about robots that can program. So maybe the programmers aren’t safe either....... It will be O.K., under this policy, to choose a life of learning instead of a low-paying bad job. ..... a universal basic income functions properly only in a world with little or no paid work because the odds of anybody taking a job when his or her needs are already being met are going to be fairly low. ...... If the idea of robots taking over sounds like science fiction, the idea of the American government agreeing to tax capitalists enough to hand out checks to support the entire working class is in an entirely new category of fantasy. ...... One of the reasons some libertarians and conservatives like U.B.I. is that it is a very simple, efficient and universal form of welfare — everyone gets a monthly check, even the rich, and the government isn’t going to tell you what to spend it on. Its very universality breaks through political opposition. .....
Andy Stern, the former head of the S.E.I.U., will soon publish a book calling for a basic income. ...... The techies, as usual, are either way ahead of everyone, or they’re living in some other universe. .....
tools and techniques we have developed in recent times — from gene sequencing to electron microscopes to computers that can analyze data at enormous speeds — are about to open up vast new frontiers of possibility.
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and the mood shifted, as well, turning tense and electric...... One young woman, a Trump supporter, was shoved against the metal barricades and began to cry. A group of older women left early, shortly after a man holding a “K.K.K. 4 Trump” sign was hustled out nearby.
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