unemployment

Rise Of The Machines Will Lead To “Communist-Style”, “Unconditional” Basic Income

I know someone who works at McDonald's in New York state. This person makes $9.50/hour and got a grand total of four hours last week. Clearly, that's hardly worth the trouble. But this person's experience didn't surprise me. While I don't generally agree that things are as simple as the Right would have you believe when it comes to raising wages for low-paying  jobs, what I would say is that marching down the street with placards that read "fight for $15" is more likely to lead to this... ... than it is to this... (incidentally, look at the third guy from the left - he's looking around like, "what the hell are we doing?") Don't believe me? Well, consider the following from Illinois Policy: As the Fight for $15 campaign, led by the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, protested for higher wages again Nov. 29, McDonald’s continued to unveil self-service kiosks throughout the country to counteract costly wage mandates. McDonald’s announced Nov. 17 it was expanding its digital self-serve ordering stations to all of its 14,000 restaurants nationwide. This new automation is something a McDonald’s location in Chicago’s Loop has been testing for months. Now th
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3 comments on “Rise Of The Machines Will Lead To “Communist-Style”, “Unconditional” Basic Income

  1. diplo0 says:

    I have been thinking about Basic Income for a long time. I don’t consider it communist or even socialist though. I see it more as an extension of Child Support and Study Grants (so let’s call it Adult Support instead). And a precursor to Pension benefits.

    At its very base level Child Support and Study Grants are income provided by the state so that all children can ‘consume’ those items needed for them to become valuable members of society. Similarly, Pension is income given so that the elderly can keep consuming and providing assistance and guidance to their offspring.

    So, the work performed to gain this income is Consumption of food, clothing, health services, education services… When thinking about this this way, it is strange that the state stops providing these benefits to adults. We all consume these things, but in the prime of our lives we have to fend for ourselves?

    I’m not of the opinion that the state should provide enough to be able to live comfortably. We should be forced to work so that we can improve our lives and that of society as a whole.

    All that automation does is just making it clearer that consumption is a big part of the economic cycle and that it should be considered as any other regular job.

  2. D. Carte says:

    As the author and DIPLO0 gaze into their respective crystal fortune telling balls, please clarify a few things:

    1. How do we define “basic income” and the associated upper and lower limits?

    2. Will the fight for “basic income” turn from the periodic government mandate to employers, aimed at those they employ, to an annual fight for redefinition in legislative bodies aimed at all inhabitants within the borders?

    3. Assuming the legislative bodies do take this “basic income” process on and we avoid the riots and protests in front of McDonald’s only to have the decisions made in the back rooms of capitols, how will the process be kept in check? Skipping the “small-scale experiments” in Finland and Canada, the example of Greece comes to mind.

    4. Forgetting the ethics or political beliefs, the combination of “Basic Income”, “Child Support”, “Study Grants” and “Pension benefits” (in 2016 who has the latter anymore?) should cover everyone from conception to the placing of the headstone. Specifically, how will this be paid for?

    5. I note the concept above of being “forced to work”. How will that be done and can a few examples of where this has worked be provided?

    6. The condensation of one author’s statements is that inhabitants will be ‘paid to consume so they can become a valuable members of society’. Perhaps a little sensational, but does that suggest that some of the most highly valued inhabitants have been through bankruptcy proceedings?

    Without having the authors answers to comfort one, the profound changes of the future wherein one is paid for being a consumer, forced to work and being told that one’s life is improved by technology seems a little sterile to say the least. What a price to “safeguard capitalism” from “Communism”! One wonders, how will they actually determine who is an Alpha, a Beta, a Gamma, a Delta or an Epsilon?

  3. jim says:

    When you are present in the core city are you not amazed by the number of individuals that are stationary or wandering? Do you wonder who is paying the bills of the people driving around their leased vehicles at 10 AM or 3 PM? sounds like basic income is already here.

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