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‘An abundance of resources’ – high-tech innovators call for universal basic income

Dave Ransom  |  Issue: March 2017
new technology by the corporations

With the new technology an abundance of goods and services are being created. But the private property of this new technology by the corporations, prevents the majority of the people to benefit from it.
CARTOON: Daniel Villeneuve Thinkstock Photos


The folks bringing us the high-tech revolution — a few of them at least — are saying that we not only face a jobless future, but that the solution is obvious: an abundance of resources shared by all with plenty of time to do interesting things and hang out with friends and family.

What they’re not saying is that it won’t happen until the 99% — the working class — makes it happen.

Elon Musk, creator of the Tesla car, is one of the world’s great innovators. The Tesla has so few parts it never needs a mechanic.

Having revolutionized cars, Musk plans to revolutionize factories, too, making production “10 or 100 times” more efficient. That means using only one-tenth or one one-hundredth as many workers.

Musk doesn’t back away for what this means for humankind, and it’s not just joblessnes. “There’s a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or sometthing like that, due to automation,” he told CNBC.

That thought is echoed by Sam Altman, the president of Y Combinator, an influential Sili-con Valley support group for start-up companies.

“A world where technology replaces existing jobs and basic income becomes necessary should generate an abundance of resources,” he wrote recently.

Y Combinator was announcing a pilot program to give a small group of people free monthly checks and study how they spend the money.

“We hope a minimum level of economic security will give people the freedom to pursue further education, training, or create a better job, and plan for the future,” Altman explained.

Similarly, Musk told CNBC that, as humans lose their jobs to robots, “[they} will have time to do other things, more complex things, more interesting things. [They] will certainly have more leisure time.”

It’s not a dream; it’s a plan. But it won’t happen unless the workers of the world collectively stand up on their hind legs and go for the gold.

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