MIT Tech Review on Universal Basic Income

Source: MIT Tech Review, Jun 2016

The project is an experiment in what’s known as a “basic income”—or, when the money is given to entire populations, as a “universal basic income.”

For the Silicon Valley crowd, the prime motivation appears to be a concern that automation has been displacing jobs, and that increasingly sophisticated artificial-intelligence applications could accelerate the trend.

… the massive, automation-fueled job displacement cited as the prime justification for a basic income won’t actually reach us for decades, assuming it does come. “The idea of a basic income is a good one in a world where robots do most of the work, but we probably won’t be there for 30 to 50 years,” says Erik Brynjolfsson, who researches the digital economy at MIT’s Sloan School of Management

… middle-class jobs that don’t require college degrees or advanced training are becoming harder to find, leaving many people who could once have held a good job in lower-paying work with less security. Meanwhile, the top 0.1 percent of Americans now account for more than 20 percent of the country’s wealth.

 

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