In the past I've written about "The Automated Future," the prediction that unemployment, stagnating wages, and the drying-up well of middle class work results not chiefly from the Financial Crisis or even the last 30 years of regressive fiscal policy, but from increased automation and efficiency reducing the need for human labor, both physical and intellectual.
Anyway, it's already happening. For example, the 3d-printed houses I mentioned were in development? Well, here they are, a few short months later, appearing in Shanghai.
As I've mentioned, the future may hold an exacerbated version of what's already happening now:
...people struggling to make ends meet, fiercer competition for existing jobs, and larger tax burdens for the employed. Competition will keep salaries low. And more people will lean on debt to survive.
So what's the best way to manage these changes, which, while they make constructing a house much cheaper, will also put thousands of construction workers out of a job? A CNN opinion suggests something that Milton Friedman was kicking around in the 1970s: a guaranteed basic income.
Here's the meat of the CNN opinion:
The idea of a basic income, sometimes called a guaranteed minimum income or a negative income tax, has been discussed for decades by notable economists like Milton Friedman. In the late 1960s and 1970s, the idea had bipartisan backing before losing steam. Recently, in the face of a sputtering economy, a weak job market and rising income inequality, it has been gathering supporters at an ever-quickening pace.
So guaranteed minimum income: practical solution to the negative consequences of the impending Second Industrial Revolution, or subversive Stalinist ploy to completely subvert our Locke-given economic independence?
Bennett Hartz is an associate attorney at Drewes Law, PLLC who specializes in defending against debt collection and foreclosure. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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