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View Diary: That Vision Thing: our need to search for Utopia (20 comments)

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  •  We have a choice (3+ / 0-)

    In a future where much fewer people need to work for society to function and prosper what happens to all those people that do not need to work?

    Will everyone be comfortable, healthy and educated or just a select few?

    All too often I see choices made that move us more towards dystopia than uptopia.  The current income and wealth inequality are in the wrong direction, for example.

    But we have a choice.

    •  In such a case, ... (0+ / 0-)

      I'd imagine that those forced to work when (many) others were not would be HIGHLY resentful, to say the least.  Then what?

      "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

      by Neuroptimalian on Mon May 13, 2013 at 04:52:40 PM PDT

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      •  Why should anyone (3+ / 0-)

        be forced to work in such a scenario?

        But, if necessary there could be incentives to work.

        Also, the smaller amount of labor required in that hypothetical future could be spread out over more people.

        The issue is if we do have a future that requires less labor than today what do we want that future to look like?  How should that vision shape our policy decisions now and in the near future?

        •  If nothing else, somebody's got to manage ... (1+ / 0-)
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          and maintain the robots.  Realistically speaking, there will always need to be some workers, just to keep things going.

          "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

          by Neuroptimalian on Mon May 13, 2013 at 08:41:58 PM PDT

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          •  The problem I see is the opposite (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Work will need to be created for people to have something to do.  Perhaps people will figure that out for themselves.

            To the extent that health care, shelter, food etc are tied to having a job we are already at that point and failing (there are not enough jobs).  If we stay on the course we are on that problem just gets worse in the long run.

            Think of it as the evolution of the existing capitalist system in which everyone owns stock and gets paid dividends.  Some people today with sufficient income to live on choose to work and some do not.

      •  I think the idea is to change work (4+ / 0-)

        as we know it. Instead of having two kinds of workers--the overworked and the under-employed--we could spread the work that's worth doing around. Instead of having the mass of humanity all competing for an ever-shrinking number of jobs, we could make it feasible for the overworked to work less and the under-employed to work more without the fear of losing any "benefits."

        With a basic income I see it becoming more possible for a kind of Brooklyn hipster kind of economy. With a basic income to fall back on, there might be more folks willing to take a shot at being an artisanal pickle maker or brewing small-batch gin or making leather belts--small scale local crafts instead of large scale industrial factories.

        With a basic income to support them, I'm hoping that there will be less exploitation of workers. Less people jumping off of the roof of the factory where they are making our Iphones; less families crossing the desert risking rape to find a decent job.

        The basic income could work like those micro-loans in third world countries, supporting local businesses and creating viable local economies. Except grants instead of loans, and consistent money that folks can count on.

        "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon. Follow me @riseupeconomics

        by RiseUpEconomics on Mon May 13, 2013 at 05:25:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, what this would probably do is (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Neuroptimalian, Lonely Texan, i know

          turn the wage structure for some jobs totally upside down. Sanitation workers, farm workers, janitors, maids, and a host of other occupations would have to end up on the high end of the pay scale just to attract people willing to do intense physical work.

          Can you imagine the competition for a job at McDonald's in that scenario? Of course, the whole fast food industry would probably change drastically at the same time...

          Sorry, but my mind keeps playing with this - I may be back again with more semi-relevant comments.

          At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

          by serendipityisabitch on Mon May 13, 2013 at 08:02:29 PM PDT

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    •  You are right (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lonely Texan, i know, PapaChach

      We can either keep things the same and watch the rich get richer, or find a way to share the wealth created by increases in productivity from new technology. I see basic income as the best way to share the wealth. I worry about small solutions--Obama's American Jobs Act was so small, and his stimulus went mostly to tax cuts. Either we have the government ensure enough jobs for everyone, or we switch gears and provide an income for all. Otherwise the middle class will continue to shrink and income inequality will keep growing.

      "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon. Follow me @riseupeconomics

      by RiseUpEconomics on Mon May 13, 2013 at 06:04:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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