Earlier this week the Greens proposed establishing a Universal Basic Income (UBI). This was much to the chagrin of the political establishment, which accused the Greens of lacking seriousness and a fitness to govern.
I am no fan of the Greens, however, this idea is no ‘leftie pinko nonsense’.
True, there are legitimate concerns over the tremendous cost of supplying every Australian with $23 000 per annum–as has been suggested. Ensuring the viability of any lasting UBI would require large cuts to existing systems of welfare, which was not proposed here.
In the contemporary context where work for humans remains relatively abundant, a UBI would also disincentivize work. This could create a permanent underclass of people who will never achieve financial independence, knowing no better than that dictated by big government.
Nevertheless, a UBI may be essential one day with artificial intelligence threatening to automate millions of jobs in an unprecedented manner.
Given the blistering rate of technological development thus far, it is either short-sighted or arrogant to assume what many liberals do: artificial intelligence will never render humans redundant in the workplace.