universal basic income

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The Economic Singularity: Artificial intelligence and the death of capitalism by Calum Chace

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Articulate, well-connected and forceful middle class professionals will be standing alongside professional drivers and factory workers, demanding that the state do something to protect them and their families. Universal Basic Income If and when societies reach the point where we have to admit that a significant proportion of the population will never work again – through no fault of their own – a mechanism will have to be found to keep those people alive. And not just scraping by on the poverty line: they will have to be provided with an income which allows at least the possibility of a decent life by the standards of the societies they live in. The answer is well-known, and fairly obvious: a universal basic income (UBI), available to all without condition; a living wage which is paid to all citizens simply because they are citizens. Probably the longest-standing organisation advocating UBI is the Basic Income Earth Network.

[ccxcii] http://money.cnn.com/2015/06/23/investing/facebook-walmart-market-value/ [ccxciii] http://quoteinvestigator.com/2011/11/16/robots-buy-cars/ [ccxciv] http://thegreatdepressioncauses.com/unemployment/ [ccxcv] http://www.statista.com/statistics/268830/unemployment-rate-in-eu-countries/ [ccxcvi] http://www.statista.com/statistics/266228/youth-unemployment-rate-in-eu-countries/ [ccxcvii] http://www.scottsantens.com/ [ccxcviii] http://www.economonitor.com/dolanecon/2014/01/27/a-universal-basic-income-conservative-progressive-and-libertarian-perspectives-part-3-of-a-series/ [ccxcix] https://www.reddit.com/r/BasicIncome/wiki/index#wiki_that.27s_all_very_well.2C_but_where.27s_the_evidence.3F [ccc] https://www.reddit.com/r/BasicIncome/wiki/studies [ccci] http://basicincome.org.uk/2013/08/health-forget-mincome-poverty/ [cccii] http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/universal-basic-income/?utm_content=buffer71a7e&utm_medium=social&utm_source=plus.google.com&utm_campaign=buffer [ccciii] http://www.fastcoexist.com/3052595/how-finlands-exciting-basic-income-experiment-will-work-and-what-we-can-learn-from-it [ccciv] http://www.latimes.com/world/europe/la-fg-germany-basic-income-20151227-story.html [cccv] http://www.vox.com/2016/1/28/10860830/y-combinator-basic-income [cccvi] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodomy_laws_in_the_United_States#References [cccvii] http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2015/03/09/support-for-gay-marriage-hits-all-time-high-wsjnbc-news-poll/ [cccviii] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/06/majority-of-americans-wan_n_198196.html [cccix] http://blogs.seattletimes.com/today/2013/08/washingtons-pot-law-wont-get-federal-challenge/ [cccx] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-35525566 [cccxi] https://medium.com/basic-income/wouldnt-unconditional-basic-income-just-cause-massive-inflation-fe71d69f15e7#.3yezsngej [cccxii] http://streamhistory.com/die-rich-die-disgraced-andrew-carnegies-philosophy-of-wealth/ [cccxiii] http://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2012/12/05/how-i-know-higher-taxes-would-be-good-for-the-economy/#5b0c080b3ec1 [cccxiv] http://taxfoundation.org/article/what-evidence-taxes-and-growth [cccxv] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laffer_curve [cccxvi] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-26875420 [cccxvii] A minor character in Shakespeare’s Henry VI called Dick the Butcher has the memorable line, “First thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”

With this in mind, it seems to me that it should be our aim to get rid of the need for jobs and employment just for the purpose of survival. Our strategies for the future should be not about finding new salary jobs, but rather about removing the need for them, and about setting up a better and more advanced social structure. This is where looking at the challenges involved and the path to a successful alternative, as Chace does in chapter 5, is essential. Where ideas such as a universal basic income (UBI) are concerned, it is useful to keep in mind that the world is not the US. Even if there is some initial antipathy in the US, because of associations between UBI and what might naively be labeled as 'socialist' thinking, the US will not wish to be left behind if other nations successfully implement the change. The time to dive deeply into the many issues raise in this book, to start a wider conversation about those issues, and to look creatively for the most well-balanced solutions and outcomes, is now.


pages: 235 words: 62,862

Utopia for Realists: The Case for a Universal Basic Income, Open Borders, and a 15-Hour Workweek by Rutger Bregman

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I’d convinced myself it couldn’t be relevant.6 I’ll give you another example. In Chapter 3, I laid out the arguments in favor of universal basic income. This is a conviction in which I have invested a lot over the past few years. The first article I wrote on the topic garnered nearly a million views and was picked up by The Washington Post. I gave lectures about universal basic income and made a case for it on Dutch television. Enthusiastic emails poured in. Not long ago, I even heard someone refer to me as “Mr. Basic Income.” Slowly but surely, my opinion has come to define my personal and professional identity. I do earnestly believe that a universal basic income is an idea whose time has come. I’ve researched the issue extensively, and that’s the direction the evidence points. But, if I’m being honest, I sometimes wonder if I’d even let myself notice if the evidence were pointing another way.

Cain and Douglas Wissoker, “A Reanalysis of Marital Stability in the Seattle-Denver Income Maintenance Experiment,” Institute for Research on Poverty (January 1988). http://www.irp.wisc.edu/publications/dps/pdfs/dp85788.pdf 47. According to a poll conducted by Harris in 1969. Mike Alberti and Kevin C. Brown, “Guaranteed Income’s Moment in the Sun,” Remapping Debate. http://www.remappingdebate.org/article/guaranteed-income’s-moment-sun 48. Matt Bruenig, “How a Universal Basic Income Would Affect Poverty,” Demos (October 3, 2013). http://www.demos.org/blog/10/3/13/how-universal-basic-income-would-affect-poverty 49. Linda J. Bilmes, “The Financial Legacy of Iraq and Afghanistan: How Wartime Spending Decisions Will Constrain Future National Security Budgets,” Faculty Research Working Paper Series (March 2013). https://research.hks.harvard.edu/publications/getFile.aspx?Id=923 50. Try this for a thought experiment: A basic income of $1.25 a day for everyone on Earth would cost an annual $3 trillion, or 3.5% of the global GDP.

Everyone should read it. Bregman shows us we’ve been looking at the world inside out. Turned right way out we suddenly see fundamentally new ways forward. If we can get enough people to read this book, the world will start to become a better place.” – Richard Wilkinson, co-author of The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better “Rutger Bregman makes a compelling case for Universal Basic Income with a wealth of data and rooted in a keen understanding of the political and intellectual history of capitalism. He shows the many ways in which human progress has turned a Utopia into a Eutopia – a positive future that we can achieve with the right policies.” – Albert Wenger, entrepreneur and partner at Union Square Ventures, early backers of Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, Etsy, and Kickstarter “Learning from history and from up-to-date social science can shatter crippling illusions.


pages: 357 words: 95,986

Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work by Nick Srnicek, Alex Williams

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Work must be refused and reduced, building our synthetic freedom in the process.136 As we have set out in this chapter, achieving this will require the realisation of four minimal demands: 1.Full automation 2.The reduction of the working week 3.The provision of a basic income 4.The diminishment of the work ethic While each of these proposals can be taken as an individual goal in itself, their real power is expressed when they are advanced as an integrated programme. This is not a simple, marginal reform, but an entirely new hegemonic formation to compete against the neoliberal and social democratic options. The demand for full automation amplifies the possibility of reducing the working week and heightens the need for a universal basic income. A reduction in the working week helps produce a sustainable economy and leverage class power. And a universal basic income amplifies the potential to reduce the working week and expand class power. It would also accelerate the project of full automation: as worker power rose and as the labour market tightened, the marginal cost of labour would increase as companies turned towards machinery in order to expand.137 These goals resonate with each other, magnifying their combined power.

By directing the left towards a post-work future, not only will significant gains be aimed for – such as the reduction of drudgery and poverty – but political power will be built in the process. In the end, we believe a post-work society is not only achievable, given the material conditions, but also viable and desirable.6 This chapter charts a way forward: building a post-work society on the basis of fully automating the economy, reducing the working week, implementing a universal basic income, and achieving a cultural shift in the understanding of work. FULL AUTOMATION Our first demand is for a fully automated economy. Using the latest technological developments, such an economy would aim to liberate humanity from the drudgery of work while simultaneously producing increasing amounts of wealth. Without full automation, postcapitalist futures must necessarily choose between abundance at the expense of freedom (echoing the work-centricity of Soviet Russia) or freedom at the expense of abundance, represented by primitivist dystopias.7 With automation, by contrast, machines can increasingly produce all necessary goods and services, while also releasing humanity from the effort of producing them.8 For this reason, we argue that the tendencies towards automation and the replacement of human labour should be enthusiastically accelerated and targeted as a political project of the left.9 This is a project that takes an existing capitalist tendency and seeks to push it beyond the acceptable parameters of capitalist social relations.

As Paul Mattick puts it, ‘the leisure of the starving, or the needy, is no leisure at all but a relentless activity aimed at staying alive or improving their situation’.90 The underemployed, for instance, have plenty of free time but lack the means to enjoy it. Underemployed, it turns out, is really just a euphemism for under-waged. This is why an essential demand in a post-work society is for a universal basic income (UBI), giving every citizen a liveable amount of money without any means-testing.91 It is an idea that has periodically popped up throughout history.92 In the early 1940s, a version of it was advanced as an alternative to the Beveridge Report that eventually shaped the UK welfare state.93 In a now largely forgotten period during the 1960s and 1970s, the basic income was central to proposals for US welfare reform.


pages: 378 words: 110,518

Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future by Paul Mason

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Alfred Russel Wallace, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, capital controls, Claude Shannon: information theory, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, David Graeber, deglobalization, deindustrialization, deskilling, discovery of the americas, Downton Abbey, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, eurozone crisis, factory automation, financial repression, Firefox, Fractional reserve banking, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, future of work, game design, income inequality, inflation targeting, informal economy, Internet of things, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, low skilled workers, market clearing, means of production, Metcalfe's law, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage debt, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, payday loans, post-industrial society, precariat, price mechanism, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, reserve currency, RFID, Richard Stallman, Robert Gordon, secular stagnation, sharing economy, Stewart Brand, structural adjustment programs, supply-chain management, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Transnistria, union organizing, universal basic income, urban decay, urban planning, wages for housework, women in the workforce

LET MARKET FORCES DISAPPEAR In a highly networked, consumer-oriented society, where people have an individual-centred model of economic need, markets are not the enemy. This is the major difference between a postcapitalism based on info-tech and one based on command planning. There is no reason to abolish markets by diktat, as long as you abolish the basic power imbalances that the term ‘free market’ disguises. Once firms are forbidden to set monopoly prices, and a universal basic income is available (see below), the market is actually the transmitter of the ‘zero marginal cost’ effect, which manifests as falling labour time across society. But in order to control the transition, we would need to send clear signals to the private sector, one of the most important of which is this: profit derives from entrepreneurship, not rent. The act of innovating and creating – whether it be a new kind of jet engine or a hit dance music track – is rewarded, as now, by the firm’s ability to reap short-term gains, either from higher sales or lower costs.

One byproduct of promoting competition and diversity in the service sector is that, once you can’t relentlessly drive down wages, there would have to be a surge of technical innovation, the outcome of which would be to reduce the number of work hours needed across society overall. And that leads us to what is probably the biggest structural change required to make postcapitalism happen: a universal basic income guaranteed by the state. PAY EVERYONE A BASIC INCOME The basic income, as a policy, is not that radical. Various pilot projects and designs have been touted, often by the right, sometimes by the centre-left, as a replacement for the dole with cheaper administration costs. But in the postcapitalist project, the purpose of the basic income is radical: it is (a) to formalize the separation of work and wages and (b) to subsidize the transition to a shorter working week, or day, or life.

The advantages of working remain clear, but there are also advantages to be gained through not working: you can look after your kids, write poetry, go back to college, manage your chronic illness or peer-educate others like you. Under this system, there would be no stigma attached to not working. The labour market would be stacked in favour of the high-paying job and the high-paying employer. The universal basic income, then, is an antidote to what the anthropologist David Graeber calls ‘bullshit jobs’: the low-paid service jobs capitalism has managed to create over the past twenty-five years that pay little, demean the worker and probably don’t need to exist.10 But it’s only a transitional measure for the first stage of the postcapitalist project. The ultimate aim is to reduce to a minimum the hours it takes to produce what humanity needs.


pages: 370 words: 102,823

Rethinking Capitalism: Economics and Policy for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth by Michael Jacobs, Mariana Mazzucato

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3D printing, balance sheet recession, banking crisis, Bernie Sanders, Bretton Woods, business climate, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collaborative economy, complexity theory, conceptual framework, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Detroit bankruptcy, double entry bookkeeping, Elon Musk, energy security, eurozone crisis, factory automation, facts on the ground, fiat currency, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, forward guidance, full employment, Gini coefficient, Growth in a Time of Debt, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, Internet of things, investor state dispute settlement, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, low skilled workers, Martin Wolf, Mont Pelerin Society, neoliberal agenda, Network effects, new economy, non-tariff barriers, paradox of thrift, price stability, private sector deleveraging, quantitative easing, QWERTY keyboard, railway mania, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, the built environment, The Great Moderation, The Spirit Level, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, universal basic income, very high income

The proliferation of free internet-based services has inspired many to innovate in networks of sharing access to possessions, exchanging time and collaborating in creative projects. This is one of the routes along which ICT enables a green economy grounded in sustainability and focused on services and personal care. Move towards some form of basic income. Providing a minimum income in the advanced countries—such as the universal basic income currently being trialled in Finland, a negative income tax and/or workfare for community projects and services—is the necessary platform for encouraging the sharing and collaborative economies, the growth of voluntary organisations and of creative endeavours that could contribute to the quality of life both at the community level and through participation in global networks. In the ‘green good life’, well-being would increasingly be measured not by possessions, but by positive experiences of healthy living, community sharing and creative involvement in networking and group activities.

China Development Bank (CDB) circular economy citizenship goods climate change and capitalism and economics and politics Paris Accord policy Club of Rome Cold War collective goods Compaq compensation contracts competition Japanese law limits perfect competition protected firms and sectors consumerism consumers behaviour benefits choice debt demand protection welfare corporate sector accountability debt financialisation Fortune 500 companies Fortune 1000 companies governance new public management (NPM) organisational models resource allocation D DARPA debt consumer corporate household hysteria private public short-term sovereign debt-to-GDP ratios decarbonisation and structural change democracy and capitalism election campaigns post-democratic politics Department of Defense Department of Energy Department of health developing countries devolution discrimination anti-discrimination laws displacement of peoples Dosi, Giovanni Draghi, Mario E economic and monetary union (EMU) economic growth and inequality and innovation and technology environmental concerns green growth zero growth economic policy and capitalism consensus-building macroeconomic policy monetary expansion reshaping economic theory economic models model of the firm neoclassical orthodox post-Keynesian education access to and skills efficiency employment growth ‘non-standard’ work energy sector storage technologies environmental impacts environmental risk damage degradation sustainability technologies euro zone debt-to-GDP ratio economic policy fiscal policy GDP growth government lending investment macroeconomic conditions private investment productivity growth recession southern countries sovereign debt unemployment European Central Bank (ECB) role European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) European Investment Bank (EIB) proposed new European Fund for Investment European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) European Stability Mechanism European Union (EU) competition law debt-to-GDP ratio de-industrialisation GDP growth government lending Growth Compact investment-led recovery macroeconomic conditions monetary expansion policy framework private investment productivity growth Stability and Growth Pact unemployment executive pay F Federal Reserve financial crash of 1929 financial crash of 2008 financial markets borrowing discrimination efficient markets hypothesis mispricing short-termism systemic risks financial regulation Finland public innovation research and development universal basic income firms business models in perfect competition productive firm First World War fiscal austerity fiscal compact fiscal consolidation fiscal deficits fiscal policy fiscal tightening food insecurity Forstater, Matthew Fortune 500 companies Fortune 1000 firms fossil fuels fracking France average real wage index labour productivity growth private debt public deficit unemployment Freeman, Chris Friedman, Milton G G4S Gates, Bill Germany average real wage index GDP green technology investment state investment bank unemployment wages global financial system globalisation and welfare state asymmetric first golden age Godley, Wynne Goldman Sachs Goodfriend, Marvin Google governments and innovation deficits failures intervention by modernisation of risk-taking Graham, Benjamin Great Depression Greece austerity bailouts debt problems GDP investment activity public deficit unemployment green technology green direction for innovation greenhouse gas emissions Greenspan, Alan Grubb, Michael H Hatzius, Jan health and climate change older people Hirschman, Albert history Integration with theory home mortgage specialists household income housing purchases value I IBM income distribution industrial revolution inequality adverse effects and economic performance China ethnicity explanation for income international trend OECD countries opportunities redistributive policies reinforcement reversing rise taxation UK wealth inflation information and communications technologies (ICT) consumer demand green direction internet of things online education planned obsolescence innovation and climate change and companies and government and growth innovative enterprise path-dependence public sector institutions European financial role Intel interest rates and quantitative easing Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) International Energy Agency (IEA) International Labour Organization (ILO) International Monetary Fund (IMF) Studies investment and theory of the firm crowding out decline in investment in innovation private private vs publicly owned firms public public–private investment partnerships investment-led growth Ireland debt problems investment activity Public deficit Israel public venture capital fund research and development Italy average real wage index debt problems GDP Income inequality unemployment J Japan average real wage index competitive advantage over US GDP wages Jobs, Steve Juncker, Jean-Claude K Kay Review Keynes, John Maynard KfW Knight, Frank Koo, Richard Krueger, Alan Krugman, Paul L labour markets insecurity of regulation structures United States labour productivity and wages declining growth public deficit unemployment Lehman Brothers Lerner, Abba liquidity crisis Lloyd George, David lobbying corporate M Maastricht Treaty Malthus, Thomas market economy theory markets behaviour failure uncertainty Marshall, Alfred Marx, Karl McCulley, Paul Merrill Lynch Mill, John Stuart Minsky, Hyman mission oriented investment monetary policy money and fiscal policy and macroeconomic policy bank money electronic transactions endogenous exogenous fiat money government bonds IOUs modern money theory quantity theory theories monopolies monopoly rents natural Moore, Gordon N NASA nanotechnology National Health Service (NHS) National Institutes of Health (NIH) national savings neoliberalism corporate Newman, Frank Newton, Isaac O Obama, Barack P patents patient capital patient finance see patient capital Penrose, Edith Piketty, Thomas PIMCO Pisano, Gary Polanyi, Karl Portugal austerity bailout debt problems GDP investment activity unemployment privatisation productivity marginal productivity theory productive firm unproductive firm – see also labour productivity public deficits public goods public organisations and change public policy and change evaluation role public service outsourcing public spending public–private investment partnerships Q quantitative easing quarterly capitalism R Reagan, Ronald recessions Reinhart, Carmen renewable energy policy rents and banks increase rent-seeking research and development (R&D) state organisations Ricardo, David risk-taking – mitigation of risk role of the state Rogoff, Kenneth Roosevelt, Franklin D.

Schumpeter, Joseph Second World War Senior, Nassau Serco share prices shareholder value short-termism and investments empirical evidence of investors’ discount rates policy implications value of future cash-flows single European market smart phones social care Solyndra Spain austerity debt problems GDP investment activity private debt unemployment stagnation economic secular state investment banks funding for green projects renewable energy investments Stirling, Andy stock market values Szczurek, Mateusz T taxation avoidance and evasion energy and materials favourable rates income tax rates inequality policy preferential treatment reform revenues short-term gains tax breaks technological revolutions consumer demand diffusion green direction green growth history recessions telecommunications Tesla Motors Thatcher, Margaret top earners Australia Canada United Kingdom United States trade unions Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) transparency Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance Turkey income inequality U unemployment Europe global southern Europe United Kingdom United States young people universal basic income United Kingdom GDP income inequality inequality investment labour productivity growth private debt public deficit Public Finance Initiative (PFI) recessions and recovery research and development sectoral financial balances support for banks top earners unemployment wages United States average real wage index business models emergency loans to banks energy policies GDP income inequality investment Japanese competition labour productivity growth National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform poverty private debt public deficit research and development sectoral financial balances Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programme top earners trickle-down strategy unemployment wages wealth US legislation Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Taxpayer Relief Act 2012 V Veblen, Thorstein venture capital venture capitalism Volcker, Paul Von Hayek, Friedrich W wages and labour productivity average real wage index higher-skilled workers legal minimum lower-skilled workers United Kingdom wealth creation welfare payments welfare state western capitalism collapse failures Wolf, Martin Woodford, Michael world economy Cambridge Alphametrics Model (CAM) Y Yellen, Janet youth unemployment


pages: 283 words: 73,093

Social Democratic America by Lane Kenworthy

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affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, barriers to entry, Celtic Tiger, centre right, clean water, collective bargaining, corporate governance, David Brooks, desegregation, Edward Glaeser, full employment, Gini coefficient, hiring and firing, Home mortgage interest deduction, illegal immigration, income inequality, invisible hand, labor-force participation, manufacturing employment, market bubble, minimum wage unemployment, new economy, postindustrial economy, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, school choice, shareholder value, sharing economy, Skype, Steve Jobs, too big to fail, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, universal basic income, War on Poverty, working poor, zero day

The idea originated with Milton Friedman, and Congress gave a version of it serious consideration in the early 1970s.147 Today, it is supported by some on the left, most prominently Philippe Van Parijs, and some on the right, such as Charles Murray.148 On the left, the argument in favor focuses on the potential enhancement of freedom—specifically, freedom from work. In the words of Van Parijs: A basic income would serve as a powerful instrument of social justice: it would promote freedom for all by providing the material resources that people need to pursue their aims.…A UBI [universal basic income] makes it easier to take a break between two jobs, reduce working time, make room for more training, take up self-employment, or join a cooperative. And with a UBI, workers will only take a job if they find it suitably attractive.… If the motive in combating unemployment is not some sort of work fetishism—an obsession with keeping everyone busy—but rather a concern to give every person the possibility of taking up gainful employment in which she can find recognition and accomplishment, then the UBI is to be preferred.149 For proponents on the right, the chief advantage is reduction in the deadweight costs of public social programs.

The Role of Cash Transfers and Household Taxes.” Chapter 4 in Growing Unequal? Paris: OECD. Whiteford, Peter. 2009. “Transfer Issues and Directions for Reform: Australian Transfer Policy in Comparative Perspective.” Kensington, Australia: Social Policy Research Center. Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW). 2011. “Living Below the Line: Economic Insecurity and America’s Families.” Washington, DC. Widerquist, Karl. 2013. “Is Universal Basic Income Still Worth Talking About?” Pp. 568–584 in The Economics of Inequality, Poverty, and Discrimination in the 21st Century. Edited by Robert Rycroft. New York: Praeger. Wilensky, Harold L. 1975. The Welfare State and Equality. Berkeley: University of California Press. Wilensky, Harold L. 2002. Rich Democracies. Berkeley: University of California Press. Wilentz, Sean. 2008. The Age of Reagan.


pages: 209 words: 89,619

The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class by Guy Standing

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8-hour work day, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, call centre, Cass Sunstein, centre right, collective bargaining, corporate governance, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, deskilling, fear of failure, full employment, hiring and firing, Honoré de Balzac, housing crisis, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, land reform, libertarian paternalism, low skilled workers, lump of labour, marginal employment, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, mini-job, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, nudge unit, pensions crisis, placebo effect, post-industrial society, precariat, presumed consent, quantitative easing, remote working, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, Tobin tax, transaction costs, universal basic income, unpaid internship, winner-take-all economy, working poor, working-age population, young professional

By 1 May 2005, their ranks had swollen to well over 50,000 – over 100,000, according to some estimates – and ‘EuroMayDay’ had become pan-European, with hundreds of thousands of people, mostly young, taking to the streets of cities across continental Europe. The demonstrations marked the first stirrings of the global precariat. The ageing trade unionists who normally orchestrated May Day events could only be bemused by this new parading mass, whose demands for free migration and a universal basic income had little to do with traditional unionism. The unions saw the answer to precarious labour in a return to the ‘labourist’ model they had been so instrumental in cementing in the mid-twentieth century – more stable jobs with long-term employment security and the benefit trappings that went with that. But many of the young demonstrators had seen their parents’ generation conform to the Fordist pattern of drab full-time jobs and subordination to industrial management and the dictates of capital.

The precariat would also benefit from so-called ‘Tobin taxes’, levied on speculative capital transactions. There are arguments for believing that reducing short-term capital flows would be beneficial in any event. And then there are ecological taxes, designed to compensate for the externalities caused by pollution and to slow or reverse the rapid depletion of resources. In short, there is no reason to think a universal basic income is unaffordable. Internationally, the recent legitimation of cash transfers as an instrument of development aid is promising. They were first accepted as short-term schemes for post-shock situations, as after earthquakes and floods. Later, as noted earlier, conditional cash transfer schemes swept Latin America. Donors and aid agencies have come round to them. Cash transfers, stripped of their phoney conditionality, should become the main form of aid, to ensure the aid raises living standards and is not used for regressive or corrupt purposes.


pages: 375 words: 88,306

The Sharing Economy: The End of Employment and the Rise of Crowd-Based Capitalism by Arun Sundararajan

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, call centre, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, corporate social responsibility, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, distributed ledger, employer provided health coverage, Erik Brynjolfsson, ethereum blockchain, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, future of work, George Akerlof, gig economy, housing crisis, Howard Rheingold, Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, job automation, job-hopping, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kula ring, Lyft, megacity, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Nature of the Firm, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transportation-network company, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, universal basic income, Zipcar

In this chapter, I highlight the labor issues central to shaping this future of work. First, I examine the current debate on the employment status of sharing economy workers and proposed expansions to the US worker categorization model. Next, I ask, how do we ensure that a social safety net is available to people whose chosen form of work is something other than full-time employment? In the long run, a universal basic income may be socially desirable, although crafting policy that shares the funding of a portable safety net among the individual, the marketplace, and the government may be more politically feasible. Third, I conjecture that platforms facilitating genuine entrepreneurship at a small scale will lead to more inclusive growth than those whose platform-provider relationship is more hierarchical, and outline over 20 metrics that might help identify the right kind of platform-based entrepreneurship.

A simple extension might instead lower income volatility between weeks or months, based on a historical average earnings stream. A bolder possibility along these lines is embodied in the idea of a fixed monthly income guaranteed by the government. While this idea may seem quite extreme, it is a vision whose advocates range from the social entrepreneur Peter Barnes, whose book With Liberty and Dividends for All discusses the desirability of a universal basic income,21 to the venture capitalist Albert Wenger of Union Square Ventures, who spoke about basic income at his TEDxNewYork talk in November 2014. In her entertaining Medium post “Silicon Valley’s Basic Income Bromance,” Lauren Smiley discusses the diverse base of support for basic income across a variety stakeholders in the technology industry. The underlying idea of a basic income is really simple.


pages: 527 words: 147,690

Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection by Jacob Silverman

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23andMe, 4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, Brian Krebs, California gold rush, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, game design, global village, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, license plate recognition, life extension, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Minecraft, move fast and break things, national security letter, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, payday loans, Peter Thiel, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, pre–internet, price discrimination, price stability, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent control, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Snapchat, social graph, social web, sorting algorithm, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, telemarketer, transportation-network company, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, universal basic income, unpaid internship, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, Zipcar

Through ubiquitous surveillance and data collection, now stretching from computers to cell phones to thermostats to cars to public spaces, a handful of large companies have successfully socialized our data production on their behalves. We need some redistribution of resources, which ultimately means a redistribution of power and authority. A universal basic income, paid for in part by taxes and fees levied on the companies making fabulous profits out of the quotidian materials of our lives, would help to reintroduce some fairness into our technologized economy. It’s an idea that’s had support from diverse corners—liberals and leftists often cite it as a pragmatic response to widespread inequality, while some conservatives and libertarians see it as an improvement over an imperfect welfare system. As the number of long-term unemployed, contingent, and gig workers increases, a universal basic income would restore some equity to the system. It would also make the supposed freedom of those TaskRabbit jobs actually mean something, for the laborer would know that even if the company cares little for his welfare or ability to make a living, someone else does and is providing the resources to make sure that economic precarity doesn’t turn into something more dire.


pages: 144 words: 43,356

Surviving AI: The Promise and Peril of Artificial Intelligence by Calum Chace

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3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, Buckminster Fuller, cloud computing, computer age, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, dematerialisation, discovery of the americas, disintermediation, don't be evil, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Flash crash, friendly AI, Google Glasses, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, life extension, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, mutually assured destruction, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, South Sea Bubble, speech recognition, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, strong AI, technological singularity, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, Wall-E

Social provision for the unemployed has improved greatly since then, and countries (for instance in southern Europe) with similar levels of unemployment today don’t seem so desperate. But if the day dawns when everyone acknowledges that more than half the population will never work again, the result will surely be a political and social crisis sufficient to oblige governments everywhere to do something about it. UBI and VR If and when the economic singularity arrives, we may need to institute what is now called the Universal Basic Income (UBI). This is a payment available to all citizens as of right, providing everyone with the living standard of today’s middle-class American. The optimistic scenario is that AI-powered robots do all the work, creating an economy of what Peter Diamandis calls radical abundance, leaving humans to pursue self-fulfilment by reading, writing, talking, playing sports and undertaking adventures.


pages: 293 words: 81,183

Doing Good Better: How Effective Altruism Can Help You Make a Difference by William MacAskill

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barriers to entry, Black Swan, Branko Milanovic, Cal Newport, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, effective altruism, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, follow your passion, food miles, immigration reform, income inequality, index fund, Isaac Newton, job automation, job satisfaction, labour mobility, Lean Startup, M-Pesa, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, Nate Silver, Peter Singer: altruism, purchasing power parity, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, randomized controlled trial, self-driving car, Skype, Stanislav Petrov, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, universal basic income, women in the workforce

He studied moral and political philosophy at Harvard. He considered continuing his studies at graduate school but instead pursued journalism in part because doing so gave him a platform from which to champion particularly important causes. He worked for The Washington Post and now works for Vox.com. In this position, he’s been able to promote and discuss ideas he thinks are important, such as more liberal immigration policies, a universal basic income, and the idea of earning to give. In advocacy, we would expect the distribution of impact to be highly fat-tailed: it’s a winner-takes-all environment, where a small number of thought leaders command most of the attention. We don’t have data on impact through advocacy in general, though the distribution of book sales, which one could use as a proxy, is highly fat-tailed, as is the distribution of Twitter follower counts.


pages: 332 words: 89,668

Two Nations, Indivisible: A History of Inequality in America: A History of Inequality in America by Jamie Bronstein

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, blue-collar work, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate personhood, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, ending welfare as we know it, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, Gini coefficient, income inequality, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, labor-force participation, land reform, land tenure, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, mortgage debt, New Urbanism, non-tariff barriers, obamacare, occupational segregation, Occupy movement, oil shock, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price discrimination, race to the bottom, rent control, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, Simon Kuznets, single-payer health, strikebreaker, too big to fail, trade route, transcontinental railway, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, trickle-down economics, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, wage slave, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working poor, Works Progress Administration

There are several ways to frame a basic income guarantee, and one of those possible frames is that it enhances freedom.84 Over the course of several generations, an ideally functioning free market will produce winners and losers, sometimes just due to moral bad luck. In those cases, people who are unable to meet their basic needs may end up accepting significant measures of personal coercion because they have no other choice. A universal basic income guarantee is a way to enable those people to opt out of coercive relationships without the stigma produced—or dependency supposedly produced—by other kinds of means-tested welfare.85 A basic income guarantee could also reward activities like volunteering or caregiving that are not now rewarded by the market. A basic income guarantee is particularly crucial if the prediction that automation will produce mass unemployment in the future turns out to be correct.86 More modest than a basic income guarantee would be an expansion of the EITC, and equity in the payment of the tax credit to both custodial and noncustodial parents.87 EITC expansion does not reach everyone, but it is politically practical; while the minimum wage has stagnated, the EITC has been expanded six times since 1975.


pages: 320 words: 87,853

The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms That Control Money and Information by Frank Pasquale

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, asset-backed security, Atul Gawande, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, bonus culture, Brian Krebs, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Debian, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, financial innovation, Flash crash, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Google Earth, Hernando de Soto, High speed trading, hiring and firing, housing crisis, informal economy, information retrieval, interest rate swap, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, kremlinology, late fees, London Interbank Offered Rate, London Whale, Mark Zuckerberg, mobile money, moral hazard, new economy, Nicholas Carr, offshore financial centre, PageRank, pattern recognition, precariat, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, regulatory arbitrage, risk-adjusted returns, search engine result page, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, Steven Levy, the scientific method, too big to fail, transaction costs, two-sided market, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, value at risk, WikiLeaks

Perhaps the health policy experts will do more to advance creativity than all the copyright policymakers combined, simply by assuring some breathing room for the inevitable throng of failures in creative industries. I know, the tired rhetorical dichotomy between good old-fashioned American capitalism and the evils of socialism will be wheeled out against this approach. But what’s more statist— a) DHS contractors busting down the doors of copyright infringers, b) an allseeing Google/YouTube/Facebook check-in system to report on what you’re watching, or c) a universal basic income that greatly reduces the need to deploy a or b? The specter of socialism becomes 206 THE BLACK BOX SOCIETY an ever more laughable distraction as the interpenetration of state and business in finance and law enforcement serves an ever narrower set of interests. On the Narrowing Divide between Government and Business The “free markets vs. state” battles that devour American political discourse refer to a duality that is increasingly more apparent than real.


pages: 504 words: 143,303

Why We Can't Afford the Rich by Andrew Sayer

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, asset-backed security, banking crisis, banks create money, Bretton Woods, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, carbon footprint, collective bargaining, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, decarbonisation, declining real wages, deglobalization, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, demand response, don't be evil, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, en.wikipedia.org, Etonian, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, high net worth, income inequality, investor state dispute settlement, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, job automation, Julian Assange, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, moral hazard, mortgage debt, neoliberal agenda, new economy, New Urbanism, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, patent troll, payday loans, Plutocrats, plutocrats, predatory finance, price stability, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, universal basic income, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, Washington Consensus, Winter of Discontent, working poor, Yom Kippur War

The areas of decline – the Detroits, Liverpools and Middlesbroughs – are also the areas in which there are huge expanses of abandoned and often poisoned land that need to be cleaned up and developed. It is ridiculous to encroach on precious rural land to build houses and shops while this is the case. Most of all, there is much work to be done to build a green economy. The restoration and improvement of the welfare state for everyone would be a big step towards a humane economy and society. As equality increased it might be possible to build support for a universal basic income to replace most specialised benefits, providing both security and a simplified welfare system. It will no doubt take a long time to reduce the unequal division of labour, given how deeply embedded it has come to be in our societies. But two things should help. First, democratising ownership and control of enterprises is likely to make it more probable that they would share out good and bad tasks more equally.


pages: 903 words: 235,753

The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty by Benjamin H. Bratton

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1960s counterculture, 3D printing, 4chan, Ada Lovelace, additive manufacturing, airport security, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, Celebration, Florida, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, David Graeber, deglobalization, dematerialisation, disintermediation, distributed generation, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Eratosthenes, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Georg Cantor, gig economy, global supply chain, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Guggenheim Bilbao, High speed trading, Hyperloop, illegal immigration, industrial robot, information retrieval, intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, linked data, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, McMansion, means of production, megacity, megastructure, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Monroe Doctrine, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, peak oil, performance metric, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, phenotype, place-making, planetary scale, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, reserve currency, RFID, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Slavoj Žižek, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, software studies, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Startup school, statistical arbitrage, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, Superbowl ad, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, TaskRabbit, the built environment, The Chicago School, the scientific method, Torches of Freedom, transaction costs, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, urban planning, Vernor Vinge, Washington Consensus, web application, WikiLeaks, working poor, Y Combinator

Friedland, “Money, Sex and God: The Erotic Logics of Religious Nationalism,” Sociological Theory 20 (2002): 381–425. 48.  Robert MacBride, The Automated State: Computer Systems as a New Force in Society (Philadelphia: Chilton Book, 1967); Stanislaw Lem, Summa Technologica (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013; originally published 1964); and Thomas Wells, “The Robot Economy and the Crisis of Capitalism: Why We Need Universal Basic Income,” ABC Religion and Ethics (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), July 17, 2014, http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2014/07/17/4048180.htm. 49.  Srnicek and Williams’ book Inventing the Future would hold one end of this spectrum, while Evgeny Morozov's “The Planning Machine” would fix the other. See http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/10/13/planning-machine. 50.  McKenzie Wark, Molecular Red: Theory for the Anthropocene (London: Verso, 2015); Benedict Singleton, “Maximum Jailbreak,” e-flux, July 27, 2013, http://www.e-flux.com/journal/maximum-jailbreak/. 51.