There is something else going on here. I’ve been following the story of automation for a long time, mostly through the writings of a certain Dean Baker, an economist at the Center for Economic Policy and Research. In this article, after a rather long examination of the data, he states that:

In short, nothing about the robots-taking-our-jobs story makes sense. It hasn’t been happening, no major governmental agency or international organization expects it to happen any time soon, and if it did, it should be a good story for workers. If the robots turn out to be generating inequality it will be because of our robot policy, not the robots.

According to Baker, there is zero data to support the view that the robots are taking all of our jobs. So the argument for a UBI is probably a ruse for something else. I think that line in bold above is the main reason for a UBI, which is what Caitlin alluded to in her last paragraph.

But as far as I can tell, the robots are not taking our jobs. Not yet. Not even for the foreseeable future. Humans are just too good at making a mess out of things to reduce the labor required to get everything done.

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Husband, father, worker, philosopher, and observer. Plumbing the depths of consciousness to find the spring of happiness. Write on.

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