Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum
Gus Van Horn blog

Reblogged:Robots Are Coming! Hurry Up and Steal!

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

Over at Investor's Business Daily is an editorial arguing against a British proposal to tax major technology companies in order to fund welfare for everyone, aka "Universal Basic Income." Insofar as their argument goes, they are on the right track, economically, but some mention of the right of someone to keep his own earnings would have been helpful. Why? Because this idea is even more contemptible than it is absurd. You may have to ponder that point, though, because the welfare state has normalized massive theft from the productive for decades.

In any event, the editorial provides the following warning just a wee bit too late:

Yet, this is how the far-left thinks. Money is magic. All you have to do is imagine a need, and you can take whatever you want from producers to satisfy that need. And don't worry: Like all bad ideas, this one will jump the pond and soon be discussed by the economically illiterate far-left in the U.S. as an "answer" to our welfare problems.
This idea has actually already "jumped the pond." Admittedly, he is a fringe candidate, but one Andrew Yang has already thrown his hat into the 2020 Democrat presidential ring on a platform of technophobic demagoguery cum goodies-for-all:
Robots will make life easier, but not to the point we can quit working altogether. (Photo by Franck Veschi on Unsplash)
That candidate is Andrew Yang, a well-connected New York businessman who is mounting a longer-than-long-shot bid for the White House. Mr. Yang, a former tech executive who started the nonprofit organization Venture for America, believes that automation and advanced artificial intelligence will soon make millions of jobs obsolete -- yours, mine, those of our accountants and radiologists and grocery store cashiers. He says America needs to take radical steps to prevent Great Depression-level unemployment and a total societal meltdown, including handing out trillions of dollars in cash. [link omitted]
This may be, as IBD put it, "an absurd idea" (just like robots wiping out all our jobs), but it has indeed arrived. Yang himself may be a long-shot, but I am sure his stronger competitors will seriously consider whether his idea -- like your money -- is worth stealing.

-- CAV

Link to Original

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Invictus2017 said:

Stockton, California, is already considering a guaranteed minimum income.  See, e.g., http://www.businessinsider.com/stockton-california-launching-the-first-us-experiment-in-basic-income-2017-10

Haha, good luck with that. It's touted as a "demonstration" but of what? How exactly are you supposed to live in Stockton on $500/month or $6000/year or what this income is designed to do. Or who or how the undisclosed number of recipients were selected and on what basis. And are they still given access to other government programs? How does this effect other policies? And given that the seed money for this is privately funded by a private investment company... assuming this works, doesn't this show that a private safety net and charity is more effective than a boondoggle of government programs and perverse welfare incentives?? And given the above, why would you even need the city to be involved at all?? Aren't they just middlemen funneling off costs and creating unnecessary overhead at this point? And aren't you admitting that decades of welfare programs are not only not working but are hurting poor communities and this is precisely why a "radical" private solution is needed??? The cognitive dissonance is deafening in California right now.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh yeah, I heard of Stockton before. They made headlines as the largest US city to declare bankruptcy, a few years ago. You'd think that would be a good enough demonstration of the merits of the welfare state, and they would learn from it.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.