1. [OT] Wealth redefined

A slightly odd thought stuck me today.

One thing that has occupied my mind recently is automation replacing the workforce, the most in-yer-face example of which is driverless vehicles, but beyond that it is not hard to imagine pretty much all manual/retail jobs going, along with at least a significant chuck of health, child and social care. Of course more intellectually challenging jobs (eg nuclear fission research) will probably persist, but it is not unreasonable to expect significant change in the next decade, and maybe 90% of the population permanently workless within 100 years.

Of course there is the question "what will people do?" but more importantly we cannot plan to let them starve, or the inevitable civil revolt and robot armies roaming about killing our children and grandchildren. Before dismissing that as scaremongering, tell me what else will happen when you put millions of people out of work with no means of support, especially if fewer and fewer can contribute anything at all to social funds?

In a civilised society, there should be a guaranteed basic income. Currently, only a very small percentage of the population does not receive a wage, pension, or other benefits, so if we were to legislate a pittance for them, say 5/week, right now, it ought not cost very much, but it would be an important toe in the door.

I would also like to redefine "poor": living in a typical small house with sufficient food/heat/clothes etc. Bear in mind that the cost of essentials should theoretically fall in line with automation.

Ultimately, the rich will have to support the poor. Not something they are likely to do very willingly, but maybe we can redefine the meaning of "rich". It means being better off than your neighbor. It also means nothing if societly collapses beneath you. What if we somehow redefined it as the number of people you can "pay to be poor"? If you can support 100 people, then you are pretty well off; if you can support 10,000 you are officially rich, and 10,000,000 would be the equivalent of today's multi-billionaires.

An odd idea, for sure, but it may have merit, not that I have any idea how to apply/spread it.

Pete

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2. Re: [OT] Wealth redefined

Your idea sounds very much like the feudal system in medieval Europe; a few rich "lords" and a lot of peasants, dependent upon the royalty for their survival.

That worked (for a while), but it only worked for one reason: the royals retained ownership of the land, and land was the way to measure real wealth. Letting the peasants farm that land didn't reduce that wealth.

Now, cash and bonds are the definition of wealth, and giving that away actually reduces the amount available. IOW, the rich will sooner or later run out of money. Then what?

We can easily redefine words. Can we redefine human nature?

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3. Re: [OT] Wealth redefined

Interesting problems and thoughts and not unrealistic, but a bit too pessimistic imho.

First of all jobless is different from workless, as it allows you to go and spend time on lots of things
like eg gardening (you then could become a "volunteer-farmer", growing food for a small community)
You can picture lots of hobbies having a social value, like this example
As always, the PROBLEM bears its own SOLUTION as soon as you start thinking in solutions.
...The culprit of all problems, ofcourse, is MONEY, because if we decided to abolish it as of tomorrow,
who would be rich and who would become the "new poor"? The scenario you show is only one out of
many that have gone through my mind since the later 60's when both computers and flower-power
started blossoming.
Lots of people currently gather in groups to flee the hectic modern society,
starting small self-sufficient communities, which in my view will probably become even more trendy
and might become the structure of the Aquarian epoque.

Wealth, translated into this scheme could be defined as:
POOR ======= unable to sustain oneself or one's family at a reasonable level
AVERAGE: === able to do so on a for a longer period
WEALTHY: === able to sustain not just one's family, but come to the aid of relatives, friends and neighbours as well
Add any higher category you like ;)

I can hear you mumble:"He's gone crazy and thinks UTOPIA will be the future", but why not ponder on it
and try to put in my two bits to achieve at least part of it?

Back to basics, ideally being kind of rural picture supported by state-of-the-art technology, at least for me it would be.

@irv:
If we only start redefining our own nature and rebuild it, we do make a start at it

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4. Re: [OT] Wealth redefined

Hi

There is talk of taxing robotic labour - how else would goverments exist if there were no workers to tax, so robotic labour may not be as actually cheap as some people now think. Just think there may actually be competition between robots and humans to provide work for employers.

Cheers

Chris

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5. Re: [OT] Wealth redefined

And if robots pay taxes, shouldn't the government provide free lube jobs and tune-ups? :)

As far as redefining our own nature, I'm pretty sure it is possible, but we've been working at that for 35,000 years or so, and we still haven't made much progress.

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6. Re: [OT] Wealth redefined

99% Invisible recently covered The Finnish Experiment: where the people of Finland are experimenting with designing (rather than simply legislating) a universal basic income system through iterative design and scientific testing. They have a test group (2,000 unemployed citizens who receive a basic income) and a control group (the rest of the unemployed population) and at the end of the test they'll collect the data and build the next policy based on the observed outcomes. It's well worth the read and/or listen. I also recommend subscribing to 99pi if you've got the time. It's fascinating to learn about how things are designed and built, especially the things we never think about.

https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/the-finnish-experiment/

-Greg

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