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Thread: Automated Jobs / Basic Income

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    Senior Member Englisc's Avatar
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    Automated Jobs / Basic Income

    Switzerland will become the first country in the world to hold a nationwide referendum on the introduction of a basic income on Sunday.

    The proposal, if passed, would give every adult legally resident in Switzerland an unconditional income of 2,500 Swiss francs (£1,755; $2,554) a month, whether they work or not.

    Supporters point to the fact that 21st-Century work is increasingly automated, with more and more traditional jobs, in factories, retail and even in finance and accounting, being done by machines. And they do not need salaries.

    The campaign has staged some eyecatching demonstrations, including one in which hundreds of "robots" danced through the streets of Zurich, promising to "free" humans from the daily grind of Monday to Friday work, just to pay the bills.

    "The robots are saying 'we don't want to grab your work and make you suffer'," said campaigner Che Wagner. "We want to make you free, that's why they want a basic income for us humans."
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-36443512

    Polls show more than 2/3rds opposed to instituting a basic income. The Swiss are also voting on asylum reform (resisted by the SVP), a re-vote on pre-implantation genetic screening, and a proposal to improve public services.

    More here: http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/in-depth/vote-june-5--2016

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    Funding Member The Horned God's Avatar
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    This is very interesting. Ultimately, once artificial intelligence is perfected there will be so few jobs available to humans that a basic income will probably be necessary to prevent widespread joblessness and poverty.

    Right now the best chess players are computer programs and the best Go player is a computer program. There will never again be a human chess player that can beat Deep blue at chess or a human Go player that can beat Google's Deep mind at Go.

    Ok that's chess and Go, but what happens when the best doctor is also a computer or the best teacher or Lawyer is a computer? Will anyone go to human doctors or lawyers that charge them 10 or 100 times as much as the software equivalent?

    What happens when all the factories are completely automated, when the delivery trucks are self driving and robots do the unloading? Where will the majority of people work?

    Bipedal robot.



    Ultimately there will be fewer and fewer jobs that humans will be better at than machines and unemployment will be rife. Perhaps humans will still be better artists and writers? Even in the field of music there have been scores written by computer that sound very good.

    http://arstechnica.com/science/2009/...s-controversy/

    I think ultimately a basic income will be necessary to avoid social unrest. That day is not here yet, it might take 50 years, but it is coming.
    Close observation may result in feelings of horror, wonder and awe at world you find yourself inhabiting.

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    Funding Member renownedwolf's Avatar
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    It's a silly idea..somebody has to pay for it..nobody will bother to go work..I suppose it's ok in Switzerland seeing as it's a haven for foreign dirty money..they can afford it...

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    Funding Member The Horned God's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by renownedwolf View Post
    It's a silly idea..somebody has to pay for it..nobody will bother to go work..
    Sure but what happens when the people going to work can't keep up the with the robots? Do you know any humans who can drive a truck or move boxes 24 hours a day and never need a break?

    Human taxi drivers will be obsolete within 10 years. No doubt about it. Truck drivers and forklift drivers won't be far behind. Then factory operatives will follow. Factories will consist of a building with hundreds of robots and a few human engineers who maintain them. The problem is, there won't be very many engineer posts available and anyway, not everyone will be intelligent enough to be an engineer...

    Thousands of manual roles are set to disappear due to automation and not everyone has the capacity to work in an intellectual field. What do you do with all those less gifted or less highly-educated people?
    Close observation may result in feelings of horror, wonder and awe at world you find yourself inhabiting.

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    Senior Member Englisc's Avatar
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    People have been worried about robots taking jobs for a long time, but it hasn't really happened; Manufacturing jobs have gone down, but they've been replaced by service sector jobs. It varies country to country but here in the UK unemployment is low and the employment rate has never been higher.

    There may well be a stage when computers get so advanced they will replace the service sector too, this is slowly starting to happen in some fast food outlets. But I think it will take a while before computers can replace lawyers or doctors and nurses.

    At this stage, a basic income would just encourage laziness and raise unemployment. Many people especially on lower incomes will prefer a no-strings-attacked income to having to get out to work. Switzerland's unemployment rate is c.3%, so there's very little problem of worklessness right now. It will also require much higher taxes, thus discouraging work and businesses and driving economic activity abroad.

    Philosophically, I oppose the idea it is the state's responsibility to look after people who can look after themselves. Most people are, relatively speaking, already well off, and those who aren't can be looked after by family (above all), friends, charity and the existing welfare system.

    There's the "negative income tax", favoured by many libertarians. We already have something like this, tax credits, which top up low incomes, and can be improved by making the tax/tax credit system simpler and with lower marginal tax rates.

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    Senior Member SaxonCeorl's Avatar
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    Why do we need money at all? If we built our own homes, grew our own food, and made our own clothes, we'd need a lot less of it.

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    Senior Member Englisc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaxonCeorl View Post
    Why do we need money at all? If we built our own homes, grew our own food, and made our own clothes, we'd need a lot less of it.
    It took a guy 6 months and $1,500 just to make a sandwich.



    Exchange - in ideas, and in produce and services via trade - is the basis of human civilisation. Without it, we'd be like our ancient ancestors, living lives that are "nasty, brutish and short"...

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    Funding Member The Horned God's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Englisc View Post
    People have been worried about robots taking jobs for a long time, but it hasn't really happened; Manufacturing jobs have gone down, but they've been replaced by service sector jobs. It varies country to country but here in the UK unemployment is low and the employment rate has never been higher.
    The fact that it hasn't happened yet doesn't mean it's not around the corner. When driver-less vehicle tech comes online the U.S alone will lose 4 million jobs. Not many Taxi drivers are going to retrain as doctors or nurses. And not many are going to get hired as waiters either.

    Even if they were hired into the service sector, service sector jobs are the lowest paid of all jobs. These are not jobs that one could raise a family on. For instance, a waiter and a cleaner with 2 children would represent a fairly poverty-stricken household. What we are witnessing with the rise of automation is nothing less than the impending destruction of the working class. This has already happened to some extent with the loss of the manufacturing jobs to the far east, automation will be the coup de gras.


    There may well be a stage when computers get so advanced they will replace the service sector too, this is slowly starting to happen in some fast food outlets. But I think it will take a while before computers can replace lawyers or doctors and nurses.
    A report from the Office of the President on the United States found an 83% likelyhood that any job paying less than $20 per hour would eventually be replaced by automation. And a 31% chance that jobs paying $40 per hour would be replaced also.

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/def...plete%20JA.pdf

    Doctors and Nurses will be replaced last of all because they provide reassurance to patients which only a human can do. But do you really think a machine could not be devised to identify a possible illness from a body scan and recommend taking a blood or urine sample? It seems to me that even in the caring professions far fewer people will be needed in the future than currently are.

    At this stage, a basic income would just encourage laziness and raise unemployment. Many people especially on lower incomes will prefer a no-strings-attacked income to having to get out to work.
    I disagree. I think its the opposite. At the moment if an unemployed person seeks work they lose their benefits. So the benefits system as it stands actually dis-incentivises the unemployed to find work. A guaranteed income on the other hand would encourage the unemployed to find work so as to obtain additional income. If that work did not pay very much, it would still be an improvement in income.
    A universal basic income would be a way of getting people to do the low-payed zero-hour contract service jobs that nobody wants, because they would not have the fear of losing the basic secure income upon which they depend.


    Switzerland's unemployment rate is c.3%, so there's very little problem of worklessness right now. It will also require much higher taxes, thus discouraging work and businesses and driving economic activity abroad.
    A feasibility study carried out in ireland found that a basic income could be provided with a tax rate of 45% and that it would lead to an improvement in income for the majority of the population.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_income#cite_note-21
    http://www.bien2012.de/sites/default...per_253_en.pdf

    Philosophically, I oppose the idea it is the state's responsibility to look after people who can look after themselves. Most people are, relatively speaking, already well off, and those who aren't can be looked after by family (above all), friends, charity and the existing welfare system.
    The problem with that philosophy is that it leads to the rich getting ever richer and the poor getting even poorer. We could easily end up with a tiny aristocracy made up of the owners of the technology that runs everything. And a large underclass made up of those who are no longer needed by the economic system.

    There's the "negative income tax", favoured by many libertarians. We already have something like this, tax credits, which top up low incomes, and can be improved by making the tax/tax credit system simpler and with lower marginal tax rates.
    Tax credits are expensive to administer and don't solve the problem of unemployed people remaining unemployed because working would actually deduce their income security.
    Close observation may result in feelings of horror, wonder and awe at world you find yourself inhabiting.

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    Senior Member SaxonCeorl's Avatar
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    I can't imagine a world where everything is automated but the unemployed masses can't afford even the lesser fees to use these automated goods and services. They'd find some way to make it workable; if they didn't, they'd face a riot.

    Just as we shouldn't be reliant pawns of the government, we also shouldn't be reliant pawns of capitalism and materialism. We need to start living life as proud, self-reliant human beings again. If you have the basic necessities of life taken care of, you're a rich man. This whole idea of having a job where you make an unnecessary good or provide an unnecessary service in order to be given pieces of green paper to buy more unnecessary stuff is just insane.

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    Funding Member The Horned God's Avatar
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    In past experiments, the only increase in people opting not to work after a basic income was applied were amongst mothers and students. See Mincome Experiment in Manitoba, Canada.

    "University of Manitoba economist Evelyn Forget (/fɔːrˈʒeɪ/) conducted an analysis of the Dauphin portion of the experiment in 2009 which was published in 2011.[7][8] She found that only new mothers and teenagers worked substantially less.

    Mothers with newborns stopped working because they wanted to stay at home longer with their babies, and teenagers worked less because they weren't under as much pressure to support their families, which resulted in more teenagers graduating.

    In addition, those who continued to work were given more opportunities to choose what type of work they did. Forget found that in the period that Mincome was administered, hospital visits dropped 8.5 percent, with fewer incidents of work-related injuries, and fewer emergency room visits from accidents and injuries.[9]

    Additionally, the period saw a reduction in rates of psychiatric hospitalization, and in the number of mental illness-related consultations with health professionals."

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mincome
    Close observation may result in feelings of horror, wonder and awe at world you find yourself inhabiting.

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