BEN SCHILLER 03.15.16 6:00 AM
If the goal of the economy is to provide decent-paying work for everyone, that economy clearly isn't doing a good job at the moment. Real wages for most Americans haven't increased in 40 years. Real unemploymentwhich includes the "under-employed"is above 10%. Many jobs are now part-time, flexi-time, or "gigs" with no benefits and few protections. And, we spend a lot of money to subsidize so-called "bullshit jobs": more than 50% of fast food workers receive some form of public assistance, for instance.
And, even for people who are employed, work often isn't that fun. For all the talk of the meaning and purpose of our jobs, most people see them merely as a means to an end. Only 29% of employees in North America say they're engaged (worldwide, the number is 13%). And the reality is that a lot of work will soon be done by computer. Processing-type technology has already eliminated many "routine manual" and "routine cognitive" activities, notably in factories and offices. And new artificially intelligent machines are likely to take away more, even within professional occupations. Forty-seven percent of jobs are at risk over the next 20 years, one study showed.
Of course, there are many conventional ways we could deal with this, including improving education and training (so more people can work up the wage-scale and beyond the ability of robots) and raising minimum wages. But, over the long term, it's questionable whether even these approaches will be sufficient. The fundamental problem could be that work is losing its value. The thing that providedthat allowed families to prosper and individuals to build a sense-of-selfis under attack.
In response, many are now calling for a "universal basic income" (UBI)where the state gives everyone enough to live on. This would put a floor under the class of people we're calling the "precariat," people for whom work doesn't lead to increased financial security. It would free us from the bullshit, allowing everyone to benefit from automation, not just the lucky few. And it would leave us more time for creative, fulfilling things, enjoying the "abundance" that new technology affords (think how useful and cheap computers are today and imagine what they might let everyone do in the future). There are several UBI trials planned in Finland, Switzerland, and Canada (and, indeed, several reasons why the idea is attractive).
More at: http://www.fastcoexist.com/3056483/welcome-to-the-post-work-economy?partner=wired
...is that the Clinton campaign fought dirty and lost. It shows that the electorate was too savvy to reward a campaign based on lies, and goes a long way to restoring my faith in the voting public. An honest victory for Hillary would still have been a blow, but to see her win like that would have been too much to take in.
Profile InformationName: Nick Xylas
Home country: England
Current location: Bristol
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