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  • Democratic Presidential candidate Andrew Yang has a radical idea for America: under his

  • leadership he would institute a national program that would pay every American citizen $1,000

  • a month, every single month for the rest of their lives.

  • While this has grabbed plenty of headlines in the warm-up to the official 2020 presidential

  • race, the truth is that Yang's proposal- which he calls the Freedom Dividend because Americans

  • literally can't not put the word Freedom in front of everything- has been around for a

  • very long time.

  • Yang's idea is to give every American over the age of 18 a government check for $1,000,

  • which would be paid for by a special tax and savings from the replacement of other social

  • welfare programs.

  • Basically, people would have the choice between signing up for UBI or keeping their current

  • welfare aid- and it's expected that most people would opt for UBI.

  • But what impact would $1,000 a month for every citizen really have on the average person

  • and the economy at large?

  • First, we have to understand the history of UBI in order to understand the proposed impact

  • to society.

  • Different forms of UBI have been around for centuries, but back in the sixteenth century,

  • some Europeans proposed UBI as a way to tackle some of society's worst problems.

  • Theft was on the rise across metropolitan Europe, and some members of the clergy and

  • government thought that instituting a guaranteed income would help decrease theft along with

  • other crimes.

  • The reasoning was sound: if everyone got even just a very minimum income, then there would

  • be much less need for crime- crime after all is historically committed by individuals who

  • are not hardened lifelong criminals, but rather desperate people in temporary dire straits.

  • Relieve economic pressure on people and as a result the crime rate should plummet.

  • The real father of UBI though is widely recognized as hunmanist Johannes Ludovicus Vives, who

  • lived from 1492 until 1540.

  • After observing the plight of the poor across Europe, he wrote a memoir to the Mayor of

  • Bruges in 1526, where he implored the mayor to consider implementing a basic income for

  • all citizens.

  • Vives argued that the government was far more capable at running charitable efforts than

  • private individuals, as they had the greater manpower and resources.

  • However, Vives' UBI was coupled with a clause that recipients show a willingness to work

  • if able.

  • Vives however also argued for UBI on religious grounds, highlighting that a moral and godly

  • society had a duty to its poor before its own prosperity.

  • This argument would echo the sentiments of Jesus, who proclaimed to all that believers

  • may live life abundantly- though sadly that sentiment has been, and continues to be, perverted

  • and misconstrued as meaning an abundant life.

  • Jesus's true meaning however was echoed by Vives, who argued that believers were never

  • promised the abundant life they thought they deserved, but rather to live abundantly through

  • good works, deeds, and charitable attitudes.

  • Vives even described individuals who enriched themselves at the cost of society as thieves,

  • who stole from nature and hoarded its gifts for themselves.

  • However, Vives also had a more pragmatic view for UBI, and argued that if people's needs

  • could be met before their situation turned desperate, then they would be far less likely

  • to turn to criminal acts.

  • Vives' idea for UBI was never adopted, though versions of it were implemented in smaller

  • communities.

  • His real legacy would be in the evolution of Europe's massive social welfare programs

  • during the Industrial Revolution, which secured things such as food and housing aid and pensions

  • for retiring workers.

  • Since then the idea of UBI has been brought up from time to time in various political

  • discussions, though the greatest development in the philosophy of a guaranteed income came

  • about in the 1970s and with the help of science fiction writers.

  • As the computer age dawned on mankind, it became clear to some that the development

  • of ever more advanced computers would eventually lead to a society where many jobs could be

  • done more efficiently, and cheaper, by a computer.

  • This led many to ponder the repercussions on an economy that depends on human employment

  • to function.

  • With the slow evolution of artificial intelligence and robotics, that future problem has only

  • come into sharper and sharper focus.

  • In essence, the problem is this: advanced AIs, especially when coupled with advanced

  • robotics, would almost certainly end up being more efficient and cheaper to operate than

  • human workers.

  • A robot after all never needs to take a break or calls in sick, and is not protected by

  • federal labor laws that limit its work day or force overtime.

  • This reduces the cost of labor to a fraction of what a human workforce would require, and

  • skyrockets productivity.

  • The simple laws of a free market system dictate that employers will make the shift to robots

  • and artificial intelligence as quickly as possible, no matter the consequences to the

  • human work force.

  • All across the American rust belt the effects of automation and globalization are already

  • evident, with factories that once employed thousands and provided a middle-class income

  • shipped overseas to cheaper labor markets, or with workers replaced by machines.

  • In a way, the future is already upon us- only things are set to get much, much worse.

  • That's because our progress towards artificial intelligence and robotics both only continues

  • to grow, and there are very few jobs that a machine can't do better than a human.

  • Police officers could for instance largely be replaced with an automated system that

  • detects traffic violations and issues tickets in real time electronically, and a fleet of

  • emergency response units could be 'piloted' from a remote location by a small contingent

  • of human operators- no different than a drone pilot today can pilot a combat mission in

  • Afghanistan from the safety and security of an air conditioned trailer in the United States.

  • Robot firefighters, with perhaps some minimal human assistance, could also provide far better,

  • and safer service than a fully human crew.

  • Waitresses, bank tellers, laborers, construction workers- there is almost no job that a robot

  • couldn't do better, more efficiently, and cheaper than a human.

  • So what happens in an economy where most of the human population has been forced out of

  • the market?

  • While some argue that the adoption of robots and artificial intelligences into the workforce

  • would create human jobs in order to support those systems, such thoughts are naive at

  • best- as a robot technician would be far more efficient, and once more more cost effective,

  • than a human one.

  • Perhaps a small amount of support jobs would be created for humans, after all you'd still

  • want a human in charge of a squad of emergency response police robots, but the net loss would

  • be greater than the net gain- especially as technology continues to improve robotics and

  • AI.

  • Clearly, most people would be jobless, as the only jobs that would be largely available

  • would be those that humans can do better than a machine: jobs that involve the arts or empathy

  • for example.

  • In order to deal with such an economic crisis, guaranteed basic income will become a national

  • necessity, or society as we know it could collapse altogether.

  • For right now, UBI is a nice political debate that neither side needs to take particularly

  • serious, but in the very near future it will almost certainly become a critical necessity.

  • But what if we adopted it today?

  • How would that change things for society and people?

  • Well, some research indicates that an added $1,000 per month, per American, would help

  • stimulate the American economy.

  • There is a lot of solid thinking behind this too, as the extra money would certainly help

  • turn many people who today are more savers than consumers due to a low income, into consumers

  • who purchase goods and services.

  • This would pump the government money back into the economy, and generate greater tax

  • revenues from added economic activity across the nation.

  • This added tax revenue wouldn't completely make back the UBI dividend handed out, but

  • the added economic activity would mean that businesses would earn more and thus be able

  • to invest more into growing their businesses.

  • It is also believed that entrepreneurship would also increase, which would further help

  • stimulate economic growth and ultimately, greater tax revenues.

  • The core idea is itself a proven concept already.

  • After World War II the United States faced an economic crisis in the making.

  • Millions of young men had returned home with no peacetime skills and poor or no education.

  • Yet where many saw a looming economic disaster, the US government saw a once-in-a-lifetime

  • opportunity to invest in its own future.

  • Thus the Montgomery GI Bill was instituted, granting free college education to any military

  • veteran.

  • The MGI Bill proved to be a huge success, and the rapid ascension of the US as a scientific

  • superpower and the dawn of the space age both are largely credited to the hundreds of thousands

  • of new engineers and scientists that resulted from the MGI Bill's benefits.

  • Guaranteed Basic Income however is a far greater investment than fifty thousand dollars for

  • college is, and currently many believe that the US government couldn't afford to run Andrew

  • Yang's UBI proposal without running a national deficit.

  • Some economists also argue that the results of economic studies showing that UBI would

  • grow the economy by a whopping 12.5% over ten years, are themselves flawed.

  • They argue that UBI spending by individuals would be concentrated on consumer goods, rather

  • than the capital goods which are very large engines of an economy.

  • The detractors of UBI argue that an individual with an extra $1,000 in their pocket every

  • month would likely use that money to purchase consumer goods- things such as clothing, food,

  • and entertainment.

  • This would then feed that money to businesses who would invest in consumer goods to offer

  • back to the consumer.

  • It is feared that UBI would encourage a greater consumption economy which would not invest

  • as heavily in capital goods- or the things that improve the value and efficiency of an

  • economy.

  • For example, detractors of UBI argue that an individual with more money in their pocket

  • would go to a market and buy oranges, and the farmer who runs the market would invest

  • that money in growing more orange trees instead of in buying tools to improve his or her farm.

  • In this case the tools are a capital good as they would improve the efficiency of the

  • farmer's farm, and allow him to engage in other activities that added value to it.

  • In essence UBI detractors fear that the extra income would mean a temporary gain, with a

  • long term loss to the economy.

  • This argument seems, well more than a bit silly.

  • After all, only a poor businessman would choose to use his or her extra income on generating

  • short-term economic gain.

  • Additionally, an infusion of cash into the economy means that there would be an even

  • greater opportunity to invest in capital goods than would exist without this infusion of

  • cash.

  • Over the short term though, the argument that UBI would run a national deficit is accurate-

  • though again this ignores the long-term benefits of an economy with more consumer activity.

  • The economic growth and resulting tax revenues would take time to catch up with the expense

  • of UBI, but would eventually hit a tipping point where the economy has grown enough to

  • pay for UBI.

  • In essence, the question over UBI becomes one of investing in our economic future.

  • There are however some good points brought up by detractors of UBI who highlight that

  • a guaranteed income will mean an increase in unemployment.

  • While nobody believes that a significant number of people would choose to live off a measly

  • $12,000 a year, many people would likely not feel as pressured to quickly find a job after

  • losing one thanks to the safety net of receiving a free $1,000 a month.

  • People would take longer to find work, and proponents argue that this means there would

  • be more satisfying employment, while detractors state that this would result in an economic

  • slowdown.

  • In reality anybody who thinks that an extra $1,000 a month would keep people from looking

  • for work, likely has never lived on $1,000 a month.

  • The average rent in the United States is $1,191 a month, and this figure alone is evidence

  • enough that people wouldn't simply opt to take 'work vacations' because of UBI.

  • However, some individuals with a small amount of savings may indeed choose to look for more

  • enjoyable work and not feel the pressure to immediately find work that they do not like.

  • This might in fact cause a small economic slowdown.

  • However, this figure is likely to be so small as to be statistically insignificant- again,

  • with $1200 in rent due every month and the collapse of the American middle class, not

  • many people would be able to afford to live on $1,000 a month even with savings.

  • In the end though the effects of UBI are still quite unpredictable.

  • We can model and try to forecast the impact of an extra $1,000 a month on the economy

  • all we like, but people are themselves strange and unpredictable beings.

  • With a free $12,000 every year, perhaps most people would opt to save rather than spend,

  • and make long-term big ticket purchases which would not generate nearly as much economic

  • activity.

  • Or perhaps an influx of $1,000 every month per American would lead to an increase in

  • prices and a nullification of any advantage UBI has.

  • Or, perhaps proponents of UBI are correct and it could serve to greatly stimulate the

  • economy and create more opportunity for people.

  • Ultimately nobody can accurately predict the effects of UBI, and the only way to find out

  • might just be to implement it.

  • What is for sure though is that pending a self-made apocalypse, artificial intelligence

  • and advanced robotics will one day drive many, if not most, humans out of the economy.

  • In that inevitable future UBI may be less a political football for candidates to throw

  • around, and more a critical necessity to keep our society from collapsing altogether.

  • What would you do with an extra $1,000 a month?

  • Tell us how you'd spend it in the comments!

  • Now go watchSpend $1 Billion Dollars In 24 Hours or LOSE IT ALL Challenge.”

  • Also don't forget to Like, Share, and Subscribe for more great content!

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    王惟惟   に公開 2020 年 01 月 29 日
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