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  • The threat that technological innovation will

  • destroy more jobs than it creates has spurred

  • a wide variety of proposals for ensuring that

  • workers aren't left out in the cold.

  • One such proposal is universal basic income.

  • The idea is simple: citizens or permanent

  • residents receive a fixed sum of money, giving

  • them the security and flexibility to participate

  • in reskilling or higher education programs,

  • to start their own businesses, to engage in

  • less lucrative but socially valuable activities,

  • or simply to spend less time working.

  • As the so-called gig economy grows, and unions'

  • capacity to protect workers weakens, a UBI

  • would be a powerful economic stabilizer.

  • And, because it would be universal, a UBI

  • would lack the stigma or means-testing that

  • often weaken political support for existing

  • welfare programs.

  • The most obvious question is how to pay for it.

  • One option is taxation of corporate profits,

  • though any tax-based financing scheme would

  • almost certainly face powerfuland possibly

  • fatalpolitical resistance.

  • Another option, advanced by Yanis Varoufakis,

  • seeks to avoid this problem by giving the

  • public a share of returns on capital.

  • For example, a percentage of capital stock

  • (shares) from every initial public offering

  • could be channeled into a Commons Capital

  • Depository, with the dividends funding what

  • would amount to a universal income scheme.

  • But financing UBI is just the first step.

  • The concept challenges traditional ideas about

  • work, success, and human fulfillment.

  • On the right, critics worry that a UBI would

  • give rise to mass dependency, with a large

  • share of the population no longer bothering

  • to work, leading to a drop in labor supply

  • and falling productivity.

  • Critics on the left, meanwhile, worry that

  • the UBI could be used as a Trojan horse for

  • cutting other social programs that are meant

  • to target disadvantaged groups.

  • In any case, UBI is not the only potential solution.

  • For example, in the United States, some advocate

  • the expansion of the earned income tax credit,

  • which benefits low-income workers based on

  • how many hours they work and children they

  • have.

  • Some also advocate a guaranteed jobs program.

  • The federal government would guarantee employment,

  • with benefits and a living wage, to every

  • citizen or permanent resident willing and

  • able to work.

  • Among other things, a job guarantee, like

  • a UBI, would boost workers' negotiating

  • power throughout the economy by removing the

  • fear of unemployment.

  • None of these proposals has yet been implemented,

  • at least not on a scale large enough to assess

  • them properly.

  • And, for now, the political will to test bold

  • solutions is lacking in much of the world.

  • But with the specter of technological unemployment

  • closing in, governments may soon have no choice

  • but to test novel ideas.

The threat that technological innovation will

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PS.理論の中で普遍的なベーシックインカム (PS. In Theory: Universal Basic Income)

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    王惟惟 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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