Technology has fundamentally changed how we live; how we communicate, share information and work has fundamentally shifted. Artificial Intelligence and automation are coming for your jobs, and they’re running; technology does not improve in a linear manner, it improves exponentially.
If technology improves linearly, then it stands to reason that the level at which AI and automation exists currently, is going to be rapidly superseded. This is a scary thing to consider; what about the truck drivers, receptionists, factory workers, and not to forget the retail workers (eCommerce is quickly replacing brick-and-mortar retail, see: amazon). What are we to do…? It seems as though entrepreneur and 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang has a solution.
Yang aims to introduce Universal Basic Income (UBI) in order to help offset the impact that automation is having, and will continue to have on the US economy. Now, what is UBI?
Universal Basic Income is a form of social security that guarantees a certain amount of money to every citizen within a given governed population, without having to pass a test or fulfil a work requirement. Every Universal Basic Income plan can be different in terms of amount or design.
Andrew Yang is running for President as Democrat in 2020 on the platform of Universal Basic Income. The UBI he is proposing for the United States is a set of guaranteed payments of $1,000 per month, or $12,000 per year, to all U.S. citizens over the age of 18. Yes, that means you and everyone you know would get another $1,000/month every month from the U.S. government, no questions asked.
What a revolutionary thing! With this in place, people would not have to stress about their basic needs; imagine what this would do the Human mind. A switch from survival to
By taking care of everyone’s basic needs, enormous amounts of people who were previously hungry, homeless and/or unsafe/trapped (domestic violence) would no longer have to worry about where they are sleeping, or where their next meal is coming from. People in domestic violence would be more likely to flee because they would no longer have to rely on their abusive partners to provide for them (assuming that this is the case of course). When a Human’s basic needs are not met (homeless, hungry, unsafe), they are stressed, and stressed people are generally intolerable to be around (think: snappy, aggressive, over-reactive, angry, defensive, and over-the-top). And when people no longer have to worry about where they are going to sleep, and how they’re going to eat, a heavy burden is lifted off of their shoulders; they can now focus on belonging and love, both of which are crucial for all Human beings. This is what we must strive toward, for how can a society become more inclusive, loving and communal if millions of it’s members are in a state of uncertainty about where they will sleep and how they will eat? Would society not be better if people could focus on higher order things like love, community, achievement and self-actualisation? By satiating the basic needs of all of society, we are unlocking an aspect of Human potential that was not previously available; we are venturing out into space, who knows what treasures lie in the great unknown.
What do you really want?
Do you want to be happy or do you just want money? Money can bring safety, and security, and it can bring fleeting pleasures, but it can not bring lasting happiness; relationships, self-care (see: exercise, meditation) and creative pursuit offer lasting happiness, fulfilment and love. Would you prefer happiness, fulfilment and love, or would you prefer money? Didn’t you hear…? The dollar is artificial, it lives within our minds. To live creatively, to live in connection with our fellow Human, is to live with love. Love opens us up to change, and change is what we require in society, and we require systemic and fundamental change; a paradigm shift, a changing of philosophy.
Imagine freeing up the time for MILLIONS of creative people, and imagine what this would do for society. The artists creating soul-moving music, eye catching art; decorating the streets, because the environment in which we live is important… is truly influences how we feel, and how we feel dictates how we act. The writers who scribble brilliant works of fiction that take you away, away to another place; a place that reality cannot. The dancers, and the actors that create magnificent pieces of visual and emotional entertainment; no longer would you have to venture to a city to become enveloped in art, creativity and emotion. The comedians who no longer have to worry about where their next meal is coming from; they can now dedicate their time to their art, for who has the energy to pursue their dreams when they working a 9-5? Not many. Imagine what unleashing this creative force upon society would do, imagine how it would make us all feel.
Happy people are more open; open people are more creative, and from creativity is innovation, change and improvement is born. Maintaining the status quo does not produce improvement, in fact, it’s antithetical.
Western society has become so rational that we have lost our connection with emotion. We work jobs that are soul-crushing; 40 hours a week, getting home drained and without the energy to pursue what truly makes us happy, what makes us feel alive. Living like this isn’t conducive to feeling alive, to feeling connected, to feeling… Human. Why do we accept this? Surely there is an alternative way of being, and it is for this reason that I’m excited about Universal Basic Income.