Friday, September 19, 2014

Guaranteed minimum income?

Seeing this MetaFilter post, I wonder if we're starting to approach Gandhicon 3 ("then they fight you") on the idea of a guaranteed minimum income.

I sincerely hope so. I honestly don't know if it's a good idea or not, but it would be great to see it discussed seriously. (And seeing it brought up in The Atlantic and actually kicked around in Switzerland seems like a good step in that direction.)

Intuitively, it seems... unwise.  Wouldn't everyone just stop working, letting the world grind to a halt?  But there are indications that when it was tried in Canada, that wasn't the case, with hours worked dropping only about 1% for men and between 3-5% for women, while hospitalizations decreased and school attendance increased.

(On the gripping hand, I may have been heavily influenced by being raised Orthodox Trekkie.)

I suspect this will become more and more of an issue as jobs continue to be lost to automation.  When self-driving cars are common, will we still have truckers?  That's 3.5 million jobs in the US alone.  And then there are the taxi drivers, bus drivers, etc.  And that's just one industry.

Something to think about.