MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

Put 'Humanity First,' Demands 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang

No robots need apply.

AndrewYangYang2020"All you need is self-driving cars to destabilize society," said former tech executive Andrew Yang in The New York Times. The longshot Democratic presidential candidate added, "That one innovation will be enough to create riots in the street. And we're about to do the same thing to retail workers, call center workers, fast-food workers, insurance companies, accounting firms." Yang basically lays out his campaign platform in his new book, The War on Normal People: The Truth About America's Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future.

The book's publicity blurb warns:

Rapidly advancing technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics and automation software are making millions of Americans' livelihoods irrelevant. The consequences of these trends are already being felt across our communities in the form of political unrest, drug use, and other social ills.

Yang cites a 2017 McKinsey consultancy report that calculated that as many as 70 million American jobs would disappear by 2030 owing to robots and automation.

Yang's solution to the impending automation crisis is providing a "Freedom Dividend" of $1,000 per month to every American between the ages of 18 and 64. That would amount to about $2.9 trillion annually. For comparison's sake, President Donald Trump just proposed for next year a $4.4 trillion federal budget featuring $1 trillion in deficit spending.

A considerably more optimistic view of the benefits of artificial intelligence and automation was offered by Sebastian Thrun, Google X co-founder and now CEO of the online education company Udacity. Earlier this week at the the World Government Summit* in Dubai, Thrun argued that what artificial intelligence does to us "is that it turns us into superhumans. It will take our brains and put them on steroids. You want to free humanity of the slavery of repetitive work and replace it with highly creative work." Thrun acknowledged that "some jobs will go away, very repetitive work, of course. But it will be replaced by created work, so we have to move from a repetitive working society into a creative society where we invent new things."

Just as electricity and internal combustion engine boosted human physical capacities, artificial intelligence will boost our mental and intellectual capacities. Artificial intelligence will not replace workers; it will enhance them. Putting "humanity first" means melding with the coming advancements in nanotech, neurotech, biotech, and infotech.

For more background, see my Reason article, "Are Robots Going to Steal Our Jobs?," and Deirdre McCloskey's "The Myth of Technological Unemployment."

*WGS describes itself as "an international knowledge exchange platform at the intersection of government, futurism, technology and innovation."

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    "All you need is self-driving cars to destabilize society,"

    He's more correct than he knows.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Let's build bigger, better walls to keep all of the robots OUT!!!

    And let's make the ROBOTS pay for the walls!!!

    (Am I a freakin' genius, or what?!??!)

  • SQRLSY One||

    I blame it all on robotic foreigners! We need to start taking a close look at all those "Made in America" factory-produced goodies, and start asking, "Was this made by an American robot, or a foreigner robot?" Good jobs for good AMERICAN robots, I say! Democrat robots, republican robots, it doesn't matter… They're not allowed to vote, anyway! And if we can't find enough good AMERICAN robots, then we need to start building everything by hand, using only our hands and our teeth, and wood, rocks, and mud! THAT will bring our jerbs back!

  • SQRLSY One||

    The greed and hypocrisy of top corporate management has been thoroughly documented, and I'm not trying to apologize for them, for that. But in all fairness, we should understand their perspective. The government does not require many (if any) benefits be paid to robots, nor require safe operating environments (for the robots as opposed to humans). Limited protections for humans is good, but have we gone too far? Corporations are required to pay Social Security, workman's comp, unemployment, self-esteem therapy, and tons and tons of insurance mandates for the humans. Whether or not I need or want (or object to, on a religious basis) alcohol and drug abuse therapy, organs transplants, sex assignment changes, or space alien abduction therapy, a lot of all this stuff is mandated, in insurance coverage. No opt-outs and price cuts for you, or for me! But not so for the robots! Should it be any surprise that the robots are taking our jobs?

  • SQRLSY One||

    I-AM-MR.-ROBOT-OH!!!!

    I am thinking that we should disguise ourselves as robots, and assign ownership of our robotic selves to a trusted friend or family member. Trusted human owner (of myself) can then collect rental fees on me, take a small administrative fee, and kick the rest back to me! Problem solved! Now I can be allowed to compete with the robots, if I desire to bypass all the mandates!

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    The War on Normal People: The Truth About America's Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future.

    So, we put normal people out of jobs then give them permanent welfare. Ixnay on any discussion about new jobs.

    Yang cites a 2017 McKinsey consultancy report that calculated that as many as 70 million American jobs would disappear by 2030 owing to robots and automation.

    Just like all those cotton-picking jobs did when John Deere brought in the robots.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    No discussion about the quality of lives themselves. Just buy them off and push them in a corner.

  • BYODB||

    Everyone knows that cheap immigrant labor isn't coming into the United States to do the work that the robots won't do!

    /sarc, but a good point lol

  • Leo Kovalensky||

    "So, we put normal people out of jobs then give them permanent welfare."

    Tax the robots to pay for it.

  • JWatts||

    "Yang's solution to the impending automation crisis is providing a "Freedom Dividend" of $1,000 per month to every American between the ages of 18 and 64. "

    I wonder if anybody has bothered to inform the technical genius that the retirement age in the US is 67 for anybody born after 1960.

    Since he was born in 1975, you would think that this wouldn't have slipped by him.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    """Yang's solution to the impending automation crisis is providing a "Freedom Dividend" of $1,000 per month to every American between the ages of 18 and 64. """

    By 2030, $1,000 will not cover rent anywhere in the US.

  • CE||

    Just make it $2600 per month then. Why should the idle masses make less than the minimum wage?

  • Paper Wasp||

    How come the "solution to the impending automation crisis" is never "stop breeding all those goddamned kids and get sterilized because your kids aren't special and they aren't going to be geniuses or finalists on The Voice, they're just going to be part of an itinerant mob of gig-economy sadsacks"?

    (Rhetorical question. I know he's a Dem so his answer is always going to be "we can fix this problem if you'll just let me take a bit more money out of your pocket to give to people who haven't earned it.")

  • Colossal Douchebag||

    I think a great deal has slipped by him.

  • Agammamon||

    . . . and 64. "

    . . .

    I wonder if anybody has bothered to inform the technical genius that the retirement age in the US is 67 for anybody born after 1960.

    Carousel! Carousel!

    Dudes a technocrat of the worst stripe - he knows *exactly* what he said and what the implications are.

  • Darth Soros||

    Andrew Yang: real-life "John Connor."

    His campaign slogan should be: "Vote for me, if you want to live."

  • Juice||

    I lold.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    That's lol in an Austrian accent.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "Universal Basic Income" is a clever euphemism for "The Dole".

  • Paper Wasp||

    I'm sure no immigrants will want to commit identity theft or fraud to collect this free money, either.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Lockean Proviso

  • BYODB||

    Yes, because eventually paying people not to work will be a good idea this time for sure.


    Sorry, but that's fucking retarded. It's more probable that we would just sterilize some percentage of the undesirables. You know how I come to that conclusion? It's because that's what we've done before, but never has paying people not to work functioned.

  • Tony||

    By this theory of human nature we should really keep an eye on anyone with a healthy retirement savings.

  • BYODB||

    Marxists already do this. You should investigate how death taxes work.

  • Mickey Rat||

    What does having a healthy retirement savings have to do with paying people not to work?

  • Tony||

    They're paying themselves not to work.

  • Mickey Rat||

    You really want to put a thought out there that is that stupid?

  • Tony||

    Why don't you explain what the fuck you're talking about then. Getting money from government turns people into lazy slobs in a way that getting money from a savings account doesn't? Any scientific evidence to back this up?

  • BYODB||

    Even the most ardent supporter of a redistributionist Marxist state would recognize that paying the majority of people not to work doesn't function. Just because you introduce some magical A.I. into the equation doesn't change mankind.

    I also wonder how this theoretical A.I. feels about the inefficiencies of mankind whom they are forced to serve for...reasons.

    Our robotic future as outlined here is a future of slavery and sloth, which just goes to show that even some of the most so-called 'enlightened' people out there are just looking for a more palatable form of slavery so they can watch more Game of Thrones or whatever.

    That said, I did want to point out that Tony doesn't understand the difference between living off interest until you die and working. More evidence that Tony is a trust-fund kid?

  • Tony||

    Just someone who doesn't buy the crap that government should design policy that ensures that we're doing some form of labor for the good of our character. I'm a libertarian like that.

  • Paper Wasp||

    Just someone who doesn't buy the crap that government should design policy that ensures that we're doing some form of labor for the good of our character. I'm a libertarian like that.

    AW GEEZ EDITH.

    You're not doing labor "for the good of your character." You're doing it because your neighbors don't fucking well owe you a living just for existing. Government money, where does it come from again?

  • BYODB||

    It's not that socialism makes people lazy, it's that it enables the lazy to be lazy and moreover incentivizes it. Why else do you think socialist states are eternally concerned about free riders and purging?

  • Tony||

    So you're saying that a society that has no need for human labor should artificially require it anyway, for the good of our character?

    Are we going to start insisting that the idle rich get with the program, or is this imposition of a lack of choice just for the dirty poors?

  • BYODB||

    You really have a very fundamentally flawed idea of what it is to be human don't you. You also don't think.

    A society that doesn't 'require' human labor is a society without humans, dolt. We would be extraneous to the world we built. Apathy would be the end of us.

  • Tony||

    You don't know what it means to be human any more than I do. You just lack imagination to extrapolate beyond what you're familiar with.

    I do know that there's nothing inherent about being human that requires us to labor on behalf of someone else's wealth for the best years of our lives.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Scratch a progressive, and you will find someone resentful of having to contribute to society to live.

  • Tony||

    "resentful of having to contribute to society to live."

    Are you fucking kidding me with this?

  • Mickey Rat||

    Working is contributing to your fellow man while obtaining the dignity of supporting yourself. Progressives seem to find that a terrible imposition on their lifestyles.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Laziness is a virtue. Pretty much all progress in human history has come from someone lazy coming up with away to eliminate a tedious task so that they can become even lazier.

  • BYODB||

    I had no idea that the definition of lazy also included innovators and inventors. Good to know. I was using a dictionary, so my mistake. I should have been reading from Stormy's marked up thesaurus.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Stormy's playing off of a wry Heinlein quote.

  • Juice||

    Laziness is a virtue. Pretty much all progress in human history has come from someone lazy coming up with away to eliminate a tedious task so that they can become even lazier.

    And that's how you get robots running everything and universal basic income proposals.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Why don't you explain what the fuck you're talking about then. Getting money from government turns people into lazy slobs in a way that getting money from a savings account doesn't? Any scientific evidence to back this up?

    Tony, I really recommend you don't follow this line of reasoning. It's not going to end well for you.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Getting money from government turns people into lazy slobs in a way that getting money from a savings account doesn't?

    Are you really so dense you can't understand the difference?

  • Mickey Rat||

    Working all one's life, saving a portion for retirement until you have a nest egg large enough to live comfortably off of is the opposite of being a lazy slob, Grasshopper. You do not have to be a lazy slob to get paid for the mere fact of existing, but it is not evidence that you are not one, either

  • Tony||

    So why aren't you people ever going after rich heirs with playboy lifestyles? Why aren't they offensive to your sense of how a human should behave.

    Scratch a libertarian, find a moral busybody.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Move those goalposts.

    Because I am not a moral busybody. I am not the one advocating punishing or rewarding anyone.

  • BYODB||

    Yes, because letting people keep what they have is clearly being a moral busybody. Not the person endorsing theft as a matter of moral responsibility.

    You don't have a single iota of reasoning in your head, do you?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    So why aren't you people ever going after rich heirs with playboy lifestyles? Why aren't they offensive to your sense of how a human should behave.

    Because we don't care what people do with their own money. I care very deeply what people do with mine.

  • Tony||

    Me too, but what you owe in taxes is not your money.

  • DesigNate||

    I'm not gonna go all "Taxation is Theft!", but income tax is the most immoral system of taxation ever devised by those that would rule. No one should be taxed for trying to provide for their families you sick fuck.

    And before you go all "You want taxes to be zero and for roving gangs of thugs to be the de facto government!", I understand that taxation is a necessary evil that we will never get rid of. There are plenty of other ways the government could raise funds through taxation though.

  • Juice||

    The personal income tax could easily be zero, especially for most people.

  • Tony||

    How on earth does it possibly matter to your bottom line whether you pay $X from your income or $X for buying something?

    But as long as the overall system remains healthily progressive I don't really care how they take taxes.

  • Inigo Montoya||

    Paying people not to work is insulting, period.

    It's telling someone, "Hey, you may be okay on a personal level, but you have zero skills or talent to offer, and what's more, we think you are too stupid to be capable of developing any skills that could be considered at all marketable to anyone."

    How the hell is that not completely insulting? "Just take this check and go home and rot in front of daytime TV." That is what you want to tell people with a still-functioning mind and body?

    I may be dating myself here, but as a kid I remember seeing TV commercials that were fundraising for what was then called The United Negro College Fund. Their slogan was: A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste.

    They were right. A mind IS a terrible thing to waste, especially when some "uber-intelligent" government official is telling you to just shut up and take your check because he has determined that YOUR mind is indeed worth wasting.

  • Tony||

    Do you think most laborers in America are spending those 40 hours expanding their mind? Or are they doing menial tasks in service of enriching someone who gets a LOT more leisure time? Which I suppose makes him a bad person.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    Funny, I moved myself from menial labor to a high skilled job that pays quite well. Now I didn't use any college to get there, mind you. I had the misguided notion I could put forth my own effort to read books. I even bought them myself with just over minimum wage earnings.

    I know I didn't build that, in your mind, but I think my privilege might have been the fact I wasn't a lazy fuck. The crazy idea that maybe it was my own fault if I stayed useless and poor its not well regarded, however, it certainly is more honest. Even crazier is that I didn't expect anyone to give it to me.

    Reminds me, I have to go read a book on Agile methodology now. That reminds that the learning doesn't stop.

  • Agammamon||

    Or are they doing menial tasks in service of enriching someone who gets a LOT more leisure time?

    Oh, FFS dude. Stop. Just stop. You have noooooo idea what 'bosses' do all day. None. Whatsoever.

  • Tony||

    Barely literate people who spend all their time pretending to be useful with a business degree, in my experience.

  • Tony||

    Furthermore, we'd have very little of what makes up our cultural heritages without people being given free money to sit around in leisure, which sometimes they spent coming up with science and philosophy.

    You're saying people need to be treated like cattle. But it's certain you're not talking about all people.

  • Juice||

    You're saying people need to be treated like cattle.

    Isn't that how you'd like to treat them? Cattle mostly just sit around getting fed.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    It is possible to contribute to society as a volunteer, but volunteering is inefficient. Perhaps our society is wealthy enough to provide everyone with cash that pays for basics. America has many areas that are emptying out, because there are no jobs nearby. With universal basic income, people can move to those areas and start non-profits.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Tony, I'm on the fence regarding universal basic income, but it is not the same as retirement accounts. Most elderly people do not work, but the prospect of retirement motivated them to work in the past and save their income.

  • MarkLastname||

    And how do you get the money put into your retirement account? By...... working!!!!

  • Agammamon||

    Uhm, money from 'savings' - ie a retirement account - is *deferred earnings*.

    It is *not* taken from other people at gunpoint - the owner had to *earn* it at some point.

    Are you really so dense as to not be aware of that?

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    Getting money from government turns people into lazy slobs in a way that getting money from a savings account doesn't? Any scientific evidence to back this up?""

    It's pretty easy.

    Money from your savings account is money you worked for and banks. You are not paying yourself to "not work" you already worked for that money.

    Money which you acquired by work and banked in a savings account is in NO WAY analogous to money given to you by any entity. You are not a lazy slob when you worked for it.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Paying themselves? I knew planning ahead was White Nationalism in disguise.

  • Tony||

    One thing you can't fault Nazis for is their planning. At least up to a point.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Yes, you can. Like all totalitarianisms and command economies, Nazism was not terribly efficient. Mussolini did NOT make the trains run on time in the real world.

  • Paper Wasp||

    Fucktard, they have that retirement savings because...now read this carefully...they're RETIRED. Meaning they've worked for some number of decades and saved up their money, and now that they're aging, and their bodies/minds might not be as resilient as they were in youth, they've earned a rest. It's very different from getting handed public money for choosing not to work or choosing not to pursue marketable skills that might make you eligible for work. Do you get the distinction?

    There is no logical path to "these people are lazy slobs just like dole collectors." None.

    When people retire to live off that "healthy retirement savings," they release a job into the pool that can be occupied by a younger worker.

  • Tony||

    Get your government jackboots out of my brain, tyrant. If I want to it around and eat Cheetos, my body my choice.

    I'm questioning the entire notion that having a job builds character. Yes there is some primeval gut reaction to people not pulling their weight... but that's what the goddamn robots are for.

  • In Time Of War||

    As far as I can tell, you're the only one arguing about this "builds character" bit. Everyone else is arguing that if you don't win the lottery, then you may have to come up with some way to provide a service to society so you can, y'know, have a nice place to live, go to the movies, have some spare coin to buy used copies of "Das Kapital" and enrich your mind, that sort of thing.

    Or hell, go full Diogenes and live naked in one of our many fine wilderness areas, eating nuts and squirrels you catch by hand.

  • MarkLastname||

    Tiny can only win arguments with the opponents he makes up in his mind, so you can't really blame him.

  • Juice||

    I'm questioning the entire notion that having a job builds character.

    Having a job doesn't necessarily build character, but not having a job and not having any money doesn't mean anyone owes you anything.

  • Tony||

    There have been times when people did backbreaking jobs and they weren't given anything. So stop trying to argue that this system is somehow totally interconnected with human nature. There are lots of ways to do a society. If work is obsolete as in our hypothetical scenario, then why make people do it? It has to come down to some woowoo like dignity or character. So, stop telling me what you think gives me dignity and character.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    Other than plenty of evidence that having a job does have constructive benefits to mental health, does sitting around with nothing do really seem like an improvement? It sounds like a recipe for boredom given how unimaginative so many people are.

  • Tony||

    Such fear of the potential outcomes of freedom. I expect more from libertarians.

  • Juice||

    they release a job into the pool that can be occupied by a younger worker.

    or a young robot fresh out of robot school

  • John C. Randolph||

    Every time I think you couldn't possibly say anything stupider, you go and prove me wrong.

    -jcr

  • DesigNate||

    But then, we knew fucking progressives like you would start eyeing 401k's and IRA's eventually. Just like the hungry, slobbering wolves you've always been.

  • Tony||

    Such an ironic comment for a bootlicker of the plutocrats who see every large pile of money anywhere as something they are entitled to loot.

  • DesigNate||

    You caught me! Thinking people should be able to keep the money they earn working is my backhanded way of delivering money to the plutocrats. Damn you for figuring it out!

    But seriously: Why don't you take a nice hard look in the mirror and think about how the Democratic politicians that you consistently worship ARE the fucking plutocrats that think they're entitled to loot what everyone else creates? And after that, go fuck yourself.

  • Tony||

    Republicans' entire purpose for being for the past 50 years has been to transfer wealth from people like you to people richer than you will be in ten thousand lifetimes. And now Trump just did it via blunt taxation, which is apparently the only form of society-wide wealth transfer you can wrap your mind around.

  • Juice||

    Cutting a person's taxes transfers his wealth to plutocrats?

  • Agammamon||

    Uhm, that's *you*. You are the one who sees every large pile of money anywhere as something you are entitled to loot. That's the whole basis of your political 'philosophy' - 'Its not fair!'.

  • buybuydandavis||

    We currently pay people *not* to work

    Under UBI, jpeople aren't paid *not* to work, they are simply paid, removing the extremely perverse anti work incentives our current social welfare programs have

  • C-Note||

    This is an essential point that most people in this comments section aren't addressing. UBI could be a libertarian friendly policy if you consider the implications. Right now we have a cornucopia of means tested well-fare programs that require administrative structures to police the recipients, threatening to take away their benefits if they start earning too much money. UBI is much simpler, doesn't require the bureaucratic overhead of our current system, and most importantly, doesn't disincentivize work. $12,000 a year is barely enough to get by on and I doubt many people would be satisfied with it and stop working entirely.

    From a libertarian point of view, imagine having a UBI coupled with no minimum wage. I would guess that starting a new small business would be a lot easier if some of the fear of possible ruin was mitigated along with a pool of labor willing to work for low wages thanks to their small, but reliable cushion. People might feel less trapped in jobs where their poor moral leads to inefficiency, or be more able to move to new towns or cities where they might find a more fulfilling job.

    It could provide a kind of lubrication to make labor markets work more efficient, regardless of automation fears. Libertarians shouldn't be so quick to dismiss it. If you're not a social darwinist and you think that the state does have a part to play in providing for the general welfare, there are pro-market arguments to make for UBI over what we have now.

  • Illocust||

    I will admit one problem we have with coming automation. Creative work sucks. You can't go on auto pilot and think about your favorite show or the latest tidbit of gossip. You have to actually think about what you are doing and come up with new ways of doing things. Which also increases the chance of you failing if you don't put in enough effort.

  • BYODB||

    The other problem is that it's simply assumed that ditch diggers can also be A.I. designers. There are several centuries worth of accumulated evidence that suggests otherwise.

  • buybuydandavis||

    We will all be super models, software designers, and brain surgeons.

    Just like the donkeys did when the internal combustion engine came along.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    Have you seen the "creative" work being put out these days? Master of None? Poop emojis? I phones in THREE colors? Once the automatons get here, we'll have 80000 hours of YouTube videos being made per minute. How much value is going to be created?

  • Tony||

    As long as the end goal of all this advanced tech and advanced policy is to make our lives more full of leisure and not work for its own sake or because some fringe religious traditions say it's good for our character.

  • XM||

    Tony is like the conflicted protagonist you see in cheesy sci fi action films set in a futuristic dystopia.

    "Don't you see that our advanced society has eliminated poverty, famine, disease, bigotry, and crime in all its form? Gluttony and feelings of lust have been reduced by more than 85%! Why are you resistance fighters so intent on undermining our paradise?"

    Now I'll admit that I'll welcome the return of days when we sent messages to faraway friends via carrier pigeons, like how we used to in the 90's. President Yang's automation free society eliminates that the Skynet scenario. If he was so Asian, the might have gotten like 15% of the democrat support.

  • Tony||

    Am I not saying essentially the same thing as "everyone will work in the creative sphere"? They can't make the leap away from "work is necessary to build character," but it's the same idea.

  • Agammamon||

    No, no you are not. Do you not know what work is? Do you not know that being creative for compensation is still actual, real, hard work? Is it because you've been on the dole for so many years?

  • sharmota4zeb||

    People who want the latest VR episodes and a home theater can work to earn enough to buy one. People willing to live simply and spend their days reading can do that with a universal basic income. Life as a PhD student consists mostly of reading, writing, and telling other people what the world is really like in exchange for receiving barely enough money to eat and have shelter.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    It certainly took the back-breaking aspect out of farming!

  • Tony||

    And I'm sure there were the equivalent of libertarians then arguing that such a reduction in the amount of misery was bad for us.

  • Tony||

    Sorry, bad for laborers. The rich of course are born with maximum virtue.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Uhh, it was the progressives.

  • Tony||

    So why are libertarians acting like early progressives in this thread?

  • Juice||

    Do you even know what you're trying to say in this thread?

  • Agammamon||

    He never does. Half the time he contradicts himself from one section to the next.

  • MarkLastname||

    Actually it was the leftists arguing that.

    Where do you get this shit, btw? It's leftists that are arguing against automation and libertarians cheerleading it? Are you trying to avoid accepting how wrong you are by surreptitiously swapping positions with them?

    No one here has objected to not working - everyone is objecting to the idea of everyone else having to pay lazy shits to not work.

    It's amazing, the mental illness leftists suffer from: they actually can't conceptually distinguish between 'I object to you doing this' and 'you do that, but i don't want to have to pay you to do it.'

  • Tony||

    I'm not on any team stupid enough to be Luddites, and I've never heard this coming from Democrats or liberals, but maybe some are taking this ridiculous position.

    You said lazy shits, thus implying that to work is to be virtuous. Get your goddamn religion off my body.

    You're not getting that I'm talking about a totally different way of distributing resources, given a hypothetical post-labor economy. Unless YOU want to take the exact position of the Luddites by calling for government to maintain an obsolete regime, as well as abandon libertarianism, you will have to contend with the question should it arise.

    But then clearly you're right because people who disagree with you on policy are all mentally ill.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    Fringe?

  • El Oso||

    I think we will all be lawyers, and spend our days suing one another....

  • CE||

    AI lawyers will be more knowledgeable, and almost as heartless.

  • CE||

    Can we avoid calling candidates "longshots" this time around? Seems like our current president was called that a lot in the media in 2015, including here.

  • CE||

    Yang's solution to the impending automation crisis is providing a "Freedom Dividend" of $1,000 per month to every American...

    Wow, I didn't realize Yang was a trillionaire. That's very generous of him.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    Just like every other politician...

  • Stormy Dragon||

    You want to free humanity of the slavery of repetitive work and replace it with highly creative work.

    Are most people capable of highly creative work? Bob the truckdriver isn't magically going to become a professional musician just because he got laid off.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I don't know. I think it's awful elitist to just go and say "Gosh, if only everyone was just a creative." This is a dream always put out there by certain types of people, but they also seem to have an awfully narrow definition of creative work. Not saying you're doing this right now. More of a thought I have.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I think of this when I see the return of certain older professions like butcher and blacksmith. Are those creative works? I would think so, but I keep it pretty open. I do think people need a reason for a fulfilling life though.

  • Juice||

    We still have shitloads of butchers and blacksmiths are making a comeback!

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I agree. That was my point. And I view that as an example of people having excess money and thus giving rise for these types of inefficient tasks. I'm not going to generalize to anything, but just makes me wonder. People like these jobs, and demand is rising due to the amount of money people have to waste now.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Can you give an example of the sort of non-narrow "highly creative work" you envision the tens of millions of people in retail, transportation, etc. transferring to?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    No, but I'm not arguing about whether these jobs exist or not. Just that whether or not these narrowly defined creative jobs would actually be enjoyable for large portions of the population at all.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Youtubers. They'll all get Corgis and become youtubers.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    There is truth in this. The idea that displaced machinists in middle america would dive head first (successfully) into the 'tech market' because the Dems passed a 'job-retraining bill' doesn't mean jack shit.

  • Microaggressor||

    Not all jobs will be "creative". Just that it will move in that direction over time.
    There will still be a place for artisanal avocado toast crafters that people will pay a premium for.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Are most people capable of highly creative work? "

    Moreover, if you think they will be *more* creative than AI, you really haven't been paying attention to what AI can *already* do.

  • Tony||

    And before we go too far on full-employment optimism following industrial revolutions, we're living through an employment crisis that has never really gone away since Reaganomics in its infinite wisdom was implemented and became the dominant economic theory influencing policy (through Republican and Democratic administrations).

    The original problem it was meant to address was unemployment. Rates higher than we've seen in a generation. So we took away a bunch of employer obligation to workers, yada yada yada, wages got stuck in a rut and never got out. We can have full employment because we're permitted to pay people peanuts, and our strategy has never really been much different since then (such as by trying demand-side growth by raising wages).

    Libertarian optimism that says everything will work out (except renewable energy which never will for some reason) ignores the fact that we're already in the crisis we're talking about. Fantastical proposals like UBIs are fine, but so might normal demand-side focused policies like encouraging unions rather than busting them. Any solution to eventually end the Reagan era will be demand-side, so pick your poison.

  • Microaggressor||

    So many alternative facts crammed into one post, where do you begin?

    Just because your ideology prevents you from connecting the dots from labor regulation to perpetual unemployment and lower wages doesn't mean we're still living in a Reaganomic utopia.

  • Tony||

    But we haven't tried increasing worker protections or raising the minimum wage in a long ass time. Unions have done nothing but die. You have to dig pretty deep in the bullshit pile to find liberal policies that are responsible for negative features of our macroeconomic picture.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    Funny, my first job in high school actually paid me just above the minimum. Why do you suppose they did that? Because the government is so inferior at determining what's correct? And, this should be easy to understand for even you, but maybe each state or locality, like is already done, should determine their minimum. You can raise it to $15/hr all day long at the regarded federal level. Californians will still be screwed and people in Kansas will be virtual millionaires for a brief period.

    Your entire premise is broken by the fact you insist the federal government must do everything.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""Unions have done nothing but die. "'

    I disagree. They do a great job at keeping incompetent cops and teachers from getting fired.

  • Juice||

    our strategy has never really been much different since then (such as by trying demand-side growth by raising wages)

    How do you propose to raise wages? By fiat?

    Fantastical proposals like UBIs are fine, but so might normal demand-side focused policies like encouraging unions rather than busting them.

    People are encouraged to join unions all over the place. Most people just don't want to join them because they know a raw deal when they see one.

  • CE||

    Earlier this week at the the World Government Summit* in Dubai...

    now THAT is scary....

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Fucking moron.

    Robots are causing drug use and political unrest? What, the one from Lost in Space? Or the one serving humanity? Fucking moron.

    $100/month *until* you retire? What next, $2000/month? Fucking moron.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    What, the one from Lost in Space? Or the one serving humanity?

    Twiki from Buck Rogers specifically.

  • Microaggressor||

    The Luddite Party seems to believe that technology leads to social ills. How will the Stupid party ever compete?

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    I thought the stupid party ran shortly after the introduction of the cotton gin. We're still recovering from the upheaval of that evil invention so I wish they'd won.

  • BYODB||

    Philosophically speaking, if you didn't need to work to live what would you live for? How long would that thing keep you interested enough in life to continue living? Is a search of ever increasing pleasure a worthy existence?


    I think Siddhārtha Gautama had some thoughts on the matter. There is very little that could be considered 'new' when it comes to people.

  • JeremyR||

    Sports? Pornography? Reading? Basically things I do on my days off.

  • Tony||

    How about people get to choose for themselves? If sitting in a cubicle 8 hours a day is what floats your boat, godspeed.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    You can certainly do that. And I entirely support your decision to walk the earth like that guy from Kung Fu. However, go fuck your self if you think that support should include my money.

  • MarkLastname||

    Tony has a right to make yoa pay him 15 dollars an hour to jerk off all day. That's apparently the new leftist cause.

  • Tony||

    If you don't like sharing then get off the fucking roads I paid for.

  • DesigNate||

    I love this argument, like everyone here hasn't been paying gas taxes since they got their first car. Or income taxes since they got their first job.

  • Loss of Reason||

    Really you paid for? I would love to hear how much you paid in income tax? I mean you are a good liberal right so you donated more money because the government knows best.

    Here's a question for you - so if we pay people a UBI, can they drive on 'your' roads or do they have to get off too? Wait, are you going to tax their UBI? So a 1000 is really only 700?

  • JeremyR||

    Eh, the internal combustion engine led to lots and lots of high paid manufacturing jobs for the unskilled and mediocre.

    This time around, there will only be a handful jobs created and those will go to the best and brightest who are will to take the lowest salary (ie, H1-B visa).

    A guaranteed basic income is basically inevitable, but then we'd have to close the borders since we couldn't pay it to everyone in the world.

  • Inigo Montoya||

    Right. Because you can predict exactly what types of jobs will be created by robots and AI. Okay.

    I'm sure back in the early 90s, you also predicted that the advent of the Internet would lead to jobs like social media specialist, Google Adwords expert, possible Russian online political ad buying investigator, blogger, and who knows how many other jobs directly related to the interwebz. My point is that everyone could have seen the need for people like network admins, as well as fiber optic technicians and a couple of other such things. But they missed a great many other jobs because it's impossible to know what the future will bring.

    Isaac Asimov predicted a need for robopsychologists! Who's to say he won't be proved right?

  • Loss of Reason||

    Because unlike the internal combustion engine, robots next break down, AI's never have software glitches, and everything just disappears! I mean when farms came about all those hunters just said on their cavefare right?

    So far in history as technology has advanced so jobs have changed and adapted. Why should the future be any different?

    Inigo, (I did not kill your father btw!) gives a great example. Instagram stars, E-sports, bloggers, web designers - who predicted all those 20 years ago?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    That would amount to about $2.9 trillion annually. For comparison's sake, President Donald Trump just proposed for next year a $4.4 trillion federal budget featuring $1 trillion in deficit spending.

    So Yang wants to spend LESS than The Dotard?

    Hire him!

  • DesigNate||

    You know that would be on top of the $3-$4 Trillion dollar budget right?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Sure, but anyone that would advocate a UBI would slash 90% of the military budget and all the other entitlement/welfare/housing programs could be killed off completely.

  • Juice||

    Of course, you know that the other welfare programs wouldn't go anywhere.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""Of course, you know that the other welfare programs wouldn't go anywhere.""

    Of course not, it would be wrong to make people pay for health insurance, food, and housing out of that $1000. That money isn't for things they need.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    So we'll be lazy and undefended. Anything else? Maybe we can eliminate churches too. That shouldn't bother anyone.

  • MarkLastname||

    No, no they wouldn't.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    For the record - as a Darwinist I think a UBI is insane.

  • buybuydandavis||

    More sane than our current welfare state

  • Inigo Montoya||

    I can't get over these people who should know better than to think that when entire categories of jobs disappear they are not replaced with new, never previously envisioned categories of jobs.

    When the automobile replaced horse-drawn carriages, imagine how many horse breeders and dealers, groomsmen, horseshoing specialists, tack/saddle makers and dealers, horse veterinarians, stable owners, carriage makers, carriage repairers, etc., etc. lost their livelihoods. Where was the mass unemployment that followed? Oh, that's right... You suddenly had jobs building cars, selling cars, repairing cars, making and selling car parts, converting horse barns to car garages, selling gas and oil retail, selling gas and oil wholesale, transporting all the stuff that cars need and car owners want.

    Okay, Yang, that's way before your time. And you know about technology, not history. Soooo, what happened to all those typists and file clerks when the personal computer hit every office, big and small, in the world? And most of them were women, who, along with minorities, are always "hardest hit," amirite? Surely we had massive unemployment among educated, white-collar women, right? /crickets/

    Why not just say you want a massive government handout for contributing nothing? At least be honest. Stop blaming robots! Robots have rights, too. (Or they should.)

  • Rich||

    Yang's solution to the impending automation crisis is providing a "Freedom Dividend" of $1,000 per month to every American between the ages of 18 and 64.

    One supposes Yang's solution to the subsequent financial crisis is providing a "Freedom Robot" to every American between the ages of 18 and 64.

  • NoVaNick||

    Unlike most dems, he actually has an interesting idea that isn't about how to further divide America into victimized groups that need government protection.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    You don't get anything for free. They may say no strings attached, but the strings will come.

    The same people that want universal healthcare are the ones quick to back shit like soda bans, and restrict other health behaviors due to it being a burden on the system.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online