By Kwame Oluwasomi
In the words of Eric Winstein, “Capitalism is being eaten by its son, technology.” The US economy is about to face an unprecedented challenge, and as long as leadership remains a game, to be won only by the top 1% of the population, we remain losers.
In truth, many of us benefit from the Game of Offices. Trickle down economics gave me the laptop on which I write this article. We are mobilized, and free to develop ourselves without existential threat. To an extent…
Of course, the economy must make use of us all before we make use of it, but this dynamic renders our worth extrinsic. We are nothing more than our occupation, and that’s a very dangerous relationship to have with ourselves, if we’re losing our jobs to automation.
This phenomenon began with the manufacturing sector, affecting the states of Iowa, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky etc. and many more equally enormous sectors are expected to replace workers – such as customer service, truck transportation and law. In fact, an estimated 40% of jobs in the US will be lost to automation within 15 years.
Being of use to others is a basic human need, and it is this token by which the government plan to retrain the unemployed masses. However, training middle-aged truck drivers to code, and compete with kids who were born to code – while the rest of the jobs market dwindles – is not a real plan. Especially considering the government’s poor retraining record. And with our lives depending on the market, we cannot leverage its survival on the mere hope that new jobs will fill a rapidly expanding void.
To curtail economic collapse, in the face of an unprecedented revolution, the best we can do is guarantee spending power. If you understand this, you understand the need for UBI (universal basic income).
A minimum monthly payout to every individual above the age of 18. Buying time for those impoverished by the onset of mass unemployment / providing financial flexibility for 78% of workers living paycheck to paycheck. A fund cultivated to invest in economic flow.
In defense of UBI, what other plan do we have?
Gone are the days of grandstanding and partisan feuds. Pantomime politics may be a product of peace time, but it’s a web of lies spun by big egos. Indeed, it is naive to believe that leadership must be contested for. By that standard, to lead is to simply escape following.
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The selection process must be reformed around the notion of duty – wherein those with the best solutions are tasked to implement them. Surely, if life in the concrete jungle was so full of possibilities, a man with a plan would desire only enough influence to have his plan recognized – not so much that he’d need to take on an entirely new set of responsibilities. To be relied upon is dignifying, but to actively seek the dependence of a whole nation, much less the world, is hedonistic. Psychotic, even.
In summary, I urge all reading to look up Andrew Yang – Democratic Candidate for the 2020 US Presidency. His longform discussion with Ben Shapiro is a good start.
IMAGE CREDIT: Wikimedia