Editor’s Note: I was wondering what was taking so long. OD has been ahead of the curve on this issue for two months now. This article along with the St. Louis Zoo travelogue will be fleshed out this evening. I’m currently busy with family and that is interrupting my writing.
“The scars of neoliberalism dot our landscape. But while outsourcing has pushed production overseas, at the same time in the last 19 years, the majority of jobs lost in manufacturing, 85%, has been to machines that can now do the work of humans, also known as automation. Over the next 10 to 15 years, massive amounts of the American workforce are also expected to be displaced from their jobs by machines. As one expert on automation recently stated, cities like Las Vegas in ten years could become the next Detroit, as robots replace service workers. Meanwhile, other places will soon start to feel the hit with the coming of self-driving vehicles in the trucking industry, as massive corporations now pump billions into the creation of autonomous cars and trucks that will allow companies to compete with Amazon. The future is here, but only to leave us behind.”
I will start off by saying that Andrew Yang is the only presidential candidate who is offering a UBI of $1,000 a month. Blompf and the other Democratic candidates are planning to … uh, well, just pretend that nothing is happening in the economy and continue with Boomer politics as usual. The actual choice being offered here is between $1,000 a month now or nothing in 2020.
“The concept of UBI is simple but its implications are sweeping. It calls for (generally) the abolishing of most if not all forms of welfare and a social safety net (food stamps, cash assistance, Section 8) and even according to some, things like medicaid and medicare. In its place, will be simply a base payment to every citizen, regardless of their income. For white nationalists like Charles R Murry and various libertarians, UBI represents a path towards destroying the last vestiges of the the New Deal and the Welfare State they have been attempting to widdle away at for years. Members of the Alt-Right, such as Richard Spencer, see it as a motivating factor for convincing people to not allow immigrants into the country. Move over “Blood and soil,” the new rallying cry is “They’ll take our UBI!”
This is false.
Andrew Yang’s UBI proposal is purely opt-in and those who choose to continue to receive traditional welfare state benefits will be given the option to do so. Also, Yang’s Legion of Builders and Destroyers is a revival of the New Deal-era WPA and CCC in the 21st century.
“Tech capitalists and neoliberals like Andrew Yang see UBI however as a placebo to not only hold off possible social unrest, but also give people a buffer in which they will be able to find ways to integrate themselves back into the market and become “innovative” and “reinvent” themselves again. The $1,000 a month is thus seen as an investment in human capital in the hopes that it will somehow make people find a way to be ‘productive,’ or at the very least, hopefully not riot and burn the country down.”
Very few people outside of radical anarchist circles believe that violent revolution is the solution to automation. It makes much more sense to have a peaceful transition to a new economic system.
“The point here is just that in an economy where many of us are paying half of our income on rent and then factoring in the cost of healthcare, childcare, food, and transportation, to say nothing of debt, educational costs, clothing, and beyond – $1,000 a month isn’t that much money. And it especially isn’t enough money for someone to elevate themselves out of poverty. In fact, many in favor of UBI see it as designed this way, to keep people poor enough to where they “want more,” and won’t get comfortable. The irony is that this is currently the reality in which people already live in under capitalism.”
Yeah, well, our answer to that is $1,000 a month is nothing but an icebreaker. As we are seeing with Blompf’s reelection campaign, it is nearly impossible to get the Boomers to think outside of the “socialism vs. capitalism” dichotomy of the 1980s and to imagine a world in which their descendants have been liberated from drudgery and scarcity to live in a world of abundance.
Obviously, $1,000 a month isn’t the solution to automation, but a UBI that is pegged to technological progress actually is the solution. It can always be raised to higher and higher levels in the future. Andrew Yang is the only figure on the national stage of American politics who is even talking about these vitally important issues and proposing practical solutions to those issues and deserves enormous credit for simply raising awareness of the coming tidal wave of job destruction.
“At the end of the day, UBI will do nothing to actually redistribute wealth to the people that have literally made the modern world possible through their labor, instead it will (in theory) do what it is intended to do: save capitalism, or at least, keep it on life support. Thus, our point in opposing UBI is not to make a moralistic stance against taking money from the State (which it has taken from us), but instead to create an anti-capitalist analysis as to why different sections of the elites want to push such a thing through and what they are trying to achieve out of doing so.”
Once again, the anarchists don’t grasp the significance of what is transpiring here with automation, which is the revelation that capitalism is and always has been slavery, whether in the form of chattel slavery or wage slavery, and that capitalism is the defining feature of the modern world and its impending demise at the hands of automation heralds the beginning of the post-modern world.
What’s happening here is that chattel slavery is returning in the age of artificial intelligence, robotics and automation. We have restored chattel slavery by creating a new race of machine laborers who will replace human beings in the workforce. It will probably take decades though to transition to the new economic order and burning the world down in a fit of pent up rage isn’t going to solve any of our real problems. What’s more, the myopic focus on “white supremacy,” which doesn’t even exist anymore in the 21st century, is absurd because AI is going to be vastly more intelligent than even the smartest human beings on the planet. In the future, we will have to maintain human supremacy.
” At the end of the day, UBI won’t be a solution to any of our problems. It won’t be able to get people out of poverty, help them secure better housing or education and it won’t allow them provide a better life for their children. What it will achieve is solidifying the role of the State as a person’s boss; in control of what meager amount they are allotted and able to cut off payment at any time someone gets out of line. It will be a meager lifeline that will barely keep anyone afloat yet constantly gasping for air.”
Sure it will.
Imagine a world where the government simply gives you $50,000 a month because robotic slave laborers are generating so much wealth that the problem for society is no longer scarcity but how to distribute it and reckon with everyone having so much more leisure time.
“But despite these important struggles, we are still going to see a massive wave of automation hit us. One of the first things proletarians and autonomous anti-capitalists can do is attack the narrative presented by the mainstream and pro-business news media. Automation and robots aren’t cool, sexy, or exciting, they are instruments in a class war. Technology and innovation isn’t neutral; these things aren’t being used to make our lives better, they are being designed to make things more productive, and thus, more profitable. In short, we need to replace a vision of development, technology, and robotics that sees “progress” as a progressive arch towards human happiness and well being, with an anti-capitalist understanding that held in the hands of the class enemy, all of these tools only will continue to alienate us from each other, increase the regime of industrial capitalism, and further destroy the living earth.”
I’m much more optimistic.
I think all these -isms are going to shortly be proven to be obsolete. I also think liberalism and its various descendants which include anarchism is going to be the most obsolete of all the -isms.