The idea behind Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a simple one; Give People Cash! Enough to live on—maybe not well, but enough —every month, for a lifetime. No strings attached. Let people pay for rent, invest in a business idea or buy heroin. Doesn’t matter.
In one strike you would end poverty. This is interesting stuff!
📝 Some Arguments for a UBI:
– More women would afford leaving an abusive partner.
– Increase bargaining power for workers.
– Keep the masses afloat in a jobless future.
📝 Luddite fallacy: The idea that machines are going to eliminate work. It has been around for decades. And been proven wrong many times. Is it different this time?
📝 It has been proven again and again that giving people cash doesn’t have any impact on people’s propensity to work.
📝 “Cash is universally useful.” Charity programs can be counterproductive as it gives shoes to people who already have shoes and actually need something else. Foreign aid clothes can disrupt the local clothing markets etc..
📝 It’s going to be expensive.. but it’s not even close to impossible.
I loved to finally dig into this subject as the idea of UBI fascinates me to no end. Unfortunately there is not much data on I it will actually work. There are a lot of experiments going on throughout the world and only time will tell if it works.
The book is alright but the concept is great! A solid introduction to the subject.
Here are a few other books about UBI to choose from:
📖 Utopia For Realists 📖
📖 Inventing the Future 📖
Photo credit: @rewritethestory
Find other fascinating reads in my reading lists!
While his other books, Sapiens and Homo Deus, focused on the past and the far future – this book focuses on the present and mankind’s immediate challenges.
Topics are ranging from how to deal with disruptive technologies, the resurrection of nationalism and the relevancy of religions. Harari wants to shine a light on the fact that we are lacking new idea systems that are capable to help us navigate these new and trying times. Liberalism and the other old ideologies just won’t make the cut anymore.
📝 The opportunity cost of fighting terrorism is that the money could have be used to fight other threats; like global warming.
📝 Disruptive technologies will likely create a new “worthless class” of billions. Marxism might make a come back when jobs are being threatened, one might think? But Marxism presumes that the workers labour is of value. That probably won’t be the case with advancements in automation.
📝 Protect humans not jobs. Finding meaningful pursuit for humans is the most important problem to solve in a future without jobs.
📝 You don’t need religious text to be moral. Apes learned to take care of the poor and weak well before the Bible told them so.
📝 “If you want reliable information, pay good money for it.” 👌🏻
A whole bookshelf worth of topics is crammed into one small volume, which becomes a problems when each chapter deserves its own book.
Harari don’t have a solution for all the issues. He offers the same advise that wise people and sages always have: sit down on a cushion and observe your sensations. Know thyself, and get to know suffering deeply enough so that you can act in a way that reduces it both your life and in the life of others.
Check out my reading lists for more great books!
The book is about how bad automation erode skill and create unfulfilling jobs which in turn create a self-fulfilling prophecy where previously masterful people makes mistakes pitching in for failing automated systems – human errors that turn into arguments for even more automation.
It’s easy to discard this books as technophobic but there is a point to all of this. It’s a nuanced and important one. That we should not just discard the effects of automation as they have a big impact on the human psyche and sense of fulfillment. With smart decisions we can limit potential harm and still move technology forward by focusing on human centered designs rather than putting tech first.
At the same time I don’t see the big deal here? We are clinging on to how things ones were and can’t accept change. Everything changes all the time. But getting rid of this type of attachment is a bigger conversation and beyond the scope of this book. 😀
📝 “The problem with automation is that it often gives us what we don’t need at the cost of what we do”. Often cognitive bias -a flaw in our thinking – distorts our perception. We tend to think we don’t want to work but in fact work is often fulfilling while leisurely makes bored and anxious.
📝 “Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them.”
Alfred North Whitehead – ‘An Introduction to Mathematics’
📝 As the search engine get better at helping us find what we want the sloppier the questions become. “sharp tools, dull minds”
📝 A worker today is considered “skilled” if he/she goes through a week long training. Several months to a year of training – like learning basic programming- is looked apon with awe. Division of labor eroded what it means to be a skilled laborer. Back in the day 4-7 years of apprenticeship was needed to be skilled in a typical craft.
“Automation weakens the bond between tool and user not because computer controlled systems are complex but because the ask so little of us.”
How are you preparing for for a age where machines can do everything you do – but better and faster? 🤔
4/5 – “The Glass Cage” by Nicholas Carr
Check out my complete reading lists for more great books!