Universal Basic Income, the future of social justice and the answer to robotization? I think not.

Escrito por collectiveacademy el 30 abril, 2018

Universal Basic Income (UBI), the future of social justice and the answer to robotization? I think not. Without the intention to disregard the discussion of the fairness or usefulness that Universal Basic Income may have for the future of humanity it is worth noting that all is based on assumptions of an unreal work. As a strong believer in facts and reality it is in principle that I disregard the idea since it is only based on “an idealistic or notional idea of reality” as google defines the opposite of reality. I pretend therefore to discuss the matter based on a reality basis giving facts as to our human reality, pointing out the flaws in the assumptions made by the promoters of the Universal Income and close with my view of why I consider the relevance of pivoting this idea replicating the assumptions made by the defendants to truly evaluate if it is worthwhile designing public policy based on this idea.

All economic theories that I can think of are based on the principle of scarcity. Although technological advancement today is exponential compared to humanity’s history this does not disregard the concept of finite resources. Limits may be pushed or transformed, nevertheless they will always exist in some sort. Be them physical, time, or wealth related all limits mount to the irrefutable existence of scarce resources. Additionally, there is the concept in which the Law of Natural Selection is based “the process whereby individuals and species survive or die, based on how well they are able to cope with their environment”. Throughout the existence of the world this concept has prevailed even through technological advances. Again, the human species has had the ability to cope with the environment stretching its limits still because of external circumstances or out of choice some will not prevail. Again, this is an undeniable limit no matter how far it is stretched.

The described reality in the latter argument calls out the most utopic assumption of Universal Basic Income, that scarcity will cease to exist at least in some respects. Our time management with new technological advances and with the further incorporation of artificial intelligence I am sure will certainly change, yet time will always be a finite resource. When humans are born we, all have the same intrinsic potential although different privileges, which will define our choices and our results. With Universal Basic Income or not, this reality will not change. Also, something that worries me is the concept of entitlement. Elevating the level ground of human competition allowing for all to have a Universal Basic Income to cover household and food needs does not guarantee that poverty will disappear. Yet, for UBI to work it must assume that because there is a resource level ground all other social public policy projects will be halted. Again, an unfounded reality due to the political cost that this implies and because at the end of the day, UBI's applicability will be flawed by human decisions and perceptions, which in turn are reflected by BOTs or whatever sort of artificial intelligence to which a or some human commands.

In all, Universal Basic Income is a good intention with unfounded and biased premises of applicability.  Social justice is a perception and therefore an unachievable goal. Additionally, the deployment of UBI pilots have not replicated the assumptions on which the concept is based because these are not yet a reality. The final stockade to prove the lack of pragmatism in applying UBI comes when the fact that public policies are subject to politic decisions which seek to regulate and control.  So again, is UBI the future of social justice and the answer to robotization? I think not.

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