The Robot Job Automation Threat will have drastic consequences for all types and levels of jobs. The degree of job displacement is becoming, and will continue to be, quantum and accelerative. This radically new and burgeoning dynamic is a game changer to the libertarian model of things.
Should society still be steered by Naïve Libertarianism (i.e., classical libertarian principles) through this coming Dark Period, there will be tremendous social unrest and, potentially, very real and significant waves of political violence.
The inertia, then, appears to be on the side of growing redistributionist policies, on a scale not seen since classic Communism.
In the NYT today, alongside an article titled “In Towns Hit by Factory Closings, a New Casualty: Retail Jobs” (e.g, the unprecedented vertical integration of Amazon into every facet of our lives and the consequent, ever growing list of jobs being displaced), Kai-Fu Lee writes on “The Real Threat of Artificial Intelligence”, providing another call for a universal basic income, what may be an unfortunate sociopolitical necessity in the coming Dark Period:
Here is where the enormous wealth concentrated in relatively few hands comes in. It strikes me as unavoidable that large chunks of the money created by A.I. will have to be transferred to those whose jobs have been displaced. This seems feasible only through Keynesian policies of increased government spending, presumably raised through taxation on wealthy companies.
As for what form that social welfare would take, I would argue for a conditional universal basic income: welfare offered to those who have a financial need, on the condition they either show an effort to receive training that would make them employable or commit to a certain number of hours of “service of love” voluntarism.
To fund this, tax rates will have to be high. The government will not only have to subsidize most people’s lives and work; it will also have to compensate for the loss of individual tax revenue previously collected from employed individuals.
I don’t necessarily agree with this prescription, but it would seem the historical forces are blowing strongly in this direction.
The prospects of this turn would be much more affirming if Western societies were homogenous ethnostates of, say, 60 years ago, but in the ‘vibrantly diverse’ proposition nations of today, where Putnamian social capital is at its lowest ebb, and where R selective races exploit the generous altruism of K selective races, the prospects are much gloomier.