- 09 Feb 2017 01:40
The notion of a basic income has been around since at least Milton Friedman proposed the negative income tax concept in the 1970s. The issue is really one of human ego: automation has already made most jobs redundant, and actual industrial output in terms of energy is so extensive that almost no one is doing any "physical labour" in the sense of the majority of their work function being labour that cannot be done by machine (the energy expended by a car engine while it drives someone to a place of employment does more work than the human will do in many months in terms of labour output)- Technocracy claims that this has been the case since about the 1920s.
What's really going on today is that there is a transition from labour as a source of livelihood to labour as a status symbol- anyone working primarily as a clerk or office worker is really intellectual capital rather than a source of "work" in terms of energy expenditure. This means that the concept of "hard work" as it has been classically known throughout human history - ie the expenditure of backbreaking labour to make something- is no longer really the foundation of the modern economy. People who are talking about implementing Milton Friedman's concepts today are simply coming around to the inevitable realization that there isn't enough human "work" left in the economy and that not everyone has been properly trained to function as a non-labouring worker in the prestige sense that that term now denotes.
The question, therefore, is really a social question about what kind of a society do we want to live in? Going down the path of basic income is an admission that the classic economy is dissolving, or already has dissolved, and that therefore it is not possible to justify the high incomes of the intellectual "labouring" class- or rather- a UBI system would be an admission that the price system had indeed failed. The political class has a serious task ahead of them, mainly, they have to manage this transition without causing a social revolution. Beginning to phase out money via a UBI system is I think the right way to go, but it has been delayed artificially for so long by capitalists that starting now requires re-education and serious social consideration. Readdressing the questions: what is the purpose of life? With a UBI system that purpose is no longer, "to work to make money to survive". Why are some people paid more than others? With a UBI system the answer is no longer, "because their labour is more valuable." Why has the government allowed poverty to exist for so long when we all knew a UBI system was inevitable?
Honestly, I think governments are afraid of these consequences and so would rather not toy around with the economy. There are certainly some overiding ideological biases here: UBI is socialism, etc.
Regarding the second part of your question:
There would be about 400-450 million citizens in the North American Technate. I think the current GDP per capita in the US is about 55,000 dollars a year, so presumably it would be something around that number. Not that it would matter, since everyone would have the same standard of living.
The concepts "WAR" and "PROGRESS" are now obsolete.