Technological Unemployment and the Basic Income Guarantee

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Presentation by Dr. James Hughes (Executive Director, IEET USA) on the occasion of International Future Day Conference, India

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Technological Unemployment and the Basic Income Guarantee

  1. 1. James J. Hughes Ph.D. Executive Director, Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies Public Policy Studies, Trinity College, Hartford CT James.Hughes@trincoll.edu
  2. 2. We are being afflicted with a new disease of which some readers may not yet have heard the name, but of which they will hear a great deal in the years to come - namely, technological unemployment. This means unemployment due to our discovery of means of economizing the use of labor outrunning the pace at which we can find new uses for labor. (Keynes, 1930) John Maynard Keynes Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2014
  3. 3.  As women entered the labor force in pink and white collar jobs, men were leaving farm and manual labor Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2014
  4. 4.  Compensation via new machines and products.    New machines require new occupations to build and service them. New machines make possible the production of new goods and services. Compensation via decrease in prices.   Compensation via new investments.   Innovation increases the profit margins of the owning class, who then invest in the creation of more employment. Compensation via decrease in wages.   Innovation reduces the cost of inputs and goods, stimulates greater demand, creating more employment. If wages are allowed to find their equilibrium point, all unemployed workers can find new jobs at lower wages. Compensation via increase in wages.  Keynesian policies distribute some of the increased profitability to workers as wages, with a consequent demand stimulus on the economy and employment. (Vivarelli and Pianta, 2000) Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2014
  5. 5. Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2014
  6. 6.  Paid labor force has declined since 2000  Jobless recovery since 2008  Aging of population and technological unemployment The percent of 18-65 year olds in paid labor
  7. 7. Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2014
  8. 8. Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2014
  9. 9.  All jobs are potentially automatable, done cheaper and better than by human workers ICT makes it more profitable to invest in machines than to hire workers
  10. 10. Probability of Computerisation Recreational therapists Dentists 0.004 Personal trainers 0.007 Clergy 0.008 Chemical engineers 0.02 Editors 0.06 Fire fighters 0.17 Actors 0.37 Health technologists 0.40 Economists 0.43 Commercial pilots 0.55 Machinists 0.65 Word processors/typists Estate agents 0.86 Technical writers 0.89 Retail sales assistants Accountants 0.94 Telemarketers 0.99 0.003 Frey, C.B. and M. Osborne. 2013. The Future of Employment: How Susceptible are Jobs to Computerization? Oxford Martin School, Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology, University of. Oxford. 0.81 0.92 Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2014
  11. 11.  ICT reduces number of workers in supply chains
  12. 12.  Since the 1980s the fastest declining occupations had the highest rates of unionization, and the fastest growing occupations had low rates
  13. 13.  Redistribution of wealth to the top 10%
  14. 14.  Professional core with growing hierarchical management  Complex product resistant to measurement, “efficiency” and automation  Learning outcomes and standardized tests and curricula  Health outcomes and standardized testing, treatment and care plans
  15. 15.  Even diagnosing, prescribing and surgery can be automated Robot Telepresence nurses aides doctors Robotic surgery Robot home care
  16. 16.  Expert diagnostic and treatment systems used by nurses and PAs do better than doctors for most conditions
  17. 17.  Home and medical telemonitoring of heart, blood pressure, blood sugar, urinalysis, prescription compliance, etc.
  18. 18.  Online and hybrid models growing  The cost bubble in higher education is about to burst K-12 Courseware • University of Phoenix is largest in US • MOOCs at Stanford, Harvard, MIT
  19. 19.  Half of all employment is involved in production, transport or sales of things  Diffusion of desktop manufacturing could be very rapid
  20. 20.  Computer power doubles every two years
  21. 21.  Jobs requiring human empathy and insight are probably going to be the last to automate  But still.. Robot prostitutes AI Counseling Smartphone confession
  22. 22.  So far, education has determined who is most vulnerable  But un- and underemployment of college grads is rising
  23. 23.  At least those with education and affluence are  Life expectancy for poor females is declining
  24. 24.  Older workers staying in labor force longer
  25. 25.  Crashing fertility rates  Reform of pension and social security systems  But where will seniors find jobs if retirement age raised?
  26. 26.  The policy debate in US has not caught up  Austerity is macroeconomic dead-end
  27. 27.  IMF 2012 on “longevity risk”: If average life spans by 2050 were to increase 3 years more than now expected aging-related costs would increase by 50 percent  Longevity Dividend if therapies slow aging, reduce disease and disability  But we still need to address insolvency of pensions and inequity of dependency ratio
  28. 28.  Protecting Employment  Re-distributing Employment  Creating Employment  Enhancing Human Workers  Techno-Utopian Proposals  Basic Income Guarantee Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2014
  29. 29.  Machine bans will be proposed  Agricultural subsidies & protectionism  NJ’s ban on selfserve gasoline  High costs  Lower quality and convenience  Reduced competitiveness
  30. 30.  Ming Dynasty Seapower  Tokugawa Isolation  Higher costs  Lower quality 1853 - Comm. Perry enters Japan  Reduced international competitiveness  Geopolitical vulnerability Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2014
  31. 31.  In egalitarian countries technological change has led to prosperity
  32. 32.  Re-distributing employment with jobsharing  Administrative costs  Longer educations with subsidization  More vacations, or a shorter work week  Either higher costs or reduced productivity  Lower mandatory retirement ages  Loss of skilled workers  Higher old-age dependency ratio Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2014
  33. 33.  Most public sector jobs are also automatable  Make-work jobs that are easily automated are politically unpopular  If income taxes decline, expanding public employment may be impossible  Current recession has seen shrinking govt payrolls
  34. 34.  US and European militaries have been shrinking  U.S. Army projects that military robotics will displace a quarter of combat soldiers by 2030
  35. 35.  Could we every catch up? Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2014
  36. 36.  Post-scarcity super- abundance  Free molecular manufacturing  Universal stock ownership in post-Singularity stock market  Charity from the super-rich Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies 2014
  37. 37.  Imagining the liberation from toil since Condorcet Hans Moravec 1995: “When industry is totally automated and hyper-efficient, it will create so much wealth that retirement can begin at birth. We'll levy a tax on corporations and distribute the money to everyone as lifetime social-security payments."
  38. 38.  Tom Paine: Annual payments should be made "to every person, rich or poor…in lieu of the natural inheritance, which, as a right, belongs to every man…”  Expanding social wage  Universal basic income guarantee  Economies need consumers even more than workers Tom Paine
  39. 39.  Increase progressivity of the income tax  But with shrinking employment and dependency ratio…  Carbon taxes  Consumption taxes  Public ownership of resources (Alaskan citizen’s dividend)
  40. 40.  Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies ieet.org  These slides: http://ieet.org/archive  Me: director@ieet.org

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