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Human Work
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By AmericanDreaming   |   Watch
Published: February 17, 2019
From "The War on Normal People: The Truth About America's Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future" (2018) by Andrew Yang.  See my review Here.

Andrew Yang is an entrepreneur and 2020 US presidential candidate (Dem), running on a platform headlined by universal basic income (UBI).  He is the only candidate to have made UBI a plank of his platform.  yang2020.com

The robots are coming for your jobs, if they haven't already.  AI phone systems, self-service checkouts and kiosks, websites, mobile apps, self-driving vehicles, and automated factories — these are all innovations that boost profits and efficiency, and safety, too, while eliminating the need for human workers.  And this is just the beginning.  As the cost of AI and automated systems comes down in the next decade or two, the cuts will expand deeper into the labor force.

The question is: are these jobs worth saving?  Are the soul-crushing, mindless, unfulfilling, depressing jobs most of us work worth us standing in the way of technological progress and innovation to preserve?  That question is moot; there is no putting this genie back in the bottle.  Forces are now in motion that cannot be reversed, short of a cataclysm that blows civilization back to the Stone Age.  The purpose of technology was always to free us from the need to do human labor, to do the jobs we don’t enjoy, and to do them better, faster, and more safely.  Universal Basic Income is not the answer to all of our problems.  It is a springboard to the real solution: fostering the development of the social, entrepreneurial, creative, and intellectual potential of humanity.

Stephen Hawking on Artificial Intelligence by AmericanDreaming  The Future is Already Here by AmericanDreaming  Andrew Yang for President by AmericanDreaming

See more in my Andrew Yang folder.
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anonymous's avatar
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SloMoPro's avatar

He seems pretty moderate, but I disagree with his views on immigration. Wanting to allow illegal immigrants have gate way citizenship and increase the immigration quota.

Plus making any comments against the lgbt a punishable offense. Because I support the rights of homosexuals, but don't condone the circus that is the lgbt, lots of homosexuals feel the same on this.

Plus wanting to give every American over the age of 18 $1000 a month is ridiculous, like Bernie his views are a pipe dream written on pen and paper.

theSaltShaker's avatar
I want to say so much about this. 

Yeah... moving one's fingers around and around in circles all day long, day after day, year after year, is "DIGNIFIED!11" and "MEANINGFUL!111" Uh, yeah. Sure. The scary thing is, it's not just politicians saying this. People tell themselves whatever will keep them from going insane, no matter how absurd. 

"The refuge of people with nothing better to do." I gotta remember that one. Most people say "nothing better to do" to someone else who's doing something they themselves don't approve of, meaning... wait for it... WORK! :drool:
NortonRedux's avatar
NortonRedux Digital Artist
To put it simply, these jobs aren't worth saving. There shouldn't be an argument about this to begin with. Unfortunately far-left politics has decided it wants to destroy the individual, to make these brain-dead repetition jobs the norm, and not only the norm but a forced norm, which means if you're a janitor or a burger flipper, that's what you are and no resources will be expended for you to be anything different because you aren't anything different, you're a janitor or a burger flipper.

Being someone who is creative and able to make just about anything happen that I want to, I can guarantee that being stuck in repetition, employment consisting of two jobs that offer no extra money at all - everything going toward rent, food and bills - This kind of life is not fulfilling, this kind of life is not life. This is what you call "stagnation". And I'm becoming a fucked up person because of it.
I welcome the arrival of the robots to take over the common, mundane jobs. Humanity is past burger-flipping. Past sitting at a cubicle filling out papers with information a computer could take care of in a fraction of the time. "Standard" jobs won't die easily or quickly but they MUST die.
AmericanDreaming's avatar
AmericanDreaming WriterFeatured
I know how you feel.

The DNC has set their guidelines for qualifying for the debates, and they appear to have learned their lesson after the 2016 debacle.  Candidates need to be polling at at least 1%, and they need 65,000 unique donors.  Donations as little one dollar count.  No other candidate is talking about these issues, let alone proposing ideas.  In fact, Yang is the only non-politician running, also.  So if you feel that these issues deserve to be debated on the national stage, give Andrew Yang a dollar. www.yang2020.com
NortonRedux's avatar
NortonRedux Digital Artist
I say he's definitely worth giving a look into. I tell you, I've just about had it with all of the identity politics out there and these unrealistic plans to shoe-horn diversity and forced inclusion where it would only stand to hurt matters. Reading through Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez' green new deal, I was put off to see how much they diverted from the topic of "green" and into the areas of socialist policy.

Time to do my research! On face, Mr. Yang's ideas seem to be things that I support. If that continues to be the case, I'm sure I can stand to donate more than a dollar.
AmericanDreaming's avatar
A quote from Andrew Yang in a recent interview: "I'm convinced that identity politics has just been set up to distract us from the money."
NortonRedux's avatar
NortonRedux Digital Artist
I like that. On face, it sounds like he is someone who actually cares about the progress of the nation, in contrast to those more prominent figures who seem to exist only to virtue signal to each other about how progressive they are, making statements about identity or race or gender to collect more views.
It's what we need in this country. Someone who sees more than appearance and personal gain, someone who wishes to fix these problems that will only continue to get worse as the radical left continues to have such an oppressive voice.
MolaritheNarn's avatar
Right now I have one question. Let`s say I do not have to work and get UBI to buy the stuff the robots that have replaced me developed , what is keeping the gouvernment who is providing me with all my income from controlling my life by controlling my income? Right now my job is not the best, it is boring and monotonus but it is well paid. My company doesn`t care flak about what I do with the money they pay me. I strongly believe the gouvernment, usually crewed by people who are in it for power and personal gain -no matter the political agenda they pretend to have - have a much stronger interest to control my live. Right here in germany the gouvernment automatically deducts large sums for health care and retirement pay from everybodys paycheck. They also decide what medications you get (Usually the cheapest one unless your physician can prove you need the more expensive one) and how long you have to work until you get to retire. You may retire early under serious helath conditions, but your payment will be cut. Also over 50% of german workers who have worked for 40+ years will get so little retirment pay the will have to live of welfare money from...guess who.. the gouvernment. And in other news the german gouvernment has just raised pay for ministers and other high level members to 10.000 Euro each month minimum. A pay raise they give themselves to themselves.
AmericanDreaming's avatar
Does the government control the lives of people on social security?  No.  Depending on their other income sources, they may need that money more or less, but the government is not controlling them in any way.  UBI is simply social security for all adults, not just senior citizens.
MolaritheNarn's avatar
Actually the german gouvernment does control the lives of people on social welfare, because there is a very strict set of rules by wich you live or your welfare can be cut and even removed. You are also not permitted to earn extra money except up to a gouvernment regulated ceiling.
Should you even be so unlucky to loose your job and have to life of Hartz IV (Unemployment welfare) the gouvernment can order you to sell your house and life in a smaller apartment whose size is regulated by the gouvernment. You will have to first spend ALL your savings until you re eligible to get Hartz IV Given you are eligible to own a radio, TV set, refigerator and computer as well as a stove. You may keep chairs and tables and cabinets. If anything brakes you have to ask the gouvernment Agency for replacement. They then will alot a amount of money to you - deemend to be enough by the agency-and you have to present the recipe back to them.
And, a few decades ago the collected money from workers in germany held in the retirement fund was 600 Billion Euro, or US$ 677.481.000.000. Until it was emptied by the gouvernment to pay for other stuff. Like useless crap. The Bund der Steuerzahler (Unity of taypayers) has an ever increasing Black book of taxwaste.

On another note, sorry for any typos but as you may guess english is not my natural language.
AmericanDreaming's avatar
I understand what you mean.  The "U" in UBI stands for "universal."  It is a non-means tested benefit claimable by all adult citizens for a flat amount that does not differ from person to person.  Andrew Yang's proposed "Freedom Dividend" (his term for UBI) would give $1K a month. If someone is already getting other government benefits, they could subtract that from the $1K, or if it's over $1K forgo it, or they could forgo the benefits in favor of the direct cash (this is to prevent double dipping).

UBI is meant to get all citizens just over the poverty line.  One could, if they absolutely had to, survive on it, but it is not meant to replace all income sources. It is meant to provide people a soft landing who find themselves displaced in the job market, and to provide a cushion for others to pursue ventures and endeavors they otherwise wouldn't be able to (starting a business, pursuing something one is passionate about but which otherwise wouldn't pay enough to live on by itself, etc.)
MolaritheNarn's avatar
Well that was the original intent of Peter Hartz, the man who originaly was requested by our politicans to invent this system. It is actually 1:1 what you describe. it is however totally deifferent from what it turned out to be. Peter Hartz left the project highly dissapointed because it was remoldeld entirely by the gouvernment to become a tool of disenfranchisment and dissatisfaction. So far the system has managed to return almost no one to work.
the reasons are manifiold. Even so people are forced to take classes in how to write a resume and how to dress for a interview or take "reeducation" into other job fields or get their payment cut nearly no one is ever able to get back into a job. From my personal enviroment (Friends, friends of friends, family members) I know that companies  rather hire someone who has had a "Ausbildung" which I believe is somewhat comparable to a trade school in the U.S. than a"Reeducated" person. One effect the system had was drop the unemployment number because when the Arbeitsagentur (Agency for work) puts you into a course or reeducation class you do not count as unemployed any more.
I think the problem here is not UBI by the way but the fact that I have, trough personal experienece, absoluetly no reason to trust the gouvernment. We have about 7 political parties that managed to get over the 5% voters level that you need to pass to become a ruling party and enter the Bundestag (federal parliament) and the people voting them are mostley their own members. Many germans today just can`t think about a party to vote, sitting between hell and a hot place.
I have become a single issue voter which is idiotic I admit but at least I can find one point of common ground with one party and don`t have to waste my vote.
I wish the system would work like you describe but over here we know it doesn`t.
Anyway I thank you for hearing me out in my jumbled english.
Maybe times will be getting better but i doubt i will be around by then.
Over here it´s closing toward midnight so I wish you good night.

AmericanDreaming's avatar
The implementation is as important as the policy, of course.  Even so, what you describe is still not UBI, but some form of unemployment/welfare by the sound of it.
theyakkoman's avatar
theyakkomanFeatured
I remember a discussion we had on the subject of universal income. While I was in favour, I was a bit worried that humans might need jobs for meaning, feeling that they contribute in a meaningful way. 

I've changed my worried position since people like Yang, yourself and many others have stated and proved that a lot of jobs these days lack that. 
I remember reading an example in Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's book "Flow" that I've used before. He claimed that while we do in many ways have it better of today than say a bit more than a century ago, we aren't necessarily happier. Because, he argued, if you worked as a blacksmith in a small village you were important. Sure, compared to a president or a general or business tycoon or someone higher up in the hierarchical chain you may have been nothing but a vote, potential canon fodder, or a customer. But in the small village, that was in essence your entire world, what you did had meaning. When someone needed to shoe their horses, they came to you, when they needed to repair an important tool made of metal, like an axe or a plow, they came to you, likewise if they needed to pull out some teeth, they came to you. 
But today, when you work as a small, often easily replaced cog in a machine, you don't feel so important. 
Especially since many jobs these days are very vague in what they actual task or title is. Like what in niefelheim does a "inter-corporate media manager" do? Hard to feel like you are an important member with a meaningful task that matters to people. 
(Speaking of vague job titles, where the goal seems more to have a fancy sounding a long name instead of, you know, actually doing something (like the George Carlin routine on "Soft language" I sometimes think that people rather give their workers fancy job-titles instead of giving them a living wage) I like to parody that by giving mundane or common jobs difficult titles. When I did work as a clerk, for example, I said that I worked "in costumer to corporation interactions when dealing with exchange between liquid assets and products.")

UBI combined with free education would also be a grand idea in progressing humanity forward. Imagine all the new thinkers we would breed with people who have a natural nack, and thirst, for pondering ideas and tough problems but these days have to slave away to make ends meet. Imagine if they instead got the chance to study for the sake of knowledge, not to get a job, and spend that time becoming multifarious in their talents and therefore able to combine many new ideas instead of just overspecialising. 
fl00xz's avatar

Feekle
The thing I fear about universal Basic income is the insidious inflation that it will introduce rendering it ineffectual. This view is based on observing government grants and how it begins to distort the market, enabling supplier businesses to raise prices - leaving you back where you started.

cj69collins's avatar
You can have a highly-skilled, high-paying job that positively impacts the world, and it be not one iota more satisfying than a cashier if it is not your passion. Then again, like already stated, your passion may not be able to either 'pay the bills' or 'positively impact the world'. Thing is, even the cashier can be better off than someone who is subsidized for doing nothing, just for the fact that person is active at something. 
MolaritheNarn's avatar
That is exactly how it is. Very well said.
Freimgul's avatar
FreimgulProfessional Digital Artist
Life is struggle. We are genetically designed for struggle and not for comfort
MrDSir's avatar
MrDSir General Artist
Why haven't I heard more about this guy? (rhetorical question, I know why). I've been thinking and saying a similar thing for a while now, always getting weird looks or written off as a "lazy, librul millenial". A sick part of it, too, is that some of the jobs getting eliminated aren't so much being automated as they are being outsourced in a way. Self-checkout is probably the clearest example of this – the customer is now doing the work a paid employee once did, without any form of compensation because there's no discount for using the self-checkout registers, yet the illusion is there that this is faster, more efficient, and oh so high-tech. Well, until that dick comes along and gums up the whole works because they insist on paying with a check.

Nice work as always.


(I'm that dick)
AmericanDreaming's avatar
Anyone whose reaction is "lazy, librul millenial" is simply advertising just how oblivious or apathetic they are to the plight of later generations trying to survive in a spent husk of an economy sucked dry by them as their generation systematically took more than they gave over the years (while slashing safeguards and cutting investment for the future).  That such people have the temerity to turn around and call anyone else "entitled" just takes my fucking breath away.  It really does.

From Flower Child to Power Wild by AmericanDreaming
PurplePhoneixStar's avatar
PurplePhoneixStarHobbyist General ArtistFeatured
I know this first hand. I love my garden or smaller projects that will not bring in any income because guess what, that is something I did. ME. My own blood sweat and tears. Buying things with a paycheck doesn't have that same, I earned it, I made it trope thing. And today is the first day I have had entirely off in a very long time and it is crushing after awhile. You don't notice the stress and exhaustion until your body says it's had enough. 
RavenHeart1984's avatar
RavenHeart1984Professional Traditional Artist
+fav 
anonymous's avatar
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