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Unpublished Paper
Automation: Beyond a Universal Basic Income
  • Adam White, Bowling Green State University
Imagine a world wherein robots produce all goods and services, thereby putting all human beings out of work.  More accurately, fewer persons would work at for-profit businesses and more for non-profits and state agencies.  One emerging policy response is a Universal Basic Income.  Citizens are due a living income when forces beyond their control take their livelihood. 

But this paper proposes a different policy: give each citizen a tax-funded account with which to gift non-profits.  Two benefits: 1) non-profits could hire laid off corporate workers; and 2) enabling novel relationships of care is morally preferable to enabling more material consumption.    

The gifting accounts would distribute both positive and negative dollars.  Popular non-profits would attract positive dollars, but only justified non-profits could avoid negative dollars.  Properly supported acts of care would produce a better mix of capitalist outcomes: still enough TVs being sold, enough road repairs, but also fewer and better supported homeless.
Civilization simply is human lives becoming better over time.  Institutions are legitimate only to the extent that they distribute civilization’s heritage in a way that affirms each human being’s moral status.  In effect, universal citizen gifting accounts would put robots to work expanding the opportunities for human beings to live more purposeful lives.
  • Automation,
  • universal basic income,
  • futurist,
  • capitalism,
  • job loss,
  • nonprofits
Publication Date
Summer July 18, 2018
Citation Information
Adam White. "Automation: Beyond a Universal Basic Income" (2018)
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