What If Everybody Didn’t Have to Work to Get Paid?

The Atlantic has the article What If Everybody Didn’t Have to Work to Get Paid?

Scott Santens has been thinking a lot about fish lately. Specifically, he’s been reflecting on the aphorism, “If you give a man a fish, he eats for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he eats for life.” What Santens wants to know is this: “If you build a robot to fish, do all men starve, or do all men eat?”

This is a wonderfully eloquent way of stating a thought process that have I been trying to promote for sometime. The way I have been putting has not been as successful as I hope this way is.

The basic premise for my thought experiment is stated in the article:

Many experts believe that, unlike in the 20th century, people in this century will not be able to stay one step ahead of automation through education and the occasional skills upgrade. A recent study from Oxford University warns that 47 percent of all existing jobs are susceptible to automation within the next two decades. Worries about robots replacing human labor are showing up more frequently in the mainstream media, including the front page of The Wall Street Journal. Recent books, such as The Second Machine Age and Who Owns the Future, predict that when it comes to robots and labor, this time is different.

Perhaps this, and the numerous links in the article, will get readers to believe that I am not just blowing smoke from orifices that ought not to be blowing smoke, but there really is some intellectual substance behind the exploration of the idea.

Thanks to Randy Katz’s Facebook post for bringing this to my attention.

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