The Paradox of Universal Basic Income: must-read by Joi Ito

“That would be applauded by libertarians and some conservatives, but not by many others.

Underpinning the Silicon Valley argument for UBI is the belief in exponential growth powered by science and technology, as described by Peter Diamandis in his book Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think. Diamandis contends that technological progress, including gains in health, the power of computing, and the development of machine intelligence, among other things, will lead to a kind of technological transcendence that makes today’s society look like how we view the Dark Ages. He argues that the human mind is unable to intuitively grasp this idea, and so we constantly underestimate long-term effects. If you plot progress out a few decades, Diamandis writes, we end up with unimaginable abundance: “We will soon have the ability to meet and exceed the basic needs of every man, woman, and child on the planet. Abundance for all is within our grasp.” (Technologists often forget is that we actually already have enough food to feed the world; the problem is that it’s just not properly distributed.)

Many tech billionaires think they can have their cake and eat it too, that they are so rich and smart the trickle-down theory can lift the poor out of poverty without anyone or anything suffering. And why shouldn’t they think so? Their companies and their wealth have grown exponentially, and it doesn’t appear as though there is any end in sight, as Marc Andreessen prophetically predicted in his famous essay, “Why Software is Eating the World.” Most of Silicon Valley’s leaders gained their wealth in an exponentially growing market without having to engage in the aggressive tactics that marked the creation of wealth in the past. They feel their businesses inherently “do good,” and that, I believe, allows them to feel more charitable, broadly speaking.”

The Paradox of Universal Basic Income
via Instapaper