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Article Title: Should You Look Forward to Being Useless?


Article Summary

The articles discusses the scenario of a post scarcity society. Artificial intelligence and automation—from driverless trucks and unstaffed retail stores to robots taking your restaurant order—will transform millions of once-productive workers into a new class of “useless” citizens in the foreseeable future, predicts bestselling author Yuval Noah Harari. Many people think that this mass unemployment will necessarily equate to mass poverty and inequality, but there are other, more optimistic, possibilities as well. As per the author, general prosperity is possible without the expectation that average citizens must be burdened with a lifetime of mandatory (and usually unfulfilling) labor.

What will lead to this prosperity is the idea of universal basic income which would provide everyone with unconditional payments to ensure that they have enough income for life’s basic necessities.

The article defends UBI on both moral and economic grounds. Morally, UBI will protect the population from poverty and that is why it makes sense that we ensure that everyone has enough to cover the necessities of life. And economically, since basic income payments will in most instances be spent on consumption in the marketplace, the public expenditure isn’t wasted, but instead is a means of priming the economy and enabling production.

UBI would be more akin to the Social Security retirement program, which benefits almost everyone. In fact, this shows the true meaning of progress. Technology will provide emancipation from lengthy and alienating toil—and the freedom to do what we want with our time. Also, UBI draws no categories and does nothing to divide the population, but instead sends a positive message of inclusion, togetherness, and affluence as a society. The basic idea of the article and it’s conclusion is to show the benefits of UBI.


Article Link: Click here to read the full article


Words to learn from this article:

Foreseeable: Capable of being anticipated

Burdened: Bearing a heavy burden of work, difficulties or responsibilities

Priming: The act of making something ready

Implementing: Apply in a manner consistent with its purpose or design

Emancipation: Freeing someone from the control of another person or from legal or political restrictions

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