There comes times in cultural history when there are major shifts and developments. We are, at this moment, at such a shift when it comes to “work” and there is, so far, only one Presidential Candidate who is taking us in the direction we need to go: Andrew Yang.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation are bringing us to a point when we not only lose jobs, we have re-evaluate what it means to even be human. Take Freud’s definition of the purpose of human life, which he said was, in short, “To work and to love.”
We have come to a point in history when many of us may not have to or need to work paid labor. Each year, automation has taken away jobs. Some have the urge to fight against AI and automation. My hunch is that keeping with the status quo is not the way to go. Instead, we should embrace AI and automation (with care, of course) and move toward a whole new way of looking at ourselves and our goals in life. We may want to keep Freud’s “To love” but not his “To work.” That is, we may be coming to a point when labor as we have known it for millennia may not be necessary for everyone.
The thought that everyone is suited to work is a farce, anyway. There are plenty of people who do well and have happy, productive, healthy lives without paid labor. Consider full-time homemakers. These positions have been considered, at times, either “less than” or “for the privileged.” We are at a moment in history when more of us might opt for something similar, however. This, I think, ought to be welcomed with open arms.
Andrew Yang has proposed solutions for this era. Other candidates do not. Yang proposes a Universal Basic Income (UBI) of $1,000 a month for every American adult over the age of 18.
UBI is a policy which has always had the tendency to span political party lines. That it’s doable and would benefit society on the whole is also a given.
When faced with challenges such as that of AI and automation, we need to be flexible. We need to use creative yet sound judgement. And we ought to make moves that replace the status quo for a better model on how we should live. Yang is the only candidate, so far, to have the gumption to do this.