Conversations about a basic income guarantee (BIG) as a way to reduce poverty are everywhere. At Bilderberg 2016. At Davos. In academic journals. In the popular press. On talk shows. In locker rooms. At book clubs. In church halls. And over dinner.
There's a growing awareness that our economic reality is changing. Employers used to offer decent wages, extended health care, sick leave, paid vacations, and defined-benefit pensions.
Now jobs like that are in decline. The "gig" economy—where workers are paid by the task—is increasing the precariousness of work. Even people with advanced university degrees face a stressful, uncertain future, cobbling together multiple part-time, short-term jobs or consulting contracts. The global economy has seen manufacturing jobs migrate to Asia and Central America.
Moreover, as Annie Lowrey recently observed, "artificially intelligent systems have become proficient at a startling number of tasks, from reading cancer scans to piloting a car to summarizing a sports game to translating prose. Any job that can be broken down into discrete, repeatable tasks—financial analytics, marketing, legal work—could be automated out of existence."
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