Joseph said .. Let Pharaoh .. appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. .. And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine. And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh. (
A new organisation has been set up in the UK to campaign for a world basic income. See the website, with extensive discussion of the idea, at worldbasicincome.org.uk
Would this global insurance basically be a vast centralized stock/bonds buying program? If so this would almost be no different from governments using taxes to fund the assistance program, IF the world's economies were just about equalized in terms of GDP/capita. In such a scenario we might as well have a basic income, especially since taxes on unearned income could be quite high, maybe even as high as taxes on income from labor (no risk of tax evasion in foreign tax havens). Spending about 20-25% of GDP on the basic income would make it liveable even in major cities IF relatively cheap healthcare and education are also provided and either very small public housing apartments become common or if the basic income is lower for adult dependents in a household. Naturally most other social programs would have to be scrapped but in the end it wouldn't have to be more expensive than current European welfare state systems and would probably be less intrusive with regards to people's private lives and wider economic regulation. It would also definitely be more robust against major societal changes such as HLAI.
If we don't achieve international economic equalization and/or global government before HLAI the poor of the world would be screwed and we might really have to resort to measures like having a globally uniform basic income that forces the poor to move to poor regions (but at least they wouldn't starve) just like you describe Robin. Then again if the transition to HLAI happens slowly we might see a huge expansion of the services sector to provide jobs that could be done by AI but that we don't want to be done by AI (think entertainment), or maybe we would even use the unemployed masses and our economic surplus to engage in ritualistic warfare (bloody or not) like some ancient civilizations did. And maybe if the poor of the world were really about to starve the rich powerful nations would use this as a pretext to conquer the world and impose their basic income systems on everyone (and maybe this wouldn't be such a bad thing for most people involved).
Thinking it over, my point is that min required level is a moving target. Humans have a level of creativity and adaptability that is (at least according to common perception) necessary to economic growth in the present environment, but it becomes less and less so as basic physical and algorithmic patterns are established and standardized upon.
This can be analogized to early days of programming vs today, or early vs mature mechanical engineering. There was a time where marginal value of tinkering around, writing a new operating systems, inventing your own unit sets, etc. was higher, now most of the highly paid engineers minimize risk by sticking to established standards whereas tinkers are frequently just doing it for fun, having little impact except when they are very lucky. 'Reinventing the wheel' is frowned upon / usually unprofitable because it is costly to adopt new types of wheel. Most new programming languages and operating systems are unadopted, or do not add much value when they are adopted.
An auto-self-replicating economy is a situation where the marginal value of creativity has basically fallen to near zero, at least by usual measures.
I think I'd define human level as whatever it takes to replace humans in almost all jobs.
"Possible" is weak. We should try to think about modest policy changes that could help, and push for them, but we shouldn't overestimate our chances of actually getting them. Mostly there is no one driving the train of progress.
Just that you seem to have little regard for the capacity of public policy to steer us away from dystopian outcomes in your econo-futurist methodology, and an assumption that the capitalist system will survive unscathed. So it is welcome to see this acknowledgement that a pretty radical revision of political economy and global governance will be necessary and possible.
Not sure if I should ask what all this stuff is that you are taking back. ;)
I'm skeptical on the premise that human level AI is actually needed to result in conditions of 'radical abundance' that make everyone incapable of earning money by simply working for it. The minimum requirements to trigger this seem to be less than that.
I think it could be done by essentially bacteria-level robotic units which can self replicate (as a swarm) and diversify according to programmed specifications. This type of technology is also plenty sufficient to get us access to asteroid wealth, and from there progress directly to planetary and solar scales with minimal reprogramming (and inexpensive physical testing).
Human programmers would be in demand initially, to coordinate the robots, but as they fill the various product niches with all conceivable standardized outputs, as well as filling all of the abundant environmental niches, the demand for software workers would shrink considerably. It becomes easier and easier to press a button for what you want than hire someone to design a yet another version of what you want.
Wow. I take it all back Robin. You just converged on my global social democratic policy prescription. Surprised and delighted.
If those inventions are employed to reduce margins/increase profits at the expense of jobs – causing greater unemployment (or worse, simply non-employment in third world nations), then I think it's appropriate for the state to step in. Else whom are we freeing? – It's simply idle slavery. And, I certainly would not characterize it as a penalty, as without that money in the economy, it is unlikely that there would be consumers to support these automated enterprises. Honestly the problem is quite a bit more complex than that (but who has time to argue it on the internet). It requires serious forethought. IMHO.
The arguments here would have seemed much more persuasive several hundred years ago at the beginning of the industrial age. You're proposing to preferentially penalize the inventions that freed us from lifetimes of poverty and subsistence farming.
So you do not wish to be personally wildlife-managed? Don't worry so much. The animals living on my property seem happy enough; I almost never eat them.
I'd classify this as "charity", and expect the risk that it won't be offered to be high enough to justify efforts toward other solutions.
Or perhaps more and more people could simply (continue to) transition to "work" that contributes nothing *tangible,* such as sports and entertainment, to society. The ems or intelligent AIs might just be smart enough to understand this. If so, they'll simply pay us to "sing for our supper," in effect. Sort of like you might reward a pet dog (by feeding and housing it) in exchange for chasing after sticks you throw, or for simply allowing you to run your fingers through its fur. Seems to me that highly-productive ems could afford it, especially if the alternative might be fanatics leading mobs to burn down computer-server farms. Just a thought. Of course, they might decide to limit the number of humans around, to keep matters from getting out of hand. In other words, they might practice "wildlife management." Admittedly, this normally refers to animals within a world run by people. But it seems to me that it could just as easily refer to people in a world run by ems.
A country can always tax consumption, investment, or land and if income is generated elsewhere, exchange rates will shift to limit imports to domestic investment and asset sales though attempts to limit this to currency and debt would be deflationary. Prices would fall while price discrimination would rise as fewer customers would be able afford to buy while those that could would be able to pay much more. It is hard to tax consumption to provide consumption, but the tax would tend to fall on producers to the extent they didn't lower prices to costs, while to the extent they do it would fall on the spendthrift or wealthy. One can't generate high profits or high growth without customers so prices would have to fall rapidly to keep sufficient customers able to buy though one might see a rebirth of patronage as the wealthy will become very very wealthy.