Technology and Our Destiny

Beyond Basic Income: Claiming Our Right to Govern Technology

Annette Bernhardt, Director, Low-Wage Work Program, UC Berkeley Labor Center,

Published in MEDIUM, MAY 11, 2017,

One common characteristic of universal basic income advocates, and indeed progressives and labor more generally, is a near-fatalistic acceptance of the current path of technological development. It is a gaping hole in discussions about the future of work: either we are sticking our heads in the sand and avoiding the topic altogether, or we’re accepting automation as inevitable and therefore immediately ratcheting to basic income as the solution. For a movement that routinely challenges the market discipline of capitalism, this constitutes a striking retreat. To state the obvious, humans are the creators of new technology and can shape the path it takes (at least for now). Automation and displacement are not the only possible outcome.

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