UBI & Worker Co-Ops Can Revolutionize Employment [FFON 231]

Automation is going to decrease the amount of jobs that we have. The prediction is that by 2030 over 800 million jobs globally will be replaced by automation and 73 million of those jobs will be in the US alone. The issue of unemployment from automation isn’t a result of the technology but rather Capitalism. 

Within Capitalism jobs aren’t something we care about. It’s a passive relationship to work. We do whatever to earn money to so we can go to the mall and buy shit we don’t need to make ourselves feel better about being at job we don’t like. Our society believes that you can’t make money doing what you love or having a community within your work. It’s drudgery! We work for weekends and weekends alone! 

The reality is that we the American workplace can be a community and you can and should make money off what you love! The bosses and CEOs are doing what they love…which is making money off the backs of the working class, so why can’t we! Work shouldn’t be something you dread, but something that brings you meaning, purpose and happiness, with a paycheck! 

The problem with automation isn’t the technology or the artificial intelligence, it’s Capitalism! When technological advancements are made within Capitalism people get left behind. You don’t have to look any further than the Rust Belt and Middle America. Towns like Galesburg, IL were built on manufacturing and when the factories became more automated the Capitalist got to the reap the benefits while everyone else was hunting for bootstraps to pull themselves up with. But what happens when the bootstraps factory is also automated?

And sure there’s probably some folks out there saying “Who cares about these middle of nowhere towns! They don’t matter with their cows, working class and they’re probably all racist anyway! The coastal cities are where its at baby! New York City, Chicago, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Branson, Missouri! That’s where the life is!” 

Look in 5 years New York City will be the new Atlantis due to Climate Change! Chicago, thanks to automation & the corruption algorithm, will be run by roving gangs of the Robot Mafia. Los Angeles will literally be up its own ass. New Orleans will be too drunk to know what’s happening. And Branson will be Broadway…The fact is that Middle America and the Rust Belt was a warning sign for the direction Capitalist Driven Automation will take us. 

People are concerned about self driving cars, they really need to be afraid of Capitalist Driving Cars! 

The epicenter of Tech based displacement is the city of San Francisco, a coastal haven for liberal and progressive politics and home to multi-millionaire and grand political theater mistress, Nancy Pelosi. Thanks to rise of tech jobs that involve AI and automation, the income divide in San Francisco is unlike any city in America. And the ones that can afford to live in that city are now the richest of the rich and those that can’t either leave or wind up homeless. And the solutions to help the homeless aren’t coming from the Tech Industry but rather average working class citizens.

But we can very easily avoid this reality by implementing one simple idea: Universal Basic Income! I know I’ve talked about the need for a UBI a lot, but in terms of Capitalist Driven Automation it’s a very needed idea to prevent the dystopian future that directors like James Cameron predicted. 

If you’re unaware of what a Universal Basic Income is, it’s giving every citizen of a country a flat amount of money each month the would cover the cost of rent, food, water, health, shelter and in these days, the internet. The biggest argument against giving Americans a UBI is that people would stop working, despite there being absolutely no proof of that. In fact when the American people received an additional $600/week in unemployment, a Yale study found that a majority of people didn’t stop looking for work! 

Even the Chicago Federal Reserve came to the same conclusion, as they deposited their trillions in handouts from the Democrats & Republicans. Look if the Fed can figure out taking care of Americans financial needs is a good thing, it should be a no-brainer, considering everything the Fed does comes from no brains at all.

Our culture treats money like the perfect drug. Each week, we’ll do damn near anything for get that sweet sweet paycheck! We get a hit and then keep coming back for more! And when we can’t we get desperate and start walking around the streets going “I’ll suck yo’ dick for a dollar! Just lemme see ol’ Washington!” No! That is called prostitutions and it’s illegal in this Christian Nation! You can whore for money, but you can’t BE a whore money! 

Not just that, but we have we more proof that a Universal Basic Income wouldn’t deincentivise work. In 1982, in the socialist safe haven of Alaska, the state implemented a permanent Universal Basic Income. The Alaskan Permanent Fund taxed the oil under Alaska and if oil companies want to drill they have to pay. Corporations are addicted to oil and Alaska just put that addiction to good use. Oil companies were like “We’ll suck yo’ dick for that oil!” And Alaska was like “Chill out! Please put your pants back on and stop rubbing your nipples! This is genuinely horrifying! How you just give us a bunch of money in taxes for drilling?”

The UBI fluctuated and went as high as $2000/month to $800/year. People in Alaska didn’t stop working to pursue a career in being a Rockstar or an Ice Road Trucker Reality Star. They left that to the robots!  

But incentive for work is something both Democrats and Republicans bark about all day, while letting their owners, the Rich Capitalists, create more unemployment and homelessness for free. The history of Alaska’s Permanent Fund is seldom addressed and so is the fact that most European countries and Canada have been enacted UBI for their citizens during the Pandemic. And it’s working!  

America is the only so called ‘First World’ country that is still trying to means test if helping people financially is a good thing. This again is a study that both Democrats and Republicans are pushing for. It basically turns the poor working class of America into lab rats to see if they’re deserving of help from those on high! Study after study has proven that financially helping those in need is a good thing! At this point the duopoly is trying manufacture a result to justify their cruelty! 

Now for the staunch conservatives & neoliberals who believe receiving help is a sign of weakness that only ends both physical and mental castration, we do have other ideas that do the same thing as a UBI but just slightly differently. The idea implemented through Social Democracy doesn’t deposit cash into a citizen’s account, but rather gives the people Healthcare, Utilities, Housing, and Food as public services.

You heard it here folks, for bailing out Wall St. over the American People, all of Congress and every President should be shunned! Send them off to one of Jeff Bezos islands. You know the one where he silently masturbates while an intern counts his money for him. Send them all there! And before anyone comes out and says “Well isn’t a UBI just money grubbing?” Asking for basic needs is not grubbing for money. That’s saying a Blind person is sight grubbing because they want to see a sunset! 

The difference between ideas of welfare and unemployment and Universal Basic Income is that nobody gets left behind. Everyone would be getting a fair share and their needs covered. Of course everyone wants to know, “but where the money gonna come from?”If the bosses are the ones making the decision to automate and create unemployment in our society, then they can bear some of this burden. 

This was actually proposed in San Francisco as a “Robot Tax”. The Tech companies fought against it. Now if we were trying to tax the robots directly and make them pay for a UBI, then I’m sure we’d get a lot of Libertarian Robots claiming Taxation is theft and quoting Ayn Rand all day, and none of us want that! The Robot Tax is no different than Andrew Yang’s Value Added Tax, which would tax the tech companies on their wealth they as they automate more technologies. 

Think about it, if all this work needed 1/3 of the human population, and then automation dropped that to 10%, and there was no drop in profit, who’s seeing more of the profit? The bosses of course! They don’t give a raise the rest of 10% of the workers! But if a UBI was put into place and we taxed that enormous wealth these Capitalists are making, then we can even the playing field. I’ve done the math, 23% of a fuck ton of dollars is enough to cover the cost of a UBI. 

And in reality, the working class should benefit from the fruits of Automation. If the corporate profits aren’t changing why not keep the same amount of employees, pay them the same amount and cut the work day in half. Isn’t that point of technology? To make everyone’s lives easier? The real result of automation should be a little extra leisure for the same pay. 

Another simple idea to implement to make sure we don’t create a dystopia worse than Terminator: Salvation, is Worker Co-Ops. Worker Co-Ops mean that the workers own and direct the company rather having a hierarchy of managers, senior mangers, district managers, senior district managers, regional managers, senior regional managers…

This idea has actually been utilized in numerous companies. The largest of these examples is the Spanish Company Mondrogan which currently employs over 100k people with a family of 250 worker co-ops within its various industries from Retail, Industrial sales, construction and medical research.

Worker Co-Ops democratize the work place. Workers vote on contract renewals of managers. CEOs at minimum are making 300 times more than the lowest paid employee and no one really knows what a CEO does except wear suits and talk shit on the poor and occasionally have parties with sexual deviants that get suicided. 

A company like Mondrogan is doing so well, that it has ability to set up its own university to help employees and average students run their own co-ops and teach the advancements in the technologies within the industries they work in. Capitalist Corporations just put a photo of the CEO, make you pledge allegiance to them and then tell you Unions will suck the souls of your babies. 

And American corporations don’t allow Asian or European corporations to work with our labs or offices. Mostly because European and Asian corporations aren’t looking to downgrade their employees. In reality American individualism with the greed and competitive nature of Capitalism has made America very unappealing. And it seems like the people are that are making America Great Again are the Spanish! It’s that old adage, nobody expects the Spanish Corporations!   

In a Capitalist Driven Education system like ours, the notion of Worker Co-Ops aren’t even discussed. Hell the idea of Co-Ops in general isn’t discussed. I didn’t know that there were grocery store co-ops till I was 28! Saying there is only way to conduct business is assuming there’s only one type of intersection in the world. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s a bit complicated, sometimes it looks complicated but in reality is very easy and sometimes it’s a pile of spaghetti!

Mondrogan has grown from being a 6 person Co-Op in 1956 to a 100k + employees! And because they’re self aware and not greedy, they talk about if that’s too large of company to sustain with it’s co-ops or if they should sell portions of the company directly to their employees. If you’re wondering how these workers can afford to buy out a corporation, it can be done so via Public Banks and Churches!

Capitalist Corporations are more concerned with how much profit they made and what rare animal can hunt and eat for the sport of it. “This week maybe a playtapus stuffed into a duck. Bring me a Ducktapus!” That’s neither logical nor Christian. Guys I’m pretty sure Jesus was a pescatarian and eating a Ducktapus is probably a cardinal sin of kind!

Worker Co-Ops will completely change the way we look work in our culture. It won’t be a passive relationship with employment as something we do to buy more shit, but rather something we do to fulfill our lives, better our communities and the world around us. With automation in mind, Worker Co-Ops would ensure when there’s less unemployment and if your job is replaced, you’re still taken care of by the community that you worked along side. Worker Co-Ops are basically friends you work with that would help you move just because they like you! 

Author Vivek Wadwha claims that automation means we will have to rethink Capitalism. And there is a notion of “Human Centered Capitalism”, but usually it’s torn down by the greed that every Capitalist has at the center of their cash covered hearts. And yes, that’s plural hearts because they’ve purchased more than 1!

We have “Right to Work” to states which grant you to work and that’s about it. No right to healthcare, decent pay, or even potty break. Just work. This is Jeff Bezos wet dream come to legislative life.

The Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, written by Ohio & New Jersey based Republicans and approved by Democratic President Harry Truman, undid collective bargaining and depowered the Unions, essentially granting corporations ownership of their workers. 

Both Democrats and Republicans demonize socialism at every turn despite giving handouts to the rich on a daily basis. We’re now living in a world where an entire generation of young people don’t think that’s a dirty word and an entire generation old people that think it’s Genghis Khan level tyranny, because they’re too tired to read a book from working all day for little pay.

And we’ve reignited the flames of McCarthyism at every turn. If there’s a video of Hilary Clinton calling black people super predators and ignoring Black Lives Matter Activists, that’s Russia. If Joe Biden has a mental breakdown over his rape allegations and says something racist and then calls everyone a ‘jive turkey’, that’s Russia. Trump can’t get his shit together to take care of the people during a Pandemic and denies science, that’s Russia and China! 

Capitalism can’t be reformed and it’s most certainly not human centered. The fundamental principle of Capitalism is greed and to put a dollar sign on everything. It’s a toxic system and the only way to reform Capitalism is to leave Capitalism. And this makes a lot of sense to me as a Divorced man. 

Automation, AI and Algorithms are technological advancements that are meant to make the lives of every single person better. Automation, much like Thanos, is inevitable. If we render ourselves obsolete only to make a few people richer, then what’s the point. If we really want to avoid a dystopia where the Robots take over and want to hunt and kill us because we’re awful, then we should strive to be less awful! Rather than running a top heavy economic system hellbent on being number 1 against itself, if we can ran an economy on compassion, logic and understanding, maybe the Robots won’t want to make flags out of our skin. 

The purpose of humanity can be to create, innovate and improve each other’s live as a community. We shouldn’t have to choose between technological advancements and putting food on your table. That’s Capitalism asking you to make that Sophie’s Choice. Technology partnered with a Human Centered economic model can make us a Global Worker Co-Op instead of a Dystopian nightmare hellscape with a very lonely Kieth Richards! 

Sources:

(34) Humans Need Not Apply – YouTube

(34) Robots And AI: The Future Is Automated And Every Job Is At Risk [Automation, Pt. 1] | AJ+ Docs – YouTube

(34) A Tale Of Two Cities: How Smart Robots And AI Will Transform America [Automation, Pt. 2] | AJ+ Docs – YouTube

(34) Will Robots Make Us Poor? Universal Basic Income And The Robot Tax [Automation, Pt. 3] | AJ+ Docs – YouTube

(34) The Real Reason to be Afraid of Artificial Intelligence | Peter Haas | TEDxDirigo – YouTube

(34) Richard Wolff: Democratizing Our Lives From Co-Ops to Robots – YouTube

Corporación MONDRAGON – Grupo Empresarial Internacional.

(34) What Happens If We Give A.I. The Ability To Remember Everything? – YouTube

(34) Algorithms Are Taking Over The World: Christopher Steiner at TEDxOrangeCoast – YouTube

(34) How algorithms shape our world – Kevin Slavin – YouTube

(34) Can Universal Basic Income / Social Democracy Fix America’s Inequality? | Jeffrey Sachs – YouTube

(34) Economic Update: Beyond Universal Basic Income – YouTube

(34) Introducing Amazon Go and the world’s most advanced shopping technology – YouTube

$600 unemployment bonuses did not lead to less work, Yale study shows – Business Insider