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Hawaii Explores Universal Basic Income Law, is Louisiana Next?

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Futurism reports that Hawaii is the first state in the Union to pass a set of measures designed to determine the best way to provide it’s citizens with basic financial security.  One of the options is instituting a “universal basic income.”  The basic principal behind this push is that much of modern life is becoming automated.  That automation may come in many forms: self driving cars, robotic factories, self checkout lines, etc.  The people that are at the greatest risk of being replaced are usually at the lower end of the salary spectrum, and thus need the most “help.”  That help would most likely come in the form of monetary assistance from the state government.

The motivation for this comes from a realization that not only does Hawaii have the highest cost of living in the U.S., but also relies heavily on service-related jobs.  Jobs that could be replaced very soon in the coming automation revolution.

The move is a bold one, but not totally unprecedented.  Alaska currently sends out a yearly stipend based on oil revenues to every single Alaskan citizen, and they have been doing so since 1976.  Each year, each resident receives around $1500.

The UBI (Universal Basic Income) movement has been gaining ground in the U.S. for a few years, usually finding pockets of support around tech-heavy areas like Silicon Valley.  Some industry leaders see it as an economic safeguard to protect the blue-collar workforce they are working to replace wholesale.

Before you dismiss this as another “handout,” consider this:  the automation that we speak of knows very few bounds.  The current batch of tech doesn’t just threaten to take the jobs of cashiers and taxi-drivers.  This could essentially replace almost everyone that operates a vehicle, enters data, stocks shelves, or anything else that a computer and specialized hardware can be programmed to do for a living.  The issue is so real, that Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes and some like mined pals created the Economic Security Project, a $10-million fund that reasearches and supports UBI.

If (when) drilling for oil, commercial fishing, pipeline construction, and farming become automated, this could be an essential measure that protects the common man from absolute poverty.

 

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