Scenario 3 – A Future that does well without Basic Income
It is the year 2040. We are in the former United States of America.
Things turned out spectacular and everyone is congratulating everyone else just how good we got it. Technological progress has been unabated, and we are clearly very close a a Technological Singularity. It was pretty touch and go there for a few years and society might almost have collapsed in to degeneration, but finally rational Libertarian values became normative in world society and all countries started dismantling superfluous state structures and implementing a more effective form of Capitalism than previous welfare-drenched, inefficient 20th century societal order.
Technology started advancing really fast in the 2010s. 2015: massive advances in 3D printing, reducing production costs and wiping away established wasteful monopolists and industries. This occurs with a double whammy from a range of overlapping set of dozens of privately rendered forms of digital currency. This puts the outdated state and “democracy” world wide out of its misery. People started magically generating their own solutions. Economic growth continued explosively after 2017, quickly reaching 10% rates for regions that abolished minimum wages, unions, contrived labor laws, force-based consumer protection laws. The resulting effects were completely paradoxical and proved what capitalist economists had been saying for decades – demand for workers skyrocketed in hundreds of newly emerging industries – in fast even though robotization, automation, streamlining and efficiency rates skyrocketed there was so much demand for both low-trained as well as high trained labor it contradicted every pessimistic spoilsport prediction from socialists. Faced with overwhelming evidence of his mistake, Paul Krugman committed suicide in 2019, amid loud public ridicule. 2020: Cheap carbon material photovoltaics crashes the oil industries and triggers a revolution in energy production and creation. An exponential tide of photovoltaic “trees” flood all countries in the world. At the same time organ printing becomes a mass garage industry, with clinics offering cheap surgery, life extension treatments, cybernetics and upgraded bodies. Each year several percent of the working population was effectively and affordably turned young and immortal by unprecedented advances in surgical techniques – patients didn’t even have to be sedated while in surgery. In 2020 unemployment rates in the former US were well below 2%, and demand for workers was insane – while at the same time inflation crawled close to zero, with the extremely fast turnover rate. Plentiful cheap energy from both solar as well as endless petrochemical sources as well as algae based biofuels and new more efficient forms of privatized nuclear competed and energy became quickly too cheap too meter.2025: Ultra-cheap ceramics superconductors. Advances in cheap self-replicating robotics. Cheap large space planes. Optimal quantum computation. Free air holographics. 2030: silicate-diamond synthetic concrete becomes cheap in very large 3D printed lathes and molds allowing for megascale engineering projects liberated from reinforcement rebar. Cheap Fusion reactors. 2035: Artificial Intelligence. Space photovoltaics industry
So it should be clear that nobody would be discussing something as ridiculous as a “basic income”. Clearly the idea was ludicrous, and the few % people unable to work received very generous private donations from charity – but in most cases advancing medical sciences allowed these people to quickly re-enter the work force.