David Blacker returns to the C-Realm Podcast to talk about the themes in his new book, What's Left of the World: Education, Identity and the Post-Work Political Imagination. KMO has been reading Andrew Yang's book, and David has also read it and followed Yang's candidacy, so the discussion circles the topic of Universal Basic Income for a good portion of the conversation.
KMO and frequent contributor, Rob, discuss Douglas Rushkoff's most recent book, Team Human. Not surprisingly, the conversation touches often on the topic of artificial intelligence and its likely effects on human prospects for a viable and dignified future.
KMO is packing up to fly to LA for Politicon 2018. It's likely to be the scene of street battles between Antifa and Proud Boys; a glorious spectacle of ideologically-induced insanity. And stuff about AI, UBI, and figuring out whether the purpose of civilization is to create the conditions for the virtuous to make a fortune or to help all humans live decent lives.
KMO and Charles Hugh Smith continue the discussion of Universal Basic Income that started in C-Realm Podcast 522. The "tax the robots to fund UBI" narrative takes for granted that current corporate profits, the things that would actually be taxed, are sustainable in the first place. This view doesn't take into account that corporations use all manner of unacceptable and unsustainable gimmicks to maintain their pricing power in an environment in which commoditized products and production processes continually erode profitability. The UBI fantasy doesn't take into account the tendency of the rate of profit to fall (as the Marxists say). Later, KMO askes Charles if it might be best to just accept UBI because it will accelerate the unraveling of the current economic order.
Charles Hugh Smith is a critic of the idea of UBI (universal basic income), but in order to understand his critique it is necessary to take a deep dive into the nature of work. Any simple formulation of what constitutes work will either over-generalize and capture too much, or it will leave out certain activities which are necessary for the functioning of a healthy society and which create benefits for people other than the one engaged in the activity but which do not generate a profit and so are often unpaid. KMO and Charles Hugh Smith talk about work, leisure, commodification and the effects of information technology and machine intelligence on how we all participate in the web of exchanges and interactions we call "the economy."