Money for Nothing

Debra_BuckleyDebra Buckley

CEO of the New Zealand Institute of Management and Leadership.

Are you ready for a universal wage? Finland is known around the world as a leader when it comes to taking care of citizens, and in January 2017 the Nordic nation commenced a mandatory payment.

The unconditional income is being trialled as part of an experiment where the Finnish Government hopes that those who are unemployed will be encouraged to a find a little work, without the negative impact on their benefit.

The true purpose of a universal wage isn’t to replace a benefit or encourage people into a job, but to provide people with a means of basic needs when there are much fewer jobs available.

The purpose isn’t political, it is seen as something we must do in readiness for the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and the lack of work that lies ahead of us.

What’s that saying about idle hands doing the devils work? While we may not be one step away from becoming hardened criminals, I do think we value ourselves more when we are given the opportunity to contribute.

The precarious position of our labour market, inequality, the internet, and the rapid pace of change will be key factors in ‘what we do next’. Economic growth, the increase in skill in our labour force, and technology have all been seen as positive’s until the rise of AI.

So, would you want money for nothing?

With some of our wealthiest global leaders, such as Elon Musk, proponents of the universal basic income (UBI) and the rise in ‘working poor’ in New Zealand; could this be something we strive to achieve as artificial intelligence takes charge of our working day?

A digital printer will be replaced with i-everything; a little machine that will be able to do everything for you and give you everything you need without moving from your chair or reaching into your bank account — the idea of money for nothing may well be part of the solution. Or will it?

Does social security come solely from having money in the bank, or is it much bigger than that? We all know the answer, it comes from contributing, being valued, being connected and not from the confines of a welfare state.

Yes, the world is evolving and the pace of change is faster than ever before, but I am not convinced we are ready for free money.

The jobs we do in the future are unknown to us today and the way we connect tomorrow will be different than it is today, so my hopes and dreams are that while it will be different, there remains a way for us to contribute.

Author: users

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