Falling on deaf ears

Wednesday, October 18, 2017 - 14:07

Humans are social animals which means that like to congregate in groups. This obviously means that no one really likes to speak out of turn and generally people run with the herd, even if they don’t subscribe to all of whatever a current state of thinking happens to be.

Whilst this might allow humanity to move slowly forward without too many people disagreeing with each other, it brings with it the danger that no one will look to what the future might bring, even if history can point to the inevitable. From an academic level it is in a way sensible that to gain higher degrees one needs to have an invigilator who has been through the subject previously and who can accept the new line of study. This does however limit forward thinking if this is to be "outside the box".

The outcome from all of this is that if one tries to draw attention to an inevitable outcome, it can fall on deaf ears. The case in point raised here, is what can be seen as an inevitability of eventual changes to democracy as we know it, when one person one vote has to fail and we finish up with the only system workable being one of authoritarian rule by a small number of people required to decide what is best for the majority. Sound familiar?

All the recognise great brains of our present era are all predicting the so-called rise of the machine where at the outside, within 30 years a large if not total number of jobs will have been replaced by what we call robotics, meaning that up to 80 or 90% of the world’s population could be unemployed. The same astute thinkers are also convinced that a form of universal basic income will be required for the survival of these unemployed and in many countries trial programs have already commenced. Not one of these thinkers however, have looked at the political consequence which will accompany this change.

The point which seems to be missing, is that where you have UBI, someone needs to make a decision on the level of these individual payments and if this is left for politicians collectively to decide, obviously voters will vote for whoever will give them more, and more. Until the system collapses. Anyone who doubts that this is not already the case needs to look at for example, the Australian situation where policy known to be unworkable is being supported because of the voter composition in certain electorates. And if this is started, it’s unlikely to stop or reverse. The "one person one vote" concept within a set of rules being the basis of democracy will need to change and again is appearing inevitable no matter how much it may be unpalatable.

If one follows through a natural consequence of a change, one has only to look back at history and see that where there is a lack of planning towards a new direction, you finish up with such things as the Russian Revolution or the time when the aristocrats in France started losing their heads. Back to the present day and with the emergence of China, one can see that they have their problems but at the same time already have a system whereby they can introduce a UBI at a rate decided at the centre and the rest of the population just have to “suck it and see”. The logic of this argument however seems to fall on deaf ears and the politicians benefiting under our democracy obviously think this is of no concern to them since they will be long gone before the revolution takes place. What they seem to fail to understand is the speed at which technology is advancing and how this 30 year window might be closer than we think. A global example would be how quickly Uber and its technology changed transport almost globally over night catching everyone by surprise and now is being patched up by the vested interests trying to let the taxi industry survive...