Elon Musk is interested in you having a universal basic income, with absolutely no effort required on your part. Although this may sound enticing, it’s due to a grim reality of job automation that industrialized nations face. Companies across the world are turning to robots as a means to cut costs for both production and operation. From car factory welding robots to self-driving trucks that take beer over 100 miles, robots seem poised to replace a large number of industrial occupations.
Logically, Musk envisions that this automation will conflict with how capitalism functions today. Inevitably, many people will lose their jobs to machines, something that many believe is already happening. As median income level jobs are replaced by superior robot efficiency, Musk believes that the government has to provide a salary to those who have been supplanted by machines, which experts refer to as a universal basic income. In a post-scarcity world where working is replaced by automation, Musk believes that humanity will have more time to do “more important and more interesting things” with their time.
For countries like The United States, where welfare programs and social services are routinely attacked, such a change may not be possible, at least at first. Despite the expected cultural resistance, Musk views the shift towards automation as so dramatic that the government won’t have a choice but to react.