World Economic Forum highlights a new white paper from Brookings which claims, “as the income produced by autonomous machines rises and the value of labor declines, we find that it is optimal to phase out work, beginning with workers who have low labor productivity and job satisfaction, since they have comparative advantage in enjoying leisure… If there are significant wage declines, avoiding mass misery will require other ways of distributing income than labor markets, whether via sufficiently well-distributed capital ownership or via benefits.”

Analyst Comment: There are two notable points here. First, that they fall into the same trap that generations before us have: Some new technology will make many workers obsolete to the point where they will never be able to work again. It has never happened. New technology results in changes to the types of jobs people work and ultimately increases productivity. The white paper further advocates for a managed economy where there are “other ways of distributing income than labor markets.” This sounds a lot like a universal basic income scheme.