One good point that I think is being overlooked in both the minimum wage and universal basic income debates , is if we go back 100 years, a huge percentage of people worked in agriculture and the industrial revolution threatened to and did, put millions of agricultural workers out of jobs, and it is around 1 percent today.
Back then, you couldn’t tell people, “Hey don’t worry, your children won’t work on the family farm but they will get jobs as web designers, programmers, and posting cat pictures on social media.”
The same way, the people displaced by technology don’t just die, they adapt and find something else to do.
The model we have for education though doesn’t scale and is still based on a largely agrarian society, including 3 months off in the summer so that people can help with the harvest! Have you ever had to take time off of school to help your parents with the harvest? And yet thats how our society is organized, 100 years later.
We don’t need teachers in physical classrooms anymore, giving the same lectures on basically the same thing for 20 years, This model just will not work for the coming technological changes ahead, and the 4 year degree idea isn’t even sufficient to keep up with the pace of change. By the time you are done there are completely new professions that didn’t even exist when you started school. There are plenty of ways that we can use the internet to scale both 1 on 1 tutoring AND archives of lectures AND all the testing and administrating that needs to be done, instead of paying school administrators huge salaries and squeezing the teachers.
Right now though, we have the left talking about subsidies and taxation that prop up this system, and the right trying to make it total free market. Neither approach is going to work though, as long as we spend so much on defense. Politicians are not very forward thinking and always favor propping up old systems since thats where their constituents come from, but right now I would argue the pace of change is too great to be able to do that without needlessly wasting endless billions.
The way things are right now, somebody will come along and end up being the uber of education, providing scaleable course, grading, credentials and a marketplace for private tutors at a profit. I would like to see something that is not privately owned be this system because once again the teachers will end up being a marginal cost to squeeze out after the administrators are replaced by software, but the main point is the sky won’t fall in because we eliminate a lot of jobs that are pretty tedious anyway. And yes we will have to educate and reeducate people who have been displaced but we can put in systems that will allow anyone who wants to learn, to learn very cheaply. Top candidates to provide this system? Google, Lynda.com , the Khan Academy, and Udemy. But who knows there are plenty of ways to build something that is scaleable macro and micro.
All I want to say here is that the sky won’t fall in, just because of technology.