You know what the most ridiculous idea I’ve ever heard is?
And, the crazy thing is, I keep hearing my entrepreneurial friends talk about this. People I respect, people that I admire, I hear are proponents of this idea of a universal basic income, the idea that the government should just dole out cash. Like, if robots take over all the world, we’re going to need the government to take care of us and give out a universal basic income for people so that everybody can live while the robots run our lives.
Universal basic income is this ridiculous idea that is based on this fundamental flaw that innovation destroys more than it creates, and nothing could be further from the truth. And, all we have to do is look at things like the sharing economy, the gig economy.
I mean, if you’re a taxi driver, Uber, obviously, is a threat to you. It’s why we have people lobbying government. Here in Austin, Texas, we have government getting in the way of Uber. Lyft and Uber are no longer here in Austin because of the lobbyists and the regulations getting in the way of creative destruction.
But, did Uber and Lyft destroy more opportunities or did they create more opportunities? I don’t know anybody who would say that it destroyed more than it created. We have more people who can live a life on their terms as a result of having access to Uber and Lyft than we ever had before. I rode in a cab, like, six times before Uber and Lyft and then, I did it every day.
The idea that when robots take over the world, if that ever happens and maybe it will, that that will destroy more opportunities than it creates is absolutely absurd because that doesn’t factor in the things that we can’t even see, right now, the resources that will be freed up, the opportunities that will be created that we don’t even know exist, right now.
The other thing that it doesn’t factor in is if we have robots creating everything, you know what does to prices? It makes prices plummet. It creates more abundance than ever. It creates greater access to food. It creates greater access to transportation and the costs go through the floor.
This is, by the way, why we have greater access to food and housing and medical care, regardless of what the government and the media tries to make you believe, we have more access to that at every income level than we’ve ever had before because of entrepreneurship, because of creative destruction.
If we have that continuing at an exponential level, if we have absolute abundance and we have this idea where robots and AI can create everything at almost no prices at all, that does two things. It frees up all kinds of intellectual capital so that we can create whatever we want. We won’t need the government to guarantee basic incomes because we’ll have all of this abundance, prices will be through the floor, we’ll have the ability to create whatever we want. It will then be a responsibility of individuals to be more entrepreneurial, which we already see happening.
If you had asked people, is the internet, if the internet puts people, puts retail out of business, is that a good thing or a bad thing? And, everybody said, oh, we need to stop the internet because it’s going to destroy retail, it didn’t factor in all of the blogging, the opportunities on YouTube, the businesses that would be created, the tech startups that would happen, all the opportunity that grew out of that destruction was never factored into it.
When you have innovation destroy things, that is an indication of a very healthy economy. It is an indication of new opportunities that we’ve never seen before as a society. And, if we have AI and robotic technology, that just means more opportunity, not less. It means we need less government intervention, not more. It means that we are creating things that have never existed before and we’re on a better path than ever and we don’t need, we have less need, for government to come in and be involved in your life, not more, for them to guarantee some income.
It’s absolutely ridiculous, that just because we’re creating things that we think that that’s going to destroy more than it actually creates; nothing could be further from the truth. We should encourage innovation and get the government the hell out of our way, not have the government coming in and guaranteeing incomes.
And, all we need to do, is look at the sharing economy, the gig economy and look at all the opportunities that that has created. That is a good example of what happens when we have new innovation. Capitalism for the win, screw government.