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The Future Of Work Is Money Dropped From Helicopters

So we found out on Friday that the U.S. economy is still creating jobs, but a prominent investor suggests that each American may be in need of an annual stipend eventually to replace all the disappearing jobs. Sorry, U.S. workers: The U.S. economy just isn't that into you.

Forget helicopter parents, because the Millennials could be moving into the age of...helicopter money? As The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

Central bank "helicopter money" will avoid a long recession that looms as millions of millennials face losing their jobs to robot technology, veteran investor Bill Gross says.

In news that is sure to depress anyone under the age of 30, Gross, the co-founder of bond investment firm PIMCO, who now runs a fund with Denver-based Janus Capital, says that while presidential hopefuls in the US spout mantras about how they are going to spur growth, none are addressing the reality of the future: that robots and technology are going to render "millions" of jobs redundant.

The idea of guaranteed basic income is already being considered in some places. Next month, Switzerland could become the first country in the world to offer its citizens a guaranteed universal minimum income. Swiss adults would receive $2,600 per month in tax-free income, while every Swiss child would receive $650 per month.

Closer to home, there's the State of Alaska. For decades, Alaska has offered its residents an annual stipend for living in Alaska. I don't know if the money is dropped from helicopters, but it's a stipend that helps Alaskans cover the high cost of groceries and other goods that must be shipped from the Lower 48. In 2014, each Alaskan received a dividend of $1,884 from the state's Permanent Fund.

The "helicopter money" headline caught my eye because I worry about the continued impact of off-shoring and automation on our long-term economic well-being. How will the workforce adjust as jobs continue to go abroad, and go robotic? Will the U.S. workforce find itself floating around aimlessly on hovercraft like everyone in the movie Wall-E? That's a serious question, unfortunately.

I hope an intrepid reporter will ask our presidential candidates if they've seen the movie Wall-E, and if they think the U.S. workforce will end up floating around aimlessly on hovercraft all day like everyone in the movie. What are the candidate's views on Switzerland's universal minimum income idea, and could it become a real possibility if we continue to off-shore jobs and automate the U.S. economy?

And how on earth will we find a balance between robot automation and human employment? Let's hope the presidential candidates don't offer a robotic response.


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