Diamond News

March 27, 2019

There is nothing intrinsically profitable about either robotics or AI.

At the request of colleague/author Douglas Rushkoff (his latest book is Team Human[1]), I'm publishing last week's Musings Report, which was distributed only to subscribers and patrons of the site.)

The core assumption of Universal Basic Income (UBI) and other plans to redistribute wealth and income more broadly is that the world is becoming wealthier, and so the pool of income and wealth that can be taxed is always expanding.

This pool of available wealth and income is so vast, we're assured, that taxing the super-wealthy will not really dent their wealth or the economy as a whole.

But what if the world is rapidly becoming poorer in every important sense? What if the decline in the standard of living of the bottom 90% of households that I've often addressed is not simply the result of the top 10% taking a greater share of the output (gains), but of the entire pie shrinking?

I believe the steady decline of the purchasing power of labor--the source of most households' income--is not just the result of way income is distributed, but of a steadily diminishing pool of real-world wealth.

We must start any discussion of total wealth/income by asking: what are we measuring with currencies such as dollars? What's not being measured?

As often noted in my writings, we optimize what we measure, and so since we measure financial accounts embedded in markets, we maximize the accumulation of currency and measure what it buys in markets.

But as I've explained in my books, markets only price goods...

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