The big problem is that we don’t have work for bigger and bigger parts of the population. They are poor not because society as a whole got poorer, they are poor because they don’t have anything the labour market wants because it can be had cheaper now.
I think it’s about time we recognize that. We have to make it possible for everyone to live ok lives, even without having a job. We are rich enough. We didn’t get any poorer as a whole. We should be able to afford that.
How to do that is anyone’s guess (I’m betting on some sort of ‘basic income’), but it’s about time to start. We can’t think about work and earning money with our 19th and 20th century goggles on.
Mind you, I don't disagree. As a futurist looking out across the next thirty years I too see an increasing number of people who through essentially no fault of their own will basically have no marketable skills; they'll have skills, just not marketable ones. Somehow we've got to deal with it. But it's going to be enormously tricky; all the easy answers are wrong. All the politically acceptable answers both liberal and conservative are also wrong. I don't have a clue what the right answer is, either.
I think a basic income can create very strong incentives to make at least some additional money compared to traditional social security. There is no need to find a job that pays at least $1300 in order to make it worthwhile, for one (you get to keep your basic income no matter how much you make – minus taxes, so this is in a way not always true).
I would even think that something like a basic income is especially nice if you want to become self-employed.
(There would be higher taxes, probably much higher in the US, a little higher in Europe, but I – being one of those liberal Europeans – have no problem with that.)
I’m still kind of on the fence when it comes to basic income, though. I think finding the right way to do it (how to pay for it, how to organize it, what kinds of social security systems to slim down or abolish, etc. etc.) would be very hard indeed.
$1200 what? You're missing a time element there. I assume "per month". I've lived on less than that before, with some comfort, and I was working, too! If I get to assume health care (not unreasonable in the world we're hypothesizing) and don't forget that I'm not working and I'm not worrying about working either, then yeah, that sounds like a pretty good deal for a single guy with no family.
And by the time we kick this into gear, society may well be able to afford more than that. We're not talking today's society (which already has unsustainable levels of social obligation), we're talking a 20-30 year minimum future society. Or at least I am, since I'm actually talking about the real possibility, not a hypothetical parallel universe where it exists today.
Research is both DARPA level research , and investing money in 3rd world r&d and commercial efforts, since low cost technologies are bound to come from there.
Just as an example, The cost of an high rise apartment could be reduced to $8000(excluding land) using container building techniques.This shows a path of really cheap rent for really basic housing.
It already is possible. The poor in the USA right now have a standard of living greater than the middle class of 1970, but tend to work less than 800 hours/family/year.
Quality of life is having desired goods and services, which the study indicates the poor have.
Regarding health care, do you wish to assert that health care available to the poor today is worse than health care available to the middle class in 1970?