Zoltan Istvan: ‘Is monetizing federal land the way to pay for basic income?’

Zoltan Istvan at TechCrunch. Istvan was the presidential candidate of the Transhumanist Party in 2016 and is seeking the California governorship as a Libertarian in 2018. Due to California’s laws the party has no say in who runs with its label, and multiple Libertarians can be on the primary ballot against candidates of other parties and non-party candidates with no party nominations. Thanks to IPR lurker Kevin for the heads up.

Between now and the end of Donald Trump’s first term in 2020, it’s likely millions of jobs in America will be lost to automation, software and robots. Depending on how fast technology evolves, that human job-loss number might even rival that of the Great Recession of 2007, where more than eight million people were put out of work, and America’s banking system nearly collapsed.

By 2030, the job losses will likely be in the tens of millions. McDonald’s will flip burgers with machines, Amazon will deliver packages with drones and taxis will all be self-driving. Even white-collars jobs, like those on Wall Street, will be replaced by artificial intelligence — the world’s largest hedge fund has already set plans in motion for this.

Like the Titanic, capitalism is sinking, but few passengers are wondering yet if there are enough lifeboats.

I recently declared my run as a Libertarian for California governor in 2018, and I gently support the idea of a state-funded basic income to offset the effects of ubiquitous automation. A basic income would give every Californian some money — and it makes sense to start such a dramatic program here in the Golden State, since this is where much of the human-job-replacing-tech is created.

My Libertarian friends are skeptical of my support for a basic income. They insist the only way to pay for such a program is via higher taxes. This is not true; other ways exist. California could potentially cut deals with the federal government to lease its empty land and natural resources to help pay for a basic income.

After all, state and federal resources belong to the people, and 45 percent of California (more than 45 million acres) is government-controlled land, leaving vast areas idle and mostly undeveloped.

Continue reading at TechCrunch…

One thought on “Zoltan Istvan: ‘Is monetizing federal land the way to pay for basic income?’

  1. Kevin S Bjornson

    In general terms, monetizing federal lands is a good idea, depending on how “monetizing” is defined. Harry Browne suggested selling public lands to pay the national debt and Social Security obligations.

    Whether or not there would be enough leftover to pay for a government-guaranteed income for all, is a factual question. Milton Friedman suggested something similar at one time. I believe his critique was, the majority of welfare money goes to upper-middle class bureaucrats, not intended recipients. Perhaps more would be saved if applications were automatically approved (subject to identity and citizenship verification) than the costs of additional people on welfare.

    Of course, generous welfare programs, like the ones the US and most of Europe have already, tend to attract immigrants from the third world. Eliminating screening for welfare recipients, would likely accelerate that trend.

    This throws a spotlight on the “open borders” issue. Without any kind of restrictions on who or what may enter US territory, the US would be completely open to invasions (there are several types). Even if such threats could be safely disregarded, there is still the issue of, millions of third-world immigrants descending like locusts, on rich welfare states.

    Odd that Thomas is blind to threats from abroad, but is hyper-sensitive to perceived domestic threats of force against a libertarian party. Of course, if the US federal gov’t were dismantled, likely libertarian parties would not be allowed by our new overseers. Similar to what happened in various government overthrows, from the French Revolution to the overthrow of Ghadaffi (former ruler of Libya). The proffered “cure” might be worse than the disease.

    Theoretically, no borders at all might be possible, but that would require fundamental changes, worldwide, and not just politically. But with appropriate screening at borders, welfare (even a guaranteed income) might be possible, though probably not a desirable goal.

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