Page 12 - A Social Dividend: An Income Guaranteed to Each Citizen
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Progress and Unemployment

        39. How do we deal with unemployment?                be applied to freeing mankind.
            If it were simply a matter of work we know that   41. Could progress be a good thing?
        anyone can dig a hole, fill it up, dig it again and fill   Of course. The machine is worthwhile and a step
        it up once more. An unemployed person occupied       in the right direction even if it replaces the work of
        in this manner would not make a single penny. Why    10 men. This is an indicator of progress.
        focus on work  and jobs when it is money that is
                                                                 Progress frees us from working for material well-
        needed? The solution does not lie with work; it lies   being and gives us more time for leisure. Everyone
        with the products that must be sold. An increase in
        the sales of products could even give employment     must be  able  to purchase  what  progress makes
        new life.                                            possible. Progress should improve the quality of life
                                                             and liberate us from worries about the future.
            The  system ironically requires that  work be
        done in order to have access to goods whose pro-     42. How can mechanization become an ally?
        duction requires the input of less work.                 This alliance would be created through the dis-
        40. We do not want mechanization to take away        tribution  of  a  Social  Dividend  which  would  be  a
                                                             source of purchasing power in addition to salaries.
            our jobs.                                        The Dividend would enable the population to buy
            What? Is progress an enemy of mankind? Must      the abundant products available because of techno-
        we give up on education and all discoveries? Must    logical advances and progress.
        we close all universities and end research?          43. Would the Social Dividend be the source of
            Progress must not be done away with; it must         an additional tax borne by those who work?

               With the Social Dividend,
           Machinery Becomes Man’s Ally

               In the beginning stages of industrialization in
           the 19th century, men were responsible for 20% of
           production, animals 50%, and the use of machinery
           accounted for 30% of production.  By 1900, men
           were responsible for only 15% of outputs, animals
           30% and machinery 55%.  By 1950, the figures
           shifted significantly.  Machinery was responsible for
           94% of production and workers the remaining 6%!
               The digital revolution promises more to come.
           Microprocessors can perform more than one mil-
           lion operations per second. How many workers
           have been replaced in various manufacturing sec-
           tors because of computers?                        technology cannot decide the full measure of its
               Is technology evil? Should we destroy technol-  own allegiance: whether it is for humanity or
           ogy for “taking our jobs”?                        against it... For this reason my appeal goes to all
               No, it is good for machinery to do routine work   concerned... to everyone who can make a contri-
           and thus allow men and women to invest their lei-  bution toward ensuring that the technology which
           sure time in freely chosen activities as long as an   has done so much to build Toronto and all of Can-
           income to replace the salary lost when the machine   ada will truly serve every man, woman and child
           took workers’ jobs is provided. Without another   throughout this land and the whole world” (Pope
           source  of  purchasing  power,  however,  machines   John Paul II, Toronto, Canada, September 15, 1984).
           become an enemy not an ally.                         A Dividend provided to each man, woman and
               “Technology has contributed much to enhance   child, in order to purchase the portion of production
           the well-being of humanity. It has done much to   made possible by technology, would allow all Can-
           uplift the human condition, serve humanity, and   adians to benefit from technology and would make
           to facilitate and perfect its work. And yet at times   machines and mechanization society’s allies.
                                                                                                                          Alain Pilote

        12     Free issue of MICHAEL                                          
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