Housing as UBI


It's unthinkable that in 2020 not everyone lives in a home. Home, as in the most simple, barebones place that one can sleep and get shelter from the rain and cold.

It's even more unthinkable that in the world's richest cities and countries, this statement is still true.

And finally, it is unthinkable in terms of Paul Graham's future present, that artists, makers, innovators, and inventors are pushed out of cities because the rent is too damn high.

In order of importance

One could condemn the above argument inasmuch as housing is more difficult than anything else we have achieved in 2020. Yet the constantly rising number of empty homes, in London for example, and other major urban centres, proves that this is not a case of feasibility, but rather of profitability.

Home and food waste are both issues of economic equality, rather than resource scarcity. Their resolution will mean substantial life quality boost on a global scale.

Housing in particular seems to be the immediate next step for life quality. For lower social strata, rent is the single largest expense that cannot be reduced unless one devolves into homelessness. UBI is what has been increasingly brought up as the solution for the problems automation creates in the future of work, yet if we could subtract rent from the monthly budget of low income workers, we might not even need UBI.


Ultra cheap housing shares some of the problems of UBI. To name one: if people aren't mandated to work to survive, why would they?

There is not enough research on the matter, but it feels obvious that if housing was cheap (or UBI guaranteed) nobody would work as a low-paid unskilled worker ever again. They would either live a workless life or acquire knowledge to assume a more pivotal role for the professional part of their life.

In that case, would Amazon deliverers be replaced by drones? Would robots serve at McDonalds?


David Fairhurst, chief people officer at McDonald’s Europe in 2014, came up with an unforeseen issue. He claims that Europe and the US will soon experience the workforce cliff. We have too many colossal enterprises, getting much bigger, and not enough people to work on them.

David believes this problem will start materializing during the current decade. If that does happen, enterprises will supposedly not only have to turn to automation for help but also strive for its rapid advancement. If the degree of automation required for that obstacle to be surpassed is achieved, a new level of post-scarcity will surface.

It's tempting to make the prediction that if workforce cliff happens, handling post-scarcity while maintaining the current production growth of the global economy will be the defining characteristic of the 21st century. Until one starts thinking about the inevitability of the environmental collapse unless we de-grow. Or the increasing economic inequality. Or would it be racism and citizen governance?

Whatever the case; what an era to live in.