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JSPES, Vol. 41, No. 3 (Fall 2016)
pp. 74–89

Two More American Authors Calling for a ‘Basic Income Guarantee’

Dwight D. Murphey

Wichita State University (Retired)

Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future
Martin Ford, Basic Books

Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few
Robert B. Reich, Alfred A. Knopf

Thoughtful social observers on both the American Right and Left have in recent years become increasingly aware of the implications non-labor-intensive technology is having, and will increasingly have, in economics and society. Such commentators perceive something quite radical: that the age-old paradigm in which people rely on remunerated employment for their living is becoming obsolete. In what follows here, we have put together reviews of two books in which the authors have concluded that the impending circumstances will make the provision of a “basic minimum income” essential for a market economy to function and for millions of people to gain the benefits of the scientific/ cybernetic/automation revolution. The authors are Martin Ford, writing principally about robotics, and Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and now a professor of public policy, who has come to believe that his erstwhile call for “retraining for jobs” will be insufficient to meet the exigencies of job displacement. We have thought it best to present each review as a discussion of its respective book as a whole.