A former economics professor and former Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, has claimed capitalism is coming to an end.
The economics expert told an audience at University College London, the increased prevalence of artificial intelligence means the production of capital will undermine itself.
According to The Independent, he said:
Firstly, the technologies were funded by some government grant; secondly every time you search for something on Google, you contribute to Google’s capital and who gets the returns from capital? Google, not you.
So now there is no doubt capital is being socially produced and the returns are being privatised.
This, with artificial intelligence, is going to be the end of capitalism.
Varoufakis warned Karl Marx would get his ‘revenge’, saying technology is going to ‘destroy a lot more jobs than it creates’, continuing:
Capitalism is going to undermine capitalism, because they are producing all these technologies that will make corporations and the private means of production obsolete.
And then what happens? I have no idea.
The 56-year-old has said the current system is ‘unsustainable’ as vast swathes of people become unemployed thanks to the advent of automation in many industries.
To get around this, Mr Varoufakis said governments need to enact serious redistributive policies.
One way they could do this, suggests the economist, is to put 10 per cent of all future issues of shares into a ‘common welfare fund’ which would be owned by the people.
From this fund would be a ‘universal basic dividend’ which would be paid to every citizen.
We spoke with Victoria Waldersee, co-founder of the charity, who said:
The whole idea is that, rather than taxing people on their income to solve problems that might occur is to solve problems before they arise with a basic income for everyone.
The whole idea is based on the value that everyone should have access to the basics so they can make more free decisions about doing the things that they love to do as opposed to what they have to do to make ends meet.
This really requires a culture shift that everyone needs to buy in to. There are two hurdles that the theory needs to get over.
How is it going to be funded, and how is it going to be bought into?
One possible way of funding it is through taxes, which people wouldn’t be happy with. But Bill Gates has actually just proposed that robots paying taxes is a viable idea.
This is basically what Mr Varoufakis is proposing, a universal basic income which will eradicate the need for jobs in a post-capitalist society.
Don’t say Marx didn’t warn ya!