Technology is the genie in the lamp that’s going to free mankind from drudgery, keep us healthy for longer and offer us endless opportunities for entertainment and even escape to virtual worlds.
How wonderful. But, as far as I know we didn’t get rid of the profit incentives, so how do we pay for our wonderful lives in utopia? That’s a question that puts a damper on the exciting strides science and technology are making on a daily basis, don’t you think?
Basic Universal Income has been put forward as a solution, but then again, how do we pay for that?
A universal basic income (UBI) is a fixed amount, at a level sufficient for substance, given by the state to all its citizens regardless of income or work status.
What could be the source of UBI?
Bill Gates is on record as saying that robots should pay the tax of people whose jobs they take through governments taxing companies that use robots.
Another suggestion is that income can be generated from universal assets. For instance, putting a value on society’s systems like the financial system and legal system that make it possible for people to earn millions. If these systems were not in place, the generated wealth would be much smaller.
“We could charge for using key components of our legal and financial infrastructure; for example, modest transaction fees on trades of stocks, bonds and derivatives could generate more than $300 billion per year,” writes James K. Boyce and Peter Barnes.
But these are not the most intriguing or innovative solutions for the financial security of future societies.
The most way-out solution, if it pans out, will come from a place way-out: space.
No, aliens aren’t going to keep us all in luxury, but the space economy might be a possibility.
Specifically space tourism and space mining.
Space tourism comes with a hefty price tag that will generate huge incomes.
Virgin Galactic and XCOR Aerospace, are currently charging $250,000 and $150,000 per seat, respectively.
Elon Musk has not revealed how much the two space tourists will be charged for their trip around the moon in 2018, but said it would be close to or a bit more than a crewed trip to and from the International Space Station aboard a Dragon 2 spacecraft, reported Business Insider. According to a presentation given by a NASA official in May 2016, each seat aboard a Dragon 2 should cost $58 million.
The space tourism company Golden Spike in Hawaii is selling tickets for trips to the moon at a whopping $750 million each, reports Popular Science.
All indications are that space tourism will be popular. There are literally millions of people on earth who can afford to pay millions for a space trip. Space hotels are already being built and accommodation has already been reserved for a stay that only a very few will be able to afford.
Even bigger fortunes could be made with space mining. The stage is set for mining asteroids and near earth objects (NEO) for their natural resources in a big way.
Did you know that the space industry is currently worth $330 billion, with $13.3 billion invested in over eighty space startup companies since 2000?
Governments certainly have the funds to invest in space, so they must see profits there. This is how the space budgets compare according to Bloomberg: India ($1.09 B); Japan ($1.62B); China ($4.21B) and U.S. ($19 B).
The value of many asteroids are measured in the quintillions of dollars. If humans can exploit just one of these valuable space objects, we will have enough money to support our coming utopia for eternity.