This is part 6 of Scenario 5 – Human Federation in 2040
The effect of Technological Unemployment was initially very severe. Yes, over 160 new skills were created by 2030 as Thomas Frey predicted in 2016. However, within two years of the first signs of the coming Technological Unemployment wave, it became obvious that there were far fewer new jobs, than the jobs lost and those available required rare skills. Millions of people became unemployed resulting from continuous expansion of robotization and AI in general. The unemployment shot up to over 50% in some countries. The lack of preparation in the old European Union countries for that entirely new type of unemployment was very obvious. That has sparked off serious social unrest in most countries, just as the EU was in the final stages of the ratification process of the EF Constitution. It was a very bumpy ride indeed. Luckily, the unrest was quite quickly pacified by the introduction in almost all EU countries of an unconditional Universal Basic Income. It has initially dented the budgets of some countries, but that was no longer a big issue after the federalization.
For the last 5 years before the EF was converted into the HF, it has been running a 0% unemployment programme, as envisaged by Muhammed Yunus, who called to create “A world of three zeros: zero poverty, zero unemployment and zero emissions”. The HF has now achieved all three of them. Zero unemployment was achieved by these means:
- EF-wide job-sharing programme has been introduced so that most jobs are shared by 2-3 people
- The working week has been reduced to 15 hours
- The flexible retirement age now starts at 45
- The introduction 10 years ago, at the very start of the EF, of the unconditional Universal Basic Income at 20% of average earnings
- The introduction 10 years ago of the conditional Universal Supplementary Income also at 20% of average earnings, which is immediately awarded to people being made redundant, together with offers of voluntary work or educational courses.
There is a compulsory job-sharing programme, which has almost immediately reduced unemployment. Every company that wants to make people redundant must immediately create two shared jobs, or pay 50% tax on the salary paid for the position made redundant, for one year. In some cases, e.g. in companies, which operate as nearly fully robot-only production, there may be no possibility of job sharing. Such companies must pay an equivalent of 50% of one annual salary of the redundant employee to the government’s re-skilling fund.
The working week has been reduced to 15 hours, mainly as a consequence of the Technological Unemployment and there are plans to reduce it further to 12 hours in 2042. People normally work 3 days a week, which they can vary each month, by selecting the days at the beginning of each month for the next month.