Technological unemployment and universal basic income

Volkov A.M., Seytkaliev R.M.


Recently, in scientific and expert circles, the prospects for implementing an unconditional basic income in the context of technological changes have become one of the most debatable topics. The need to introduce an unconditional basic income is increasingly associated with the fourth industrial revolution and its achievements, represented by robotization, «digitalization» of the economy, the development of artificial intelligence, etc., which, according to some scientists, entails massive technological unemployment. In the works of economists-«alarmists» – L. Summers, G. Feldmann, M. Ford, I. Frey, M. Osborne and some other scientists – the demise of many professions and the replacement of workers by machines are predicted. On the contrary, their opponents believe that modern innovations lead to short-term surges in technological unemployment and increased employment in the long term. In the works of some researchers, it is argued that the current impact of robotization on the labor market remains relatively insignificant. Nevertheless, it is not unambiguous and can contribute to both the reduction in the number of jobs and their increase. Ultimately, it is assumed that the fourth industrial revolution will lead to an increasing displacement of workers by machines and an increased technological unemployment level. However, this process does not proceed straight, rather in undulating, stretching over a long time, accompanied by a significant change in the demand for labor. Hence, the concept of a universal basic income does not require immediate implementation, but it may have to be applied in practice in the future when technological unemployment becomes a necessary and sufficient basis for this.


technological unemployment; unconditional basic income; the fourth industrial revolution; employment; precariat; information technology; automation.

DOI: 10.31249/rsm/2021.04.05

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