Entrepreneur Andrew Yang is running for US President on a platform that emphasises the need to introduce a new economic model in order to cope with the rise of automation and artificial intelligence across a variety of business sectors. Sectors set to be rocked in the next decade by the rise in automation include trucking, retail, call centres, the service sector as a whole and even entry and mid-level so-called white collar jobs.
Yang’s proposals for the introduction of a universal basic income known as the freedom dividend which will be financed through a new value added tax that implicitly targets the revenue of teach giants, seeks to help and ease the forthcoming transition from a traditional economic model based on the ideal of reaching full time employment for all Americans, to one in which technology will gradually replace the erstwhile stable jobs of millions of people who will be forced to adapt to a new and hitherto unknown reality. Yang has likewise offered multiple concrete proposals beyond his freedom dividend to help and make this transition one that in his own words, puts “humanity first”.
But beyond Yang’s deeply unique policies which have thus far attracted positive attention from all sides of the American political spectrum, if Yang were to become President of the United States, he would be the first Asian-American to have ever done so.
During a recent speech, Yang highlighted some of the difficulties that will likely confront Asian-Americans in an era shaped by the statistical erosion of America’s white/European-American majority, as well as a protracted neo-Cold War aimed at Asia’s most populace country, China. Against this background, Yang believes that in spite of or indeed because of traditionally low levels of political activism and participation among Asian-Americans, such communities may well be singled out by a shrinking white working class and subsequently be scapegoated for the failures of government to prepare America’s workforce for the inevitable changes that are coming in the form of modern automation.
But far from being alarmist, Yang’s campaign message is one of incredible optimism. He clearly believes that rather than succumbing to the inevitable, the United States can instead prepare for the inevitable and take forward thinking action steps to make technology work for humanity – rather than allow humanity to be divided by technology.
Andrew Yang’s full speech on issues facing Asian-Americans can be viewed below: