VIDEO: Rudy Karsan on Meaningful Work and Entitlement to a Universal Basic Income
Rudy Karsan, co-founder and former CEO of the former human resource software company Kenexa (sold to IBM in 2012) recently held a TEDx talk in Calgary where he advocated a universal basic income as a means of stimulating innovation.
“We are in the golden age of our species,” Karsan begins his talk. He argues that we already have multiple solutions for the lack of food, water, and energy, and even for global warming; thus, our number one risk is none of these. Instead, he argues, “Meaningful work is about our choice of who we are,” and the lack of it is going to be the number one risk.
Karsan continues by explaining that this problem will not be solved by jobs:
“Jobs are getting decimated in an accelerating pace and they are not coming back.” […]
“We have to break the mental construct that jobs equal work.”
“No!” Karsan continues firmly. Jobs do not equal work. “Meaningful work has been with us forever and will be with us forever. It is not jobs. Jobs are simply a subset of work.” Jobs have created money for us since they came into our lives at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, 250 years ago. “But work can exist without jobs.”
The second mental construct we have to break, according to Karsan, is about entitlement:
“We need to discard all forms of social programs and replace it with one: Universal Basic Income, which is the individual right for every citizen to unconditionally get an income from the state on a regular basis.”
“UBI is not about creating dependence; it is about the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs at the lowest level. […] The notion that this entitlement to a UBI makes us smaller and weaker is absolutely untrue”, Karsan states. It is also not a new idea, and the data that came out of Manitoba in the seventies already showed that minimal income had many positive effects.
Karsan even takes it further and states that a UBI is not only something we can afford, but it will also make us greater. “Innovation did not start with homeless people.”
Karsan encourages his public to demand a UBI from their leaders, because he is convinced that our species in the golden age can move a lot further and he hopes and dreams that “we may find a way, not only to find meaning in our lives, but meaning in the universe itself.”
Photo: Rudy Karsan 2014 CC 4.0, by Thomas Cloer
Special thanks to Josh Martin and Kate Mc Farland for reviewing this article.