Many of the things that need to be done require organizing people to determine what is needed, and then using the political system to get them done.
Here are links to the organizations I support that are concerned with things like this. I realize there are a great many more wonderful organizations, but
these are the ones I have elected to concentrate on.
I believe the war on drugs has failed. I also believe people should be able to do what they want to themselves. So I think drugs, ALL drugs, should be legalized, although regulated
like alcohol and tobacco. There are a significant number of benefits to this:
- It will be easier for addicts to receive help when their behavior is no longer criminal.
- Drugs should be sold through the reputable and legal drug companies. This will improve the safety of the drug supply, and will help put the drug cartels out of business.
- Current drug law enforcement disproportionally affects lower income people - wreaking havoc with their already struggling family, neighborhood, and social systems.
The current system of two dominant parties has fostered a system where each party cares more for battling for power than in supporting their constituents. In close elections,
third-party candidates can act as spoilers to elect a candidate of a very different type. Ranked-preference voting allows voters to rank their choices, and the election counting
consists of progressively eliminating the lowest vote-total candidate, and using the 2nd-choices of those who ranked that candidate first, and then recounting, repetitively until a final
winner is determined. This has the advantage of allowing voters to show their real preferences without risking "wasting" their vote.
- FairVote - Proponents of ranked preference voting, a possible solution to the current 2-party duopoloy in the U.S.
A Universal Basic Income:
I believe we are facing unprecedented technologically-driven employment challanges. New technology has always put people out of work, but has historically created off-setting job
opportunities. I believe this time it really is different, for two reasons:
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing the world of labor in signficant ways, and it is just getting started. AI is not only obsoleting many current jobs, but it will not create offsettingly-large
numbers of job opportunities because it is supplanting human effort at many skill levels. Many jobs that can be performed by lower-skilled workers are prime ground for automation, as are many traditional white collar
jobs. The exceptions are low-level service jobs that currently require an actual person to perform them, but the robots are coming for these jobs too, sooner than most people think - see
the "Singularity". We have
time to find appropriate societal responses - AI and robots won't take over the world this year or next - but we need to get started developing the appropriate policies.
Digital technology does not scale employment with output. When a traditional industrial company, such as an automobile company, needs to increase output they need to build more manufacturing plants and
hire large numbers of additional employees. The additional money coming in is shared between the company, suppliers of physical capital, and labor. But when a digital company, such as Google, wishes to offer new services, all they
need to do is to hire a very small number of highly-skilled developers, rent more computer servers, and they can then serve
a massive number of new customers. The new money coming in goes mostly to the company, and some to the few technical people. This is one of the causes of increasing income inquality in technological societies.
I believe that one of the answers to these challenges is a Universal Basic Income (UBI).
There are many different proposals for how to implement a UBI. My current personal preference is for a fixed amount to be given to every person on a regular and ongoing basis. A person is born, and they start
getting checks. This is simple to implement, and allows total public expenditures to be controlled by adjusting the standard UBI payment amount.
UBI payments to higher-wealth individuals won't be very important financially to those individuals, and will be partially clawed-back automatically via income taxes. UBI payments (however small) to lower-income individuals will be
of significant positive impact to those individuals, and won't be heavily taxed due to those individuals' lower tax rate.
UBI payments support the traditional stability-producing family values that societies value. For example, each additional child automatically brings in another ongoing UBI payment.
A UBI of course will be expensive. But all modern societies already implement large-scale transfer payments to needy citizens, and the need to do this will increase with the ongoing increase in income inequality. A UBI
should be part, possibly a major part, of the social safety net, because it meets many of the same needs as the current programs, is simpler to implement, and does not insult the dignity of recipients.
I therefore support the organizations below. Both organizations provide a forum for well-crafted academic-level explanations and justifications for a Basic Income.