SySTEMic problems necessitate policy expansion on basic wages

The world has gotten so ‘skewed’ towards STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) as more and more of everyday life is ruled by these fields. Overall we’re better off – STEM has helped to curb carbon emissions, we just saw the first drug-based therapies for reversing strokes and heart attacks and we’re desalinating enough seawater to supply half of Australia.

We rely on STEM and we want STEM, but as a result many other careers and people are falling by the wayside. STEM jobs and demand for them have outpaced non-STEM jobs by a factor of 2:1. So while we still need some journalists to cover in-depth stories, AI is doing a lot of the bulk reporting nowadays. Needless to say, STEM jobs are also better paid.

Non-STEM jobs are thus harder to come by and it’s much harder to make ends meet than before. As a result, the International Labour Organization (ILO) is lobbying governments across the world to adopt a variation of Switzerland’s blanket approach for Basic Income Grants, arguing that non-STEM workers are the ones at risk.

The implication is that non-STEM salaries would be supplemented (or grants paid out in full) so that a ‘basic, but dignified life’ is possible. ILO chief Max Klink’s final comment, at a press conference in New York yesterday, sums it up:

“It’s simple really; we aren’t all mathematicians, we don’t all enjoy science and it’s not yet possible to rewire the brain and force someone to excel at chemical engineering. Maybe one day, but not yet.” He gave an awkward laugh as he said that, but the audience was silent.

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