Sunday, March 8, 2020

Helping Social Workers Traverse the Ethical Minefields of Innovation and Change: A Technology and Social Work Practice Ethical Framework

Technology is transforming the manner social workers practice, but how do we ethically keep up with these digital innovations and their impact on our work? The profession of social work is rooted in the knowledge and application of an ethical code of conduct. The learning of ethical standards starts with a student’s entrance into a social work program and continues throughout their career. Social workers increase their understanding of ethics through processing dilemmas with the help of their supervisors and through requirements of continuing education for licensing. But how are we evaluating our digital practices?

Many ethical frameworks in social work exist, from general models, such as the ETHIC model by Elaine Congress, to practice specific models of practice. Reamer (2017) writes extensively about ethics with a current focus on the impact of technology on social work practice. Developed with the influence of these ethical models, the Technology and Social Work Practice Ethics Framework aims to provide a method of evaluating the impact/risk aspects of our digital choices in the profession. As social workers practice the active assessment of potential ethical dilemmas with technology, their efficacy with digital social work practice will create a more secure environment for professionals and clients alike. 

 Technology and Social Work Practice Ethics Framework

      1. Identify: Identify the nature of the digital application then behavior or situation needing ethical evaluation.
a.       Identify the use, behavior, situation, or policy of the potential ethical concern
b.       Determine technological platform used
c.       Identify which individuals would be or were impacted

 2. Understand: Explain the purpose of the action related to the digital application, behavior or situation.
a.       Define the intention/appropriateness of use, behavior, or action
b.       Recognize the pros and cons of the digital platform in regards to confidentiality, Evidence Based Practice, security, safety, accuracy, boundary concerns
c.       Evaluate appropriateness of use to intersectional digital perspectives involved (culture, generation, accessibility, language, economic issues, etc.)

      3. Research: Review technology standards, policies, and law, as applicable to the application use, behavior, or situation (agency, professional, State, Federal) to determine relevant areas of concern or breach. Considering these standards, policies, and laws, would colleagues connect these same concerns?
a.       Agency policies – policy and procedures manual, grant/foundation stipulations
b.       Professional Standards – NASW code of ethics, NASW, ASWB, CSWE, CSWA standards for technology in social work practice, APA App Evaluation Model for practice
c.       State Laws – Applicable state laws
d.       Federal Laws – HIPAA, HITECH Act, FERPA, Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, Uniform Code of Military Justice or other applicable legislation.

       4. Assess: Involve needed agency stakeholders and technology experts to consult about the use of application, behavior, or situation. Experts may include technologically literate and ethically informed staff, supervisors, lawyers, board members, and consultants. The assessment includes evaluation of micro and macro systems technology impact/risk. Areas of digital impact and risk include; access, commerce, communication, literacy, etiquette, security, health and wellness, and laws, rights and responsibility (adapted from Riddle, 2015, p. 16-17). Document results, include potentially positive and harmful examples. Internet resources can be used to explore and substantiate impact.
a.       Potential/actual impact on client(s) and their system
b.       Potential/actual impact on staff member(s)
c.       Potential/actual impact on agency

      5. Determination: Determine any actions the agency needs to pursue regarding ethical implications of the digital application, behavior, or situation. Actions may include policy formation, technology adoptions, confidentiality and consent revisions, educational support for staff, disciplinary actions, etc.

           How do you use ethical frameworks in social work practice? When introducing new digital practices in your organization, how do you identify their potential impact or risk with clients? What policies do you have in place to address the evolving nature of digital social work practices?

Elaine P. Congress. (2000). What social workers should know about ethics: Understanding and resolving ethical dilemmas. Advances in Social Work, 1, 1.

Reamer, F. G. (1998). The Evolution of Social Work Ethics. Social Work, 43(6), 488–500.

Reamer, F. G. (2017). Evolving ethical standards in the digital age. Australian Social Work, 70(2), 148–159.

Ribble, M. (2015). Digital citizenship in schools : Nine elements all students should know: Vol. Third edition. ISTE.

Monday, August 19, 2019

UBI+ for the 21st Century from a Social Work Perspective in Response to Andrew Yang’s “Freedom Dividend”

Presidential hopeful, Andrew Yang, suggests a “Freedom Dividend” or UBI stipend. Yang's book “The War on Normal People: The Truth About America's Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future”
outlines the inevitable need for UBI. In general, I agree with Yang's premise, but within his plan for funding, certain issues present themselves, a social worker understands, as problems. The people on welfare programs, food stamps, disability, etc. should not be exempt or recieve a reduction in this dividend. This post provides UBI recommendations enhancing Yang’s proposal for the most vulnerable of our population. I put forward a UBI+ (or Freedom Dividend Plus, if you will) framework shifting our definition of work and the value of individuals.

When welfare reform occurred in Illinois in the 90’s, I participated on one of the seven community task force projects set up to develop a system of “new” welfare strategies involving a collaboration of social service and business leaders, Public Aid, and DCFS. Business men volunteered their time to be part of the solution. Each month I listened to welfare myths propagate through the well-meaning (but impossible) solutions offered by corporate leaders. After a few of these meetings, I decided to provide a corporate briefing of sorts, with a few families actual earning and budget sheets. Each report included the family demographics, access to transportation, child status, daycare needs, other support systems, etc. I will never forget the look on one of their faces when he stated “I don’t understand, it isn’t sustainable to live like this.” Exactly. UBI will be no different if it is developed as a subsidy. A systems approach is the solution to this dilemma.

This UBI+ framework I am proposing is grounded in research and my 25 years of experience working with those either in poverty or struggling to keep above the poverty line. My social work experience includes developing and managing programs to address addiction, homelessness, self-sufficiency, welfare to work, food scarcity, sexual and domestic violence, mental health issues, child abuse, and family resiliency. People not wanting to work if they receive UBI is a myth. The reasons for clients I knew not working ranged from the lack of systems supporting actualization of the American work ethic to varying degrees of mental health issues and traumatic experiences preventing success in traditional work situations. Honestly, I never met a person happy to be on welfare or disability. “Lazy” is a myth people perpetuate from ignorance or the learned behavior of “blaming the victim.”

I attended a conference where the facilitator called the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 
(used by clinicians to diagnose mental illness for insurance companies), the book of the impact of trauma in the United States. Think about how many systems in our society are involved in the reaction of traumatic experiences.

One study, The Adult Childhood Experiences Study (ACES) examines the impact of trauma on individuals. ACES researchers sampled over 17,000 people for their conclusions. While trauma knows no boundaries, complications of poverty and inequity compound the impact of a persons ACES. When we acknowledge our inadequacy in dealing with childhood traumas, we can begin to treat previous trauma and prevent future trauma. A study in Tennessee in 2017 estimated the economic impact of ACES cost the state $5 billion a year. This number only includes direct medical costs and lost work productivity in employee absenteeism. UBI+ is the beginning of significantly decreasing these costs.

Content source: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention

UBI+’s focus is rooted in support for Self-Efficacy based upon the capacity of the person. A segment of our population will always need more structure and services than the average American. Vulnerable and marginalized populations will not automatically experience enriched lives with a $1000 increase in their income each month. This segment’s goal of ‘work’ looks completely different than mainstream society’s definition of work.  (Review my prior post on “The Future of Universal Basic Income from a Social Work Perspective”  for more information on "work" definitions).

UBI+ is rooted in two principles. The first principle is the development of systems supporting the Social Determinants of Health. The Social Determinants of Health areas expand to include researched based programs shown to improve quality of life minimizing costs to society. The second principle is the mandated participation of work programs for those not working over 20 hours a week. Based upon the reduction of traditional work situations due to automation or incapacity, the definition of “work” is expanded to envelope many forms of productive situations in society. Social determinants of health support systems and a redefining of work will start the development of a successful system in the wake of automation and address the need for work options of marginalized populations.

Social Determinants of Health needed to support effectiveness of UBI+

The goal of adding $1,000** of income to support Americans would only be successful with the following systems in place. Social determinants of health provide a map to the key resources needed for all people to flourish. Substantial research (see end of article for supporting research) validates the positive impact on individuals each of these support systems provide. These programs would significantly decrease the prevalence of ACES impacting our youth. Healthier Americans leads to a healthier America physically, emotionally, behaviorally, and economically.

1.       Universal Healthcare
2.       Universal Childcare with Early Childhood Learning programs and sick childcare areas
3.       Adequate food subsidies and programs for lowest 20% of American Households
4.       Quality education for every child
5.       Transportation access developed and subsidized for low income
6.       Affordable housing options or supplements (Enhanced HUD, section 8, subsidized housing) for everyone
7.       Enhanced workforce development and placement programs
8.       Minimum wage $15 plus increase based upon standard of living in the area
9.       Internet accessibility and technology for everyone
10.   Student loans subsidized for those making under 200K a year and working full time
11.   Student loan forgiveness for anyone on disability or working in a nonprofit organization, healthcare, or education

Self-efficacy Work Pursuit Options

Individuals not working must pursue alternative measures for “work.” Some individuals will able to be re-trained, but others may always need alternative forms of work due to their circumstances. This area addresses the issue some will have with giving $1,000** to people who do not “work.” If a person is not enrolled in an alternative non-paid labor, then they do not receive the UBI+ stipend. Alternative work options not only provide needed free services, they increase the self-efficacy and self-esteem of the participants and those who benefit from their "work." 

Definition of Alternative Non-paid Labor examples include:

Volunteering areas specified:
Building homes
Child Sitter
Classroom Assistant
Culturally Specific Needs
Colleges and Universities
Community Gardens
Emergency Situations
Health Care
Military service member/family support general
Military service transition support to new duty station Refugees/Migrants
Social Service Agencies

Certificates to enhance career track
English as a second language teacher
Anti-racism curriculum/certification 
Free Community College with educational supports
              Trade Training and Apprenticeships
High School Diploma
              Post-secondary education
Re-Skilling endeavors
Small Business education, apprenticeship, and development
Volunteer Training

              Support Positions (Self and Others)
Caregiver for someone with a disability or chronic illness
Coordination of support groups/activities
Daycare support person
English as a second language practice companion
English as a second language trainer
Medical treatment requiring leave from a position but does not qualify for disability
Medical leave for a parent with a seriously ill/disabled child
Maternity Leave
Parenting responsibilities for children under school age
              Social buddies for seniors
              Social media trainer
              Tutoring children and adolescents
              Technology training/support
              Translator of language for non-profits
              Mental/Physical/Emotional Programs
Art/performance enhancing communities
Assertive Community Treatment Programs
Community exercise
Day programs for developmental disabilities, mental illness or disability
Emotional Support person
Social Support
Sports participation or coaching unpaid 
Support group facilitator
Treatment for Domestic Violence, Trauma, Substance Abuse or Mental Illness

UBI+ can address the negative impact of automation, ACES, and social inequities to improve our standard of life in an economically feasible manner.   Definitions and guidelines of alternative work situations will need to be developed. New infrastructure will replace or support existing government systems, but the New Deal in the 1930’s or The Affordable Care Act did much of the same. These system changes took decades, the ACA is still being evolved years later, but anything worth doing is worth our time and effort to do right. UBI may or may not be a future manifestation, but social determinants of health and changes in our workforce are a necessity for our future.

If you have any suggestions, resources, or alternatives on the functionality of UBI+, please share.

*Research articles about each Social Determinants of Health area
** $1,000 would a minimum amount, should be based upon area cost of living

Calandrillo, S. P. 1. stevecal@uw. ed., & Halperin, T. (2017). Making the Minimum Wage Work: An Examination of the Economic Impact of the Minimum Wage. Stanford Journal of Law, Business & Finance, 22(2), 147–187. Retrieved from,uid&db=ofm&AN=136555047&site=eds-live

Cavin, A. cavinai@miamioh. ed. (2019). A Right to Housing in the Suburbs: James v. Valtierra and the Campaign against Economic Discrimination. Journal of Urban History, 45(3), 427–451.

Cederbaum, J. A., Ross, A. M., Ruth, B. J., & Keefe, R. H. (2019). Public Health Social Work as a Unifying Framework for Social Work’s Grand Challenges. Social Work, 64(1), 9.

Elias, R. R., Jutte, D. P., & Moore, A. (2019). Exploring consensus across sectors for measuring the social determinants of health. SSM - Population Health, 7, 100395.

Forbes, M. K. 1. miri. forbes@mq. edu. a., Rapee, R. M. ., & Krueger, R. F. . (2019). Opportunities for the prevention of mental disorders by reducing general psychopathology in early childhood. Behaviour Research & Therapy, 119, 103411.

Galvani, A. P., Durham, D. P., Vermund, S. H., & Fitzpatrick, M. C. (2017). California Universal Health Care Bill: an economic stimulus and life-saving proposal. Lancet (London, England), 390(10106), 2012–2014. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(17)32148-7

Gassman, J., Norris-Tirrell, D., & Kofoot, K. (2018). Student Loan Debt and Its Impact on the Nonprofit Sector. Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership, (3), 240. Retrieved from,uid&db=edsgao&AN=edsgcl.550167658&site=eds-live

Hill, H. D., & Romich, J. (2018). How will higher minimum wages affect family life and children’s well‐being? Child Development Perspectives, 12(2), 109–114.

Joo, Y. S., Magnuson, K., Duncan, G. J., Schindler, H. S., Yoshikawa, H., & Ziol-Guest, K. M. (2019). What works in early childhood education programs?: A meta–analysis of preschool enhancement programs. Early Education and Development.

Luckey, K. S. (2018). Affordable for whom? Introducing an improved measure for assessing impacts of transportation decisions on housing affordability for households with limited means. Research in Transportation Business & Management.

Manoli, D. dsmanoli@austin. utexas. ed., & PATEL, A. ankur. patel@treasury. go. (2019). Long-Term Treatment Effects of Job Search Assistance and Training: A Summary of Recent Evidence. AEA Papers & Proceedings, 109, 340–343.

Ortiz, S. E., & Johannes, B. L. (2018). Building the case for housing policy: Understanding public beliefs about housing affordability as a key social determinant of health. SSM - Population Health, 6, 63–71.

Pew Research Center. (2019). Internet and technology fact sheets.

Salon, R. S., Boutot, N., Ozols, K., Keeton, B., & Steveley, J. (2019). New approaches to customized employment: Enhancing cross-system partnerships. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 50(3), 317–323.

Schochet, O. N., & Johnson, A. D. (2019). The Impact of Child Care Subsidies on Mothers’ Education Outcomes. Journal of Family & Economic Issues, 40(3), 367–389.

Zhang, Q., & Kim, H. (2019). American Young Adults’ Debt and Psychological Distress. Journal of Family & Economic Issues, 40(1), 22–35.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The Future of Universal Basic Income from a Social Work Perspective

Researching the future of work is becoming my second career. I am disturbed, hopeful, anxious, and excited about the prospects innovation holds for us as disruptive technology barrels forward. Automation and technology will make millions of careers obsolete in as early as 5-10 years (Muro, Maxim, & Whiton, 2019). If this doesn’t wake us up to needed changes, it should. Economic forums, books, TedTalks, policy websites, articles, social media; the world seems abound with discussion about Universal Basic Income (UBI) as the answer to automation. Over 40% of the public in the United States support such measures. UBI, as described by many business leaders, economists, and thought leaders, will not work, unless the lessons learned from social work become part of the priority.

This series of posts will address UBI from a social work perspective. We first start with fundamental questions: What is work? What will be the nature of work in the future as automation replaces careers?
Then more specific questions: What are the goals of UBI? What would UBI add to society? What happens without UBI? Moving to the next blog post, a UBI+ alternative will be explored.  What would a potential “New Deal” look like in the 21st Century? The last post discusses funding potential and financial implications over different systems supporting the UBI+ plan.

Contrary to belief, American’s work longer hours than any other country. On my work trips to California I often use Uber. Each driver has a different story, but they all work full time in professional position. A dentist, a businessman, an engineer, if these professions need a second income, how many jobs would it take someone in a service profession to live? Most of my life as a social worker I held at least two jobs, and at times up to four. I often ask myself “where is this work ethic getting me? Or us?”

What is Work? Basic Tenants of Work in the United States

Before portions of work became automated, work folded into a life led to survive. The ideal goal of work in the 21st century is fulfillment, but fulfillment in work is a privilege for most. The Puritan work ethic combined with the entrepreneur spirit seeking the opportunities in capitalism and democracy ground our values of what is work.

·       Work is perfunctory
·       Having a career is privilege
·       Working long hours is an expectation
·       Hard work will bring you success and advancement
·       Work includes some type of ability
o   Ability may or may not be transferable
o   Abilities are not equal
·       Work in the United States is seen as an individualistic endeavor, not collectivistic
·       Work creates a value for one’s own life

Most Americans cannot work on the premise of “fulfillment” as a goal for employment. According the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2018) the service industry is the largest segment of our workforce, employing almost 19.5 million Americans. These positions include retail, restaurants, cashiers, customer service, wait staff, and personal care aids. The average monthly income for these jobs can range anywhere from our minimum wage of $7.25 to an average of $23.34 per hour.  Hard work doesn’t always lead to advancement. Just ask the people working 2-3 jobs just to make ends meet or the people in retirement who worked their whole lives and still need part time employment with their social security check. 

Will automation replace most careers?

Automation will almost completely eradicate monotonous and/or assembly line type of work (Muro, Maxim, & Whiton, 2019). Professions will become streamlined. Blue-collar and white-collar jobs will encapsulate. Unfortunately, condensing professions will lead to skilled workers needing alternatives for their careers. Automation will reduce the need for truck drivers, artificial intelligence diagnosing will replace the need for many radiological physicians, and lawyer bots will perform the basic requirements for simple law proceedings. Professions we never thought replaceable by technology will be replaced by Artificially Intelligent machines.

Those who survive within these and other professions will be specialists or innovators. These specialists will be free to explore the complexities of their professions. Their job fulfillment will increase as will the impact on their professions. What will happen to those who do not make the cut in their field or whose jobs are eliminated from automation? The dire predictions of automation and joblessness may not reach cataclysmic levels. Some employment will be mitigated by entrepreneurial pursuits or the employment disruptive technology creates, but there will not be enough opportunities to address the disruption.

UBI as it exists in the present

UBI is not a new concept. In the 1700’s Thomas Paine proposed an equal share of profits for all citizens. Martin Luther King Jr. espoused guaranteed income as a means to alleviate poverty and balance the scales of inequity for all POC. Even the next round of Democratic Presidential hopefuls’ flirt with the notion of developing a system of UBI for Americans. Up to 50% of people under fifty years of age support some form of UBI, but what do we know about it?

According to Stanford’s Basic Income Lab, their UBI’s definition is “give every individual cash on a reoccurring basis, no string’s attached” (I address this will not work in my next blog). UBI is a bare bones approach to solving system inequities, but does it work? Researchers at Stanford’s Basic Income Lab are tracking ten projects in the US to evaluate UBI’s efficacy. The following list includes the ten projects being monitored by Stanford’s Basic Income Lab.

Current U.S. Basic Income Pilots
Implementing organization
Amount and frequency
Design of program
Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation (state-owned)
Ongoing since 1982
All Alaska residents including children
Approx. $1,000-$2,000 / year
Universal base income
North Carolina
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
Ongoing since 1996
All enrolled members of Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
Approx. $3,500-6,000 / 6 months
Universal base income
New York City, NY
New Orleans metropolitan area, LA
Omaha metropolitan area, NE
Twin Cities, MN
University of California, Irvine
Columbia University
New York University
University of Wisconsin-Madison
2017 - 2022
1,000 low-income mothers with newborns
$333 / month for 40 months for treatment mothers
Control group: $20 / month for 40 months
Base income
Santa Monica, CA
City of Santa Monica Housing and Economic Development
Nov 2017 - ongoing
21 low-income elderly, rent-burdened renters (proposed expansion to 300)
Calculated by household using the Basic Needs Subsidy Method, average of $500 / month
Base income
Chicago, IL
Direct Giving Lab
Ongoing since 2017
70 low-income families (proposed expansion to 200)
$100 / month
Base income
Jackson, MS
Springboard To Opportunities
2018 - 2019
16 low-income African-American mothers
$1,000 / month
Basic income
Stockton, CA
Office of Mayor Michael Tubbs, Reinvent South Stockton Coalition, Reinvent Stockton Foundation
Feb 2019 - Jul 2020
100 residents of low-to middle-income neighborhoods
$500 / month
Control group: compensated for participation in study
Universal base income
TBD in 2019
Y Combinator Research
TBD (3-5 yrs)
1,000 residents of low- to middle-income neighborhoods
$1,000 / month
Control group: $50 / month
Universal basic income
Chicago, IL
Chicago Resilient Families Initiative Task Force
Proposed: 1000 families
Proposed: $500 / month
Universal base income
Newark, NJ
Newark Mayor’s Office Exploratory Task Force
Universal: everyone in a given geography is eligible (for pilots, this may be a random selection of residents of low and middle income neighborhoods)
Not universal: targeted to specific groups
Basic income: the amount is approximately sufficient to meet basic needs
Base income: the amount is intended to be a supplement, but not to ensure basic needs
Cash transfers: one-time transfer of cash, rather than regular installments

As yet, completed UBI trials failed to produce positive results increasing work. Finland, Ontario, and even the negative income tax the US used from 1968-1980 did not incentivize work. I propose part of the problem is our definition of work. As we move forward, with automation replacement on our heels, the culture of work needs an overhaul.

Transforming what we tell ourselves about work

Our culture presses work values on children at a young age. “what do you want to be when you grow up?” is a common question encountered by kids throughout childhood. If the answer is not one which will financially support them, an artist, a mom, a social worker, then displeased parents frown upon their child.  “You can’t make a living at that dear, how about something different? Maybe a firefighter? Computer Programmer? Electrician? Lawyer?” Feeling the need to please their parents/community/society, children can base their whole careers on the messages they received about work when growing up. The big message here…Your worth is based upon your work, provide for your family, and your earning capacity.

Automation will continue to replace the tediousness of certain professions, but will also open the door to more fulfilling prospects. People will not stop working to get a stipend of $1000 a month. The middle class will have more time to spend with their children instead of working a second job. The lower the income level, the more services need expansion to support equity in quality of life pursuits. UBI will not work unless we create social supports for people slightly above or below the poverty line.

As automation begins to displace workers, our societal definitions of worth need to adjust if we don’t want to experience an increase in mental illness, specifically depression and anxiety. The shifts occurring in employment will necessitate a redefinition of work. People’s identity and ego strength is wrapped up in their employment (Kozan, Blustein, Paciorek, Kilbury, & Işık, 2019). UBI’s current goal is to stabilize individuals and families to be more productive in their work. The definition of worth can be broadened with inclusion of alternative routes to value in society. A significant part of our population will not be able to retrain, reskill, nor participate in work as it is currently defined.

A change in definition and value of work within the next ten or twenty years seems unattainable. People still argue about aspects of the New Deal from the early 1930’s! Values change can happen if enough systems support change. Examples of rapid cultural change in our recent history are everywhere. Besides the miracle of any information in the world available on your phone, other paradigm shifts continue to occur. We can shop from our couches with food delivery in a day. Computers identify lung tumors in patients more accurately than doctors.  A watch gives people warnings of potential heart attacks.  Cars drive themselves!  

All of these disruptive technologies, altering our culture, accelerated in developed over the past five to ten years. Can you imagine yourself without a smart phone? What would your life be without email? When was the last time you called an airline for a plane ticket? Twenty to twenty-five years ago could you have imagined technology would be such an integral part of your life? The swift change of culture occurred due to the influence of business, marketing, and government, on promoting, consciously and unconsciously, a shift towards a digital future. The reasons may include high profit margins or a drive to innovate, but because of the power behind the effort, technology innovations are accepted by most people as inevitable. The more systems fostering the change, the more individuals will accept the change, as long there is a perception of improvement in their quality of life.

Shifting Cultural Norms - Individualism balanced with collectivistic principles

The future of work is shifting from assembly lines and intellectual positions to responsibilities requiring high level critical thinking, creative solutions, and innovation or the other end of the spectrum, service care positions and personable tasks for which technology cannot replace (Muro, Maxim, & Whiton, 2019). Change in values and norms can progress relatively quickly if there is a consensus of opinion and collaboration towards an objective.

Carew and Stapleton (2013) proposed a systems paradigm shift in technology innovation away from a functionalism approach to an empathic human-centered approach. Sometimes we need to take a step backward to move forward. Innovations in technology, to this point, are void of inclusionary practices. If inventions of disruptive technologies take away large segments of potential employment then plans to rectify this displacement need to be addressed. Innovation benefits the few where this proposal introduces an inclusivity of benefits to all Americans.

Disruptive technologies will impact work, but how successful our society’s transition occurs is dependent on societal buy in of the following ideals:

·       Systemically providing education and promotion for the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (United Nations, 1948 & 2015)
·       Bipartisan support of efforts to improve quality of life for all Americans
·       Innovation structured to be inclusive vs. exclusive of all intersections
·       Needs assessment of automation replacement on Americans, including input from displaced workers
·       Develop a lifelong learning mindset throughout the lifespan
·       Integration of social and psychological intersectionality system mentors in government, businesses, and education for policy and program development
·       Shift work focus to a family focus supported by policy and funding
·       Look to other types of work options (job sharing, working from home, entrepreneurship, etc.)
·       An increase in workplace protections, benefits, and displacement services
·       Broaden definition of work to life work (work which enhances the quality of life for an individual)
·       The cost of basic living expense increases needs to be minimal or frozen for financial equity to build. Rent, utilities, food etc. prices cannot go up to increase capitalistic profit. Our society needs to agree to let people succeed, not continuing the cycle of wealthy increasing their wealth at the cost of the lower classes
·       Equality across states, more government funding depending upon state resources
What happens without UBI?

The Metropolitan Policy Program (2019) published a brief entitled “Automation and Artificial Intelligence: How machines are affecting people and places.” This briefing details where the US is heading in our not too distant future through easy to understand concepts and graphics. I encourage you to read this and contemplate the implications of automation. Most significant, the results provide the automation potential of many industry categories. The statistics are not heartening.

As automation replaces whole segments of job categories, not everyone will be able to be re-skilled. Certain vulnerable populations will be more at risk for poverty and homelessness. The stratification of income levels will increasingly polarize inequities. If our nation lets this continue, we will have consequences. History’s cyclical nature provides a blueprint for what will occur next. Social order is already being disrupted by the instability of political and economic structures governing the “have nots.”

We see the impact of wide spread ignorance in reversal of civil rights decisions through legislation in our poorest, least educated states. When economic growth does not include an equitable distribution of resources, over time, revolutions erupt. The blame game this lack of reasoning creates, is a schism targeting a perceived threat to primarily white Americans living in scarcity of resources. If divisions in social issues continue to ignite and distract the general populous, then we will fail together. False logic with racial overtones will continue to collapse the very foundation of principles America was built upon. Automation without solution is a very real threat to the stability of our democracy.

What now?

If no UBI is not a solution, and the present structure of UBI is not a solution, what is the answer? The next blog, “UBI+ or The New Deal – for the 21st Century from a Social Work Perspective” will provide details to increase the success of a UBI system. I hope you come along for the journey to the future and add your solutions to the mix. 

Bidadanure, J., Kline, S., Moore., Rainwater, B., & Thomas, C. (2018). Basic income in cities: A guide to city experiments and pilot projects. National League of Cities & Stanford Basic Income Lab, Retrieved from

Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2018). Service providing industries. Retrieved from

Carew, P., & Stapleton, L. (2014). Towards empathy: a human-centered analysis of rationality, ethics and praxis in systems development. AI & Society, 29(2), 149. Retrieved from,uid&db=edb&AN=95431143&site=eds-live

Kozan, S., Blustein, D. L., Paciorek, R., Kilbury, E., & Işık, E. (2019). A qualitative investigation of beliefs about work-related crises in the United States. Journal of Counseling Psychology.

Muro, M., Maxim, R., & Whiton, J. (2019). Automation and artificial intelligence: How machines are affecting people and places. Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings. Retrieved from

Piero Dominici. (2018). For an inclusive innovation. Healing the fracture between the human and the technological in the hypercomplex society. European Journal of Futures Research, (1), 1.