“If you don’t have a job, you are left to die” in the United States, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said over the weekend, The Verge reported on Sunday.
Ocasio-Cortez, speaking at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, made the comments in the context of explaining that “we should not be haunted by” the possibility of automated workers replacing jobs.
“We should be excited by that,” the New York congresswoman said. “But the reason we’re not excited by it is because we live in a society where if you don’t have a job, you are left to die. And that is, at its core, our problem.”
She added that expanded automation could potentially mean “more time educating ourselves, more time creating art, more time investing in and investigating the sciences, more time focused on invention… more time enjoying the world that we live in. Because not all creativity needs to be bonded by wage.”
Ocasio-Cortez did not put forward a specific plan for dealing with automation, but her comments were part of her general message against economic inequality and corporate greed.
“We should be working the least amount we’ve ever worked, if we were actually paid based on how much wealth we were producing,” she said. “But we’re not. We’re paid on how little we’re desperate enough to accept. And then the rest is skimmed off and given to a billionaire.”
Ocasio-Cortez, who describes herself as a democratic socialist, has proposed the Green New Deal resolution, according to The Hill.
The plan aims for zero carbon emissions in a decade and includes a federal jobs guarantee.