I believe to find solutions to this question, we need facts-based logic first, as the question is heavily loaded with emotions and political and personal prejudices.
“Welfare state” is a relative term. Well faring compared to what? Compared to the USA of 1850, the modern USA is a welfare state. Which USA would you prefer? Compared to northern Europe today, the US is no welfare state. Yet those countries’ population is happier than the US’ (http://edition.cnn.com/2017/03/20/travel/worlds-happiest-countries-united-nations-2017/)
Two possible directions:
- Try to stop automation, guarantee work and fair work-based income to all
- Continue with automation, find a solution to share production among the people that is less dependent on the (dwindling) jobs
Before, when the first and then the second sector were automated, people could still move to the third. But there’s so far no fourth, now that services are automated as well.
Can we really afford to look down at those that drop out of the work force, while we at the same time continue to automation?
My opinion is that 1. is neither possible nor desirable, while 2. mid- to long-term requires a fundamental change in how society treats work — my hope is that this transition can happen in a controlled, civilized way. History has enough other examples though.