Universal Basic Income (UBI) In-coming?

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Universal Basic Income (UBI) In-coming?

Postby Mossling on January 12th, 2018, 9:49 pm 

Money for nothing: is Finland's universal basic income trial too good to be true?
The Guardian, 12 Jan 2018
One year on from its launch, the world remains fascinated by Finland’s groundbreaking universal basic income trial: Europe’s first national, government-backed experiment in giving citizens free cash.

In January 2017, the Nordic nation began paying a random but mandatory sample of 2,000 unemployed people aged 25 to 58 a monthly €560 (£475). There is no obligation either to seek or accept employment during the two years the trial lasts, and any who do take a job will continue to receive the same amount.

With the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and Bernie Sanders all proponents of a universal basic income (UBI) model, Finnish officials and participants have been inundated with media requests from around the globe.
[…]
The idea of UBI had been circulating in left-of-centre political circles in Finland since the 1980s, mainly as a way to combat the economic and social consequences of falling industrial employment by freeing all – from students to the elderly; stay-at-home parents to the unemployed – to make meaningful contributions to society by, for example, volunteering.

Appealing both to the left (who believe it can cut poverty and inequality) and, more recently, to the right (as a possible way to a leaner, less bureaucratic welfare system), UBI looks all the more attractive amid warnings that automation could threaten up to a third of current jobs in the west within 20 years. Other basic income schemes are now being tested from Ontario to rural Kenya, and Glasgow to Barcelona.
[…]
“It was a huge effort to get it over the line,” Turunen said. “The government was determined it must be based on specific legislation – most experiments are not – and that it had to launch in January last year ... It was quite a task.”

The Finnish experiment’s design and objectives mean it should perhaps not really be seen as a full-blown UBI trial at all, cautioned Kanerva: “People think we’re launching universal basic income. We’re not. We’re just trialling one kind of model, with one income level and one target group.”

But as experts around the world increasingly debate how a bold but ill-defined concept might actually work in practice, the Finnish experiment will at least “produce meaningful results – albeit in a limited field,” according to Kanerva. In an area where convictions are often more abundant than facts, “It has forced people to talk specifics.”

This seems an inevitable outcome for the most advanced AI-driven societies of the future.
I'm in favour - it is apparently deeply prosocial, how about you?
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Re: Universal Basic Income (UBI) In-coming?

Postby someguy1 on January 12th, 2018, 10:00 pm 

Why doesn't that cause the price of everything to go up? By giving everyone money you are increasing the money supply without increasing the amount of goods and services that money is chasing. Prices go up.

As an example, say an apartment rents for $1000 per month. There are two people who want the apartment. One can afford the rent, and the other can not afford any rent higher than $900.

Now the government gives them both another $1000. Suddenly there are two bidders for the same apartment. The landlord can increase the rent.

You could not run a system like this for very long without some sort of price controls on goods and services. And that introduces all kinds of other distortions.

What are the responses to this argument?
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Re: Universal Basic Income (UBI) In-coming?

Postby Mossling on January 12th, 2018, 10:31 pm 

someguy1 » January 13th, 2018, 11:00 am wrote:As an example, say an apartment rents for $1000 per month. There are two people who want the apartment. One can afford the rent, and the other can not afford any rent higher than $900.

Now the government gives them both another $1000. Suddenly there are two bidders for the same apartment. The landlord can increase the rent.

You could not run a system like this for very long without some sort of price controls on goods and services. And that introduces all kinds of other distortions.

What are the responses to this argument?

Hi :)
I'd say the competition would stabilise the prices. Just because rich people have money, it doesn't mean they're willing to spend it. If that landlord increases his rents, other landlords with cheaper rents will receive tenants before him. People aren't just going to fritter away their cash because it's free. They'll seek to maximize their gains like anyone would. That article in OP references a guy who was intending to use his UBI to start a business, for example.

I think the situation can be framed more simply by thinking of it like an opportunist hunter-gatherer community working together that 'gets lucky' and the whole community benefits - like examples seen in Greenland where a bunch of guys would go out in a boat, and no matter who harpooned a big old whale, they all hauled it back to the shore, and it got divided up between those hunters' families.

UBI seems to point towards that kind of mentality. The economics works out as far as I can see.
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Re: Universal Basic Income (UBI) In-coming?

Postby BioWizard on January 12th, 2018, 11:03 pm 

someguy1 » 12 Jan 2018 09:00 pm wrote:Why doesn't that cause the price of everything to go up? By giving everyone money you are increasing the money supply without increasing the amount of goods and services that money is chasing. Prices go up.

As an example, say an apartment rents for $1000 per month. There are two people who want the apartment. One can afford the rent, and the other can not afford any rent higher than $900.

Now the government gives them both another $1000. Suddenly there are two bidders for the same apartment. The landlord can increase the rent.

You could not run a system like this for very long without some sort of price controls on goods and services. And that introduces all kinds of other distortions.

What are the responses to this argument?


I don’t follow your argument. Money supply isn’t being increased. Just redistributed so that it’s not entirely concentrated with the ultra rich few who will never be able to spend it, and will just horde it away drying up economic circuits.

From an economic view, this could be beneficial. From a humanistic view, this could be beneficial.
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Re: Universal Basic Income (UBI) In-coming?

Postby someguy1 on January 13th, 2018, 12:05 am 

BioWizard » January 12th, 2018, 9:03 pm wrote:I don’t follow your argument. Money supply isn’t being increased. Just redistributed so that it’s not entirely concentrated with the ultra rich few who will never be able to spend it, and will just horde it away drying up economic circuits.



I'll have to think about that a bit. Not disagreeing at the moment. It seems to me that if you hand out money to people, that has to put upward pressure on prices. But I won't press that argument right now.

Let's do a back of the envelope calculation to see what the numbers look like. You want to take the money from the ultra rich so let's pencil this out.

How much should we give people? If it's a basic income, $1k/month is low. For roundness of numbers let's call it $10k/year. That's not much of an income but it makes the calculations simpler.

There are 300 million people in the US. 300M x $10k = $3 trillion per year.

That's about 100% of the current tax revenue. You would have to double everyone's taxes just to break even.

And frankly there are not enough rich. The rich have lawyers and accountants, and if you close all the loopholes they'll just renounce their citizenship and move somewhere else. There are already record numbers of US citizens doing exactly that in recent years.

3 trillion dollars a year. This idea does not pencil out. You can say ok we won't give money to anyone under 18, and we'll give them less (What, $5k/year? What are they supposed to do with that?) I don't think you can make any adjustments that will help. You either double everyone's taxes, or hit the rich so hard that they leave. Rich people have options and they'll use them.

ps -- Ok that's just the back of my envelope and after all, I'm just one guy with an envelope.

I found this.

"There are over 300 million Americans today. Suppose UBI provided everyone with $10,000 a year. That would cost more than $3 trillion a year — and $30 trillion to $40 trillion over ten years."

They pulled the same numbers out of the air that I did, and got the same result. The rest of the article is well worth reading, as they do a detailed analysis of the likely effect of a UBI on the government's overall finances.

https://www.cbpp.org/poverty-and-opport ... t-occurred

pps -- Ok suppose you say, we will not harm the middle class. We will only soak the billionaires.

Well there are 540 billionaires in the US (I looked it up). If you go out and confiscate one billion dollars from every single billionaire in the country, you will fund about 15% of the revenue you need for UBI. And then you'll be out of billionaires except for a small handful of multibillionaires you can hit up again next year.

You see the problem. Even accounting for multi-billionaires like Bezos and Gates and Buffet, if you confiscated the entire wealth of every billionaire in the country you could only fund your UBI for a few months! And then you'd be out of billionaires and you'd have to start on the millionaires. And after a while you'd just be confiscating every nickel of the working class.

It's just the numbers. They're big. 300 million people, 10k each, three trillion dollars.

ppps -- Ok I looked this up too. The total net worth of all Americans is $84 trillion. So you can run your $3T/year UBI for about 28 years before you have confiscated every nickel of wealth from every single American.

And then when every single American is broke and living on the street ... what then?

UBI sounds good in theory but the numbers don't pencil out.
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Re: Universal Basic Income (UBI) In-coming?

Postby Mossling on January 13th, 2018, 4:26 am 

We discussed this a bit on the robots and AI threads.

If automation replaces 50% of national workforce, who let's say have average productive work day of 8 hours, and the automation works 24/7 , then the automated business owners are getting at least 200% more output than before. Thus, it's no problem for those 'job-destroying' businesses to pay the government a tax that is equivalent of a human workers' daily 8 hour wage, and of course possibly more on top, to fund UBI.

UBI is thus a solution for a society heading towards a 'post-work' existence. The taxes levied from the businesses are actually the equivalent salaries of the jobs lost, and the businesses still profit more anyway.

I think I've seen it referenced somewhere as a 'robot tax'.

Well that's one example of an apparently sustainable source of income for UBI, anyway.
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Re: Universal Basic Income (UBI) In-coming?

Postby Mossling on January 13th, 2018, 4:32 am 

The robot that takes your job should pay taxes, says Bill Gates
Quart, February 17, 2017
Robots are taking human jobs. But Bill Gates believes that governments should tax companies’ use of them, as a way to at least temporarily slow the spread of automation and to fund other types of employment.

Times indeed be a-changin' and it looks like it's going to hit the US the hardest at first because of the deep-rooted aversion to anything that resembles socialism.

Protestant work ethic and poverty are going to be wiped out - arguably the founding conditions of the USA.

It's wake-up time.

There's no arguing against the economic benefits of AI and automation, so it's going to be sink or swim.
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Re: Universal Basic Income (UBI) In-coming?

Postby wolfhnd on January 13th, 2018, 5:57 am 

BioWizard » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:03 am wrote:
someguy1 » 12 Jan 2018 09:00 pm wrote:Why doesn't that cause the price of everything to go up? By giving everyone money you are increasing the money supply without increasing the amount of goods and services that money is chasing. Prices go up.

As an example, say an apartment rents for $1000 per month. There are two people who want the apartment. One can afford the rent, and the other can not afford any rent higher than $900.

Now the government gives them both another $1000. Suddenly there are two bidders for the same apartment. The landlord can increase the rent.

You could not run a system like this for very long without some sort of price controls on goods and services. And that introduces all kinds of other distortions.

What are the responses to this argument?


I don’t follow your argument. Money supply isn’t being increased. Just redistributed so that it’s not entirely concentrated with the ultra rich few who will never be able to spend it, and will just horde it away drying up economic circuits.

From an economic view, this could be beneficial. From a humanistic view, this could be beneficial.


I would simply ask that you consider that in today's world the rich do not hold actually assets so much as electronic ledger entries. You can't redistribute that which doesn't exist. To understand the problem you have to look at how many times more wealth is represented by various derivatives than actually exists.

We are held hostage to the absurd by a fragile banking system that any attempt to reform is likely to cause to crash while at the same time fully aware that it is not just.

I'm also not nearly as optimistic as some that that the disadvantaged are anymore moral than the banksters. Our problems I believe can only be solved by a morality of meritocracy that emphasises the individual. A society is built on the character of it's people. Some level of social security is essential but that security will prove fleeting if the rot is not addressed.
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Re: Universal Basic Income (UBI) In-coming?

Postby Mossling on January 13th, 2018, 6:19 am 

Agreed wolfhnd. That's why prosocial economics needs to demonstrated and practiced from a young age - you fetch the water, I'll fetch the vegetables, BioWizard will get some meat, someguy1 will fetch the seasoning. That makes a much tastier and efficiently-prepared dinner than a person just sitting alone cooking a fish over a fire. We get better nutrition, better digestion, mutual protection, and a whole load of other benefits. When that raw economic superior prosocial truth is tasted, then that's an indoctrination into civil society, and it needs to be championed and celebrated as often as possible. That's why, for example, Confucius emphasised honouring family responsibilities as a foundation to civil society. Teamwork begins in the family home - helping mom with the cooking, and so forth. After that it's just a matter of extrapolating the home team spirit to society as a whole. It's pretty obvious and straight forward in fact - 'many hands make lighter work'. That is what our socially-predisposed super-brains are best at - using prosociality for individual mutual personal benefit. So UBI is apparently in harmony with that natural truth, and we just need to ensure that the economic advantages of team work are apparent enough, often enough, and on all social scales.
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Re: Universal Basic Income (UBI) In-coming?

Postby someguy1 on January 13th, 2018, 12:33 pm 

Mossling » January 13th, 2018, 2:26 am wrote:If automation replaces 50% of national workforce, who let's say have average productive work day of 8 hours, and the automation works 24/7 , then the automated business owners are getting at least 200% more output than before. Thus, it's no problem for those 'job-destroying' businesses to pay the government a tax that is equivalent of a human workers' daily 8 hour wage, and of course possibly more on top, to fund UBI.


Wait, what? Not sure I follow. Each company now produces three times the output. So GM produces 3 times as many cars, McDonalds produces three times as many cups of coffee, Robot Tom Cruise produces three times as many movies, robot me produces three times as many forum posts ... ok.

Where does the money come from to pay for all that? Starbucks could produce three times as many cups of coffee right now. They don't because there's no market. With half the working population unemployed and subsisting on their paltry $10k per year, how do they afford more cars, more coffee, more movies?

In any event, I still don't see how this is paid for. These are the baseline numbers everyone in this thread needs to start with.

* Amount of fed spending per year: $4T.

* Amount of fed incoming tax revenues per year $3T. [I think you see the unsustainable problem here already, but this discussion is not about our bipartisan irresponsible government].

* 300M people, $10k per year = $3T per year cost of UBI.

I'd like to see someone explain with a back of the envelope calculation how they propose to fund the UBI by "soaking the rich." I pointed out that you can confiscate every nickel owned by the 540 American billionaires, strip them down to their underwear and leave them on the street, penniless. At best you'd pull in maybe $1.5T. You could fund your UBI for six months. After that you'd be out of billionaires.

Do people understand this point?
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Re: Universal Basic Income (UBI) In-coming?

Postby BadgerJelly on January 13th, 2018, 12:49 pm 

I think this is a good place to post our predictions about the outcome of this scheme.

I can already see a flaw in the scheme, that being the money will stop. If this was a constant income then you'd likely get people laying around and living relatively hedonistic lives. On the plus side those who have the will could pursue their dreams more readily without the worry of maintaining basic health and shelter.

I would expect those who receive the funds, knowing they will end, will put them to use in order to secure their future. Two years is a good amount of time.
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Re: Universal Basic Income (UBI) In-coming?

Postby wolfhnd on January 13th, 2018, 7:12 pm 

I'm not optimistic enough to support the idea, ever developed nation is now bankrupt with the exception of a few outliers such as Norway and Switzerland. We will be lucky if we are not all selling apples on street corners. Even if by some miracle we make it until robotic production is the norm you still need an organizational structure that will always be subject to collapse.

It is an old persons perspective I know but this time I think it may be right. The social fabric is in tatters and nobody can put it back together.
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Re: Universal Basic Income (UBI) In-coming?

Postby Mossling on January 13th, 2018, 10:42 pm 

someguy1 » January 14th, 2018, 1:33 am wrote:
Mossling » January 13th, 2018, 2:26 am wrote:If automation replaces 50% of national workforce, who let's say have average productive work day of 8 hours, and the automation works 24/7 , then the automated business owners are getting at least 200% more output than before. Thus, it's no problem for those 'job-destroying' businesses to pay the government a tax that is equivalent of a human workers' daily 8 hour wage, and of course possibly more on top, to fund UBI.


Wait, what? Not sure I follow. Each company now produces three times the output. So GM produces 3 times as many cars, McDonalds produces three times as many cups of coffee, Robot Tom Cruise produces three times as many movies, robot me produces three times as many forum posts ... ok.

Haha, I knew someone would say that, and of course some industries will be limited, whilst others will be expandable through automation, and beyond the initial investment in the robots and ongoing maintenance, there will be no other labour costs. Undoubtely the increase in overall profits is going to be significant in the long-term.

In any event, I still don't see how this is paid for. These are the baseline numbers everyone in this thread needs to start with.

* Amount of fed spending per year: $4T.

* Amount of fed incoming tax revenues per year $3T. [I think you see the unsustainable problem here already, but this discussion is not about our bipartisan irresponsible government].

* 300M people, $10k per year = $3T per year cost of UBI.

I'd like to see someone explain with a back of the envelope calculation how they propose to fund the UBI by "soaking the rich." I pointed out that you can confiscate every nickel owned by the 540 American billionaires, strip them down to their underwear and leave them on the street, penniless. At best you'd pull in maybe $1.5T. You could fund your UBI for six months. After that you'd be out of billionaires.

Do people understand this point?

As I said, it's not about the situation now, it's what the situation is becoming.

JOBS ARE DECLINING NOT BECAUSE OF THE STATE, BUT BECAUSE OF AUTOMATION.

Therefore, there are predictions of at least 30% job loss to automation over the next 20 years in the USA. First you need to recognise and accept that truth - just like the horse-pulled cart industry had to accept the motor car. Technology changes the state of play, and the US is at the mercy of such innovation, lest they want to lie prone to other nations who have more advanced systems.

As it happens, recent 'job-robbed' horses in Eastern Europe apparently found their way into British food - mixed in with beef. We are looking at a similar fate for low skilled American 'work horses', albeit human ones, without something like UBI. Motorcars and their engines took away horsepower, now robots are about to take away manpower.

20_Largest_economies_pie_chart.pdf.jpg


So looking at US GDP as 18 Trillion, there's plenty to go around. The safety of being guarded by US military and the privilege of having access to US social environment and industrial infrastructure - arguably a significant part of any US businesses means of production - could come at a higher price for those wishing to exploit those conditions for maximum benefit.

Also UBI tends to be introduced to replace all other benefits payments - such as social security and medicare.

U.S._Federal_Spending_-_FY_2016.svg.png


Income security, Medicare and Medicaid, and Social security, if catered for by UBI would, in a convoluted sense, account for 2.2T of your 3T.

The US has a great GDP per capita nominal score, and the largest economy in the world. There is really no apparent good excuse for UBI not being an option.

Image

global-economy-one-chart.png
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Re: Universal Basic Income (UBI) In-coming?

Postby Mossling on January 13th, 2018, 11:34 pm 

BadgerJelly » January 14th, 2018, 1:49 am wrote:If this was a constant income then you'd likely get people laying around and living relatively hedonistic lives.

The Laziness Myth
Human beings have a deep-seated need to grow and learn throughout their lives. Meaningful work fulfills that basic need to learn and grow. Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers discusses the characteristics of meaningful work: it is complex, it offers autonomy, and there is a relationship between effort and reward.

There have been studies conducted where mentally healthy people were provided with all their basic existential needs and they began looking for things to do - beyond consumption. They began working voluntarily.
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Re: Universal Basic Income (UBI) In-coming?

Postby Mossling on January 13th, 2018, 11:41 pm 

wolfhnd » January 14th, 2018, 8:12 am wrote:The social fabric is in tatters and nobody can put it back together.

Do communities of ants, bees, monkeys, and wolves, actively maintain their societies, or does nature just take care of things?

Sociality isn't a human phenomenon - it belongs to nature - mullticellularity and other forms of symbiosis, for example. Don't worry about it - the same impersonal natural forces that drive your circulation and breathing have got it all figured out.

We didn't evolve sociality, it evolved us.
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Re: Universal Basic Income (UBI) In-coming?

Postby BadgerJelly on January 14th, 2018, 2:07 am 

Moss -

I do think it is a myth too. I think we've been over the issue of people not being able to cope in the labour force due to lack of intelligence and such. What will those people do with their time?

I do believe everyone has the drive to use their time productively in some capacity. There is also the case that people can train themselves to be more contentious and industrious. The main issue is likely to be "mental health" rather than IQ. If the money injection is given then it makes sense to supplement this with support and advice too.

I do think my point is valid enough. People receiving this money will understand it as a short term opportunity to "get their shit together." This may play out negatively or positively toward the rate of employment these 2000 achieve.

Negative impact would be on the panic and expectation to achieve something within this two year period. Positive impact would be the movitation (as I mentioned.) Other factors would include personal situation; family commitments and such. The area they live in, personal skills and state of the job market.

I don't really believe in "laziness" so to speak, and nor do I believe in "discipline." For me it is more about finding an opportunity that resonates with you on a personal level. Without some form of guidance put in place I think the scheme will be relatively ineffective.

Regardless the data from this study will be very interesting to see once its complete.

My prediction is that it won't make any difference to employment rates, but it will perhaps make people feel more comfortable and give them a sense of worth and value ... but then again getting something for nothing is not really something I would consider productive for mental well being - the "shame" factor may overwhelm some people if they fail, and it reminds me a little of the idea of giving prizes to the losers of competitions (something I regard as being deeply amoral for the self-worth of the individuals involved in competitions.) So, I would expect the successful people to be more successful than usual, but the unsuccessful people to be less successful than usual.
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Re: Universal Basic Income (UBI) In-coming?

Postby someguy1 on January 14th, 2018, 2:53 am 

Mossling » January 13th, 2018, 8:42 pm wrote:
Haha, I knew someone would say that, and of course some industries will be limited, whilst others will be expandable through automation, and beyond the initial investment in the robots and ongoing maintenance, there will be no other labour costs. Undoubtely the increase in overall profits is going to be significant in the long-term.


This is precisely the point I dispute. Why would profits go up? You are assuming corporations would make more profits if they could only produce more stuff. But that's not true. Most industries are constrained by demand and not supply. If Starbucks stayed open 24/7 they wouldn't sell any more coffee. If GM made three times as many cars those cars would sit on the dealer lots, unsold. What industries can you think of that would sell a lot more products if they had robot labor?

We could agree to disagree on this point, but my understanding is that the world's demand for stuff is decreasing. That's why oil crashed and has stayed low the last few years (though it's creeping up). The world is in a deflationary trend. Have you seen the utter disaster in US retail lately? Malls are closing down everywhere. And it's not just Amazon doing that.

Mossling » January 13th, 2018, 8:42 pm wrote:
As I said, it's not about the situation now, it's what the situation is becoming.

JOBS ARE DECLINING NOT BECAUSE OF THE STATE, BUT BECAUSE OF AUTOMATION.


Totally disagree with the pervasive fear on this point.

Yes the job market is tough for buggy whip makers but it's great for computer programmers.

Who do you think will design manufacture and program and manage all these robots? With all the data mining (called "AI" but it's really just clever data mining) who will write the code to tease insight out of raw data? Armies of tech workers.

A lot of industries are dying. You would not want to be a manual laborer anywhere in the world right now. There's a global glut of manual labor. But for every job taken by a robot or algorithm, a job or perhaps several jobs will be created in the robot economy.

I don't believe in the robot apocalypse. Of course there will be massive dislocations. It's the way of the world since the industrial revolution. So there won't be cab drivers and truck drivers, but someone has to manufacture all the sensors in the autonomous vehicles. Someone has to write the new laws needed to integrate them into society.

I say the robot age will spark a huge demand for human labor. I say the conventional wisdom is simply wrong.


[quote="Mossling » January 13th, 2018, 8:42 pm"]
Also UBI tends to be introduced to replace all other benefits payments - such as social security and medicare.
/quote]

Now that doesn't pencil out AT ALL. The UBI would have to be way higher than $10k/year to match the average SS and Medicare benefits.

If you tie social spending cuts to the UBI you would hurt more people than you'd help.
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Re: Universal Basic Income (UBI) In-coming?

Postby Mossling on January 14th, 2018, 11:20 am 

Automation replacing jobs, after initial investment costs have been paid off, will mean the company does not have to pay salaries, which will save them money. And wherever demand would normally outstrip supply, then the robots could work 24/7 and the company would cash in. I mean, just look at an Amazon warehouse. When my new mobile phone was delivered within 12 hours of me purchasing it online at 10pm on a Friday night - and not even from Amazon in fact, that's when I began to get a taste of what this future holds. Faster, more efficient delivery of what consumers want, and the less human beings are involved, the more efficient that process gets.

Anyway, let's discuss this further if you like in the AI/Robots replacing jobs thread, because this thread is more about UBI than that topic.

Again, regarding how UBI covers social welfare benefits is something that can be worked out better in the future. IBMs Watson AI system, for example is still on course to replace doctors with even better AI doctors - sourcing advice from a global pool of studies and databases. That kind of thing will cut medical fees considerably.

The US GDP is still $18T, and per capita nominal more than $50000 per person ($15T). Once 30% of low skilled jobs are gone - if such predictions are true - the sociopolitical landscape and traditional Capitalist and taxable profit perspective will seemingly change considerably. UBI will therefore apparently be essential and something suitable will have to be worked out.
Last edited by Mossling on January 14th, 2018, 11:32 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Universal Basic Income (UBI) In-coming?

Postby Braininvat on January 14th, 2018, 11:26 am 

But for every job taken by a robot or algorithm, a job or perhaps several jobs will be created in the robot economy.


This is an assumption we should examine carefully. When people with brooms in the street were replaced by mechanized street sweepers, the overall total of people-hours involved - mechanics, machinists, steel workers - was likely fewer. Automation tends to create efficiencies.

In computing, a team of ten coders working a total of 500 manhours, could create software that replaces thousands of accountants who would have put in millions of manhours. The hours spent in servicing that software would, I suspect, be fewer. Especially in a looming future of AI, where more self diagnostics and such are in play.
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Re: Universal Basic Income (UBI) In-coming?

Postby Mossling on January 14th, 2018, 11:38 am 

Braininvat » January 15th, 2018, 12:26 am wrote:
But for every job taken by a robot or algorithm, a job or perhaps several jobs will be created in the robot economy.


This is an assumption we should examine carefully. When people with brooms in the street were replaced by mechanized street sweepers, the overall total of people-hours involved - mechanics, machinists, steel workers - was likely fewer. Automation tends to create efficiencies.

In computing, a team of ten coders working a total of 500 manhours, could create software that replaces thousands of accountants who would have put in millions of manhours. The hours spent in servicing that software would, I suspect, be fewer. Especially in a looming future of AI, where more self diagnostics and such are in play.

Indeed - isn't that how societies managed to get time to build huge monuments and so forth - more efficient energy procurement strategies like farming?

Once you build your water mill, then you no longer need someone to push, or to tie an animal to push, the grindstone. Is the job of maintaining the water mill as labour-intensive as pushing the grindstone oneself, or even managing the animal that pushes it? Well, if one builds the mill robustly, it seems not.

Engineering insight = wiser solutions = more efficiency = less work for humans.
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Re: Universal Basic Income (UBI) In-coming?

Postby Mossling on June 28th, 2018, 8:50 am 

Benefit or burden? The cities trying out universal basic income
The Guardian, 27 Jun 2018
The basic income model offers double the amount that is standard for welfare in Ontario, and Tom Cooper, director of the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction, says it has already started to yield positive results, with the most important being a “restoration of dignity”.

“People who are participating in the basic income pilot seem to have a renewed sense of hope and are beginning to dream about their futures,” he says. “Personally, I believe basic income will become the preeminent social policy imperative of the 21st century.”

[...]

...Jim Pugh, co-founder of the Universal Income Project, says many studies have shown that very few people receiving basic income drop out of the workforce.

“Some experiments have even found that basic income increases entrepreneurship, which would ultimately lead to more employment down the road,” says Pugh. “The truth is that most people want to contribute to society. If we can provide them with basic financial security, they’ll find a way to do it.”

Next year Stockton in California will become the first US city to guarantee a basic income for some of its poorest residents, with about 100 families to receive US$500 (£377) a month – funded by philanthropic donors – for a 12- to 18-month period.

[...]

“There is no reason why a city or country could not afford to have a basic income for everybody,” says Standing. “In Britain, tax reliefs for the wealthy and corporations come to about £400bn a year – this by itself could be used to pay for a basic income for everybody.

It’s not something that is unaffordable – it’s a matter of priorities.”
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Re: Universal Basic Income (UBI) In-coming?

Postby wolfhnd on June 28th, 2018, 7:01 pm 

At least 20 percent of the population has an IQ that will make it difficult for them to fully participate in a technological economy. That is bad enough but what most people don't realize is that AI will not only effect blue collar workers but mid level white collar workers as well. Low level white collar jobs for people with IQs under 130 such as low level engineers, lawyers, and accountants can be replaced by automation. As far as blue collar workers goes half of their jobs will be gone in the next few decades as transportation and warehouse jobs are lost.

It isn't so much that new jobs will not be created but the transformation of society that is already happening. We can already see a divide between IQ groups. The affluent IQ elite do not work, play or live beside lower IQ groups. The political consequences can be seen in California where the coastal areas push policies that the central area can not afford leaving immigrants to accumulate in Wal-Mart because they can't afford the high cost of electricity for air conditioning.

I can't think of a single successful socialist experiment. The European countries thrown out as examples are welfare states propped up by vibrant capitalism. Their is a reason Germany dominates the EU economically and politically. There is an equally obvious reason why Venezuela is a failed state, no vibrant capitalism to support welfare.

Why socialism keeps failing I don't think is as clear as conservative pundits make it out to be. That said bread and circus didn't go well for Rome so there were warning signs.

With Finland abandoning the experiment in basic income it's time to look for a new solution to a problem our increasingly conservative governments will not even acknowledge. It's also time for the left to acknowledge that the return to more conservative governments is because the "deplorables" were getting a rotten deal under "liberal" governments. Trust me the Hispanics in central California would be in the basket of deplorables if they didn't vote Democrat.

https://nordic.businessinsider.com/Finl ... eriment--/
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Re: Universal Basic Income (UBI) In-coming?

Postby Mossling on June 29th, 2018, 8:40 am 

wolfhnd » June 29th, 2018, 8:01 am wrote:At least 20 percent of the population has an IQ that will make it difficult for them to fully participate in a technological economy.

Lol, this has got to be a joke. Would you care to reference your sources?

And in any case, they could still be 'on standby' should the machines somehow become hacked or corrupted or whatever. They could be considered as 'industrial security' in the same way that some firemen work another job whilst being ready to be called to an emergency.

wolfhnd » June 29th, 2018, 8:01 am wrote:I can't think of a single successful socialist experiment.

Does your family share a bathroom? A kitchen? How have these kinds of situations ever continued for so long - even when a bunch of room mates live together - does one person just decide it belongs to them somehow? hmmmm (sarcasm alert ;P). Socialism has been around ever since the dawn of civilisation, and yet so has capitalism, apparently.

The European countries thrown out as examples are welfare states propped up by vibrant capitalism.

But the jobs are being taken by capitalism - it is capitalism that is forcing this social situation to occur. It's not like replacing jobs with automation and AI is a socialist agenda - it makes good business sense.

The fact that organisms work together for a gain in benefits that they could not otherwise obtain when working alone means that a civil society only ever appears when there is a socialist agreement of sorts - to share the increased gains of cooperative efforts in a way which is deemed satisfactory enough (significantly higher than if operating alone). Cooperation IS socialism, therefore, and the opposite is competition - capitalism.

Capitalism is inherently antisocial in the way that it requires individuals to stake their claim to the means of production - be it an apple tree or a fresh water spring. By what natural law does a person stumbling across a tree or a spring make them the 'owner'? The native american indians probably stumbled across much of the resources claimed by european immigrants, but that likelihood wasn't respected often at all - even when formal claims were made by the natives. No, capitalism is what exists when civil societies DON'T exist, and so socialism is the beginning of civility. That is not to say that it is easily put in place and maintained, however.

I see the progression towards UBI as a natural and wholesome process in this respect, though - giving every enthusiastic member of the cooperative (society) a chance to physically exist - a basic platform upon which they can build their dreams and offer much more to their community.
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Re: Universal Basic Income (UBI) In-coming?

Postby wolfhnd on June 29th, 2018, 6:26 pm 

Capitalism is about the voluntary exchange of value. Socialism is by definition the use of force by a central authority. I'm not against the use of force to establish order but it should be minimal.

I'm not against UBI as a replacement for welfare but I look at existing welfare programs and see not an increase in social cohesion but the opposite.
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Re: Universal Basic Income (UBI) In-coming?

Postby Serpent on June 29th, 2018, 11:02 pm 

wolfhnd » June 29th, 2018, 5:26 pm wrote:Capitalism is about the voluntary exchange of value. Socialism is by definition the use of force by a central authority.

Afaics, both of these statements require careful fact-checking.

How voluntary is the exchange between a boss and his employees? Or the exchange between a national grocery chain and a customer? Or a landlord and a tenant? Or a giant bank and a homeowner in need of a mortgage?
In theory, both signatories to a contract have the same degree of freedom to enter into that contract; in theory, the purchasers determine the price of goods... But how often does that theory hold true?

Does the state not intrude in the balance of power by making property laws, labour laws, contract laws, business regulation, tariffs, income and tax levies and exemptions; rules regarding inheritance, social insurance contributions, interest rates, subsidies, the movement of money inside and outside its borders? When you're "too big to fail", you walk off with an awful lot more tax money than if you're too small to succeed. Central authority is very much present in capitalist society, and invests a good deal of its resources in overseeing the movement and insuring the safety of money.

Who defined socialism as "the use of force by a central authority" and why didn't the definition include the purpose for which that force is used? Because all governments use force, just as all army officers, police, mafia bosses, cartels and high school principals use force. To what end? is a salient question.
Should a democratically elected government not enforce rules of conduct, and commerce, and social interaction that citizens vote for?
Yes, that is "dictatorship of the majority", but when you choose a democratic form of government, you opt for that, over dictatorship of a minority, or an oligarchy or a monarch.

I'm not against the use of force to establish order but it should be minimal.

How much force a government needs to use depends on how many of its citizens agree with its policies. Or how well its policies agree with what most of its citizens want.
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Re: Universal Basic Income (UBI) In-coming?

Postby wolfhnd on June 30th, 2018, 1:14 am 

Serpent » Sat Jun 30, 2018 3:02 am wrote:
wolfhnd » June 29th, 2018, 5:26 pm wrote:Capitalism is about the voluntary exchange of value. Socialism is by definition the use of force by a central authority.

Afaics, both of these statements require careful fact-checking.

How voluntary is the exchange between a boss and his employees? Or the exchange between a national grocery chain and a customer? Or a landlord and a tenant? Or a giant bank and a homeowner in need of a mortgage?
In theory, both signatories to a contract have the same degree of freedom to enter into that contract; in theory, the purchasers determine the price of goods... But how often does that theory hold true?


Many factors determine the price of goods, demand, scarcity, resources, taxes, regulations, affluence, etc. If the consumer refuses to pay more than those costs the product will disappear and future development impossible. The situation is complicated by the fact that value is seldom rational and highly abstract. History has proven that the complexity exceeds the logistical competency of bureaucracies

Does the state not intrude in the balance of power by making property laws, labour laws, contract laws, business regulation, tariffs, income and tax levies and exemptions; rules regarding inheritance, social insurance contributions, interest rates, subsidies, the movement of money inside and outside its borders? When you're "too big to fail", you walk off with an awful lot more tax money than if you're too small to succeed. Central authority is very much present in capitalist society, and invests a good deal of its resources in overseeing the movement and insuring the safety of money.


I don't think we need to argue about the need for regulation. I think we can agree that how much and what kind exceeds the scope of our discussion. Again I would simple assert that there are no examples of centralized planning that have meet the material expectations of a society as well as capitalism. There is a need to discuss unfettered consumerism but that is a separate issue.

Who defined socialism as "the use of force by a central authority" and why didn't the definition include the purpose for which that force is used? Because all governments use force, just as all army officers, police, mafia bosses, cartels and high school principals use force. To what end? is a salient question.
Should a democratically elected government not enforce rules of conduct, and commerce, and social interaction that citizens vote for?
Yes, that is "dictatorship of the majority", but when you choose a democratic form of government, you opt for that, over dictatorship of a minority, or an oligarchy or a monarch.


All socialist experiments have lead to authoritarian governments. The EU is currently headed in that direction with every increasing restrictions not only on commerce but on thought itself by way of interference in free speech. Unelected bureaucrats determining every aspect of your life is not a utopia.

I'm not against the use of force to establish order but it should be minimal.


How much force a government needs to use depends on how many of its citizens agree with its policies. Or how well its policies agree with what most of its citizens want.


You talk about the tyranny of the majority in a democracy but that problem has been partially solve by a bill of rights, separate judiciary, republican representation, electoral colleges, limits on federal authority and local representation. What you have not consider is the freedom to vote with your voluntary exchanges. Highly regulated economies remove this element of democracy.

You can imagine better systems than liberal, capitalist democracies but so far there are no examples. Keep in mind that by disposition I'm an authoritarian who wants to regulate every aspect of life. I have a plan in my own life for what I'm going to do in ten minutes, tomorrow, next year and in ten years. Being married means those plans are subject to negotiation on a non compulsory basis. That is what is meant by voluntary exchange and no other system but tyranny is possible.
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Re: Universal Basic Income (UBI) In-coming?

Postby Serpent on June 30th, 2018, 1:29 am 

I didn't say your statements were false, but I do maintain that they are incomplete and don't take all factors into consideration.

For example, it's easy to say "If the consumer refuses to pay more than those costs", but not so easy for the consumer to say: "I'd rather watch my children starve", which, in real life, is very often the only alternative. There is an imbalance of power in most relationships. In capitalist societies, that balance has a wide range of potential inequality, ranging from a sophisticated industrial one with lots of irreplaceable skilled workers who have a choice of employment and competition among purveyors of goods, to the mining town where the sole employer is also the landlord, banker, law-enforcement and only source of the necessities.
In both cases, there is a government in the background, regulating -- on behalf of whichever participant in the transaction has more political sway.

Production and distribution can be organized in several different ways, and governance can have several different basic principles of operation. It's not an either-or proposition.
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Re: Universal Basic Income (UBI) In-coming?

Postby wolfhnd on June 30th, 2018, 1:43 am 

Serpent » Sat Jun 30, 2018 5:29 am wrote:I didn't say your statements were false, but I do maintain that they are incomplete and don't take all factors into consideration.

For example, it's easy to say "If the consumer refuses to pay more than those costs", but not so easy for the consumer to say: "I'd rather watch my children starve", which, in real life, is very often the only alternative. There is an imbalance of power in most relationships. In capitalist societies, that balance has a wide range of potential inequality, ranging from a sophisticated industrial one with lots of irreplaceable skilled workers who have a choice of employment and competition among purveyors of goods, to the mining town where the sole employer is also the landlord, banker, law-enforcement and only source of the necessities.
In both cases, there is a government in the background, regulating -- on behalf of whichever participant in the transaction has more political sway.

Production and distribution can be organized in several different ways, and governance can have several different basic principles of operation. It's not an either-or proposition.


These things are so incredibly complicated that I think it is easier to have a discussion about a low resolution grand narrative or morality. A moral and free population solves most of the issue. That is the meaning behind a government that governs least governs best.
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Re: Universal Basic Income (UBI) In-coming?

Postby Mossling on June 30th, 2018, 1:55 am 

wolfhnd » June 30th, 2018, 7:26 am wrote:I'm not against UBI as a replacement for welfare but I look at existing welfare programs and see not an increase in social cohesion but the opposite.

A key word in the positive reports of UBI trials is "dignity", however - welfare receipt tends to be stigmatised and framed as a parasitic condition. If everyone received existential basics as a kind of social benefit - just like lights on the streets, green areas, and so on, then perhaps the social cohesion issues you speak of might not manifest?
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Re: Universal Basic Income (UBI) In-coming?

Postby wolfhnd on June 30th, 2018, 2:18 am 

Mossling » Sat Jun 30, 2018 5:55 am wrote:
wolfhnd » June 30th, 2018, 7:26 am wrote:I'm not against UBI as a replacement for welfare but I look at existing welfare programs and see not an increase in social cohesion but the opposite.

A key word in the positive reports of UBI trials is "dignity", however - welfare receipt tends to be stigmatised and framed as a parasitic condition. If everyone received existential basics as a kind of social benefit - just like lights on the streets, green areas, and so on, then perhaps the social cohesion issues you speak of might not manifest?


If you were representative of the population then UBI might work.

Earlier you rejected the idea that 20 percent of the population, or those with an IQ under 90, will be unable to find meaningful employment in the near future. I suspect that is because the tabula rasa idea has great appeal to people high in trait openness. While there is good reason to reject biological determinism there is good reason to not set your hopes to high. The truth as I see it is that the majority of people will only find dignity through socially meaningful work and for most that means fairly menial work. The IQ devide is something the left and right cannot abide. The right's argument of laziness is as unreasonable as the left's argument of oppression.

Absolute poverty is well on it's way to bring resolved under the current system it's time to start focusing more on spiritual poverty.
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