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Old 27th November 2019, 10:30 AM   #361
TragicMonkey
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Originally Posted by The Greater Fool View Post
Society decides the metrics.
My society currently defines acceptable living as people get the money they earn, minus taxes, with some small adjustments and welfare for those who can demonstrate need. In other words this society has decided no UBI.

If you want society to change its mind you'll have to do more than just ask it to.
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Old 27th November 2019, 10:31 AM   #362
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Originally Posted by The Greater Fool View Post
Society decides the metrics.

I think so. Too many struggling, destitute people and the UBI ain't high enough. Too many lazy bastards sitting on their backsides living off the UBI, and it's too high.

Find the sweet spot.
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Old 27th November 2019, 10:31 AM   #363
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
If TM deliberately produces less so that he has no surplus to sell then he's not overproducing. It seems the only real loser is himself

If TM produces surplus but sticks it in a store-room or lets it rot rather than selling it, again he's not overproducing and it seems the only real loser is himself.

If TM produces surplus and gives it away for free that's really nice of him and I'm sure the recipients will be very glad to have it on top of the UBI they're getting.

If TM produces surplus and barters it for other goods or services then that has tax implications which I'm sure the tax authorities will be very interested in.

So I'm struggling to see his big "gotcha" in this.
There's no gotcha, Rolfe. Just some observations about the relationship between productivity, wealth, taxes, and UBI.
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Old 27th November 2019, 10:34 AM   #364
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
My society currently defines acceptable living as people get the money they earn, minus taxes, with some small adjustments and welfare for those who can demonstrate need. In other words this society has decided no UBI.

If you want society to change its mind you'll have to do more than just ask it to.

Well, duh, Captain Obvious.

If you want society to get behind a UBI you have to explain how it works and the implications for a wide range of citizens, just as you do if you want to make any substantial change to the tax/benefit system. And then you build support and then a political party which has it in its manifesto gets elected. That's how these things usually work.

We are currently attempting the beginning of this process.
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Old 27th November 2019, 10:35 AM   #365
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
There's no gotcha, Rolfe. Just some observations about the relationship between productivity, wealth, taxes, and UBI.

Which is fair enough, but he was going on about "what if I don't participate?" I can't see any legal way he can avoid participating.
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Old 27th November 2019, 10:37 AM   #366
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
My society currently defines acceptable living as people get the money they earn, minus taxes, with some small adjustments and welfare for those who can demonstrate need. In other words this society has decided no UBI.

If you want society to change its mind you'll have to do more than just ask it to.
Has "your society" eliminated the scenario in which an individual has control over massive amounts of wealth and property that they did not "earn"?
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Old 27th November 2019, 10:38 AM   #367
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
The Protestant work ethic. The labor of thy brow thing. The morality of work.

You can take God out of folks' heads, but it's more difficult to clean out the other nonsensical beliefs and values that are part of the whole God package.

And/Or, of course, it could be a form of I've-worked-my-butt-off-all-my-life-I'm-damned-if-I-facilitate-others-having-an-option-I-myself-never-did. There's a word in German that'd describe this perfectly, only I can't recall it: not schadenfreude, the other one.
That's not what I'm talking about at all.

I'm talking about simple biological facts. A human being needs a certain amount of protein, a certain number of calories, to survive each day. Those things are produced by someone, somewhere, putting in some effort. If you don't put in the effort to acquire calories and protein (and shelter, and a few other vital things), and nobody else puts in the effort on your behalf, you will die.

That's what I'm talking about. We don't need to be as productive as possible. But if some people aren't at least minimally productive, we're all going to die.

So the moral question for you is not, "what does Protestant morality say you should do?"

The moral question for you is, "how productive should you choose to be, in a society that pays a UBI?"

That's not a question that I can answer for you. It's not a question protestantism can answer for you. It's a question you have to answer for yourself. And it's not just a moral question; it's a pragmatic question, too: "How many substantially productive people does society need to depend on, in order to pay a UBI of a certain amount to a population of a certain size?"
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Old 27th November 2019, 10:39 AM   #368
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I guess then if a person doesn't want the UBI plan to become law then they need to vote against candidates who have it on their platform.

If UBI becomes law and they still don't want it then they have to vote for a candidate who has stopping the UBI on their platform.
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Old 27th November 2019, 10:40 AM   #369
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Originally Posted by Distracted1 View Post
Has "your society" eliminated the scenario in which an individual has control over massive amounts of wealth and property that they did not "earn"?
No. It does not appear to be a sufficient concern of society at this time. If it were, it would be doing something about it.
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Old 27th November 2019, 10:41 AM   #370
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
My society currently defines acceptable living as people get the money they earn, minus taxes, with some small adjustments and welfare for those who can demonstrate need. In other words this society has decided no UBI.

If you want society to change its mind you'll have to do more than just ask it to.
I thought that's what was going on in this thread: Discussing the UBI idea and how to get to and deal with a future where people aren't necessary for production.
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Old 27th November 2019, 10:46 AM   #371
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
And? What's controversial in any of that? How is that "not participating"? It's one of the many legitimate ways to interact with a UBI scheme.
For me it's not a question of what's legitimate. It's a question of what's pragmatic. How do we need to interact with a UBI scheme, as a society, in order for it to be net productive? If nobody works, and everybody receives a UBI, then civilization collapses within about three months probably. If some people work, but not enough, then civilization collapses but it takes longer.

How many people need to work, and how much work do they need to do, in order for a UBI scheme to be sustainable? How do we ensure that at least that many people are interested in doing at least that much work?

You can certainly find a lot of people who are willing to work 80 hour weeks, but there's some caveats:

- For most people, that's not sustainable. You'll end up with people who produce 20-30 UBIs per year, for a few years, and then burn out and spend the rest of their life as a net UBI recipient. Does it even out? Maybe.

- A lot of the people with the workaholic temperament are also egotistical and competitive people. They like to keep score. Growing their wealth is a way of keeping score. You might cool off their interest if you don't let them keep the fruits of their labor.

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Old 27th November 2019, 10:47 AM   #372
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Originally Posted by The Greater Fool View Post
I thought that's what was going on in this thread: Discussing the UBI idea and how to get to and deal with a future where people aren't necessary for production.
Okay, then. Perhaps the sales pitch will find more success with other people. As a successful capitalist selling my labor and reaping the rewards of it I must not be the target audience.

I'll wait patiently for human nature to change so the scheme can be implemented. In the meantime I'll keep myself entertained with my riches.
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Old 27th November 2019, 10:51 AM   #373
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
That is not an answer to my question, which was, why does everybody have to be productive? Or as productive as possible?
Sorry, I misunderstood.

Nobody is arguing that everybody needs to be productive, nor as productive as possible.

The argument is that at least some people are going to have to be as productive as necessary to make a UBI scheme sustainable, otherwise it won't work.

I hope you have no questions about that, but if you do, I'll try to answer them as best I can.
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Old 27th November 2019, 10:53 AM   #374
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Originally Posted by The Greater Fool View Post
Society decides the metrics.
I would like to see the proponents of the policy describe how they intend the effects of their policy to be measured. Foisting it off on "society" is a cop-out, that leads me to believe the proposal is not serious, or at least that the proponents have no ******* clue how to make it a serious proposal.
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Old 27th November 2019, 11:03 AM   #375
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Too many lazy bastards sitting on their backsides living off the UBI, and it's too high.
What makes them lazy bastards? Why is it wrong to live off the UBI?

Quote:
Find the sweet spot.
How? If we're not going to do means testing (psionl0), and we're going to do away with the bureaucracy that administers welfare (Elaedith), how the hell are you plan on finding the sweet spot?
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Old 27th November 2019, 11:05 AM   #376
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Okay, then. Perhaps the sales pitch will find more success with other people. As a successful capitalist selling my labor and reaping the rewards of it I must not be the target audience.

I'll wait patiently for human nature to change so the scheme can be implemented. In the meantime I'll keep myself entertained with my riches.
Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I would like to see the proponents of the policy describe how they intend the effects of their policy to be measured. Foisting it off on "society" is a cop-out, that leads me to believe the proposal is not serious, or at least that the proponents have no ******* clue how to make it a serious proposal.
I don't think we are anywhere close to being able to implement a UBI.

I agree we need to see the detailed proposals, perform more tests, evaluate results. Current limited tests seem to yield positive results.

We're moving quickly to a world where humans won't be involved in production and there will be a lot of hungry, frustrated people that won't just sit around and die because there are no jobs they can do.

We need a path from here to there. It may be UBI. It may be something else. All we can do here is discuss the idea, what metrics should be used, what are the goals.
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Old 27th November 2019, 11:06 AM   #377
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Which is fair enough, but he was going on about "what if I don't participate?" I can't see any legal way he can avoid participating.
"Too many lazy bastards sitting on their backsides living off the UBI" seems like a legal way to avoid participating, in the sense that they're choosing to sabotage a system that would actually work if they chose not to be the "too many".
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Old 27th November 2019, 11:08 AM   #378
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Originally Posted by Distracted1 View Post
Has "your society" eliminated the scenario in which an individual has control over massive amounts of wealth and property that they did not "earn"?
This is a meme that comes up a lot. Can you put some detail to it?

Like, there are people who inherit wealth. They didn't earn it, an even those that administer it mostly just delegate that work to people who actually earn their pay by administering it.

There are also people who have been entrusted with vast wealth they did not earn but are paid to administer. In many cases, it's wealth that others have earned.

But this gets sticky, since different people have different ideas of what it means to earn wealth. Is it earning wealth to invest capital wisely, and realize profits from that investment?
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Old 27th November 2019, 11:09 AM   #379
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
- A lot of the people with the workaholic temperament are also egotistical and competitive people. They like to keep score. Growing their wealth is a way of keeping score. You might cool off their interest if you don't let them keep the fruits of their labor.
Who said they cannot keep the fruits of their labor (minus taxes)? UBI is not about restricting people to having only a basic income.
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Old 27th November 2019, 11:09 AM   #380
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
I guess then if a person doesn't want the UBI plan to become law then they need to vote against candidates who have it on their platform.

If UBI becomes law and they still don't want it then they have to vote for a candidate who has stopping the UBI on their platform.
I guess then if a person wants UBI to become law, but they don't think they have the votes, then they need to start making compelling arguments to convince more people to vote for UBI.
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Old 27th November 2019, 11:12 AM   #381
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Originally Posted by The Greater Fool View Post
I thought that's what was going on in this thread: Discussing the UBI idea
Yes, of course.

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and how to get to and deal with a future where people aren't necessary for production.
Hell no. Put that sci-fi utopia speculation crap in some other thread. A post-scarcity society where everything we need and want is automagically produced in a sustainable way without human effort makes UBI irrelevant. It's also ludicrously out of scope for any social policy worth discussing within the time frame global warming has left for us.
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Old 27th November 2019, 11:16 AM   #382
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It really does strike me as futuristic sci-fi. I can see a complete overhaul or overturning of capitalism when we have reached a post-scarcity state and have Star Trek replicators, but not before. Capitalism isn't the nicest system but it has proven to be effective at keeping civilizations running.
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Old 27th November 2019, 11:18 AM   #383
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Originally Posted by Elaedith View Post
Who said they cannot keep the fruits of their labor (minus taxes)? UBI is not about restricting people to having only a basic income.
It's a question of how many people we need to do how much work, in order to make a UBI sustainable.

Rolfe had asked why everybody needs to be productive. The answer is that not everbody has to be productive. As long as enough people are productive enough, the rest of us can sit on our backsides and live off the UBI.

My point is that there are some people who are ridiculously productive*. The question is, are there enough of them, and would depending on them alone be sustainable. If I don't do any work, and you do enough for both of us, and we have a UBI, then you're restricted to having a basic income. So am I, but I got mine for free, from the fruits of your surplus labor.

Now, if you produce three UBIs, and get to keep two of them, that might be a more attractive proposition for you. But is it sustainable? Do you feel obliged to keep producing surplus UBIs for me, even if you'd prefer to work a little less without compromising your own lifestyle? Do you feel guilty for not working a little harder, and producing a fourth UBI for someone else?

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Old 27th November 2019, 11:20 AM   #384
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
It really does strike me as futuristic sci-fi...
Flying cars were mentioned upthread on Page 5.
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Old 27th November 2019, 11:26 AM   #385
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Sorry, I misunderstood.

Nobody is arguing that everybody needs to be productive, nor as productive as possible.

The argument is that at least some people are going to have to be as productive as necessary to make a UBI scheme sustainable, otherwise it won't work.

I hope you have no questions about that, but if you do, I'll try to answer them as best I can.

Yes, yes, yes, you're getting it now. The idea relies on enough people having aspirations beyond basic hand-to-mouth survival, and a desire for a better standard of life than can be achieved by sitting back and doing nothing on the UBI. If that isn't there, the scheme doesn't work.

That's why what Psion keeps saying is so important. Government has to find the sweet spot where two objectives are in balance. Minimum number of destitute or struggling people, combined with sufficient people being prepared to work to get themselves above the breadline. Too many destitute struggling people and you have to try to tweak the system to increase the UBI. Too many people being idle so that there isn't enough productivity and you have to lower the UBI. You have to anyway, because you aren't getting in the tax revenue you need to keep it going.

It's not a system of universal free handouts, it's a change to the tax-benefits system to achieve a number of things it's not achieving at the moment.
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Old 27th November 2019, 11:29 AM   #386
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UBI might increase productivity. Lift a large percentage of people up from the brink of poverty where all they can do is think about where their next meal is going to come from, and some of them might actually decide to do something more worthwhile with their lives. There's your metric.

Why is the expectation that people who don't have to work to meet their basic needs, won't work? Why can't the expectation be that people who aren't forced to do a job that society considers worthless (based on the meagre salary) will go and do something that has more value?
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Old 27th November 2019, 11:30 AM   #387
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
"Too many lazy bastards sitting on their backsides living off the UBI" seems like a legal way to avoid participating, in the sense that they're choosing to sabotage a system that would actually work if they chose not to be the "too many".

The system allows for the possibility that there will be some lazy bastards who don't aspire to a standard of living higher than can be achieved on the UBI alone. Deciding to be one of these people is not sabotaging it.

There are a lot of ways to interact with the system, and most of the criticism is people saying, but what if everybody does that. They won't. The UBI will not be high enough on its own to provide the lifestyle that most people aspire to.
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Old 27th November 2019, 11:32 AM   #388
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
If your employer wants you to take on extra work do you ask for more money in return? If you're making enough money to live comfortably by doing one job do you take up a second job to work additional hours and earn more?

There's a relationship between labor and reward, and that's why most people work. Unless you are a charity-minded trust fund kid who doesn't need to work to live comfortably.
I don't see what any of that has to do with the UBI. If you want more money then you do more work (which should be easier to find if you don't have hoards of unsuitable applicants competing against you). That won't change just because there is a universal BASIC income available.

This is not some communist "each to his ability and each to his needs" utopian ideal.
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Old 27th November 2019, 11:39 AM   #389
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
That's not what I'm talking about at all.

I'm talking about simple biological facts. A human being needs a certain amount of protein, a certain number of calories, to survive each day. Those things are produced by someone, somewhere, putting in some effort. If you don't put in the effort to acquire calories and protein (and shelter, and a few other vital things), and nobody else puts in the effort on your behalf, you will die.

That's what I'm talking about. We don't need to be as productive as possible. But if some people aren't at least minimally productive, we're all going to die.

So the moral question for you is not, "what does Protestant morality say you should do?"

The moral question for you is, "how productive should you choose to be, in a society that pays a UBI?"

And my answer to that is, that's a bogus moral question. It's like asking -- I know you love analogies, so -- it's like asking, the moral question is, how many slaves should you keep; or the moral question is, how many hail marys must you put in if you indulge in blasphemous ungodly talk online?

That's a spurious moral question. It's also begging the question. There's nothing "moral" about working at all.

Where I myself would use the word "moral", when it comes to work, is in not compelling others to work on pain of risk to basic sustenance or of loss of dignity (provided one can afford such a lofty moral stand -- and I think we can indeed afford it today, but obviously that last is open for argument and objective evaluation).


Quote:
... And it's not just a moral question; it's a pragmatic question, too: "How many substantially productive people does society need to depend on, in order to pay a UBI of a certain amount to a population of a certain size?"

And that pragmatic question is perfectly valid. And yes, I guess it can be answered fairly objectively, although no, I don't have that answer, sorry.

While I don't have that answer, I'm pretty sure -- this is just my opinion, and I'm open to being corrected -- just 5 or 10 per cent of people working should be enough for a basic kind of life for all. Surely we're technologically advanced enough for that kind of productivity.

Nor do I think -- again, just my opinion, basis personal observation -- that most people will even want to sit around idling as opposed to adding value to society and, more importantly, adding value to their own lives by earning more than the absolute basic minimum.

So my subjective answer to your question is: probably far fewer than everybody, probably far fewer than most, would be needed to work to ensure sustenance. Probably far larger numbers of people would be available for work, in a UBI scenario, than strictly necessary. We probably no longer need to carry on with the morally repugnant practice of compelling people to work (on pain of loss of dignity, loss of a basic quality of life).

I agree, though, that it would be good to have actual figures and actual research, rather than personal opinion. Afraid I don't, myself, have those numbers.
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Old 27th November 2019, 11:44 AM   #390
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
All I'm asking for is a measurable outcome, and an argument that giving some people stuff they don't deserve is a good way to get this outcome.
I don't know what you mean by a "measurable" outcome. UBI hasn't been implemented on a major scale yet so we don't have any comprehensive data. There have been smaller trials that have been commented on this thread and these have provided encouraging results including an increased work ethic. It has also helped people who deserved to remain destitute but if that is not your concern then we don't need to worry about that.

The potential benefits of transferring from a welfare system to a UBI have already been discussed.

In case you are worried, yes there will be some losers (which I have already discussed). What wage earners gain from the UBI will probably be less than what they lost from eliminating tax free thresholds However, their marginal rates of tax won't change so it won't be an added disincentive to working.

Some welfare recipients may also end up getting less on a UBI than they are currently getting in welfare payments. The bureaucrats that administer these welfare schemes probably won't like being put on UBI instead either.
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Old 27th November 2019, 11:45 AM   #391
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It shoud be a rising tide that lifts all boats.

People who were destitute now have food, warmth and shelter, so are less likely as their numbers increase to get together and storm the mansions of the rich.

People who were struggling with no cash to spare have a bit more cash which they will spend on stuff other people want to sell.

People who were getting on OK get on a bit better because there are more people who want to buy their stuff. So they maybe have a bit more to buy someone else's stuff.

People who were doing really well go on doing really well and maybe again benefit by more people wanting to buy their stuff.

People who were stinking rich remain stinking rich and the threat of their mansion being over-run by an angry mob with pitchforks has receded. Also, they no longer need to worry about charitable donations to combat poverty in their own country. They can get their egoboo sponsoring an opera house or ending poverty in subsaharan Africa or something.
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Old 27th November 2019, 11:46 AM   #392
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
This is a meme that comes up a lot. Can you put some detail to it?

Like, there are people who inherit wealth. They didn't earn it, an even those that administer it mostly just delegate that work to people who actually earn their pay by administering it.

There are also people who have been entrusted with vast wealth they did not earn but are paid to administer. In many cases, it's wealth that others have earned.

But this gets sticky, since different people have different ideas of what it means to earn wealth. Is it earning wealth to invest capital wisely, and realize profits from that investment?
I guess that depends upon how you think one invests "wisely". It seems to me the only concrete metric is the return on the investment, and, by that metric a lottery winner has made a very, very, wise investment.
Has a lottery winner "earned" their wealth?

ETA Do they "deserve" their wealth?

There are a lot of subjective terms being used in this thread.
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Old 27th November 2019, 11:50 AM   #393
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
The system allows for the possibility that there will be some lazy bastards who don't aspire to a standard of living higher than can be achieved on the UBI alone.
There are going to be a lot of those people. Plenty of lazy bastards are going to sit around and do nothing because they get $2000 free every month from UBI.
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Old 27th November 2019, 11:55 AM   #394
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
There are going to be a lot of those people. Plenty of lazy bastards are going to sit around and do nothing because they get $2000 free every month from UBI.
Undoubtedly.
Plenty more energetic bastards are going to find that they now have the ability to do a great deal more with themselves.

https://www.theatlantic.com/business...symbol/518178/
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Old 27th November 2019, 11:56 AM   #395
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
There are going to be a lot of those people. Plenty of lazy bastards are going to sit around and do nothing because they get $2000 free every month from UBI.

If you set it at $2000 that may well be the case. I hadn't noticed anyone suggesting $2000, unless you meant $2000 for a couple.

The whole point, as some of us are getting tired repeating, is to find the level that essentially eliminates destitution while still providing the incentive for people who aspire to something more than absolute breadline existence to continue to work. Possibly part time work, which would take us to the place we were all talking about in the sixties where automation was doing so much for us that we would all have a lot more leisure time.
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Old 27th November 2019, 12:00 PM   #396
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
It really does strike me as futuristic sci-fi. I can see a complete overhaul or overturning of capitalism when we have reached a post-scarcity state and have Star Trek replicators, but not before. Capitalism isn't the nicest system but it has proven to be effective at keeping civilizations running.
I hardly see this as a complete overhaul or overturning of capitalism. If it were, it is strange that some right-wing economists and billionaire entrepreneurs are among supporters.

It's hard to take objections seriously when people keep coming up with things like this.
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Old 27th November 2019, 12:05 PM   #397
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Originally Posted by Elaedith View Post
I hardly see this as a complete overhaul or overturning of capitalism. If it were, it is strange that some right-wing economists and billionaire entrepreneurs are among supporters.

It's hard to take objections seriously when people keep coming up with things like this.
I find it far more strange to base an economy on the notion that there are more people willing to work harder than they have to than there are people willing to cut down their standard of living in exchange for working less.
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Old 27th November 2019, 12:08 PM   #398
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I think we have reached a post-scarcity state in many parts of the world. You only have to go into a supermarket and see what's on offer. Maybe more to the point you could look at their waste bins, and at the wasted produce that might have a small flaw that causes it to be rejected.

Food, warmth and shelter. We should have enough of these to supply to everyone. Where capitalism is failing is that it is not actually supplying them to everyone, and that seems to be motivated by this Calvinist attitude that nobody should get anything they don't deserve and haven't worked their backsides off for. (Except the super-rich and their families of course.)

I see the UBI in part as a rebalancing of that, whereby we only start resenting people for getting something they haven't worked for over and above basic food, warmth and shelter. And I'd put healthcare in there too, because where I am we already did that.
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Old 27th November 2019, 12:09 PM   #399
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
I find it far more strange to base an economy on the notion that there are more people willing to work harder than they have to than there are people willing to cut down their standard of living in exchange for working less.

But that's how it already works, and I don't see your problem occurring.
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Old 27th November 2019, 12:13 PM   #400
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Yes, yes, yes, you're getting it now. The idea relies on enough people having aspirations beyond basic hand-to-mouth survival, and a desire for a better standard of life than can be achieved by sitting back and doing nothing on the UBI. If that isn't there, the scheme doesn't work.
I've been getting it all along. I'm not sure why you had to indulge yourself in a Socratic Reach-Around, just to get to where I've been since the beginning.
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