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Old 26th November 2019, 11:51 AM   #281
Rolfe
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I think Rab C Nesbitt was ahead of his time. The famously idle resident philosopher of Govan. Back then unemployment benefit wasn't too bad and you weren't forced to spend 30 hours a week looking for work or have your income stopped. He just sat back and lived on it.

He said, the way he saw it, there wasn't enough work to go round so somebody had to be idle. And why shouldn't he volunteer for that, because he liked it.

There isn't enough work to go round. Some people will continue to do it, and they'll have more money than the ones who don't. But for the ones who want to be idle and are prepared to exist on a small income to do that, well society probably needs people to do that anyway.
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Old 26th November 2019, 12:06 PM   #282
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Originally Posted by NewtonTrino View Post
A couple living in an RV getting $2k per month? Seems like that could easily work out and they could travel around the country seeking fun and opportunity.
How much is the RV Park charging for an overnight space now that UBI has been enacted?
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Old 26th November 2019, 12:08 PM   #283
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
How much is the RV Park charging for an overnight space now that UBI has been enacted?
Probably depends on where you are. But any decent RV is good for being off the grid with the occasional fuel/water top up.

Around here you can just park on the city streets btw. There are also stores that let RVs use their parking lots for free. Overall I'm not sure it's much of an issue.
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Old 26th November 2019, 12:19 PM   #284
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I think Rab C Nesbitt was ahead of his time. The famously idle resident philosopher of Govan. Back then unemployment benefit wasn't too bad and you weren't forced to spend 30 hours a week looking for work or have your income stopped. He just sat back and lived on it.
And before him there was "Shelley" with Huwell Bennett.

Of course that period of more generous benefits without the same degree of micromanagement, and other 'safety nets' like social housing gave us a massive increase of working class people in the arts, punk, alternative comedy, thousands of small businesses and some big ones like Amstrad. A safety net lets people take chances and having a source of subsistance income lets them eat while they try to make it work.
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Old 26th November 2019, 12:21 PM   #285
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probably going to be a bot tax at some point. However to contradict myself. If you incorporate a bot it will then legally be a person able to contribute whatever earnings it has to the person most likely to give them the vote. I am not ********ting
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Old 26th November 2019, 12:29 PM   #286
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I think Rab C Nesbitt was ahead of his time. The famously idle resident philosopher of Govan. Back then unemployment benefit wasn't too bad and you weren't forced to spend 30 hours a week looking for work or have your income stopped. He just sat back and lived on it.

He said, the way he saw it, there wasn't enough work to go round so somebody had to be idle. And why shouldn't he volunteer for that, because he liked it.

There isn't enough work to go round. Some people will continue to do it, and they'll have more money than the ones who don't. But for the ones who want to be idle and are prepared to exist on a small income to do that, well society probably needs people to do that anyway.
I think UBI would also help to share around the work available as it would be worthwhile working part-time. Bertrand Russell discussed this in the 1932 essay 'In praise of idleness' .

Quote:
This is the morality of the Slave State, applied in circumstances totally unlike those in which it arose. No wonder the result has been disastrous. Let us take an illustration. Suppose that, at a given moment, a certain number of people are engaged in the manufacture of pins. They make as many pins as the world needs, working (say) eight hours a day. Someone makes an invention by which the same number of men can make twice as many pins: pins are already so cheap that hardly any more will be bought at a lower price. In a sensible world, everybody concerned in the manufacturing of pins would take to working four hours instead of eight, and everything else would go on as before. But in the actual world this would be thought demoralizing. The men still work eight hours, there are too many pins, some employers go bankrupt, and half the men previously concerned in making pins are thrown out of work. There is, in the end, just as much leisure as on the other plan, but half the men are totally idle while half are still overworked. In this way, it is insured that the unavoidable leisure shall cause misery all round instead of being a universal source of happiness. Can anything more insane be imagined?
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Old 26th November 2019, 12:41 PM   #287
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
That's what I was leading to. Rental properties could jack up their rents to the extent that needy UBI recipients are right back where they started. The very poor UBI people still can't pay for housing and food even when getting a free $1500 every month.
But people will be able to uproot and move at any time, a whole family could move and not worry about starving, and so on. This would remove many of the pressures that force people to accept sub optimal living environments.
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Old 26th November 2019, 12:42 PM   #288
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Originally Posted by NewtonTrino View Post
Even more reason to move out to middle america and buy an old farm. Why would anyone choose to live in an expensive area when they no longer have to work to generate an income?
Because they may want a new 100 inch holographic qledoldelcd TV.
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Old 26th November 2019, 12:50 PM   #289
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Because they may want a new 100 inch holographic qledoldelcd TV.
I think that's achievable with the plan I put forward.

Also electronics are cheap and just getting cheaper and cheaper every year. I literally have a spare 1080p projector that I'm sending to a buddy for free that looks great at 100 inches.

True luxury goods would be harder to attain, like my Ferrari ain't happening on a basic income. But realistically a gold rolex and a $2 digital watch do the same thing, but the $2 digital keeps better time.
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Old 26th November 2019, 12:51 PM   #290
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Or because they really really want to live in a luxurious house in a pleasant area. Lots of people do.
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Old 26th November 2019, 12:58 PM   #291
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Or because they really really want to live in a luxurious house in a pleasant area. Lots of people do.
Sure, but at the cost of having to work.

I see this process as being more dynamic anyway. But a lot of people if given the opportunity I think would seek out alternatives to the 9 to 5 crap they deal with. Who knows though, it's all theoretical and hard to predict.

Maybe housing in cities will get cheaper if a bunch of people choose to leave. Maybe I'm just really lazy and most people aren't, I dunno.
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Old 26th November 2019, 12:58 PM   #292
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My second son was made redundant a few years ago and came back to live with me for a while. He did sit on his backside playing videogames for about eight months, but then he got bored of it. He wanted to have money for extras, to live independently again, to have things to talk about that weren't what he saw on his screens, and to get his self-respect back. Now he moans that working and looking after his own place cuts into his gaming, but he's not serious and there is no way he wants to go back to unemployment.

I think there may well be some people who are content to live on their UBI for extended periods but most people will want to do something to earn extra money and to have a better life. UBI which doesn't need to be reapplied for every time someone manages a few extra hours on their zero hours contract would remove a lot of barriers that unemployed people find in trying to get work.

Being disabled does cost additional money just to live and I suspect that any UBI would need to be tweaked - perhaps with an additional sum - for those who have no chance of ever returning to work. I think in the UK this could be easily done by wrapping the severe disability premium of Employment Support Allowance into the Personal Independent Payment.
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Old 26th November 2019, 12:59 PM   #293
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Originally Posted by Agatha View Post
Being disabled does cost additional money just to live and I suspect that any UBI would need to be tweaked - perhaps with an additional sum - for those who have no chance of ever returning to work. I think in the UK this could be easily done by wrapping the severe disability premium of Employment Support Allowance into the Personal Independent Payment.
Yeah I don't think this solves the problem for disabled people at all. It's simply not enough income for someone that has the additional expenses of being disabled.
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Old 26th November 2019, 01:13 PM   #294
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You'd end up with a glut of unskilled and semi-skilled day laborers. How many of those does the economy actually need? How many can it actually support?
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Old 26th November 2019, 01:30 PM   #295
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Also, how many multi-billionaires does the economy need? And how many of them can it actually support?
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Old 26th November 2019, 02:08 PM   #296
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
For years I lived in an area with a high volume of military present. The basic housing allowance at the time was $500 a month. So all the rental properties started at $500 a month at the very lowest, because all the landlords knew they could always find lots of people able to pay at least that. Anybody who couldn't afford that, not being in the military, had to either live way out in the country or get a lot of roommates.

If everybody gets the same amount of extra money, prices will go up. Not just because the money's there and everyone selling something knows it, but also because the seller themselves gets that extra money and therefore isn't needing to cut their prices to encourage sales. A starving artist may sell a work for a hundred bucks. A comfortable artist who already has a hundred bucks might decide to sell it for a thousand.

I think the whole concept of a rising tide lifting all the boats is too simplistic to work here.
There is no separate component for rent on UBI so there is no guaranteed amount people have available for rent. Most current welfare systems already have a separate component for housing (housing benefit/rental assistance). Replacing this with one flat payment would be less likely to cause increased rents as far as I can see, because the amount spent on rent is not ringfenced and spending more on rent leaves less for everything else.

The idea is not for everyone to have extra money. For those currently on benefits, UBI would replace benefits. For low income earners, UBI would replace tax-free thresholds and any supplementary benefits lower earners can claim. For higher income earners, UBI would replace tax-free thresholds and bring down the point at which earnings qualify for higher tax rates.
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Old 26th November 2019, 03:55 PM   #297
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Originally Posted by NewtonTrino View Post
In my scenario nobody works, so no problem there.

I'm pretty sure they still have hospitals in Kansas.
If nobody works then where will the money for UBI come from?

And if you think rural America has access to good hospitals...well, it'd be funny if it weren't such a ridiculous tragedy. Access to, and quality of, care is a serious crisis.
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Old 26th November 2019, 04:15 PM   #298
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These threads always keep coming back to the assumption that too many people would simply quit work, and then the entire thing would collapse. Psion (I think) made the point a couple of times earlier that the test of whether the UBI is set at the right level is that it doesn't tempt too many people to sit back and do nothing.

That's an advantage of introducing it gradually, with incremental increases to allow the economy to adjust. The effect of the changing level can be monitored and a better estimate made of how high is too high in terms of incentive to keep working.
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Old 26th November 2019, 04:27 PM   #299
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What would be the gradual introduction? National lottery? One state after another alphabetically? Darts thrown at a map?
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Old 26th November 2019, 04:37 PM   #300
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Oh, I don't know. Think about it.
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Old 26th November 2019, 04:43 PM   #301
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What do the UBI gurus say about how to gradually introduce?
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Old 26th November 2019, 05:36 PM   #302
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Originally Posted by NewtonTrino View Post
I'm highly skeptical about that but it's also a completely different topic is it not?
It's related. UBI is proposed as a solution to the workforce problem. But you're right, this thread is not about the workforce problem itself.

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
The US has a population of 327.2 million. In your scenario, the government has to come up with $3.272 trillion in UBI payments. Every month. If nobody is working in your scenario, where is the government getting all that surplus wealth from? What's producing it?
A good chunk of it comes from the complete elimination of all other forms of welfare. How much does welfare cost the US today? But yes, at some point you're probably going to have to consider some form of wealth tax.
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Old 26th November 2019, 05:40 PM   #303
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
What do the UBI gurus say about how to gradually introduce?
Stop feigning ignorance. This isn't rocket science.

We can figure out how much money the government would gain if tax free thresholds were eliminated. We can figure out how much money the government would gain if welfare payments were reduced by the UBI. So we know how much money we would have to distribute.

A UBI based on that alone would not be very high but it would fall under the category of "gradual introduction". We would have to increase taxes to increase this introductory UBI and that will take time.
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Old 26th November 2019, 05:40 PM   #304
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
The US has a population of 327.2 million. In your scenario, the government has to come up with $3.272 trillion in UBI payments. Every month. If nobody is working in your scenario, where is the government getting all that surplus wealth from? What's producing it?



(Also, if nobody is working, then what does everyone need all this money for?)


That would be $327.2 billion per month which works out to about $3.29 trillion per year. When you consider that the Federal budget is about $4.75 trillion per year, that’s a pretty staggering number.

Even if we eliminated the SNAP, TANF, and Housing budgets entirely it wouldn’t be enough to cover this. Obviously, taxes will have to go up. How would that look?
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Old 26th November 2019, 06:51 PM   #305
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
For years I lived in an area with a high volume of military present. The basic housing allowance at the time was $500 a month. So all the rental properties started at $500 a month at the very lowest, because all the landlords knew they could always find lots of people able to pay at least that. Anybody who couldn't afford that, not being in the military, had to either live way out in the country or get a lot of roommates.

If everybody gets the same amount of extra money, prices will go up. Not just because the money's there and everyone selling something knows it, but also because the seller themselves gets that extra money and therefore isn't needing to cut their prices to encourage sales. A starving artist may sell a work for a hundred bucks. A comfortable artist who already has a hundred bucks might decide to sell it for a thousand.

I think the whole concept of a rising tide lifting all the boats is too simplistic to work here.
Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
That's what I was leading to. Rental properties could jack up their rents to the extent that needy UBI recipients are right back where they started. The very poor UBI people still can't pay for housing and food even when getting a free $1500 every month.
Except that this scenario is different from a UBI in one major way: fungibility. The base personnel receiving this housing allowance couldn't try to find a cheaper apartment and spend the extra on a better internet service. This money was forced to be spent on housing. With this effect, pricing your apartment for rent at $400 would attract exactly the same number of base personnel as pricing it at $500, so there was no incentive to lower the price. You find a $400 apartment, you have $0 extra to spend on something else.

But imagine if the base personnel could pocket the difference if they found a cheaper apartment. Suddenly, the landlord pricing at $400 can attract more interested renters, possibly achieving a higher profit if enough more interest was generated. UBI is this scenario: it is fully fungible, no string attached, no limits on what you are allowed to spend it on. You find a $400 apartment, and you have $100 to spend on something else.

(This, of course, assumes there is enough rental housing for a market to actually function. Rental housing is a bit of an odd market, with supply tending to lag behind demand by several months, if not years, due to funding and building times.)
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Old 26th November 2019, 06:55 PM   #306
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
For years I lived in an area with a high volume of military present. The basic housing allowance at the time was $500 a month. So all the rental properties started at $500 a month at the very lowest, because all the landlords knew they could always find lots of people able to pay at least that. Anybody who couldn't afford that, not being in the military, had to either live way out in the country or get a lot of roommates.

If everybody gets the same amount of extra money, prices will go up. Not just because the money's there and everyone selling something knows it, but also because the seller themselves gets that extra money and therefore isn't needing to cut their prices to encourage sales. A starving artist may sell a work for a hundred bucks. A comfortable artist who already has a hundred bucks might decide to sell it for a thousand.

I think the whole concept of a rising tide lifting all the boats is too simplistic to work here.

Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
That's what I was leading to. Rental properties could jack up their rents to the extent that needy UBI recipients are right back where they started. The very poor UBI people still can't pay for housing and food even when getting a free $1500 every month.

(a) But that there's $500 earmarked for rent, so the recipients have zero incentive to keep rentals below the floor. Surely the difference with a UBI -- or for that matter a salary with nothing set aside for specifics -- is obvious?

(b) Any objections of this nature can be dealt with by simply substituting 'UBI' in your argument with 'salary' or 'income from own business' or 'interest from money saved' or 'income from inheritence'. The fact that this is UBI makes no difference, really.

(c) Like I'd said upthread, specific instances of gaming and excessive profiteering can be dealt with by regulatory authorities.

(d) If specific geographies were to get more expensive due to organic reasons, why then surely the obvious solution would be for people to move? (That, and the regulatory thing, above.)
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Old 26th November 2019, 07:05 PM   #307
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Originally Posted by xjx388 View Post
That would be $327.2 billion per month which works out to about $3.29 trillion per year. When you consider that the Federal budget is about $4.75 trillion per year, that’s a pretty staggering number.

Even if we eliminated the SNAP, TANF, and Housing budgets entirely it wouldn’t be enough to cover this. Obviously, taxes will have to go up. How would that look?
That's only a problem for the billionaires who will have to fit the bill. Let Jeff Bezos eat cake, while we eat caviar.
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Old 26th November 2019, 08:13 PM   #308
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Originally Posted by xjx388 View Post
That would be $327.2 billion per month which works out to about $3.29 trillion per year. When you consider that the Federal budget is about $4.75 trillion per year, that’s a pretty staggering number.

Even if we eliminated the SNAP, TANF, and Housing budgets entirely it wouldn’t be enough to cover this. Obviously, taxes will have to go up. How would that look?
What's wrong with starting the UBI at a revenue neutral level as I described in the post above yours?
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Old 26th November 2019, 08:39 PM   #309
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
If nobody works then where will the money for UBI come from?

And if you think rural America has access to good hospitals...well, it'd be funny if it weren't such a ridiculous tragedy. Access to, and quality of, care is a serious crisis.
I have read articles that discuss taxing the bot workers
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Old 26th November 2019, 08:40 PM   #310
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Hardly anyone robs homeless people on the street because they are mostly broke. But when the UBI comes they are flush with cash and now easy targets for robbery and extortion. It's hard to secure a tent or sleeping bag. Many will buy guns for self defense.

Those kinds of crimes may go up. Also when junkies come into lots of cash they binge and then overdose. Expect more drug related deaths as people go crazy with the sudden windfall.
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Old 26th November 2019, 08:45 PM   #311
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
Hardly anyone robs homeless people on the street because they are mostly broke. But when the UBI comes they are flush with cash and now easy targets for robbery and extortion. It's hard to secure a tent or sleeping bag. Many will buy guns for self defense.

Those kinds of crimes may go up. Also when junkies come into lots of cash they binge and then overdose. Expect more drug related deaths as people go crazy with the sudden windfall.
This is completely wrong most people seeking homeless shelters will end up getting robbed the first night there. The truth is most homeless people have no place to but their money and are much more likely to be robbed than someone the police will care about.
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Old 26th November 2019, 09:20 PM   #312
psionl0
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
Hardly anyone robs homeless people on the street because they are mostly broke. But when the UBI comes they are flush with cash and now easy targets for robbery and extortion. It's hard to secure a tent or sleeping bag. Many will buy guns for self defense.

Those kinds of crimes may go up. Also when junkies come into lots of cash they binge and then overdose. Expect more drug related deaths as people go crazy with the sudden windfall.
Are you seriously suggesting that we should deny the homeless any money for their safety?
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Old 27th November 2019, 12:41 AM   #313
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I think Rab C Nesbitt was ahead of his time. The famously idle resident philosopher of Govan. Back then unemployment benefit wasn't too bad and you weren't forced to spend 30 hours a week looking for work or have your income stopped. He just sat back and lived on it.

He said, the way he saw it, there wasn't enough work to go round so somebody had to be idle. And why shouldn't he volunteer for that, because he liked it.

There isn't enough work to go round. Some people will continue to do it, and they'll have more money than the ones who don't. But for the ones who want to be idle and are prepared to exist on a small income to do that, well society probably needs people to do that anyway.
Indeed!

We really have to admit we've become very efficient at feeding and clothing ourselves.

30% of food globally is wasted.

80% of clothing goes into landfill.

I'm afraid we can't keep having tunnelvision over things like, "public transport discussion doesn't belong in this thread".

Today it was announced that the planet needs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 7.5% every year if we're going to avert the point of no return in 2030.

Our technology has to be efficient enough to feed us AND distribute it, without destroying us in the process.

We have to stop using non-renewable resources and polluting just to keep us earning money to buy cheap plastic gadgets to save time so that we can earn money to save time and keep driving to work... so much circular reasoning.


Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
These threads always keep coming back to the assumption that too many people would simply quit work, and then the entire thing would collapse. Psion (I think) made the point a couple of times earlier that the test of whether the UBI is set at the right level is that it doesn't tempt too many people to sit back and do nothing.

That's an advantage of introducing it gradually, with incremental increases to allow the economy to adjust. The effect of the changing level can be monitored and a better estimate made of how high is too high in terms of incentive to keep working.
What is work?

Some people create art. Some people write. Some people train others in sport, or teach.

Work can be paid or unpaid. Some people's work is another's hobbies.

The devil is in the details. Thanks for posting a few figures. I'm sure the boffins are working on that, as indeed we saw yesterday in the Kenya study.

UBI and employment and production will sort itself out somehow. Or we're ******.
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Old 27th November 2019, 03:37 AM   #314
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
Are you seriously suggesting that we should deny the homeless any money for their safety?

How long until that gets combined with previous arguements for not giving them money into "It's good to rob homeless people because stealing their money stops them buying drugs"?

We'll gloss over, for the moment, the whole point being that if homeless people had a bit more money most of them wouldn't be homeless, or at the very least not on the streets.
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Old 27th November 2019, 05:07 AM   #315
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
Are you seriously suggesting that we should deny the homeless any money for their safety?
Lolololol.

Of course not. You don't scuttle a plan just because it may cause a crime spike. You deal with the crime spike. You silly goose!
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Old 27th November 2019, 05:48 AM   #316
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The only thing I want to know is when I get my first check so I can retire!
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Old 27th November 2019, 06:35 AM   #317
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Originally Posted by NewtonTrino View Post
The only thing I want to know is when I get my first check so I can retire!
Unless you are getting $1000 or less per month from your job you are not going to retire. Even then, you would probably prefer the extra money.
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Old 27th November 2019, 07:42 AM   #318
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I don't see the problem. If it works, it works. If it doesn't, the economy will adjust pretty quickly, as long as things aren't mishandled. People who need extra help will get it, and everyone else will still need to work if they want to live well. But the system will be in place, and eventually automation will make it work. It's inevitable.
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Old 27th November 2019, 07:43 AM   #319
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
Unless you are getting $1000 or less per month from your job you are not going to retire. Even then, you would probably prefer the extra money.
The extra money comes at an opportunity cost, though. I'd love to have some extra money, but I'd love to have some free time, some rest and relaxation, even more.
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Old 27th November 2019, 07:57 AM   #320
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Here's what I keep thinking about: A Universal Basic Income is a wealth redistribution. That's fine. Wealth does need to be redistributed. And wealth comes from productivity.

When it comes to a UBI, people can be organized into three broad categories of productivity: Those who can be productive, and are. Those who can be productive, and aren't. Those who cannot be productive.

Those who cannot be productive need a UBI. Full stop.

Those who can be productive and are productive, we can organize into two subcategories: Those who are substantially productive, and those who are marginally productive. By "substantially productive" I mean simply "don't need a UBI." These are the people who are producing enough wealth by their own hard work and good luck to be in the upper half of Maslow's hierarchy. These are the people who, in practical terms, will be getting a reverse UBI. Theirs is the surplus wealth we'll be redistributing.

The marginally productive are those who are more or less breaking even by their own efforts, but aren't in a position to bootstrap themselves out of working-poverty. One missed paycheck, one more hospital bill, one bad harvest... These are people that probably need some sort of safety net. Some way to smooth over the gaps in income and spikes in expenses. I'm not sure a UBI is the right solution here. Maybe some form of subsidized insurance program would make more sense. Ideally, you'd want to convert as many people as you can, from marginally productive to substantially productive. Ideally, you'd want them to be sustainably well-off enough that you can take wealth from them, instead of redirecting wealth to them.

Those who can be productive but aren't productive can also be organized into two categories: Those who are unproductive by circumstance, and those who are unproductive by choice. Those who are unproductive by circumstance may be people who were marginally productive, and had one two many pieces of bad luck, and are now stuck below that line with no way to get themselves back above it. A UBI could help them a lot, but more importantly, whatever it takes to get them back above that line would help. Maybe it's a UBI. Maybe it's a temporary stipend, or a one-time lump sum. Or debt forgiveness.

That leaves those who are unproductive by choice. They're already surviving off of wealth transfers from the productive people. Whether it's a trust fund kid or a stoner surfing his square "friend's" couch, these people are already drawing their own version of the UBI they require, to remain unproductive. Do they need a UBI? Probably not.

In summary: I don't think a "universal" basic income makes much sense. I think a better approach would probably be a means-tested, outcome-oriented stipend program for people who need it, with the goal of getting them to the point where they no longer need it.

---

I don't expect UBI proponents to agree with me on any of this (though at least some of it, they probably should). What I would like to see from UBI proponents is some description of a measurable goal, how it is to be measured, and the rollback plan if the program doesn't measure up to the goal.

Last edited by theprestige; 27th November 2019 at 08:03 AM.
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