The benefits of a basic income // much higher min wage

Should you squeeze the toothpaste tube in the middle or from the end?
Mister Imperceptible
Posts: 440
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:18 pm

Re: The benefits of a basic income // much higher min wage

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:31 pm

(From the article BRUTE linked)

“Put another way: If you could take from the rich and give to everyone, or take from the rich and (say) create or double a city metro or make a clean water or power supply, which is probably a better use of the money, decades on?
(Of course it already seems that the US is doing neither of these things: It is not creating UBI nor creating many more durable public goods. Very much a pity. We do big government all wrong, there are not nearly enough Bonapartist madmen in it anymore.”

This was the spirit of my Warren Buffett critique, only much better worded. My post was largely misconstrued as a blanket attack on the wealthy. My issue is that our “highest men” should have their efforts towards furthering humanity (and that is distinctly different from giving money away indiscriminately to exacerbate existing inefficiencies):

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=9691

And yet, when one reads someone like Jared Diamond, one is told that history is preterminded by geography, and that “history as the biography of great men” is a false notion, and the West has no justification for its being dominant, etc. Because we should all aspire to be more like....Papua New Guinea?

Give me UBI and I’ll remove the condoms I’ve been wearing. Because all 16 of the children I’m going to have are going to get UBI anyway.

If we had UBI, you would have one Leonardo da Vinci for every 1000 Marquis de Sade’s.

All that, and it isn’t even economically feasible.

Campitor
Posts: 465
Joined: Thu Aug 20, 2015 11:49 am

Re: The benefits of a basic income // much higher min wage

Post by Campitor » Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:12 pm

Stahlmann wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 4:31 am

How about flipping your viewpoint: why isn't there any discussion on how massive capital accumulation is destroying society and hindering its development?
There will always be massive capital accumulation and society cannot function without it. Skyscrapers, mobile devices, bridges, schools, businesses, etc. are all possible because someone somewhere amassed an imbalance of capital to fund it regardless if they are a government entity or a private business. The difference is that a business has skin in the game and therefore has better incentives to make sure their money, time, and resources are allocated optimally or they will find themselves out of money and out of work; the government has no such incentives.

McDonalds requires a potential franchise owner to supply 40% of the cost of opening a new franchise site or 25% of the cost of purchasing an existing franchise site; the money must come from non-borrowed resources (McDonald’s Franchise Costs/Requirements). McDonald's learned that the success or ruin of a franchise was mostly determined by the amount of personal financial risk undertaken by the franchisee regardless of education or business experience although they do a good job making sure you have both - they want you to succeed.

UBI will never work because the majority of the people will make suboptimal financial decisions like they currently do with actual paid labor. Free money will somehow motivate better decisions? Those who maximize their finances will still be envied and accused of amassing wealth even in a UBI scenario.

User avatar
BRUTE
Posts: 3413
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 5:20 pm

Re: The benefits of a basic income // much higher min wage

Post by BRUTE » Tue May 01, 2018 12:08 am

brute's favorite quote from the article:
Said article wrote:Many an article explain proposed positives, but none explain quite how we’ve made the leap from “we can’t pay for people’s retirement anymore” to “let’s give everyone money and see what happens.”

Mister Imperceptible
Posts: 440
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:18 pm

Re: The benefits of a basic income // much higher min wage

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Tue May 01, 2018 9:45 am

@BRUTE

“California Optimism” as the article describes seems pretty prevalent these days....only it gets passed off by its adherents as the only type of optimism there is.

Augustus
Posts: 486
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:15 am

Re: The benefits of a basic income // much higher min wage

Post by Augustus » Tue May 01, 2018 10:25 pm

What I never understand is why people always focus on redistributing the current pie, instead of trying to make the pie larger. What do I care if some guy owns a whole planet if I have a nice home and amenities. I'm hopeful that automation and 3d printing makes truly cheap housing and basic necessities a reality. If robots are making prefab houses, clothes, food, beer, etc and it becomes so ubiquitous that it's pretty much free, then things like UBI are rendered moot, because the root problem is fixed, i.e. it is no longer the case that you can't live a nice life working at McDonald's because necessities are so cheap.

Things like recycling and not shitting where we sleep obviously need to be taken care of, but given the possibilities that automation and technology offer us the future could be really bright. If we have the brains to harness it...

prognastat
Posts: 236
Joined: Fri May 04, 2018 8:30 pm
Location: Texas

Re: The benefits of a basic income // much higher min wage

Post by prognastat » Thu May 24, 2018 1:33 pm

I would say once automation and 3d printing are capable of those things though the odds of McDonald's or similar businesses still needing us weak inefficient flesh bags is pretty low though.

Automation drives down the cost of labour since we humans are competing with the robots/algorithms for labour and the cost for the automation keeps getting lower and the cost for humans only keeps going up as our cost of living goes up.

The government has a few options:
A) Have a minimum wage that matches the minimal cost of living for an area and government helps those unemployed through some form of financial assistance. If this is implemented unemployment will be higher as the moment that robots/algorithms are cheaper than the minimum wage those jobs are no longer viable for humans long term.
B) Have a minimum wage that matches the minimal cost of living for an area and government doesn't help those unemployed. This will only grow the percentage of the population that has no stake in the current system and will likely lead to violent revolution.
C) Remove minimum wage, but supplement the insufficient income from taxes gathered. This is inefficient as we now have government subsidising an inefficient business model. Humans are obviously not efficient enough as they are unable to earn a living wage for the particular job, however due to the government making up the difference the business chooses to go with humans over automation. This is a waste of both financial and human capital.
D) Remove minimum wage, don't supplement the insufficient income at all. With this the people smart enough to not take a job that doesn't pay enough will be out of a job and those that aren't will be struggling to survive on insufficient income. This will also grow the percentage of the population that has no stake in the current system and will likely lead to violent revolution.

Options B and D are efficient, but I think most would agree that it is either a morally unacceptable outcome or at least would like to avoid heads rolling during a violent uprising.

Option A would be in second for efficiency as increased productivity through automation would lead to higher GDP which would increase tax revenue even without increasing the tax rate, however it will definitely lead to higher unemployment and some businesses would go out of business if automation hasn't become cheap enough yet to be profitable and a minimum wage high enough to cover minimal cost of living isn't sustainable either.

Option C would be most inefficient as we have humans performing jobs that robots/algorithms could be doing for less and having the government take on this burden instead.

Option A comes very close to UBI though in that a constantly growing percentage of the population would in effect be unemployable and would need something to live off.

This all depends on whether you believe automation will outpace job creation or if you believe job creation will outpace automation.

Based on what I've seen I believe the former to be the case more and more as the industrial revolution severely reduced physical labour's value, but cognitively humans were still superior. However the current automation research is of cognitive tasks. When humans are no longer valuable for physical labour nor cognitive labour I don't see what else most have to offer to the marketplace.

Finally the automation doesn't necessarily have to be as good as human in it's capabilities either physically or cognitively as long as it is sufficiently cheaper than humans are.

A good example is the software that handles most of the call routing for many companies. When you used to call a company you would speak to an operator of sorts and tell them what your concern was or who you wanted to speak with and they got you to the right person/department. However these days most of those jobs have been replaced by software that though inferior still to humans in understanding other humans is so much cheaper that most companies and people accept it.

User avatar
BRUTE
Posts: 3413
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 5:20 pm

Re: The benefits of a basic income // much higher min wage

Post by BRUTE » Thu May 24, 2018 2:13 pm

prognastat wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 1:33 pm
Automation drives down the cost of labour since we humans are competing with the robots/algorithms for labour and the cost for the automation keeps getting lower and the cost for humans only keeps going up as our cost of living goes up.
wouldn't automation cause the cost of living to go down, all else being equal, because products and services would be cheaper to manufacture?

prognastat
Posts: 236
Joined: Fri May 04, 2018 8:30 pm
Location: Texas

Re: The benefits of a basic income // much higher min wage

Post by prognastat » Thu May 24, 2018 4:13 pm

BRUTE wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 2:13 pm
wouldn't automation cause the cost of living to go down, all else being equal, because products and services would be cheaper to manufacture?
In the long run I believe it will, but I don't think all industries will be automating at the same rate leading some products and services to become cheaper relative to other goods and services. Also this would also rely on consumption remaining the same, but historically speaking as we have increased productivity consumption has rarely remained the same.

For example if some industries achieve high automation while others have not some people could lose 100% of their income earning potential while cost of living relative to their income has remained higher.

If we can make it to a post scarcity world most of these things wouldn't be much of a concern anymore as almost all goods and services would have minimal cost associated with them to the point where we might even be able to spend less on covering the people that are unemployable than we do now and at a higher standard of living, but I expect many bumps on the road there.

User avatar
BRUTE
Posts: 3413
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 5:20 pm

Re: The benefits of a basic income // much higher min wage

Post by BRUTE » Thu May 24, 2018 4:20 pm

yes, that seems realistic. so for some humans, CoL-to-income would go way bad, whereas for the average it might slowly trend in a good direction. but this seems unavoidable with any passage of time.

brute would also like to mention that "post-scarcity" is a euphemism (for capitalism-haters) for "high-productivity". the world is not going to start growing more fruits on every tree. capitalism and the economy have been moving humanity from high-scarcity to mid-scarcity, and any movement towards post-scarcity will have to come from increased productivity, until one day the entire GDP is only a side-effect of an extremely productive, if small, workforce.

prognastat
Posts: 236
Joined: Fri May 04, 2018 8:30 pm
Location: Texas

Re: The benefits of a basic income // much higher min wage

Post by prognastat » Thu May 24, 2018 5:07 pm

BRUTE wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 4:20 pm
brute would also like to mention that "post-scarcity" is a euphemism (for capitalism-haters) for "high-productivity". the world is not going to start growing more fruits on every tree. capitalism and the economy have been moving humanity from high-scarcity to mid-scarcity, and any movement towards post-scarcity will have to come from increased productivity, until one day the entire GDP is only a side-effect of an extremely productive, if small, workforce.
We will probably never be in a truly post-scarcity society, maybe if we manage to master space travel and colonising space we could get to a true post-scarcity society as the odds of us running out of all the resources in the whole universe before the heat death of the universe seems rather minimal. Until we achieve that though we will likely always have some form of scarcity in that our planet can only reach a certain level of productivity based on the resources on the planet itself. However what I mostly mean post-scarcity is if we manage to get to the point where by combining abundant cheap energy production and automation of both physical and cognitive labour we would be to a point where very few humans are useful to society in any measurable way when related to things such as GDP.

I am actually in favour of accelerating the process of getting to this point, however it is unfortunate that people on both sides of the political aisle are fighting the progress towards this in different ways.

I believe many on the left are way too critical of things such as nuclear energy which at this time seems a far better way of producing energy. It is cleaner than fossil fuels and doesn't cause global warning and at the same time is much more efficient than any of our alternatives currently are. Countries that are shutting down their nuclear plants are actually seeing an increase in both fossil fuel and alternative use meaning more pollution and higher cost. Far more people have died from the burning of fossil fuels than from nuclear, but unfortunately when nuclear goes wrong it is far flashier and more newsworthy than the way people die from fossil fuels.

On the other side we have many on the right that either don't want the minimum wage to be a living wage and succeed in preventing that leading to the government subsidising inefficient human labour. When you have people that have a job, but still need welfare to get by something is wrong because it is obvious that those jobs would be done more efficiently if automated.

If we could both lower the cost of energy and stop reducing productivity by subsidising human labour I believe the process could be sped up. However, I do worry that if we do so without making sure that we minimize the amount of people falling through the cracks throughout this process that we could have a revolution of some sort.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 10130
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: The benefits of a basic income // much higher min wage

Post by jacob » Thu May 24, 2018 5:32 pm

prognastat wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 5:07 pm
However what I mostly mean post-scarcity is if we manage to get to the point where by combining abundant cheap energy production and automation of both physical and cognitive labour we would be to a point where very few humans are useful to society in any measurable way when related to things such as GDP.
We've (the western world) has already been in this situation since about the 1920s. It's just that we somehow decided to use the abundant cheap energy and mass production to churn out disposable widgets with built in planned obsolescence. When that became too efficient we massively expanded the service industry so that people could begin hiring each other instead of doing things themselves.

Scarcities can be artificially/culturally constructed. This is not an issue that will be solved eventually by technology.

User avatar
BRUTE
Posts: 3413
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 5:20 pm

Re: The benefits of a basic income // much higher min wage

Post by BRUTE » Thu May 24, 2018 5:48 pm

brute mostly agrees with prognastat, except the minimum wage part (which he opposes completely).

big question: what's the best prevention of humans falling through cracks?

brute sees this as a scale with the two extremes of "government guarantees" (e.g. minimum wages, UBI) and "extreme economic flexibility" (e.g. no licensing, minimal re-tooling and re-schooling necessary to switch from dying industry into new industry, turbo-charged economic gap filling institutions to help humans invest in the right skillsets and move to the right places to be productive again). brute is strongly on the latter side here, as he doesn't believe government intervention to be a good solution to many problems.

brute also agrees with Dear Leader jacob. this seems a cultural issue. productivity wise, most of the West could be working 10h or 5h per week, like Keynes predicted. brute thinks it's the culture of consumerism and out-Jonesing the neighbors that prevented this. humans don't seem to have much in their lives except showing off to others and running on their little wheels.

unfortunately, culture seems hard.

prognastat
Posts: 236
Joined: Fri May 04, 2018 8:30 pm
Location: Texas

Re: The benefits of a basic income // much higher min wage

Post by prognastat » Thu May 24, 2018 5:51 pm

jacob wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 5:32 pm
We've (the western world) has already been in this situation since about the 1920s. It's just that we somehow decided to use the abundant cheap energy and mass production to churn out disposable widgets with built in planned obsolescence. When that became too efficient we massively expanded the service industry so that people could begin hiring each other instead of doing things themselves.

Scarcities can be artificially/culturally constructed. This is not an issue that will be solved eventually by technology.
Will we still be able to artificially/culturally construct these when both physical and cognitive labour has been automated to the degree where most people simply aren't employable though?

If we get to the point where as soon as we develop some new product service and we can teach robots/algorithms to perform the task faster than we can teach humans to then the only thing effectively creating scarcity would be either energy production or resources.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 10130
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: The benefits of a basic income // much higher min wage

Post by jacob » Mon Jun 04, 2018 7:51 am

Stockton, CA famous for being the first major US city ever to file for bankruptcy, wants to try the UBI experiment.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-cali ... SKCN1J015D

User avatar
Riggerjack
Posts: 2402
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2011 3:09 am

Re: The benefits of a basic income // much higher min wage

Post by Riggerjack » Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:30 am

From Jacob's link:
“I think it will begin to shift the narrative about Stockton,” she said. “Instead of being the miserable city, we’ll be the city that people are waiting to come to for all of the right reasons.”
I feel like I have already been waiting to go to Stockton, for all the right reasons. Like, Stockton. That is the right reason. If I visited, I'd be in Stockton, so I am waiting until it's been removed. Adding UBI should speed that along.

According to the article, the mayor got the money from a Facebook co-founder. So referencing the comments about culture above, and how hard it is to change, it seems even cofounders are trying to buy friends on Facebook. And buy them cheap, as they plan to pay 0.86 Jacob/yr as UBI.

Augustus
Posts: 486
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:15 am

Re: The benefits of a basic income // much higher min wage

Post by Augustus » Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:34 pm

Uh, again, we're dividing the current pie. The government doesn't have to give out money. Giving out money to people who can't manage money is...stupid. like giving drugs to a drug addict and expecting them to use it wisely.

If you automated the production of necessities. Then hand out said necessities. People will live just fine on necessities, and the automation cuts costs. You have option e, one of many many options, not just ABCD.

How much do we spend on safety handing out money? Why not optimize that the same way a business optimizes using capital to implement better solutions creating new efficiencies.

User avatar
BRUTE
Posts: 3413
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 5:20 pm

Re: The benefits of a basic income // much higher min wage

Post by BRUTE » Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:38 pm

but... where does.. the money.. come.. from. the math. it is a thing.

in his old days, brute is becoming a Thatcherite.

and yea Stockton is.. dire.

Campitor
Posts: 465
Joined: Thu Aug 20, 2015 11:49 am

Re: The benefits of a basic income // much higher min wage

Post by Campitor » Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:05 pm

Augustus wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:34 pm
Why not optimize that the same way a business optimizes using capital to implement better solutions creating new efficiencies.
This is the weakness of government. It has no incentive to create efficiencies because any shortcoming can be plugged by raising taxes, borrowing indefinitely, or pushing off unpopular but correct decisions to future office holders/taxpayers; businesses don't have these safety nets which incentivizes them to be efficient with their resources. And even this is no guarantee since a business may be working as hard as possible but on a losing strategy. Failures inform the market that X decision was a bad one and should be avoided - society is better off because resources are now freed from a suboptimal enterprise and can be allocated to other uses.

There are many things that a central government may be good at (roads, bridges, national defense, etc.) but using capital efficiently isn't one of them. There may be the rare bureaucrat or department that manages their resources well but on the whole government is wasteful - too many incentives to overbill, overreach, and overpay.

slsdly
Posts: 233
Joined: Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:04 am

Re: The benefits of a basic income // much higher min wage

Post by slsdly » Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:03 am

Am I correct in understanding that many here believe corporations are *inherently* more efficient? I can't speak for all sectors, but my time in the technology sector has convinced me that while it is certainly possible for a corporation to be much more efficient than government, it isn't a fundamental consequence of having a profit motive. For example, I appreciate new and upcoming companies being efficient as they need that advantage to take on the larger, slower, but established incumbents. But from what I have experienced, the longer the company is around, and the larger it grows, the greater its tendency towards bureaucracy, gatekeeping and waste. I guess the major advantage is that the corporations can slowly be displaced by new entrants, effectively hitting the reset button without causing a crisis. While for government, we can only safely replace the executive/board of directors equivalent during elections, and they rarely shake up the status quo. The Innovator's Dilemma suggests even if the executive is motivated to do a paradigm shift, it is very hard to pull off, and I imagine doubly so for government.

ZAFCorrection
Posts: 60
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:49 pm

Re: The benefits of a basic income // much higher min wage

Post by ZAFCorrection » Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:31 am

I imagine if the "run it like a business" meme were actually implemented, most countries would have a political history resembling that of Thailand. Except most don't even have the institution of a monarch (also not run like a business) to fall back on when the government is shut down.

The key point is you let your government waste 10 million dollars buying hammers with three claws because you need it to still exist and kinda be functional today, tomorrow, and 40 years from now. Look at the nearest strip mall to see how common that longevity is in "the real world."

Post Reply