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

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7Wannabe5
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Re: The benefits of a basic income // much higher min wage

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 5:49 am

@Campitor:

On a visceral level, I disagree with your premise that the modern corporation is the center of innovation, unless innovation is defined in some self-referential manner using terms such as "to scale." It puts no measure on what is lost as everything is brought to global market scale. For instance, in Greenspan's "Capitalism in America", he notes that in the late 18th century, Americans were the richest residents of the planet with an average output of $4.71 /day measured in 2017 dollars. Working within modern infrastructure, the average American now produces output equal to approximately $150/day, but is the average American 30X happier or more innovative than in 1776? I think not, and the reason being that far fewer Americans have access to raw resources and/or self-determination of their destiny. I would argue that is not the size of the centers of production that determine relative pace of innovation, but rather the number of free nodes of production. When almost every family had their own farm, the variety of apples grown in America was much greater than today, when we have been reduced to choosing from what is easily shipped at scale.

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

Post by IlliniDave » Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:53 am

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:19 pm
Maybe in order to maintain ability to differentiate between consumer vs. producer, we could agree on "decision maker" as descriptor at level of behavioral psychology? I agree that when my wealthy 78 year old friend reads an article and then buys some more stock and my 22 year old niece looks at an advertisement and buys some more hot pants, they are both financial decision-makers. I do not know if I agree that one is a better financial decision-maker than the other, because I do not know how to value future dividend payments vs. future likes on Instagram.
Okay, sure. From my perspective it could simply be "doer". Someone who has money and does something with it besides locking it away from the world in a vault. From there it's a value judgement, often as you point out between dissimilar things (instagram likes versus participation in capital markets). Concluding we don't know which is better is akin to not being able to see the net advantage of the government taking money away from one doer and giving it to another doer when the concept is extended to be universal.

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

Post by Campitor » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:34 am

@7wb

On a visceral level, looking only at the facts presented regarding the average dollar output in 1776 and the greater variation of apple orchards, I would agree with you. However if the scope is widened, no serious person would argue that life was better in 1776 than today. That people are not 30X more happy or grateful isn't surprising when hedonic adaptation and culture war demagoguery is affecting people's general perception of happiness. Women couldn't vote in 1776, slave ships were still sailing into American ports, the general health of the population was such that average life expectancy was 36, and colonist were still killing indians wholesale.

But let's continue using the 1776 model and assume it was the utopia for the average american. By today's reasoning, we should be taking existing apple orchards away from the apple producing farmers and giving it to non-farmers in the hopes that they become good farmers thereby producing even more apples so that citizens will eventually get extremely cheap apples or even apples for "free". Does this premise hold? And if apples become more plentiful therefore cheaper, how does that benefit all those farmers?

7Wannabe5
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Re: The benefits of a basic income // much higher min wage

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:06 am

IlliniDave wrote:Concluding we don't know which is better is akin to not being able to see the net advantage of the government taking money away from one doer and giving it to another doer when the concept is extended to be universal.
Well, given that "opening a poorhouse" generally universally takes place at a population density just barely approaching something like a city, this is not a problem that can be completely swept under the rug. There are many clear problems with need-based programs, especially the fact that they tend towards multi-generational reinforcement, and de facto ghetto-creation.

When subsidized housing is combined with neighborhood schooling the cultural effects can be profound. For instance, I have been teaching in the school located just over the wrong side of the tracks in an otherwise excellent district, and on our field trip yesterday only 2 ten year old children out of a group of 28 knew how to swim a short length in the pool. The more I hop around from district to district, the more I think this country is going to be thoroughly in the toilet 20 years from now if we don't do something more to support the members of the youngest generation. UBI would be a transfer from wealthy to less wealthy, but, obviously, also a transfer from old to young. OTOH, what I believe is really desperately needed is more adults on hand at all levels. I also believe that both you and I will be age eligible for the foster grandparents program next year ;)
But let's continue using the 1776 model and assume it was the utopia for the average american. By today's reasoning, we should be taking existing apple orchards away from the apple producing farmers and giving it to non-farmers in the hopes that they become good farmers thereby producing even more apples so that citizens will eventually get extremely cheap apples or even apples for "free". Does this premise hold? And if apples become more plentiful therefore cheaper, how does that benefit all those farmers?
Prior to the invention of large scale grain storage and thus the commodities market in Chicago in the 19th century, American farmers sent their goods to market in sacks marked with their own hallmark. You didn't buy a bushel of Grade B Field Corn #2, you bought sacks of a particular corn grown in a particular year from a particular farmer. So, there was no such thing as the universal "price of apples." As soon as any product or service becomes commodified, packaged and processed in a non-differentiated way, the price and the pay and quality level goes down to minimum, and any non-conforming unit of production is shunted to the dumpster. The science of economics demands the existence of uniform products and uniform providers of labor in order to make the math work, and, sadly, our reality is coming more and more to meet the demands of this reductionist philosophy. Even at the very personal level of work and love, we have become nothing more than Systems Analyst 2 and/or Tall Blonde 541, driving vehicles with brands stamped on their metallic rears, past rigid fields of identical petroleum fed mutant giant sugar producing grasses.

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

Post by IlliniDave » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:22 am

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:06 am
Well, given that "opening a poorhouse" generally universally takes place at a population density just barely approaching something like a city, this is not a problem that can be completely swept under the rug. There are many clear problems with need-based programs, especially the fact that they tend towards multi-generational reinforcement, and de facto ghetto-creation.
True enough, which is why I said above that discussing it (Freedon Dividend) in the context of a charity program seemed more appropriate. There are 3 sticky points there:

-Freedom Dividend gives Warren Buffet as much as it gives anyone else, so there's an inherent inefficiency to it.
-The cities where government spending on social programs has been the ironclad standard of local politics is where the problems often seem the worst and fastest-growing.
-We already divert a lot of money at local, state, and federal levels for programs that among other things, prominently target at-risk urban children. Is essentially doubling federal tax hauls going to fix problems or worsen them?

I'd say the Freedom dividend is not the answer to the problems you bring up. Could well be there are other approaches with substantial efficacy, which obviously would involve ongoing redistributive activity, but I don't think Yang has the answers.

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

Post by Campitor » Wed Jun 12, 2019 8:16 am

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:06 am
Prior to the invention of large scale grain storage and thus the commodities market in Chicago in the 19th century, American farmers sent their goods to market in sacks marked with their own hallmark. You didn't buy a bushel of Grade B Field Corn #2, you bought sacks of a particular corn grown in a particular year from a particular farmer. So, there was no such thing as the universal "price of apples." As soon as any product or service becomes commodified, packaged and processed in a non-differentiated way, the price and the pay and quality level goes down to minimum, and any non-conforming unit of production is shunted to the dumpster. The science of economics demands the existence of uniform products and uniform providers of labor in order to make the math work, and, sadly, our reality is coming more and more to meet the demands of this reductionist philosophy.
But the question still stands - are we better off today than we were in 1776, 1876, or 1976? Superior produce can still be purchased at premium prices but the pricing makes it unaffordable for those with modest incomes. Having mass produced corn of an acceptable grade makes it widely affordable and so cheap, that we can export it to countries that can't grow their own corn.

In all economic systems there are tradeoffs. So are we better off having unequal pricing, hallmark apples, and an uneven distribution of apples to the general population? Or are we better off having apples that are widely available, of acceptable taste and quality, and priced within reach of even the most modest of salaries? Given people's behavior, there will be intersection of price and quality that is widely acceptable to the general population. There comes a point that an increase in quality no longer justifies an outlay of cash especially when that cash has other demands on it.

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

Post by bigato » Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:48 pm

The detail that is missing in your narrative is that most of the new technologies are exponentially cheaper and profitable, and need less and less people to make it work. This leds to the version of capitalism that we are living were a handful of big tech have more power over the world than most governments. The differences between those that have a lot and those that have nothing is increasingly bigger. Technocratic Capitalism is failing us. And I say this as one of the few privileged.

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

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:52 pm

A potential unwinding of the technocratic capital model is that once the masses are sufficiently impoverished there is no one left to buy smartphones. Every pyramid scheme eventually collapses.

Economic hardship for the masses might not be so bad, in some ways it forces the masses to be judicious with resources. If we hold the view that resources on the planet are limited, and if we also hold the view that the majority of people cannot resist living beyond their means, then we should want life to be harder for people, not easier.

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

Post by Campitor » Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:29 pm

bigato wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:48 pm
The detail that is missing in your narrative is that most of the new technologies are exponentially cheaper and profitable, and need less and less people to make it work. This leds to the version of capitalism that we are living were a handful of big tech have more power over the world than most governments. The differences between those that have a lot and those that have nothing is increasingly bigger. Technocratic Capitalism is failing us. And I say this as one of the few privileged.
Every economic system is a function of human behavior, incentives, and the utilization of limited resources that have alternative uses. Technocratic capitalism isn't failing us - we're failing us. No one is forcing people to exchange their money for optional technology, goods, or services. People can live comfortably without the plethora of discretionary purchases they make. But people want stuff and capitalism supplies it at a price point people are willing to pay.

And merchants have been controlling governments long before automation was invented - this isn't a new problem. Government corruption is guaranteed similar to how corruption is guaranteed in any economic system including capitalism. This is why government must be kept small in order to lessen its harm and this is why businesses shouldn't be receiving corporate welfare or be allowed to lobby for anti-competitive legislation. And neither should government be handing out no-strings-attached UBI that will only incentivize more spending and sloth.

How is giving more people money to spend going to stop automation from progressing or CEO pay from expanding? Companies are automating now because of the cost of employment - so we're going to tax them even more and that will somehow automagically stop incentivizing automation's desirability? Wages are one of the few costs that a company can control either by workforce reduction, productivity pressure (you better make more widgets or I'll find someone who can), or automation. As a society we have incentivized automation as a result of our political and economic choices. A $27k dishwashing machine is a better investment than paying a single diswasher $15 dollars an hour ($31k in yearly wages) + the cost of benefits. And the more dishwashers your business requires, and the more the cost of employment rises, the better the Hobart Automated Systems start to look.
Last edited by Campitor on Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

7Wannabe5
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Re: The benefits of a basic income // much higher min wage

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Thu Jun 13, 2019 6:50 am

IlliniDave wrote:-Freedom Dividend gives Warren Buffet as much as it gives anyone else, so there's an inherent inefficiency to it.
I actually think this is a point in its favor, because it takes energy to create and maintain a line separating those who need financial assistance from those who don't, and the constant input of energy needed to maintain any boundary leads to the growth of chaos in the rift. Why ban those who have passed the diving test from access to the shallows? A good many extremely frugal and/or bohemian people choose, at least for a time, to live in low-income neighborhoods in order to save money, but currently they can't gain admission to housing that is subsidized for low income only. The urban neighborhoods that are a mix of recent immigrants, artists, penny-pinching cheapskates, stubborn old women, working class semi-alcoholics, and others are much more vibrant, healthy communities than the blocks of subsidized housing.
Could well be there are other approaches with substantial efficacy, which obviously would involve ongoing redistributive activity, but I don't think Yang has the answers.
Well, as I recall, you didn't like my plan for affluent individuals to be given the privilege/responsibility to care for more than one spouse and assorted previous offspring :lol:
Campitor wrote:Technocratic capitalism isn't failing us - we're failing us. No one is forcing people to exchange their money for optional technology, goods, or services.
I am not going to be able to articulate my muddled thoughts very clearly here, but one day last year I was sitting at a table in Starbucks I had rented for a few hours with the purchase of a macchiato, studying for an online course in data science, and I realized that the "optionality" of modern technology is a myth. I didn't necessarily have to be one of the individuals all over the world sitting in relatively affluent surroundings putting my brain through oddly old-fashioned calisthenic-like problem sets based on data garnered from the sinking of a luxury liner more than 100 years ago, but the current global situation is such that somebody has to do it or people will die, because we are so over-populated we must keep spinning more and more efficient at the margins.

IOW, in 1776 the human species was living in a situation (global ecosystem) that was much more robust and resilient, because it had not yet been over-optimized. So, in that sense, each human of that era was much more wealthy than each human of this era. We have traded, down-graded, the profound complexity of the natural world in which we originally found ourselves, for the imagined complexity of a million different products which will slowly rot into oblivion over our graves.

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

Post by Campitor » Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:32 am

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 6:50 am
IOW, in 1776 the human species was living in a situation (global ecosystem) that was much more robust and resilient, because it had not yet been over-optimized. So, in that sense, each human of that era was much more wealthy than each human of this era. We have traded, down-graded, the profound complexity of the natural world in which we originally found ourselves, for the imagined complexity of a million different products which will slowly rot into oblivion over our graves.
I agree in a sense - but I think this realization still could have been had without drinking a macchiato in a Starbucks. It could have occurred drinking some tap water at home. Multiply this behavior by 250+ million people (adults in the US) and the problems of resource depletion is amplified significantly. Did you include the Starbucks anecdote for irony? If so - that was a nice literary turn. It was kind of cool.

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

Post by IlliniDave » Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:05 pm

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 6:50 am

Well, as I recall, you didn't like my plan for affluent individuals to be given the privilege/responsibility to care for more than one spouse and assorted previous offspring :lol:
As long as it does not require compulsory participation on my part, it's fine with me for those who want to do it. Even with a single spouse over a limited span of time, 80% of my grandchildren are not related to me in the biological sense. I don't want the government assigning me more. :D

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

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:37 pm

My sister just called asking me how to save money. I told her to stop getting her hair and nails done, stop going out for drinks a few times a week, stop going on so many vacations, and in general stop spending money on things she does not need. She said “Oh, you mean don’t live my life?” She then asked if I thought she could get approved for a new credit card so she could buy a new couch, despite the fact CreditKarma just alerted her that her credit score dropped another 50 points. Finally she asked if I could buy a rental property in the town she likes living in, so she could live there, presumably rent-free.

I replied “I might buy another rental property, but regarding tenants, Penelope Pureheart need not apply.”

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

Post by ZAFCorrection » Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:28 pm

To out Mitt Romney Mitt Romney, some percentage of the population is completely useless with money, though maybe much less than 47%. The black hole lottery recipients who can go through hundreds of millions of dollars in a few years come to mind. Any reasonable justification for UBI should acknowledge that for some (maybe very small fraction) of the population, there is never enough money and there is always going to be a sob story to put in the NYT.

With that in mind, we might also want to try to estimate how many people are capable of getting self actualized, efficaciously pregnant, or becoming capitalist producers of apples. It's possible the number is not that large, or at least not large enough to spend an extra trillion or two every year.

7Wannabe5
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Re: The benefits of a basic income // much higher min wage

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:52 am

Campitor wrote:I agree in a sense - but I think this realization still could have been had without drinking a macchiato in a Starbucks. It could have occurred drinking some tap water at home. Multiply this behavior by 250+ million people (adults in the US) and the problems of resource depletion is amplified significantly. Did you include the Starbucks anecdote for irony? If so - that was a nice literary turn. It was kind of cool.
Yes, and no and no.

You can't have it both ways. Either the capitalistic system which rewards data scientists with macchiatos is the best known system, most efficient means of allocating resources, or it isn't. Whether the data scientist in question happens to be a frugal fellow who is choosing reward of free time and lentil soup over macchiatos and steak is irrelevant.

I would suggest a simplified model in which there are two kinds of innovation possible in capitalistic system; true innovation and imaginary innovation. True innovation (invention) provides the same or better product with less resource use. Imaginary innovation (marketing) simply convinces people that a product is better. A data scientist working in Starbucks could be interrogating data for purpose of either form of innovation. But, let's imagine that he is working in the "true" realm, and immersed in the activity of interrogating data having to do with the routing of trucks for the Walmart corporation (significant player in the global food distribution network.) He is paid approximately $50/hour for performing this task, with the hope that his clever interrogation will result in a small change in systems programming which will save the Walmart corporation approximately .001$/ lb in fresh broccoli wastage costs.

So, we can imagine a balance on which we place the amount of macchiato sipped vs the amount of broccoli saved over every minute the data scientist tidies and then interrogates the data, and compare with the resources used vs. saved by the early retired data scientist sitting at home drinking water and reading Trollope, and it is pretty easy to see who is of greater benefit to society, and in any instance such as this where only "true" innovation is involved and human population is given, the planetary eco-system at large.
IlliniDave wrote:As long as it does not require compulsory participation on my part, it's fine with me for those who want to do it. Even with a single spouse over a limited span of time, 80% of my grandchildren are not related to me in the biological sense. I don't want the government assigning me more. :D
The math does get complicated these days, but I would suggest that in most such scenarios, the 20% of grandchildren who are biologically related to you, would also likely be in possession of at least 50% more grandfathers and/or grandma's boyfriends than in conventional scenario, thereby proportionally reducing your estimated future cost of Disney movie tickets and/or jellybeans.
ZAFCorrection wrote:With that in mind, we might also want to try to estimate how many people are capable of getting self actualized, efficaciously pregnant, or becoming capitalist producers of apples. It's possible the number is not that large, or at least not large enough to spend an extra trillion or two every year.
I would estimate that even in one of the best school districts in the U.S., only 10% of children who are currently 10 years old are capable, under the best of future circumstances, of someday becoming data scientists, and some of them plan on returning to China with their parents.

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

Post by Campitor » Fri Jun 14, 2019 10:03 am

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:52 am
You can't have it both ways. Either the capitalistic system which rewards data scientists with macchiatos is the best known system, most efficient means of allocating resources, or it isn't. Whether the data scientist in question happens to be a frugal fellow who is choosing reward of free time and lentil soup over macchiatos and steak is irrelevant.
All economic systems are not immune to the incentives created by its framework. Keep buying macchiatos and the system will keep wanting to provide it; our continuing purchases informs companies that macchiatos are highly desired regardless of the efficiencies in production. That the production of a macchiato is harmful environmentally, or the means of production wasteful in bringing macchiatos to the market, is irrelevant until its starts affecting profits. I wish it were otherwise but humans are imperfect, greedy, and shortsighted.

Companies will begin to create efficiencies or find new resources to exploit, when faced with scarcity, competition, or diminishing purchases. When those factory farming torture videos came out which impacted purchases, meat producers started offering free range meat. Same thing with antibiotics in animals - antibiotic free meat is now being sold. When roundup and pesticides started to affect profits, factory farms started to sell organic vegetables. Producers respond to market feedback. Stop buying wastefully produced macchiatos and coffee houses will start selling efficiently harvested coffee.

The US lumber industry is an example of what occurs when natural scarcity can't be bypassed. In the old days entire forests were stripped of every lumber producing tree. Now there is a schedule for each tree plot that determines when it will be cut. And after the lumber has been harvested, trees are replanted for future production. Sub-floor used to be made of solid wood but now its made from plywood which uses lumber more efficiently. The sawdust and chips produced by the sawmills are now used for particle board, wood pellet stoves, bbq brickets, etc. Capitalism is more than capable of being efficient in resource management when the market provides incentives for it. We are part of that feedback loop - how we behave within a capitalist system affects how producers manage their resources.

And I don't view economics systems via the lens of which is the best or most efficient. I view them through the lens of which is the least harmful and provides the best incentives for imperfect humans who behave imperfectly and are naively ignorant of their outsized impact on any economic system and its externalities.

7Wannabe5
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Re: The benefits of a basic income // much higher min wage

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:28 am

Campitor wrote:Capitalism is more than capable of being efficient in resource management when the market provides incentives for it. We are part of that feedback loop - how we behave within a capitalist system affects how producers manage their resources.
The root of the problem is that "we" identify primarily as consumers outside of the eco-system, rather than producers within the eco-system. So, we view our options as best case "do nothing", or "stay home and drink water." Therefore, "they" are always and only motivated to sell us a better, or least worse, choice. We are not encouraged to feel empowered to create our own options and relationships with and within the world. "No, baby, you don't want to go there. World of 1776 full of lions, tigers, and bears. Just relax, feel grateful for all that you got (or else!), and I'll turn on the passenger seat heat, and you just let Daddy drive the car." [I have found that one benefit of spending some time functioning as an overt submissive is that it allows you to better recognize when you (or most members of your society) are functioning as a de facto submissive.]

Anyways, the point I was trying to make is that in terms of pure efficient capitalism, or even in terms of non-renewable or land-space limited resource use, as a unit of production, a Data Scientist is worth 2.5 times more than the average income American. However, America is not just the Mecca of Capitalism, it is also a country founded on Christian values, very much including the notion that on some level, not privy to the mechanisms of the market or even hard physics, we are all created equal-ish. So, that's where UBI really comes from.

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

Post by bigato » Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:54 am

I think you touch on an important point here regarding the moralities that drive the culture. But as an outsider to the american culture, I'm under the impression that the protestant work ethic as preached by lutheranism and calvinism is more prevalent than the christian morality of everybody being equal. It feels like a significant part of society have it drilled so hard in them that you must work hard and earn your way, that they can't accept another way, robots and technology be damned.

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

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Sat Jun 15, 2019 5:01 pm

I don’t see how the belief in Peak Oil and in an eventual breakdown in global supply chains can be reconciled with a dream of equality of outcomes. The current economic structure is built on perpetual exponential growth. If the ice caps are melting and I am with my clan in a mountain citadel, I am unlikely to open the gates however much empathy I have for the individuals clamoring outside.

If financial engineering continuously widens the gap between those with connections to banking cartels and those who don’t, I think a better approach would be to re-attach the market to the real economy, not replay the deluded hope that humans will not human as they did in the Soviet Union, Cuba, and Venezuela. The answer to too much centralized power is not more centralized power.

My recent telephone call with my sister suggests to me that we are not all created equal, not even when birthed by the same mother.

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

Post by Campitor » Sat Jun 15, 2019 6:37 pm

@bigato

I’m an Ecuadorian immigrant and the earn your way ethic is also a South American thing or at least it is in Ecuador; no American culture required. A week didn’t go by without that being drilled into my head by every adult in my family especially the women.

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