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Author Topic: Basic income guarantee - opinions&criticism welcome  (Read 14120 times)
hashman
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September 17, 2012, 02:13:58 PM
 #41

But don't you know that there is not enough room for everyone to have a personal (even communal) orchard?
Or that there is not enough game in the woods to feed humanity for one week?
Or that people started settling in cities where there are no orchards thousands of years ago?
Or that there would be no computers or internet if everyone lived only off their land?
And the part that produces all these nice technology for you is driven by cities with workers.
And the socio economic environment in cities is completely different from 'living off the land' and people can realy be dependant on someone providing work or even welfare.

Show me your sources for these claims that there is not enough land for every community to have land to farm and raise livestock (with a communal orchard).

You are speaking about personal choice and personal responsibility. Go take a look at available land. Its plentiful.
Good land is pretty scarse.
It would barely be enough to give everyone a place to grow their own food, so no space for any other development.
According to wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arable_land) there is about 48,836,976 km² of land where you can grow food on.
That means that there is 48836976 km² / 7000000000 people which comes down to 0.007 km² per person.
That is a patch of about 83 by 83 meters per person.
That's barely enough to support that and it's getting less.
So if you know a way for everyone to live off of 83 by 83 meters then please enlight us.
And i bet your own yard is bigger than this.

Also, if everyone would have to live off the land then there would be noone to create the technology you use right now.
Or did you think that newton or einstein farmed their own food?
Or that the guys at intel go out sowing their crops in the afternoon?

So it seems you are a bit misguided as to the real situation in the world and just blabber away from your priviledged position...



Don't forget that we are working as hard as we can to continue desertification and minimize that arable land area.  Go Monsanto!
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September 17, 2012, 04:18:46 PM
 #42

1/It reduces or eliminates incentive to work
2/It diverts money from investment to consumption, reducing long term capital accumulation
3/There are no guarantees in nature, the subsistence of life does not produce itself. Man must adjust himself to the market not the other way around.

1/ It reduces the incentive to work for food, medical bills and what the bureaucracy deem the economy can already easily provide for all. It doesn't reduce the incentive to work to be better than one's peers, which is also a huge human motivator. There was a study somewhere that found that most of the people against minimum wage increases are those who are close to the minimum wage, where an increase would actually mean they're on the minimum wage themselves. Silly ideas of social status and position among peers.

2/ Yes it does, but this decision is made with the intention to raise the standard of living on the very bottom. It's a social decision, really, at the expense of utilizing important resources like food and healthcare now instead of saving them for later.

3/ Do you refer to the possibility of drought in this statement? That is, natural disasters might mean there isn't enough food to go around anyway, so no many how much money people are given for free, they'll never be able to buy it? I'm sure there could be clauses to cater for this (some national emergency storage or whatever)

My tought is you'll create a lazy nation with way too much free time on its hands and no incentive to move forward.
Most people will not go to school anymore and the nation will split in a learned upper class doing all the work and an unlearned lower class that will play computer games all day long.
It's a great way of ruining a perfectly good country.

Incentive to move forward where? Where are we "going" so adventurously as a species that it requires us to have no free time? If a society can completely feed, shelter, clothe, commune and entertain itself easily, as well as allow the opportunity for outstanding individual achievements and recognition, what more is there to ask for? Isn't that the win scenario for civilization?

What makes you think people won't go to school any more? Even if they don't, what does it matter? If there is no pressing need as a society to produce unnecessary farmers or doctors or manufacturers, why waste the energy?

The film Idiocracy was not about people not going to school, it was about smart people not having children and dumb people having them because the focus of society was on money, not silly things like going to Mars or Alpha Centauri.

1) People are producing more than they need, and with the further development of technology even less people will be needed to produce even more. Since less people will be working to produce, society as a whole would earn less, and therefore the population will not be able to afford to purchase all the goods being produced, eventually leading to bigger and bigger problems.
This makes no sense. If society produces more, why would society earn less?

By saying "Since less people will be working to produce, society as a whole would earn less", I think he meant "more people will be on zero income vs some income", not that the total amount earned by society is less.

To elaborate, if there are only 50 possible jobs to sustainably produce everything imaginable that 100 people need every year, what will the 50 unemployed people do to earn those things off the ones working? Innovation is really quite difficult, as is leadership in business, and people *like* working 5 days a week. If there's nothing that the 50 employed want from the unemployed, the unemployed will have a most common choice of taking by force or starving. He's proposing an agreement within society to force upon itself the total distribution of certain things, providing they are plentiful anyway. Getting everyone to work half the time would also do the job, if you can convince people already with the jobs to sit around and not work for more than half the week. If they insist on working more, then those people who aren't good at innovating or leading or stealing will starve, and each society can make it's own choices on whether they're fine with that or not.

As for the actual OP; We're doomed by the lack of phosphorus, as far I know, to continue this massive ramp up of population on easy food. If technology can keep it going, and population itself can be forced onto a globally sustainable level somehow (it will anyway, I suppose), I think this is easily achievable. Australia is actually pretty close to this right now. The only difference is here you can't get welfare unless you're actively seeking employment. It's barely enough to survive on, though, so either not enough is being produced (it is), or the culture's sentiment isn't enough to go the next step, which is huge barrier.
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September 17, 2012, 05:31:32 PM
 #43

I think basic income guarantee is a must for all societies in the future. Imagine if all of our production/research is handled by robots, and even the maintenance of the robots are handled by other robots. Basically imagine there will be zero need for human labor in the society, how would humans enjoy the fruit of these advance of technology? You would need some kind of basic income guarantee, otherwise everyone would be unemployed and starve.

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September 17, 2012, 06:10:55 PM
 #44

I think basic income guarantee is a must for all societies in the future. Imagine if all of our production/research is handled by robots, and even the maintenance of the robots are handled by other robots. Basically imagine there will be zero need for human labor in the society, how would humans enjoy the fruit of these advance of technology? You would need some kind of basic income guarantee, otherwise everyone would be unemployed and starve.
People would starve because the robots were keeping all the food for themselves? What would they do with it? Or because the starving people wouldn't command the robots to make food? Or because the robots would rebel? In this unrealistic scenario, what would you need a basic income for? Why would the robots even want money in exchange for the food they make? What would they do with it?

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September 17, 2012, 06:17:04 PM
 #45

I think basic income guarantee is a must for all societies in the future. Imagine if all of our production/research is handled by robots, and even the maintenance of the robots are handled by other robots. Basically imagine there will be zero need for human labor in the society, how would humans enjoy the fruit of these advance of technology? You would need some kind of basic income guarantee, otherwise everyone would be unemployed and starve.

Again, the Luddite fallacy. There'll always be things that humans can do better than machines. Even if robots build other robots, do you want to let them decide what we want, where we would want to be heading to as a human race? So there'll still be high demand for people who can do the meta-programming necessary to make robots building robots do what would be in our best interest.

Also, again, market economy and automated society are not at all incompatible. No central planning to collect and distribute basic income needed. In a reasonably functioning economy, things will become ridiculously cheap in such a scenario, so you probably can restrict your work time to merely a few hours a month if you want to.

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September 17, 2012, 06:20:48 PM
 #46

I think basic income guarantee is a must for all societies in the future. Imagine if all of our production/research is handled by robots, and even the maintenance of the robots are handled by other robots. Basically imagine there will be zero need for human labor in the society, how would humans enjoy the fruit of these advance of technology? You would need some kind of basic income guarantee, otherwise everyone would be unemployed and starve.

Production, and even a large amount of maintenance, can be handled by robots. Not research. There are a great many jobs, even labor-intensive ones, which require a degree of judgment well beyond the capability of anything short of AI. Until we get at least human-level AI, there will still need to be humans in the decision loop, if only to answer the question, "Where do I put this?"

If all jobs that require repetitive, dangerous, or distasteful labor are automated, there will be no need for human laborers to do those jobs, but there will be plenty of other jobs to do... if nothing else, it frees people up for artistic endeavors. Remember that farming is one of those industries which has always been at the forefront of technology, and would therefor be heavily automated. Food would be cheap, plentiful, and may never touch a human hand until you pick it up. Starvation would be low on the list of worries. All a basic income guarantee would do is subsidize the lazy at the cost of the creative.

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September 17, 2012, 06:54:08 PM
 #47

I think basic income guarantee is a must for all societies in the future. Imagine if all of our production/research is handled by robots, and even the maintenance of the robots are handled by other robots. Basically imagine there will be zero need for human labor in the society, how would humans enjoy the fruit of these advance of technology? You would need some kind of basic income guarantee, otherwise everyone would be unemployed and starve.

This is silly.  Even in such a society where robots can produce all wealth, a basic income would make no sense since everything would be basically free.

Also, if you think such a basic income would make sense in such a society (and it wouldn't), why would you like to create one in the current society, where robots do obviously not produce all wealth??

I wrote in an other thread that even in a post-scarcity, robot driven economy, a basic income would not solve anything because people would buy and sell their "income right".

I was wrong.

Now that I think about it, a post-scarcity economy is possible if and only if robots are capable of producing themselves, so that robots can own to everyone.  Post-scarcity economy must also mean that there is no scarcity of whatever provides post-scarcity, i.e. robots.  A bit like what we are starting to see with 3D-printers.

But when this happens, price of everything will drop like a rock and your idea of a basic income is just futile.
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September 17, 2012, 08:56:22 PM
 #48

Well, I have to say it would be a lot better then our current welfare system. Since people would spend "their" money better then the goverment. So no need for public Operas, culture houses, kindergardens, hospitals, school etc.

My main concern would be how high the basic income would be, and how to stop it from increasing too much.

Right now, we could reduce our taxes by half, from 60-70% to 35% and still give every single citizen, including childrens. 100 000 NOK (17500$) a year. People who live from social support gets 85 000 now.

We actualy have a party here in Norway proposing the idea, but very small about 4-5% off the votes.
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September 17, 2012, 09:20:18 PM
 #49

The only way I would find a minimum income even partially workable is if the minimum was paid to everyone, working or not.  And here's why:

Most people (at least in the US) start out their working life at minimum wage jobs.  You know, scooping ice cream or something.  Minimum wage in Oregon, for example, even full time, would only net $1,412.66/month.  1,000 Euros is currently worth $1,310 USD, so we'll go with that.  So, a person new to the workforce can work a full time, 40 hour work week and only be paid an additional $102/month?  Not worth it, so they elect to just not work at all.  And they live their entire life not working, because the increased $102/month isn't worth spending so much time in the workplace.

So, this minimum income of $1,310/month must be paid to everyone in order to at least partially uphold the incentive to work in the first place.  Even still, the incentive to work for wants is much lower than the incentive to work for needs, so society would end up with fewer workers.  Especially on the lower-end of the payscale, where the added benefit is smaller as a percentage of overall income than at the higher-end of the payscale.

I can definitely see the case for a minimum income far into the future, when we truly do have very little need for non-specialized workers.  When retail stores are as automated as a vending machine, farms can farm themselves, cars are produced with hardly any human labor involved and drive themselves autonomously, and packages are delivered to and from your residence without human involvement.  I can see all of this being technologically viable in the future, and all of it puts tens of millions of workers out of a job.

You could argue that those people need to better themselves to survive, but I think the expectations for betterment and innovation can only go so far.  The world would only need so many robot programmers.  But, I think we are still far from achieving such an autonomous society, so I think Germany is trying this too soon.

Another problem is, once the majority begins taking money from the minority, when does it stop?  If the majority of a society is living off this minimum income, why not vote to increase it?  Etc, etc.
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September 17, 2012, 10:09:45 PM
 #50

The only way I would find a minimum income even partially workable is if the minimum was paid to everyone, working or not.  And here's why:

Most people (at least in the US) start out their working life at minimum wage jobs.  You know, scooping ice cream or something.  Minimum wage in Oregon, for example, even full time, would only net $1,412.66/month.  1,000 Euros is currently worth $1,310 USD, so we'll go with that.  So, a person new to the workforce can work a full time, 40 hour work week and only be paid an additional $102/month?  Not worth it, so they elect to just not work at all.  And they live their entire life not working, because the increased $102/month isn't worth spending so much time in the workplace.

You have misunderstood, in this scenario he would get the basic income + what he earns by working, netting 1310$ + 1412$ = 2722 $ a month. Minus a little taxes on the earned 1412 $ money. So no matter what, working always is benefactory.
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September 17, 2012, 10:22:56 PM
 #51

Well, I have to say it would be a lot better then our current welfare system.

On paper, yes.

Thing is:  I very much doubt this basic income would really replace the current welfare.  First they say it will, but soon they'll add exceptions.  For instance, disabled people will receive a special treatment.  Then, pregnant women, and so on and on.  Soon you'll have basic income +  current welfare system.

Of course there is no way to prove that this is what would happen, but it is so easy to guess.
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September 17, 2012, 10:28:00 PM
 #52

The only way I would find a minimum income even partially workable is if the minimum was paid to everyone, working or not.  And here's why:

Most people (at least in the US) start out their working life at minimum wage jobs.  You know, scooping ice cream or something.  Minimum wage in Oregon, for example, even full time, would only net $1,412.66/month.  1,000 Euros is currently worth $1,310 USD, so we'll go with that.  So, a person new to the workforce can work a full time, 40 hour work week and only be paid an additional $102/month?  Not worth it, so they elect to just not work at all.  And they live their entire life not working, because the increased $102/month isn't worth spending so much time in the workplace.

You have misunderstood, in this scenario he would get the basic income + what he earns by working, netting 1310$ + 1412$ = 2722 $ a month. Minus a little taxes on the earned 1412 $ money. So no matter what, working always is benefactory.
The OP didn't specify, which is why I included both scenarios in my post.  Often, real income tends to nullify government-given benefits.
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September 17, 2012, 10:50:55 PM
 #53

I think basic income guarantee is a must for all societies in the future. Imagine if all of our production/research is handled by robots, and even the maintenance of the robots are handled by other robots. Basically imagine there will be zero need for human labor in the society, how would humans enjoy the fruit of these advance of technology? You would need some kind of basic income guarantee, otherwise everyone would be unemployed and starve.

This is silly.  Even in such a society where robots can produce all wealth, a basic income would make no sense since everything would be basically free.

Also, if you think such a basic income would make sense in such a society (and it wouldn't), why would you like to create one in the current society, where robots do obviously not produce all wealth??

I wrote in an other thread that even in a post-scarcity, robot driven economy, a basic income would not solve anything because people would buy and sell their "income right".

I was wrong.

Now that I think about it, a post-scarcity economy is possible if and only if robots are capable of producing themselves, so that robots can own to everyone.  Post-scarcity economy must also mean that there is no scarcity of whatever provides post-scarcity, i.e. robots.  A bit like what we are starting to see with 3D-printers.

But when this happens, price of everything will drop like a rock and your idea of a basic income is just futile.

No it probably wouldn't be free, who determines how much "free" you get versus me? there will most definitely still be currency. In current society, robots(automated machines) already produce significant portion of wealth, why not start now? you think the switch would happen suddenly?

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September 17, 2012, 11:03:03 PM
 #54

No it probably wouldn't be free, who determines how much "free" you get versus me? there will most definitely still be currency. In current society, robots(automated machines) already produce significant portion of wealth, why not start now? you think the switch would happen suddenly?

Ah I'm getting confused.   This subject is really tough, honestly.   No irony here.

On one hand I told you that there is no point to start now, since robot do not currently do all the work.

On the other hand I'm going to tell you that it's already started.  Robot do indeed do a lot of work, and some people do receive money doing nothing thanks to that.  I do.  I own shares and I get money by doing nothing.  So the system you are advocating has already begun.

The key point, imho, is whether or not robots create not just wealth, but also copies of themselves as well.  In that case, everybody can own robots, and there is no point having a system of shares that would be unevenly distributed.  But then again in that case price of things would really be almost zero.  Because everybody could create whatever he needs when he needs it. So there would be no point in buying something.  Hence a price of zero for everything.

Honestly I'm not sure anyone here gets how complicated this is.

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September 17, 2012, 11:14:41 PM
 #55

No it probably wouldn't be free, who determines how much "free" you get versus me? there will most definitely still be currency. In current society, robots(automated machines) already produce significant portion of wealth, why not start now? you think the switch would happen suddenly?

Ah I'm getting confused.   This subject is really tough, honestly.   No irony here.

On one hand I told you that there is no point to start now, since robot do not currently do all the work.

On the other hand I'm going to tell you that it's already started.  Robot do indeed do a lot of work, and some people do receive money doing nothing thanks to that.  I do.  I own shares and I get money by doing nothing.  So the system you are advocating has already begun.

The key point, imho, is whether or not robots create not just wealth, but also copies of themselves as well.  In that case, everybody can own robots, and there is no point having a system of shares that would be unevenly distributed.  But then again in that case price of things would really be almost zero.  Because everybody could create whatever he needs when he needs it. So there would be no point in buying something.  Hence a price of zero for everything.

Honestly I'm not sure anyone here gets how complicated this is.
You're missing out on one very important point:  Resources are not infinite.

Sure, robots could conceivably be built that could create anything.  But the materials to build those robots have to come from somewhere.  You might say that the materials to build those robots come from mines operated by robots, but those mines can't last forever.

Land is a finite resource.  Land cannot be free.  Gold cannot be free, as it is a finite resource.  Etc, etc.

Basically, nothing can be free, as nothing is an infinite resource.
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September 17, 2012, 11:20:33 PM
 #56

You're missing out on one very important point:  Resources are not infinite.

True.  Indeed I forgot about that.
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September 17, 2012, 11:23:53 PM
 #57

About material resources, again, recycling technologies will be optimized, and if it's going to be at the molecular level.

Such an automated world will create demand again for human interaction. Some will prefer human barkeepers and human care at the spa, and will look for a new quality of in the fields of arts, culture, music, and more we can't foresee yet.

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September 17, 2012, 11:33:44 PM
 #58

Such an automated world will create demand again for human interaction. Some will prefer human barkeepers and human care at the spa, and will look for a new quality of in the fields of arts, culture, music, and more we can't foresee yet.

If you want to push the science-fiction hypothesis to the extreme, you have to consider a world where robots can be indistinguishable from humans.



And there is nothing, at least theoretically, preventing AI to perform as well as a human in art, culture, music and all.
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September 17, 2012, 11:51:14 PM
 #59

Such an automated world will create demand again for human interaction. Some will prefer human barkeepers and human care at the spa, and will look for a new quality of in the fields of arts, culture, music, and more we can't foresee yet.

If you want to push the science-fiction hypothesis to the extreme, you have to consider a world where robots can be indistinguishable from humans.

Even in such a world, there would still be demand for "real" humans. It's just the nature of the beast.

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September 17, 2012, 11:53:07 PM
 #60

Even in such a world, there would still be demand for "real" humans. It's just the nature of the beast.

Well, you can just build a clone with an artificial uterus or something   Grin
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