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Universal Basic Income?

Posted by rbroberg 3 years, 4 months ago to Government
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We have seen several reasons why people believe UBI is a good idea, which generally consist of bad ideas. We have also seen several reasons why people believe UBI is a bad idea, which generally consist of worse ideas.

The argument is that due to technological advances, people become obsolete to the machine (now called automation) and therefore a universal basic income is required to maintain the population group whose skills become obsolete due to this evolution.

The arguments for it are not worth your time. The arguments against it range from "there will be an increase in technological jobs" to "universal basic income incentives more people not to work". Well, these are excellent deductions, but do the opposite of justifying an argument against UBI. Why? Because they stem from the same pragmatist base as the arguments for. Would it be acceptable to provide an income to people if there were not an increase in technological jobs, but, rather, sales jobs? Would it be acceptable to provide income to people if the government required them to work on some government projects in order to receive the benefits?

The root of the argument against universal basic income has to come from a moral basis, not a pragmatic one. We know it is wrong for those who work to create, design, build, maintain, and manage automation to support those who contribute nothing. We know it is wrong for those who work to support those who negate the pride of productive work. There is no need to delve into a "climate model" of social behavior when the writing is on the wall; universal basic income is just another altruist gag intended to punish those who choose to innovate and succeed.


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  • Posted by DrZarkov99 3 years, 4 months ago
    Finland is about to try this, so we'll have a laboratory example to see if UBI works. The more credible proponents of UBI say it would replace many duplicative entitlement programs and the heavy overhead expense we now incur to administer them.
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    • Posted by ewv 3 years, 4 months ago
      Arguing for more efficient collectivism is more credible? It doesn't even satisfy their own demands. What happens when people with equal guaranteed incomes have different "needs"? There is no end to the demands for more.
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      • Posted by DrZarkov99 3 years, 4 months ago
        Most UBI proponents (I am not one) favor not a "living wage" but pay that provides bare necessities, that enables part time employment to complete the income profile.
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        • Posted by ewv 3 years, 4 months ago
          From Milton Friedman's "negative income tax" to any other guaranteed subsidy at any level, the altruist-collectivist premise is the same, with the same open-ended demands for more in the name of "need".
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  • Posted by Mitch 3 years, 4 months ago
    This is a topic that I’m very interested in for several reasons; automation is a light at the end of the tunnel but the light is on a freight train travailing 80 mph right for you. Universal Basic Income is just a liberal fantasy, not worth my time. I feel bad just typing the name!

    I work in information system and my specialty is cloud resource automation. In another word, I build the automation that creates complete environments with a few clicks of a mouse. We have been feeding on our own since 2005; we keep automating more and more technology to reduce time to market, reduce costs, reduce complexity for end-users, reduce human interaction necessary to complete the project at the expense of our own employment. The information system professional has changed since the late nineties, for the better… We are leaches to the bottom line of a business.

    Information Systems automation is coming to a physical world near you very soon and its will have incredible negative consequences on the world economies. When an employer can purchase a machine that works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week without all the insurance, taxes, sick leave, vacation, training, maternity leave, and a retirement account for $100,000, sure sounds like a killer deal to me; Its over for anyone that machine replaces.

    UBI is a joke… no one nowhere will give a flying #&@% about your income.

    I don’t think there are any good solutions to this wave of automation.

    Mitch
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    • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 years, 4 months ago
      The problem definition is we can produce so much with very little human work. It's as big a deal or bigger than the industrial revolution was, but we will survive this problem of too much value created per unit of human effort.
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      • Posted by ewv 3 years, 4 months ago
        There isn't a "problem" of too much value produced. People have to learn what to produce that is of value, which proves itself in a free market. That takes care of surpluses and shortages, which don't last long. But a free market isn't enough by itself. Civilization requires a philosophy of reason and individualism. Put a bunch of people who aren't very knowledgeable or philosophically rational into a market with advanced technology and they don't know what to do (other than demand to be taken care of).

        As technology advances it allows people to be more productive using their minds instead of devoting most of their lives to physical labor and bare survival. Each individual has a personal responsibility to himself to learn and make choices on behalf of his life. Fear of technology has existed since the beginning of the industrial revolution. There is no right to stagnate without regard to the consequences.
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  • Posted by term2 3 years, 4 months ago
    whatever people DONT have to work for, they will NOT work for. Give them free income, and they will STOP working and party.
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    • Posted by jdg 3 years, 4 months ago
      I know quite a few retired people, and most of them can't go more than a year or so without taking at least part time work, just to have something to do. It hurts, psychologically, to be a useless person (to anybody but yourself). Maybe not everybody feels that way, but I do and my friends do. So I suspect that even with a guaranteed income, most people will work if they can.

      I expect to see this also as robots replace people in some jobs. The people may need to retrain, but all but a few will get other jobs if they're allowed to.

      Indeed, I expect the most likely result of Finland's guaranteed income will be to drive up rents on homes by about the amount of the guaranteed income, thereby relegating the lazy to public housing, or neighborhoods where nobody gives a hoot because nobody wants to live there.
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  • Posted by $ Susanne 3 years, 4 months ago
    When your "income" has no self-earned value, than all income, all wealth, has no value... and if it has no value, one can not only NOT value it, but turn to crime as, in their deranged minds, none of it has value, so stealing isn't really stealing if what you're stealing is, in your mind, worthless, and the stuff purchased with said ill gotten gains are equally worthless. At least to them... I've seen people grow disreputable, dishonest, and lost any integrity they had right after getting "free money", whether it be from a lawsuit, a lottery winning, or an inheritance.

    There's a common phrase among a certain sub group of humanity - "Gotta keep your eyes on the prize"... not meant as a goal-centered driver of production, but a focus on scamming something for nothing.

    And when I hear it being used - my initial reaction (which I stifle) is to go slap their face, or sock them in the mouth. Seriously... THAT mentality is pure looterism, and it makes me seriously ill...

    How about, instead, "Universal Basic Work"... where you produce something of value, and in exchange get something of value for it? Wait... then the looters will take it as per paragraph (1) above...
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  • Posted by $ Temlakos 3 years, 4 months ago
    The argument is immaterial. Richard A. Cloward and Frances Fox Piven suggested you would get to that "universal basic income" through deliberate overloading of the welfare system. And that had nothing to do with displacement through automation.
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  • Posted by Owlsrayne 3 years, 4 months ago
    Nat Geo demonstrated UBI in their series Year Million. The premise is that AI will take over so many human industrial and service functions that as stated here there won't be any jobs. Though in the latest episode those people will be needed to colonize and mine the the solar system. Their series is interesting but still progressive bent. It is sad that Nat Geo has gone that way. I remember went they weren't bent in that direction.
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  • Posted by chad 3 years, 4 months ago
    Every time some new invention promises to eliminate the need for work someone has to build and supply that invention. Having farms automated and eliminating most of the farmers did not result in their deaths and destruction, it freed them up to invent and build new tools and products which improved the lives of everyone. If you all want a job eliminate all tools and devices and figure out how to grow your own crops, make your clothes, build your house. It will require all of your time and you will have far less.
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  • Posted by rbunce 3 years, 4 months ago
    It basically comes down to what your local criminal organizations have known forever. It's called protection money. At some point a bunch of people around with no jobs, no income... you are either going to have to eliminate them or pay them off.

    In at least some of the proposals ALL the Federal, State, and Local government social programs are eliminated... a hefty down payment on the cost. Of course how the money is found/created to pay for it is the big program issue. Broadest base and lowest rate or targeted taxes/fees. Keeping it simple on the programmatic side by just sending the check to everyone (have SS #s, Income Tax filers, people who take the time to sign up and maintain their eligibility, etc) and then let the tax/legal system claw back some amount of it based on social engineering desires seems doable.
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  • Posted by mspalding 3 years, 4 months ago
    50% of all the jobs available in the 70's do not exist today. On the other side, think of all the jobs that exist today that didn't exist 15 years ago: social media consultant, drone race promoter, virgin galactic pilot, etc. There will always be new things for people to pay other people to do. Automation just increases our productivity so eventually we can cover our basic expenses with one hour per week of work.
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    • Posted by term2 3 years, 4 months ago
      True enough. If it takes only an hour a week to "survive", people will just have a lot of time to party.

      Robots are the "new" slaves. The problem is just like with the "old" slaves- once they realize their own power, they no longer want to "serve" quietly. I think this is what the automation-fearing people are thinking of. When the robots decide they dont need us.
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  • Posted by $ WilliamShipley 3 years, 4 months ago
    There is a strongly held assumption that there will always be productive work for the majority of human beings. Why? Certainly it has been true in the past but automation has only tackled simple repetitive tasks.

    What happens when robots can do really complex tasks like clean hotel rooms. The day will come. And then what. In all probability by the end of this century -- and likely by the middle, robots will be able to do everything that 99% of the population can do. Maybe all of it. Cheaper.

    So what 'productive' work are is the average person going to find when machines can outperform them at almost everything.

    We have said "you must work to eat" because we need the labor to have to food. But what happens when that is no longer true?

    Don't tell me we will do more technical jobs. The ability to maintain these systems will probably be beyond human abilities.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 years, 4 months ago
    I have the same thought. The book Second Machine Age is about this. It talks about how technology is upending the labor market. That's true. Return on equity is increasing while cost of labor is decreasing. They propose a UBI as the solution to that.

    I say be aware that calls for socialist-like policies will increase because the cost of labor decreasing is a real thing. Politicians will be tempted to argue whatever policies they're initiating will cause this to change, but it won't. This leads to increase risk of socialism.

    The actual "solution", assuming we call this a "problem" is for people to use the technology to their advantage. Technology puts them out of a job, but now every kid, even in poor countries, can have a super computer in the form of an old phone or Raspberry-Pi-like device hoked up to an old TV. Every one has access to a world of amazing new tools.

    I don't know how it will play out. Leaps in technology, like the industrial revolution, can be painful. I'm concerned a coalition of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump supporters will say, "Feed me for showing up on time and turning a wrench. I don't care about the amazing new technologies and the wealth they create. I just want to go back to the good old days where we worked 9-5 and didn't have all this rapid change, new ideas, and these billionaire elites."
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    • Posted by term2 3 years, 4 months ago
      The tricky part is when we program the robots to learn on their own, fix themselves, and dont need us anymore. then they "revolt". It would be like teaching a friend everything you know about your job- then you find HE has the job and you dont
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      • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 years, 4 months ago
        That has been happening for a long time and will accelerate. Machines do things people used to do. Then the machine goes into the box of tools humankind can pull from to create more value.
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        • Posted by term2 3 years, 4 months ago
          But WE program them to do our bidding currently. What about when they have the ability to program themselves and learn on their own and fix themselves. of what use are we then? I agree its a ways off. Think about this- Sully landed the plane on the hudson, BUT he took 33 seconds to decide what to do, which eliminated the option of landing at several airports. If the computer through learning on its own had made the decision right away, it could have landed on one of two runways without damage. So no need for the pilot or a programmer at all. Autonomous cars and trucks could then need no drivers at all- etc. etc. What says there would be enough things that needed to be done, which would be done better and cheaper by humans?
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          • Posted by ewv 3 years, 4 months ago
            The source of things that need to be done is your requirements to live. That never goes away. If you have no job you can't afford the fantasy of robots taking care of you. Pursuit of values is still done by your own effort and trade.
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    • Posted by ewv 3 years, 4 months ago
      This isn't new, from Luddites to New Deal alphabet soup agency make-work projects. Socialist policies exploit any temporary fear of anything to push the agenda.
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