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Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by nwdiver, Nov 4, 2016.
I guess the irony of the statement flew right by you
This author thinks the only way that we will ever get rid of inequality is total war.
A Dilemma for Humanity: Stark Inequality or Total War
The concentrated power of corporations overtaking the power of democratic and people's institutions is pretty much the natural progression of capitalism. It's not just corporations killing democracy -- it's capitalism. Over the last ~40 years the governments of the world (both the right and left) have been engaged in a giant economic transition (hand in hand with global capital) that involves primarily: deregulation, privatization and free trade. This serves to increase the power of capital and decrease the relevance of the state and individuals. Capitalism cannot progress with government or people's movements in the way, so it naturally tends toward the neo-liberal model of deregulation, privatization and free trade.
Funding a basic income would establish some base level of regulation that would provide the state and individuals some level of control over capitalism/corporations. In that sense, a basic income rejects the tenants of unimpeded, deregulated, privatized, late capitalism. Basic income can be seen as more than a simple social fix, and as something that addresses the root of the problem -- capitalism. No doubt a basic income would be very difficult to establish. If established, it would be a constant battle, as capitalism always tries to deregulate itself, and fully-deregulated capitalism, and the concentration of power that entails, resembles something like fascism (as noted in that Monbiot article).
Another obstacle is this: Our current capital-driven democracy has proven slow to address long term issues (e.g., global warming caused by carbon emissions, and impending threat we are discussing here). For issues like permanent structural unemployment, we are most likely to deny it until there is violence in the streets, and then the last impulse will be to give the hungry mob money. The first impulse will be to build walls.
Somehow we have to return to an earlier version of capitalist democracy where long term > 4 quarters in business and 4 years in politics, corporations feel a societal obligation, and government addresses both short and long term issues. Or else we need a visionary, benevolent dictator.
I think it may help to reset the conversation by thinking about First Principles.
The post above referring to the UN Declaration of Human Rights is sort of along these lines. We need to ask: "What kind of society do we want?" and then look at whether a Basic Income policy could be an effective tool in achieving that goal.
Personally, I am in favor of a society that allows people to reach their fullest potential in a way that benefits themselves and the community. I see a lot of potential wasted because people, particularly children, have to expend considerable mental resources in order to just survive. They never reach the breakout point where they have extra resources to devote towards bettering themselves. Some stress is necessary and good. Too much life stress can destroy someone.
It is not much different than sports training. One must stimulate the body to develop the proper muscles and cardiovascular capacity. Over-training and lack of medical oversight will lead to injuries that could end a career.
My guess is that a Basic Income alone would not be sufficient to optimize prospects for everyone. Money alone does not address things like local crime, poor schools, and cultural problems (such as sexism or aversion to education).
What if jobs are not the solution but the problem? | Aeon Essays
An essay on the future of work. Rather long, but also has a audio version you can listen to.
Worth a read/listen.
Sorry... your services are no longer required... here's a stipend... go live your life as you see fit. Our current paradigm is going to cause more and more suffering until we shift... there will only be fewer and fewer jobs... and more people in need of one.
NY Times on Finland's experiment with universal basic income:
A Basic Minimum Income that's based on government transferring income from one group to another just isn't politically stable. It doesn't reflect many people's idea of fairness.
However, that isn't necessary to making sure everyone in a society has a decent income. In fact it's quite compatible with low tax pretty libertarian systems.
What's needed is a similar system that instead of transferring wealth recognizes that every citizen has fundamental rights to a share of the existing commons that they've been systematically denied by how property titles and rules have worked.
This view is called a Citizen's Dividend and it shares roots with the idea of basic guaranteed income ...but approaches things differently. Rather than starting with an arbitrary number that's a guaranteed income it starts with giving out equal shares of wealth that people can understand ought to belong to everyone.
Start with Carbon fees. Using the atmosphere that belongs to everyone to dump as much carbon as you want should not be free. If you pay an appropriate fee who should it go to? Everyone. Every citizen in equal shares.
What about fees for electromagnetic spectrum use? Intellectual property rights in part belong to everyone equally as equal inheritors of the legacy of past human work they build on. There are a lot of categories of "Land" that can gradually be legally reformed to pay an appropriate share to the commons that's distributed equally to all citizens.
Eventually this Dividend can be quite enough to provide a guaranteed income to everyone. It's a share paid to the rich as well as poor. It's not means tested. It's not charity. It's not welfare. It's not a transfer payment. It's the share of the commons that every citizen has a right to. This is a lot more politically stable.
Over time a Citizen Dividend CD would displace a lot of existing social programs that are tax funded. It would displace welfare programs organically by just making everyone's income too high to qualify. It doesn't require anything else be changed until it's simply no longer needed.
This has roots in the 19th century Georgist movement and before that essays by Thomas Paine and others.
Georgism - Wikipedia
iPhone manufacturer Foxconn plans to replace almost every human worker with a robot.
Well... at least they can take down the suicide nets....
A version of this was actually tried in British Columbia around 1979 in the British Columbia Resource Investment Corporation. Every resident of BC was sent a certain amount of shares (I recall five but maybe it was fifteen). Unfortunately, many of the companies--mostly mining and logging--purchased went bankrupt and the stocks became practically worthless (less than one tenth of a cent). Eventually they were purchased back by the government at fifty cents or so (down from the $14 or $15 opening value). It failed the basic premise of providing a small dividend income to every British Columbian.
Finland is about to try this:
Finland just launched an experiment giving 2,000 people free money until 2019
And this will bring manufacturing back to the United States just like Tesla has done. Although not exactly what Trumpkins had in mind.
We are woefully unprepared for the challenges ahead... the 'good' news is that this challenge is ~90% physiological/cultural.... of course.... that could be really bad too....
Jobs are for machines. Life is for people.
No nation is yet ready for the changes ahead. High labor force non-participation leads to social instability, and a lack of consumers within consumer economies leads to economic instability.
To paraphrase Will Rogers, reducing work hours to 10 hours a week still won't make folk happy. They would rather do what they've always done. Work only when the boss is looking.
You're completely missing the point... a universal income has absolutely nothing to do with making people happy. It's structural.
You're completely missing why Will Rogers was one of the greatest humorists of all time.
Some of his many gems:
Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.
I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat.
Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.
Ah... it was satire? Well... there's nothing more amusing than the specter of a self-inflicted wound so severe it causes an economic calamity because ideologues are too stubborn to see reality through their own BS.
We were told these new supercomputers would put over 25% of workers in the unemployment line in 5 years, eventually eliminate paper, and make brick and mortar schools obsolete.
A cellphone today is more powerful than the 1975 Cray-1 by over 1,000 times, when imminent doom was spelled out. There were many robots in the factories, and we were going to travel in flying cars very soon. I used to write post-processors for factory robots in a previous life, so I guess I worked for SkyNet.
So excuse me if I do not fall for the same silliness that has been going on since the invention of the motorized loom.
The punchline is, the next generation will say the exact same thing you are saying. And so will their grandkids. It's been going on for hundreds of years.