Author Topic: "The War on Normal People" - Andrew Yang  (Read 14126 times)

maizeman

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Re: "The War on Normal People" - Andrew Yang
« Reply #50 on: September 16, 2019, 11:11:46 AM »
But much of the problem, at least on the West Coast, is self inflicted. Housing is expensive because we make it extremely difficult and costly to build, so CA has a shortage of ~3.5 million housing units. A $15 min wage doesn't do much good if everyone is engaged in a competitive bidding process for scarce housing...benefits of higher average pay ultimately flow to landlords and, indirectly, homeowners. Rent control makes the situation worse, yet CA and OR are headed down this path. (Should also add that the trade wars also add to the problem.) UBI in the context of elite coastal cities would have the same problem: Too many people chasing too little housing, so the benefit would be absorbed by increasing rents.

TL;DR - UBI in some form (or elements of it) may be part of a necessary long-term change. But, there are more pressing issues we need to address first, such as building enough housing in job centers. This is a nuts-and-bolts kind of problem, not sexy, so politicians don't give it much attention.

Completely agreed on the issues in cities where the housing supply just isn't there and it is because of either legal or geographic barriers (Manhattan and SF have a mixture of both) rather than current rents being too low to make new construction economically viable.

One potential positive effect of a UBI is that it would make people with few economic resources more geographically mobile. Right now if you're poor in SF, you need money to be able to move* and you may also be dependent on informal support from friends and family (for example having grandmother watch the kids) which make it impossible to move somewhere you'd have more opportunities and pay dramatically lower rent. Americans are moving across state lines far less than they used to: https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2016/03/not-moving-to-opportunity.html

But that's definitely a 2nd or 3rd order effect of a UBI and the 1st order solution to the problem is to fix zoning and permitting (as well as rent laws) in this country.

*Moving expenses, first and last months rent, cost of traveling to the new location to find an apartment/job and/or cost of supporting yourself in new location without a paycheck while you low for a new job and permanent housing.

FINate

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Re: "The War on Normal People" - Andrew Yang
« Reply #51 on: September 16, 2019, 11:39:38 AM »
Completely agreed on the issues in cities where the housing supply just isn't there and it is because of either legal or geographic barriers (Manhattan and SF have a mixture of both) rather than current rents being too low to make new construction economically viable.

One potential positive effect of a UBI is that it would make people with few economic resources more geographically mobile. Right now if you're poor in SF, you need money to be able to move* and you may also be dependent on informal support from friends and family (for example having grandmother watch the kids) which make it impossible to move somewhere you'd have more opportunities and pay dramatically lower rent. Americans are moving across state lines far less than they used to: https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2016/03/not-moving-to-opportunity.html

But that's definitely a 2nd or 3rd order effect of a UBI and the 1st order solution to the problem is to fix zoning and permitting (as well as rent laws) in this country.

*Moving expenses, first and last months rent, cost of traveling to the new location to find an apartment/job and/or cost of supporting yourself in new location without a paycheck while you low for a new job and permanent housing.

Agree, mobility and giving people more options are good things. However, my starting assumption is that most poor people want to improve their lot in life, they want to work and climb the economic ladder for themselves and their children. Which means most will fight to stay where the jobs are located. And I worry about those who essentially end up as refugees in LCOL areas with low potential for advancement, and what this means for long term generational poverty. This could end up being bifurcation of society on steroids.

Classical_Liberal

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Re: "The War on Normal People" - Andrew Yang
« Reply #52 on: September 16, 2019, 11:54:00 AM »
Great conversation @maizeman & @FINate

Thinking off the top of my head...

So what if UBI weren't actually UBI.  Rather a program to incentivize people to act differently than the market may otherwise indicate. Like a behavioral central bank system that is utilized to both help the economic future of workers in downtrodden fields (think the former manufacturing blue collar class which is currently beaten down by globalization),  AND to level off the boom areas of the economy. 

Just using the current predicament as an example, some form of tax on the wealthy tech workers/companies in the Bay area that provides funds for several years to people willing to move from the bay area to more downtrodden areas in the Midwest.  Essentially a wealth transfer (as UBI would be), but one that is very targeted. One that benefits the bay area by reducing housing cost pressures, but also helps those impacted by the cost pressures, AND helps boost the local economies in the midwest suffering from economic losses from manufacturing. 

Obviously one downside is that anything like this would suffer from the potential for corruption.  It would also be difficult and/or costly to manage properly.

maizeman

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Re: "The War on Normal People" - Andrew Yang
« Reply #53 on: September 16, 2019, 12:53:39 PM »
Agree, mobility and giving people more options are good things. However, my starting assumption is that most poor people want to improve their lot in life, they want to work and climb the economic ladder for themselves and their children. Which means most will fight to stay where the jobs are located. And I worry about those who essentially end up as refugees in LCOL areas with low potential for advancement, and what this means for long term generational poverty. This could end up being bifurcation of society on steroids.

This is a good point. I guess the key difference in in our starting assumptions is that I'm beginning with the premise that moving away from places like SF/NYC is likely going to be a net positive for people with lower income/education. Once a person gets the boot of rent off of their neck it is a lot easier to invest in themselves and their children.

Obviously that will vary a lot depending on individual circumstances, but for people with school age children who cannot afford private education, access to relatively highly ranked public schools in a state like Illinois (#7), Virginia (#8), or Nebraska (#9) vs schools in states like New York (#25) or California (#37) is a big benefit.

The answer to where the jobs are also seems to vary depending on what types of jobs you are competing for. For people with advanced degrees in in-demand fields the data is quite clear that those folks are economically better off concentrating in the handful of cities that are winning in the most recent industrial revolution (San Francisco, Boston, New York City, DC, etc). However, the states those cities are in tend to have slightly higher overall unemployment rates that states (outside the South) where property values haven't gone quite as crazy. It may be easier for a person with only a high school diploma to it to find work and move up economically in a state like Iowa* than it is in a big economically vibrant but high rent city like San Francisco or NYC.

*Based on the last segment from this excellent Plant Money episode where they visited Ames, Iowa, the city with the then lowest unemployment rate anywhere in the country. https://www.npr.org/2019/05/31/728723289/episode-917-quit-threat

FINate

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Re: "The War on Normal People" - Andrew Yang
« Reply #54 on: September 16, 2019, 01:39:24 PM »
This is a good point. I guess the key difference in in our starting assumptions is that I'm beginning with the premise that moving away from places like SF/NYC is likely going to be a net positive for people with lower income/education. Once a person gets the boot of rent off of their neck it is a lot easier to invest in themselves and their children.

Obviously that will vary a lot depending on individual circumstances, but for people with school age children who cannot afford private education, access to relatively highly ranked public schools in a state like Illinois (#7), Virginia (#8), or Nebraska (#9) vs schools in states like New York (#25) or California (#37) is a big benefit.

The answer to where the jobs are also seems to vary depending on what types of jobs you are competing for. For people with advanced degrees in in-demand fields the data is quite clear that those folks are economically better off concentrating in the handful of cities that are winning in the most recent industrial revolution (San Francisco, Boston, New York City, DC, etc). However, the states those cities are in tend to have slightly higher overall unemployment rates that states (outside the South) where property values haven't gone quite as crazy. It may be easier for a person with only a high school diploma to it to find work and move up economically in a state like Iowa* than it is in a big economically vibrant but high rent city like San Francisco or NYC.

*Based on the last segment from this excellent Plant Money episode where they visited Ames, Iowa, the city with the then lowest unemployment rate anywhere in the country. https://www.npr.org/2019/05/31/728723289/episode-917-quit-threat

All good points. I don't mean to imply that growth and advancement can only occur in elite cities. That would be, well, elitist of me and actually think some of the HCOL areas are over-hyped. Certainly relocation + UBI would probably provide more opportunity to accumulate wealth. The infusion of cash into LCOL areas may actually reinvigorate these regions since people would have more disposable income.

maizeman

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Re: "The War on Normal People" - Andrew Yang
« Reply #55 on: September 16, 2019, 01:42:19 PM »
Well I should also admit that everything I've read looking at the economy overall DOES seem to be arguing one of the best thing we could do to stimulate more grow is build more housing in HCOL cities so that more people could move there and benefit economically. So I don't think you saying the same thing makes you at all elitist.

I just get a lot of enjoyment out of playing devil's advocate with the conventional wisdom.

PathtoFIRE

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Re: "The War on Normal People" - Andrew Yang
« Reply #56 on: September 16, 2019, 03:31:55 PM »
Sometimes I try to imagine what things that we take for granted today will be looked back on in 50 or 100 years with at least firm disapproval if not horror. I usually can't come up with much except animal cruelty, but I do think that single family zoning and related zoning issues in our large cities and metropolitan areas will be one of those things.

Regarding economically disadvantaged areas, one of the great side effects of the way the USA is set up, with a common currency and a (now) large degree of federal taxing authority, is that there is a natural tendency to see redistribution from richer states to poorer states. But I don't know how much of that you see within each state, would be interesting to see if there is research along those lines. I don't think we'd even need to institute a new UBI to increase this power, just increase social security, medicare, medicaid, and welfare payments would probably be easier. I also like at least the idea of liberalizing immigration contingent upon settling in economically needed areas, though admit that has some troublesome practical aspects.

I'm definitely sympathetic to the idea of starting a bunch of UBI experiments here to see if we can find something that works, but does anyone else feel like Yang's proposal to use campaign funds to give 10 families $1k/month for a year might backfire if it gives the whole idea a "publicity stunt" quality? I admit that for all that I've been hearing about UBI in the past few years, this is probably an idea that hasn't really spread beyond a relatively wealthy and high info-consuming group of people, so maybe something like this will push UBI out into the consciousness of the working and middle classes in a way that think pieces in mostly liberal "highbrow" publications can never accomplish, but still just feels a little off to me.

maizeman

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Re: "The War on Normal People" - Andrew Yang
« Reply #57 on: September 16, 2019, 04:30:43 PM »
I'm definitely sympathetic to the idea of starting a bunch of UBI experiments here to see if we can find something that works, but does anyone else feel like Yang's proposal to use campaign funds to give 10 families $1k/month for a year might backfire if it gives the whole idea a "publicity stunt" quality? I admit that for all that I've been hearing about UBI in the past few years, this is probably an idea that hasn't really spread beyond a relatively wealthy and high info-consuming group of people, so maybe something like this will push UBI out into the consciousness of the working and middle classes in a way that think pieces in mostly liberal "highbrow" publications can never accomplish, but still just feels a little off to me.

It felt a bit off to me as well, but I remind myself that you or I (people who have both heard about a UBI before and also know Yang is running) are not the target audience for things like this.

Like you, I am guessing the goal was to generate heat, light, and headlines so that people who have not heard of either will wonder "who is Andrew Yang?" or "What's the UBI thing people seem to be talking about?" Before the 3rd debate only about 40% of likely democratic primary voters (who consumer a lot more news and media than the average american) knew who Andrew Yang was well enough to form an opinion of him, whether positive or negative. With only a few months before the Iowa caucuses and only one more guaranteed debate performance, it may be a good trade off to come off as a bit gimmicky to people who have been following along the whole time to get the idea in front of more people who haven't seen it before.

... or you know the whole thing could crash and burn and salt the earth for UBI experiments for years to come. insert shrug emoji here

MustacheAndaHalf

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Re: "The War on Normal People" - Andrew Yang
« Reply #58 on: December 05, 2019, 07:01:36 AM »
Is it widely known that people who haven't looked for a job in 4 weeks are not considered unemployed?  They simply drop off the radar, and are no longer counted.
https://www.bls.gov/cps/cps_htgm.htm#unemployed

The St Louis Fed focuses on labor force participation of everyone from age 25 to 54, which is a more accurate measure.  It shows a dip after the 2008 crisis, and a turnaround after the summer of 2015.  We're not back to pre-crisis levels, but it's on the mend.
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/LNS11300060

MustacheAndaHalf

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Re: "The War on Normal People" - Andrew Yang
« Reply #59 on: December 05, 2019, 07:19:48 AM »
In Andrew Yang's book (and in interviews), he talks about 3+ million truckers losing their long haul routes to automation.  AI is being tested that will drive across the middle of the country, with truckers only taking over the tricky part near cities at the start and end of cross-country routes.

I think he makes two key points that most people don't know:
(1) AI taking over jobs is coming sooner than most people think, with significant job losses in the next 5-10 years.
(2) Government programs to retain people are terrible, having only a 0% to 15% success rate.

maizeman

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Re: "The War on Normal People" - Andrew Yang
« Reply #60 on: December 05, 2019, 07:22:45 AM »
I think the second point is perhaps the most important.

A lot of people dismiss the effects of automation/AI by saying that new jobs will be created even as old ones are destroyed. That logic may or may not hold up, but even if new jobs are created, a key point Andrew Yang makes is that all our experience shows trying to retrain 50 year old truck drivers to be robotic servicing technicians (or what have you) is an effort that is destined to fail for most people.

dougules

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Re: "The War on Normal People" - Andrew Yang
« Reply #61 on: December 05, 2019, 11:22:37 AM »
I think the second point is perhaps the most important.

A lot of people dismiss the effects of automation/AI by saying that new jobs will be created even as old ones are destroyed. That logic may or may not hold up, but even if new jobs are created, a key point Andrew Yang makes is that all our experience shows trying to retrain 50 year old truck drivers to be robotic servicing technicians (or what have you) is an effort that is destined to fail for most people.

Automation has been happening since the start of the industrial revolution, so we already have a lot of history on what to expect.  The economy seems to always be better than expected at shifting people around to new jobs in unexpected ways, but the shifts have been painful for a lot of people.  Take a look around places like Kimball NE or Youngstown OH to get an idea.  I doubt the rise of AI will be fundamentally different from what's already been happening, but it will probably be at a faster pace which would make trying to keep up even more painful.  It also lends itself even more towards a winner-take-all economy, think Carnegie and Rockefeller.

maizeman

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Re: "The War on Normal People" - Andrew Yang
« Reply #62 on: December 05, 2019, 12:52:15 PM »
The argument that "this time it's different" is that previous advances in automation were replacing physical labor and created more intellectually challenging jobs with lower physical labor requirements, while the current advances in automation are replacing intellectual labor.

There are two reasons this is of concern:

1) There was a very nice analogy -- which I cannot take credit for, first saw it proposed in a CP Gray video -- is that, until the 1900s advances in technology created more and more jobs for horses. Then in about 1915, automation replaced almost all the types of work we needed horses for. The horse population in the USA peaked at the start of the 20th century, and the most of the horses in the USA today are essentially pets, not working animals.

2) At each major transition in the past (from subsistence agriculture to manufacturing work from manufacturing work to office work) there were more people who didn't have the right set of skills and abilities to make the transition. It's just that the threshold started very far down the bell curve. A person like Lennie Small from of Mice and Men can just as contribute significantly to a lot of manual agricultural labor, but put him in a factory and he'll be at a much bigger disadvantage. A person who struggled a lot with math and writing in school can do just as good a job working on an assembly line than someone who excelled in those subjects, but put them in an office trying to write marketing copy or assemble and make sense of quarterly projections, and the first person is at a big disadvantage. So automation and AI will doubtless create lots of new jobs, but it's also starting to bite into fatter and fatter parts of the bell curve in terms of which people won't be competitive for the kinds of new jobs that are being created as old ones are displaced.*

*I certainly wouldn't be at all competitive for the types of new jobs being created by AI/automation in my industry. Very glad to have already hit my minimum FI number.

dougules

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Re: "The War on Normal People" - Andrew Yang
« Reply #63 on: December 06, 2019, 10:31:19 AM »
The argument that "this time it's different" is that previous advances in automation were replacing physical labor and created more intellectually challenging jobs with lower physical labor requirements, while the current advances in automation are replacing intellectual labor.

There are two reasons this is of concern:

1) There was a very nice analogy -- which I cannot take credit for, first saw it proposed in a CP Gray video -- is that, until the 1900s advances in technology created more and more jobs for horses. Then in about 1915, automation replaced almost all the types of work we needed horses for. The horse population in the USA peaked at the start of the 20th century, and the most of the horses in the USA today are essentially pets, not working animals.

2) At each major transition in the past (from subsistence agriculture to manufacturing work from manufacturing work to office work) there were more people who didn't have the right set of skills and abilities to make the transition. It's just that the threshold started very far down the bell curve. A person like Lennie Small from of Mice and Men can just as contribute significantly to a lot of manual agricultural labor, but put him in a factory and he'll be at a much bigger disadvantage. A person who struggled a lot with math and writing in school can do just as good a job working on an assembly line than someone who excelled in those subjects, but put them in an office trying to write marketing copy or assemble and make sense of quarterly projections, and the first person is at a big disadvantage. So automation and AI will doubtless create lots of new jobs, but it's also starting to bite into fatter and fatter parts of the bell curve in terms of which people won't be competitive for the kinds of new jobs that are being created as old ones are displaced.*

*I certainly wouldn't be at all competitive for the types of new jobs being created by AI/automation in my industry. Very glad to have already hit my minimum FI number.

I don't know that the horse analogy quite works given that the number of horses bred is going to match the need for them the same as if they were trucks.   With people it's generally a game of matching the number of jobs to the number of people and not vice versa like with horses.  When people's skills become useless those people will have to find some other kind of job barring any major changes to our economic system. 

The more AI replaces human labor the more the winners will have enormous amounts of wealth.  They will spend it somewhere.  There will be plenty of money for artisanal and hand-made products, personal services, art, entertainment content, and anything else that involves creativity or a human touch.  Even when AI is eventually capable of creativity, people with enormous wealth will likely still put a premium on services or artisanal products with a human touch. 

It may sound like I'm painting some kind of rosy picture, but I'm not.  I completely agree with your second point.  There will be so many people who will be left behind in an economy like that.  If you're not very creative or good at customer service you will probably be extremely marginalized.  There will be really big winners, but there's also a good chance there will be really big losers. 

The truth, though, is that I see all of this already happening.  Replace all the "will be"-s in what I said with "are"-s.  I think it will intensify a lot, but we already have a pretty good preview of what's likely to come.   

maizeman

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Re: "The War on Normal People" - Andrew Yang
« Reply #64 on: December 06, 2019, 11:05:38 AM »
Agreed, it doesn't sound like we're not too far apart. I completely agree with you that we can already see the effects of a shift towards greater concentration of wealth and more people being left behind.

The only point where I would mostly disagree if when you say:

The more AI replaces human labor the more the winners will have enormous amounts of wealth.  They will spend it somewhere.  There will be plenty of money for artisanal and hand-made products, personal services, art, entertainment content, and anything else that involves creativity or a human touch.  Even when AI is eventually capable of creativity, people with enormous wealth will likely still put a premium on services or artisanal products with a human touch. 

I think there will certainly be some of this, but I also suspect that the appeal of the "human touch" may decline with time. Right now handmade and artisan goods are status symbols in part because most people cannot afford them. But the standards people judge themselves against are usually the people they interact with on a day to day basis, not society as a whole. As we start to see a greater separation in society and the rich mostly interact with other rich folks (and this is definitely also an "is happening" not a "will happen"), I think the status value of handmade goods will decline, because among the social circles of folks who continue to be economic winners, the cost of these goods will decline in both relative terms -- the folks who still have money will have more and more money -- and absolute terms -- as more folks cannot get other jobs, they will be and more willing to work for less and less.

You already see this to some extent in the difference in status value between a handmade good produced here in the US (less affordable and hence higher status) and an equivalent handmade good produced elsewhere in the world where labor is cheaper like southeast asia (more affordable and hence lower status).

A guy I went to college with -- not a friend, he was really kind of a jerk -- once met Peter Thiel and was incredibly impressed that Thiel's assistants were highly educated women with graduate degrees doing menial work. My guess was that even though the degree wasn't needed this was again a way of status signally. At Thiel's level of wealth anyone could afford to have lots of assistants/personal staff so at a certain point just having a bigger entourage wasn't effective for signaling. Instead he was finding a way to get more expensive staff drawn from a smaller pool of potential workers.

Anyway, I have no hard data on any of this stuff, just my handwaving and opinion, so take it for what it is worth. 

BECABECA

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Re: "The War on Normal People" - Andrew Yang
« Reply #65 on: December 06, 2019, 11:37:49 AM »
However I'm also conscious of the fact that it's easy to find an argument compelling when you are already convinced about the underlying premise going it. It's a much harder lift to convince someone who goes in either having not thought about the topic before or holding an actively contrary view. And even I thought the title wasn't great and rather misleading/off putting. I'd be curious if anyone else has read the same book and, if you did, whether you found the argument for what is in the process of going wrong (independent of his proposed solution) convincing, unconvincing, or if you identified a fatal flaw in the reasoning.

I saw this thread yesterday, was intrigued about the prospect of changing my mind, and Iíve now listened to the entire audiobook (Yang made it available on YouTube, so you can listen to the whole thing right now for free, which I think was a really smart step for getting this info out there: hereís the YouTube link I got from the bookís Wikipedia page: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MC25cPvp4zg )

I went into this book with a generally unfavorable view of Yang: Iíve been watching the democratic debates and he and Gabbard are the only ones that have still refused to sign the Indivisible pledge that they will respect the outcome of the primary process and support the eventual nominee and not run as a third party candidate. I also viewed his $1000 a month UBI sweepstakes as a publicity stunt.

I also went into this book with a generally skeptical view towards UBI, as I thought people would just adapt: workers from displaced industries would retrain into newly needed maintenance industries, young people would complete higher education and our workforce would shift to be more skilled. Yes, some people would get left behind, but they would form tighter bonds with family and community (by providing elder care, child care, home maintenance) so that they could be financially supported by the fewer people who were relevant to the job market.

So here I am, a day later and I am surprised to say that I now have a completely different opinion on this issue. The book provided compelling reasoning for why my original opinions were incorrect, breaking down the conclusions by addressing each underlying assumption with data. Iím an engineer, so the logic in the book really spoke to me. I would be very interested to see how someone who also was skeptical going in but has a non science background would receive it.

It really was such a well thought through book from start to finish. And this is random, but I loved the idea of time banks when I heard about them a little while ago, and I love that his vision for society ties that in.

PathtoFIRE

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Re: "The War on Normal People" - Andrew Yang
« Reply #66 on: December 06, 2019, 11:57:40 AM »
I went into this book with a generally unfavorable view of Yang: Iíve been watching the democratic debates and he and Gabbard are the only ones that have still refused to sign the Indivisible pledge that they will respect the outcome of the primary process and support the eventual nominee and not run as a third party candidate. I also viewed his $1000 a month UBI sweepstakes as a publicity stunt.

I didn't know there was such a pledge, that makes me really upset that they've refused to do that! I mean, if you'd told me there was such a pledge, Gabbard would have been one of the first guess I would make on who wouldn't sign, but seriously this election is no joke. This is the kind of pledge where, if you had to renege because something truly awful was happening with the Democratic candidate, I don't think many would call you out or care, so it's not like it's a suicide pact or something. So why wouldn't you sign it? I guess I could look, but have the 2 (!) recent entry billionaires agreed to the pledge?

BECABECA

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Re: "The War on Normal People" - Andrew Yang
« Reply #67 on: December 06, 2019, 12:18:18 PM »
I went into this book with a generally unfavorable view of Yang: Iíve been watching the democratic debates and he and Gabbard are the only ones that have still refused to sign the Indivisible pledge that they will respect the outcome of the primary process and support the eventual nominee and not run as a third party candidate. I also viewed his $1000 a month UBI sweepstakes as a publicity stunt.

I didn't know there was such a pledge, that makes me really upset that they've refused to do that! I mean, if you'd told me there was such a pledge, Gabbard would have been one of the first guess I would make on who wouldn't sign, but seriously this election is no joke. This is the kind of pledge where, if you had to renege because something truly awful was happening with the Democratic candidate, I don't think many would call you out or care, so it's not like it's a suicide pact or something. So why wouldn't you sign it? I guess I could look, but have the 2 (!) recent entry billionaires agreed to the pledge?
Hereís the link to the pledge, scroll to the bottom to see who has and hasnít pledged. I think the latest billionaire to join the race isnít on there yet. Iíve only been following the candidates who make it to the debates.
https://pledge.indivisible.org/

maizeman

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Re: "The War on Normal People" - Andrew Yang
« Reply #68 on: December 06, 2019, 12:32:14 PM »
I went into this book with a generally unfavorable view of Yang: Iíve been watching the democratic debates and he and Gabbard are the only ones that have still refused to sign the Indivisible pledge that they will respect the outcome of the primary process and support the eventual nominee and not run as a third party candidate. I also viewed his $1000 a month UBI sweepstakes as a publicity stunt.

I didn't know there was such a pledge, that makes me really upset that they've refused to do that!

I didn't know about the pledge, but Yang has been very explicit that he will not run as a third party candidate and will support whoever the democratic nominee is.

Quote
ďYes, I would never do anything that would increase the chances of Donald Trump becoming president,Ē Yang said at a Washington Post Live event when asked if heíd pledge to support the Democratic nominee. ďThe goal is to beat that man, get him out of the Oval Office!Ē

ďI genuinely believe Iím the strongest candidate to defeat Trump in the general election,Ē he continued. ďBut if Iím not the nominee, I would 100% support whoever the nominee is.Ē

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/andrew-yang-third-party-independent-democrat_n_5dae4945e4b08cfcc320d182
« Last Edit: December 06, 2019, 12:37:45 PM by maizeman »

maizeman

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Re: "The War on Normal People" - Andrew Yang
« Reply #69 on: December 06, 2019, 12:35:53 PM »
However I'm also conscious of the fact that it's easy to find an argument compelling when you are already convinced about the underlying premise going it. It's a much harder lift to convince someone who goes in either having not thought about the topic before or holding an actively contrary view. And even I thought the title wasn't great and rather misleading/off putting. I'd be curious if anyone else has read the same book and, if you did, whether you found the argument for what is in the process of going wrong (independent of his proposed solution) convincing, unconvincing, or if you identified a fatal flaw in the reasoning.

I saw this thread yesterday, was intrigued about the prospect of changing my mind, and Iíve now listened to the entire audiobook (Yang made it available on YouTube, so you can listen to the whole thing right now for free, which I think was a really smart step for getting this info out there: hereís the YouTube link I got from the bookís Wikipedia page: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MC25cPvp4zg )

I went into this book with a generally unfavorable view of Yang: Iíve been watching the democratic debates and he and Gabbard are the only ones that have still refused to sign the Indivisible pledge that they will respect the outcome of the primary process and support the eventual nominee and not run as a third party candidate. I also viewed his $1000 a month UBI sweepstakes as a publicity stunt.

I also went into this book with a generally skeptical view towards UBI, as I thought people would just adapt: workers from displaced industries would retrain into newly needed maintenance industries, young people would complete higher education and our workforce would shift to be more skilled. Yes, some people would get left behind, but they would form tighter bonds with family and community (by providing elder care, child care, home maintenance) so that they could be financially supported by the fewer people who were relevant to the job market.

So here I am, a day later and I am surprised to say that I now have a completely different opinion on this issue. The book provided compelling reasoning for why my original opinions were incorrect, breaking down the conclusions by addressing each underlying assumption with data. Iím an engineer, so the logic in the book really spoke to me. I would be very interested to see how someone who also was skeptical going in but has a non science background would receive it.

It really was such a well thought through book from start to finish. And this is random, but I loved the idea of time banks when I heard about them a little while ago, and I love that his vision for society ties that in.

This is an awesome report, and exactly the sort of perspective I could not get for myself.

Thank you for both being willing to read the book starting with a generally negative opinion of Yang and for posting your thoughts @BECABECA!

I agree it would be interesting to know if the way the book is written works particularly well for people with engineering/scientific/other systematic thinking training.

BECABECA

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Re: "The War on Normal People" - Andrew Yang
« Reply #70 on: December 06, 2019, 01:18:06 PM »
I went into this book with a generally unfavorable view of Yang: Iíve been watching the democratic debates and he and Gabbard are the only ones that have still refused to sign the Indivisible pledge that they will respect the outcome of the primary process and support the eventual nominee and not run as a third party candidate. I also viewed his $1000 a month UBI sweepstakes as a publicity stunt.

I didn't know there was such a pledge, that makes me really upset that they've refused to do that!

I didn't know about the pledge, but Yang has been very explicit that he will not run as a third party candidate and will support whoever the democratic nominee is.

Quote
ďYes, I would never do anything that would increase the chances of Donald Trump becoming president,Ē Yang said at a Washington Post Live event when asked if heíd pledge to support the Democratic nominee. ďThe goal is to beat that man, get him out of the Oval Office!Ē

ďI genuinely believe Iím the strongest candidate to defeat Trump in the general election,Ē he continued. ďBut if Iím not the nominee, I would 100% support whoever the nominee is.Ē

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/andrew-yang-third-party-independent-democrat_n_5dae4945e4b08cfcc320d182
If thatís his position, then he absolutely should sign on to the pledge. The Indivisible group is a huge grassroots network of thousands of local activist groups and by not explicitly signing, he is forfeiting the potential support of some of the most motivated progressive voters. I will tweet at him now that Iíve read his book and ask him to make his pledge explicit. In my house district in Orange County, the democratic primary candidate that got the endorsement of the local Indivisible group beat the democratic primary candidate who got the endorsement of the CA Democratic Party. I wouldnít be surprised if forgoing this pledge is part of the reason his polling numbers havenít qualified him for the next debate.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2019, 01:27:39 PM by BECABECA »

BECABECA

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Re: "The War on Normal People" - Andrew Yang
« Reply #71 on: December 06, 2019, 01:25:09 PM »
However I'm also conscious of the fact that it's easy to find an argument compelling when you are already convinced about the underlying premise going it. It's a much harder lift to convince someone who goes in either having not thought about the topic before or holding an actively contrary view. And even I thought the title wasn't great and rather misleading/off putting. I'd be curious if anyone else has read the same book and, if you did, whether you found the argument for what is in the process of going wrong (independent of his proposed solution) convincing, unconvincing, or if you identified a fatal flaw in the reasoning.

I saw this thread yesterday, was intrigued about the prospect of changing my mind, and Iíve now listened to the entire audiobook (Yang made it available on YouTube, so you can listen to the whole thing right now for free, which I think was a really smart step for getting this info out there: hereís the YouTube link I got from the bookís Wikipedia page: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MC25cPvp4zg )

I went into this book with a generally unfavorable view of Yang: Iíve been watching the democratic debates and he and Gabbard are the only ones that have still refused to sign the Indivisible pledge that they will respect the outcome of the primary process and support the eventual nominee and not run as a third party candidate. I also viewed his $1000 a month UBI sweepstakes as a publicity stunt.

I also went into this book with a generally skeptical view towards UBI, as I thought people would just adapt: workers from displaced industries would retrain into newly needed maintenance industries, young people would complete higher education and our workforce would shift to be more skilled. Yes, some people would get left behind, but they would form tighter bonds with family and community (by providing elder care, child care, home maintenance) so that they could be financially supported by the fewer people who were relevant to the job market.

So here I am, a day later and I am surprised to say that I now have a completely different opinion on this issue. The book provided compelling reasoning for why my original opinions were incorrect, breaking down the conclusions by addressing each underlying assumption with data. Iím an engineer, so the logic in the book really spoke to me. I would be very interested to see how someone who also was skeptical going in but has a non science background would receive it.

It really was such a well thought through book from start to finish. And this is random, but I loved the idea of time banks when I heard about them a little while ago, and I love that his vision for society ties that in.

This is an awesome report, and exactly the sort of perspective I could not get for myself.

Thank you for both being willing to read the book starting with a generally negative opinion of Yang and for posting your thoughts @BECABECA!

I agree it would be interesting to know if the way the book is written works particularly well for people with engineering/scientific/other systematic thinking training.
Iíll try to see if I can get my brother or sister to read it. Neither have science backgrounds. I doubt I can get them to, but Iíll report back if somehow they do!

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Re: "The War on Normal People" - Andrew Yang
« Reply #72 on: December 22, 2019, 06:54:17 AM »
I think we'll see more self-driving truck demos as time goes on, like the recent delivery of butter by a robot truck.  Most news media covering this story lack nuance, while this article points out the ways companies can cheat to claim an AI drove a certain distance.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/lanceeliot/2019/12/16/lets-not-butter-up-those-self-driving-truck-highway-stunts/#4ca4a00223d5

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Re: "The War on Normal People" - Andrew Yang
« Reply #73 on: December 22, 2019, 07:06:15 PM »
Just a little question about the consequences of the stock market breaking down completely. Given that this happens, would our money be safe in a savings account or in bonds? Or will the break down as well.

For just about everyone, you're insured up to $250k per account, so yes. Though there may be a delay in getting funds if a bank actually goes out of business, but I figure the delay will not be a great one.

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Re: "The War on Normal People" - Andrew Yang
« Reply #74 on: January 11, 2020, 05:49:49 AM »
I heard that Andrew Yang won't make the cut for the next debate, which would be a pity.  The scope of the debates keeps getting narrower as the field gets narrower.

One key element of Yang's "The War On Normal People" is that the job losses happen soon, and close together.  But maybe AI won't be adopted that quickly.  In an unrelated book, "Crossing the Chasm", the chasm was the gap between people who adopt new technology immediately, and the majority of people who wait until they see a compelling case for it.  With AI-driven trucks, there may be quick adoption of some trucks by some companies, followed by a "wait and see" period for other purchases.  It may take awhile before job losses amount to much.

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Re: "The War on Normal People" - Andrew Yang
« Reply #75 on: January 11, 2020, 11:46:36 AM »
I heard that Andrew Yang won't make the cut for the next debate, which would be a pity.  The scope of the debates keeps getting narrower as the field gets narrower.

One key element of Yang's "The War On Normal People" is that the job losses happen soon, and close together.  But maybe AI won't be adopted that quickly.  In an unrelated book, "Crossing the Chasm", the chasm was the gap between people who adopt new technology immediately, and the majority of people who wait until they see a compelling case for it.  With AI-driven trucks, there may be quick adoption of some trucks by some companies, followed by a "wait and see" period for other purchases.  It may take awhile before job losses amount to much.

But I think that when some transport companies get all the work because they are much cheaper, the hesitators must follow or go bankrupt.
If they on the other hand would have to pay a robot tax to finance the UBI, companies with real people working might stay competitive.
Somehow I think companies prefer machines over people, as machines can't get sick and are productive 24 hours a day.

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Re: "The War on Normal People" - Andrew Yang
« Reply #76 on: January 13, 2020, 11:06:26 AM »
I heard that Andrew Yang won't make the cut for the next debate, which would be a pity.  The scope of the debates keeps getting narrower as the field gets narrower.

One key element of Yang's "The War On Normal People" is that the job losses happen soon, and close together.  But maybe AI won't be adopted that quickly.  In an unrelated book, "Crossing the Chasm", the chasm was the gap between people who adopt new technology immediately, and the majority of people who wait until they see a compelling case for it.  With AI-driven trucks, there may be quick adoption of some trucks by some companies, followed by a "wait and see" period for other purchases.  It may take awhile before job losses amount to much.

Gradual adoption may actually be worse.  If AI just replaced all workers tomorrow it would be glaringly obvious that we needed to adjust.  A gradual creep makes it harder to see what's happening.  It's like the proverbial frog in the pot.