Poll

What is your opinion on UBI based on political leanings?

Economically liberal/in favor of UBI
53 (37.1%)
Economically conservative or libertarian/in favor of UBI
42 (29.4%)
Economically liberal/not in favor of UBI
11 (7.7%)
Economically conservative or libertarian/not in favor of UBI
33 (23.1%)
Other (post below)
4 (2.8%)

Total Members Voted: 143

Author Topic: Can We Achieve Universal FI?  (Read 22893 times)

Libertea

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 363
  • Age: 42
  • Location: USA
Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« on: October 20, 2016, 02:00:47 AM »
I am curious if any of you are knowledgeable about the negative income tax/minimum guaranteed income proposals as a method of promoting universal FI for all people.  Interestingly, the proponents of this idea stem from both ultra left like Robert Reich as well as ultra right like Milton Friedman.  The basic idea is that all citizens would be granted a certain yearly income for subsistence, and work would become optional.  Obviously the devil is in the details, and there are a variety of funding proposals for accomplishing this goal.  Some real world examples include Alaska's Permanent Fund (which sends a check from oil royalties to every state resident each year) and the Swiss Basic Income Referendum (which was just rejected a few months ago).

I have to confess that the idea of enabling all people to achieve FI does excite and entice me.  While it's all well and good for us to be working to achieve FI on our own as individuals or as families, the fact remains that the majority of people will not be in a position to ever reach FI by their own efforts, due to a mixture of personal and systemic factors.  But what if we decided as a country to buy everyone a certain number of shares of VT (Vanguard Total World ETF) every year, starting at birth?  Even if we just did this for minors, the goal would be that by young adulthood, EVERYONE could realistically achieve FI and be able to have a minimum level of subsistence income, with the option to work beyond that for additional money or for personal fulfillment, as they chose.

Edited to add link to article explaining the libertarian argument in favor of UBI: https://www.libertarianism.org/columns/why-did-hayek-support-basic-income
« Last Edit: February 06, 2017, 06:56:36 AM by Libertea »

Norioch

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 111
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2016, 04:25:09 AM »
Long term view: assuming humanity does not destroy itself via war, finds a solution to climate change (which at this point looks like it will probably require ugly geoengineering), successfully transitions to an economy based entirely on renewable energy to avoid catastrophic resource depletion, and gets global population to stabilize at a sustainable level... in other words, if we survive and solve all existential threats without reverting to a post-industrial stone age...

Then, it seems inevitable that technology will continue to improve, and automation and artificial intelligence will eventually make nearly all work obsolete. This could either result in a dystopia where most of humanity lives in poverty due to lack of available work, or a post-scarcity utopia where universal income is the norm. I'm rooting for the post-scarcity utopia.


Libertea

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 363
  • Age: 42
  • Location: USA
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2016, 03:40:44 PM »

ketchup

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2845
  • Age: 26
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2016, 03:55:15 PM »
Money doesn't exist in the 24th century.

Libertea

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 363
  • Age: 42
  • Location: USA
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2016, 04:04:40 PM »
Money doesn't exist in the 24th century.
Would be awesome if true (assuming a Star Trek-like universe where money had become obsolete and everyone who worked did so solely for the love of their vocation).  Unfortunately, none of us will be around to find out if Gene Roddenberry was right. :-p

Shor

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 481
  • Location: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2016, 04:05:10 PM »
Money doesn't exist in the 24th century.
Because the last vestiges of humanity are roaming the desert wasteland and will only barter in ammo and gasoline?
Or is the world populated with cute little Wall-E robots, working away to pile up the trash we'd long left behind..
« Last Edit: October 24, 2016, 01:06:51 PM by Shor »

Financial.Velociraptor

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1030
  • Age: 45
  • Location: Houston TX
  • Devour your prey raptors!
    • Financial Velociraptor
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2016, 05:54:01 PM »
Something fairly close already exists in Norway.  Locals refer to the practice of NAVing (after the NAV social welfare system).  There are thousands of young people who have elected to drop out of the workforce and live entirely off their NAV benefits.  You have to know how to work the system and you live a very modest lifestyle but it can be done.  Quality of life in Norway is generally very high but you have high prices and high taxes.

There was a recent advisory vote put to the public in Switzerland for UBI.  It was non binding and narrowly failed.  It had early support but as the election drew near, right leaning groups opposed a new handout while left leaning groups opposed the dismantling of existing social welfare systems. 

Back in my economics (undergrad) days the topic was kind of taboo.  The closest we got to a serious discussion was in a labor economics class when reviewing the SIME/DIME study.  Basically, there is evidence that is considered academically strong that if you pay people not to work...some of them will stop working...   Duh, right?

My personal opinion is that it is a matter of 'when' rather than 'if'.  There is an automation revolution afoot.  Roughly 10% of the US population is employed as some kind of driver.  Technology could put them all out of work.  There is already less need for legal professionals due to advanced software.  There is talk that the traditional primary care physicians can largely be replaced by machines that evaluate symptoms A, B, C and prescribe X, Y, Z.  In Japan, robots cook the Ramen soup in some places.  Burger flipping robots can not be far behind.  Without incomes for the lower half, demand will fall and the economy would start to descend into a deflationary death spiral.  The 'haves' at some point will be highly motivated to share enough of their gains to keep the velocity of money up.  Otherwise they can't make the debt payments on all their fancy machinery.

EDIT: Most UBI plans center on fiscal and tax policy such as transfer payments or 'negative income tax rates'.  There is a monetarist approach championed by the founder of the Employee Stock Purchase Plan Louis Kelso.  You can read much (MUCH!) about that here: http://www.cesj.org/
« Last Edit: October 21, 2016, 05:57:11 PM by Financial.Velociraptor »
Achieve Financial Escape Velocity - Financial Velociraptor

Metric Mouse

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5311
  • FU @ 22. F.I.R.E before 23
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2016, 06:28:39 PM »
Long term view: assuming humanity does not destroy itself via war, finds a solution to climate change (which at this point looks like it will probably require ugly geoengineering), successfully transitions to an economy based entirely on renewable energy to avoid catastrophic resource depletion, and gets global population to stabilize at a sustainable level... in other words, if we survive and solve all existential threats without reverting to a post-industrial stone age...

Then, it seems inevitable that technology will continue to improve, and automation and artificial intelligence will eventually make nearly all work obsolete. This could either result in a dystopia where most of humanity lives in poverty due to lack of available work, or a post-scarcity utopia where universal income is the norm. I'm rooting for the post-scarcity utopia.

Well, on the plus side, global population is on trend to stabilize. 11? Trillion, I think. Maybe 9. All of the other issues may still exist, but there's hope for one worry! 

Money doesn't exist in the 24th century.
Because the last vestiges of humanity are roaming the desert wasteland and will only barter in ammo and gasoline?

Sadly politicians are striving to restrict access to ammunition and gasoline - the future may be closer than you think!
Give me one fine day of plain sailing weather and I can mess up anything.

MustacheMathTM

Libertea

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 363
  • Age: 42
  • Location: USA
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2016, 07:03:01 PM »
Something fairly close already exists in Norway.  Locals refer to the practice of NAVing (after the NAV social welfare system).  There are thousands of young people who have elected to drop out of the workforce and live entirely off their NAV benefits.  You have to know how to work the system and you live a very modest lifestyle but it can be done.  Quality of life in Norway is generally very high but you have high prices and high taxes.

There was a recent advisory vote put to the public in Switzerland for UBI.  It was non binding and narrowly failed.  It had early support but as the election drew near, right leaning groups opposed a new handout while left leaning groups opposed the dismantling of existing social welfare systems. 

Back in my economics (undergrad) days the topic was kind of taboo.  The closest we got to a serious discussion was in a labor economics class when reviewing the SIME/DIME study.  Basically, there is evidence that is considered academically strong that if you pay people not to work...some of them will stop working...   Duh, right?

My personal opinion is that it is a matter of 'when' rather than 'if'.  There is an automation revolution afoot.  Roughly 10% of the US population is employed as some kind of driver.  Technology could put them all out of work.  There is already less need for legal professionals due to advanced software.  There is talk that the traditional primary care physicians can largely be replaced by machines that evaluate symptoms A, B, C and prescribe X, Y, Z.  In Japan, robots cook the Ramen soup in some places.  Burger flipping robots can not be far behind.  Without incomes for the lower half, demand will fall and the economy would start to descend into a deflationary death spiral.  The 'haves' at some point will be highly motivated to share enough of their gains to keep the velocity of money up.  Otherwise they can't make the debt payments on all their fancy machinery.

EDIT: Most UBI plans center on fiscal and tax policy such as transfer payments or 'negative income tax rates'.  There is a monetarist approach championed by the founder of the Employee Stock Purchase Plan Louis Kelso.  You can read much (MUCH!) about that here: http://www.cesj.org/
Thanks, FV.  I should have known you would be knowledgeable about this concept.  And you have definitely explained eloquently the exact issue I have been mulling over, namely that many previous jobs have already become obsolete or fled for other shores, and many other jobs will eventually become obsolete.  Considering that a corporation today requires many fewer workers than a corporation fifty years ago did, and that society is continuing to become more automated/tech-dependent, it seems reasonable to expect that this trend will continue.

I don't have a problem with people not wanting to have a job.  Hell, *I* don't want to have to have a job.  Neither do most of the people here, which is why we're all dreaming and scheming to achieve FI.  I would also argue that many people who don't "work" do in fact contribute to society in other ways, such as caring for children, caring for elderly relatives, and other necessary (but unpaid) volunteer or charity work that would cause society to not function if everyone stopped doing it or demanded to be paid for doing it. 

Even without the omnipresence of charity/volunteer work, I also think the prospect of large swaths of society choosing not to work is less bleak than sometimes presented for another reason.  The question of "why am I here" is the most central, pressing question of human existence.  Most people have enough existential angst that they are going to want to seek out an answer to that question.  And finding any worthwhile answer, from raising children, to inventing a cure for cancer, to inventing the next latest gadget, is going to require people to work to achieve it.

Metric Mouse

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5311
  • FU @ 22. F.I.R.E before 23
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2016, 07:27:05 PM »
The question of "why am I here" is the most central, pressing question of human existence.  Most people have enough existential angst that they are going to want to seek out an answer to that question.  And finding any worthwhile answer, from raising children, to inventing a cure for cancer, to inventing the next latest gadget, is going to require people to work to achieve it.

Interesting; do you feel that some people may substitute work for the act of searching for what actually brings meaning to their life, and that if the financial necessity of work were removed, some people who might otherwise find joy and meaning in a job would be loss and at risk for depression etc.?  Cursory research seems to show that in general unemployed people are less happy than those with jobs.
Give me one fine day of plain sailing weather and I can mess up anything.

MustacheMathTM

Financial.Velociraptor

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1030
  • Age: 45
  • Location: Houston TX
  • Devour your prey raptors!
    • Financial Velociraptor
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2016, 09:40:56 PM »
Further update:

I had a discussion with a friend (Jack) who has his masters ECON and is working on his PhD (teaches AP econ and dual credit in high school) about the topic of UBI.  He feels that this is not inevitable.  Technology is advancing for sure but it is going to be like last industrial revolution.  There will be a Luddism movement (more powerful this time due to internet organization [ironic?]) like last time but ultimately we will be better off as result of technology.

He mentions 3D printing and desktop fabrication as evidence cost of goods and services will become trivial such that full time employment is no longer mandatory.  In fact, life will be better for the vast majority of people thanks to technology. 

Accept or reject at your own peril....
Achieve Financial Escape Velocity - Financial Velociraptor

letired

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 588
  • Location: Texas
    • Needs More Glitter
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2016, 09:59:36 PM »

Interesting; do you feel that some people may substitute work for the act of searching for what actually brings meaning to their life, and that if the financial necessity of work were removed, some people who might otherwise find joy and meaning in a job would be loss and at risk for depression etc.?  Cursory research seems to show that in general unemployed people are less happy than those with jobs.

Re the last question, how much of that unhappiness stems from the stress of not having enough money? In my sample of one, being 'unemployed' between graduating and getting a job was great, minus the part where I was going to run out of money. That part was massively stressful. If I had continued to be unemployed after my funds ran out, I would have been Very Unhappy because of (a lack of) money, not because I didn't have a job or 'purpose' or whatever.

I'm much more 'at risk for depression' while working full-time because I don't feel like I have any time or energy to devote to things I find more meaningful (hence the whole FIRE thing). In contrast, my mom derives a great deal of meaning from her job, in particular the belonging to 'something greater than herself', and collectively working toward a goal. It's also her major social outlet. Personally, I can think of quite a few places to get similar emotional needs met that aren't my place of employment, but it works for her!

dividendman

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 999
  • Age: 35
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2016, 10:15:08 PM »
Money doesn't exist in the 24th century.
Would be awesome if true (assuming a Star Trek-like universe where money had become obsolete and everyone who worked did so solely for the love of their vocation).  Unfortunately, none of us will be around to find out if Gene Roddenberry was right. :-p

Also, Star Trek does contain money. There are "credits" used in the United Federation of Planets. You may be more inclined to use the asset backed currency of Latinum (since it can't be replicated), but you have to press it in gold so you don't have to carry around a liquid.

Star Trek aside, I think there will eventually be a basic income which increases in what it can provide. I still think there will be some kind of currency for people who want to do extravagant things, just like Star Trek, but what the basic income provides will keep growing due to what was mentioned above (automation/machines doing most of the tasks).

Metric Mouse

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5311
  • FU @ 22. F.I.R.E before 23
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2016, 10:19:25 PM »
Money doesn't exist in the 24th century.
Would be awesome if true (assuming a Star Trek-like universe where money had become obsolete and everyone who worked did so solely for the love of their vocation).  Unfortunately, none of us will be around to find out if Gene Roddenberry was right. :-p

Also, Star Trek does contain money. There are "credits" used in the United Federation of Planets. You may be more inclined to use the asset backed currency of Latinum (since it can't be replicated), but you have to press it in gold so you don't have to carry around a liquid.

Star Trek aside, I think there will eventually be a basic income which increases in what it can provide. I still think there will be some kind of currency for people who want to do extravagant things, just like Star Trek, but what the basic income provides will keep growing due to what was mentioned above (automation/machines doing most of the tasks).

Like this? http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1637688/
Give me one fine day of plain sailing weather and I can mess up anything.

MustacheMathTM

matchewed

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4087
  • Location: CT
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2016, 06:30:32 AM »
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/off-topic/finland-to-introduce-universal-basic-income/
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/off-topic/would-you-support-a-universal-basic-income-(poll)/
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/mustachianism-around-the-web/universal-income-part-2()/100/
Thank you, I will definitely check those links out.  On a somewhat related side note, how are you able to find threads on a given topic?  Any time I try to use the search function, I get an error message. :-(

Using google and searching within a website.

Example:

In the google search bar put "site:forum.mrmoneymustache.com search term". This will find search term within the website.

Libertea

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 363
  • Age: 42
  • Location: USA
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2016, 06:50:39 AM »
The question of "why am I here" is the most central, pressing question of human existence.  Most people have enough existential angst that they are going to want to seek out an answer to that question.  And finding any worthwhile answer, from raising children, to inventing a cure for cancer, to inventing the next latest gadget, is going to require people to work to achieve it.

Interesting; do you feel that some people may substitute work for the act of searching for what actually brings meaning to their life, and that if the financial necessity of work were removed, some people who might otherwise find joy and meaning in a job would be loss and at risk for depression etc.?  Cursory research seems to show that in general unemployed people are less happy than those with jobs.
No, if anything, I think the exact opposite.  What I mean is, generic work (i.e., a job with the sole purpose of earning money) allows some people to *avoid* having to search for the answer to that question of what their life means.  They use their job as a crutch.  I think we all know some "workaholics" like this, people who are wedded to their job even though they're miserable doing it because that's how they cope with their existential angst.

And even for people who consciously desire to seek meaning in their lives, generic work greatly diminishes the time and energy that most people have during their lifetimes to "find themselves."  Ok, there is a significant minority out there who love what they do and would do it regardless.  Those aren't the people we're talking about here.  We're talking about the rest of us, the ones who go to work because we would prefer to have food to eat and a place to live.  And because it's expected of us.  And because other people depend on us for their maintenance.  But if we could spend our time doing whatever we wanted, maybe we'd take up playing instruments, or creating art, or traveling, or volunteering, or writing books, or a myriad of other possible ways out there to spend one's life.  In the 23rd century, perhaps even joining Starfleet. :-)

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/off-topic/finland-to-introduce-universal-basic-income/
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/off-topic/would-you-support-a-universal-basic-income-(poll)/
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/mustachianism-around-the-web/universal-income-part-2()/100/
Thank you, I will definitely check those links out.  On a somewhat related side note, how are you able to find threads on a given topic?  Any time I try to use the search function, I get an error message. :-(

Using google and searching within a website.

Example:

In the google search bar put "site:forum.mrmoneymustache.com search term". This will find search term within the website.
Genius.  Thanks.

Libertea

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 363
  • Age: 42
  • Location: USA
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #17 on: October 22, 2016, 06:54:12 AM »
Further update:

I had a discussion with a friend (Jack) who has his masters ECON and is working on his PhD (teaches AP econ and dual credit in high school) about the topic of UBI.  He feels that this is not inevitable.  Technology is advancing for sure but it is going to be like last industrial revolution.  There will be a Luddism movement (more powerful this time due to internet organization [ironic?]) like last time but ultimately we will be better off as result of technology.

He mentions 3D printing and desktop fabrication as evidence cost of goods and services will become trivial such that full time employment is no longer mandatory.  In fact, life will be better for the vast majority of people thanks to technology. 

Accept or reject at your own peril....
I'm not sure the two possibilities are mutually exclusive.  In fact, I don't think they are.  Why could we not have both UBI and decreased costs due to improvements in technology as two complementary ways to eliminate the "excess" labor supply and allow everyone's needs to still be provided for?

Classical_Liberal

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 763
  • Age: 41
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #18 on: October 22, 2016, 12:10:11 PM »
He mentions 3D printing and desktop fabrication as evidence cost of goods and services will become trivial such that full time employment is no longer mandatory.  In fact, life will be better for the vast majority of people thanks to technology. 

Accept or reject at your own peril....

This sounds exactly like what John Maynard Keynes predicted for the future...  Today.

http://www.econ.yale.edu/smith/econ116a/keynes1.pdf

Unfortunately, human nature has proven that instead we work the same or more.  Now we just own more cheaply manufactured stuff and eat more cheap calories.  Although life is better in the fact that we have more options, so I won't complain.

Financial.Velociraptor

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1030
  • Age: 45
  • Location: Houston TX
  • Devour your prey raptors!
    • Financial Velociraptor
Achieve Financial Escape Velocity - Financial Velociraptor

Metric Mouse

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5311
  • FU @ 22. F.I.R.E before 23
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #20 on: November 27, 2016, 10:08:26 AM »
Awesome! Sounds like it'll be slow going to get it off the ground, but I  am super excited to see the results. Be an interesting case study for sure.
Give me one fine day of plain sailing weather and I can mess up anything.

MustacheMathTM

Libertea

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 363
  • Age: 42
  • Location: USA
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #21 on: November 27, 2016, 10:09:31 PM »
I definitely need to do some more reading about this.  It's on my list to read about the negative income tax, but I haven't gotten to it yet. :-(

OurTown

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 531
  • Age: 48
  • Location: Tennessee
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #22 on: November 28, 2016, 07:57:17 AM »
UBI is probably inevitable in the developed nations because of automation.  I suspect the big issue will be who qualifies.  The developed nations are going to be inundated with climate change refugees over the next 50-100 years, the Wall notwithstanding.  Will the refugees get UBI as well? 

Metric Mouse

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5311
  • FU @ 22. F.I.R.E before 23
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #23 on: November 28, 2016, 08:00:24 AM »
UBI is probably inevitable in the developed nations because of automation.  I suspect the big issue will be who qualifies.  The developed nations are going to be inundated with climate change refugees over the next 50-100 years, the Wall notwithstanding.  Will the refugees get UBI as well?

WHy wouldn't they?
Give me one fine day of plain sailing weather and I can mess up anything.

MustacheMathTM

Kris

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2599
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #24 on: November 28, 2016, 08:00:43 AM »
Could we? Probably.

Can we? If we're talking about the United States, anyway, I think the protestant moralizing baked into our culture will make this an idea that will be resisted for far longer than necessary. I don't see it happening for many hundreds of years in this country, at least.
Please note: Libertarian4321 did not vote for either Hillary or Trump. He voted for Gary Johnson, who was the Libertarian candidate.

OurTown

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 531
  • Age: 48
  • Location: Tennessee
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #25 on: November 28, 2016, 08:11:14 AM »
Well, UBI should be universal, so it should apply to refugees.  I guess it all depends on how it is funded and whether there would be sufficient resources to cover everyone. 

Poundwise

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 868
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #26 on: November 28, 2016, 01:58:38 PM »
Something fairly close already exists in Norway.  Locals refer to the practice of NAVing (after the NAV social welfare system).  There are thousands of young people who have elected to drop out of the workforce and live entirely off their NAV benefits.  You have to know how to work the system and you live a very modest lifestyle but it can be done.  Quality of life in Norway is generally very high but you have high prices and high taxes.


+1 on the Norway mention.  We visited my husband's family in Norway recently and it's a great place. One thing that I noticed is that people there don't seem to take the opportunity to be lazy; on the contrary they seem to take pride in doing small things well and right... not cutting corners.  I'm not sure whether there is a relationship between this attitude and the social welfare system, but I was very impressed by what I saw.

TheOldestYoungMan

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 668
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #27 on: November 28, 2016, 03:56:29 PM »
Could we? Probably.

Can we? If we're talking about the United States, anyway, I think the protestant moralizing baked into our culture will make this an idea that will be resisted for far longer than necessary. I don't see it happening for many hundreds of years in this country, at least.

I was won over with the idea of UBI replacing the current welfare system.  Giving poor people control over how they use the help we provide goes to the heart of protestantism, and I think I can sell that to conservative americans.  I think getting the left to relinquish the political power they get from creating as many poor people as possible is absolutely as big a hurdle as getting the right to relinquish the satisfaction they get from judging people who "don't work as hard/sacrifice like they do."

That's how to sell it to my people though Kris.  Regardless of if you want to help poor people, you already are.  We're happy to keep taking your social security and medicare and giving it  to poor people, but we'd be willing to do this other thing instead, which would maximize everyone's freedom and dramatically reduce the size and scope of government.

I don't know how to sell it to the left, maybe you could help me with that.
Notice is turned in! 35 days until FIRE!  I am excited and at the same time terrified!
Don't burn your bridges folks. 4 days prior to the date lost my home and rental property to Hurricane Harvey.  Still workin' Never quittin'

Cassie

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3839
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #28 on: November 28, 2016, 04:25:39 PM »
It really depends on the amount that is given. If it is 10k/year it will discriminate against people that worked good jobs and became disabled since they would get much more on SSDI. If it was 20k plenty of people would choose not to work or work p.t. At my age I doubt I will live to see it.

human

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 792
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #29 on: November 28, 2016, 04:37:12 PM »
People have been talking about automation for years (since the 19th Century), Player Piano isn't going to happen in our lifetime. I don't know why this is such a popular topic, some sort of new system will create other jobs. Sure auto manufacturing jobs will and have declined because of automation, but they were crushed in the West due to globalization and free trade anyway. Something else came along to take their place, sure for many what replace manufacturing were shitty jobs.

The industrial evolution brought manufacturing, the dot com boom brought fake virtual jobs, crap sub prime mortgages made everyone a real estate agent/flipper now we are what a service/technology economy?

The focus on automation detracts from the real issue which is wage stagnation and growing income gaps between the wealthiest and median wage earners. In my opinion (opinion because lets face it we are all just spouting theory wholesale from our asses in this thread) the decline of decent living wage jobs is linked to the decline of and attack on collective labour organizations which fought for living wages and good working conditions.

If anything I would think the oligarchs and high net worth power elites that run the show would want an UBI, it's an extension of the welfare state that was created to pacify the masses. UBI would serve to settle social strife as real wages decline even further. Please note that I consider myself to be among the pacified masses so no offense meant to anyone here.

Kris

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2599
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #30 on: November 28, 2016, 04:38:25 PM »
Could we? Probably.

Can we? If we're talking about the United States, anyway, I think the protestant moralizing baked into our culture will make this an idea that will be resisted for far longer than necessary. I don't see it happening for many hundreds of years in this country, at least.

I was won over with the idea of UBI replacing the current welfare system.  Giving poor people control over how they use the help we provide goes to the heart of protestantism, and I think I can sell that to conservative americans.  I think getting the left to relinquish the political power they get from creating as many poor people as possible is absolutely as big a hurdle as getting the right to relinquish the satisfaction they get from judging people who "don't work as hard/sacrifice like they do."

That's how to sell it to my people though Kris.  Regardless of if you want to help poor people, you already are.  We're happy to keep taking your social security and medicare and giving it  to poor people, but we'd be willing to do this other thing instead, which would maximize everyone's freedom and dramatically reduce the size and scope of government.

I don't know how to sell it to the left, maybe you could help me with that.

I honestly believe that the left would embrace UBI fairly quickly. I certainly can't see any argument against giving every individual a UBI, indexed to inflation. It would probably reduce or eliminate the need for a great many programs that already serve, badly, the neediest among us. Given that most of the arguments I see against it seem to come from people on the right, who view this idea as another "nanny state" policy -- akin to socialism -- I think you might be somewhat mistaken. I can't find many people on the right these days, either in the general population or in the political class, who have expressed any support for such an idea.
Please note: Libertarian4321 did not vote for either Hillary or Trump. He voted for Gary Johnson, who was the Libertarian candidate.

Knaak

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 415
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #31 on: November 28, 2016, 04:55:44 PM »
I was won over with the idea of UBI replacing the current welfare system.  Giving poor people control over how they use the help we provide goes to the heart of protestantism, and I think I can sell that to conservative americans.

As a small business owner I was won over with the idea of single payer health insurance.  I think it should be easy to convince conservative Americans to stop relying on businesses to provide insurance.  It is a huge anchor that makes businesses less competitive on the global market and it is a huge burden to figure out which plan is right for one's business.  I've been the business owner buying insurance for three employees after going through hundreds of pages of insurance plan details.  It sucked.  If I wanted to make a competitor highly unproductive and remove a large chunk of his profits, I can't think of many better ways than to saddle him with employee health insurance.

Sadly, what I think would be easy to sell to conservative Americans turns out to not be so easy.  My bet is selling them UBI will be as successful as selling them single payer.

Kris

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2599
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #32 on: November 28, 2016, 05:04:48 PM »
I was won over with the idea of UBI replacing the current welfare system.  Giving poor people control over how they use the help we provide goes to the heart of protestantism, and I think I can sell that to conservative americans.

As a small business owner I was won over with the idea of single payer health insurance.  I think it should be easy to convince conservative Americans to stop relying on businesses to provide insurance.  It is a huge anchor that makes businesses less competitive on the global market and it is a huge burden to figure out which plan is right for one's business.  I've been the business owner buying insurance for three employees after going through hundreds of pages of insurance plan details.  It sucked.  If I wanted to make a competitor highly unproductive and remove a large chunk of his profits, I can't think of many better ways than to saddle him with employee health insurance.

Sadly, what I think would be easy to sell to conservative Americans turns out to not be so easy.  My bet is selling them UBI will be as successful as selling them single payer.

Agreed.
Please note: Libertarian4321 did not vote for either Hillary or Trump. He voted for Gary Johnson, who was the Libertarian candidate.

shenlong55

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 138
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Kentucky
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #33 on: November 28, 2016, 05:32:35 PM »
Could we? Probably.

Can we? If we're talking about the United States, anyway, I think the protestant moralizing baked into our culture will make this an idea that will be resisted for far longer than necessary. I don't see it happening for many hundreds of years in this country, at least.

I was won over with the idea of UBI replacing the current welfare system.  Giving poor people control over how they use the help we provide goes to the heart of protestantism, and I think I can sell that to conservative americans.  I think getting the left to relinquish the political power they get from creating as many poor people as possible is absolutely as big a hurdle as getting the right to relinquish the satisfaction they get from judging people who "don't work as hard/sacrifice like they do."

That's how to sell it to my people though Kris.  Regardless of if you want to help poor people, you already are.  We're happy to keep taking your social security and medicare and giving it  to poor people, but we'd be willing to do this other thing instead, which would maximize everyone's freedom and dramatically reduce the size and scope of government.

I don't know how to sell it to the left, maybe you could help me with that.

I honestly believe that the left would embrace UBI fairly quickly. I certainly can't see any argument against giving every individual a UBI, indexed to inflation. It would probably reduce or eliminate the need for a great many programs that already serve, badly, the neediest among us. Given that most of the arguments I see against it seem to come from people on the right, who view this idea as another "nanny state" policy -- akin to socialism -- I think you might be somewhat mistaken. I can't find many people on the right these days, either in the general population or in the political class, who have expressed any support for such an idea.

+1.  I consider myself pretty far left and I would very much like to see a UBI replace as many programs as possible.

Kris

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2599
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #34 on: November 28, 2016, 05:35:13 PM »
Could we? Probably.

Can we? If we're talking about the United States, anyway, I think the protestant moralizing baked into our culture will make this an idea that will be resisted for far longer than necessary. I don't see it happening for many hundreds of years in this country, at least.

I was won over with the idea of UBI replacing the current welfare system.  Giving poor people control over how they use the help we provide goes to the heart of protestantism, and I think I can sell that to conservative americans.  I think getting the left to relinquish the political power they get from creating as many poor people as possible is absolutely as big a hurdle as getting the right to relinquish the satisfaction they get from judging people who "don't work as hard/sacrifice like they do."

That's how to sell it to my people though Kris.  Regardless of if you want to help poor people, you already are.  We're happy to keep taking your social security and medicare and giving it  to poor people, but we'd be willing to do this other thing instead, which would maximize everyone's freedom and dramatically reduce the size and scope of government.

I don't know how to sell it to the left, maybe you could help me with that.

I honestly believe that the left would embrace UBI fairly quickly. I certainly can't see any argument against giving every individual a UBI, indexed to inflation. It would probably reduce or eliminate the need for a great many programs that already serve, badly, the neediest among us. Given that most of the arguments I see against it seem to come from people on the right, who view this idea as another "nanny state" policy -- akin to socialism -- I think you might be somewhat mistaken. I can't find many people on the right these days, either in the general population or in the political class, who have expressed any support for such an idea.

+1.  I consider myself pretty far left and I would very much like to see a UBI replace as many programs as possible.

It would be fun to see a poll about this for MMM'ers, expressing support or lack thereof by political leanings. (Not that I'll set it up -- I'm too damn lazy. But it would still be interesting.)
Please note: Libertarian4321 did not vote for either Hillary or Trump. He voted for Gary Johnson, who was the Libertarian candidate.

Libertea

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 363
  • Age: 42
  • Location: USA
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #35 on: November 28, 2016, 07:51:11 PM »
Happy to oblige - I added a poll to this thread.  There are four options based on economic leanings/UBI opinion and an "other" option for those who don't feel like any of the strong positions describe them.  I chose economically libertarian and in favor of UBI.

Kris

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2599
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #36 on: November 28, 2016, 08:04:09 PM »
Happy to oblige - I added a poll to this thread.  There are four options based on economic leanings/UBI opinion and an "other" option for those who don't feel like any of the strong positions describe them.  I chose economically libertarian and in favor of UBI.

You might not get much of a response, given that the thread isn't specifically about UBI. I guess I'd suggest starting an rntirely new thread, but I don't want to make more work for you.
Please note: Libertarian4321 did not vote for either Hillary or Trump. He voted for Gary Johnson, who was the Libertarian candidate.

Libertea

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 363
  • Age: 42
  • Location: USA
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #37 on: November 28, 2016, 09:39:18 PM »
Happy to oblige - I added a poll to this thread.  There are four options based on economic leanings/UBI opinion and an "other" option for those who don't feel like any of the strong positions describe them.  I chose economically libertarian and in favor of UBI.

You might not get much of a response, given that the thread isn't specifically about UBI. I guess I'd suggest starting an rntirely new thread, but I don't want to make more work for you.
It kind of is about UBI, although not only about UBI.  UBI is one way to attempt to reach universal FI, but not the only way.  In my OP, for example, I suggested we could buy broad world market ETF shares for every citizen as a way to promote universal FI.  That would be more analogous to what many of us are doing for ourselves privately (i.e., saving up some amount such as 25x our yearly spending and then using the income from our portfolios to allow us to not have to take paid work if we choose).  But I see UBI as another method of accomplishing the same general goal, which is to shrink government bureaucracy and maximize personal freedom while ensuring that everyone has access to a basic minimum living standard. 

From my perspective, the goal is achieving FI for the greatest number of people possible.  There would be multiple possible ways to get there, including these two and probably some others that I haven't read about or thought of yet.  Even UBI isn't one single proposal, but rather a family of proposals with some overlapping features.

Classical_Liberal

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 763
  • Age: 41
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #38 on: November 29, 2016, 11:39:50 AM »
...But I see UBI as another method of accomplishing the same general goal, which is to shrink government bureaucracy and maximize personal freedom while ensuring that everyone has access to a basic minimum living standard. 

I understand the thought process here.  I would LOVE to support a UBI or universal FI scenario.  A Star Trek utopia in which everyone is free to pursue whatever is important to them without being concerned about the basics of food, shelter, and healthcare is a great ideal.  Unfortunately, that ideal is incompatible with the natural world.  Unless new technology creates near limitless free resources this dream remains only a dream.

Libertea, can you think of any example in US history where the Gov't was given more revenue, more control over private resources and the result was REDUCED regulation, size, bureaucracy, or scope of gov't?  This is an honest question (sort of), cause I would love to analyze how it happened. 

I accept some redistribution of wealth is needed to maintain a functional society.  However, I also accept that any time gov't redistributes this wealth, a large portion is wasted in lack of efficiency, bureaucracy, and cronyism.  It will also reduce social freedoms as some individuals must give for others to get and those who get must comply with gov't regulations (which are legislated through cronyism or rule of majority) to continue receiving.

TheOldestYoungMan

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 668
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #39 on: November 29, 2016, 03:21:57 PM »
Right, if we really began pursuing UBI, the sales pitch to the right would inflame the left.  That's thousands of government jobs administering the current social program sector that would be instantly lost.  Tens of thousands maybe.  Because to sell it to me, it's a replacement of everything.

Social Security and Medicare go away.  Food stamps goes away.  Housing assistance and mortgage subsidies.  Tax-deductible children and other dependents.  Everything gets massively reduced on the government level.  This is because that's the only way to pay for it.

When I think about UBI, for it to really work, assuming it didn't disrupt prices too much (and I think it might, if everyone is getting x amount/mo the temptation is going to be rent is now minimum x) but I have enough faith in competition to assume that prices would stay relatively the same, I come up with about 12k/yr.

So 1k/mo for everyone, for life, starting at birth.  So that first year of life, tough to make ends meet, you got your birth, that was a kick in the jewels, hospital, vacs, clothes, food, diaper, but whatever, you have parents.

But a family of four, that's 48k/yr.  Easy to live an awesome life on that.  Can even be saving/investing in the future on that.  But a single person can maybe even swing living alone on only 12k/yr.  So lets go with that as our number, it's a generous UBI to be sure, but lets go with it.

About 318 million peeps in the US (source, the interwebs).  At 12k/year I did some rough calculations and came up with 3.8 trillion dollars or so.

The good news is, that's a number that is possible for our civilization.  The bad news is, that's a fucking huge number.  It's way more than we're spending on the social safety net right now.

So right there, you feel like a raving lunatic talking about it.

But what is important to understand is that while this would mean doubling the tax rate, you get twelve thousand dollars a year.

So for me, I'd pay roughly an extra 12k per year in taxes, but I'd get all that back.  And I could drop all kinds of insurance I carry now, because of the certainty that the 12k was going to be there always.  Ahh, but right now I get all kinds of deductions that are going away.  The pre-tax contributions?  Gone.  No more IRA, no more 401k, no more any of that stuff.  No more deductible health insurance, nothing.  Everything we "spend" by not collecting is all gone.  So I'd actually be paying closer to 24k extra per year, bringing my total up to 24k after I get the 12k back (assuming I paid 12k before).  Now, I'd still sign on to this, because if I ever had a couple kids I'd be at zero taxes (cuz I'm fucking taking their UBI cuz I'm bigger and so I will).

So that's where I'm at, I think the number is too big.  We either need to grow the economy a lot (like, so much) or something is going to have to go horribly wrong (the robot revolution).  Because I don't think 500/mo is enough of a social safety net (roughly what current spending levels would support), particularly because of the phasing it in issues.  People already have a lot of debt, they already have stupid expectations regarding what they're entitled to.

What I haven't done is compare the current social safety net spending per capita now to what it has been historically, but if the trend is going up then at some point we will pass a reasonable UBI level and then it's just a conversation about how much control the recipients have over the money.

Remember though, the day UBI passes, the poorest among us take a pay cut so the richest among us can get a check.  That's going to be a bitter pill to swallow after decades of partisan bickering over how to distribute the resources of an underfunded humanitarian effort.  Because what it sounds like is eliminating the means testing from all government assistance.

So while you say the left isn't opposed to UBI, the fact that our current system looks nothing like UBI is as much a result of their class warfare tactics as it is Republicans insistence on conditions for the help related to behavior.  Well, that was too strongly stated.  The GOP is a little bit assholic on that front, as is anyone who dares want a say in how you spend their money *shakes fist*.
Notice is turned in! 35 days until FIRE!  I am excited and at the same time terrified!
Don't burn your bridges folks. 4 days prior to the date lost my home and rental property to Hurricane Harvey.  Still workin' Never quittin'

TheOldestYoungMan

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 668
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #40 on: November 29, 2016, 03:26:28 PM »
In reading that, my sloppy writing could be read that we would be eliminating dependents.

Not talking about dragging them into the streets and executing them (although that would reduce expenses considerably).  Was talking about the deductions for those sorts of things.
Notice is turned in! 35 days until FIRE!  I am excited and at the same time terrified!
Don't burn your bridges folks. 4 days prior to the date lost my home and rental property to Hurricane Harvey.  Still workin' Never quittin'

Kriegsspiel

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1046
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #41 on: November 29, 2016, 04:26:36 PM »
I think we could do it if, say, humans invented machines that ran on renewable energy and could work on sustainable organic farms and ranches, manufacture dwellings/guitars/e-readers/whatever else people want, maintain infrastructure like electrical and plumbing systems, perform medical services, mine/recycle materials, maintain public order, repair themselves, and fight fires. And also 75% of the humans on the planet vanished. Then it should be possible.

Financial.Velociraptor

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1030
  • Age: 45
  • Location: Houston TX
  • Devour your prey raptors!
    • Financial Velociraptor
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #42 on: November 29, 2016, 07:33:34 PM »
...So that's where I'm at, I think the number is too big.  We either need to grow the economy a lot (like, so much) or something is going to have to go horribly wrong (the robot revolution).  Because I don't think 500/mo is enough of a social safety net (roughly what current spending levels would support), particularly because of the phasing it in issues.  People already have a lot of debt, they already have stupid expectations regarding what they're entitled to.
...

You left out the stimulus impact to the economy.  Firstly, the bottom 85% or so will spend every penny within US borders.  That's a much more effective stimulus program than reducing interest rates (goods and services are exchanged instead of just inflating asset prices).  Economists refer to that as "fast money" versus "slow money"; its a velocity of money thing...  Secondly, millions would be free to pursue personal business ideas.  Innovation would skyrocket.  I think we could argue this will limit the impact of recessionary cycles as well.  The economy could count on a certain baseline level of consumer spending that wouldn't go away. 
Achieve Financial Escape Velocity - Financial Velociraptor

TheOldestYoungMan

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 668
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #43 on: November 29, 2016, 07:35:17 PM »
Aye Mr. Raptor I don't disagree, I just think it's a hard sell.

We're talking four trillion dollars, that's a huge fucking number any way you slice it.  I can't sell my clothes dryer for forty dollars, I'm sayin'.
Notice is turned in! 35 days until FIRE!  I am excited and at the same time terrified!
Don't burn your bridges folks. 4 days prior to the date lost my home and rental property to Hurricane Harvey.  Still workin' Never quittin'

rocketpj

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 619
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #44 on: November 30, 2016, 12:35:17 AM »
Honestly, Social Security is a starting point, as is the CPP here in Canada. 

The logic is basically the same.  A percentage of your income gets invested on your behalf in a massive, economy of scale fund.  Eventually it becomes all or some of your income - living off your investments, even if they were non-voluntary.

It isn't much of a stretch to see how that system could be expanded dramatically.  The Norwegian Government Pension Fund is a good example - every Norwegian is now technically a wealthy person, though it doesn't exist as cash they can access.  Given a certain growth rate and snowball effect, you can see it ultimately reaching the point where every Norwegian becomes FI.

That can be extended to most Western countries, but of course we have to be very, extremely, cautious about misuse or misappropriation.  However, I see no reason Canada, the US, Japan or any other couldn't start shifting large chunks of money into a set of indexes with a massive sovereign wealth fund as the final goal - FI for every citizen.

It would take awhile, but as with our personal stashes it might be very doable much faster than we think.

And of course most people would keep working because hedonic adaptation would still make them go buy the big stupid truck or whatever.  And the rest of us might work to get our FI into an 'opulent' zone rather than 'minimal'.  And most of us would work on something that genuinely gets us excited, whatever that might be.

A corollary to universal FI would be that many of the difficult jobs that currently pay poorly would have to pay really well.  Palliative care nursing for example, or disability support workers.

Libertea

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 363
  • Age: 42
  • Location: USA
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #45 on: November 30, 2016, 06:14:47 AM »
Libertea, can you think of any example in US history where the Gov't was given more revenue, more control over private resources and the result was REDUCED regulation, size, bureaucracy, or scope of gov't?  This is an honest question (sort of), cause I would love to analyze how it happened. 

I accept some redistribution of wealth is needed to maintain a functional society.  However, I also accept that any time gov't redistributes this wealth, a large portion is wasted in lack of efficiency, bureaucracy, and cronyism.  It will also reduce social freedoms as some individuals must give for others to get and those who get must comply with gov't regulations (which are legislated through cronyism or rule of majority) to continue receiving.
No, I don't disagree with you that every time a new program is initiated, it increases and complicates the bureaucracy rather than decreasing and simplifying it.  But the reason for that is because we never scrap old programs; we just graft the new ones onto what's already existing, even when currently existing programs cease to be relevant.  Whether farmers really still need subsidies to not grow crops is a prime example of this considering that the vast majority of us are not farmers, but I'd also cite corporate welfare and plenty of other examples of programs that might have made sense somewhat several decades ago, but definitely no longer do.

So what I'm proposing is more akin to what TOYM is saying: we don't graft UBI onto what's already existing.  We scrap ALL the current human service and economic "stimulation" programs, and we start over again, from scratch.  No more pork.  No more corporate welfare.  No more individual welfare.  No more graduated income tax (unless we administered UBI via a negative income tax kind of model).  As he noted, no more deductions.  We can argue over the details of how the plan will work - I wouldn't extend benefits to minors if it's just a check, but would definitely want to target minors if the payout was mutual fund or ETF shares as I noted in the OP, and I think $1000/month/person is definitely excessive if we're including minors. But that's a little beside the point.  The point is about fundamentally revamping the way society is organized, so that everyone has access to basic living income, the government is not involved with choosing how people spend their money, and as few people as possible are dependent upon jobs to sustain their basic needs.

My sister is going to go to work today and fire some of her employees.  It's not her choice; the cutbacks were decided higher up, and she just gets to be the unlucky hatchet man who bears the bad news.  And it's not just her own people; there are other employees in other departments also getting axed today.  So imagine what her workplace is going to be like: a full day of people streaming in and out of executive offices to meet with their supervisors and HR, right before the start of the holiday season.  She feels sick about it.  They're going to be sick about it, because I doubt most of her employees are MMM frequenters.  With UBI, this kind of event could be a thing of the past....I say could, because of course many people can and will always choose to spend more than they "earn."  But under UBI or an alternative analogous plan, no one would ever lose their basic income at the whim of their employer.

TheOldestYoungMan

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 668
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #46 on: December 06, 2016, 11:53:13 AM »
The Norwegian Government Pension Fund is a good example - every Norwegian is now technically a wealthy person, though it doesn't exist as cash they can access.  Given a certain growth rate and snowball effect, you can see it ultimately reaching the point where every Norwegian becomes FI.

That can be extended to most Western countries...

Well, certainly every Western country with an unbelievably vast natural resource to sell off.  This is also the model pursued by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, etc.  Use the money from selling the oil to construct a post-resources economy.  The Norwegians deserve credit for not blowing the money on hookers and blow, we'll see if they make the same mistake we did in the 80's with the social security trust.

What I'm curious about is how a society where everyone is FI actually functions.  Because some jobs suck.  Like, I get that some people will always become Surgeons.  But, the pooper-scooper night-shift nurse at the prison hospital?  Even among surgeons, I bet there are some surgeries that are like, sweet mother of jesus, that's hard and awful and I don't want to.

I just have a hard time wrapping my head around that as an idea.  Functionally I don't think it will ever come up, or if it does, it will be in the context of a robot revolution where the roomba can successfully go up stairs, but assuming you could miracle 600k worth of VTSAX into every human's bank account today, I think we'd all find that you can't really eat dividends.
Notice is turned in! 35 days until FIRE!  I am excited and at the same time terrified!
Don't burn your bridges folks. 4 days prior to the date lost my home and rental property to Hurricane Harvey.  Still workin' Never quittin'

shenlong55

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 138
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Kentucky
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #47 on: December 06, 2016, 12:50:09 PM »
The Norwegian Government Pension Fund is a good example - every Norwegian is now technically a wealthy person, though it doesn't exist as cash they can access.  Given a certain growth rate and snowball effect, you can see it ultimately reaching the point where every Norwegian becomes FI.

That can be extended to most Western countries...

Well, certainly every Western country with an unbelievably vast natural resource to sell off.  This is also the model pursued by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, etc.  Use the money from selling the oil to construct a post-resources economy.  The Norwegians deserve credit for not blowing the money on hookers and blow, we'll see if they make the same mistake we did in the 80's with the social security trust.

What I'm curious about is how a society where everyone is FI actually functions.  Because some jobs suck.  Like, I get that some people will always become Surgeons.  But, the pooper-scooper night-shift nurse at the prison hospital?  Even among surgeons, I bet there are some surgeries that are like, sweet mother of jesus, that's hard and awful and I don't want to.

I just have a hard time wrapping my head around that as an idea.  Functionally I don't think it will ever come up, or if it does, it will be in the context of a robot revolution where the roomba can successfully go up stairs, but assuming you could miracle 600k worth of VTSAX into every human's bank account today, I think we'd all find that you can't really eat dividends.

That's why we need a combination of capitalism and socialism until we get to that robot revolution.  A UBI that only provides for the basic necessities still leaves people wanting more stuff which means we can still incentive them to do those jobs that nobody wants to do.  We just have to pay them more, which actually makes a lot of sense to me.  Why should I get paid massive amounts of money for doing what I love (writing code) while the person with the crappy job gets minimum wage.  I already have incentive to do what I love, I don't need any more.  Let's incentive those people who have to do the jobs that nobody wants to do.

shelivesthedream

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2477
  • Location: London, UK
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #48 on: December 07, 2016, 03:05:17 AM »
What I'm curious about is how a society where everyone is FI actually functions.  Because some jobs suck.  Like, I get that some people will always become Surgeons.  But, the pooper-scooper night-shift nurse at the prison hospital?  Even among surgeons, I bet there are some surgeries that are like, sweet mother of jesus, that's hard and awful and I don't want to.

It's like the eternal question on this forum from newcomers: I love the job Ii'm doing right now so don't want to RE, so surely I have no interest in FI? Which, as we have hashed out time and time again, is a silly question because a) no one is forcing you to RE as soon as you hit some minimal FI number, and b) the benefits of FI go beyond the ability to RE.

UBI does not mean no one would ever work for money again. Hopefully, jobs would actually be paid according to their value and shittyness, so the night shift nurse would be making twice as much as the surgeon. (Number for illustrative and hyperbolic purposes only, not to be construed as the actual or comparative value of either a nurse or a surgeon.)

To my mind, its advantages over current social security systems are:
1. Reliability for the receiver. No getting your jobseekers allowance cut because you couldn't make it to the job centre because the bus broke down or because you didn't apply to enough job you're not even qualified for and don't have a hope of getting. It's consistent and predictable, no matter what else happens in your life.
2. Simpler for the administrator. I believe in the UK that we still have a universal Winter Fuel Payment for pensioners, because it was simpler and cheaper to just give it to everyone than to work out who would be eligible and means test them. Some people send theirs back or give theirs to charity if they don't need it, but everyone just gets the money once they reach a certain age.
3. Less demeaning. In the UK, there is a HUGE stigma attached to "benefits scroungers" (or, as some people like to call them, legitimate claimants...) I'm sure there is the odd benefits cheat, but the vast majority are entitled to and need the benefits they receive. Wouldn't it be nice to stop casting these poor people as the bad guys?
4. Improved mental health. I believe that it would reduce mental health problems.

However, it does have certain disadvantages:
1. Price/inflation uncertainty. To me, this is the most significant disadvantage. It's quite possible that prices would immediately inflate such that the UBI was basically worthless.
2. Money management. The way benefits are currently managed in the UK and the US, portions are allocated for specific things. For example, we have housing benefit which can only be used to pay for your housing, and you have food stamps which can only be used to pay for groceries. With the UBI, there is nothing to stop someone spending their monthly income on toys and luxuries and then starving to death on the street. Or even borrowing against the guarantee of their future UBI payments. I would want the UBI to come with a significant financial education programme in schools (and evening classes for adults) so that if someone did spend it all on crap and then not be able to pay rent, at least they would have informed consent.
3. Disability payments. Would we make additional payments to disabled people? For example, if you are disabled such that you cannot work but also need expensive special equipment in your home, is it reasonable to expect you to pay for that out of your UBI? What if you need a carer? What if you are unable to cook so need to buy expensive prepared food?

Classical_Liberal

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 763
  • Age: 41
Re: Can We Achieve Universal FI?
« Reply #49 on: December 07, 2016, 11:32:31 AM »
2. Money management. The way benefits are currently managed in the UK and the US, portions are allocated for specific things. For example, we have housing benefit which can only be used to pay for your housing, and you have food stamps which can only be used to pay for groceries. With the UBI, there is nothing to stop someone spending their monthly income on toys and luxuries and then starving to death on the street. Or even borrowing against the guarantee of their future UBI payments. I would want the UBI to come with a significant financial education programme in schools (and evening classes for adults) so that if someone did spend it all on crap and then not be able to pay rent, at least they would have informed consent.

My two large concerns are this and how the Gov't manages the program.  With the above; when someone chooses to waste food and rent money on gambling, booze, drugs. Then ends up homeless with a couple of young kids, society will cry out for more programs, more $ spent.  While I would agree people shouldnt be starving or living on the street (particularly innocents) it can and will happen.  This means there would have to be at least some type of bureaucracy in place to make sure the funds are being used appropriately if individuals have a history of not doing so. Bureaucracies are inefficient and we are back to square one.

I've made this comment before; I fear UBI could encourage majority rule placing restrictions on the UBI to meet the majorities social agenda.  This is fine if you are in the majority, but would really suck for minority groups.  Imagine if the now republican controlled three branches decided certain groups were not eligible for UBI due to being "terrorist risks" or whatnot.  This could lead to very bad situations.