Author Topic: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?  (Read 15685 times)

maizeman

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #50 on: May 07, 2019, 11:17:13 AM »
We contrive new ways to keep unemployment low since employment is pretty much the only way people can thrive in the current system. But that has lead to many people wasting their lives doing pointless or even damaging things just to justify their continued existence. The way I see it, this community is largely about buying your way out of that deal.

I agree with this in general.  Automation is changing the types of jobs some people do now.  Some of the jobs created are either unproductive or are created because of the consumerism that is so common.  But, many of the jobs that are being replaced are mindless repetitive tasks that weren't exactly what I would consider a rewarding job.

Well so these are two separate and both important criteria.

1) Does the job actually DO anything/would anyone be put out if it didn't exist? Reasonable folks can argue back and forth about the existence of these "bullshit jobs" but my view is that a lot of them do, in fact exist.

2) Is the job rewarding or is it mind numbing or actively inflicting suffering on the person who performs it. I hope that, since we're on an early retirement forum, most would agree that a lot of jobs are repetitive, unrewarding, and just plain unpleasant.

I don't know how much overlap there is between #1 and #2, but it would seem to me that both are a problem to be solved, rather than to aspire to find ways to continue creating both, even when automation provides the opportunity to reduce the number of people forced to devote their lives to either of those categories of work.

Watchmaker

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #51 on: May 07, 2019, 11:26:33 AM »
I agree with this in general.  Automation is changing the types of jobs some people do now.  Some of the jobs created are either unproductive or are created because of the consumerism that is so common.  But, many of the jobs that are being replaced are mindless repetitive tasks that weren't exactly what I would consider a rewarding job.

I agree that the first wave of tasks being replaced by AI are the most routine and monotonous ones-- I say tasks rather than jobs because it is often part of a job that gets replaced, allowing one person to do the job much more efficiently. That doesn't look like job loss to some since there is still a person employed, but technology has taken ten jobs and turned it into one.

The question is, as technology improves our productivity, what do we do with it? Do we ramp up production so we still have full time jobs for everyone (driving consumerism and environmental damage), or do we all work less and produce just what we need to be happy?

maizeman

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #52 on: May 07, 2019, 11:29:54 AM »
Regarding the % of people leaving the work force, in many cases that is their choice.  Currently, there are many good jobs available so if anyone is unable to find work it's most likely due to their qualifications, work ethic, not wanting to move, etc.  Also, on a website largely focused on early retirement we can (hopefully) all agree that some people are just choosing to leave the work force and it's not a bad thing.  (You are free to say anything you want of course)  :-)

Certainly some people (like some of the folks on this forum) leave work early by choice. I'm not convinced there are enough of us to be even a blip on the overall patterns of employment in this country, but I could certainly be wrong.

I also agree with you that if you're intelligent, educated/trained in in demand skills, and highly motivated, it is easy to find a good job in the present economy. In fact any two out of three will probably get you there.

I think part of why my thinking diverges from a lot of posters on this topic is that I may be reminding more often than a lot of us how many people in this country lack both a solid education AND are of below average intelligence/ability. That's not a dig or an attempt to call most americans stupid. But it is the way things are.

When most jobs were agricultural, you didn't need all that much education OR intelligence to make a useful contribution. If you could walk a row of beans and hoe weeds, there would always be a job for you. Most of those jobs are gone. The next big set of jobs was manufacturing, and many, but not all, of the folks who were working agricultural jobs could also learn to do assembly line work. But most of those jobs are gone now. Same with a lot of middle management/HR accounting jobs from the 90s which have been replaced by computers: a bunch of folks who could work factory jobs could learn to do those jobs, but not all of them.

Each advance definitely creates a bunch of new jobs. It's just that a smaller proportion of the population is going to have the qualifications and abilities to do them each time we move forward.

Personally, I know I don't have the intellect, quantitative ability, or training to be a machine learning expert or to design and build robots on a professional level

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Unemployment is still the best measure of that I am aware of.  That would convince me we have a problem that needs solved.  At that point, we could discuss whether UBI is the best solution.  In general, I still tend to default to giving able-bodied people opportunities and letting them run with them rather than the government giving handouts.

Okay, well I think it is unlikely I will be able to change your mind about how poor a job the unemployment rate does of reflecting people who are simply not able to compete for jobs anymore, but that's good to know.

I will say that the problem with trying to create jobs for people, rather than just handing them cash, is that is actually costs a lot more money in administration, organization, overhead, training, etc to create a job for a person paying $12,000 than it does to just cut a check to that same person for $12,000.

kite

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #53 on: May 07, 2019, 11:43:36 AM »
Your words have just as much weight as Sol's do here.

I'll do you one better, and extend an open invitation to AlienRobotAnthropologist, cowpuncher, and anyone else who finds my posts controversial to please engage with the community with your views as a counterbalance to mine. 

We're all effectively equal here, in terms of our access to the shared discussion, and I admit that it kind of peeves me when people with virtually zero post history show up to say "this place sucks and I won't contribute."  Why not?  What is it about this discussion that you feel makes it so worthless that you can't contribute anything except a post saying "I won't contribute"?  If you see something you disagree with, then please tell us why.  Your opinion is just as valid as mine is, you have just as much access as I do, and just as many people will read your posts as read mine.  So if you think mine are wrong and yours are right, then put your money where your mouth is and let the community decide.  I welcome all new voices, even ones I disagree with. 

Just follow the forum rules and you'll be fine.
Seriously?  Let's not forget this is a personal finance/early retirement forum, with a dash of politics on the side. If you're looking for political discussion that's perfectly tailored to your POV, you might be looking for love in the wrong place. Don't go away completely though. It's kinda fun watching someone with too few posts to have even earned a siggy line take on a well respected senior member of this forum...

And let's not forget that MMM himself openly states this place is about environmentalism masked as personal finance. The whole point of frugality is to scale back the monstrous level of consumerism that is destroying the only place we have to live. Sadly, the ethos of  environmentalism/conservation has been labeled "left wing" by the pave-the-earth sociopaths on the political right. So yeah, the whole MMM philosophy is, at root, a political one. So it's little wonder the Trump brown shirts get their panties in a bunch on this site.

Also, ad hominem attack?  Where in sol's post was their an ad hominem attack?  I don't think it means what you think it means. And while he did make the initial error of attacking the source based on erroneous information (which he disavowed as soon as he was shown to be wrong), he provided a thorough deconstruction of the flawed/lazy "arguments" and conclusion(s) drawn in the article. THOSE are what one taking the opposite position should be addressing, not the sol's political leanings.

Where?  Almost the whole thing.  Dismissing a perspective out of hand because of the perceived reputation of the speaker is an ad hominem attack.  He further accuses the author of the column of contradicting the results of her own study.  And then tosses the alt-right accusation in for good measure.   Since he lobbed the Alt-Right comment after being corrected on the political leanings of the Guardian, I'm left to conclude it was directed at me.  It's bullying behavior from someone who got fact after fact completely wrong.  Bullies who are "well respected" are the most dangerous and since he's so "well respected" and prolific around here, I felt (still feel) that it's only a matter of minutes before the Mod's toss me into the penalty box.
I still wonder why people are so deluded as to think that any UBI proposals are a solution to either inequality or to poverty.  I've written my specific thoughts on UBI in a prior thread.  https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/universal-basic-income-forced-early-retirement/    If my opposition to UBI as a replacement for need-based-aid gets me labeled a "Trump brown shirt" then my decision to disengage was prudent.
Good day.

maizeman

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #54 on: May 07, 2019, 12:03:20 PM »
I still wonder why people are so deluded as to think that any UBI proposals are a solution to either inequality or to poverty.

You've received a large number of thoughtful and detailed responses to exactly this question in this thread from the folks you are trying to label as "delusional."

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If my opposition to UBI as a replacement for need-based-aid gets me labeled a "Trump brown shirt" then my decision to disengage was prudent.
Good day.

Who exactly labeled you a "Trump brown shirt"? You have it in quotes, but when I search the thread I don't find anyone else who used it other than in your own post. I don't want to discount the possibility that someone deleted or edited a post, but perhaps you could find more detail?

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Bullies who are "well respected" are the most dangerous and since he's so "well respected" and prolific around here, I felt (still feel) that it's only a matter of minutes before the Mod's toss me into the penalty box.

Heh. I've been labeled as holding all sorts of horrible views by sol over the years, and have yet to land in any sort of a ban or penalty box situation as a result.

But if you're worried about that sort of outcome, calling people you disagree with delusional rather than trying to articulate the evidence and logic behind your own views would seem to be a much bigger risk factor, don't you think?

nereo

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #55 on: May 07, 2019, 12:07:17 PM »

I still wonder why people are so deluded as to think that any UBI proposals are a solution to either inequality or to poverty.  I've written my specific thoughts on UBI in a prior thread.  https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/universal-basic-income-forced-early-retirement/    If my opposition to UBI as a replacement for need-based-aid gets me labeled a "Trump brown shirt" then my decision to disengage was prudent.
Good day.

You can't 'disengage' by telling people they are deluded for holding a particular opinion: the very act of telling others they are delusional is antagonistic.
I do not believe that UBI is a solution to anything, and I don't believe it will address inequality at all, but I do believe that it will help address (not solve) some of our most extreme poverty problems for reasons many others have already brought up in this thread.

Watchmaker

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #56 on: May 07, 2019, 12:10:03 PM »
I will say that the problem with trying to create jobs for people, rather than just handing them cash, is that is actually costs a lot more money in administration, organization, overhead, training, etc to create a job for a person paying $12,000 than it does to just cut a check to that same person for $12,000.

That's okay, in the sense that all that overhead is just more jobs you've created. But those jobs aren't adding anything of value, so it's all in the service of the illusion that everyone needs to work a full time job.




maizeman

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #57 on: May 07, 2019, 12:22:10 PM »
I will say that the problem with trying to create jobs for people, rather than just handing them cash, is that is actually costs a lot more money in administration, organization, overhead, training, etc to create a job for a person paying $12,000 than it does to just cut a check to that same person for $12,000.

That's okay, in the sense that all that overhead is just more jobs you've created. But those jobs aren't adding anything of value, so it's all in the service of the illusion that everyone needs to work a full time job.

Ha! Okay yes that's a fair point. I bet a lot of those required jobs-creating-jobs would pay more than $12,000/year, but in a sense any extra spending is indeed a method of creating more jobs/more work.

Shane

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #58 on: May 07, 2019, 01:31:57 PM »
I think raising the minimum wage would accomplish most of what UBI intends to accomplish, while also raising tax revenue and simplifying government (because fewer people would qualify for subsidies). I am of the opinion that anyone who works 40 hours per week should be able to afford food, shelter, healthcare, childcare and basic comforts. Right now many welfare recipients are working poor families, so welfare is really subsidizing employers who choose to pay starvation wages. UBI would subsidize these employers even further. UBI would increase inflation at least as much as a living wage would.
In his book The Once and Future Worker: A Vision for the Renewal of Work in America Oren Cass had some good ideas on how to help people whose work the market doesn't currently value at enough $/hr for them to live a decent life in the US. My favorite idea from Cass's book was to replace some of the myriad of current social benefits programs with pay subsidies. It would work kind of like the existing Earned Income Tax Credit, in that the more low income people worked, the more subsidies they would receive from the federal government, but it would be immediate. People wouldn't have to wait until the following year when they filed their taxes to get the money. If their boss called them on the phone and said, "Hey, can you work overtime tomorrow?," they would have an immediate incentive to say yes, because they'd know that on Friday, when they got their paycheck, the money would be there for them to immediately use to buy food, pay rent, or whatever. Right now, people who work full time at minimum wage don't earn enough to live a decent, dignified life in the US and have to make ends meet by applying for a myriad of social programs, like Section 8, Welfare, SNAP, WIC, etc. Cass's idea is to eliminate the need for some, or all, of those social programs by directly subsidizing workers' wages, instead. For example, if we think people need $15/hr to live a reasonable life, but employers are only willing to employ workers at, say, $10/hr, the federal government could subsidize their wages by $5/hr. So, the more people worked, the more they would make, as opposed to the current system that basically rewards people with more benefits if they work less. Cass says this is really bad for people. I agree.

Aunt Petunia

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #59 on: May 07, 2019, 04:07:40 PM »
Sounds good for the employers. Why not take the money from corporations, instead of the tax payers? Dignity in work without rewarding companies for paying substandard wages. A successful company should be able to afford to pay a living wage and still make a profit. Get rid of the share buybacks and out of control executive pay.

Indexer

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #60 on: May 07, 2019, 06:14:39 PM »
Well said. Sadly if your politics aren't to the left of Noam Chomsky, hell even to the left of AOC, it's prohibitively difficult to have a conversation on the MMM forums on anything not exceedingly concrete and technical. Sol is the #1 reason that's the case. Luckily the internet has plenty of better places for personal finance these days. Too bad as I do enjoy checking out MMM on occasion.

I lean right, especially fiscally, and I'm pro gun. I've NEVER felt Sol was shutting down the conversation. Are some posters pretty liberal, yes. While I don't always agree with Sol, I respect his views and they are normally well thought out. On a few occasions other posters have helped me think about things in a different way and changed my opinions, and on other occasions we've found we agree on more than we thought.



UBI is probably a great example of the latter. I used to completely disagree with the idea. How would we pay for it? Isn't it encouraging people to sit at home? Is it fair that it would mean taking money from people who are working to give money to people who aren't working?

I still see it this way for now, but I recognize UBI or something like it might have a place in the future due to automation. A big reason for income inequality is that high skill jobs benefit from technology to achieve greater productivity while low skill jobs are replaced by technology.

iris lily

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #61 on: May 07, 2019, 07:49:22 PM »
UBI can't replace the other welfare program. People won't be able to survive.

What do you mean?

Linea_Norway

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #62 on: May 08, 2019, 02:05:26 AM »
UBI can't replace the other welfare program. People won't be able to survive.

What do you mean?

Exactly, UBI is supposed to cover a basic living. Probably without room for luxuries, as covering basic living will be expensive enough.

Bloop Bloop

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #63 on: May 08, 2019, 05:35:56 AM »
If by basic living you mean 'food, shelter and a library card', I'd agree.

A lot of proponents of UBI want more than that though - and that's where I'd disagree. I think our society has evolved past the point where people should starve on the streets or die of exposure, but beyond that, if you want something, you can work for it.

Cool Friend

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #64 on: May 08, 2019, 07:05:38 AM »
If by basic living you mean 'food, shelter and a library card', I'd agree.

A lot of proponents of UBI want more than that though - and that's where I'd disagree. I think our society has evolved past the point where people should starve on the streets or die of exposure, but beyond that, if you want something, you can work for it.

The whole crux of the matter is that it's becoming increasingly likely that in the near future, working for it will not be an option.

FrugalToque

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #65 on: May 08, 2019, 07:12:07 AM »
What?  If you go out of your way to talk about how little evidence there is and then immediately proceed to draw firm conclusions then something is going wrong.

I think what they mean to say is, "The evidence is too wimpy for YOU to draw conclusions, but WE totally can."

FrugalToque

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #66 on: May 08, 2019, 07:15:24 AM »
Where?  Almost the whole thing.  Dismissing a perspective out of hand because of the perceived reputation of the speaker is an ad hominem attack.
...
I still wonder why people are so deluded as to think ...

Well, you have a problem there, don't you?
You made a post once against UBI and you feel that settled the matter, but other people don't agree, so they're "deluded"?
But you don't like ad hominem attacks?

Toque.

nereo

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #67 on: May 08, 2019, 07:22:48 AM »
If by basic living you mean 'food, shelter and a library card', I'd agree.

A lot of proponents of UBI want more than that though - and that's where I'd disagree. I think our society has evolved past the point where people should starve on the streets or die of exposure, but beyond that, if you want something, you can work for it.

The whole crux of the matter is that it's becoming increasingly likely that in the near future, working for it will not be an option.

This is one prediction that is oft repeated as fact, yet I have my doubts.  For over a century many smart economists have predicted that the next wave of automation would wipe out jobs for the labor class (Keynes comes to mind, but he was hardly the first).  And while each advancement did largely eliminate the jobs on the lowest rung of the ladder, each time an entirely new sector of jobs has sprung up. 

Cool Friend

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #68 on: May 08, 2019, 07:39:21 AM »
If by basic living you mean 'food, shelter and a library card', I'd agree.

A lot of proponents of UBI want more than that though - and that's where I'd disagree. I think our society has evolved past the point where people should starve on the streets or die of exposure, but beyond that, if you want something, you can work for it.

The whole crux of the matter is that it's becoming increasingly likely that in the near future, working for it will not be an option.

This is one prediction that is oft repeated as fact, yet I have my doubts.  For over a century many smart economists have predicted that the next wave of automation would wipe out jobs for the labor class (Keynes comes to mind, but he was hardly the first).  And while each advancement did largely eliminate the jobs on the lowest rung of the ladder, each time an entirely new sector of jobs has sprung up.

I said "increasingly likely," not "guaranteed." I don't think it's a Fact that it's going to happen, but most people who take a close look at the trends agree that it's a serious consideration.

I'm familiar with the past precedent of new industries replacing old.   There is a lot of information suggesting that this time is different, and that the scope and scale of automation coming--already here, in some employment sectors--is too vast for the system we have in place to withstand without some creative thinking.

ketchup

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #69 on: May 08, 2019, 07:59:28 AM »
Sounds good for the employers. Why not take the money from corporations, instead of the tax payers? Dignity in work without rewarding companies for paying substandard wages. A successful company should be able to afford to pay a living wage and still make a profit. Get rid of the share buybacks and out of control executive pay.
If a burger-flipping robot costs McDonald's the equivalent of $12/hr to operate, having a $10/hr human do it instead is cost-effective for the business and the human has a job.  If the human wants $15/hr instead, or minimum wage is raised to $15/hr, the human gets laid off and replaced with the burger-flipping robot.  Is that really the direction we want to nudge business' use of automation?

(all numbers hand-waved, of course)

damyst

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #70 on: May 08, 2019, 08:27:33 AM »
Sounds good for the employers. Why not take the money from corporations, instead of the tax payers? Dignity in work without rewarding companies for paying substandard wages. A successful company should be able to afford to pay a living wage and still make a profit. Get rid of the share buybacks and out of control executive pay.
If a burger-flipping robot costs McDonald's the equivalent of $12/hr to operate, having a $10/hr human do it instead is cost-effective for the business and the human has a job.  If the human wants $15/hr instead, or minimum wage is raised to $15/hr, the human gets laid off and replaced with the burger-flipping robot.  Is that really the direction we want to nudge business' use of automation?

(all numbers hand-waved, of course)

If $10 per hour is not a living wage, then yes, I see no benefit in having a human doing a dreary job that doesn't pay for their basic necessities.

What's the alternative? Take some of the value that McDonald's generated and instead of giving it to their shareholders, give it to the human they replaced via income redistribution.

This is the system we already have, qualitatively. The change is only quantitative. There are enough dollars to go round, we just need to agree to share them.

nereo

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #71 on: May 08, 2019, 08:48:55 AM »
Sounds good for the employers. Why not take the money from corporations, instead of the tax payers? Dignity in work without rewarding companies for paying substandard wages. A successful company should be able to afford to pay a living wage and still make a profit. Get rid of the share buybacks and out of control executive pay.
If a burger-flipping robot costs McDonald's the equivalent of $12/hr to operate, having a $10/hr human do it instead is cost-effective for the business and the human has a job.  If the human wants $15/hr instead, or minimum wage is raised to $15/hr, the human gets laid off and replaced with the burger-flipping robot.  Is that really the direction we want to nudge business' use of automation?

(all numbers hand-waved, of course)

To make this a bit more philisophical - is flipping burgers (or other repetitive, simple tasks) really something we want humans to be doing just so they can be employed?    It seems horrible in the moment to lose jobs to automation, but absurd after the implementation is complete to go back. Mining, farming, factory-assembly all used to employ scores of humans to do what can now be done by a couple of machines and a few operators.  But if we didn't have combine harvesters and mechanical tractors we'd probably pay 10x for our food and have widespread shortages.

To use the burger-flipping analogy I've heard some grumblings about cashiers being replaced with those self-ordering kiosks, but I don't really see why a human should be required to punch the buttons into a console and swipe my cc when I'm perfectly capable of doing that myself (and with fewer errors).

Watchmaker

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #72 on: May 08, 2019, 08:57:05 AM »
I'm pretty sure I mention this quote in every UBI thread, but as Buckminster Fuller said back in the 70's:

We must do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian-Darwinian theory, he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.

Apart from his "one in ten thousand", which I think is an exaggeration, this sums it up nicely for me.

driftwood

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #73 on: May 08, 2019, 09:03:28 AM »
Not to derail, but when considering where some cuts to the budget might be made, mayhaps we should all keep the following in mind:

This chart tells me nothing. We need more info than that... a chart showing spending on social programs may look the same as this one. What conclusion do you draw when you see that a country (UK) 1/40th the size of the US spending 1/12th on their defense budget compared to what the US spends? It looks like we're doing well considering our size compared to other countries. Or go by population and you get the UK as 1/8th the US... but spending 1/12 of what we spend. Not really telling us anything.
 

sol

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #74 on: May 08, 2019, 09:27:07 AM »
For over a century many smart economists have predicted that the next wave of automation would wipe out jobs for the labor class (Keynes comes to mind, but he was hardly the first).  And while each advancement did largely eliminate the jobs on the lowest rung of the ladder, each time an entirely new sector of jobs has sprung up.

I agree that the concerns over AI making UBI necessary are probably way overblown.  They seem to be based on the assumption that our collective personal incomes are somehow based on our collective economic production, and I don't think that's true at all.  We are not farmers, or factory workers.  We don't make money by making stuff, but by doing stuff.  In the future, machines could make ALL of the stuff, and people would still have lots of jobs doing stuff.

How much money you make for your job is only a function of how munch money you can get people to pay you for doing it, not how useful or productive it is.  As soon as you realize that production and income are only vaguely related concepts, it's easy to rationalize how youtube stars and celebrity bloggers make millions for relatively low-effort gigs.  They're not destroying their backs picking fruit in the hot sun.  They're not spending 12 hours underground each day mining coal.  But they make far more money than either of those jobs, because millions of people generate pennies each day in ad revenue.

So if you accept that productivity and income are not tied together, then it's easier to consider what other factors do determine income if it's not productivity.  I think a big one is the availability of expendable income of your target market, because you're more likely to get paid if you have customers with money to spend.  That gets back to the idea above about the velocity of money being determinative, and AI will arguably increase the velocity of money through the economy.  If automation manages to put more money into circulation, for example by increasing profit margins that are paid out to investors, then that increased available spending money will continue to support all kinds of new jobs.  Even jobs that don't seem to make any sense to me like "social media influencer" are still valid ways to make money as long as someone is paying them.

That's kind of a lot of different ideas in one paragraph, but I have one more to share, too:  are mustachians turning the stock market into their own personal UBI?  Like I no longer work for a living, and yet I have a steady stream of income from my accumulated assets and I spend that income on stuff that supports the economy that pays my income.  It looks very much like a basic income provision, but rather than being universal it's only paid to people who have first "served their time" in the slave economy.  The longer you work for a paycheck the higher your "investment basic income" IBI becomes. 

It's probably not a coincidence that a community of people devoted to setting up a work-free income stream (and possible accompanying early retirement) are also disproportionately fascinated by the idea of UBI, which is another work-free income stream.  We're just actively making it happen, one investor forum member at a time, rather than waiting for the machine uprising.


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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #75 on: May 08, 2019, 09:35:07 AM »
That's kind of a lot of different ideas in one paragraph, but I have one more to share, too:  are mustachians turning the stock market into their own personal UBI?  Like I no longer work for a living, and yet I have a steady stream of income from my accumulated assets and I spend that income on stuff that supports the economy that pays my income.  It looks very much like a basic income provision, but rather than being universal it's only paid to people who have first "served their time" in the slave economy.  The longer you work for a paycheck the higher your "investment basic income" IBI becomes. 

It's probably not a coincidence that a community of people devoted to setting up a work-free income stream (and possible accompanying early retirement) are also disproportionately fascinated by the idea of UBI, which is another work-free income stream.  We're just actively making it happen, one investor forum member at a time, rather than waiting for the machine uprising.

I'll have to think about the first half of your post more, but I absolutely agree with this. I think of UBI as being like FIRE for everyone (if they want it).

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #76 on: May 08, 2019, 09:41:18 AM »
I don't know that I'd call the youtube stars a 'low effort' job. If it was that easy, then everyone would be a star or a celebrity blogger. It may not require much book smarts, but it requires other sorts of smarts.

And no doubt fruit picking is a 'high manual effort' job - unfortunately for fruit pickers, this is because manual labour is cheap, because when forced to, anyone can bend their backs and sweat.

Profitable work is about who can do something that others are not good at replicating. I have no issue with that being the form of currency that society values.

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #77 on: May 08, 2019, 10:04:22 AM »
I don't know that I'd call the youtube stars a 'low effort' job. If it was that easy, then everyone would be a star or a celebrity blogger. It may not require much book smarts, but it requires other sorts of smarts.

And no doubt fruit picking is a 'high manual effort' job - unfortunately for fruit pickers, this is because manual labour is cheap, because when forced to, anyone can bend their backs and sweat.

Profitable work is about who can do something that others are not good at replicating. I have no issue with that being the form of currency that society values.
I don't think there's as strong a correlation between compensation and qualified worker availability (things others are "not good at replication") as you suggest.
 
Plenty of fields are very hard to do and require both advanced certifications and training, but lack high compensation.  Teaching college-level courses, mental health counciling and social work all come to mind.  And there are plenty of fields which most people can do and have few barriers to entry.  Instead compensation is heavily influenced by where the money is, which for many sectors is largely determined by local and federal spending, as well as regulation (or lack thereof). 
As a thought exercise, check out what typical compensation is for physicians, teachers and social workers in various developed countries.  The requirements and training for these jobs are roughly equivalent, but the compensation for doing the same job can be drastically different for reasons that are only tangentially related to how many people there are that are (or could) be good at doing said job.

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #78 on: May 08, 2019, 10:07:28 AM »
Sounds good for the employers. Why not take the money from corporations, instead of the tax payers? Dignity in work without rewarding companies for paying substandard wages. A successful company should be able to afford to pay a living wage and still make a profit. Get rid of the share buybacks and out of control executive pay.
If a burger-flipping robot costs McDonald's the equivalent of $12/hr to operate, having a $10/hr human do it instead is cost-effective for the business and the human has a job.  If the human wants $15/hr instead, or minimum wage is raised to $15/hr, the human gets laid off and replaced with the burger-flipping robot.  Is that really the direction we want to nudge business' use of automation?

(all numbers hand-waved, of course)

If $10 per hour is not a living wage, then yes, I see no benefit in having a human doing a dreary job that doesn't pay for their basic necessities.

What's the alternative? Take some of the value that McDonald's generated and instead of giving it to their shareholders, give it to the human they replaced via income redistribution.

This is the system we already have, qualitatively. The change is only quantitative. There are enough dollars to go round, we just need to agree to share them.
I'm in favor of UBI, to clarify.  I meant my post to say that simply making companies raise wages isn't the answer.  $10/hr supplemented with UBI is better than unemployment due to a $15/hr minimum wage making the burger flipping robot cost effective for McDonald's.

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #79 on: May 08, 2019, 10:43:11 AM »
As of now, in a word, I find UBI problematical.

VOX has an article on UBI that was posted on 2/3/19.

Hilary Hoynes and Jesse Rothstein analyze issues of UBI. They  submitted some of their findings  to the National Bureau of Economic Research.

From the VOX piece, here are their statements and findings:

"There is a lack of clarity on what makes a UBI, what problem it is meant to solve, whether the social safety net can or is providing these benefits, and what (if anything) can be learned from the pilot programs that we don’t already know."

 “Our paper seeks to fill this gap.”

"Attention may be running ahead of actual policy development."

Speaking of the recent Finnish study of UBI, Rothstein said studies like it are  “meant to tell us whether a UBI is a good idea, but it’s not clear what results would lead to you saying, ‘Yes, it’s a good idea’ or, ‘No, it’s not a good idea.’"

“A truly universal UBI would be enormously expensive.”

“The kinds of UBIs often discussed would cost nearly double current total spending on the ‘big three’ programs (Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid).”

 “Moreover, each of these programs would likely be necessary even if a UBI were in place, as each addresses needs that would not be well served by a uniform cash transfer.”

 “A universal payment of $12,000 per year to each adult U.S. resident over age 18 would cost roughly $3 trillion per year."

 “This is about 75 percent of current total federal expenditures, including all on- and off-budget items, in 2017. (If those over 65 were excluded, the cost would fall by about one-fifth.) Thus, implementing this UBI without cuts to other programs would require nearly doubling federal tax revenue.”

“Replacing existing anti-poverty programs with a UBI would be highly regressive.”
« Last Edit: May 08, 2019, 12:40:30 PM by John Galt incarnate! »

John Galt incarnate!

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #80 on: May 08, 2019, 10:57:54 AM »
Sounds good for the employers. Why not take the money from corporations, instead of the tax payers? Dignity in work without rewarding companies for paying substandard wages. A successful company should be able to afford to pay a living wage and still make a profit. Get rid of the share buybacks and out of control executive pay.
If a burger-flipping robot costs McDonald's the equivalent of $12/hr to operate, having a $10/hr human do it instead is cost-effective for the business and the human has a job.  If the human wants $15/hr instead, or minimum wage is raised to $15/hr, the human gets laid off and replaced with the burger-flipping robot.  Is that really the direction we want to nudge business' use of automation?

(all numbers hand-waved, of course)

To make this a bit more philisophical - is flipping burgers (or other repetitive, simple tasks) really something we want humans to be doing just so they can be employed?   

No.

I met a man who, for  years and years, used a manually  operated paint sprayer to paint automobiles.

The daily repetitiveness of it wore out the sockets in the joints of his arms.

« Last Edit: May 08, 2019, 11:04:09 AM by John Galt incarnate! »

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #81 on: May 08, 2019, 11:09:39 AM »
As of now, in a word, I find UBI problematical.

I agree, it's problematic.  It's a complicated way to address a complicated problem, and there tons of details that would need to be hashed out.  I think UBI is roughly where nationalized healthare was in the 90s, an idea that is intended to help people but would mean a wholesale upsetting of our current economic apple cart.  If we ever get around to implementing UBI, I think it will have to be anything except universal.  But I think that giving money to the poorest people isn't a terrible idea by itself, if your goal is to alleviate extreme poverty.

I have a family member who supports herself and her boyfriend on roughly $600 per month in disability payments, and that's it.  They have no other income at all, for two people, meaning they average less than $4k per year per person.  They are periodically homeless.  All of their healthcare comes from emergency rooms.  People like that would benefit dramatically from a few hundred extra dollars per month in government payments that were paid directly to them, and didn't require meeting with a social worker or filling out any paperwork.  She's on disability because she can't do that kind of thing, so many of our current anti-poverty programs are unavailable to her.  That's who I think UBI or something like it would most benefit.  If a government program just gave her the cash, no questions and no strings, she'd stop camping out under your local freeway overpass holding a cardboard sign.

Quote
“Replacing existing anti-poverty programs with a UBI would be highly regressive.”

Yes, I agree that it would be highly regressive.  That was part of the appeal in the first place, though.  Conservative economic thinkers of decades past believed that all government intervention in people's lives was an infringement of personal freedoms, and they hated that America was expanding programs like section 8 housing, WIC, medicaid, etc.  They proposed making cash payments to everyone equally instead, as a means of addressing the needs of that same impoverished population in a way that would also benefit the middle and upper classes by an "equal" amount.  UBI is very much the intellectual counterpart to the flat tax movement, but in the opposite direction.  I think it suffers from the same philosophical shortcomings as a flat tax, too, like being highly regressive.

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #82 on: May 08, 2019, 11:15:02 AM »
I note the article is based on a New Economics Foundation think tank report.  A think tank is modern speak for "an institution founded and funded interests to promote that interest and look scholarly and credible doing so dumbass politicians can look intelligent citing them."  Think tanks are famous for employing scholars that back their point of view and never diverge from it.  The New Economics Foundation is a liberal think tank founded by a member of the Green Party.  While you'd think it would see UBI as good, it appears it instead sees it as an obstacle to their other goal: socialism and more socialism for diversity and the environment.  UBI puts responsibility on the individual to use UBI money intelligently, something earnest left leaning technocrats distrust.  Regardless, any think tank's report must be examined with skepticism. 

In this case they studied mini UBI and pseudo UBI experiments from all over the world to form their conclusions.  The problem with social "experiments" is that they're not science.  In science the experimenters control (in most cases absolutely control) all the conditions to ensure their hypothesis is never interfered with and thus proved.  In large social experiments this is almost never the case.

To be fair though, The New Economics Foundation may be right in its intent even if its report is a hatchet job.  Maybe the answer is socialism and more socialism. 

Disclaimer: I regret I could only scan the report. 

mm1970

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #83 on: May 08, 2019, 11:58:39 AM »
That's kind of a lot of different ideas in one paragraph, but I have one more to share, too:  are mustachians turning the stock market into their own personal UBI?  Like I no longer work for a living, and yet I have a steady stream of income from my accumulated assets and I spend that income on stuff that supports the economy that pays my income.  It looks very much like a basic income provision, but rather than being universal it's only paid to people who have first "served their time" in the slave economy.  The longer you work for a paycheck the higher your "investment basic income" IBI becomes. 

It's probably not a coincidence that a community of people devoted to setting up a work-free income stream (and possible accompanying early retirement) are also disproportionately fascinated by the idea of UBI, which is another work-free income stream.  We're just actively making it happen, one investor forum member at a time, rather than waiting for the machine uprising.

I'll have to think about the first half of your post more, but I absolutely agree with this. I think of UBI as being like FIRE for everyone (if they want it).

A lot to think about here...but when I read this topic one of the things that I always think about is "The Good Life" by Helen and Scott Nearing.  I've read the book at least twice.  These folks lived off the land, figured out ways to generate income (blueberries, maple syrup, etc.).  But one of the OTHER things they did is break up the day into 2 main 4 hour chunks - one for "bread labor" generating income and working around the farm, and one for rest and relaxation like reading, writing, and making music.

It's like the predictions of a 20 hour work week from long ago, or whatever.  FIRE people get to do this type of arrangement.  Other people who have certain incomes and jobs can do that too.  To be honest?  That schedule would be so awesome.  But: health insurance (in the US anyway).  I think a lot about all the different jobs, and how we have a hierarchy.  Like if you are an artist of any kind, you aren't worthy of health insurance unless you can pay for it - because art is pointless right? 

Anyway, we could likely have partial FIRE for everyone, but I don't see it happening in my lifetime.  There are plenty of things to do that don't involve full time employment that are positive to society.  Volunteering, growing your own food, mending things, cleaning up beaches...

damyst

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #84 on: May 08, 2019, 11:59:56 AM »
Sounds good for the employers. Why not take the money from corporations, instead of the tax payers? Dignity in work without rewarding companies for paying substandard wages. A successful company should be able to afford to pay a living wage and still make a profit. Get rid of the share buybacks and out of control executive pay.
If a burger-flipping robot costs McDonald's the equivalent of $12/hr to operate, having a $10/hr human do it instead is cost-effective for the business and the human has a job.  If the human wants $15/hr instead, or minimum wage is raised to $15/hr, the human gets laid off and replaced with the burger-flipping robot.  Is that really the direction we want to nudge business' use of automation?

(all numbers hand-waved, of course)

If $10 per hour is not a living wage, then yes, I see no benefit in having a human doing a dreary job that doesn't pay for their basic necessities.

What's the alternative? Take some of the value that McDonald's generated and instead of giving it to their shareholders, give it to the human they replaced via income redistribution.

This is the system we already have, qualitatively. The change is only quantitative. There are enough dollars to go round, we just need to agree to share them.
I'm in favor of UBI, to clarify.  I meant my post to say that simply making companies raise wages isn't the answer.  $10/hr supplemented with UBI is better than unemployment due to a $15/hr minimum wage making the burger flipping robot cost effective for McDonald's.

I disagree. $15/hr in UBI (or unemployment insurance, or however you choose to model that social transfer) is better than $10/hr supplemented with UBI, because it frees up the individual to seek more valuable and fulfilling work than serving burgers, which the robot can do just as well.

ketchup

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #85 on: May 08, 2019, 12:02:04 PM »
Sounds good for the employers. Why not take the money from corporations, instead of the tax payers? Dignity in work without rewarding companies for paying substandard wages. A successful company should be able to afford to pay a living wage and still make a profit. Get rid of the share buybacks and out of control executive pay.
If a burger-flipping robot costs McDonald's the equivalent of $12/hr to operate, having a $10/hr human do it instead is cost-effective for the business and the human has a job.  If the human wants $15/hr instead, or minimum wage is raised to $15/hr, the human gets laid off and replaced with the burger-flipping robot.  Is that really the direction we want to nudge business' use of automation?

(all numbers hand-waved, of course)

If $10 per hour is not a living wage, then yes, I see no benefit in having a human doing a dreary job that doesn't pay for their basic necessities.

What's the alternative? Take some of the value that McDonald's generated and instead of giving it to their shareholders, give it to the human they replaced via income redistribution.

This is the system we already have, qualitatively. The change is only quantitative. There are enough dollars to go round, we just need to agree to share them.
I'm in favor of UBI, to clarify.  I meant my post to say that simply making companies raise wages isn't the answer.  $10/hr supplemented with UBI is better than unemployment due to a $15/hr minimum wage making the burger flipping robot cost effective for McDonald's.

I disagree. $15/hr in UBI (or unemployment insurance, or however you choose to model that social transfer) is better than $10/hr supplemented with UBI, because it frees up the individual to seek more valuable and fulfilling work than serving burgers, which the robot can do just as well.
That's not what I was comparing.  I was comparing $10/hr plus UBI to $0/hr due to unemployment and no UBI/unemployment.  I agree with you.  My intent was to compare UBI to dramatically raising the minimum wage.

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #86 on: May 08, 2019, 12:52:08 PM »
I note the article is based on a New Economics Foundation think tank report.  A think tank is modern speak for "an institution founded and funded interests to promote that interest and look scholarly and credible doing so dumbass politicians can look intelligent citing them."  Think tanks are famous for employing scholars that back their point of view and never diverge from it.  The New Economics Foundation is a liberal think tank founded by a member of the Green Party.  While you'd think it would see UBI as good, it appears it instead sees it as an obstacle to their other goal: socialism and more socialism for diversity and the environment.  UBI puts responsibility on the individual to use UBI money intelligently, something earnest left leaning technocrats distrust.  Regardless, any think tank's report must be examined with skepticism. 

In this case they studied mini UBI and pseudo UBI experiments from all over the world to form their conclusions.  The problem with social "experiments" is that they're not science.  In science the experimenters control (in most cases absolutely control) all the conditions to ensure their hypothesis is never interfered with and thus proved.  In large social experiments this is almost never the case.

To be fair though, The New Economics Foundation may be right in its intent even if its report is a hatchet job.  Maybe the answer is socialism and more socialism. 

Disclaimer: I regret I could only scan the report.

I erred when I posted that Hoynes and Rothstein are "researchers at the National Bureau of Economic Research."

 As far as I know, they work in the economics department at UC Berkeley.

VOX's piece is about their findings in the paper they submitted to the NBER.

I edited my post to correct my mistake.

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #87 on: May 08, 2019, 03:00:24 PM »
After reading the actual report (http://www.world-psi.org/sites/default/files/documents/research/en_ubi_full_report_2019.pdf) the article parrots, I'm pretty much confirmed of my initial impressions.  In page 11, Conclusions, it makes a lot of assertions which are supported and a few which are not and asserts that state supplied social services are better suited than UBI to addressing poverty.  It does state that in the studies given that recipients didn't spend payouts on alcohol and tobacco, so there's that. 

Perhaps the most damning bit are the studies themselves.  UBI, at least as I understand it, is supposed to be basic living expenses for food, shelter, and maybe some clothing.  In every case the money dispensed wouldn't have cut the mustard.  For example, the Indian experiment described on page 40 distributed approximately 600 Rupees per family per month (assuming 2 adults and 2 children - 200 Rupee per adult; 100 per child).  I wasn't able to find stats for 2014 when the experiment happened.  But in 2018 an Indian living wage is 10,000 Rupee per month.  Unless India went through crazy inflation in the past few years that's not UBI.  The Indian experiment generally paid out more than the others.  A Brazilian experiment cited in page 43 offered $85 Brazilian dollars a month to poor families when the actual living wage amounted to $2,350 Brazilian dollars a month.   

https://wageindicator.org/salary/living-wage/india-living-wages-2018-country-overview
https://tradingeconomics.com/brazil/living-wage-family

The other studies all used allotments in ranges that weren't actually UBI.  The Malawi example on page 41 isn't very correct.  It states payments were made "to to test and compare the outcomes of UCTs and CCTs."  (Universal Cash Transfers and Conditional Cash Transfers).  But it wasn't.  The World Bank did it to determine "Does Paying Girls’ School Fees Reduce Their Risk of HIV Infection?"   Is this agenda driven obfuscation or just a mistake trying to cite every hand out?  No way to tell.  I'll be generous and roll with "mistake."  Regardless, the payouts were only to school age girls with the control the same demographic. 

The link cited in the study got moved but you can find it here: https://www.worldbank.org/en/programs/sief-trust-fund/brief/the-zomba-cash-experiment

Again, to be fair, UBI isn't always defined as "covering food, shelter and maybe clothing."  It can be and is often defined as a guaranteed handout in much smaller amounts.  But if that's all it is, it's practically indistinguishable from welfare, food stamps, social security, and unemployment benefits plus tax breaks to those who aren't actually poor.  Especially in the amounts cited in the survey, some of which are considerably less than those programs and tax breaks.  But if that's so, a major conclusion of the study that UBI is unsustainable (28% to 30% GDP required) is itself unsustainable - because most wealthy countries are practically already doing it.

UBI in any form may be a great solution to poverty.  Or it may soak on better social programs plus a potential resource to spend on hookers and blackjack.  I don't know and don't care as I don't think I'll ever see it except in the forms I mentioned above.  But if you want to find out this report is a poor resource.  It is great, however, if you're a socialist who wants to cite a source with leftist pedigree instead of something like the rightwing Heritage Foundation think tank.  Better still if you're a conservative who wants to say "even this leftist think tank says UBI sucks!" to seem moderate and well read.

maizeman

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #88 on: May 08, 2019, 06:58:14 PM »
Sounds good for the employers. Why not take the money from corporations, instead of the tax payers? Dignity in work without rewarding companies for paying substandard wages. A successful company should be able to afford to pay a living wage and still make a profit. Get rid of the share buybacks and out of control executive pay.
If a burger-flipping robot costs McDonald's the equivalent of $12/hr to operate, having a $10/hr human do it instead is cost-effective for the business and the human has a job.  If the human wants $15/hr instead, or minimum wage is raised to $15/hr, the human gets laid off and replaced with the burger-flipping robot.  Is that really the direction we want to nudge business' use of automation?

(all numbers hand-waved, of course)

To make this a bit more philisophical - is flipping burgers (or other repetitive, simple tasks) really something we want humans to be doing just so they can be employed?   

If we can find a way for those same humans to either have more fulfilling jobs or to get enough money to survive and live a life that includes things like food shelter and medicine, no clearly that isn't something we want humans to be doing.

My concern with raising the minimum wage (in the absence of a UBI) is that we're taking away choices from people who find a boring and repetitive job preferable to going hungry.

If we did have a UBI, I would go from being worried about raising the minimum wage to encourage the automation of repetitive tasks to actively advocating for it.

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #89 on: May 08, 2019, 07:49:31 PM »
UBI can't replace the other welfare program. People won't be able to survive.

What do you mean?

Maybe she means SS.  Someone mentioned it replacing other social programs like SS.  If you've waited until age 70 to draw your $2500/mo SS benefit that you need to pay the bills, and suddenly you're told you're going to get a UBI of $1000/mo (or less) instead, that's going to make it hard to survive.  I hate to see senior citizens screwed out of their promised SS benefits that they paid into all of their lives, often waited more years to collect so that they could get a larger benefit, only to see it snatched away at the last minute.

It seems like the more I read about UBI, the greater my resolve to oppose it.  If there is ever a need for it, I think it will be far into the future.  Things seems to always change slower than people anticipate.  The world didn't end when we didn't need all those buggy whips.  There will be new jobs created that you aren't even thinking about today.

maizeman

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #90 on: May 08, 2019, 08:01:33 PM »
Someone mentioned it replacing other social programs like SS.  If you've waited until age 70 to draw your $2500/mo SS benefit that you need to pay the bills, and suddenly you're told you're going to get a UBI of $1000/mo (or less) instead, that's going to make it hard to survive.  I hate to see senior citizens screwed out of their promised SS benefits that they paid into all of their lives, often waited more years to collect so that they could get a larger benefit, only to see it snatched away at the last minute.

Who specifically mentioned forcing seniors to give up SS benefits? It's not something I've heard with regard to the UBI anywhere (but that doesn't mean no one has ever suggested such a thing, just that I think it is not reasonable for you to assume that's an intrinsic part of implementing a UBI).
« Last Edit: May 08, 2019, 08:12:34 PM by maizeman »

damyst

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #91 on: May 08, 2019, 08:04:01 PM »
UBI can't replace the other welfare program. People won't be able to survive.

What do you mean?

Maybe she means SS.  Someone mentioned it replacing other social programs like SS.  If you've waited until age 70 to draw your $2500/mo SS benefit that you need to pay the bills, and suddenly you're told you're going to get a UBI of $1000/mo (or less) instead, that's going to make it hard to survive.  I hate to see senior citizens screwed out of their promised SS benefits that they paid into all of their lives, often waited more years to collect so that they could get a larger benefit, only to see it snatched away at the last minute.

Why are people latching onto completely arbitrary numbers? Where did you get the idea that a theoretical UBI would mean less money in seniors' pocket than current SS? Hopefully most readers realize what a silly straw man argument that is.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2019, 08:12:08 PM by damyst »

FIREstache

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #92 on: May 08, 2019, 08:24:37 PM »
Someone mentioned it replacing other social programs like SS.  If you've waited until age 70 to draw your $2500/mo SS benefit that you need to pay the bills, and suddenly you're told you're going to get a UBI of $1000/mo (or less) instead, that's going to make it hard to survive.  I hate to see senior citizens screwed out of their promised SS benefits that they paid into all of their lives, often waited more years to collect so that they could get a larger benefit, only to see it snatched away at the last minute.

Who specifically mentioned forcing seniors to give up SS benefits? It's not something I've heard with regard to the UBI anywhere (but that doesn't mean no one has ever suggested such a thing, just that I think it is not reasonable for you to assume that's an intrinsic part of implementing a UBI).

There were references mainly on the first page of this thread about UBI replacing all other social welfare programs or social safety net programs.  I've also read elsewhere that most models of UBI replace social security.  So, apparently, some do not replace SS, but they are in the minority.  Because of this, I have determined it reasonable to think it would be part of UBI.

I've read that Andrew Yang plan for UBI (that won't happen) leaves SS in place for those 65 and over, and UBI goes to those 18 to 64.  So if you're among those 65 and over who doesn't qualify for SS, you're not going to get UBI or anything else, and you're going to be in a world of hurt.  I hate to see that happen to those poor senior citizens.  If they don't qualify for SS, they should at least get a small serving of UBI to sustain themselves.  Hopefully, those people would not be overlooked.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2019, 08:58:29 PM by FIREstache »

FIREstache

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #93 on: May 08, 2019, 08:29:57 PM »
UBI can't replace the other welfare program. People won't be able to survive.

What do you mean?

Maybe she means SS.  Someone mentioned it replacing other social programs like SS.  If you've waited until age 70 to draw your $2500/mo SS benefit that you need to pay the bills, and suddenly you're told you're going to get a UBI of $1000/mo (or less) instead, that's going to make it hard to survive.  I hate to see senior citizens screwed out of their promised SS benefits that they paid into all of their lives, often waited more years to collect so that they could get a larger benefit, only to see it snatched away at the last minute.

Why are people latching onto completely arbitrary numbers? Where did you get the idea that a theoretical UBI would mean less money in seniors' pocket than current SS? Hopefully most readers realize what a silly straw man argument that is.

I don't think straw man means what you think it does.  :)   Those numbers of SS aren't arbitrary.  That's about what I am projected to get in SS when I'm 70, in today's dollars.  Also, the $1K number was mentioned by sol and maizeman previously in this thread, and Andrew Yang is proposing $1K/mo, and I've seen proposals of half that, but you getting caught in a bind over the exact number misses the point I am trying to make, that seniors can wait to draw a greater SS benefit that could suddenly be replaced by a lower UBI, because UBI is certainly not going to be equal to the high end of the SS benefits income range.  See the earlier posts in this thread and do the math if you think that's possible.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2019, 08:59:09 PM by FIREstache »

maizeman

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #94 on: May 08, 2019, 10:00:57 PM »
There were references mainly on the first page of this thread about UBI replacing all other social welfare programs or social safety net programs.

This seems like a big stretch as it depends on being able to read people's minds about whether they consider social security a social safety net or a benefit people earn by paying into the system.

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I've also read elsewhere that most models of UBI replace social security.

Where?

Quote
So, apparently, some do not replace SS, but they are in the minority. 

That seems a logical leap. How do you conclude that UBI plans which don't replace social security are in the minority when you can only point to one specific plan (below) and it's one which wouldn't replace social security?

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I've read that Andrew Yang plan for UBI (that won't happen) leaves SS in place for those 65 and over, and UBI goes to those 18 to 64.

In fact Yang's original 18-64 plan would leave social security in place for everyone (including 62, 63, and 64 year olds), people age 62-64 would just need to choose between either taking social security OR receiving their UBI.

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So if you're among those 65 and over who doesn't qualify for SS, you're not going to get UBI or anything else, and you're going to be in a world of hurt.

First of all, if I am following you, your concern is that a particular UBI plan is bad because some people wouldn't receive it?

Second of all, I have good news about the Andrew Yang UBI plan specifically: He recently revised it from the version described above in response to exactly the concern you raise.

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Andrew would implement a Universal Basic Income, ‘the Freedom Dividend,’ of $1,000/month, $12,000 a year for every American adult over the age of 18.
(Source)

Note that individual people would still be choosing between social security and the UBI rather than receiving both, but your expressed concern is specifically about older folks who didn't work enough to qualify for social security, so for those individuals the choice would be easy.

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Hopefully, those people would not be overlooked.

Yup. It's nice when things work out.

FIREstache, I would like to, respectfully, suggest that you seem to be leaping to the worst possible conclusions without all of the facts in hand.

Watchmaker

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #95 on: May 09, 2019, 08:18:43 AM »
The world didn't end when we didn't need all those buggy whips.  There will be new jobs created that you aren't even thinking about today.

Your other points were addressed already, but I want to come back to this line.

I tend to agree with the idea that we will create more jobs to keep employment near full (in fact, I think we've already been doing that for a long time now), but what I'd ask is: do we want to create those jobs? If they don't serve a purpose (e.g. inspectors for inspecting inspectors) or they are driven by higher consumption (bigger houses = more construction jobs), are those jobs good for society, or would we all be better off just paying those people anyway and not making them do the pointless or destructive work?

sol

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #96 on: May 09, 2019, 08:33:18 AM »
are those jobs good for society, or would we all be better off just paying those people anyway and not making them do the pointless or destructive work?

I think that we collectively do a bunch of work that is pointless and destructive, not because we like it or because it generates income for the worker, but because it generates income for someone else.  Coal mines don't operate for the benefit of the workers, they operate because the mine owner gets fabulously wealthy strip mining that mountain.  He pays his little workers to do the dirty work while he sits in his vacation house on Maui.  He has created jobs that he knows are harmful the his workers and to the environment, because that's how to get rich.

And since I don't see that changing any time soon, I think we're going to have these sorts of terrible jobs for the foreseeable future.  We are all cogs in someone else's machine.

Watchmaker

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #97 on: May 09, 2019, 09:00:54 AM »
are those jobs good for society, or would we all be better off just paying those people anyway and not making them do the pointless or destructive work?

I think that we collectively do a bunch of work that is pointless and destructive, not because we like it or because it generates income for the worker, but because it generates income for someone else.  Coal mines don't operate for the benefit of the workers, they operate because the mine owner gets fabulously wealthy strip mining that mountain.  He pays his little workers to do the dirty work while he sits in his vacation house on Maui.  He has created jobs that he knows are harmful the his workers and to the environment, because that's how to get rich.

And since I don't see that changing any time soon, I think we're going to have these sorts of terrible jobs for the foreseeable future.  We are all cogs in someone else's machine.

The whole system exists because that's how we set it up. Every day we make the choice to leave it as it is, or to change it. I'm interested in thinking about ways in which we can tweak the system to reduce the amount of pointless labor people do, reduce our environmental impact, and get away from consumerism.

That's why I'm interested in UBI-- if it eliminates one of the main existing incentives people have for working shitty, pointless, or destructive jobs (the need to put food on the table somehow), that would hopefully mean less of that work would get done (and the work would be better paid due to the reduced labor pool).

I'm not certain UBI is the solution, and I'd love to hear other ideas. But I don't see much value in just shrugging my shoulders and saying "there's nothing I can do".

Shane

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #98 on: May 09, 2019, 12:16:13 PM »
Maybe I'm misunderstanding other posters' apparent belief that it would be better for humans to be freed from doing "repetitive," "pointless," jobs. An example given above was, I think, "flipping burgers." I'm really grateful I don't have to work at McDonalds to pay my bills, but TBH, I really enjoy doing repetitive work like mowing the lawn, weedwacking, painting, and hand pulling weeds from my garden. I find it to be meditative and also good exercise to bend over, stand up, lift, carry, push, pull, etc. To me, some of the most menial, repetitive jobs seem to be really important, more important than some higher status white collar jobs, which are often destructive.

I have a Japanese friend who is FIRE. To keep active, meet people, make friends, etc, a couple of years ago she took a full time job working at a concession stand walking distance from her house in a beautiful seaside resort town south of Tokyo. I'm not sure what exactly my friend is serving customers. It might be roasted squid, okonomiyaki, dango, or some other Japanese fast food, but it's basically the equivalent of "flipping burgers" in the US. My friend doesn't need the money from her job, at all, but she says working gives her a sense of humility and of making a positive contribution to the community where she's choosing to live. She enjoys the social stimulation of interacting with customers and coworkers every day.

I think it's great that my friend is happy working at a low-status, menial, repetitive job. To me, and maybe for some others, the ability to do something like that is basically a luxury. Without my friend's passive FIRE income, she could never afford to live the way she does in a HCOL area. In my friend's former high-stress corporate life as a marketing executive, she made tons of money but often didn't feel like she was making a positive contribution to her community and the world, and said she often felt like what she was doing was detrimental. Serving fast food to tourists in a beautiful seaside location is simple and, she says, clearly a positive. The tourists and locals who stop by her concession stand smile, say thank you and are clearly grateful for the menial, repetitive work my friend does, and she's not hurting anyone.

Theoretically, I guess, a UBI could free people who wanted to work at simple, low-stress, repetitive, menial jobs, to do so. I'm skeptical, though, that handing people a UBI check for doing nothing would make their lives better. Maybe in some cases it could work. It just seems like working really hard for years and years, LBYM, saving, investing, and then, after FIRE, choosing to work at a low stress, low status, menial, repetitive job, is very different from being pushed out of the labor market involuntarily and then just handed a check every month, basically to keep unneeded workers from blighting rich people's neighborhoods by living on their sidewalks in a tent...




ketchup

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Re: Why did anyone ever think UBI would work?
« Reply #99 on: May 09, 2019, 12:31:42 PM »
Maybe I'm misunderstanding other posters' apparent belief that it would be better for humans to be freed from doing "repetitive," "pointless," jobs. An example given above was, I think, "flipping burgers." I'm really grateful I don't have to work at McDonalds to pay my bills, but TBH, I really enjoy doing repetitive work like mowing the lawn, weedwacking, painting, and hand pulling weeds from my garden. I find it to be meditative and also good exercise to bend over, stand up, lift, carry, push, pull, etc. To me, some of the most menial, repetitive jobs seem to be really important, more important than some higher status white collar jobs, which are often destructive.

I have a Japanese friend who is FIRE. To keep active, meet people, make friends, etc, a couple of years ago she took a full time job working at a concession stand walking distance from her house in a beautiful seaside resort town south of Tokyo. I'm not sure what exactly my friend is serving customers. It might be roasted squid, okonomiyaki, dango, or some other Japanese fast food, but it's basically the equivalent of "flipping burgers" in the US. My friend doesn't need the money from her job, at all, but she says working gives her a sense of humility and of making a positive contribution to the community where she's choosing to live. She enjoys the social stimulation of interacting with customers and coworkers every day.

I think it's great that my friend is happy working at a low-status, menial, repetitive job. To me, and maybe for some others, the ability to do something like that is basically a luxury. Without my friend's passive FIRE income, she could never afford to live the way she does in a HCOL area. In my friend's former high-stress corporate life as a marketing executive, she made tons of money but often didn't feel like she was making a positive contribution to her community and the world, and said she often felt like what she was doing was detrimental. Serving fast food to tourists in a beautiful seaside location is simple and, she says, clearly a positive. The tourists and locals who stop by her concession stand smile, say thank you and are clearly grateful for the menial, repetitive work my friend does, and she's not hurting anyone.

Theoretically, I guess, a UBI could free people who wanted to work at simple, low-stress, repetitive, menial jobs, to do so. I'm skeptical, though, that handing people a UBI check for doing nothing would make their lives better. Maybe in some cases it could work. It just seems like working really hard for years and years, LBYM, saving, investing, and then, after FIRE, choosing to work at a low stress, low status, menial, repetitive job, is very different from being pushed out of the labor market involuntarily and then just handed a check every month, basically to keep unneeded workers from blighting rich people's neighborhoods by living on their sidewalks in a tent...
I get that same satisfaction out of things like yard work or home repairs, but I still wouldn't do extra work just for the sake of it.  I'm not getting a smaller lawnmower just so I can spend more time mowing.  Automation for those jobs is like a buying really big lawnmower for cheap (I'm terrible at similes).

I get a great sense of satisfaction from Getting Shit Done, which is a result of Doing Shit, but I also have a big nerd-boner for efficiency.  The most Getting Shit Done with the least Doing Shit is optimal.  If I could write a PowerShell script to mow my lawn, I would in a heartbeat.  I guess I'm "lazy" in that inefficiency really bothers me.