I am a proponent of Universal Basic Income as an important tool in mitigating the risks of technological…

Reading Time: 1 minute

I am a proponent of Universal Basic Income as an important tool in mitigating the risks of technological unemployment. And, at the same time, I’m always trying to understand the arguments against it.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-a-universal-basic-income-would-be-a-calamity-1502403580?nan_pid=1861646702

67 comments

  1. Always know what the other side proposes. 🙂

  2. It is the beginning of a move towards the Resource Based Economy!

  3. I just don’t expect UBI to ever happen. I know, people tell me that’s because I live in the US where UBI is a politically intractable idea, and that it will be implemented elsewhere. Maybe but I can’t help doubting it.

  4. The human capacity for delusion is boundless.

  5. I hear you, Wayne Radinsky. I think much depends upon the way our country responds to the Trump phenomenon.

  6. I’ve been fundamentally against it in all past perceivable situations. However, one thing is changing as never before in human history. That is the rise of A.I. if it displaces human employees faster than they can adapt, and I believe it will, one of my potential solutions is taxing the income produced by machines to offset the loss of jobs. If done, I believe it should be done intelligently. Only people that have actually lost a job should be qualified for compensation, at least, near the beginning. As the creation of new jobs starts receding, then distribution begins to spread to people entering the job market, but can’t find anything. I would also want to see available money come directly from that produced by machines, not a forced distribution value disconnected from actual, generated revenue.

  7. I’m kind of surprised to see you write this, Chris Harpner, based on some of our past conversations.

    One question I have for you though is how do you disentangle the work done by machines from the work done by humans? Most automation happens at the task level, not the job level, so the nature of most of the value created by firms is a hybrid of labor and automation and likely will be for quite some time even as automation takes over more and more tasks.

  8. I think UBI is best framed as a stepping stone to zero/marginal cost of living. It’s a means of keeping the peasants from revolting until we can create machines that will provide all basic needs.

    UBI has a lot of positive, practical side effects.

    I gave up on trying to convince people it’s the right thing to do, because people mostly suck.

    Instead, convince thhem it’s actually in their own selfish interest. Kind of like how it actually costs taxpayers less to house the homeless than it does to leave them on the street.

    If compassion saves them a buck, they might actually do it.

  9. That’s a really good point, Gideon Rosenblatt​. Companies may hire fewer and fewer people, but we won’t know exactly who lost their job.

    We will alsso have a hard time quantifying loss of future job growth. We live in a world where the population is growing, but if we asutomate future jobs before they even become jobs, then that’s potential job growth we’ll never see.

  10. Chris Harpner​ – one of the lessons we’ve learned from UBI experiments is that means testing is more expensive (bureaucratic overhead, fraud, waste, corruption).

    An UBI is Universal. Give everyone, without means testing, enough to meet their basic survival needs.

  11. Also, Hawai’i is looking at UBI for Hawaians.

  12. Gideon Rosenblatt​ I surprise a lot of people. I’m not tied to a political side, contrary to what it looks like, just liberty and minimal government imposition (yet, I repeat myself). 😉

    To answer your question, it’s not an easy formula. There are several ways that it could probably be done. And note, this is just initial, mental rambling. One way could be to calculate how many humans it would take to do the job if A.I. weren’t used. Tax the income produced by that technology. Another way could be just a flat tax on a company’s income. There could potentially be less tax per human employed. Or, a formula could be derived from existing, 2017 data from output produced to humans employed ratios.

    Whatever it is, I think it should be tied to income generated. We all succeed and fail together as opposed to a guaranteed income, regardless of what’s produced. That’s asking for an economic disaster.

    I also want to be clear that I’m only considering this because we MIGHT be entering an existential threat to human productivity unlike anything humanity has ever seen. And I’m very very tepid on this “solution” because I can see it being abused to the point of tyranny, where a few burocrats use the distribution as a form of control and punishment. We see this happening all too often across humanity. Our bill of rights and constitution were designed with that very concern in mind.

  13. I also want to address an assumption baked into the caption under the article’s headline:

    “How long before the elites decide the unemployed underclass shouldn’t have the right to vote?”

    The assumption here is that an UBI is purely a gift from the rich to the poor.

    We have a tax base and a budget. What we decide to do with it (fund never ending wars, subsidize fossil fuels, tax breaks for corporations – or UBI) is up to us.

    UBI is not a gift from on high – it’s a decision to distribute our collective good in a way which makes sense and maximizes utility.

  14. Funding UBI, turns out, isn’t that difficult, either.

    Shut down off shore tax havens.

    Close tax loopholes.

    Aggressively prosecute big ticket (corporate and billionaire) tax evaders.

    Cut government waste and fraud (simply replacing existing welfare programs with UBI would go a long way, but blockchain doesn’t hurt either).

    Cut military spending. In fact, eliminate all our military except special forces, Coast Guard, and National Guard.

    Eliminate personal income tax entirely.

    Raise corporate taxes just high enough to cover any shortfalls after doing all of the above (which may be nothing at all, as the above is seriously substantial).

  15. Crypto currency are the future. Right now new money is created by doing useless math to randomize the winner of the computation. My hope is in future a block chain technology will create new coins based on your dna key, and you get 1 coin a day for living. Then instead of lotto tickets for burning energy and CPU time, ubi is born. Right now trillions are created each year by banks and governments, and they control who gets new money. Taxation would only be needed to finance security, healthcare, and education, rest ubi should cover (no welfare).

  16. Mike Murphy​ – I imagine a crypto that’s somehow tied to solar (and perhaps later, fusion) energy.

  17. I would also highly reccomend everyone familiarize themselves with this study, especially it’s 11 take-away points:

    isa-global-dialogue.net – India’s Experiment in Basic Income Grants/

    1. Many used money to improve their housing, latrines, walls and roofs, and to take precautions against malaria.

    2. Nutrition was improved, particularly in scheduled caste (SC) and scheduled tribe (ST) households. Perhaps the most important finding was the significant improvement in the average weight-for-age of young children (World Health Organization z-score), and more so among girls.

    3. There was a shift from ration shops to markets, made possible by increased financial liquidity. This improved diets, with more fresh vegetables and fruit, rather than the narrow staple of stale subsidized grains, often mixed with stones in the bags acquired through the shops of the Public Distribution System (PDS), the government-regulated food security system. Better diets helped to account for improved health and energy of children, linked to a reduced incidence of seasonal illness and more regular taking of medicines, as well as greater use of private healthcare. Public services must improve!

    4. Better health helped to explain the improved school attendance and performance (figure 1), which was also the result of families being able to buy things like shoes and pay for transport to school. It is important that families were taking action themselves. There was no need for expensive conditionality. People treated as adults learn to be adults; people treated as children remain childlike. No conditionality is morally acceptable unless you would willingly have it applied to yourself.

    5. The scheme had positive equity outcomes. In most respects, there was a bigger positive effect for disadvantaged groups – lower-caste families, women, and those with disabilities. Suddenly, they had their own money, which gave them a stronger bargaining position in the household. Empowering the disabled is a sadly neglected aspect of social policy.

    6. The basic income grants led to small-scale investments – more and better seeds, sewing machines, establishment of little shops, repairs to equipment, and so on. This was associated with more production, and thus higher incomes. The positive effect on production and growth means that the elasticity of supply would offset inflationary pressure due to any increased demand for basic food and goods. It was encouraging to see the revival of local strains of grain that had been wiped out by the PDS.

    7. Contrary to the skeptics, the grants led to more labor and work (figure 2). But the story is nuanced. There was a shift from casual wage labor to more own-account (self-employed) farming and business activity, with less distress-driven out-migration. Women gained more than men.

    8. There was an unanticipated reduction in bonded labor (naukar, gwala). This has huge positive implications for local development and equity.

    9. Those with basic income were more likely to reduce debt and less likely to go into greater debt. One reason was that they had less need to borrow for short-term purposes, at exorbitant interest rates of 5% a month. Indeed, the only locals to complain about the pilots were moneylenders.

    10. One cannot overestimate the importance of financial liquidity in low-income communities. Money is a scarce and monopolized commodity, giving moneylenders and officials enormous power. Bypassing them can help combat corruption. Even though families were desperately poor, many managed to put money aside, and thus avoid going into deeper debt when financial crises hit due to illness or bereavements.

    11. The policy has transformative potential for both families and village communities. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Unlike food subsidy schemes that lock economic and power structures in place, entrenching corrupt dispensers of BPL (Below Poverty Line) cards, rations, and the numerous government schemes that supposedly exist, basic income grants gave villagers more control of their lives, and had beneficial equity and growth effects.

  18. Another important concept we have to consider is UBI’s effect on the velocity of money.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Velocity_of_money

    In short, when you give poor people money, they spend it. Mostly on stuff they need.

    This spending stimulates the economy, esspecially small businesses, as poor people buy more of those goods/services.

    Which in turn increases employment, because those businesses now have the profit to expand.

    In a nutshell, giving poor people money is the best thing you can do for your economy.

  19. Sakari Maaranen’s comments on the article (found in the link provided) are spot on! An article that makes light of Saudi Arabia being “ruled by a hereditary monarchy and a strictly enforced set of religious laws.” fails to understand the fundamental connection between the mindset that creates a social contract which itself is based upon education, understanding and expectations and the effects the social contract has upon the individual. As a result we end up with a facile argument that is a thinly disguised attempt to protect the influence that money (or lack of it) exerts upon the individual to control him.

    The entire argument against UBI, everywhere, is predicated upon that loss of traditional means of control which is terrifying.

  20. UBI would have to be quite high before it would really discourage work. Most people would not be satisfied if they earn just $600 or even double that monthly, and would seek to do something – work – for additional income. Because everyone would have at least basic income, business would be pretty active, offering many opportunities for jobs and entrepreneurship. The environment would also be safer with far fewer desperate people. It is easier to do business in a welfare country than in some third world country lacking social security. Social welfare lubricates capitalism quite nicely.

  21. In Finland they are experimenting UBI on a restricted area to see how it could work. The reason, is that the traditional system when someone gets a unemployment benefit when it is out of work does not inventiveness them to accept short time work of partial time work because the rules may make it not worth while to work. The traditional system requires also a significativa number of public employees to manage the unemployed. Using the UBI, people are more willing to take short term jobs and partial time jobs that complement the UBI. The UBI is less than the unemployed benefit. Apparently the UBI comes cheaper for the government than the traditional unemployment system and puts more people active looking for work.

    I believe that In one or two years, the Finnish government will análise the results of this experiment and decide to deploy or not country wide this UBI

  22. Antonio Candido​, you are making spelling errors at a steady frequency while quoting otherwise true text. Are you a bot?

  23. I live in the UK and we have a very strong sub-culture of people living off the state.

    When you make ‘not working’ too comfortable, then guess what, some people won’t’ work…

    Just basic human nature.

    We should always support the vulnerable in society, but there is a difference between the vulnerable and the lazy. 😉

    Whilst it is good to protect the vulnerable, it is not so good to protect the lazy…

  24. Mark Timberlake Or … it is humane to protect everybody otherwise my definition of lazy may trump yours and I may find it expedient to push measures against you. What you said is short-sighted and unworkable within a wider social structure.

  25. Their argument falls apart here:

    “This problem stems from a lack of skilled workers. While better retraining programs are necessary, too many of the unemployed, or underemployed, lack the motivation to learn new skills. Increasingly, young unemployed men are perfectly content to stay at home playing videogames.”

    One, they don’t understand the issue of automation if they think the future will require lots of skilled workers. The skill will be in demand, but AI will perform the vast majority of it. In situations where humans are required, they’ll be offering such large salaries, someone is going to jump at it. Two, they’re leaning on the “kids these days are lazy” argument that has been made and proven wrong for millennia.

    Also, UBI isn’t either UBI or work, it is both. The reason people will take extra jobs is to get more money on top of UBI. The incentive will still be there, but not the opportunities as we’re used to seeing.

  26. WSJ is , perhaps not surprisingly, wedded to a conservative editorial point of view. They conflate UBI with “burdens [who] would undermine this social contract, as millions of Americans become dependent on the government and the taxpaying elite”. UBI means “universal” – it is income everyone receives so how can it divide society into haves and have-nots? WSH is just looking for trouble . . .

  27. The finnish experiment is deliberately done so wrong that nobody on any side of the matter will accept the outcome.

  28. Awesome discussion, everyone! It looks like the more intellectual types are finally getting deep enough into this subject to solve it. In that light, may I offer some game changer insights?

    First off, the budget. The funding questions above miss a few points on this.

    A) Our GDP never includes the bank transaction money and as such, taxes don’t either. If you want a truly fair tax system, simply (THE KEY WORD) tax every transaction. You’ll catch so much more economic activity that the rate will be as low as 1% to cover all government and UBI needs. No industry or individual would complain about that rate being too high, except the banks and financial activity. But by doing this, you effectively peg the revenue to the change from labor to automation with less overhead.

    B) As we’ve seen in previous tax systems, everything can be gamed so taxing AI, which should be referred to as taxing any machines, is much more overhead for much less accountability. After all, how would you compute the human labor equivalent of a computer doing a large spreadsheet recalculation and would you tally each recalc or only the ones that are required?

    C) The justification. Society as a whole has created all the tech by which we (the now living) have built or maintained what are our current standards. Those gone now hold no claim to their tech any more than the “inventor” of fire should. As such, the UBI is basically a dividend or royalty on past tech.

    D) The amount. It shouldn’t be called “BASIC” income because that’s not really what it’s for. It’s flawed to think of it as a minimum income which incentives someone to get more work. Our future is one where jobs are leaving which thus leaves more people out of the prospect of any work. Should they be destined to live on $600-$1000 per month? Sure that’s not the case too much yet but by the time this gets passed it will be. Let’s peg it to the amount we’ve progressed through the transition to post money or post capitalism or to RBE land.

    Side note: Economist’s haven’t caught that job creation is no longer done by companies. The transition from fair wage negotiations to workers becoming desperate has changed this. The desperate people now create the jobs by offering to do work that previously or should have been eliminated. Some are willing to walk dogs for money. Some will get expensive degrees and settle for being an assistant to some celebrity they really feel they should be in the place of. The entire gig economy is based on work compromise. However with more wage negotiations power, people will migrate toward their passion and the pay will migrate towards it’s real worth… And the automation will migrate toward being focused on what that market doesn’t want to pay for.

    E) How? Well, we have the revenue tied to total economic activity (through transaction tax), then just tie distribution to the poverty rate. However, don’t use the official numbers. Let’s use the real measure of poverty. Discretionary income.

    F) Discretionary income, is that which is left to spend on wielding power in society after achieving survival at ones economic rung on the social ladder. This power can be market power (buying what’s desired instead of what can be afforded), or political power or social power (removing the stigma of being labeled poor).

    In a future where the dividend is given daily, I can see the survival expenses being automated daily (from loans to rents to lay away plans) while the discretionary money is sporadic. Those activities should be easy to track in a crypto currency by simply looking at what is automated. Should automated, recurring payments become too much or too little, adjust the money supply creation rate (now an algorithm) to change the value of the dividend given. Then as the recurring, automated daily payments occur closer and closer to the midnight distribution, and others count on them, they increase the daily velocity of money. It’s possible that a dollar (or equivalent other currency) could now change hands 100 times in the first minute after midnight, and with each transaction taxed 1%, it would have paid for it’s supply in that time.

    As jobs go away, this can easily transition the entire economy to an RBE in equal proportion. Remember that even in an RBE, there’s work to be done by humans but it’s the passionate volunteers doing it.

    G) Scope. No proposal so far has addressed that the poorest of the world deserve this the most and the earliest. As such, why not make it GLOBAL and ramp it up from zero to stability? This would not only help those poor first but their prosperity would help grow it to help fund the higher levels it should grow into. By simply making it voluntary to opt in to and starting the amout at 1 cent per day, this would happen. As it climbed to 10 cents per person per day, it would attract more members and grow more commerce and generate more revenue from it’s transaction tax and raise the dividend. And that would become self reinforcing and self growing and self funding. Reaching one or three dollars per day per person would be pretty attractive to the majority of the world.

    H) Implementation. Just like transitioning from oil to solar, we can’t make too drastic changes too fast. It has to be gradual and predictable so people, companies and governments can adjust. By growing it slowly and organically from zero up to stability, making it crypto based, using open algorithms and making membership voluntary, all this will happen with no manipulation or corruption.

    I) Equality. There’s no justification for offering differing amounts to different groups. Whether it’s poor countries or rich, men vs women, children vs adults, the amount should be equal. A global system would do exactly that.

    Some people wish to give less to kids but that’s not right either. The younger they are, the more power their parents have over taking that money to help raise them but the older they get, the more they gain control. And by staying with their parents, they can now save that money for major purchases in adulthood, further ending the debt spiral that gets so many young people sucked into the banking abyss. Trivia fact: $12k per year, if 90% saved from birth, and coupled with a spouse, is enough to out-spend today’s average US income for their lifetime. In fact, it’s so much that it can be reduced by 2% per year and still top average incomes today. And that’s without earning any interest on it. This alone would drop the total global average UBI demand to $5,800 per year per person. So let’s pay the kids too.

    So my proposal is to do it privately, globally, universally, automatically and proportionally. We could also do it instantly by adding the code to Bitcoin in a weekend but it’s probably easier to create a new crypto for it.

    For more info see my paper on it at:

    http://usbig.net/papers.php

  29. At the core of this is a foundational principle that all able bodied individuals should support themselves.

    Why should the taxpayer fund those that don’t want to work.

    A programme that supports the needy is a sound principle and should be the duty of every citizen of society to contribute to.

    But a programme that supports those that want to just live off the state is not very wise, in Britain, we have generations of families that do not work and have never worked and actually live off of benefits completely and they teach their children by example, to do the same…

    Why should someone else have to go to work and support them?

    It comes down to individual responsibility vs state responsibility, who is responsible for supporting the able bodied?

    Yes, the state should support those that have genuine needs that they don’t have control over, but it shouldn’t support those that can take care of themselves.

    Remember, the state takes the taxpayers money to support those that don’t want to work, and yes, they do exist in reality, in Utopia maybe not, but we don’t live in Utopia…

  30. It’s so much cheaper to let the poor starve to death

  31. Grizwald Grim, who is making that argument?

  32. Mark Timberlake​

    You’re just regurgitating debunked conservative talking points, please stop.

    In particular, it’s been shown in UBI trials that means testing (which you keep insisting upon) is always more expensive (in large part due to bureaucratic overhead).

    The UK and the US welfare systems are designed to ‘fail’ (and despite this, they still end up doing some good – let’s not forget J.K. Rowling so easily) in order to keep people like you convinced that welfare doesn’t work.

    These systems are intentionally ‘broken’. An UBI, in addition to helping the poor, would also be positioned to replace these defunct systems.

    Also, Todd is on to something, I think his ideas are revolutionary and he should pass them by someone like Michel Bauwens​ who might actually be interested in and have the means to get something like that started in a small country somewhere.

  33. Pan Darius Kairos I don’t see a problem with the argument, society should not reward the idle.

    Protect the vulnerable and needy, yes!

    Do you think we should reward the idle?

    I grew up on welfare, or the ‘dole’ as we called it back then, so I am talking from personal experience.

    My Dad lived off the state for the whole of my childhood, each child was a means to income and little more.

    We did not even know the word ‘aspiration’ existed.

    So this argument is not based on ‘debunked’ conservative ideology, but on personal experience and sound principles, i.e. don’t reward laziness. 🙂

    It is good to discuss how to best help those that are vulnerable.

    But to assign all wealth to the state and redistribute as the state sees fit is to remove the principle of personal ownership and personal accountability.

    Society tried that, it was called communism and last time I checked, that did not work.

    The minute we remove personal accountability, we remove the basis for self determinism and civilisation itself. 🙂

  34. Oh and Pan Darius Kairos, if this is a discussion about the issue then I am in.

    But if this is just some echo chamber, where only certain ideologies are permitted I am out. 🙂

  35. Mark Timberlake​ you’re actually thinking of this completely reversed from how reality is. Individuals should prosper due to their own effort but not survive based on it.

    If you and I and a bunch of others become isolated on a deserted island and it only takes harvesting some fruit and animals to survive… And I happened to bring a machine that could do this for many more people than needed… Would you think it fair if I allowed everyone else to starve because I harvested it all and allowed it to rot? That’s today’s economy. What if I also used this hoard to wield power over this community to enslave everyone? Would you still say that everyone SHOULD simply keep fighting for access to those fruits and animals and then still have to do the work?

    Now let’s change the setting a little. Let’s say my grandfather brought the machine and it was simply passed down to me along with the power when he and my father passed on. Would you still feel I “earned” this priveledge?

    Today’s economy is not dominated by big companies inventing stuff today. They do very well to be sure but nothing compared to the power held by the banking companies. Their wealth dwarfs company wealth by a hundred fold, yet goes unnoticed. And untaxed.

    The welfare generations compare to this like buying a stick of gum by Bill Gates. Not even worth discussing.

    The tax system is not taxpayers funding expenditures. It’s bank lending funding it in a delicate balance to maintain enough poverty to maintain their power control. Too much poverty and they get riots, too little and the people become powerful. Income taxes do two functions. They keep the poor poor and the keep the top informed on poor statistics.

    This even happens in a global scale by keeping certain countries poor with free grain (killing they’re livelihood of farming) or by overthrowing regimes that create their own debt-free currency.

  36. Todd McKissick I think corporations should pay the tax that is due to society and should not be allowed to dodge tax as this destroys entrepreneurialism (how can you compete with a government backed tax dodger)?

    If corporations payed the appropriate taxes at one end, so that the needy in society could be supported and the able bodied were not educated to rely on the state, then we would have a much better world for all.

    What I am seeing from the last couple of responses to my argument is that certain assumptions are being made about my positions on things that I have not addressed.

    This is a classic case of labelling someone based on an us versus them mindset. 🙂

    Please folks, if you are going to engage in conversation, make sure the other person has actually said what you are challenging them on… 😉

    Arguing against straw men is very wearying in discussion.

  37. Mark Timberlake​ the only assumptions I’m making on your behalf is that you’re seeing things in light of the way it has been historically until now, and you’re seeing companies as the big unfair “tax dodgers”.

    The reality is that job loss is exponential since the dawn of time. In the 70’s, it surpassed the point of sustaining living standards on a single income and the economy shifted massively. Debt replaced income for dinner and two jobs/

    bullshit jobs/overwork did that for others.

    In ’08, those BS jobs were shaken out of the system leaving is in perpetual job decline. But the rate not only marches on but maintains it’s exponential acceleration. In other words, within a decade of doing nothing we WILL be in 30-40% unemployment territory.

    Companies do make some serious buck but it pales in comparison to banks. I don’t know how to say that with more emphasis. It’s literally hundreds of times company profits. Your company arguments are similar to fighting the US government budget by tackling the free paper cups given out at national parks.

    As just one example of how skewed the system is, the wealth accessible to the bottom 90% of the population ON AVERAGE, globally, is about $20 max. If each person had exactly the same wealth accessible to them, they would have $20+ million dollars worth.

    That wealth imbalance is in the banks, it’s untaxed, it’s wielding power in every sector, and it came from passing down a legacy system of control to the heirs of those who built it. It’s literally THE ONLY REASON why there are any poor people at all.

  38. Mark Timberlake​ I am. If the machines do the work, what on Earth do we need the people that shop at Wal-Mart for – if you feed them they’ll just breed more.

    See the Georgia Guidestones, they have the right idea for planetary management.

  39. Mark Timberlake​ – the welfare system you and I grew up with was intentionally designed to fail in order to convince people (like you) that social safety nets can’t work.

    UBI replaces these broken welfare systems with a single streamlined and efficient process ehich is cheaper in the long run.

  40. I see, so a world where no one works is the ideal?

  41. Grizwald Grim are you suggesting that world population is a problem? Hope not because that’s flawed and only based on sounds bite headlines.

    Population growth is rapidly declining, so much so that a case could be made for giving incentive for more kids either now or soon. Within 30 years, we’ll see actual population decline and within 70 or so, it could be back down to 6B and still falling. That’s scary but I don’t see it happening because counter factors will kick in.

    The planet can easily support around 12B people but the caveat is that it can’t do so in the way we currently live. But that change is happening fast, also at an accelerated pace. With the best tech of today’s, a family of four can be fully self sustainable on 4 acres of land. In a decade, that will be down to 2 ½ acres. And while that falling, more and more people will begin to live that way… Again at an exponential pace. Today that may only be .01% but that is doubling nearly every year. I doubt that rate will continue but if so it only takes 14 years to reach everyone.

    So there’s no reason to advocate population decrease. It’s better to promote those advancements in tech and for people to adopt them. But that will happen on its own because it costs less and brings less compromise not more.

  42. Mark Timberlake​ Yes, many people are coming to that realization. However, it’s not just because those people want it. It’s inevitable. Automation is marching after every job because it’s profitable to sell a machine to people that does their work cheaper.

    But this is also where terminology becomes important. Jobs where you have to do what you wouldn’t choose to do, for money to survive, are going away. But work where one pursues a passion to accomplish a task they are seeing as beneficial migrates to letting people do that as they want.

    We just have to redesign the economic system to accommodate this change and it will happen on its own. People will become like kids who haven’t yet been taught they have to modify their dream career because it didn’t pay enough. They will explore, go on adventures, see knowledge, try stuff, learn stuff and change all the rules in the process.

  43. Todd McKissick​ I’m saying if AI is better than most people, why do we still need those people – and I can’t see is not getting to the point where AI is better than most people with the next 50 years.

    Sure, most will respond with abject horror because they get that they themselves might fall into the obsolete category, and it’s in their self-interest to be horrified.

    Watch Elysium though. Why let the planet turn into a giant refuse heap?

    How is it not preferable to have a beautiful world everyone can enjoy?

  44. Michael Safyan​ why is UBI for people who reside in virtual reality a bad idea?

  45. We will see the obsolescence of jobs/employment and the flourishing of meaningful work.

    Mark Timberlake​ – please stop regurgitating conservative ideological talking points, they’re not productive here.

    Michael Safyan​ – for an UBI to work as efficiently as possible we must eliminate means testing in all it’s forms. Means testing is one of tge problems that makes current welfare systems horribly inefficient. Universal truly means universal. No strings attached, no requirements, everyone gets it.

  46. I always found the reasoning of “People who do not contribute to society deserve nothing” to be horribly flawed. I think that even if all a person does is sit at home, drinking beer and playing video-games, they still contribute. They increase their own happiness, they provide an opponent for the people they play against… Most of them also have friends and family that they provide emotional support and companions for….

  47. About 15 years ago I attempted to be self-employed, building furniture of my own design. This stopped in the middle of a pair of coffee tables that would’ve been enduring works of usable art, if only I’d been able to pay the shop fees; without the space or the tools at home, I was doing this at a woodworkers’ club. This difficulty, combined with others, led to the abandonment of my last form of employment.

    Had there been some form of universal guaranteed income at the time, I might still be designing and building furniture today — whether or not it brought in enough money to live on.

  48. We really ought to be far past the should we stage of the discussion and moving onto the how to stage.

    Todd disagreed with me, but I think there is potential for UBI in a solar energy based cryptocurrency.

  49. Guaranteed universal income doesn’t have to come from the State, and probably shouldn’t. This is a point that is frequently missed.

    Where does the money for it come from? To answer that you have to look at where the money is now, and figure out how the people can share it. One solution that should be fairly obvious is some form of socialized banking. But of course we can’t take over the existing system…

    Enter Todd McKissick and his idea for a 1% fee on each and every transaction. Doesn’t sound like much for the average person, but when governments and corporations move large sums around, it really starts to add up.

    A few schemes have cropped up that allow easy access to money-moving ability for people (mostly in Africa) who have previously had a hard time finding or getting to any kind of financial institution. Now they can make and receive payments using their mobile devices — for a fee — and the fees go to the companies that host the service.

    It’s nice that these people now have access to online banking, but a relatively small number of individuals somewhere in Europe are seeing a big return on this endeavour.

    What if there was an online banking system that was effectively in the commons, paying dividends to its users?

    What if you knew, every time that negligible fee was taken out, that it would be coming back to you in the form of guaranteed income?

    It’s simple but not so simple. We’ll need to be able to positively identify each and every user, each and every time they transact. The technology is there, in the form of near-infrared cameras and facial recognition software (the veins under your skin form a unique pattern, so your face is the only I.D. you’ll need), but it’ll take a while to manufacture and ship all the necessary mobile (and non-mobile) devices…

    Then there’s a bigger issue: Blockchain isn’t sufficient…

    Enter Ceptr and something called holochain, which allows micronodes to operate on small, powerful devices — such as smartfones.

    “The future is here. It’s just not widely distributed yet.”

    – William Gibson

    ceptr.org – Home

  50. Sakari Maaranen terve! I am a real person :-). I wrote the text using the phone while travelling… Sorry for the mistakes. Kiitos

  51. Chris Harpner, I don’t think it is possible in the current political environment. (I question whether it is possible in the long run for different reasons, but let’s keep the focus here on the near term.) A policy like UBI can’t be enacted if 50% of the population support it and 50% oppose it. Everyone would need to be on board. I know in the past conservatives like Richard Nixon supported the idea, but from everything I’ve seen lately, it looks like only liberals support the idea, while conservatives and libertarians are dead-set against it.

    Arguments about whether it would or wouldn’t work or exactly how it should be implemented seem pointless.

  52. Wayne Radinsky​ according to the numbers I’ve seen, the conservative side is about 25% for and the liberal side is about 72% for. And that’s raw polled numbers, not those following a debate where more info is given.

  53. fil smyth Viva has something similar (https://vivaco.in/)

    The other blockchain project that is doing something similar is grantcoin.

    vivaco.in – VIVA – Welcome to the VIVAconomy!

  54. Not quite. There’s a conservative in the news (forget his name) who’s been rallying some conservative support for the idea under the assumption that UBI could kill off a lot of existing government programs, effectively shrinking the size of the government.

    As mentioned, a non-means tested UBI cuts bureaucratic overhead.

  55. fil smyth it’s hard to tell. There are so many that are doing this piece or that piece now that I can’t keep up. We need a list of desired features and a comparison of who satisfies which of those.

    Then we need a global discussion on which way to go. I say this because imho, the result of the best one working should be that it ultimately wins out over all the rest, becoming the only one standing. And yes, this means we end up with a one world currency but is no longer corruptable or human controlled. And this would remove all the profits from gaming or hedging or arbitrage.

  56. Wayne Radinsky, I think we can all agree that governments will be too slow to implement guaranteed income, for various reasons.

    So we have to go around them.

    With an app.

  57. Todd McKissick, I was thinking again about the issue and realized I was right, however many months ago, when I asserted that the system doesn’t need to have its own currency — at least not at first. Eventually, yes, the whole process of converting from one currency to another and keeping up with the exchange rates will be seen as cumbersome, even if it’s automatic and seamless for the user… It’s simply inefficient.

    But why, if there are no physical coins or paper notes, is it such a big deal? All we’re looking at are numbers moving back and forth. We simply need a system of accounting, and a supranational agreement on the value of a unit of…

    Credit.

    To my mind, at the moment, it doesn’t seem like we need to hang on to the traditional idea of currency. And so the new form of currency doesn’t need a name. The units we exchange can simply be called credits

    Indeed, though, at some point we’ll have to freeze the value of one credit against existing currencies for the word to take on its new meaning.

  58. fil smyth I was just going on the basic description you gave. I will read the full details when I have some time, it looks interesting.

  59. “An event causing great and often sudden damage or distress; a disaster,” but to whom? In a sense, if guaranteed universal income is delivered the way I think it will, it will be calamitous to the establishment.

    When I first thought of the implications I figured it might be best not to talk too much about them, but this goes beyond newfound financial freedom…

    A system such as I have described above more or less links all of its users (ultimately, the entire population) together as one group. This group could be described as a supranational organization, especially when and if it starts doing more than “merely” distributing guaranteed income (and allowing people to borrow against future income, without paying interest).

    AS a supranational organization, representing all of the people of the world, it has amazing potential. Go ahead and let your mind wander…

  60. Gideon Rosenblatt TROTUS is an anomaly for sure. UBI, unfortunately, one requires a subscription to wall street to read……

    reading what others have to say

    riveting discussion from all minds!

    Thank you

  61. Pan Darius Kairos You Nailed it

  62. I would prefer Universal Basic Housing asnd Universal Basic Healthcare to go along with the UBI, so the poor have some disposable income with which to advance themselves.

  63. I would advise to set up our own UBI in a way that let’s the market set its amount, based on how well the economy does with that system. Then use the whole economy, not just the currently taxable stuff. Include things like governments, banks, stocks, trades, charities and money between nations.

    I think we’d find that the UBI dividend would soar high enough to facilitate the near demise of money.

  64. (thump thump thump) 🎙 Is this thing on?

    In other discussions Todd has thrown out some numbers that suggest, to me, that there could be too much money available — in other words, so much that if it was all divided into individual disbursements everyone would have more money than they’d know what to do with.

    Even if that’s not quite the case, the non-governmental system I have described would be investing in various things. One of those things could very well be real estate and housing development. Out of responsibility to its users, the goal would be to make such ventures at least marginally profitable (or at the very least, not operate at a loss). So the rent in such places would barely cover expenses, making it difficult for others to continue charging exorbitant rates.

    Maybe it would be nice to provide free housing for everyone everywhere, but it doesn’t cost the same everywhere. As long as everyone has more than enough to live on, we should leave it to individual choice where they live, and how lavishly.

    Moving on to the legal superpower aspect of the system, should any users feel they are being charged unfairly (for anything at all, but for now we’re just talking about rent), all they need do is mention it and the matter will be addressed. I guess the term I’m looking for here is consumer advocacy.

    If you’re getting as much money as everyone else (more than enough, which is why I say “guaranteed” instead of “basic” income) and yet you still want free housing, it will probably be available here and there. You want the system to provide it, well, perhaps it will be offered as an incentive for relocation. We’ll probably be building new cities, which would be useless if no one lived in them.

    Perhaps one day we’ll be able to forget about rent entirely, but we can’t just eradicate it all at once.

    Is this a social project? Yes. An international, transnational, supranational one. But it’s also an autonomous corporation, albeit one that is placed in (and will ultimately drive) the commons. The system has to do more than simply collect fees and redistribute funds. It will be working for its users in a variety of ways, not “merely” providing a universal guaranteed income.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sign up here for the latest articles. You can opt out at any time.


Subscribe by email:



Or subscribe by RSS:

Subscribe-by-RSS---Orange-Background