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A Universal Basic Income May Not Be So Yay After All........

Posted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:35 pm
by lzzrdgrrl
This is the good part, the smiles and puppies and the usual boilerplate:
Much praise has been heaped on the idea of a universal basic income in recent years. Experiments have begun in many countries, some mainstream politicians are starting to advocate it, and if we listen to many thinkers, especially among the Internet and tech crowds, it seems like our inevitable future. This is quite understandable, as the idea attempts to solve a real problem: with the advance of technology, fewer and fewer people are required to produce the amount of wealth required to sustain more and more people. Rather than invent more and more artificial jobs and scarcities, why not just accept the reality of this changing world, where not all people are needed for working, and instead release them to pursue their hobbies, studies, or charity?
Now, things begin to turn a bit dark:
We do not get our rights because we deserve them, or even because we fight for them – we get our rights because the government needs us. It is a common hope that countries that escape poverty will move on to adopt democracy, and this indeed happened in some notable cases, like South Korea or Taiwan. But South Korea and Taiwan became rich from industry, which means their wealth came from the work of their citizens; meanwhile, Qatar or Angola became rich from natural resources, and their political situation became no better. A country that generates its wealth from its citizens has no choice but to keep those citizens happy, at least to some degree; a country that generates its wealth from oil wells, only needs to keep a handful of mercenaries happy as they guard the access to those wells.
Hey, dude....... WTF???.......
And this is the real danger of a universal basic income – it makes the citizens unnecessary to the government. In the suggested world of universal basic income, what puts pressure on the government to maintain democracy and political rights? Will they be afraid of a popular uprising? The people have nothing to threaten them with. A person who does not pay taxes cannot threaten to stop paying them. Violent revolution? History shows that governments tend to be significantly better than common people in using violence. All the citizens have left is the good will of the people in power, which can last for one or two generations, but past examples give little reason to be optimistic about long term sustainability.
So essentially, the profile of a high tech future will look less like a Jetson's Happyland and more like a third world despotism where A.I. takes the place of a huge oil reserve. The non-productive masses can't add anything to the bottom line, they can only be a liability and given the natural tendency of bored and directionless humans, they probably will......
And finally, we need to think more about the issue of the vote. So far we’ve taken for granted that government lies in the hands of the working people. But when they truly become a minority, can democracy even still work? Will working people accept a vote by non-working people to increase their universal basic income? If so, what stops them from increasing it indefinitely? In such a world where working people are a minority, it seems quite possible that not only they will be able to take away the political rights of the non-workers, they might even have to. If the non-workers not only live without working, but also get to set the rules for the working people, we would truly have to be utopian fantasists to imagine a good relationship between the two groups, certainly in the long run. More resources are not going to be enough to compensate people for working – they will also need a privileged political status. And that is definitely something we need to prepare for and think about.
Good night, sleep tight and don't let the Daleks bite.........;)........

http://quillette.com/2017/10/09/univers ... t-tyranny/

Re: A Universal Basic Income May Not Be So Yay After All........

Posted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:27 pm
by Doc
lzzrdgrrl wrote:
Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:35 pm
This is the good part, the smiles and puppies and the usual boilerplate:
Much praise has been heaped on the idea of a universal basic income in recent years. Experiments have begun in many countries, some mainstream politicians are starting to advocate it, and if we listen to many thinkers, especially among the Internet and tech crowds, it seems like our inevitable future. This is quite understandable, as the idea attempts to solve a real problem: with the advance of technology, fewer and fewer people are required to produce the amount of wealth required to sustain more and more people. Rather than invent more and more artificial jobs and scarcities, why not just accept the reality of this changing world, where not all people are needed for working, and instead release them to pursue their hobbies, studies, or charity?
Now, things begin to turn a bit dark:
We do not get our rights because we deserve them, or even because we fight for them – we get our rights because the government needs us. It is a common hope that countries that escape poverty will move on to adopt democracy, and this indeed happened in some notable cases, like South Korea or Taiwan. But South Korea and Taiwan became rich from industry, which means their wealth came from the work of their citizens; meanwhile, Qatar or Angola became rich from natural resources, and their political situation became no better. A country that generates its wealth from its citizens has no choice but to keep those citizens happy, at least to some degree; a country that generates its wealth from oil wells, only needs to keep a handful of mercenaries happy as they guard the access to those wells.
Hey, dude....... WTF???.......
And this is the real danger of a universal basic income – it makes the citizens unnecessary to the government. In the suggested world of universal basic income, what puts pressure on the government to maintain democracy and political rights? Will they be afraid of a popular uprising? The people have nothing to threaten them with. A person who does not pay taxes cannot threaten to stop paying them. Violent revolution? History shows that governments tend to be significantly better than common people in using violence. All the citizens have left is the good will of the people in power, which can last for one or two generations, but past examples give little reason to be optimistic about long term sustainability.
So essentially, the profile of a high tech future will look less like a Jetson's Happyland and more like a third world despotism where A.I. takes the place of a huge oil reserve. The non-productive masses can't add anything to the bottom line, they can only be a liability and given the natural tendency of bored and directionless humans, they probably will......
And finally, we need to think more about the issue of the vote. So far we’ve taken for granted that government lies in the hands of the working people. But when they truly become a minority, can democracy even still work? Will working people accept a vote by non-working people to increase their universal basic income? If so, what stops them from increasing it indefinitely? In such a world where working people are a minority, it seems quite possible that not only they will be able to take away the political rights of the non-workers, they might even have to. If the non-workers not only live without working, but also get to set the rules for the working people, we would truly have to be utopian fantasists to imagine a good relationship between the two groups, certainly in the long run. More resources are not going to be enough to compensate people for working – they will also need a privileged political status. And that is definitely something we need to prepare for and think about.
Good night, sleep tight and don't let the Daleks bite.........;)........

http://quillette.com/2017/10/09/univers ... t-tyranny/
The effect of universal income will be that the income will shrink as companies will seek the lowest taxes. It will create a permanent dystopia of elitists advocating and getting forced sterilization and birth control.

Re: A Universal Basic Income May Not Be So Yay After All........

Posted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:32 am
by Milo
It is not often that the purely financial argument for this is mooted.

If we look at total outlay it looks to me like we can achieve notable savings.

For example, it would be difficult to imagine that the resources spent on screening assistance recipients and checking up on them to be sure they continue to 'deserve' the benefits is cost effective.

You could bundle unemployment schemes, rent and student subsidies into this for more efficiency.

If you are of the view, as I am, that loss of those benefits often results in people coming to the attention of the criminal justice system, costing the taxpayer enough per crime to pay for years of benefits, the payoff would be even greater.

My view is that the savings alone justify doing it.

Re: A Universal Basic Income May Not Be So Yay After All........

Posted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:10 pm
by SteveFoerster
Milo wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:32 am
For example, it would be difficult to imagine that the resources spent on screening assistance recipients and checking up on them to be sure they continue to 'deserve' the benefits is cost effective.
Yeah, but you have to make sure they're not smoking the marijuana, because Jesus, or something.