Perspectives on a Universal Basic Income

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  1. theexpertisin commented on Sep 20

    The one impediment to this clever scheme is human nature. This is what wrecks many socialist systems and all communist systems.

    • constantnormal commented on Oct 19

      You forgot the capitalists and anarchists.

  2. DeDude commented on Sep 21

    A work universal work guarantee would be a lot easier to get through politically.

  3. KDawg commented on Sep 21

    This is an unusually good take on Universal Basic Income (UBI) up until the fantasy that it can be done via Bitcoin.

    The paper actually describes exactly why Bitcoin won’t work and that is that UBI is essentially a forced insurance program. If it is voluntary, it cannot work as people will game the system and not participate if they feel they can do better outside of the system. This is why the ACA makes insurance mandatory. If it wasn’t mandatory then healthy people would not participate since the odds of them getting sick is low. They’ll take their chances and save the money. It is why Social Security does not allow an opt-out. Many people believe they can achieve better returns with self directed investments and would not participate. Most opt-outs would end up homeless and unable to even pay for food when they hit their 70s.

    But, the economics of a government run UBI is pretty well thought out. In particular, UBI does actually give an individual significantly more labor negotiation power as the individual does not have to worry about paying for food and perhaps even rent. Therefore, they can reject a bad job offer. This is sorely missing from today’s society as wages have clearly been pushed down as people accept deals that they would otherwise reject if they had any real power to do so. This would be the most important benefit of UBI. Breaking the back of employer dominance in labor negotiations.

    However, it would not negate the need for unions unlike the paper implies. Unions have institutional memory and professional research that an individual cannot replicate. A union can more easily see a bad deal masquerading as a good deal and advise on it. An individual under UBI is still up against a horde of corporate HR and legal departments in addition to outside consultants whose whole purpose is to drive down the cost of labor and make it appear palatable to employees.

    Still, good paper on the whole. I wish it didn’t have the taint of Bitcoin.

  4. constantnormal commented on Oct 19

    “socioeconomic cohesion” has been effectively destroyed over the past 5-6 decades, and that did not happen by accident.

    I think that the only way we are going to be able to float the meme that “we’re all in this together” is for a large chunk of the wealthy to be significantly reduced in $$$ stature, the way that many were in the 1930s. Sooner or later we will see a collapse that produces this result, and it will likely involve massive fraud, as that is the easiest way to vaporize trillions of dollars. It could also be a natural disaster, something like an eruption of the Yellioestone caldera, or a season chock fulla weather like Sandy and Katrina. The Big One in California might also put enough of a kink in our economy to sink it, if thesethings happened at just the wrong time. But natural disasters are the low-probability events, while human greed and corruption are the norms. Taking away all of the safeguards erected in the post-collapse part of the Great Depression has only hastened the arrival of the next serious economic crash. If the Fed were as riddled with corruption and scheming as the government and a significant fract of business, 2008 would have been the event that leveled the playing field.

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