Citizen's Wage

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Alexius
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Citizen's Wage

Postby Alexius » Fri May 31, 2013 10:00 pm UTC

A citizen's wage is a system where the government gives every citizen a sum of money that is sufficient to live on, regardless of their other income or whether they have worked, are seeking work, etc. This sum is roughly equivalent to what someone in receipt of full unemployment benefit (plus related allowances) currently gets. Children get a reduced payment (paid to their parents), while people above retirement age might get an increased one.

This is paid for by eliminating the tax-free income allowance (though CW income is not taxed) and raising income tax on all brackets, especially the highest one. Overall, this means that below a certain income people are better off as they receive more in CW than they pay in extra tax, while above that income (which would be well above the average) people are worse off- in other words, it's progressive taxation. In addition, other forms of unemployment benefit and housing assistance can be abolished, as they are no longer necessary- the CW means everyone has enough money for food and shelter.

Some state benefits do remain. The CW proposals I have read are from countries with nationalised healthcare systems, so people don't need to be paid enough to afford health insurance, but government assistance to people with disabilities would still be needed.

The big effect of the citizen's wage is that people are no longer forced to work or starve. It would be entirely viable to do no work and just live on the citizen's wage- while not luxurious, you would be able to afford a small apartment, food, clothing and utilities.

A citizen's wage might also mean that the minimum wage could be abolished. Given that everyone can choose not to work, people would only take a job if they think the extra income is worth the time and effort. Also, there would be a lot more people taking part-time jobs, just working a few hours to have some disposable income.

The more I read about the idea of a citizen's wage programme, the more I support it. This thread is to discuss whether you think it would work, and what effects it would have on the economy.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Newt » Fri May 31, 2013 10:25 pm UTC

A primary reason that welfare is often given in a less-fungible manner(e.g. food stamps) rather than just as a lump sum is because there exists a concern that many of the people who need welfare will not spend it in a way that achieves the presumable reasons we give out welfare (e.g., at least every other cardboard sign the local homeless hold up says something along the lines of "Why Lie, I'm going to buy a beer").

Secondly, although not just a lump sum problem, I'm unconvinced that giving out lump sums of money will substantially increase the purchasing power of the poor-I'd expect that much of this would be eaten up by related inflation in the goods they buy. There's are almost certainly more cost effective ways of implementing welfare programs.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby tms » Fri May 31, 2013 10:38 pm UTC

CW would make it a lot easier to start small businesses, especially your first one. It would also make long term financial planning accessible to practically anyone.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thrasymachus » Fri May 31, 2013 10:52 pm UTC

A primary reason that welfare is often given in a less-fungible manner(e.g. food stamps) rather than just as a lump sum is because there exists a concern that many of the people who need welfare will not spend it in a way that achieves the presumable reasons we give out welfare (e.g., at least every other cardboard sign the local homeless hold up says something along the lines of "Why Lie, I'm going to buy a beer").


The reason we give out food stamps is to subsidize farming. In fact, most welfare programs are indirect subsidies to essential businesses. Unemployment insurance, for example, is an indirect subsidy primarily to landlords and mortgage holding banks.

Secondly, although not just a lump sum problem, I'm unconvinced that giving out lump sums of money will substantially increase the purchasing power of the poor-I'd expect that much of this would be eaten up by related inflation in the goods they buy. There's are almost certainly more cost effective ways of implementing welfare programs.


That assumes that the businesses which supply the things the poor buy are non-competitive, or that they are already operating at or near their productive capacity. If they are competitive and far from capacity, you'll just get more of the stuff the poor buy.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thesh » Fri May 31, 2013 11:04 pm UTC

The system we have now is not sustainable. We have had recession after recession, and the people are the worse off for it. Our society relies on constant economic growth, or millions of people will lose their jobs. However, if you look at income, the people at the bottom see next to no growth, and no one in the bottom 90% has seen the majority of growth. The way I see it, it's not whether the economy grows, it's whether the growth benefits society. Right now it isn't; we are creating jobs for no reason other than the fact that we need jobs for income. If more people are working with no benefit to society, what's the point?

I think we should go beyond basic needs and try and allow everyone to live comfortably whether they work or not. We have it in our heads that we need to constantly grow GDP, but people aren't working less, they aren't getting more, and we are destroying the environment to do so. Of course, with our current system we are fighting for using more coal, building an oil pipeline to transport the nastiest oil through a fragile ecosystem, and building tanks that we don't need, with jobs cited as the number on reason. If income is all that's important, save the environment and pay directly to the people.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Derek » Fri May 31, 2013 11:30 pm UTC

Also known as a negative income tax. It's actually a pretty good idea, at least as welfare programs go.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Alexius » Fri May 31, 2013 11:37 pm UTC

Derek wrote:Also known as a negative income tax. It's actually a pretty good idea, at least as welfare programs go.

I think negative income tax and citizen's wage are slightly different things. The effects of both are very similar, though.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Newt » Sat Jun 01, 2013 12:22 am UTC

Thesh wrote:The system we have now is not sustainable. We have had recession after recession, and the people are the worse off for it. Our society relies on constant economic growth, or millions of people will lose their jobs. However, if you look at income, the people at the bottom see next to no growth, and no one in the bottom 90% has seen the majority of growth. The way I see it, it's not whether the economy grows, it's whether the growth benefits society. Right now it isn't; we are creating jobs for no reason other than the fact that we need jobs for income. If more people are working with no benefit to society, what's the point?

I think we should go beyond basic needs and try and allow everyone to live comfortably whether they work or not. We have it in our heads that we need to constantly grow GDP, but people aren't working less, they aren't getting more, and we are destroying the environment to do so. Of course, with our current system we are fighting for using more coal, building an oil pipeline to transport the nastiest oil through a fragile ecosystem, and building tanks that we don't need, with jobs cited as the number on reason. If income is all that's important, save the environment and pay directly to the people.


I'm not sure what you mean by 'create jobs for no reason other than the fact that we need jobs for income'. Companies decide to create (or eliminate) a job because, at the very least, they view the work performed as useful to the production of whatever good or service they provide. People might take a job solely because they need a job for income, but the job certainly wasn't created for that reason(well, building tanks nobody wants would be a case of this)

Dubious statements about people not working less and not getting more aside, what defines 'comfortable'? Is it a chicken in every pot and two cars in every garage(and a garage for that matter?) I lived in a manner I perceived as comfortable substantially below the federal poverty line in grad school , but I'm a simple guy (at Federal Minimum wage, I would have to work less than half the days in a year in a 9-5 job to maintain that spending level) who doesn't buy much more than necessities. How do you expect to 'improve' standards of living for hundreds of millions without environmental degradation?

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby PAstrychef » Sat Jun 01, 2013 1:28 am UTC

One question I have for this is : why should my income subsidize those who choose not to work? I have no problem assisting those who cannot work, and I'm all for national healthcare, but taxing me to support feckless layabouts just grates.
Also, if enough people choose not to work, where does the income to be taxed come from? This is like forcing tobacco companies to pay billions in damages, and acting all surprised that they sell tobacco in order to get the money.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby elasto » Sat Jun 01, 2013 1:45 am UTC

PAstrychef wrote:One question I have for this is : why should my income subsidize those who choose not to work?

Because if/when you chose not to work - because you got injured, or wanted to have a long honeymoon with your new spouse, or wanted to set up a new business, or wanted to spend some time in further education - or any number of virtuous or unvirtuous reasons - then you also are free to make that choice.

You benefit even if you never choose not to work - because you have the peace of mind that if you ever were to lose your job through no fault of your own then you'd still be fine - You could still afford a house and food and clothing and so on.

---

Honestly, we're going to have to move this system or one very like it within the next 50 years anyway because advances in automation and AI are going to mean almost noone will be employable; In almost all cases machines will perform jobs more cheaply and more reliably. So it will be necessary to move to a system where life is comfortable for people even if they won't or can't find well-paid employment.

Fortunately technology will have improved to the point we could pay people much less than they earn today and have a far higher quality of living, so the maths will still add up.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thrasymachus » Sat Jun 01, 2013 1:48 am UTC

One question I have for this is : why should my income subsidize those who choose not to work? I have no problem assisting those who cannot work, and I'm all for national healthcare, but taxing me to support feckless layabouts just grates.
Also, if enough people choose not to work, where does the income to be taxed come from? This is like forcing tobacco companies to pay billions in damages, and acting all surprised that they sell tobacco in order to get the money.


What about people who aren't feckless layabouts, but who can't find jobs because there are no jobs for which they are qualified, because producers are already able to supply all the goods and services that are actually, really demanded with the workforce they have?

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thesh » Sat Jun 01, 2013 1:53 am UTC

Newt wrote:I'm not sure what you mean by 'create jobs for no reason other than the fact that we need jobs for income'. Companies decide to create (or eliminate) a job because, at the very least, they view the work performed as useful to the production of whatever good or service they provide. People might take a job solely because they need a job for income, but the job certainly wasn't created for that reason(well, building tanks nobody wants would be a case of this)


I'm not talking about companies themselves, I'm talking about politicians. Look at the last election debacle where Romney and Obama were arguing about how supported coal the most. You can also look at the health care debates "Well, if we have public health care, what will happen to all the people employed at the health insurance companies?" It's not really the actual reason behind the decision, but it's the one used to manipulate the public.

Newt wrote:Dubious statements about people not working less and not getting more aside, what defines 'comfortable'? Is it a chicken in every pot and two cars in every garage(and a garage for that matter?) I lived in a manner I perceived as comfortable substantially below the federal poverty line in grad school , but I'm a simple guy (at Federal Minimum wage, I would have to work less than half the days in a year in a 9-5 job to maintain that spending level) who doesn't buy much more than necessities. How do you expect to 'improve' standards of living for hundreds of millions without environmental degradation?


Here's household income in the US for the past 10 years:
householdincome.png


Numbers are from http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/d ... household/

You can see we are producing significantly more in the last 10 years, but the bottom 95% aren't making more. That means we could cut production significantly, while still maintaining the standard of living for most Americans, however under our current system doing so would be disastrous.

PAstrychef wrote:One question I have for this is : why should my income subsidize those who choose not to work? I have no problem assisting those who cannot work, and I'm all for national healthcare, but taxing me to support feckless layabouts just grates.
Also, if enough people choose not to work, where does the income to be taxed come from? This is like forcing tobacco companies to pay billions in damages, and acting all surprised that they sell tobacco in order to get the money.


It's all a matter of perspective; you are looking at this from our current economic system, which really obscures the reality of the economy. Step back, and you can see that we have a large amount of economic output. What a citizens wage does is simply evenly allocate everyone a base share of that output, and the people who work, work for a piece of the remaining share. If enough people choose not to work, it will cause overall production to go down, but the basic needs and comforts (food, clothing, shelter, entertainment) aren't going to go away any time soon. If you fix the citizens wage to the GDP, it has an interesting effect that if production goes down because people aren't working, so does income. If income goes down, more people will choose to work, thus establishing an equilibrium.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby jseah » Sat Jun 01, 2013 3:05 am UTC

The Basic Income (what I call CW in the previous times I mentioned it) is one of my favoured solutions for streamlining welfare provision in a highly automated economy.

However, I am of the opinion that we are not yet ready for CW. The economy is not automated enough, we still require too large a percentage of people working in order to provide the base level of goods and services. I'd agree that we should work towards that however, perhaps by establishing a very low level of CW in order to assess its costs and hurdles (as well as to grease the wheels for the time when we actually need it), and funding research into AI and robotics.

The idea of pegging CW to the GDP is a good idea. Perhaps like this: the Citizen's Wage is pegged to be equal to 30% (or some other percentage) of the government total tax revenue. That's it, very clear and simple, and can never bankrupt the government if it's revenue use planned around.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Izawwlgood » Sat Jun 01, 2013 5:27 am UTC

elasto wrote:Because if/when you chose not to work - because you got injured, or wanted to have a long honeymoon with your new spouse, or wanted to set up a new business, or wanted to spend some time in further education - or any number of virtuous or unvirtuous reasons - then you also are free to make that choice.
I don't know why people should be free to make the choice to simply stop working. The question isn't 'should individuals have the freedom to do nothing', but 'how do we best support individuals who lack the ability to work'. This program, as PAstrychef points out, seems to not distinguish between the two.

elasto wrote:Honestly, we're going to have to move this system or one very like it within the next 50 years anyway because advances in automation and AI are going to mean almost noone will be employable; In almost all cases machines will perform jobs more cheaply and more reliably. So it will be necessary to move to a system where life is comfortable for people even if they won't or can't find well-paid employment.

Fortunately technology will have improved to the point we could pay people much less than they earn today and have a far higher quality of living, so the maths will still add up.
Wat? The point of automating jobs isn't to let more people remain unemployed, it's to require less employees doing menial tasks.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thesh » Sat Jun 01, 2013 5:35 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Wat? The point of automating jobs isn't to let more people remain unemployed, it's to require less employees doing menial tasks.


Why shouldn't we strive for people to be able to work less or not at all?
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Izawwlgood » Sat Jun 01, 2013 6:13 am UTC

It seems odd to me that you would be under the impression that 'most people' don't want to work.

No; I don't believe a fundamental goal of humanity should be to alleviate people of the burden of having to do something with themselves. You can argue what level of 'something' is all you want, but I don't think the purpose of progress is to let you sit on your ass and do nothing.

And, more to the point; I don't see why people who choose to work should be forced to support those who CHOOSE not to. Again, choice is key here.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thesh » Sat Jun 01, 2013 6:52 am UTC

Because our current model is unsustainable. Considering how many people are starving in the world today, how many countries are undeveloped, and how much the first world pollutes, could you imagine what it would do to our environment if the entire world became developed and followed a model where as people got more and more efficient, the economy would collapse if we didn't increase production accordingly? Our world could not handle it; a system in which we, as a society, have the ability to make the choice to cut back on production or not grow production without devastating economic effects is the only answer to the future of our race, barring colonization of the galaxy.

Also, just because you don't have a job doesn't mean you're not productive. People would have more time to volunteer, write free software, and pursue academics, which I think in the long run is much better for humanity.

I believe everyone has the right to be able to live, and that right to live should be unconditional. I also believe that it's a good way to give people more power; the way it is right now, companies can pay wages that people can't survive off of, which people don't feel it's worth working for, but the only alternative is starvation and homelessness. With a basic income, the citizen has bargaining power because they have a viable alternative to working for low pay: not working at all.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thrasymachus » Sat Jun 01, 2013 8:04 am UTC

The issue is not about who chooses to work and who chooses not to. There are something like three and a half billion working age people alive in the world right now, and about one and a half billion paying jobs. There simply aren't enough paying jobs to go around. Ramping up production to employ them all is not only environmentally unsustainable given the way we do production now, but we'd also have to figure out what to do with all the stuff they'd make, considering that we're already making nearly all the stuff that people are actually demanding.

And since I know someone's gonna want citations for that:

Total Housing Inventory for 2010 in the US was 130 million units. There were 116 million Households, and 7.9 million people that didn't live in a household in 2010. 6.1 million more places to live than households or people to live in them. Despite this, 14.3%, or 18.6 million units stood vacant.

In 2004in the US, 3900 calories per person per day were available for consumption. Nearly twice what an average person needs. That same year, nearly 12% of families reported food insecurity. In the most recent year for which there is data, nearly 15% of families reported food insecurity.

So that's two of the basic human necessities. Any takers on whether there are equally impressive/depressing statistics regarding clothing? If you said yes, you're right. The US, China and India together produced 77 million bales of cotton between 2006 and 2008, enough to make everybody in the world a pair of jeans and 5 t-shirts. Luckily, jeans and t-shirts usually last more than two years, and clothes can be made out of wool, silk, linen and polyester as well. So it sort of looks like we're making enough clothes to clothe everybody too.

So the problem really is, there's just not enough to do that pays.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Alexius » Sat Jun 01, 2013 9:17 am UTC

Thrasymachus wrote:The issue is not about who chooses to work and who chooses not to. There are something like three and a half billion working age people alive in the world right now, and about one and a half billion paying jobs. There simply aren't enough paying jobs to go around. Ramping up production to employ them all is not only environmentally unsustainable given the way we do production now, but we'd also have to figure out what to do with all the stuff they'd make, considering that we're already making nearly all the stuff that people are actually demanding.

And of course, CW allows people to share paying jobs. Instead of one person working 40 hours a week, you can have 4 people each working 10 hours a week for a similar hourly wage. Currently, they wouldn't be making enough to live on- CW means that they already have enough to live on, and the income from their wages just means they can live more comfortably. So it might well result in more people working, but everyone working less. Isn't this progress?

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thesh » Sat Jun 01, 2013 9:56 am UTC

It also allows more parents to stay at home and spend time with their kids, which I would argue is a job in and of itself. The problem with the idea of everyone should be working for a living, is that it makes the assumption that people are only benefiting society if they have a job that pays.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby aoeu » Sat Jun 01, 2013 11:50 am UTC

PAstrychef wrote:One question I have for this is : why should my income subsidize those who choose not to work? I have no problem assisting those who cannot work, and I'm all for national healthcare, but taxing me to support feckless layabouts just grates.
Also, if enough people choose not to work, where does the income to be taxed come from? This is like forcing tobacco companies to pay billions in damages, and acting all surprised that they sell tobacco in order to get the money.

You wouldn't be subsidizing just those who choose not to work, but also everybody who works but is below the magic income level.

Many welfare systems actually help the economy. Typically if you are on welfare you will be periodically required to attend courses or work for free/little pay ("train") if there are positions for which you qualify etc etc. With citizen's wage you couldn't push the unemployed around like that. On the other hand those kinds of schemes can end up bloated and inefficient and all around perverse, and then it would make sense to switch to a simple citizen's wage.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby omgryebread » Sat Jun 01, 2013 12:53 pm UTC

Newt wrote:A primary reason that welfare is often given in a less-fungible manner(e.g. food stamps) rather than just as a lump sum is because there exists a concern that many of the people who need welfare will not spend it in a way that achieves the presumable reasons we give out welfare (e.g., at least every other cardboard sign the local homeless hold up says something along the lines of "Why Lie, I'm going to buy a beer").

Secondly, although not just a lump sum problem, I'm unconvinced that giving out lump sums of money will substantially increase the purchasing power of the poor-I'd expect that much of this would be eaten up by related inflation in the goods they buy. There's are almost certainly more cost effective ways of implementing welfare programs.
That's a common objection to simple wealth transfers, but it's wrong. It's firstly wrong from a moral standpoint, because it rests on the assumption that poor people are stupid. Secondly, it's wrong because it doesn't make sense from a utilitarian point of view. That homeless person is probably correct that a beer will provide maximal utility. If people weren't the best judges of their own utility, then shouldn't we switch to a system in which the government decides what you buy with your income, earned or not? "Look, Rachel, we know you're going to blow your income on video games and overpriced coffee, so we're taking it and giving you food stamps and rent subsidies instead."

Cash subsidies also enhance the economy. Food stamps are great for food manufacturers, but they suck for window makers - and also for poor people with busted windows. Rent subsidies are nice: but they mean it's best to get the best place you can afford to rent with the subsidy, instead of renting a less nice place and saving some away for buying a home. Great for the landlord, but bad for the renters (harder for them to ever own their own home), home builders, realtors, cities, neighbors, and the entire economy.

And I doubt the effects of this wage would be large enough to have a significant impact on inflation. Especially since the proposal is for it to be revenue neutral, it won't involve printing new money.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby CorruptUser » Sat Jun 01, 2013 2:22 pm UTC

Thrasymachus wrote:
One question I have for this is : why should my income subsidize those who choose not to work? I have no problem assisting those who cannot work, and I'm all for national healthcare, but taxing me to support feckless layabouts just grates.
Also, if enough people choose not to work, where does the income to be taxed come from? This is like forcing tobacco companies to pay billions in damages, and acting all surprised that they sell tobacco in order to get the money.


What about people who aren't feckless layabouts, but who can't find jobs because there are no jobs for which they are qualified, because producers are already able to supply all the goods and services that are actually, really demanded with the workforce they have?


Maybe Atlanta could hire more than 1 homicide detective? Maybe we could hire more nurses? More teachers?

There's always work to be done. Always. If there is a massive mismatch between the labor supply and the labor demand, somebody in charge fucked up.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Izawwlgood » Sat Jun 01, 2013 2:34 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Considering how many people are starving in the world today, how many countries are undeveloped, and how much the first world pollutes, could you imagine what it would do to our environment if the entire world became developed and followed a model where as people got more and more efficient, the economy would collapse if we didn't increase production accordingly?
I don't agree that 'people in the world are starving' translates to 'The first world should pay into a welfare system that allows those who choose not to work a salary such that they can not work'. That you don't go to 'We should figure out a way to feed and gainfully employ those people' instead is kind of baffling to me.

It's funny how in the same breath as 'people are starving and countries are undeveloped' and 'people [could get] more and more efficient', and 'production [must] increase', you are inferring that the solution is via allowing more people to not work.

Alexius wrote:And of course, CW allows people to share paying jobs. Instead of one person working 40 hours a week, you can have 4 people each working 10 hours a week for a similar hourly wage. Currently, they wouldn't be making enough to live on- CW means that they already have enough to live on, and the income from their wages just means they can live more comfortably. So it might well result in more people working, but everyone working less. Isn't this progress?
I don't see why CW is neccessary for someone to hold multiple jobs when we could simply adjust our current employment regulations to make it feasible for someone to do so (for example, working two jobs at less than 40 hrs a week and still getting health insurance).

Thesh wrote:It also allows more parents to stay at home and spend time with their kids, which I would argue is a job in and of itself. The problem with the idea of everyone should be working for a living, is that it makes the assumption that people are only benefiting society if they have a job that pays.
It's actually assuming that your decision to have children isn't a choice that everyone else should pay for. I'm all for making it economically feasible for women to take time off from a career to have children, with paid mat leave and additional unpaid time as they see fit, because I absolutely know that raising an infant is basically a year+ long endeavor requiring someones constant attention. What I am not for is saying 'Wanna have kids? SURE! Have ALL the money to do so!', and people don't need a full government stipend to have kids.




Honestly, it seems to me that you (the royal you, the 'this thread you') are fixating on economic inequality or injustice, and saying 'the solution is to have all those who work and are productive pay into a fund that will be given to anyone who chooses not to work, because afterall, there is inequality and injustice, and therefor, they should get some money'. It's, as I see it, an incredibly backwards and most likely unhelpful way of approaching the inequality and injustice. The root of the issue issue isn't that these people need money, it's that there is inequality and injustices that need to be righted, which will hopefully allow these people to earn a living wage.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby elasto » Sat Jun 01, 2013 3:28 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:No; I don't believe a fundamental goal of humanity should be to alleviate people of the burden of having to do something with themselves. You can argue what level of 'something' is all you want, but I don't think the purpose of progress is to let you sit on your ass and do nothing.

False dichotomy. Sitting on your ass doing nothing is actually incredibly boring and hardly anyone with the freedom to choose would actually do so. If you've ever been ill for an extended period and stuck in bed, you've probably been itching to get out and do something after just the first few days.

And, more to the point; I don't see why people who choose to work should be forced to support those who CHOOSE not to. Again, choice is key here.

Because what a citizen's wage represents is freedom - not just for them but for you: Freedom to take time off to look after a sick relative, or educate a child, or learn a new sport/trade/musical instrument, or any of a million other things that would open up to you.

If you don't want to avail yourself of that choice - if you want to work 80 hour weeks building up your bank balance - if you think that money is the route to happiness in life - that's fine - you can do that too. But it gives you the option not to do that also.

The fundamental goal of humanity isn't 'to let you sit on your ass and do nothing' - it's for everyone to be free. The fact that 'the freedom to do anything' also includes 'the freedom to do nothing' is just the nature of freedom, but you won't find many people actually choosing that once the novelty wears off.

You might say 'that's not fair on the people actually doing the hard work supporting everyone else' but it is. Unless the tax rate is at 100% they will always be better off than people choosing not to work - they will always be able to have a nicer house and nicer food and nicer holidays and so on. But even they will gain because they will gain the option not to work like everyone else.

And we almost certainly don't have to worry about the situation 'but what if everyone decided not to work?' There will always be a core set of people wanting to work - most likely the vast majority. Heck, even the majority of retired people who have no financial need to work get bored and would do so if they could. My mother and step-father had no need to work, having several pensions between them, but they both continued to work into their 70s. And my father runs his own business and still runs it into his 70s. I doubt they are huge outliers.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby jseah » Sat Jun 01, 2013 3:46 pm UTC

elasto wrote:And we almost certainly don't have to worry about the situation 'but what if everyone decided not to work?' There will always be a core set of people wanting to work - most likely the vast majority. Heck, even the majority of retired people who have no financial need to work get bored and would do so if they could. My mother and step-father had no need to work, having several pensions between them, but they both continued to work into their 70s. And my father runs his own business and still runs it into his 70s. I doubt they are huge outliers.

I disagree with this bit. Our entertainment industry has gotten too good at doing this. People would be on Facebook or playing Candy Crush all day.
I definitely know some people who are doing their best to do nothing, working part time so they can spend huge amounts of time on their entertainment. Although in a way, they also contribute directly to the said entertainment industry on a volunteer basis, so it's not exactly nothing but more like unpaid work. (Contrary to the implied meaning, I actually hold quite alot of respect for them)

Of course, I have a somewhat nebulous goal in life, and the CW would definitely help me with it (Academic research in science is massively bad for money) and I will try my best to not be idle. Just saying that I do know that we have the potential to end up that way.

-------------------------------------------------------

Then again, more time on entertainment and freelance entertainment providers is not necessarily a bad thing. Furthermore, the proposal to peg it to government taxes / GDP would impose a self-correcting measure to the CW.

After all, people do want to eat and have a place to stay in. If the effect of "making people not work" is prevalent, then what would result is that the CW drops as GDP / taxes drop and people would end up having to work to stay afloat. It'll balance out.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Trasvi » Sat Jun 01, 2013 3:50 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
Thrasymachus wrote:
One question I have for this is : why should my income subsidize those who choose not to work? I have no problem assisting those who cannot work, and I'm all for national healthcare, but taxing me to support feckless layabouts just grates.
Also, if enough people choose not to work, where does the income to be taxed come from? This is like forcing tobacco companies to pay billions in damages, and acting all surprised that they sell tobacco in order to get the money.


What about people who aren't feckless layabouts, but who can't find jobs because there are no jobs for which they are qualified, because producers are already able to supply all the goods and services that are actually, really demanded with the workforce they have?


Maybe Atlanta could hire more than 1 homicide detective? Maybe we could hire more nurses? More teachers?

There's always work to be done. Always. If there is a massive mismatch between the labor supply and the labor demand, somebody in charge fucked up.


So? Somebody fucked up.
There are a bunch of people who are 'unemployable'. Or at least, can't become doctors or teachers or detectives.
Maybe this is because they have a disability; an addiction; a criminal record; a bad education; a mental disorder; a poor work ethic; or one of the above applying to them or their family at another point in life.
They can't get a job because they're competing in an *unskilled* work market - which will always have more available workers than supply of jobs. And they can't get out of the unskilled market into the skilled market, because they don't have the required education/experience/money/home/age. We can't just magick them into a nurse. It doesn't really matter who screwed up or when: they're in that position now and we need to do something about it.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Izawwlgood » Sat Jun 01, 2013 4:36 pm UTC

elasto wrote:False dichotomy. Sitting on your ass doing nothing is actually incredibly boring and hardly anyone with the freedom to choose would actually do so. If you've ever been ill for an extended period and stuck in bed, you've probably been itching to get out and do something after just the first few days.
That's... rather my point? Thesh was suggesting that the point of progress is to free us from having to 'do stuff'. I was saying I disagree.

elasto wrote:Because what a citizen's wage represents is freedom - not just for them but for you: Freedom to take time off to look after a sick relative, or educate a child, or learn a new sport/trade/musical instrument, or any of a million other things that would open up to you.
No, it doesn't; it represents a burden for those who produce more than the baseline of this citizens wage because they have to pay into the system, and it represents a safety net for some who live slightly above the baseline and, say, get sick and/or need to care for a relative, and it represents an escape hatch to those who simply don't care and are content subsisting on the baseline. Lets be realistic here; people who earn more than what the citizens wage will provide aren't the ones you're targeting with your claim of represented freedom (which is fine), and no one has actually made an argument for why people who earn more than the provided wage would have any incentive to pay into it.

elasto wrote:If you don't want to avail yourself of that choice - if you want to work 80 hour weeks building up your bank balance - if you think that money is the route to happiness in life - that's fine - you can do that too. But it gives you the option not to do that also.
Ah yes; because those who wish to work hard and enjoy the fruits of their labor are, of course, simply money grubbers who define their happiness by the size of their bank account? You want some false dichotomies, look right here.

elasto wrote:The fundamental goal of humanity isn't 'to let you sit on your ass and do nothing' - it's for everyone to be free. The fact that 'the freedom to do anything' also includes 'the freedom to do nothing' is just the nature of freedom, but you won't find many people actually choosing that once the novelty wears off.
Indeed; so, why should I be burdened with paying for those who choose to not contribute? And this is a weird claim to make; your freedom to do nothing doesn't mean 'you are free to do nothing and someone will care for you'. Do nothing if you want, just don't be surprised if you have to live in a shitty tent under a bridge and dumpster dive (and no, I'm not saying that all homeless people have chosen to do nothing, to nip that potential straw man at the bud)

elasto wrote:And we almost certainly don't have to worry about the situation 'but what if everyone decided not to work?' There will always be a core set of people wanting to work - most likely the vast majority.
See, it's stuff like this that convinces me that you (the royal you, this thread) hasn't thought this through. If some vague entity (and yes, you need to define who manages this, how it is managed, etc) started providing all citizens with a base stipend of x dollars, you need to establish some details here. Are people taxed progressively? Are there measures to ensure that x a year is actually a livable wage? Does this money actually factually come with no strings attached, or can anyone receiving their annual lump sum, say, blow it all on blackjack and hookers and then go back to a year of panhandling? I'm not saying this to be flippant; perhaps one of the reasons some people are unable to accumulate wealth is because they lack the training/experience/education to manage wealth, and simply handing everyone an annual check for x thousand dollars isn't actually going to solve anything for the majority of recipients.

In short, this seems like a really poor solution to an actually fairly complicated problem, because it doesn't look at the countless variables.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby eSOANEM » Sat Jun 01, 2013 6:53 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Thesh wrote:It also allows more parents to stay at home and spend time with their kids, which I would argue is a job in and of itself. The problem with the idea of everyone should be working for a living, is that it makes the assumption that people are only benefiting society if they have a job that pays.
It's actually assuming that your decision to have children isn't a choice that everyone else should pay for. I'm all for making it economically feasible for women parents to take time off from a career to have children, with paid mat parental leave and additional unpaid time as they see fit, because I absolutely know that raising an infant is basically a year+ long endeavor requiring someones constant attention. What I am not for is saying 'Wanna have kids? SURE! Have ALL the money to do so!', and people don't need a full government stipend to have kids.


ftfy. Guys can be the primary kid-rearer too. The only leave the birthing parent should be entitled to (beyond that which can be split however the parent(s) choose) is that for when they are medically unfit to work i.e. sick days.

/feministmicropant

Trasvi wrote:So? Somebody fucked up.
There are a bunch of people who are 'unemployable'. Or at least, can't become doctors or teachers or detectives.
Maybe this is because they have a disability; an addiction; a criminal record; a bad education; a mental disorder; a poor work ethic; or one of the above applying to them or their family at another point in life.
They can't get a job because they're competing in an *unskilled* work market - which will always have more available workers than supply of jobs. And they can't get out of the unskilled market into the skilled market, because they don't have the required education/experience/money/home/age. We can't just magick them into a nurse. It doesn't really matter who screwed up or when: they're in that position now and we need to do something about it.


A CW would give them the financial security to pursue further training/education though in order to compete in some skilled market (and there certainly shouldn't be any situation where someone (excepting those with severe disabilities who would require additional welfare as has been said already in this thread) would be unable to enter any skilled labour market with sufficient training).

Izawwlgood wrote:
elasto wrote:Because what a citizen's wage represents is freedom - not just for them but for you: Freedom to take time off to look after a sick relative, or educate a child, or learn a new sport/trade/musical instrument, or any of a million other things that would open up to you.
No, it doesn't; it represents a burden for those who produce more than the baseline of this citizens wage because they have to pay into the system, and it represents a safety net for some who live slightly above the baseline and, say, get sick and/or need to care for a relative, and it represents an escape hatch to those who simply don't care and are content subsisting on the baseline. Lets be realistic here; people who earn more than what the citizens wage will provide aren't the ones you're targeting with your claim of represented freedom (which is fine), and no one has actually made an argument for why people who earn more than the provided wage would have any incentive to pay into it.


Because it's an insurance system. But even better than unemployment benefits because it pays out continuously.

Izawwlgood wrote:
elasto wrote:The fundamental goal of humanity isn't 'to let you sit on your ass and do nothing' - it's for everyone to be free. The fact that 'the freedom to do anything' also includes 'the freedom to do nothing' is just the nature of freedom, but you won't find many people actually choosing that once the novelty wears off.
Indeed; so, why should I be burdened with paying for those who choose to not contribute? And this is a weird claim to make; your freedom to do nothing doesn't mean 'you are free to do nothing and someone will care for you'. Do nothing if you want, just don't be surprised if you have to live in a shitty tent under a bridge and dumpster dive (and no, I'm not saying that all homeless people have chosen to do nothing, to nip that potential straw man at the bud)


Dude, this exact argument applies to all welfare. I suspect however that you are not against some form of welfare. Where then is the line drawn and why?

Izawwlgood wrote:
elasto wrote:And we almost certainly don't have to worry about the situation 'but what if everyone decided not to work?' There will always be a core set of people wanting to work - most likely the vast majority.
See, it's stuff like this that convinces me that you (the royal you, this thread) hasn't thought this through. If some vague entity (and yes, you need to define who manages this, how it is managed, etc) started providing all citizens with a base stipend of x dollars, you need to establish some details here. Are people taxed progressively? Are there measures to ensure that x a year is actually a livable wage? Does this money actually factually come with no strings attached, or can anyone receiving their annual lump sum, say, blow it all on blackjack and hookers and then go back to a year of panhandling? I'm not saying this to be flippant; perhaps one of the reasons some people are unable to accumulate wealth is because they lack the training/experience/education to manage wealth, and simply handing everyone an annual check for x thousand dollars isn't actually going to solve anything for the majority of recipients.

In short, this seems like a really poor solution to an actually fairly complicated problem, because it doesn't look at the countless variables.


And now you're being ridiculous.

Obviously an annual CW wouldn't do what it sets out to do. As you point out, there will always be those who blow it all on blackjack and hookers. Provided the CW is paid at least once in the time it takes a person to starve though, if someone blows their first CW cheque, by the time they get the second, they'll be almost starved and so will almost certainly spend their cheque on food rather thank hookers.

Fortnightly would be frequent enough that people who did blow most of it at once would be sufficiently hungry by their next to cheque to be persuaded to by food not booze but not so far apart as to be in danger of starvation.

Obviously though, more frequent payments are harder to do the paperwork for so there's a balancing act.

Pegging the CW to GDP has already been suggested as a way to ensure that it is a liveable wage.



Anyway, something no-one's pointed out yet:

Article 3 of the UDHR: Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

So everyone has the right to life? That seems to imply that everyone should get a liveable wage.

Article 2 of the UDHR: Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

So everyone has these rights regardless of their opinions?

That makes it sound awfully like everyone should be entitled to a liveable wage regardless of their choice to work or not. IANAL though...
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby styrofoam » Sat Jun 01, 2013 7:17 pm UTC

Also, panhandling would be much less effective if you did blow your CW. Because we all know you don't need it.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Izawwlgood » Sat Jun 01, 2013 7:59 pm UTC

Spoilered for being a bit OT:
Spoiler:
eSOANEM wrote:The only leave the birthing parent should be entitled to (beyond that which can be split however the parent(s) choose) is that for when they are medically unfit to work i.e. sick days.
Yeah, fair enough fix, but I do want to add that women who have recently given birth are not equivalent employees to men whose partners have recently given birth (obviously, but bear with me). My coworker returned from mat leave, and has to spend approximately 2 hours a day in a lactation room. She cannot skip this; it represents two hours of her day. She compensates by arriving to work an hour early, but daycare gets out at ~6, so doesn't have much wiggle room with this. My only point here is that yes, parental leave is something both sexes should get, but we should also recognize that for both employers and employees, workers who choose to reproduce are not equivalent along sex lines. I hold that we should do what we can, of course, to allow people to have children and maintain their careers, but it does require some consideration insofar as what exactly that means and how to bring it about.

eSOANEM wrote:A CW would give them the financial security to pursue further training/education though in order to compete in some skilled market (and there certainly shouldn't be any situation where someone (excepting those with severe disabilities who would require additional welfare as has been said already in this thread) would be unable to enter any skilled labour market with sufficient training).
So, like student or standard loans, but 'fixed' so as to not be unjust in the way they currently are?
eSOANEM wrote:Because it's an insurance system. But even better than unemployment benefits because it pays out continuously.
So, like welfare currently?
eSOANEM wrote:Dude, this exact argument applies to all welfare. I suspect however that you are not against some form of welfare. Where then is the line drawn and why?
I am indeed fully supportive of and in favor of welfare. I am, however, not in favor of 'welfare queens', something I largely consider a myth and don't really place much stock in, but something CW seems to be entirely in favor of supporting. The name of the game should be ensuring people who CANNOT work are able to provide for themselves. CW seems to be about ensuring those who don't FEEL like working, are able to do so. I am not in favor of that, and as I said in my previous post, CW seems to be simply a poor solution to a complicated problem; poor and homeless and hungry and disabled people exist. The solution is not to just say 'everyone gets some money, bam, problem solved!' the solution is to figure out how to support the poor, the homeless, the hungry, and the disabled, particularly and perhaps most importantly by recognizing that those may be four separate issues that require four separate solutions.

And more to the point; choosing not to work is not a disability, and it isn't a basic human right. You, as I said, can indeed choose to not work, but no one should be expected to provide for you in that choice.

eSOANEM wrote:That makes it sound awfully like everyone should be entitled to a liveable wage regardless of their choice to work or not. IANAL though...
Liveable wage? Why not just default to 'food and shelter'? I don't see anything about security of person including 'and some spending money'.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby PAstrychef » Sat Jun 01, 2013 8:47 pm UTC

The right to life and security of person connect to the right not to get killed in random wars or raped in civil (uncivil, really) conflicts, or to have your limbs not get hacked off with a machete. Nowhere does it say that your life is supposed to be supported by the efforts of others.
Look at the lives of multi-generational families in council housing estates in the UK. There are families where no one has held down a job of any kind for three generations. The residents of many estates amuse themselves with crime, petty and otherwise; watching footy on the TV; hanging about and so on. There are training schemes available, of which they choose not to avail themselves.
See, the people with the motivation to get themselves out of poverty work hard to do so. The folks left getting assistance basically can't hold a job.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby morriswalters » Sat Jun 01, 2013 10:02 pm UTC

This idea smells like a perpetual motion machine. Isn't there a natural law around about that. What drives it?

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby eSOANEM » Sat Jun 01, 2013 11:04 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Spoilered for being a bit OT:
Spoiler:
eSOANEM wrote:The only leave the birthing parent should be entitled to (beyond that which can be split however the parent(s) choose) is that for when they are medically unfit to work i.e. sick days.
Yeah, fair enough fix, but I do want to add that women who have recently given birth are not equivalent employees to men whose partners have recently given birth (obviously, but bear with me). My coworker returned from mat leave, and has to spend approximately 2 hours a day in a lactation room. She cannot skip this; it represents two hours of her day. She compensates by arriving to work an hour early, but daycare gets out at ~6, so doesn't have much wiggle room with this. My only point here is that yes, parental leave is something both sexes should get, but we should also recognize that for both employers and employees, workers who choose to reproduce are not equivalent along sex lines. I hold that we should do what we can, of course, to allow people to have children and maintain their careers, but it does require some consideration insofar as what exactly that means and how to bring it about.


Spoiler:
I hadn't heard of lactation rooms before. As far as I know, breastfeeding parents in the UK generally express at home. I can see definite advantages to allowing extra breaks to express so probably ought to relax my "medically unfit" statement to include them.


Izawwlgood wrote:
eSOANEM wrote:A CW would give them the financial security to pursue further training/education though in order to compete in some skilled market (and there certainly shouldn't be any situation where someone (excepting those with severe disabilities who would require additional welfare as has been said already in this thread) would be unable to enter any skilled labour market with sufficient training).
So, like student or standard loans, but 'fixed' so as to not be unjust in the way they currently are?


Sort of. I have no idea how student loans work in the US and my general impression is that they don't very well. In the UK at least, you get two different loans (in theory, it ends up in the same "debt" which actually functions more like an additional tax (under the new student finance system, the old system did have genuine loans)) one of which covers the fees and goes directly to the uni and the other is a maintenance loan.

The CW would take on the role of the maintenance loan but not the tuition loan (which would probably still require some sort of finance if fees are charged (and it would arguably be better if they weren't)). Depending on how much you want to encourage education, you could provide additional subsidised maintenance loans for those in education but this ought to be unnecessary with a CW.

Izawwlgood wrote:
eSOANEM wrote:Because it's an insurance system. But even better than unemployment benefits because it pays out continuously.
So, like welfare currently?


No, welfare currently does not pay out continuously. Welfare currently pays out continuously whilst you qualify for it. A CW would generalise that so that unemployment benefits (but not necessarily other welfare) was paid to everyone continuously.

Izawwlgood wrote:
eSOANEM wrote:That makes it sound awfully like everyone should be entitled to a liveable wage regardless of their choice to work or not. IANAL though...
Liveable wage? Why not just default to 'food and shelter'? I don't see anything about security of person including 'and some spending money'.


I said liveable not comfortable or "with disposable income". Giving people food and shelter is insufficient because they have other needs as well which are not easily predictable and so providing them outside society's extant systems for getting stuff is impractical. As such, giving someone enough money to afford suitable accommodation, food, clothing etc. is the most practical solution to ensuring that everyone has their basic needs taken account of.

Obviously calculating the amount of money necessary is impossible to do accurately and I would always err on the side of giving people enough money and so this is likely to result in people living off their CW having a small amount of disposable income. This is a good thing however because it will encourage businesses to provide jobs and, as people have said, being unemployed is/can be pretty boring so it should be self-limiting.

PAstrychef wrote:The right to life and security of person connect to the right not to get killed in random wars or raped in civil (uncivil, really) conflicts, or to have your limbs not get hacked off with a machete. Nowhere does it say that your life is supposed to be supported by the efforts of others.


This is certainly the easiest way to interpret it. It seems to me more to be intended in a 0th law sense and so imply that people should, wear possible, act to preserve other people's lives (which would include ensuring that all people in a country are provided with food, shelter, clothing etc. to at least some basic level).

PAstrychef wrote:Look at the lives of multi-generational families in council housing estates in the UK. There are families where no one has held down a job of any kind for three generations. The residents of many estates amuse themselves with crime, petty and otherwise; watching footy on the TV; hanging about and so on. There are training schemes available, of which they choose not to avail themselves.
See, the people with the motivation to get themselves out of poverty work hard to do so. The folks left getting assistance basically can't hold a job.


First of all, this smacks remarkably of the arguments used against the introduction of some of the first welfare-ish laws at the turn of the century.

This will be a problem (to the extent that it is which I think is widely exaggerated) in any system with any sort of welfare. This is not an argument against any particular sort of welfare.

morriswalters wrote:This idea smells like a perpetual motion machine. Isn't there a natural law around about that. What drives it?


People's desire to do stuff (as has been said, sitting at home unemployed can be really boring).
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Jun 02, 2013 12:06 am UTC

Spoilered for Off Topic:
Spoiler:
eSOANEM wrote:As far as I know, breastfeeding parents in the UK generally express at home
I'm not a woman, but my impression is that this is not possible for most working, lactating, women. Breasts cannot hold milk for ~8-10 hrs. As is, my friend has had days where she needs to pump an additional time because she's producing more milk. Lactation rooms aren't the norm; most places I've heard require women basically just go pump in the bathroom, which doesn't seem that bad to me, but I dunno, I'm not a lactating woman. I'm, as I said, generally very for making it easier for women to have a family and a career, but my only point was that a woman who recently gave birth is not the same to an employer, as an employee, to a man whose partner recently gave birth, and it's important, I think, in finding a happy middle ground solution, to recognize that parental leave is not equal, and shouldn't necessarily be equal. I hope this isn't interpreted as being sexist, but I feel that because new parents (that is, new mothers vs new fathers) are not equal in their needs, throwing a blanket 'one month off paid + option of additional month unpaid!', say, isn't really a comprehensive solution to their needs.

eSOANEM wrote:No, welfare currently does not pay out continuously. Welfare currently pays out continuously whilst you qualify for it. A CW would generalise that so that unemployment benefits (but not necessarily other welfare) was paid to everyone continuously.
Yes, I realize! This is precisely where we differ in opinion; I feel welfare should exist to ensure people who NEED it, can get it, so they can get themselves into a position wherein they don't need it anymore! CW is offputting to me because I don't think everyone is entitled some random lump sum of cash to do whatever they want with; if you want to do nothing, do nothing on your own dime! If you can't do everything needed to bring in a living, lets let the safety net of society provide for you so you can at least do something and not starve.

Everything else you are all proposing CW will provide are systems that already exist, like general or student loans. If you want to argue that they should be improved, by all means, but I don't see why CW needs to occur when these things are already in place. Want to take time off to get an education? Take out a student loan! Want to travel but can't afford it right now? Borrow some money from the bank! As I see it, this is no different in end point as CW, as those who want to take out these loans can, and those who don't, don't! In CW, you need to remember, this money is coming from somewhere; who are you proposing put money into this system?

And again, you need to define how this program will be overseen and managed, because last I checked, America's Social Security was in pretty shitty shape. 'Welfare systems' are rather complex beasts, and you are all proposing establishing what will amount to the most generous of them all, without providing any details on who pays in, how much they pay in, etc. It's a really poorly supported program you're all pushing here.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby curtis95112 » Sun Jun 02, 2013 12:18 am UTC

While I would love it if this were to be implemented, I'd like a better model of sustainability than this.

eSOANEM wrote:morriswalters wrote:
This idea smells like a perpetual motion machine. Isn't there a natural law around about that. What drives it?

People's desire to do stuff (as has been said, sitting at home unemployed can be really boring).


People are going to do something, of course, but there's no reason they should do things that are at all productive. Right now, the necessity of a living wage is a big reason you don't see practically everybody going into music or professional gaming or other such inherently enjoyable fields. As much as I respect and enjoy the services of these professions, I also see that everybody working there would be disastrous.

So, apart from the small minority that really enjoys productive endeavors (farming, coding that spreadsheet, skinning that chicken, etc) more than anything else, and the minority talented enough to make a lot more money than the Citizen's wage, what drives people to produce? A Citizen's wage means that practically everybody earning reasonably close to a living wage (or less than) stops working.
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Tyndmyr wrote:
Роберт wrote:Sure, but at least they hit the intended target that time.

Well, if you shoot enough people, you're bound to get the right one eventually.

Thats the best description of the USA ever.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thesh » Sun Jun 02, 2013 12:29 am UTC

The problem is that the best way for people to apply themselves is not necessarily a paying job. Writers, musicians, painters, free software developers, students, etc. can't necessarily survive on what they do, but I would argue that they contribute more to society than people who work a 9-5 at McDonald's. Personally, I think the notion that if you aren't making a profit for someone else, you shouldn't be able to survive is a stones throw away from slavery.

With a basic income/citizens wage, I think people will still get jobs, but they will be able to choose not to work as many hours, not to work perpetually, and most people will be much happier for it. The fact is, right now people don't have that choice, so the employers have all the power, and the people have none.

As for complexity; means testing is what makes the systems complex. A non-means tested program is the most efficient system of all.

curtis95112 wrote:all minority that really enjoys productive endeavors (farming, coding that spreadsheet, skinning that chicken, etc) more than anything else, and the minority talented enough to make a lot more money than the Citizen's wage, what drives people to produce? A Citizen's wage means that practically everybody earning reasonably close to a living wage (or less than) stops working.


Why would they stop working? Working would still make you more money; you can double your salary for the same work, or work less and still make more.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby morriswalters » Sun Jun 02, 2013 1:24 am UTC

Thesh wrote:The problem is that the best way for people to apply themselves is not necessarily a paying job. Writers, musicians, painters, free software developers, students, etc. can't necessarily survive on what they do, but I would argue that they contribute more to society than people who work a 9-5 at McDonald's. Personally, I think the notion that if you aren't making a profit for someone else, you shouldn't be able to survive is a stones throw away from slavery.
There is no best way of applying yourself. State a metric that doesn't end up being a form of the acquisition of materials that enable you to hang out on the corner.(metaphor). Anything after the basics consists of time sinks. Even jobs are little more than time sinks. Most of the rest is what men do at stalls in the Men's room. Looking around and comparing themselves against the competition. Who has the better jobs, better educations, trophy wives or husbands, what have you. Most people won't. Won't take the time to learn the skills, be they piano, paintbrush, or an engineering degree. The random vagaries of chance left them without the required drive to expend the effort. And it takes effort. They don't know how, nor do they wish to know once they have gotten to that point.

eSOANEM wrote:People's desire to do stuff (as has been said, sitting at home unemployed can be really boring).
Sitting and home may well be boring. But leaving the house and doing something that makes you better are two different things. Driven people and people with the skills and desire get out and do, and find a way around the barriers. But that wasn't the point to my question. What closes the circle. If machines could do everything, all the jobs that there are to do, why innovate. In the past people have innovated to accomplish things. Remove the incentive, why innovate? Worse yet how to reward it? There seems to be a disconnect here. There is plenty of work. The infrastructure of the US is falling to pieces. Why wouldn't a better investment be to put people to work?

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Trasvi » Sun Jun 02, 2013 1:37 am UTC

curtis95112 wrote:So, apart from the small minority that really enjoys productive endeavors (farming, coding that spreadsheet, skinning that chicken, etc) more than anything else, and the minority talented enough to make a lot more money than the Citizen's wage, what drives people to produce? A Citizen's wage means that practically everybody earning reasonably close to a living wage (or less than) stops working.


A citzen's wage would get you the bare minimum. You could rent a 20 sqm apartment and put Mi Goreng on the table every night.
If you wanted to do something even marginally more enjoyable - like eat McDonalds or rent a movie... you'd need to work for the extra money.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby elasto » Sun Jun 02, 2013 2:52 am UTC

curtis wrote:So, apart from the small minority that really enjoys productive endeavors (farming, coding that spreadsheet, skinning that chicken, etc) more than anything else, and the minority talented enough to make a lot more money than the Citizen's wage, what drives people to produce? A Citizen's wage means that practically everybody earning reasonably close to a living wage (or less than) stops working.

That's simply not my experience of human nature.

People might stop doing boring, mundane work, sure, but wealthy retired people (to take just one section of society that doesn't need to work) don't just roll over and die. They are often highly active in their communities and elsewhere - sometimes in paid work and sometimes not. Young, healthy people will be even more active.

If some great-aunt of yours died and bequeathed you $40k a year for life in her will, sure, you might take a year or two off perhaps. But I bet you anything you'd soon get bored, and you'd either be working, supplementing your inheritance with a salary (an income of, say, $80k a year is a whole lot better than $40k after all), or you'd use your new-found freedom to start your own business.

morriswalters wrote:If machines could do everything, all the jobs that there are to do, why innovate. In the past people have innovated to accomplish things. Remove the incentive, why innovate? Worse yet how to reward it?

That's a non-sequitur. Just because there are IQ150 people around, it doesn't mean IQ145 people can't invent things. Even if machines become quicker and more intelligent at innovating, that doesn't mean dull old humans won't still come up with things, they will just do so less numerously overall than machines do.

There may come a point where machines are so much smarter than humans that they are literally gods to us, but by that point we'll have likely fused with them anyhow.

A citzen's wage would get you the bare minimum. You could rent a 20 sqm apartment and put Mi Goreng on the table every night.
If you wanted to do something even marginally more enjoyable - like eat McDonalds or rent a movie... you'd need to work for the extra money.

Yes and no. To begin with, perhaps, although I'd hope our sights were set a little higher than that.

However, over the next few decades, technology is going to advance so fast that eventually full immersion video games will become so cheap even an unemployed person will be able to enjoy them. At which point we won't need to waste expensive, precious natural resources on building expensive cars or flying off on exotic holidays, we'll be able to ride a rocket to the stars inside our own minds.


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