Citizen's Wage

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Tyndmyr
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:31 pm UTC

This thread has kind of a crapton of pro/con inequality stuff in it. It didn't start with your post on this page. I have absolutely no problem with responding to multiple posts at once, or addressing when I am doing so. You were the one who got all accusatory, not me.

The only point in clarifying the response chain is because you acted as if I were supposed to be defending ucim's viewpoint. I'm not. My viewpoint is different, and I have no interest in defending that particular chain in reasoning. I am happy to discuss inequality, as I have repeatedly in this thread, you just seemed to have strange ideas regarding what I was talking about. So, I clarified. Is this enough meta-conversation, or are you going to stall still further? I believe I last discussed the incredible lack of real world evidence in favor of a Citizen's Wage, and pointing out that observing that inequality exists is not sufficient to support this as a superior solution. Have you come up with data to support some universal income scheme being better than other forms of safety nets?

I mean, if there's absolutely no data, then I guess, continue with the ad hominems, I suppose. Looks like it's the best you've got.

Trebla wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:The general thrust of the conversation thus far has been that we should convert over to a citizen's wage in preparation for these technological developments or because it is a better system than current social welfare systems, depending on who is doing the arguing. In either case, a pro-active approach is being argued for, not merely that it is the inevitable result of the passage of time, etc.


If it's inevitable, it seems like a proactive approach would mitigate the difficulties that some people would feel when getting to that as a balance in an "after-the-fact" fashion. If we can meaningfully predict (big IF, I know) that automation is going to cause the loss of ~3M jobs between 2021 and 2025 in the trucking industry alone (even if just temporarily while new industries arise around them), then I don't see why we wouldn't consider a citizen's wage (as well as other options) proactively to deal with a problem even if we don't technically have the problem yet.

Back to futurism, we don't need a driverless society to switch to driverless trucking. The segments of the population that see the greatest benefit (i.e., trucking) will be the first to move into the technology. So while it may take 100 years to truly get to a driverless society, it takes significantly less to supplant the trucking industry. (I kind of hate that I used this as an example since it's not the only industry that will likely get redefined in unprecedented ways by automation).


The precise example isn't critical, I think, we can swap that out if a different one works better.

The inevitability of it seems doubtful. It hasn't arisen as a system in any country yet, I think it's awfully premature to insist that it'll inevitably arise in them all. Hell, even though democracy has had a pretty good run, it's been around a long time, and isn't universal yet. I think very few social changes actually are inevitable, and social change can often be particularly slow. I'm not sure that forcing it to happen early is necessarily advantageous, either. Even if future changes would make something optimal in the future, that doesn't make it optimal now.

Sure, being able to predict job losses is great, but nothing about a CW grants us additional predictive power. Nor does it establish why a CW is the proper solution to use for the problem. It's a solution seeking a problem. People have invented this system that seems really nifty, and are casting about for a reason to use it. I am as skeptical of that as I would be a salesman who walks up to my door, certain that his product is the cure for whatever ails me. The step about comparing a CW to existing solutions usually seems to be skimmed over, and it seems like you'd want to establish that fairly well to justify restructuring society and employment in a pretty major way.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thesh » Tue Jan 03, 2017 10:59 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:I mean, if there's absolutely no data, then I guess, continue with the ad hominems, I suppose. Looks like it's the best you've got.


Seriously? You accused me of lying about the positions of others, when I did not. You are a liar and now a hypocrite.

As for your position on inequality, please. You don't care; you're entire economic philosophy is concern trolling, since it's nothing but an academic exercise to you. You've never proposed a solution to an economic problem, agreed with a solution to a problem, or even agreed that there should be a solution a problem, except when the problem directly involved government. Inequality is an actual problem today, but your position is simply "Well, is it?" So please, explain where I'm misrepresenting your views. Because it seems pretty clear to me that you don't actually care about inequality, as it exists today. I've never seen you show a hint of empathy for anyone in poverty, or any concern whatsoever for the disparity we have today, so how can I possibly come up with a different conclusion?
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby ucim » Wed Jan 04, 2017 5:25 am UTC

I don't know what people think I think of (income) inequality, but it's just a thing that happens. It's a symptom of the way the economy and the power system is working. Some have more, some have less; this is true of money, power, intelligence, strength, charisma, and other things that affect how one's life will go. I don't think equality in itself is something to be striven for, nor is inequality something to be lauded. It would be nice if there were some minimum below which nobody went, but achieving that without bad side effects isn't easy, and might not even be possible, given the way people are.

Bringing it back to just money, remember that money is just a bookkeeping artifact. It's not a thing. It's an IOU. Take a(n overly) simple case: A tropical island with three people. One farms, one builds shelters, and one cooks. It's very windy, so shelters have to keep being rebuilt each week, but it doesn't take all that long. Cooking of course happens relatively instantly. Farming takes months, so the farmer has to promise to deliver crops in exchange for having his house rebuilt every week or so. To keep track of these promises, the three agree that coconut husks that bear a certain symbol (that they each make together) will serve as coinage, and evidence of promises made. The husks originally started out as IOUs from the farmer, but they enter circulation and nobody remembers what they really mean, since they trade freely. So the farmer pays coconut husks to the builder every week to rebuild the hut, and to the cook to pay for meals. At harvest time, they give the husks back to the farmer in exchange for the harvest. Forty-two husks per house, two husks per meal, 2190 husks for a year's worth of crops. 4380 husks are in circulation. Sunlight is free. Everything evens out; there is perfect equality. The husks circulate freely, so sometimes the builder will pay the cook extra for another meal, or the cook will pay the builder extra for a nicer hut. Sunlight remains free.

Due to climate change, there is less wind, and the huts now last all year. Demand for huts goes down and the builder falls into relative poverty. But the farmer has more husks now, which he pays the cook to make better meals. The cook gets rich because the cook saves all his husks rather than buy a bigger house or more food for himself.

Enter a guaranteed basic income (so that the builder doesn't starve?). Each person needs 4380 husks per year to live, plus their own sweat equity, so half that will be the guaranteed basic income. 2190 husks, guaranteed.

Where do they come from? How does the economy react? How do the people react?

Jose
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Trebla » Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:04 pm UTC

ucim wrote: Forty-two husks per house, two husks per meal, 2190 husks for a year's worth of crops. 4380 husks are in circulation. Sunlight is free. Everything evens out; there is perfect equality. The husks circulate freely, so sometimes the builder will pay the cook extra for another meal, or the cook will pay the builder extra for a nicer hut. Sunlight remains free.
... snip for brevity...
Where do they come from? How does the economy react? How do the people react?


I really like this example, and I think it highlights that a high level of "automation" may be a necessary pre-requisite to this type of wage. Climate change already reduced the cost of houses by 98%. If technological advances reduce the other two aspects by sizable portions (a fridge means the chef only cooks once a week to feed them all... a tractor cuts farming effort by 90%... made up numbers, but good enough to illustrate), then the overall needs per person per year are a few hundred husks down from several thousand.

It's easiest to see where the CW would come from... the gov't (The Council of The Three) collects taxes and pays each member a living wage. How does the economy/people react? Harder to say (but in an economy this size, those are the same question). Each person is now working only a fraction of what they need to to get by and still living at the same level of luxury as before. Perhaps they enrich their culture (make instruments)? Pursue more technological advancements (invent a boat)? Design a better lean-to? What happens if one decides it's not worth it to do their work? Another picks it up to get more income for more luxury... what happens if they all decide this? I... don't know.

Tyndmyr wrote:The inevitability of it seems doubtful. It hasn't arisen as a system in any country yet, I think it's awfully premature to insist that it'll inevitably arise in them all. Hell, even though democracy has had a pretty good run, it's been around a long time, and isn't universal yet. I think very few social changes actually are inevitable, and social change can often be particularly slow. I'm not sure that forcing it to happen early is necessarily advantageous, either. Even if future changes would make something optimal in the future, that doesn't make it optimal now.


I guess here we may just agree to disagree... autonomous cars seem close enough to reality that some people (myself included) think they're inevitable in the not so distant future. (I didn't mean that a CW was inevitable, but that the economic changes caused by Artificial Intelligence advances are... I see that may not have been clear upon re-reading). And a CW may not be the proper solution, but the current welfare system does not seem like it could support significant increases to unemployment caused by automation without evolving, so SOME alternate system will be necessary. Heck, if welfare evolves enough so that "everyone" is getting it, it becomes a CW, doesn't it?

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby morriswalters » Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:14 pm UTC

ucim wrote:Where do they come from? How does the economy react? How do the people react?
The whole idea is a little vague. But to begin with you already know the answers to some of your questions. Money is already being distributed to achieve some of the effects people are talking about. I thought the testing was to see if doing it this way was more efficient and produced better results. And testing will answer the rest of your questions, assuming that the testing can measure what it needs to measure.

For the economy in general it would be interesting to see if this improves the stability of our culture. It seems to me that stability has a value, in that when we put money into society to reduce the level of inequality, we get something back for that investment that is real and measurable. If that were true then lack of investment could also have real consequences. But you have to understand fully the underlying assumptions you would have to make. Demographics trends and so on. Planners and dreamers seem to have an optimistic bias.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby ucim » Wed Jan 04, 2017 3:51 pm UTC

Trebla wrote:It's easiest to see where the CW would come from... the gov't (The Council of The Three) collects taxes and pays each member a living wage.
The builder has little or no husks to pay taxes with, so it all falls on the cook (and the farmer). Each one has to give up one third their income in order to support the citizens' wage. But on top of that, there are more husks in circulation now then there is value, since houses aren't being built much any more. (Yes, the houses are more valuable because they last longer, but that's not reflected in the husks, which are in essence IOUs to the farmer.)

Everyone happens to get free housing, but there are now more husks chasing the value of cooking and crops than there is value in the cooking and crops. Husks lose value, and the CW has to be raised, which is a double impact on the cook and the farmer.

As you point out, this is just a welfare state.

morriswalters wrote: I thought the testing was to see if doing it this way was more efficient and produced better results. And testing will answer the rest of your questions, assuming that the testing can measure what it needs to measure.
Yes it will, but the answers will only be valid if the system is closed. You can't dump money in from outside and call it a valid test. And you can't leak the economy to or from outside either, for similar reasons. And it has to be big enough (county wide at least) so that people don't know each other.

So... we'll see.

Jose
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Jan 04, 2017 4:03 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:I mean, if there's absolutely no data, then I guess, continue with the ad hominems, I suppose. Looks like it's the best you've got.


Seriously? You accused me of lying about the positions of others, when I did not. You are a liar and now a hypocrite.

As for your position on inequality, please. You don't care; you're entire economic philosophy is concern trolling, since it's nothing but an academic exercise to you. You've never proposed a solution to an economic problem, agreed with a solution to a problem, or even agreed that there should be a solution a problem, except when the problem directly involved government. Inequality is an actual problem today, but your position is simply "Well, is it?" So please, explain where I'm misrepresenting your views. Because it seems pretty clear to me that you don't actually care about inequality, as it exists today. I've never seen you show a hint of empathy for anyone in poverty, or any concern whatsoever for the disparity we have today, so how can I possibly come up with a different conclusion?


Look, the topic here is a Citizen's Wage. Not empathy or inequality. Yeah, I can see how those things connect to the topic, but they are not themselves the topic. And in any case, having empathy doesn't make you correct.

As for the misrepresentation, I explicitly said that I did not view inequality as either a feature or a bug. And then you attacked me for viewing inequality as a feature. Which is pretty much the same thing you said about Ucim. I'm willing to talk about how it relates to a CW, but you steadfastly refuse to supply any evidence, and repeatedly resort to purely emotional attacks on individuals, as you have again here. You are not providing the slightest bit of evidence, merely attacking others.

So, to be clear, I do not care in the slightest how much empathy others have, in the context of trying to find a correct solution. Hell, an answer can be produced by a soulless computer who cares not one whit for anything, and be exactly as correct as someone who has a surplus of it.

ucim wrote:Due to climate change, there is less wind, and the huts now last all year. Demand for huts goes down and the builder falls into relative poverty. But the farmer has more husks now, which he pays the cook to make better meals. The cook gets rich because the cook saves all his husks rather than buy a bigger house or more food for himself.

Enter a guaranteed basic income (so that the builder doesn't starve?). Each person needs 4380 husks per year to live, plus their own sweat equity, so half that will be the guaranteed basic income. 2190 husks, guaranteed.

Where do they come from? How does the economy react? How do the people react?

Jose


This example works. The husks can come from one of a few places. You can make more, which will of course cause inflation. 2190 husks every year would cause a shitload of inflation indeed. The people should probably not do that.

They could also borrow husks from someone. This would need to be an endless cycle of forever borrowing more, so at a certain point, one has to question how this works. Someone always lending, and never receiving repayment, is not really receiving any benefit to lending. And the amount needed is large, relative to the total economy. This seems to also have difficulty.

Lastly, one can take husks from another, presumably via taxation. In this case, the precise taxation scheme will determine the effects. If one is taking from each in the same proportion that they receive, the whole exercise is mostly pointless, and we are moving husks for nothing. It only makes sense as a way to redistribute income. Do they tax the saver more? Do they tax the builder less? Each has a number of consequences. If any significant percentage opt to cease working and live off half wages, that's going to impact the entire economy. To have a significant impact, it does not require that MOST people do so, only that a few do. Even if five or ten percent opt to quit, the economy dwindles in proportion. And perhaps not everyone quits, but some decide to work fewer hours, others decide to take longer vacations, and so on. It requires very little imagination to end up in a scenario in which the amount of work being done has significantly decreased.

It is rather difficult to posit a scenario in which the amount of work being done increases.

Yes, technological advancement would help. But it would help under the existing system as well, without incurring the costs of switching.

Trebla wrote:I guess here we may just agree to disagree... autonomous cars seem close enough to reality that some people (myself included) think they're inevitable in the not so distant future. (I didn't mean that a CW was inevitable, but that the economic changes caused by Artificial Intelligence advances are... I see that may not have been clear upon re-reading). And a CW may not be the proper solution, but the current welfare system does not seem like it could support significant increases to unemployment caused by automation without evolving, so SOME alternate system will be necessary. Heck, if welfare evolves enough so that "everyone" is getting it, it becomes a CW, doesn't it?


Ah, I understand, yes...some measure of advancing automation is inevitable, I agree on that much. I simply don't agree that it's escalating, or that the unemployment resulting from it is. Right now, the unemployment rate is decreasing, and while this is likely due to cyclical economy issues, I don't see a long-term trend of escalating, unmanageable unemployment. I'm interested in different ways to approach unemployment, of course, but I think the premise of an escalating problem is testable, and not supported by current data.

Now, if you flip it around and look at businesses, we *do* see something of a long term trend towards lower productivity(probably because low hanging fruit has been taken), and we also see some systemic inflexibility. I think some of that is a natural result of a high tech, high automation approach. One cannot easily take the investment in a plant that makes processors and swiftly reallocate it to something else. Much of that investment(both in people and equipment) likely cannot be reclaimed at all. Unskilled labor can switch jobs much more easily than skilled labor can. If there's a real social change, it's here.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thesh » Wed Jan 04, 2017 7:23 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Thesh wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:I mean, if there's absolutely no data, then I guess, continue with the ad hominems, I suppose. Looks like it's the best you've got.


Seriously? You accused me of lying about the positions of others, when I did not. You are a liar and now a hypocrite.

As for your position on inequality, please. You don't care; you're entire economic philosophy is concern trolling, since it's nothing but an academic exercise to you. You've never proposed a solution to an economic problem, agreed with a solution to a problem, or even agreed that there should be a solution a problem, except when the problem directly involved government. Inequality is an actual problem today, but your position is simply "Well, is it?" So please, explain where I'm misrepresenting your views. Because it seems pretty clear to me that you don't actually care about inequality, as it exists today. I've never seen you show a hint of empathy for anyone in poverty, or any concern whatsoever for the disparity we have today, so how can I possibly come up with a different conclusion?


Look, the topic here is a Citizen's Wage. Not empathy or inequality. Yeah, I can see how those things connect to the topic, but they are not themselves the topic. And in any case, having empathy doesn't make you correct.

As for the misrepresentation, I explicitly said that I did not view inequality as either a feature or a bug. And then you attacked me for viewing inequality as a feature. Which is pretty much the same thing you said about Ucim. I'm willing to talk about how it relates to a CW, but you steadfastly refuse to supply any evidence, and repeatedly resort to purely emotional attacks on individuals, as you have again here. You are not providing the slightest bit of evidence, merely attacking others.

So, to be clear, I do not care in the slightest how much empathy others have, in the context of trying to find a correct solution. Hell, an answer can be produced by a soulless computer who cares not one whit for anything, and be exactly as correct as someone who has a surplus of it.


Just to be clear, my problem isn't just your lack of empathy, it's that not helping people is specifically your goal. Whenever someone ever talks about doing anything to help anyone, there's Captain Concern Troll, having to come in and tell everyone how the bigger concern is that it might hurt business. Assholes like you are why there is so much suffering in the world; a strict dedication to not doing anything unless you can prove zero consequences ahead of time; until then, of course, we should stick with the default economic system which is unregulated capitalism.

And no, a heartless computer can't solve the problem, because whether or not something is a problem is a judgement call, and in this case it requires some capacity for empathy. Things like empathy are the single most important thing when deciding what problems actually are. But no, complete assholes like you want to look at the economy in a vacuum, and pretend like it's a consistent system governed by natural laws so you can pretend that it distributes income based on merit and thus justify why you are well off while others are suffering. Ignoring them, or even blaming them, makes it so much easier to live with. But hey, as long as you can make numbers agree with you, who gives a fuck about suffering?

You want to solve economics without empathy, the solution is simple: eliminate all labor laws, and increase unemployment massively. Then wages plummet until everyone has to work, and total output skyrockets! It's no wonder that people who view the world without sympathy or empathy tend to embrace libertarianism; they think it can all be done without concern for well-being.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Jan 04, 2017 7:38 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Just to be clear, my problem isn't just your lack of empathy, it's that not helping people is specifically your goal. Whenever someone ever talks about doing anything to help anyone, there's Captain Concern Troll, having to come in and tell everyone how the bigger concern is that it might hurt business. Assholes like you are why there is so much suffering in the world; a strict dedication to not doing anything unless you can prove zero consequences ahead of time, until then stick with the default economic system which is unregulated capitalism.


All people are people. Business owners, workers, whoever. Yes, I routinely point out the flaws whenever someone comes up with some way to remodel all of society. There are almost invariably costs that they haven't considered. These are not specific to business. In this particular example, we have one sector that's a winner, and other sectors that are losers, if we change systems to a CW.

It's only reasonable to evaluate if the result of these changes is a net gain or not.

And no, "unregulated capitalism" is not the default in any modern country. Regulations exist everywhere. The question is merely of which regulations are better, and why we should regulate. Can you argue against a position that isn't a strawman?

And no, a heartless computer can't solve the problem, because whether or not something is a problem is a judgement call, and in this case it requires some capacity for empathy. Things like empathy are the single most important thing when deciding what problems actually are. But no, complete assholes like you want to look at the economy in a vacuum, and pretend like it's a consistent system governed by natural laws so you can pretend that it distributes income based on merit and thus justify why you are well off while others are suffering. Ignoring them, or even blaming them, makes it so much easier to live with. But hey, as long as you can make numbers agree with you, who gives a fuck about suffering?


Computers CAN solve economics problems quite well. Of course economic systems have laws. Yeah, it's a complex area, but so is climate. And you don't seem to be questioning that modeling climate science is a reasonable objective.

The "blaming" hasn't been a big topic in this thread, I think. It also seems irrelevant to evaluating different economic models. I'm not sure why you're worried about it.

And if you actually want to minimize suffering, you're going to have to learn to shut up and multiply. It does not appear that this is your actual goal though. You seem to want to be declared correct simply because you included some lines about how much you care about people. Virtue signaling resulting in acceptance of your ideas, rather than having to deal with actually supporting them with evidence.

I dare say that scientists have accomplished more than all the bleeding heart redistributionists combined. Science literally killed two horsemen of the apocalypse, thanks to the green revolution and modern sanitation. If you have a beef with the scientific method, please feel free to demonstrate another one that works better.

You want to solve economics without empathy, the solution is simple: eliminate all labor laws, and increase unemployment massively. Then everyone has to work, and total output skyrockets! It's no wonder that people who view the world without sympathy or empathy tend to embrace libertarianism; they think it can all be done without concern for well-being.


If you believe you've found a simple solution to all of economics, you are probably wrong. This is also true for most other complex endeavors that many people spend lifetimes struggling with.

It is interesting, though, that you appear to believe that the economically optimal solution is NOT the way you have chosen. That, say, care for workers and what not will not pay off economically. You seem to believe that choosing the "right" path requires being inefficient. Why? What on earth defines that as right, then?

Libertarians generally do not actually make the assumptions you do. For instance, increasing unemployment massively is not something you'd expect to do in optimizing total output.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thesh » Wed Jan 04, 2017 8:12 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:All people are people. Business owners, workers, whoever. Yes, I routinely point out the flaws whenever someone comes up with some way to remodel all of society. There are almost invariably costs that they haven't considered. These are not specific to business. In this particular example, we have one sector that's a winner, and other sectors that are losers, if we change systems to a CW.


Or minimum wage, taxes, anything that is ever proposed. People here know everything has winners and losers (we aren't libertarians who think "mutually beneficial" is a magic word that alleviates suffering); and we don't need your condescending bullshit to acknowledge that. We've already thought of that and realized that the risks are small compared to the risk of doing nothing.

Tyndmyr wrote:And if you actually want to minimize suffering, you're going to have to learn to shut up and multiply. It does not appear that this is your actual goal though. You seem to want to be declared correct simply because you included some lines about how much you care about people. Virtue signaling resulting in acceptance of your ideas, rather than having to deal with actually supporting them with evidence.


I know this is a hard concept for you to understand, but I actually do care about people. And I am sick assholes who refuse to acknowledge that there are problems in the first place. This isn't me trying to be right, this is a deep seated hatred for what you and all of your kind represent. I am sick and tired of selfish pieces of shit doing everything they can to prevent anyone from alleviating suffering, by parroting intellectually lazy arguments that have been proven overblown time and time again.

Tyndmyr wrote:Libertarians generally do not actually make the assumptions you do. For instance, increasing unemployment massively is not something you'd expect to do in optimizing total output.

It lowers wages, which helps make businesses more profitable. This is exactly the argument you are making every time you tell us we shouldn't help people because businesses might get hurt. If you eliminate welfare and reduce wages enough, everyone has to work or they die; there is no greater incentive than this. By reducing economics to a mathematical model, without concern for people, you end up with slavery as that's what maximizes output.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Jan 04, 2017 8:23 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:All people are people. Business owners, workers, whoever. Yes, I routinely point out the flaws whenever someone comes up with some way to remodel all of society. There are almost invariably costs that they haven't considered. These are not specific to business. In this particular example, we have one sector that's a winner, and other sectors that are losers, if we change systems to a CW.


Or minimum wage, taxes, anything that is ever proposed. We know everything has winners and losers; and we don't need your condescending bullshit to acknowledge that. We've already thought of that and realized that the risks are small


Then it should be entirely possible to demonstrate that.

CW has a comparative lack of data for real world testing, and the tests that have occurred all have significant shortcomings that limit the results' applicability to the proposed instances of it. What you "know" means nothing if you cannot demonstrate that in a reasonably repeatable, coherent fashion for others to understand.

I mean, lots of people "know" that there's a god and all that, but I don't really care, because their knowledge doesn't meet any such standards.

I know this is a hard concept for you to understand, but I actually do care about people. And I am sick assholes who refuse to acknowledge that there are problems in the first place. This isn't me trying to be right, this is a deep seated hatred for what you and all of your kind represent. I am sick and tired of selfish pieces of shit doing everything they can to prevent anyone from alleviating suffering, by parroting intellectually lazy arguments that have been proven overblown time and time again.


Caring or hatred are irrelevant in terms of finding a efficient solution, mostly. You can care a lot. You can hate a lot. That doesn't make the math work out. Both motivations have resulted in some spectacular failures. And honestly, nobody is really keeping you from alleviating suffering, if you choose to do so. Opportunities to help others are easy to find.

People do resist attempts to remake society, true. Some of this is exacerbated by not providing evidence that doing so is a good idea. Nobody owes it to you to follow your orders and live the way you want them to. You must convince them(or at least, a good amount of them), that it's a good idea. If this is what bothers you, you don't really have an issue with "assholes" or "capitalism" or the like. It's that you hate democracy itself.

It lowers wages, which helps make businesses more profitable. This is exactly the argument you are making every time you tell us we shouldn't help people because businesses might get hurt. If you eliminate welfare and reduce wages enough, everyone has to work or they die; there is no greater incentive than this. By reducing economics to a mathematical model, without concern for people, you end up with slavery as that's what maximizes output.


If I've made such an argument here, by all means, feel free to quote it. Don't think I have, though. I think this is you hating on "capitalist" stereotypes.

I'm fairly confident that I've repeatedly brought up unemployment as a negative, not a positive for overall productivity.

I also don't think slavery is a terribly good system. I can get into why, if you'd like, but this seems like a significant diversion from the actual point of this thread. Still, feel free to start another thread if you want to defend slavery as the financially optimal system, I guess.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby sardia » Wed Jan 04, 2017 11:38 pm UTC

Wait, is the purpose of citizen's wage to help people via replacing welfare, or is it to prepare for the upcoming automation apocalypse?

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby PeteP » Wed Jan 04, 2017 11:56 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Wait, is the purpose of citizen's wage to help people via replacing welfare, or is it to prepare for the upcoming automation apocalypse?

Primarily the first I assume but I do think it would also be a more robust system if we reach a point where automation reaches a point people like me think it will reach (though not for quite some time yet imo) and it begins reducing the job market.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby SuicideJunkie » Wed Jan 18, 2017 8:57 pm UTC

Would there be a mechanism to prevent people from going into debt to the point where the CW goes into simply paying off the interest and they're in the same boat as today?

Or would that just be declaring bankruptcy and returning to the CW +income?

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby elasto » Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:39 pm UTC

Yes. Anyone who has no possibility of paying off their debts should be encouraged (or forced) to declare bankruptcy.

If they got into debt fraudulently then that's a criminal matter. OTOH, if the lender lent them money knowing they lacked the ability to pay it back then more fool them.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby ucim » Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:25 pm UTC

elasto wrote:If they got into debt fraudulently then that's a criminal matter.
How much wishful thinking constitutes criminal behavior? How much financial incompetence counts as criminal behavior?

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thesh » Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:33 pm UTC

SuicideJunkie wrote:Would there be a mechanism to prevent people from going into debt to the point where the CW goes into simply paying off the interest and they're in the same boat as today?

Or would that just be declaring bankruptcy and returning to the CW +income?


I think you'd end up with a lot less large debt that's not backed by assets. Pretty much all small purchases you can just put on a debit card for a bank account with direct deposit for CW, and an overdraft line of credit (essentially acting like a credit card if you spend over your balance). Then as long as you, on average, spend that amount + interest, you wouldn't gain much debt. The rest of your debt, you can manage normally based on your income.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby elasto » Thu Jan 19, 2017 9:26 am UTC

ucim wrote:How much wishful thinking constitutes criminal behavior? How much financial incompetence counts as criminal behavior?

That's for the courts to decide.

Why is that more of an issue than any other legal gray area? eg. We still have laws against harassment despite it being a judgement call as to when someone has crossed a line. Anyhow, the courts already have to decide if someone's debts were accrued through malice or incompetence. The existence or not of a citizen's wage doesn't change anything.

(In the UK, they mostly seem to side with the debtor: If the bank was stupid enough to lend to someone who couldn't pay it back, the bank gets the blame not the debtor. Unless the debtor went out of their way to deceive them, the bank is assumed to have failed to carry out sufficient due diligence, so the debtor is allowed to wipe the slate clean. I don't imagine the existence of a citizen's wage would change how the courts view things. I've no idea what it's like in the US.)

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Chen » Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:40 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:I think you'd end up with a lot less large debt that's not backed by assets. Pretty much all small purchases you can just put on a debit card for a bank account with direct deposit for CW, and an overdraft line of credit (essentially acting like a credit card if you spend over your balance). Then as long as you, on average, spend that amount + interest, you wouldn't gain much debt. The rest of your debt, you can manage normally based on your income.


To be fair this is the sensible thing to do NOW and people don't do it. I don't see why that would suddenly change. But CW would be no different than welfare I'd imagine and I don't think welfare can be garnished to pay private debts. So I don't really see what would change in that regards if CW were implemented. People could be dumb and use all their CW to pay minimum payments and never get out of debt instead of declaring bankruptcy but there's not much you can do about that. The idea is to give people money they are free to do what they want with. That includes letting them make poor decisions.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thesh » Thu Jan 19, 2017 1:11 pm UTC

Well, my first point was with significantly lower income inequality, there would be a lot less people that get into the hole where they have to take out more and more debt to make basic purchases. Generally speaking, it tends to be people in poverty that get in really serious problems with payday loans and stuff like that just to eat and pay rent, which could almost go away. And yeah, some people are just going to take out debt with no intent of paying it off - that's why there are credit card limits and credit histories; you can't prevent it, but you can mitigate the problem - the real problem is when banks have a mandate to squeeze as much money out of people as possible.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby ucim » Thu Jan 19, 2017 4:33 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
ucim wrote:How much wishful thinking constitutes criminal behavior? How much financial incompetence counts as criminal behavior?
That's for the courts to decide.
Of course it's for the courts to decide; that's not the thrust of my question. Rather, you replied to SuicideJunkie that bankruptcy would be encouraged for those who couldn't pay their debts. Given that it's so easy to get into debt by running up a credit card bill and using the CW to pay off the interest, a CW could easily leave people in the same situation that they are presently in. This tends to nullify the point of a CW for the very people it is most intended to benefit. And then to put the knife edge of criminality into what is otherwise an issue of poor choices, against the very people who are most likely to not be able to make good choices (otherwise they wouldn't be in the situation to begin with) seems over the top.

This is more of an issue than any other legal grey area because it is being created (in the sense of an "attractive nuisance") in the process of solving a problem that it exacerbates.

Thesh wrote:...the real problem is when banks have a mandate to squeeze as much money out of people as possible.
So, your real problem is with capitalism itself. The problems of the poor are not caused by capitalism; they are caused by certain abuses of financial power that unregulated capitalism is well known to foster. Appropriate regulation of these abuses would address the problem directly, and I'd venture that would be more effective than the CW's blind shotgun approach, ecause the issue (as I see it) is protection of the disenfranchised (of all kinds) from the powerful. CW does next to nothing to address this.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thesh » Thu Jan 19, 2017 9:02 pm UTC

Your quote tag is wrong.

And yes, capitalism is a major part of the problem. Most economic problems in the world since the industrial revolution have been caused specifically by the accumulation of capital for the sake of charging rent. From shitty products, to the 2008 recession, to high poverty. All those regulations, welfare, etc. are simply band-aids for a broken system. They are required simply because the economy is designed to reward those who seek to accumulate wealth, which leads to structural problems where the economy is designed around maximizing rent rather than providing the best quality of products.

The problem is that wealth is inherently power, and capitalism becomes structured to reward wealth. The only way to stop the exploitation of people is to prevent unequal power in the first place, and capitalism is explicitly plutocratic. Now, it's not the only problem; most democracies are poorly designed, which tend to be ran as a representative approximation of a dictatorship (in which policy is dictated the majority of the majority, which is a minority, and all this is generally done behind closed doors, etc), and that makes it easier for the rich to exploit.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby ucim » Fri Jan 20, 2017 3:43 am UTC

Prior quote mustard fixed. Sorry about that.

Thesh wrote:Most economic problems in the world since the industrial revolution have been caused specifically by the accumulation of capital for the sake of charging rent.
So has most of the industrial advancement. Eating one's cake prevents one from having it, unless one waits for it to be processed.

There is no perfect system, in part because there isn't perfect agreement (or even approximate agreement) on what constitutes the ideal result, and how this ideal result would be maintained. The beneficiary of every (unequalled) gift ends up with an unfair advantage; do you really think it's a defect that gifts occur? Because that's how concentrations of wealth and/or power maintain themselves.

Capitalism uses people's natural competitive instincts (aka greed) as its engine. It needs steering to avoid self-destruction, but properly steered, it's led to the biggest industrial expansion on this planet. Communism has no engine. It also needs to be steered, but it in addition needs motive force. The CW acts in opposition to a motive force.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thesh » Fri Jan 20, 2017 6:05 am UTC

ucim wrote:Capitalism uses people's natural competitive instincts (aka greed) as its engine. It needs steering to avoid self-destruction, but properly steered, it's led to the biggest industrial expansion on this planet. Communism has no engine. It also needs to be steered, but it in addition needs motive force. The CW acts in opposition to a motive force.

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The fallacy here is that you assume people are like you - most people are not instinctively greedy; we are communal and inherently cooperative, empathetic, and have been known to do work without even getting paid for it in the first place. The reason why we have civilization to begin with is because we determined cooperation to be more beneficial than competition. There are other motivations besides greed, but the people who get power tend to be people who explicitly seek it and that is why capitalism is so bad, because it explicitly rewards the worst parts of humanity while restricting the ability to cooperate - that is, it is inherently leads to a system structured around making labor subservient to the rentier, and reducing their power to organize.

The result is that labor engages in a race to the bottom competing for jobs, while the rentiers engage in a race to the top by externalizing costs and reducing risk to a casino game where the odds are in their favor no matter how badly they play as long as they diversify. In the mean time, people are in the streets starving and dying so that they can have *incentive* to work in an arrangement known as "wage slavery". A citizens wage would give significant power to the worker, preventing the wage slave relationship and meaning that employers have to *gasp* pay more than just enough to live on to get people to work.

The reason why things are so shitty, why there is so little hope and so much despair is because we spent the last 30 years working on taking all the power away from the worker we can; and what's the result? All economic gains went to the top, and economic growth is slow and the economy uncertain and unstable.

As for the people not working... People will work enough to get the stuff they want such that they feel it's worth their time to work for it - even today, if the citizen's dividend paid 40% of per-capita GDP, that's $20,000 - do you want more than $20,000 worth of stuff? If you set the citizens dividend to a percentage of GDP, this payout will go down if they work less. So the motivation is they work more if they want the stuff they want. If they don't want as much stuff and want to work less then great. The higher the percentage, the more people that will choose to be out of work, the lower GDP will be but the higher productivity will be - and if permanent unemployment becomes reality, this just means you can keep increasing the percentage - if it's fully automated, and there are 10,000 workers for a $60 trillion economy of 450 million people, you tax them at 99.99% and they get an average of $733,200 while everyone else gets $133,200 (and I'm not sober so I've probably fucked up a decimal place or ten somewhere, but you get the point) - is $600,000 enough motivation?
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby morriswalters » Fri Jan 20, 2017 11:33 am UTC

Thesh wrote:The fallacy here is that you assume people are like you - most people are not instinctively greedy; we are communal and inherently cooperative, empathetic, and have been known to do work without even getting paid for it in the first place.
And those aren't the type of people who start businesses. They work for the people who do.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thesh » Fri Jan 20, 2017 4:03 pm UTC

Yep. It can't be structural. Rich people are just smarter and better to everyone else, and that's why we are doomed to being subservient for life - just accept your position as a slave because you are too lazy, stupid, and poor to do anything for yourself.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby jseah » Fri Jan 20, 2017 4:39 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:The reason why things are so shitty, why there is so little hope and so much despair is because we spent the last 30 years working on taking all the power away from the worker we can; and what's the result? All economic gains went to the top, and economic growth is slow and the economy uncertain and unstable.

Actually, I think this is due to trade/globalization. We've been seeing an equalization of economies across the world; when a factory outsources to some overseas country, they raise the demand for that type of labour there and reduce it here. So effectively, money (value) that used to go to factory workers in McFirstWorld now go to X Developing Country.

While X developing country remains developing, it's wages remain low (internal market not as developed, population skill/education distribution biased to low end, etc. factors). This pushes down wages everywhere across the world.

RE cooperation:
Mutual cooperation/empathy/etc. run into scale problems. If everyone wants roughly the same thing as you do, it's easy enough to work to get what you want and be sure someone else will want it in trade (and value it roughly the same).
But in larger groups, especially multicultural groups, you get situations like chinese sausages vs kransky. Which initially appear similar, but require different ingredients and equipment (and skill); and are consumed/valued at different rates. It's not possible to have mutual cooperation serve as market maker/motivation simply because you have no idea what the other guy wants and may never see them again.

A chinese guy with a rice paddy, an arab with an oil well and a german with a steel plant walk into a bar...

Take my previous job at an insulin manufacturing plant. How would you coordinate the construction, testing, production, sales of the insulin drug by mutual cooperation, hm?
IP/tech comes from India, equipment comes from Germany, drug goes to Australia/EU/America, factory is in Malaysia (SEAsia). And those are just the major inputs, the lab equipment, replacement parts, software comes from all over the world; two degrees of separation (via economic links) from the factory probably touches well over a million people.

RE economic rent:
That's a political problem, not an economic problem. Capturing of value in excess of economic profit is most often done via corruption or manipulation of legal environment (America's healthcare system comes to mind). You can try to solve political problems with an economic solution, but it seems that political solutions would be more appropriate.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thesh » Fri Jan 20, 2017 4:49 pm UTC

That entire theory fails to hold water because the rich made economic gains and the poor did not - that means that the poor could have made gains but they did not.

Let's talk two car companies, one's a worker's cooperative, and one's a for-profit company.

The worker's cooperative sees they can have their products built in China, but will not move production to China because they will lose their jobs. Productivity is improving, so they improve automation, maybe some lose their jobs but 100% of the gains go to the workers, and instead of competing with cheaper cars they realize they are an established brand and can advertise on quality, and all their salaries go up because their car company didn't work towards a reputation for building things on the cheap, but instead were able to build decent cars that can compete with Audi and BMW just by focusing on building a reputation for quality. Note, that as our salaries go up, our ability to afford those nicer things goes up too - and people with higher salaries tend to have a much stronger preference for nicer cars.

The for-profit company sees it's cheaper, they move overseas, demand for labor goes down and so do wages, and the economy is weakened because the business person is only concerned with net profits, while the worker's cooperative is concerned primarily with gross profits (which, the latter being pretty much equal to our goal to society, because gross profits = total value added, and thus it is inherently better for our economy to improve gross profits while improving net profits can be either good or bad).
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby speising » Fri Jan 20, 2017 5:15 pm UTC

And this, kids, is why today Soviet Russia is the economic powerhouse of the world.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thesh » Fri Jan 20, 2017 5:16 pm UTC

Soviet Russia was a market socialist democracy? Who knew!
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby speising » Fri Jan 20, 2017 5:37 pm UTC

Fine distinctions. The reason communism fails everywhere is basic human nature. Greed trumps cooperation. It's just the more robust evolutionary strategy.

Cooperation is fragile. Even if 90% of your workers are cooperating for the common good, those 10% bad apples will spoil the whole game.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thesh » Fri Jan 20, 2017 5:39 pm UTC

speising wrote:Fine distinctions. The reason communism fails everywhere is basic human nature. Greed trumps cooperation. It's just the more robust evolutionary strategy. Cooperation is fragile.


Wow, the world is so simple.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Chen » Fri Jan 20, 2017 5:52 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:That entire theory fails to hold water because the rich made economic gains and the poor did not - that means that the poor could have made gains but they did not.

Let's talk two car companies, one's a worker's cooperative, and one's a for-profit company.

The worker's cooperative sees they can have their products built in China, but will not move production to China because they will lose their jobs. Productivity is improving, so they improve automation, maybe some lose their jobs but 100% of the gains go to the workers, and instead of competing with cheaper cars they realize they are an established brand and can advertise on quality, and all their salaries go up because their car company didn't work towards a reputation for building things on the cheap, but instead were able to build decent cars that can compete with Audi and BMW just by focusing on building a reputation for quality. Note, that as our salaries go up, our ability to afford those nicer things goes up too - and people with higher salaries tend to have a much stronger preference for nicer cars.

The for-profit company sees it's cheaper, they move overseas, demand for labor goes down and so do wages, and the economy is weakened because the business person is only concerned with net profits, while the worker's cooperative is concerned primarily with gross profits (which, the latter being pretty much equal to our goal to society, because gross profits = total value added, and thus it is inherently better for our economy to improve gross profits while improving net profits can be either good or bad).


This really only possibly works if the local built cars end up being better than the ones built overseas. I mean the examples you give BMW makes a number of luxury cars in South Africa and soon to be Mexico and its branding remains fairly strong. Consumer focus on price is also a big deal. I'll grant for luxury cars it may not be as strong a push but for most everyday objects price is the primary factor. I will grant that perhaps this would be less of an issue if money weren't as tight, but even those fairly well off tend to discriminate hard on price when looking to purchase something.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby morriswalters » Fri Jan 20, 2017 6:03 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Yep. It can't be structural. Rich people are just smarter and better to everyone else, and that's why we are doomed to being subservient for life - just accept your position as a slave because you are too lazy, stupid, and poor to do anything for yourself.
Not being rich I wouldn't know about the smarter and better than everybody else part. But most people don't want to start a business. And they don't. And certainly part of it is structural. Particularly for people born in poverty.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thesh » Fri Jan 20, 2017 6:16 pm UTC

Chen wrote:This really only possibly works if the local built cars end up being better than the ones built overseas. I mean the examples you give BMW makes a number of luxury cars in South Africa and soon to be Mexico and its branding remains fairly strong. Consumer focus on price is also a big deal. I'll grant for luxury cars it may not be as strong a push but for most everyday objects price is the primary factor. I will grant that perhaps this would be less of an issue if money weren't as tight, but even those fairly well off tend to discriminate hard on price when looking to purchase something.


The more expensive the purchase, the more people vet it for quality - if we can't build better cars for an affordable price (when people are making more), we don't deserve an auto industry. So yes, some people will buy overseas, but some people won't - some jobs will get lost, others will remain, but with a trend towards increasing wages. There absolutely is a market for quality US-built cars, and there would be a larger one if we had higher income, but there would still be a market for cheaper cars. However, reputation can close price gaps.

It should also be noted that reducing inequality doesn't inherently increase prices in all industries - that is, if the total quantity of goods and services produced by an economy remain the same, and the total cash remains the same, the total price will remain the same - different income distributions mean different prices go up or down, and if one price goes up the others go down. So paying, let's say, car manufacturers more, means paying programmers less and the price for software goes down - also, paying executives less, and eliminating profit margins (net profits after tax is about 10% of our economy, and thus effectively add 10% to all prices, which would instead be shifted towards wages without an increase in price).

morriswalters wrote:
Thesh wrote:Yep. It can't be structural. Rich people are just smarter and better to everyone else, and that's why we are doomed to being subservient for life - just accept your position as a slave because you are too lazy, stupid, and poor to do anything for yourself.
Not being rich I wouldn't know about the smarter and better than everybody else part. But most people don't want to start a business. And they don't. And certainly part of it is structural. Particularly for people born in poverty.


I agree; capitalism really is horrible, and just reducing inequality, with or without a citizens dividend, would reduce a lot of the risk of starting up a business as people have a lot less far to fall if they screw up. Plus, with worker's cooperatives everyone is involved in the business, and so they are more likely to participate in business decisions, and since the workers are a lot more knowledgable about the company than investors looking through a window, they will inherently make better decisions and be more productive. Not to mention, they will take better pride in their work as they are actually putting their blood, sweat, and tears into the company, and they are looking for stability so there is less incentive to milk a company dry before selling it off for some fleeting profits.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby ucim » Fri Jan 20, 2017 9:20 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:The fallacy here is that you assume people are like you - most people are not instinctively greedy; we are communal and inherently cooperative, empathetic, and have been known to do work without even getting paid for it in the first place.
Interesting but limited study. First, from the link it seems to concentrate on people's opinions, not their actual actions. Second, I agree that people are instinctively cooperative, when they can see those they are cooperating with. But the study does not bring up the factor of scale, which I contend works against this instinct, allowing the instinct for greed and self-presevation to come forward.

Thesh wrote:(and I'm not sober so I've probably fucked up a decimal place or ten somewhere, but you get the point)
I get the point; you can illustrate anything with made-up numbers. A decimal point or ten makes a difference. $60 is not enough motivation. The CW just creates a welfare cliff. It's a slightly different shape than the one that exists with ordianry welfare but it's there just the same. It acts as a significant barrier to better employment - it effectively halves the value of the next dollar of effort.

Thesh wrote:Let's talk two car companies, one's a worker's cooperative, and one's a for-profit company.
Ok. The worker's cooperative sees they can have their products built in China, but will not move production to China because they will lose their jobs. Their cars remain more expensive because of the additional labor cost; they are greedily valuing their own income more than the social good of lowering their salaries in order to lower prices so that the public can benefit from less expensive automobiles. Automation is an option, but that would also cost jobs, so it's resisted, although it is inevitable. Attrition allows for some automation to increase productivity.

The for-profit company sees that they can decrease their costs by moving some of their production overseas, and do so. Their costs go down, saving the company considerable money, which they choose to put into design, marketing, and automation. They also expand production and lower their prices.

The workers' cooperative is soon out of business because their cars are no better but they are more expensive, and they are also out-marketed by the for-profit company.

I can play the game too. The question is, what happens in real life?

Thesh wrote:The more expensive the purchase, the more people vet it for quality
This is why the Chevy Chevette is the best selling car in the world?

Thesh wrote:[C]apitalism really is horrible, and just reducing inequality, with or without a citizens dividend, would reduce a lot of the risk of starting up a business as people have a lot less far to fall if they screw up.
Encouraging businesses that fail doesn't seem to be very efficient. It becomes all the rest of society that pays for that. Why should society pay for people to pursue businesses that have no business being in business?

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thesh » Fri Jan 20, 2017 9:43 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Thesh wrote:(and I'm not sober so I've probably fucked up a decimal place or ten somewhere, but you get the point)
I get the point; you can illustrate anything with made-up numbers. A decimal point or ten makes a difference. $60 is not enough motivation. The CW just creates a welfare cliff. It's a slightly different shape than the one that exists with ordianry welfare but it's there just the same. It acts as a significant barrier to better employment - it effectively halves the value of the next dollar of effort.

You keep making claims about money being nothing, no one working, etc. I'm showing you that you have not even attempted to think about the math, and that your concerns are completely invalid. This works with any realistic numbers for an automated economy.

ucim wrote:they are greedily valuing their own income more than the social good of lowering their salaries in order to lower prices so that the public can benefit from less expensive automobiles.


You are really really really trying hard aren't you? There is no such thing as a moral pricing. The price is equal to the cost, which is rent + labor - the people who are entitled because the law says so and the people that did the work. Earning money off the labor of others and earning money off your own labor are not the same thing.

ucim wrote:The for-profit company sees that they can decrease their costs by moving some of their production overseas, and do so. Their costs go down, saving the company considerable money, which they choose to put into design, marketing, and automation. They also expand production and lower their prices.


Except it's a worker's cooperative, so those doing the labor get all the pay, and those who do none of the labor get nothing.

ucim wrote:I can play the game too. The question is, what happens in real life?

No, it isn't a game - you have assumptions about capitalism, motivations, etc. that have no basis in reality, and you look at the world as a capitalist world and are unwilling to consider anything outside that model.

ucim wrote:
Thesh wrote:The more expensive the purchase, the more people vet it for quality
This is why the Chevy Chevette is the best selling car in the world?

It's clear to me that you are a complete fucking idiot if you can't understand the difference between the new car market in a modern economy and the used car market in the third world.

ucim wrote:
Thesh wrote:[C]apitalism really is horrible, and just reducing inequality, with or without a citizens dividend, would reduce a lot of the risk of starting up a business as people have a lot less far to fall if they screw up.
Encouraging businesses that fail doesn't seem to be very efficient. It becomes all the rest of society that pays for that. Why should society pay for people to pursue businesses that have no business being in business?


90% of startups fail - that's just how capitalism is. The risk is that during the start of the business, you have no income unless you borrow it, and so if your business fails you are left with nothing, and then you have to look for another job. The richer you are, the lower the economic disparity, the less personal risk there is for starting a business.

Seriously, in all of that wall of text, you have literally only said that "capitalism is the best system because that's how the world works" without reason or evidence, or without refuting a single point that I made.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby ucim » Sat Jan 21, 2017 3:25 am UTC

Thesh wrote:This works with any realistic numbers for an automated economy.
I have not seen any realistic depiction of an automated economy, numbers or not.
Thesh wrote:There is no such thing as a moral pricing.
What is the CW other than a moral pricing of people's... well... existence.
Thesh wrote:Earning money off the labor of others and earning money off your own labor are not the same thing.
Does a supervisor or company owner "earn money off the labor of others"? Does the creator of an invention or work of art for which she receives royalties "earn money off the labor of others"? If so, I see nothing wrong with it. If not, then I'm not sure what you mean by the phrase.
Thesh wrote:Except it's a worker's cooperative, so...
No, the for-profit corporation isn't a workers' cooperative. The other company is.
Thesh wrote:No, it isn't a game - you have assumptions about capitalism, motivations, etc.
...as do you in your scenarios. And in addition, implicit in comparisons with other countries is the "all things being equal" assumption, which they never are. I'm quite willing to consider other models; I'm intrigued for example by Scandinavian countries, but am unconvinced that such a model scales to the proportions the US would require.
Thesh wrote:It's clear to me that you are a complete fucking idiot if you can't understand the difference between the new car market in a modern economy and the used car market in the third world.
That is an ad hominum attack that is unworthy of you and of this forum. The Chevette, while not quite the worst car in the world, is hardly a paragon of quality. It's a pile of dog poop. I know this first hand. Yet it was enormously popular in its time. I cannot imagine that anybody who bought one new "vetted" it beyond the TV ads. (True, my incredulity is not data about car buyers; do you have any showing how well people vetted their Chevette purchases?)
Thesh wrote:The risk is that during the start of the business, you have no income unless you borrow it, and so if your business fails you are left with nothing
Yes, I understand and sympathise with that. However that's not the only risk. If you don't have skin in the game, you are more likely to take foolish risks. People do this with other people's money all the time. If you have a good business plan, you should be able to convince other people to invest. If you cannot convince other people to invest, it's a good sign that you don't have a good idea, a good plan, or good execution. Yes, some people who are ahead of the curve or outside the box will have a harder time; I'm not convinced that this is a bad thing.

Thesh wrote:Seriously, in all of that wall of text, you have literally only said that "capitalism is the best system because that's how the world works" without reason or evidence, or without refuting a single point that I made.
No, I've said "(regulated) capitalism is the best system because that's the way people work. That's significantly different. And I have refuted points you've made; I've just not disproved them, because they are not subject to proof or disproof with the existing data. We'll have to wait to see how the recent experiments with the CW turn out in the long term, and what happens when they scale and the system is closed.

I'm not optomistic. But I'll watch.

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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby jseah » Sat Jan 21, 2017 5:59 am UTC

Thesh wrote:The worker's cooperative sees they can have their products built in China, but will not move production to China because they will lose their jobs. Productivity is improving, so they improve automation, maybe some lose their jobs but 100% of the gains go to the workers, and instead of competing with cheaper cars they realize they are an established brand and can advertise on quality, and all their salaries go up because their car company didn't work towards a reputation for building things on the cheap, but instead were able to build decent cars that can compete with Audi and BMW just by focusing on building a reputation for quality. Note, that as our salaries go up, our ability to afford those nicer things goes up too - and people with higher salaries tend to have a much stronger preference for nicer cars.

The for-profit company sees it's cheaper, they move overseas, demand for labor goes down and so do wages, and the economy is weakened because the business person is only concerned with net profits, while the worker's cooperative is concerned primarily with gross profits (which, the latter being pretty much equal to our goal to society, because gross profits = total value added, and thus it is inherently better for our economy to improve gross profits while improving net profits can be either good or bad).

The part that doesn't work here is that a for-profit company that outsources the labour doesn't sacrifice quality but saves a lot of money. Some of the saving becomes profit, some gets passed onto consumers, some gets pushed into better research/parts/resources to maintain the old level of performance. Or the savings in cost to the consumer is sufficient to offset the loss in quality.

And then for-profit company outcompetes the worker cooperative and the cooperative goes bust.


RE higher pay leading to higher demand:
In almost every case, the workers being paid more will not spend their increase in pay on the same goods the factory produces (average over workforce). Even across the entire economy, a productivity increase does not translate to higher demand for the goods to which the increase applies. Hence why the Ford robot quote doesn't quite apply. And also, hence the problem.
(thought example: with your labour, you can produce and maintain one car for your use; with an advance in some process, you now can do two cars. Do you make two cars? The answer is no, you make a slightly better car and spend your time getting more rice)

This same problem generalizes even when applied to the economy as a whole.


RE value to economy:
In many cases, the goods produced serve a function. In the case of cars, that function is personal transport. The less input required to fulfill that function (get from A to B) the better for society as less resources are spent on it and the more can be spent on other things. This input *includes* the cost of labour.


No, the point I think you are looking for is that much of the surplus generated by the action of making and selling stuff is not distributed to the workers actually making it or the consumer buying it. (be it local expensive workers or "ripping off" low-paid overseas workers) In the outsourcing example, the workers actually stop existing as a group but the point still applies more generally.
So, please clarify, are we talking about that? The relative 'price' of capital vs labour (owners vs workers) and the division of consumer vs producer surplus (the company vs the buyers)? Or are we talking about economic rent, regulatory capture or those other bits of nastiness? (the other section you didn't address in my post)

Note that this doesn't address the automation 'problem' (if it is one at all; not the discussion here) but I don't think you were talking about that.
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Re: Citizen's Wage

Postby Thesh » Sat Jan 21, 2017 5:08 pm UTC

jseah wrote:The part that doesn't work here is that a for-profit company that outsources the labour doesn't sacrifice quality but saves a lot of money. Some of the saving becomes profit, some gets passed onto consumers, some gets pushed into better research/parts/resources to maintain the old level of performance. Or the savings in cost to the consumer is sufficient to offset the loss in quality.

And then for-profit company outcompetes the worker cooperative and the cooperative goes bust.


Actually, no, the for profit company simply does not exist in a socialist society. What you seem to be thinking is that competition is inherently binary - you either succeed or you fail. But established brand has the advantage. If your market isn't buying, focus on a different market. As for R&D, that is completely irrelevant - cooperatives can spend on R&D too.

jseah wrote:In almost every case, the workers being paid more will not spend their increase in pay on the same goods the factory produces (average over workforce).

Exactly! They spend their money on new stuff, and create new jobs for the people that lost theirs due to productivity gains and reduced market shares. The result is that wages go up, people can spend more. Capitalism is inherently self-destructive, on the other hand. Wages get cut, consumer spending goes down, demand goes down, factories lay off, move overseas, and you have a recession that doesn't end until the economy bottoms out. This happens on a regular basis because business sees the worker as nothing more than an expense. There's no reason corporations want it to change either, because it results in a lower demand for labor which gives corporations more power and lowers wages (the greater the economy fails in the short run, the greater the wealthy succeed in the long run).

jseah wrote:RE value to economy:
In many cases, the goods produced serve a function. In the case of cars, that function is personal transport. The less input required to fulfill that function (get from A to B) the better for society as less resources are spent on it and the more can be spent on other things. This input *includes* the cost of labour.


No one is saying not to produce the goods, but there is diminishing returns on spending - that is, each dollar spent provides less satisfaction than the less, and lowering inequality means your ratio of outcomes to input is significantly higher. As long as people have money, they will spend it on the things that matter to them and this means that the more equal the distribution of income, the more efficient the economy is in delivering improved outcomes. In fact, we have the capability to give most people more while working less.

jseah wrote:No, the point I think you are looking for is that much of the surplus

I disagree with the concept of "surplus" as being synonymous with net profit. That is, any "surplus" is actually just a result of an imbalance of power - if capital has more power than labor, gains will go to them, if labor has more power than capital gains will go to them. I want to structure the economy so that all of the gains to go to labor, and all individuals have as equal power as possible. I want to create a society in which participation in the business end of the economy is something that is accessible to everyone, so that people don't have to be dependent on anyone else for their own well being.

There are tons and tons of problems with capitalism. Besides self-destructive incentives, the profit model makes the goal accumulation of capital - look at the cell phone industry; it's not monopolistic, yet the phones being produced take all the control away from the users. This is because the people running things are looking for how to make the most profitable product, not how to make the best product. So the end result is we get a product that's worse in every way, but at least it's more expensive for us to use.
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