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Author Topic: Universal Basic Income Is Silicon Valley’s Latest Scam  (Read 151 times)
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October 11, 2018, 10:26:59 AM
Merited by LoyceV (1)
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The plan is no gift to the masses, but a tool for our further enslavement

In 2016, I was invited to Uber’s headquarters (then in San Francisco) to talk about the failings of the digital economy and what could be done about it. Silicon Valley firms are the only corporations I know that ask for private talks for free. They don’t even cover cab fare. Like Google and Facebook, Uber figures that the chance to address their developers and executives offers intellectuals the rare privilege of influencing the digital future or, maybe more crassly, getting their books mentioned on the company blog.

For authors of business how-to books, it makes perfect sense. Who wouldn’t want to brag that Google is taking their business advice? For me, it was a little different. Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus was about the inequity embedded in the digital economy: how the growth of digital startups was draining the real economy and making it harder for people to participate in creating value, make any money, or keep up with rising rents.

I took the gig. I figured it was my chance to let my audience know, in no uncertain terms, that Uber was among the worst offenders, destroying the existing taxi market not through creative destruction but via destructive destruction. They were using the power of their capital to undercut everyone, extract everything, and establish a scorched-earth monopoly. I went on quite a tirade.

To my surprise, the audience seemed to share my concerns. They’re not idiots, and the negative effects of their operations were visible everywhere they looked. Then an employee piped up with a surprising question: “What about UBI?”

Wait a minute, I thought. That’s my line.

Up until that moment, I had been an ardent supporter of universal basic income (UBI), that is, government cash payments to people whose employment would no longer be required in a digital economy. Contrary to expectations, UBI doesn’t make people lazy. Study after study shows that the added security actually enables people to take greater risks, become more entrepreneurial, or dedicate more time and energy to improving their communities.

So what’s not to like?

Shouldn’t we applaud the developers at Uber — as well as other prominent Silicon Valley titans like Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, bond investor Bill Gross, and Y Combinator’s Sam Altman — for coming to their senses and proposing we provide money for the masses to spend? Maybe not. Because to them, UBI is really just a way for them to keep doing business as usual.

Uber’s business plan, like that of so many other digital unicorns, is based on extracting all the value from the markets it enters. This ultimately means squeezing employees, customers, and suppliers alike in the name of continued growth. When people eventually become too poor to continue working as drivers or paying for rides, UBI supplies the required cash infusion for the business to keep operating.

When it’s looked at the way a software developer would, it’s clear that UBI is really little more than a patch to a program that’s fundamentally flawed.

The real purpose of digital capitalism is to extract value from the economy and deliver it to those at the top. If consumers find a way to retain some of that value for themselves, the thinking goes, you’re doing something wrong or “leaving money on the table.”


Back in the 1500s, residents of various colonized islands developed a good business making rope and selling it to visiting ships owned by the Dutch East India Company. Sensing an opportunity, the executives of what was then the most powerful corporation the world had ever seen obtained a charter from the king to be the exclusive manufacturer of rope on the islands. Then they hired the displaced workers to do the job they’d done before. The company still spent money on rope — paying wages now instead of purchasing the rope outright — but it also controlled the trade, the means of production, and the market itself.

Walmart perfected the softer version of this model in the 20th century. Move into a town, undercut the local merchants by selling items below cost, and put everyone else out of business. Then, as sole retailer and sole employer, set the prices and wages you want. So what if your workers have to go on welfare and food stamps.

Now, digital companies are accomplishing the same thing, only faster and more completely. Instead of merely rewriting the law like colonial corporations did or utilizing the power of capital like retail conglomerates do, digital companies are using code. Amazon’s control over the retail market and increasingly the production of the goods it sells, has created an automated wealth-extraction platform that the slave drivers who ran the Dutch East India Company couldn’t have even imagined.

Of course, it all comes at a price: Digital monopolists drain all their markets at once and more completely than their analog predecessors. Soon, consumers simply can’t consume enough to keep the revenues flowing in. Even the prospect of stockpiling everyone’s data, like Facebook or Google do, begins to lose its allure if none of the people behind the data have any money to spend.

To the rescue comes UBI. The policy was once thought of as a way of taking extreme poverty off the table. In this new incarnation, however, it merely serves as a way to keep the wealthiest people (and their loyal vassals, the software developers) entrenched at the very top of the economic operating system. Because of course, the cash doled out to citizens by the government will inevitably flow to them.

Think of it: The government prints more money or perhaps — god forbid — it taxes some corporate profits, then it showers the cash down on the people so they can continue to spend. As a result, more and more capital accumulates at the top. And with that capital comes more power to dictate the terms governing human existence.

Meanwhile, UBI also obviates the need for people to consider true alternatives to living lives as passive consumers. Solutions like platform cooperatives, alternative currencies, favor banks, or employee-owned businesses, which actually threaten the status quo under which extractive monopolies have thrived, will seem unnecessary. Why bother signing up for the revolution if our bellies are full? Or just full enough?

Under the guise of compassion, UBI really just turns us from stakeholders or even citizens to mere consumers. Once the ability to create or exchange value is stripped from us, all we can do with every consumptive act is deliver more power to people who can finally, without any exaggeration, be called our corporate overlords.

No, income is nothing but a booby prize. If we’re going to get a handout, we should demand not an allowance but assets. That’s right: an ownership stake.

The wealth gap in the United States has less to do with the difference between people’s salaries than their assets. For instance, African-American families earn a little more than half the salary, on average, that white American families do. But that doesn’t account for the massive wealth gap between whites and blacks. More important to this disparity is the fact that the median wealth of white households in America is 20 times that of African-American households. Even African-Americans with decent income tend to lack the assets required to participate in savings accounts, business investments, or the stock market.

So even if an African-American child who has grown up poor gets free admission to college, they will still likely lag behind due to a lack of assets. After all, those assets are what make it possible for a white classmate to take a “gap” year to gain experience before hitting the job market or take an unpaid internship or have access to a nice apartment in Williamsburg to live in while knocking out that first young adult novel on spec, touring with a band, opening a fair trade coffee bar, or running around to hackathons. No amount of short-term entitlements substitute for real assets because once the money is spent, it’s gone — straight to the very people who already enjoy an excessive asset advantage.

Had Andrew Johnson not overturned the original reconstruction proposal for freed slaves to be given 40 acres and a mule as reparation, instead of simply allowing them to earn wage labor on former slaveowners’ lands, we might be looking at a vastly less divided America today.

Likewise, if Silicon Valley’s UBI fans really wanted to repair the economic operating system, they should be looking not to universal basic income but universal basic assets, first proposed by Institute for the Future’s Marina Gorbis. As she points out, in Denmark — where people have public access to a great portion of the nation’s resources — a person born into a poor family is just as likely to end up as wealthy as peers born into a wealthier household.

To venture capitalists seeking to guarantee their fortunes for generations, such economic equality sounds like a nightmare and unending, unnerving disruption. Why create a monopoly just to give others the opportunity to break it or, worse, turn all these painstakingly privatized assets back into a public commons?

The answer, perhaps counterintuitively, is because all those assets are actually of diminishing value to the few ultra-wealthy capitalists who have accumulated them. Return on assets for American corporations has been steadily declining for the last 75 years. It’s like a form of corporate obesity. The rich have been great at taking all the assets off the table but really bad at deploying them. They’re so bad at investing or building or doing anything that puts money back into the system that they are asking governments to do this for them — even though the corporations are the ones holding all the real assets.

Like any programmer, the people running our digital companies embrace any hack or kluge capable of keeping the program running. They don’t see the economic operating system beneath their programs, and so they are not in a position to challenge its embedded biases much less rewrite that code.

As appealing as it may sound, UBI is nothing more than a way for corporations to increase their power over us, all under the pretense of putting us on the payroll. It’s the candy that a creep offers a kid to get into the car or the raise a sleazy employer gives a staff member who they’ve sexually harassed. It’s hush money.

If the good folks of Uber or any other extractive digital enterprise really want to reprogram the economy to everyone’s advantage and guarantee a sustainable supply of wealthy customers for themselves, they should start by tweaking their own operating systems. Instead of asking the government to make up the difference for unlivable wages, what about making one’s workers the owners of the company? Instead of kicking over additional, say, 10% in tax for a government UBI fund, how about offering a 10% stake in the company to the people who supply the labor? Or another 10% to the towns and cities who supply the roads and traffic signals? Not just a kickback or tax but a stake.

Whether its proponents are cynical or simply naive, UBI is not the patch we need. A weekly handout doesn’t promote economic equality — much less empowerment. The only meaningful change we can make to the economic operating system is to distribute ownership, control, and governance of the real world to the people who live in it.


https://medium.com/s/powertrip/universal-basic-income-is-silicon-valleys-latest-scam-fd3e130b69a0

....

A different perspective on UBI. If diversity is important, perhaps a diversity of opinions and views is also important. Posting this to represent demographics critical on UBI and to perhaps consider something different than what the mainstream media typically publishes on this topic.

That said the author makes interesting points on UBI. His overview and perspective is difficult to argue with. He claims that UBI serves as an integral part of wealth redistribution which allows the rich to become richer, while conversely making poor demographics, poorer. His perspective appears to be one where UBI doesn't fix any real issues in terms of wealth or wage inequality society faces. Instead it merely allows unfair or potentially immoral business practices to run rampant. Further centralizing markets and further increasing wealth and wage inequality beyond what would normally be possible.

Anyways, what are everyones thoughts on this?

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October 11, 2018, 12:31:02 PM
Merited by LoyceV (1)
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Instead of kicking over additional, say, 10% in tax for a government UBI fund, how about offering a 10% stake in the company to the people who supply the labor? Or another 10% to the towns and cities who supply the roads and traffic signals? Not just a kickback or tax but a stake.

Employee share options are not a new concept and have been used as an incentive tool for ages. But forcing companies to give up stake in the business will improve nothing, create a lot of regulatory mess and, at this moment, such rule would be easy to circumvent. ie. via preference shares, or by taking workers off the payroll and contracting them as self-employed.

From government point of view it's better to ask for money in form of tax on profit than for share in business. In the latter case, dividends payment could be delayed forever, as it's up to majority shareholder(s) whether to pay them up or retain and reinvest profits.

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October 11, 2018, 12:43:45 PM
Merited by suchmoon (4), pawel7777 (1), LoyceV (1), figmentofmyass (1)
 #3

It's fairly obvious that UBI is necessary to prevent Capitalism from devouring its own base. Without it, you will see an end of Capitalism as described by Karl Marx more than a hundred years ago -- that is, as generated wealth surplus flows from employee to employer (eg. from worker to factory owner) the former will eventually be unable to purchase the products sold by the latter, leading to the latter losing their (and their employee's) livelihood and to the collapse of the capitalistic system.

Accordingly UBI is not something that companies merely support out of their goodness of their heart, but also because they have a better understanding of economics than last century's industrialists.

However, that doesn't make UBI necessarily a bad thing. On the other hand, the call for distributing ownership and control is easier said than done -- Communism tried the very same thing and failed for the most part both economically and in terms of empowerment.

In essence, I think the argument against UBI that the author is trying to make is rather flawed. The notion that UBI would lead to people becoming passive consumers has been debunked (as far as the so far limited experiments allow us to conclude) -- the author even mentions it early on, before making a baseless contradictory statement for the sake of supporting their argument. The article also seems to imply that UBI and other socio-economic measures are mutually exclusive (eg. when talking about Denmark) -- which simply isn't the case. Assuming we find a way to finance UBI in the first place, we can keep a proper public infrastructure and provide UBI. Proper wages and UBI are not mutually exclusive either -- looking closer the latter could enable the former by the basic mechanics of supply and demand. That is, if people are not coerced into taking a shitty, underpaid job, the wages for shitty, underpaid jobs will have to adjust accordingly lest the job is left undone.

That being said, so far there are so many different approaches on how UBI could be implemented (eg. replacing existing social security vs complementing it, how to finance it, how to battle possible side-effects...) that debating its merit without looking at specifics is rather pointless. Regardless of that, UBI not being a catch-all solution to economic inequality is a silly reason to dismiss it, given the fact that there probably is no such thing as a catch-all solution to economic inequality.

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October 11, 2018, 12:57:53 PM
Merited by LoyceV (1)
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Universal Basic Income is absolutely deserved and will be a positive for the total economy.

-GPS, Internet, Cell Phones, Computers were all created by the government (NASA and Military) but all the profits from the eventual technologies has gone to private shareholders.  These original inventions were funded by the taxpayer

-Society benefits as a whole from all the geniuses that are stuck in terrible jobs because they need to eat and pay rent.  They can focus their time on creating.

-The crime rate will drastically be reduced.  Most crime is a result of poverty.  Introduce UBI and it will be a safer place for everyone

-UBI will get people out of abusive relationships.  A lot of people are staying with others because they rely on them financially but they also get abused verbally and physically.


With that being said there hasn't been any real experiments on UBI.  The "trials" that have been done haven't been paid a lot or haven't been permanent.  People want to see it fail so they do their best to sabotage it.

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October 11, 2018, 09:45:28 PM
Merited by LoyceV (1)
 #5

Tilting towards @Heretik as said, Universal Basic Income is a bribe to ensure that people don't revolt. When certain set of people don't have access to the basic human needs for them to function without asking for much, they tend to revolt and that is the brain behind the UBI. Just like saying, your salary is what employers give you to stop your from pursuing your dream because without that, you tend to start competing against them.

UBI in my opinion can come in several ways. A company that is giving scholarships or direct employment to locals where they source raw materials would present to the world that they are socially responsible when in the real sense, its just about ensuring they are in business because when those people they gave scholarship or job to could not do anything, they tend to come back and face them.

Its really not that bad because no one would enjoy a society full of chaos and incurring money on UBI is a small money to buy for the peace people are enjoying in any part of the world its practiced.
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October 11, 2018, 11:52:00 PM
Merited by LoyceV (1)
 #6

It's fairly obvious that UBI is necessary to prevent Capitalism from devouring its own base. Without it, you will see an end of Capitalism as described by Karl Marx more than a hundred years ago -- that is, as generated wealth surplus flows from employee to employer (eg. from worker to factory owner) the former will eventually be unable to purchase the products sold by the latter, leading to the latter losing their (and their employee's) livelihood and to the collapse of the capitalistic system.

it's funny---the author seems to imply that it's "extractive digital enterprises" like uber that are the fundamental problem. but the socioeconomic dynamics he points to are all indicative of capitalism itself, not just uber et al.

the reason people will become too poor to continue working as drivers or paying for rides is not simply because of uber's business model. it's the entire economic system in which the minority---landlords, business owners of scale, and banks---extract rent, profit, and interest from the rest of society. capital accumulation is characteristic of capitalism---when it works correctly, the vast majority of society should become increasingly poor over time, relative to capital/property owners. one side perpetually extracts from the other......WTF would you expect? lol.

he's right that UBI is a band-aid just like any welfare entitlements are. he's also right that a huge fundamental problem is massive maldistribution of ownership that reinforces capital accumulation.

but i think he's wrong to suggest that capitalism can be reformed or improved. there is no "enlightened" capitalism. this is how it's supposed to work---it's supposed to create a society composed mostly of economic losers.

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October 12, 2018, 12:43:32 AM
Merited by LoyceV (1)
 #7

UBI is the smartest solution to economic inequality.

There is enough money for everyone to reach maximal happiness (in the US) however most people struggle to just get the basics.

If we had a UBI than we'd eliminate poverty, malnutrition, we'd probably lower the rates of obesity (due to increased affordability of health foods), lower employee disgruntlement, improve on education, and end the model where you have to work to be worth anything to society.


We all stand on the backs of giants. No-one alive today was the first to invent electricity or fire or farming. There is no reason why your birth should dictate whether your life is one of suffering and lack or one of luxury and endless entertainment.


The people that really like to work, will keep on working. But the people who really don't like it can just keep on living. They get less stuff but they don't need to live in constant stress, and creative types can get to creating and inventing types can get to inventing and curious people get to experiment.


The benefits far outweigh the increased taxation at the top brackets and redistribution of wealth. After all, nobody would have financial difficulties (as long as society and civilizations keeps running well) after UBI.
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October 12, 2018, 01:01:03 AM
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UBI may be able to walk effective in developed countries or those with high income. then what about a poor country or a little income? For example, poor countries give loans of 1000 USD to each individual in each year, can UBI run? I think not, because it can spend almost all federal income from taxes.

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October 12, 2018, 01:58:56 AM
 #9

UBI is the smartest solution to economic inequality.

There is enough money for everyone to reach maximal happiness (in the US) however most people struggle to just get the basics.

If we had a UBI than we'd eliminate poverty, malnutrition, we'd probably lower the rates of obesity (due to increased affordability of health foods), lower employee disgruntlement, improve on education, and end the model where you have to work to be worth anything to society.


We all stand on the backs of giants. No-one alive today was the first to invent electricity or fire or farming. There is no reason why your birth should dictate whether your life is one of suffering and lack or one of luxury and endless entertainment.


The people that really like to work, will keep on working. But the people who really don't like it can just keep on living. They get less stuff but they don't need to live in constant stress, and creative types can get to creating and inventing types can get to inventing and curious people get to experiment.


The benefits far outweigh the increased taxation at the top brackets and redistribution of wealth. After all, nobody would have financial difficulties (as long as society and civilizations keeps running well) after UBI.



Many delusional claims there in my opinion.

I think UBI doesn't magically eliminate poverty, malnutrition or make people less fat. It's more complex than that. But at the same, im not completely ruling out UBI, unlike a lot of even more delusional people whose think automation isn't going to end up pushing us into an edge were a lot of people is going to be basically kicked out of the jobs market (and not everyone can be an entrepreneur).

On a long enough timeline most of us will end up in that %, and many that are against UBI now will be demanding it eventually. There will be a war for these things, I don't think the elites will cooperate.

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October 12, 2018, 02:54:46 AM
Merited by LoyceV (1)
 #10

Universal Basic Income is absolutely deserved and will be a positive for the total economy.

-GPS, Internet, Cell Phones, Computers were all created by the government (NASA and Military) but all the profits from the eventual technologies has gone to private shareholders.  These original inventions were funded by the taxpayer

Yes, the original inventions were funded by the taxpayer. And those original inventions would never have gained market appeal without corporate funded development.

A more current example - space travel in the US. Funded by taxpayers in the US, until a President said...we're not paying for it anymore and as such the space travel ended. What's moving space travel from government style minimally viable product is corporate investment and incentive to bring space tourism and other developments to reality.

Do you know what motivates that investment? The opportunity to earn revenue and profit.

If you take that reward away you need to create a fundamental shift in ideology across the masses (like all of us) and shift to a completely opposite system. It can't happen quickly, it has to happen over decades, generations.

If some people get universal basic income, what does everyone else get?

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October 12, 2018, 03:01:00 AM
 #11

We all stand on the backs of giants. No-one alive today was the first to invent electricity or fire or farming. There is no reason why your birth should dictate whether your life is one of suffering and lack or one of luxury and endless entertainment.

Electricity, fire, and farming...they're basically free today...so that's a win.

What about innovation that moves society forward. The innovation that created the device you wrote these comments on. That didn't happen because a government decided - we should do this! It happened because people created it with the intent of making some money from the idea. That's the reward for the risk, that's the incentive.

What incentives drive innovation if income is removed from the equation?

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October 12, 2018, 03:14:51 AM
 #12

No, income is nothing but a booby prize. If we’re going to get a handout, we should demand not an allowance but assets. That’s right: an ownership stake.

This is the real answer.

It's not UBI, it's assets. Wealth comes with ownership. And people who don't own anything of value (not material goods, but value appreciating assets) they need to fight to find it.

I'd be a bigger support of UBI if it required people to generate some assets of their own before they are able to earn the hand out.

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October 12, 2018, 10:04:52 AM
 #13

[...]

If some people get universal basic income, what does everyone else get?

[...]

What incentives drive innovation if income is removed from the equation?


One common denominator of most UBI approaches is that everyone receives it, regardless of income. That's what the universal in universal basic income stands for.

Which means that:

1) The question of "if some people get {public-social-security-benefit}, what does everyone else get?" doesn't present itself.

2) Unlike most other social security approaches the incentives for putting yourself to work are unchanged. Income is not removed from the equation. If you want to improve your standards of living, working will provide you with income on top of basic income. As such it also stands to enable innovation by alleviating the risks of entrepreneurship.



[...]

I think UBI doesn't magically eliminate poverty, malnutrition or make people less fat. It's more complex than that. But at the same, im not completely ruling out UBI, unlike a lot of even more delusional people whose think automation isn't going to end up pushing us into an edge were a lot of people is going to be basically kicked out of the jobs market (and not everyone can be an entrepreneur).

Remember Bill Gate's call for income taxes on robots and AIs? It sounded kinda silly at first but will likely become a necessity in the future if we want to prevent the gap between the rich and the poor to widen further.

Incidentally it could also be the most viable way to finance UBI; a question that has -- in my opinion -- been largely inadequately answered for the last decade or so during which UBI started to receive public attention.


On a long enough timeline most of us will end up in that %, and many that are against UBI now will be demanding it eventually. There will be a war for these things, I don't think the elites will cooperate.

Which is what makes war automation even more terrifying. Because guess who'd have access to the required technology and resources.

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October 12, 2018, 05:31:41 PM
Merited by HeRetiK (1)
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Why bother signing up for the revolution if our bellies are full? Or just full enough?

I wonder if person who wrote this actually experienced starvation himself. Or even lack of electricity/ gas. Or revolution, not the bloodless one, one that starving people can start.
I stopped reading at this point.

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October 12, 2018, 05:44:19 PM
 #15

It doesn't work in a capitalist system. I pay you to do the work, You don't work to become a shareholder as I am not interested to share the profits with anyone
Cities are not interested to get a share of the company. It's speculative, what about if the company profits don't give you much than enough. It"s more profitable for a city to receive a tax.
But there are examples of companies that in return, schools, hospital, roads, are build and paid fully or highly funded by companies

figmentofmyass
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October 12, 2018, 10:32:25 PM
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 #16

I'd be a bigger support of UBI if it required people to generate some assets of their own before they are able to earn the hand out.

that brings us back to square one. the fundamental problem with regard to income inequality in capitalist economies is the distribution of private property. one class extracts rent, the other pays it. in this dynamic, over time, the working classes become less and less able to "generate some assets of their own" which is the reason UBI is on the table at all. if capital ownership were a prerequisite, you'd just be creating a scheme where the rich get richer and the poor get nothing. what would be the point of that, from a social perspective?

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October 13, 2018, 01:28:57 PM
 #17

Universal basic income is not a scam, its a challenge.

The world is getting as automated as possible while the population is increasing insanely. Of course, with time people might stop populating because of the economic troubles however as we have seen with Syria the more troubles you have the more inclined to populate you are, Syrian refugee's have been populating quicker than they used to when everything was relatively okay.

Now that population is increasing, the automation by machines are getting more common and unemployment rates are through the roof and salary prices are not matching the livable wages, whats there to left? Well just letting the people live on a universal basic income with no one in the world needs to work and everything is done by machines, of course that's a challenge, that won't happen easily but its still a distant possibility.

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October 13, 2018, 07:33:51 PM
 #18


[...]

I think UBI doesn't magically eliminate poverty, malnutrition or make people less fat. It's more complex than that. But at the same, im not completely ruling out UBI, unlike a lot of even more delusional people whose think automation isn't going to end up pushing us into an edge were a lot of people is going to be basically kicked out of the jobs market (and not everyone can be an entrepreneur).

Remember Bill Gate's call for income taxes on robots and AIs? It sounded kinda silly at first but will likely become a necessity in the future if we want to prevent the gap between the rich and the poor to widen further.

Incidentally it could also be the most viable way to finance UBI; a question that has -- in my opinion -- been largely inadequately answered for the last decade or so during which UBI started to receive public attention.


On a long enough timeline most of us will end up in that %, and many that are against UBI now will be demanding it eventually. There will be a war for these things, I don't think the elites will cooperate.

Which is what makes war automation even more terrifying. Because guess who'd have access to the required technology and resources.

Yes, I've heard Bill Gates' proposal to tax the machines, I've heard many others claiming a similar point. However it's not that easy... it's once again a problem of borders and jurisdictions. If you are taxing machines hosted in jurisdiction A, then owner will move said machines in jurisdiction B, which doesn't tax them, or tax them at a small % I might say.

The result is a lot of the machines are moved in jurisdiction B and they end up having a better public system due more taxes paid there even if at a lower rate.

Just like the so called Tobin tax, it would need to be global, and I don't see that happening, so the future is very uncertain.

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October 13, 2018, 09:08:29 PM
 #19

Yes, I've heard Bill Gates' proposal to tax the machines, I've heard many others claiming a similar point. However it's not that easy... it's once again a problem of borders and jurisdictions. If you are taxing machines hosted in jurisdiction A, then owner will move said machines in jurisdiction B, which doesn't tax them, or tax them at a small % I might say.

The result is a lot of the machines are moved in jurisdiction B and they end up having a better public system due more taxes paid there even if at a lower rate.

Just like the so called Tobin tax, it would need to be global, and I don't see that happening, so the future is very uncertain.

Fully agreed. It's a challenge I've seen again and again when it comes to approaches on how to finance UBI: Unless you find a way to globally normalize financing and distributing UBI you'll always have a problem with geographical arbitrage, eg. tax evasion or similar ways to profit from subsidies while avoiding contribution. For example, one of the earlier UBI approaches I came across suggested financing UBI by replacing income tax with an increased sales tax, thus putting the bulk of taxation on the wealthy while also removing the incentive to "optimize" your income. Obviously such a system would get easily exploited by importing goods from countries with regular sales tax, so we'd be back to square one lest we bid goodbye to the free market.

Come to think of it, solving the challenge of global taxation would likely solve a huge chunk of socio-economic inequalities all by itself. If international corporations where finally forced to pay taxes like everyone else instead of gorging themselves on Double Irish Dutch sandwiches [1] we'd probably all be better off.

[1] https://www.investopedia.com/terms/d/double-irish-with-a-dutch-sandwich.asp

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October 15, 2018, 12:26:02 AM
 #20

Yes, I've heard Bill Gates' proposal to tax the machines, I've heard many others claiming a similar point. However it's not that easy... it's once again a problem of borders and jurisdictions. If you are taxing machines hosted in jurisdiction A, then owner will move said machines in jurisdiction B, which doesn't tax them, or tax them at a small % I might say.

The result is a lot of the machines are moved in jurisdiction B and they end up having a better public system due more taxes paid there even if at a lower rate.

Just like the so called Tobin tax, it would need to be global, and I don't see that happening, so the future is very uncertain.

Fully agreed. It's a challenge I've seen again and again when it comes to approaches on how to finance UBI: Unless you find a way to globally normalize financing and distributing UBI you'll always have a problem with geographical arbitrage, eg. tax evasion or similar ways to profit from subsidies while avoiding contribution. For example, one of the earlier UBI approaches I came across suggested financing UBI by replacing income tax with an increased sales tax, thus putting the bulk of taxation on the wealthy while also removing the incentive to "optimize" your income. Obviously such a system would get easily exploited by importing goods from countries with regular sales tax, so we'd be back to square one lest we bid goodbye to the free market.

Come to think of it, solving the challenge of global taxation would likely solve a huge chunk of socio-economic inequalities all by itself. If international corporations where finally forced to pay taxes like everyone else instead of gorging themselves on Double Irish Dutch sandwiches [1] we'd probably all be better off.

[1] https://www.investopedia.com/terms/d/double-irish-with-a-dutch-sandwich.asp

That's the big problem, reaching a global consensus. Given past precedents, im not too optimistic about it. I mean hell, the different governments around the world can't even agree on something like the so called global warming which im rather skeptic myself, but no ready to claim it a total hoax.

So you have all these parties disagreeing on things which should be clear, since it's a matter of taking data and making an empirical observation, but seems that different scientists have different opinions and the result is different politics about it.

Similarly, we'll see conflicting politics about to approach UBI or if we even need one to begin with. Sadly I guess unless we are pushed to the limit there will be no agreements before.

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