Poll

Universal Basic Income:

Good Idea
16 (72.7%)
Bad Idea
6 (27.3%)

Total Members Voted: 22

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Online Phoenix87x

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Universal Basic Income
« on: July 08, 2017, 05:59:01 AM »
So I have been hearing people talk about this more and more. I am still formulating my opinion, but I was just curious to get everyone's thoughts on this concept and hear both sides.
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Offline XeRocks81

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Re: Universal Basic Income
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2017, 08:45:32 AM »
I think this is where the future is headed.  Not sure what form it will take exactly and cetainly not in my lifetime I think but this whole working for a living thing will hit a wall eventually.   I dream of a star trek like utopia for future generations.

Offline Ben_Jamin

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Re: Universal Basic Income
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2017, 10:36:39 AM »
Isn't that what Bitcoin was trying to be.

I say screw it and lets go back to bartering.
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: Universal Basic Income
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2017, 11:20:28 AM »
Honestly, this sounds like one of those ideas millennials will go nuts over because they think it will mean working less and getting something for nothing, which is an attitude that is far too prevalent these days.

Offline Cool Chris

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Re: Universal Basic Income
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2017, 11:28:46 AM »
I don't know why the whole notion of the "Star Trek Utopia" falsehood endures. I know that idea rattled around Gene's head from the start, but in the Trek future I am familiar with, we aren't any closer to a utopia than we are now.

In terms of this post-modern society where we don't need to work to make a living, how is the government supporting itself without taxation? Who is paying for those Constitution class starships? If people aren't earning wages, how are taxes collected in order to distribute this "basic income?"

And yes Kev, is right as usual. Or at least when not talking about Genesis.
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Offline Adami

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Re: Universal Basic Income
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2017, 11:34:01 AM »
I don't know why the whole notion of the "Star Trek Utopia" falsehood endures. I know that idea rattled around Gene's head from the start, but in the Trek future I am familiar with, we aren't any closer to a utopia than we are now.

In terms of this post-modern society where we don't need to work to make a living, how is the government supporting itself without taxation? Who is paying for those Constitution class starships? If people aren't earning wages, how are taxes collected in order to distribute this "basic income?"

And yes Kev, is right as usual. Or at least when not talking about Genesis.

Not to derail the thread, but there's no money, so the government isn't paying for anything. It's everyone working together for the greater good, not for personal wealth. I believe dealings with other species is based on trade, not payment.
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Offline Cool Chris

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Re: Universal Basic Income
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2017, 11:40:52 AM »
Thank you for the clarification. My Trek knowledge is somewhat limited, despite how much I love the original series.
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Offline Adami

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Re: Universal Basic Income
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2017, 11:47:29 AM »
Thank you for the clarification. My Trek knowledge is somewhat limited, despite how much I love the original series.

Yea, as little as I can contribute to a conversation about income, I can definitely contribute to a Trek convo.  :yarr
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Online Chino

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Re: Universal Basic Income
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2017, 12:14:29 PM »
Honestly, this sounds like one of those ideas millennials will go nuts over because they think it will mean working less and getting something for nothing, which is an attitude that is far too prevalent these days.


As a millennial who doesn't think this way and doesn't associate with anyone that does, these kind of posts really irk me.

Offline Cool Chris

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Re: Universal Basic Income
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2017, 12:20:45 PM »
I think when people use the term Millennial, they are referring more about a mindset than one of a specific age-range. 
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Offline Adami

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Re: Universal Basic Income
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2017, 12:28:07 PM »
But doesn't every generation say that the next generation or two are entitled spoiled brats? I'm sure Kev's dad's era said the same thing about his group of people.
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: Universal Basic Income
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2017, 12:32:33 PM »
My dad never used the term "entitled spoiled brats," but your main point is right, in that every generation thinks the one that comes after theirs is worse in various ways. 

To me, the same people wanting universal basic income are the same ones who thought Bernie's free college idea was good. FREE STUFF!!!!!!!!

Offline Adami

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Re: Universal Basic Income
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2017, 12:35:05 PM »
My dad never used the term "entitled spoiled brats,"

Well, not to you. He said it to me plenty of times.
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Offline antigoon

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Re: Universal Basic Income
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2017, 12:35:36 PM »
Personally I cannot wait to get old enough to start shitting on the youths.

Offline KevShmev

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Re: Universal Basic Income
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2017, 12:38:02 PM »
Personally I cannot wait to get old enough to start shitting on the youths.


Offline Cool Chris

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Re: Universal Basic Income
« Reply #15 on: July 08, 2017, 12:58:36 PM »
Still don't really understand how this Trek "Utopia" though. I put in my solid 8 hours at the Shipyard and then I go home to my standard government-provided housing? How was it decided where I live? What type of house I live in? Is it based on the quality of my work product I provide to Starfleet, and society as a whole? Does the guy who sweeps the floors at the shipyard have a smaller house due to his lowered contributions? What ensures we both do the jobs to the best of our ability? Our altruism? I am not being snarky, I am genuinely curious. This is an interesting topic (thanks to the infusion of Star Trek).
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Offline Adami

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Re: Universal Basic Income
« Reply #16 on: July 08, 2017, 01:04:17 PM »
Still don't really understand how this Trek "Utopia" though. I put in my solid 8 hours at the Shipyard and then I go home to my standard government-provided housing? How was it decided where I live? What type of house I live in? Is it based on the quality of my work product I provide to Starfleet, and society as a whole? Does the guy who sweeps the floors at the shipyard have a smaller house due to his lowered contributions? What ensures we both do the jobs to the best of our ability? Our altruism? I am not being snarky, I am genuinely curious. This is an interesting topic (thanks to the infusion of Star Trek).

Yes, I think it's because we made a shift as a society, not an economic shift. People want to better the world (or galaxy or whatever) and thus tend to work for that goal. Keep in mind people alive in the Star Trek utopia aren't currently living in a world fueled by personal gain, imagining a world without money. They were born in a world without money and that's all they know.
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Offline portnoy311

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Re: Universal Basic Income
« Reply #17 on: July 08, 2017, 03:39:15 PM »
Ben, I'm lost on the Bitcoin connection?

Offline gmillerdrake

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Re: Universal Basic Income
« Reply #18 on: July 09, 2017, 09:28:14 AM »
Honestly, this sounds like one of those ideas millennials will go nuts over because they think it will mean working less and getting something for nothing, which is an attitude that is far too prevalent these days.


As a millennial who doesn't think this way and doesn't associate with anyone that does, these kind of posts really irk me.

I agree with Kevin that there's a large portion of the population that would totally embrace this because essentially it's boils down not having to really 'earn' anything. Is it strictly millennials...nope? I wouldn't stereotype it right off the bat to just that group....but the attitude of expectation in our society is a prevailing one....the younger segment of the population does expect things for minimal effort....there is an entitlement attitude that has seeped in and taken hold. I don't think anyone could successfully present an argument to me that there isn't and convince me otherwise because for me it's fairly evident.

I'm not the most successful person in the country....certainly am not 'rich' by any means but I.....like many others.....had a rough economical childhood to where it would have been perfectly acceptable for me to continue the cycle of decisions that would have kept me in the low income...welfare environment. But I didn't and chose to work hard and do what it took to break that cycle. I think that anyone could do the same thing. It's all about choices and whether or not you want to embrace the excuses that would make it perfectly acceptable to remain stuck in whatever economical cycle your family is in....or you can kick those excuses in the balls and go out and get it yourself. It appears to me that the younger generation doesn't have that 'go out and get it' attitude....it's more of a 'you owe me this...give it to me' one.

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Offline TL

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Re: Universal Basic Income
« Reply #19 on: July 09, 2017, 08:46:20 PM »
One thing to understand with UBI is that it isn't "no one will ever work again" or "people will be handed everything".
It's more "People won't struggle to avoid living on the streets, or put food on the table".

UBI is just that, basic income. It's to take care of the base essentials. If you want any sorts of luxuries or nice things, you'll still have to work for them. People who work hard will still have more than people who don't. It's just that the minimum standard of living will improve.

UBI will certainly not be an easy thing to figure out, but it could be incredibly beneficial, and eventually almost essential.

Edit: Also, even with the essentials taken care of, I have an optimistic enough view of humanity to think that people can be driven by motives other than money, and that most people will still strive to do something worthwhile with their time. It basically means not having to find make-work jobs for people just to survive. Allowing people to pursue their passions and interests.
Is this an incredibly idealistic view? Probably. Even with the way the world is going at the moment though, I'm still an optimist.

Offline jingle.boy

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Re: Universal Basic Income
« Reply #20 on: July 10, 2017, 05:57:45 AM »
For the Star Trek references, we also have to remember that Utopian society grew out of a post-cataclysmic dystopian one.  Ergo, the 'working for a greater good' was progress towards a better / "richer" (not financially so) society as opposed to going straight to elimination of wealth and "socialism".

As for UBI... why not.  It's (in a small way) provided in UI and Old Age Security (that's what we call it up here... not sure about other nations), so there's a basic income provided to the unemployed and elderly, so why not have something in place for all citizens?  I'm just not sure society as a whole is ready to make the necessary steps/accommodations.
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Online Chino

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Re: Universal Basic Income
« Reply #21 on: July 10, 2017, 06:29:39 AM »
Honestly, this sounds like one of those ideas millennials will go nuts over because they think it will mean working less and getting something for nothing, which is an attitude that is far too prevalent these days.


As a millennial who doesn't think this way and doesn't associate with anyone that does, these kind of posts really irk me.

I agree with Kevin that there's a large portion of the population that would totally embrace this because essentially it's boils down not having to really 'earn' anything. Is it strictly millennials...nope? I wouldn't stereotype it right off the bat to just that group....but the attitude of expectation in our society is a prevailing one....the younger segment of the population does expect things for minimal effort....there is an entitlement attitude that has seeped in and taken hold. I don't think anyone could successfully present an argument to me that there isn't and convince me otherwise because for me it's fairly evident.

I'm not the most successful person in the country....certainly am not 'rich' by any means but I.....like many others.....had a rough economical childhood to where it would have been perfectly acceptable for me to continue the cycle of decisions that would have kept me in the low income...welfare environment. But I didn't and chose to work hard and do what it took to break that cycle. I think that anyone could do the same thing. It's all about choices and whether or not you want to embrace the excuses that would make it perfectly acceptable to remain stuck in whatever economical cycle your family is in....or you can kick those excuses in the balls and go out and get it yourself. It appears to me that the younger generation doesn't have that 'go out and get it' attitude....it's more of a 'you owe me this...give it to me' one.

I'd like to address the bit in bold. I'm sure the discussion around the country is different depending where you're from, but I'll speak toward the conversations I've sat in on in my social groups. Any discussion of UBI has never been about us getting (or wanting) stuff for free for no work. Granted this is a problem in our society, but I don't think it's as prevalent as you're letting on. Almost all UBI talks I have been on revolve around what we perceive to be the future state of our country, not what we'd like (or expect) now. 

Things aren't the best right now for people my age, even for those decently well off, but the thing that concerns us most is the future. AI has a lot of people worried, and over the next 10 years retail is going to be absolutely destroyed, and who knows what autonomous drone delivery is going to do to the delivery industry. People worry about <100K coal jobs disappearing, but I don't hear a whole lot of discussion about what we do when trucking becomes autonomous and when the 15,000,000+ people that work in malls and their supply chains suddenly have nothing they can do. I understand the argument that everyone (like yourself) can try hard and some don't, but the conversation needs to evolve beyond that. In the hypothetical scenario that everyone in the US masters the English language and suddenly has a skill that can earn them $50K+ per year, will that solve everything? There won't be enough jobs, even in the biggest of tech fields.

The problem I think we are seeing (worldwide) is that there are way more people living in our societies than will be needed to keep them functioning in the decades to come. This is a very real threat, and no matter how hard people tug on their bootstraps, the day will come when there just simply aren't 150M+ available jobs in this country.

There are moochers in this country, no doubt, but I know plenty of people that bust their fucking ass day in and day out, and with student loans looming over their heads still can't even get an apartment for themselves. These are people that are educated, they're smart, they work way harder than I do. They have way more skill and drive than someone who 40 years ago, on their own, could support a family right out of highschool by installing steering columns or headlamps at a car assembly facility. 

Offline gmillerdrake

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Re: Universal Basic Income
« Reply #22 on: July 10, 2017, 08:05:37 AM »
Things aren't the best right now for people my age, even for those decently well off, but the thing that concerns us most is the future. AI has a lot of people worried, and over the next 10 years retail is going to be absolutely destroyed, and who knows what autonomous drone delivery is going to do to the delivery industry. People worry about <100K coal jobs disappearing, but I don't hear a whole lot of discussion about what we do when trucking becomes autonomous and when the 15,000,000+ people that work in malls and their supply chains suddenly have nothing they can do. I understand the argument that everyone (like yourself) can try hard and some don't, but the conversation needs to evolve beyond that. In the hypothetical scenario that everyone in the US masters the English language and suddenly has a skill that can earn them $50K+ per year, will that solve everything? There won't be enough jobs, even in the biggest of tech fields.

The problem I think we are seeing (worldwide) is that there are way more people living in our societies than will be needed to keep them functioning in the decades to come. This is a very real threat, and no matter how hard people tug on their bootstraps, the day will come when there just simply aren't 150M+ available jobs in this country.

There are moochers in this country, no doubt, but I know plenty of people that bust their fucking ass day in and day out, and with student loans looming over their heads still can't even get an apartment for themselves. These are people that are educated, they're smart, they work way harder than I do. They have way more skill and drive than someone who 40 years ago, on their own, could support a family right out of highschool by installing steering columns or headlamps at a car assembly facility.

I've thought about this a lot being that I have three young sons who are going to face the issues you've just described. I wish I could recall the exact stats but I participated in a parent summit with the boys school district recently and the Superintendent played a video highlighting a lot of what you just mentioned. How AI and automation are going to eliminate a ton of jobs and so forth.

It's frightening to think that 'hard work' may not cut it going forward (and from your testimony it isn't cutting it for some) as that's really the only thing that allowed me to get the upper hand many times....the willingness to put in the effort to make it happen.
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Offline antigoon

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Re: Universal Basic Income
« Reply #23 on: July 10, 2017, 08:17:28 AM »
Ok I was thinking about this over the weekend and it was bothering me so here's a sincere response. This idea that millennials are lazy or entitled rings really false to me. Breaking into the job market during a global recession wasn't easy and every peer I know has had to work their ass off to make things work for themselves. I try not to take things like this personally because like I said earlier, railing on kids these days is a time honored tradition and is one of the only comforts of getting old, so I understand :lol

On UBI, it's an interesting idea that actually seems to have some left-right overlap. The concept of just giving money to people instead of maintaining these massive, expensive welfare state bureaucracies appeals to a certain government-inefficiency-hawk type person. And obviously there are a growing number of progressive advocates. Though I wonder if we should just spend more time trying to improve our existing social safety nets than implementing something so radical.

Regarding jobs going away, I don't think we're that "screwed" (if you wanna even frame it in a negative way). Perhaps we just can't realize right now what jobs will spring up in the wake of automation. I think climate change, for example, is currently a more pressing issue than all our jobs disappearing.



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Re: Universal Basic Income
« Reply #24 on: July 10, 2017, 08:39:34 AM »
I don't know why the whole notion of the "Star Trek Utopia" falsehood endures. I know that idea rattled around Gene's head from the start, but in the Trek future I am familiar with, we aren't any closer to a utopia than we are now.

In terms of this post-modern society where we don't need to work to make a living, how is the government supporting itself without taxation? Who is paying for those Constitution class starships? If people aren't earning wages, how are taxes collected in order to distribute this "basic income?"

And yes Kev, is right as usual. Or at least when not talking about Genesis.

Not to derail the thread, but there's no money, so the government isn't paying for anything. It's everyone working together for the greater good, not for personal wealth. I believe dealings with other species is based on trade, not payment.

This almost sounds like communism.

Also, I say no to UBI now.  But there could be some legit reasons where it makes sense in the future, but we aren't there yet.

Offline Stadler

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Re: Universal Basic Income
« Reply #25 on: July 10, 2017, 09:16:36 AM »
Honestly, this sounds like one of those ideas millennials will go nuts over because they think it will mean working less and getting something for nothing, which is an attitude that is far too prevalent these days.

 I think what most millenials (and I say that loosely in keeping with the thread; I'm sensitive to Chino's point of view on this) don't consider is that there's no money FOR a UBI without us working MORE and for LESS.   It's simple math.    Even if the government "gives" you the money, where is the government going to get it?   Over 90% of Federal revenue comes from taxes, and almost 80% of that is on income.   If there's no income, there's no taxes.  If there's no taxes, there's no UBI.   

If I need $30K a year to survive, and I'm scrambling to get that nut met, at least I'm paying SOME taxes on that (even if it's just FICA and SS).   If the government is giving me whatever the UBI is, let's say $20K, what are the odds I'm still going to scramble for that $30k, or better yet, somehow miraculously come up with $40K or $50K to contribute MORE? 

And the logical "Bernie" answer (and why I love the guy, but believe he is a fiscal danger) - tax the rich - is a dead end.   Do any of you know why the Rolling Stones recorded "Exile On Main Street" in France?  Or why Sir George Martin opened his AIR Studios in Montserrat?   Or Phil Collins moved to Switzerland (as opposed to Orianne moving to London?)   The well is not bottomless. 
« Last Edit: July 10, 2017, 09:27:35 AM by Stadler »

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Re: Universal Basic Income
« Reply #26 on: July 10, 2017, 09:26:57 AM »
Edit: Also, even with the essentials taken care of, I have an optimistic enough view of humanity to think that people can be driven by motives other than money, and that most people will still strive to do something worthwhile with their time. It basically means not having to find make-work jobs for people just to survive. Allowing people to pursue their passions and interests.
Is this an incredibly idealistic view? Probably. Even with the way the world is going at the moment though, I'm still an optimist.

Why is being driven by "money" per se bad?   What does it matter WHY the person is driven, just that he is?   Is Gene Simmons' money worth less than, say, Bill Gates?   And Bill is generous at this point, but do you think he was stealing Apple's GUI because he had a vision that 40 years on he'd be able to "donate generously"?   

And what about those "make-work jobs"?   Unless I'm mistaking you, who is going to do those tasks (which still need to be done)?   When I was in high school and college, I worked as a janitor in the local school system.   Trust me, as an 18-year-old who still had dreams of being a rock star, cleaning some third grader's shit off the bathroom floor (it never ceased to amaze me how someone could miss a toilet that was bigger than they are) or some fourth grader's vomit off the cafeteria table sucked, but that shit/vomit still had to be cleaned.   

I don't think your world view is necessarily "idealistic" or "optimistic".  I don't agree with your underlying assumptions.  For me, "idealistic" and "optimistic" is that everyone can do their part.  If there are no jobs in Detroit, you move to Tennessee where there are a surplus of jobs.   You work the amount of hours you need to work to have the things you want in your life.  You take an hour or two out of your work week and spend it on improving your skillset so that you are more marketable today than you were yesterday.   You realize that you can't do the SAME job for the SAME company in the SAME town and make ever increasing wages and so you make sure you're earning those raises.   You pay your taxes (instead of thinking that Uncle Sam is trying to "fuck" you).   

In short, you tend your own garden.  Relying on the government, for your UBI or your healthcare or your education is NOT "tending your own garden".     

Offline Stadler

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Re: Universal Basic Income
« Reply #27 on: July 10, 2017, 09:30:20 AM »
For the Star Trek references, we also have to remember that Utopian society grew out of a post-cataclysmic dystopian one.  Ergo, the 'working for a greater good' was progress towards a better / "richer" (not financially so) society as opposed to going straight to elimination of wealth and "socialism".

As for UBI... why not.  It's (in a small way) provided in UI and Old Age Security (that's what we call it up here... not sure about other nations), so there's a basic income provided to the unemployed and elderly, so why not have something in place for all citizens?  I'm just not sure society as a whole is ready to make the necessary steps/accommodations.

Can't speak for my friends north of here, but here in the States, UI and Social Security (what we call it) are NOT "basic income provided to...", and as such are not comparable to a UBI.    You pay into both UI and SS during the time you are working.  We have set up so that some can take out more than they put in (and some can't take out as much as they put in) but there is nothing free about either UI (which is temporary) or SS.   

Offline Stadler

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Re: Universal Basic Income
« Reply #28 on: July 10, 2017, 09:44:35 AM »
Things aren't the best right now for people my age, even for those decently well off, but the thing that concerns us most is the future. AI has a lot of people worried, and over the next 10 years retail is going to be absolutely destroyed, and who knows what autonomous drone delivery is going to do to the delivery industry. People worry about <100K coal jobs disappearing, but I don't hear a whole lot of discussion about what we do when trucking becomes autonomous and when the 15,000,000+ people that work in malls and their supply chains suddenly have nothing they can do. I understand the argument that everyone (like yourself) can try hard and some don't, but the conversation needs to evolve beyond that. In the hypothetical scenario that everyone in the US masters the English language and suddenly has a skill that can earn them $50K+ per year, will that solve everything? There won't be enough jobs, even in the biggest of tech fields.

The problem I think we are seeing (worldwide) is that there are way more people living in our societies than will be needed to keep them functioning in the decades to come. This is a very real threat, and no matter how hard people tug on their bootstraps, the day will come when there just simply aren't 150M+ available jobs in this country.

There are moochers in this country, no doubt, but I know plenty of people that bust their fucking ass day in and day out, and with student loans looming over their heads still can't even get an apartment for themselves. These are people that are educated, they're smart, they work way harder than I do. They have way more skill and drive than someone who 40 years ago, on their own, could support a family right out of highschool by installing steering columns or headlamps at a car assembly facility.

I've thought about this a lot being that I have three young sons who are going to face the issues you've just described. I wish I could recall the exact stats but I participated in a parent summit with the boys school district recently and the Superintendent played a video highlighting a lot of what you just mentioned. How AI and automation are going to eliminate a ton of jobs and so forth.

It's frightening to think that 'hard work' may not cut it going forward (and from your testimony it isn't cutting it for some) as that's really the only thing that allowed me to get the upper hand many times....the willingness to put in the effort to make it happen.

This is to both of you, Chino and Gmillerdrake:  I think you're both right, but if you're going to do as Chino suggests (and he is SPOT ON about this) and think outside the box, you have to think right the fuck outside the box.    Yes there will be fewer jobs as automation kicks in, but that is geographic, at least in our children's lifetimes.   Granted, many countries leaped the "telecommunication infrastructure" step that we had here in the States and went right to the cellphone (many homes in countries outside of the U.S. have never had a landline installed, and their first "home phone" was a cellular unit).    But there are some things that cannot be skipped:  potable water.  Electricity.   Sanitation.   

If we're going to think outside the box, we have to think outside boundaries too.  Nation-state boundaries.   At some point we have to consider:  "what is the fundamental difference between someone living in Willowdale, Ontario, Canada (trivia: name one rock star from Willowdale) versus someone living in Buffalo, New York (trivia: same question; Hint, they play the same instrument) which is only about 100 miles away?   

If you're going to consider that the old paradigm of working in a factory is going to go away, you have to consider that the old paradigm of "AMERICA!" is going to go away as well.   That's a pretty large bank account to be paying for this stuff; the Chinese don't give FUCK ONE about us in that sense. 

Offline Stadler

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Re: Universal Basic Income
« Reply #29 on: July 10, 2017, 09:50:53 AM »
Ok I was thinking about this over the weekend and it was bothering me so here's a sincere response. This idea that millennials are lazy or entitled rings really false to me. Breaking into the job market during a global recession wasn't easy and every peer I know has had to work their ass off to make things work for themselves. I try not to take things like this personally because like I said earlier, railing on kids these days is a time honored tradition and is one of the only comforts of getting old, so I understand :lol

On UBI, it's an interesting idea that actually seems to have some left-right overlap. The concept of just giving money to people instead of maintaining these massive, expensive welfare state bureaucracies appeals to a certain government-inefficiency-hawk type person. And obviously there are a growing number of progressive advocates. Though I wonder if we should just spend more time trying to improve our existing social safety nets than implementing something so radical.

Regarding jobs going away, I don't think we're that "screwed" (if you wanna even frame it in a negative way). Perhaps we just can't realize right now what jobs will spring up in the wake of automation. I think climate change, for example, is currently a more pressing issue than all our jobs disappearing.

Honest, legit question meant in the spirit of discussion: what's the difference between "just giving money to people" and "maintaining these massive, expensive welfare state bureaucracies"?    I have expressed an open mind to the UBI here (if done correctly) but if we're just doing it as a hip way of giving up the ghost and just acknowledging what we've been doing all along, I'm not at all for that.   There is a beauty and a necessity in not making things too easy.   Some of these things are SUPPOSED to be hard.   That's the point.  My biggest beef with the "millennial" (again, sorry Chino) crowd is not "lazy" but IMPATIENCE.   They expect everything to happen in the space of a tweet.  I've had people come in for job interviews, fresh out of business school with their fancy MBAs demanding to be "Vice President" in their first job.  Cool your jets, junior.   Likewise with government.  We talk of "gridlock" as if it is a patently bad thing, and there is a degree to which it IS bad (as when the two sides agree, and yet can't get out of their own way to make it happen, as in legalization, criminal reform, or immigration), but we can't have full pendulum swings every two years when elected officials change.   

Offline RuRoRul

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Re: Universal Basic Income
« Reply #30 on: July 10, 2017, 10:04:44 AM »
Worth a reminder in light of the discussion that Universal Basic Income is not the same as the "Star Trek Utopia" idea of no money, no payment for work just everyone working for the common good etc.

As far as I understand it means there would be some baseline amount that is paid out to everyone (let's say every adult citizen of a country), regardless of whether it was needed or not. So rather than unemployment, housing benefits, food stamps, whatever other benefits that people might qualify for, there would just be a flat rate that's paid out no questions asked. This amount really would be basic, not a substitute for earning a living. It would still have to be funded by taxes just as other types of benefits are. But it would mean there is some basline which people can't fall below.

From what I understand, the positives of this are that it prevents people from completely falling through the cracks while simplifying the benefits system - rather than wasting additional money figuring out who needs unemployment and when, it just gets paid out nice and simply. It would also (in theory) remove the disincentive to get a job that comes when there are only low paying jobs available to someone but the benefits available for being unemployed are good enough that people could end up be better off not working. Under a universal basic income, money you earn from working will be on top of what you are getting otherwise, so you should always be better off (financially) working rather than not.

As for whether it would actually work, I really don't know, but I think it requires some serious consideration and research on both the numbers side and in terms of how it actually plays out in reality, in terms of behaviour. I must admit my instinct on hearing the idea of "just pay out to everybody" is "surely there's not enough money for that"... but then I wonder if that's actually the case if we run the numbers. How much is paid out in benefits that could instead go to Universal Basic Income? How much is spent determining who qualifies for unemployment and when, that might be saved if that process was streamlined? If that is not enough to reach a passable baseline basic income, could it be funded by some modest tax increase (the horror, I know)? What about any gains (or losses) from its impact on the economy - does more consumers having some money in their pockets make a difference? How is the job market affected? These are the questions I think need looking at, rather than dismissing it out of hand because of instinct or ideology. Some can be considered by crunching numbers, some do require some more study that will mean running some trial cases.

Also, as long as we are over generalising the motivations of proponents / detractors of this concept, I believe that there would be a strong pushback to this idea that comes not out of any real consideration of whether or not it is actually beneficial to society as a whole, but because some people just detest the idea of anyone "getting something for nothing", even if it does not actually harm anyone. "Millenials just want free stuff" is a gross generalisation but it does convey a point with some basis in reality, and I think a comparable generalisation is that it sticks in conservative's craw when someone gets something good they feel they don't deserve. It's the type of feeling that leads people to support, say, spending more on drug testing people who recieve food stamps than is saved by any people that they catch: it's more important to ensure that those who deserve it suffer (or at least don't gain anything unjustly) than those who need it get help. It's something I've seen recurring across many issues: on the conservative side there is the idea that preventing people from "having it too easy" is a tangible goal to pursue even if it may come at the expense of helping people. That it can be worth it to cut off 100 people so that the 10 people abusing the system don't get a free ride, with the 90 people suffering needlessly being an acceptable trade-off for that.  I think that getting people over that ideological hurdle would be the most difficult part of the process of getting to a universal basic income - regardless of whether people can make the case that it'd be beneficial for society as a whole, it will be harder to get people over the idea that, yes, some people might get away with suffering less than they should.


Offline antigoon

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Re: Universal Basic Income
« Reply #31 on: July 10, 2017, 10:09:38 AM »
Ok I was thinking about this over the weekend and it was bothering me so here's a sincere response. This idea that millennials are lazy or entitled rings really false to me. Breaking into the job market during a global recession wasn't easy and every peer I know has had to work their ass off to make things work for themselves. I try not to take things like this personally because like I said earlier, railing on kids these days is a time honored tradition and is one of the only comforts of getting old, so I understand :lol

On UBI, it's an interesting idea that actually seems to have some left-right overlap. The concept of just giving money to people instead of maintaining these massive, expensive welfare state bureaucracies appeals to a certain government-inefficiency-hawk type person. And obviously there are a growing number of progressive advocates. Though I wonder if we should just spend more time trying to improve our existing social safety nets than implementing something so radical.

Regarding jobs going away, I don't think we're that "screwed" (if you wanna even frame it in a negative way). Perhaps we just can't realize right now what jobs will spring up in the wake of automation. I think climate change, for example, is currently a more pressing issue than all our jobs disappearing.

Honest, legit question meant in the spirit of discussion: what's the difference between "just giving money to people" and "maintaining these massive, expensive welfare state bureaucracies"?    I have expressed an open mind to the UBI here (if done correctly) but if we're just doing it as a hip way of giving up the ghost and just acknowledging what we've been doing all along, I'm not at all for that.   There is a beauty and a necessity in not making things too easy.   Some of these things are SUPPOSED to be hard.   That's the point.  My biggest beef with the "millennial" (again, sorry Chino) crowd is not "lazy" but IMPATIENCE.   They expect everything to happen in the space of a tweet.  I've had people come in for job interviews, fresh out of business school with their fancy MBAs demanding to be "Vice President" in their first job.  Cool your jets, junior.   Likewise with government.  We talk of "gridlock" as if it is a patently bad thing, and there is a degree to which it IS bad (as when the two sides agree, and yet can't get out of their own way to make it happen, as in legalization, criminal reform, or immigration), but we can't have full pendulum swings every two years when elected officials change.   
Well the difference is that just giving money to people is simple and would certainly enable shrinking part of the federal bureaucracy, for those who have issues with such a thing. All I'm saying is that I've heard conservative folks make this argument.

Offline jingle.boy

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Re: Universal Basic Income
« Reply #32 on: July 10, 2017, 10:12:31 AM »
For the Star Trek references, we also have to remember that Utopian society grew out of a post-cataclysmic dystopian one.  Ergo, the 'working for a greater good' was progress towards a better / "richer" (not financially so) society as opposed to going straight to elimination of wealth and "socialism".

As for UBI... why not.  It's (in a small way) provided in UI and Old Age Security (that's what we call it up here... not sure about other nations), so there's a basic income provided to the unemployed and elderly, so why not have something in place for all citizens?  I'm just not sure society as a whole is ready to make the necessary steps/accommodations.

Can't speak for my friends north of here, but here in the States, UI and Social Security (what we call it) are NOT "basic income provided to...", and as such are not comparable to a UBI.    You pay into both UI and SS during the time you are working.  We have set up so that some can take out more than they put in (and some can't take out as much as they put in) but there is nothing free about either UI (which is temporary) or SS.   

It's largely the same here... people directly contribute to these buckets of socially-redistributed income.  Except, OAS is not a distinct tax/contribution, and only lower-income individuals are eligible.

Our governments provide the availability of income assistance - regardless of how it's budgeted for - to the (temporarily) unemployed and the elderly.  The premise of also providing for anyone with a low-income  (regardless of age or employment status) isn't a bad thing.
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Offline ariich

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Re: Universal Basic Income
« Reply #33 on: July 10, 2017, 10:24:33 AM »
But doesn't every generation say that the next generation or two are entitled spoiled brats? I'm sure Kev's dad's era said the same thing about his group of people.
Interestingly, recent research in the UK indicated that the "millennial" generation is the first to be economically/financially worse off than the generation before (at least since these things were measurable which I think was around 1900 or so). I've no idea about the US, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's similar.

Offline RuRoRul

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Re: Universal Basic Income
« Reply #34 on: July 10, 2017, 10:32:20 AM »
Also I'd add that for me, even if it turns out this idea is not feasible now, I can see how the arguments around automation mean it is something that definitely should (or even must) get more consideration for the future.

I mean, if we consider some idealised, isolated community where there are exactly enough jobs for the people that need them to produce exactly enough goods as people need... then someone comes along and makes a technological innovation that means that the goods needed can instead be produced in a way that requires only half as many jobs - shouldn't that community be better off now than they were before? It might happen, but it will depend a lot on how the community deals with the fact that producing the goods required only needs half as many jobs. This is where we get some overlap with the Star Trek Utopia, as envisioning a society that does just work for the good of society is a way of dealing with that "problem". But I think a universal basic income, or something like it, is a way of doing it too that is perhaps doesn't require quite as much of a fundamental shift in human mentality. If society can afford it, it will provide enough for everyone to get enough basic goods to survive. And that's not the same as "everyone gets the same" - there would likely still be huge inequality between what people have - but it does mean that, if it can be avoided, nobody gets nothing.