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Thread: Europeans considering universal basic income and job guarantees

  1. Top | #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarhyn View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post

    And just to be clear, I'm not suggesting there's anything wrong with basic income, I'm suggesting that implementing such a program should be done with caution, nuance, and empiricism.
    Perhaps you should first ask whether your questions are already being answered?

    I may not be an economist either. I'm a software engineer too; but I can look at examples in the world where this is done and see that the fears you express do not express themselves and can identify at their core a "welfare parasite" stereotype you should probably commit to reexamination.
    My comments don't have anything to do with a welfare parasite stereotype - that's your perception, not mine. I agree that people want to work and be productive. That doesn't make implementing a large-scale program any less complicated or risky, and doesn't answer the question of whether it will work.

    But as I suggested from the start the question isn't will it work the question is what will work. We need to find a safety net that is effective, that works, and is sustainable, and tying ourselves to certain concepts without deeper thought or experimentation obscures that goal.

    When topics like this come up they're automatically tied to a political ideology - if I'm liberal I automatically support it - if I'm Conservative I don't. What I'm suggesting is that instead of blind support for an idea, we collectively look for the right solution that actually works, rather than just doing what immediately feels and sounds good. At the end of the day a very simple basic income may be exactly what's needed, but there is also a risk of impacts if we don't do it carefully.

  2. Top | #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jarhyn View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post

    And just to be clear, I'm not suggesting there's anything wrong with basic income, I'm suggesting that implementing such a program should be done with caution, nuance, and empiricism.
    Perhaps you should first ask whether your questions are already being answered?

    I may not be an economist either. I'm a software engineer too; but I can look at examples in the world where this is done and see that the fears you express do not express themselves and can identify at their core a "welfare parasite" stereotype you should probably commit to reexamination.
    My comments don't have anything to do with a welfare parasite stereotype - that's your perception, not mine. I agree that people want to work and be productive. That doesn't make implementing a large-scale program any less complicated or risky, and doesn't answer the question of whether it will work.

    But as I suggested from the start the question isn't will it work the question is what will work. We need to find a safety net that is effective, that works, and is sustainable, and tying ourselves to certain concepts without deeper thought or experimentation obscures that goal.

    When topics like this come up they're automatically tied to a political ideology - if I'm liberal I automatically support it - if I'm Conservative I don't. What I'm suggesting is that instead of blind support for an idea, we collectively look for the right solution that actually works, rather than just doing what immediately feels and sounds good. At the end of the day a very simple basic income may be exactly what's needed, but there is also a risk of impacts if we don't do it carefully.
    And I keep pointing this out: this program is stupid simple in terms of what. Everyone gets the money, everyone gets it regularly. This is because problems have already been identified in terms of other "what's": means tested welfare fails; "workfare" fails; "low-income UBI" fails because it is nothing but means-tested welfare all over again. This leaves us with "ubi" which is, well, "universal" and "basic" as in "not means tested" and "exactly what it says on the tin" income. The funding needs to be considered, and the amount needs to be considered. That's about the extent of the what, and it's what is being tried now across the world in various settings, in various quantities, is working.

  3. Top | #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by barbos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    I think where UBI goes wrong is that it's marketed as 'free money for everyone'. We don't really need free money for everyone we need a welfare system and safety net that's effective. Tying ourselves to the concept of 'basic income' just obscures this goal. Maybe the solution does have elements of a basic income, but what's more important is intrinsic effectiveness.
    Yup. Basic income has a big downside--it's very hard to undo. That's what I would like to see a guaranteed job approach rather than a basic income approach.
    Why would it be hard to undo?
    You'll end up with a bunch of people with no job skills.

    And why would you want to undo something that works great?
    You're 100% certain it will work properly forever? What if there is some calamity?

    But lets assume it does not work great and you decided to undo it. Great, just decrease amount slowly and people will start getting jobs.
    People with no skills, no knowledge of how to work?

  4. Top | #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by barbos View Post
    Why would it be hard to undo?
    And why would you want to undo something that works great?
    But lets assume it does not work great and you decided to undo it. Great, just decrease amount slowly and people will start getting jobs.

    Also, I would try to start it slow. Start with a small amount just for food and clothing. That would not cost much and will cover homeless instantly.
    I think the idea is that a functioning society is in a delicate state of equilibrium. If you make a major change to that society over a long period of time you disrupt that equilibrium and enter a new one. At that point the entire dynamic of the society is now different and you can't just switch back to the old state at will.

    I think what many proponents of any economic idea often misunderstand is how ridiculously complicated running even a city is, let alone a state, province, or country. People with bachelor degrees offer armchair commentary from social media, while some of the best minds in the world are working hard just to keep society at large from crumbling.

    To the every-day person an idea like basic income sounds great at face value - why wouldn't it - but to those who are studied in economics there is a recognition that actually implementing it properly is complicated, and potentially dangerous.
    Ah, I see someone gets it!

    I used to be a supporter of UBI, but not yet--but then I saw the issue of what it if went wrong and changed my mind.

  5. Top | #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarhyn View Post
    "What if"... We can play that game all day. Provide the numbers and mechanism to support your wild hypothesis.

    Because most people WANT to work. A whole town of unemployed people will most certainly not remain so; people self organize, have their own creative and industrial goals.

    You fall into the first major problem of the armchair economist and fail to empathize with the people you speak of, merely going back to the "undesirables" rhetoric that led to means testing in the first place and we all know how that turned out: expensive, and broken.

    People will create jobs for themselves, open bakeries, start businesses, learn skills, attain educational goals, buy tools, and before you know it, there's a new factory, creamery, invention, fruit farm, tech business, or some other human enterprise. And suddenly that town that couldn't get jobs and couldn't create their own CAN because now there is money and momentum and dynamism in what was once a dying town.

    If you want to invoke "unintended and unforseen consequences", first you have to justify it through an experiment, via evidence, and then also justify why you think those consequences MUST be negative.

    We can play what if all day, but you have not even started to answer aforementioned good question.
    You have it backwards--the side proposing the change is the one that needs to show that there will not be negative outcomes.

  6. Top | #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    Right, and that's exactly the problem. I don't know the answer, and until we know the answer a change is risky. I'm a software developer with no background in economics, I don't have a clue about basic income, but neither does anybody else in this thread. But what I do know is that what often starts out as a great idea, can become a very bad one. And that's why caution is needed.

    It's not enough just to yell 'give money to everyone' and everything will be fine - that's empty rhetoric - and has no more substance than any other opinion. Which is why I'm suggesting an experiment exactly as you mention, and is what governments are actually doing.
    I suspect our being software developers makes us more sensitive to the need for things to be bulletproof. I've met too many programmers who aren't careful enough about making things bulletproof--and their code tends to break down in production.

  7. Top | #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jarhyn View Post
    "What if"... We can play that game all day. Provide the numbers and mechanism to support your wild hypothesis.

    Because most people WANT to work. A whole town of unemployed people will most certainly not remain so; people self organize, have their own creative and industrial goals.

    You fall into the first major problem of the armchair economist and fail to empathize with the people you speak of, merely going back to the "undesirables" rhetoric that led to means testing in the first place and we all know how that turned out: expensive, and broken.

    People will create jobs for themselves, open bakeries, start businesses, learn skills, attain educational goals, buy tools, and before you know it, there's a new factory, creamery, invention, fruit farm, tech business, or some other human enterprise. And suddenly that town that couldn't get jobs and couldn't create their own CAN because now there is money and momentum and dynamism in what was once a dying town.

    If you want to invoke "unintended and unforseen consequences", first you have to justify it through an experiment, via evidence, and then also justify why you think those consequences MUST be negative.

    We can play what if all day, but you have not even started to answer aforementioned good question.
    You have it backwards--the side proposing the change is the one that needs to show that there will not be negative outcomes.
    You're asking for an impossible burden of proof. You can't prove a negative.

    At any rate, we have seen the externalities already. UBI succeeds in ways other social programs do not. If YOU want companies to not have to directly pay people a minimum wage, UBI is the best way to demand as a society that people are treated with dignity, respect, and the freedom to engage in self directed activities.

  8. Top | #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    When topics like this come up they're automatically tied to a political ideology - if I'm liberal I automatically support it - if I'm Conservative I don't.
    Which is kind of ironic, since it was a Republican plan from the get-go. It has Milton Friedman's fingerprints all over it. (Richard Nixon even tried to introduce it, but he inevitably mangled it up with one politically motivated fiddle after another until none of the conceptual simplicity remained.)

  9. Top | #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by barbos View Post
    Why would it be hard to undo?
    You'll end up with a bunch of people with no job skills.
    We already have that, automation and shit.
    And why would you want to undo something that works great?
    You're 100% certain it will work properly forever? What if there is some calamity?
    You need to define "work" here. We have a calamity now, and the current system DOES NOT work.
    But lets assume it does not work great and you decided to undo it. Great, just decrease amount slowly and people will start getting jobs.
    People with no skills, no knowledge of how to work?
    You were watching too much SciFi crap.
    Today, most of the essential (low end) jobs require no skills.
    In these which do (high end), people with skills tend to maintain them regardless of their employment status.

    Anyway, I look at the UBI in the context of getting rid of bullshit jobs. Ideally we should end up with a situation where people with no skills (which is most of the people anyway) end up working 1-2 days a week and spend the rest of the time actually GETTING some or all kind of skills, or not if they are medically lazy.

  10. Top | #40
    Elder Contributor barbos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jarhyn View Post
    "What if"... We can play that game all day. Provide the numbers and mechanism to support your wild hypothesis.

    Because most people WANT to work. A whole town of unemployed people will most certainly not remain so; people self organize, have their own creative and industrial goals.

    You fall into the first major problem of the armchair economist and fail to empathize with the people you speak of, merely going back to the "undesirables" rhetoric that led to means testing in the first place and we all know how that turned out: expensive, and broken.

    People will create jobs for themselves, open bakeries, start businesses, learn skills, attain educational goals, buy tools, and before you know it, there's a new factory, creamery, invention, fruit farm, tech business, or some other human enterprise. And suddenly that town that couldn't get jobs and couldn't create their own CAN because now there is money and momentum and dynamism in what was once a dying town.

    If you want to invoke "unintended and unforseen consequences", first you have to justify it through an experiment, via evidence, and then also justify why you think those consequences MUST be negative.

    We can play what if all day, but you have not even started to answer aforementioned good question.
    You have it backwards--the side proposing the change is the one that needs to show that there will not be negative outcomes.
    You (and rousseau), view this change as a jump with no way back. I believe it can be done in small steps with full control at each step. Not that I believe we would need to reverse it.
    As a software development monkeys you should understand.

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