Universal Citizens Income

Two hot topics for the price of one

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Universal Citizens Income

Post #1

Post by 2ndRateMind »

So, Finland is experimenting with this idea.

As I understand it, everyone gets a minimum basic income sufficient to cover their basic needs; rent, bills, food, etc.

If they want more than that, they can get a job, offer a service, build a corporation, whatever.

The advantage is that no one is homeless, and no one starves. The disadvantage is a higher tax rate on those earning more than the basic essentials.

Do you have an opinion on this arrangement?

Best wishes, 2RM.
Last edited by 2ndRateMind on Tue Dec 29, 2020 8:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post #21

Post by DanieltheDragon »

[Replying to post 20 by bluethread]

I dont think we need something like this now. I do think though that our worlds economies are about to experience a fundamental change in how they are run. Free Markets while they are optimal now might not be optimal in the future.

If you want a taste look at places like Egypt which is currently experiencing mass unemployment. Woth no rational plan of dealing with it.

There is great value in places trying this out so we can get real world data. It might fail it migjt succeed it might not do anythong at all. Being destructive and disruptive is just as important in innovation than anything else.
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Post #22

Post by 2ndRateMind »

bluethread wrote:
2ndRateMind wrote:
bluethread wrote:
"so poor as to be said to be in what"? What does that mean?
To be in want is to lack, and specifically to lack enough to sustain one's own life and those of one's family. It's not a difficult concept.
...Half of the worlds population lives on $2920 a year or less, less than $10,000 per household...
Good. I am glad you are thinking internationally, even globally. If more people did the same, the world might be an altogether better place.

More later, as time, inspiration and inclination permit.

Best wishes, 2RM.

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Post #23

Post by Furrowed Brow »

The stated objectives of the Finnish experiment are to cut red tape, reduce poverty and boost employment.

In part the experiment is an attempt to solve one of the problems of a welfare system that slashes benefits as soon as someone finds work. Unconditional benefit means a recipient can accept part time work, a few days work or a temporary assignment without the worry of loosing benefit and without the stress of reapplying and the fear of delays in payment. The truth off living life in the lower percentiles is the precariousness of life. Situated close to the financial edge what you need more than anything is stability. There is no fat and no surplus in your bank account to absorb a financial blow, unexpected bill, delayed pay cheque or welfare payment. I have no doubt that an unconditional benefit will improve the lives of the recipients in this respect alone. And having greater certainty will allows recipients to plan ahead with greater self confidence and so freeing them to take take advantage of more opportunities as they arise.

Without the need to continually monitor claimants to see if they are breaking some arbitrary threshold of working more than a few hours per week, or insisting they attend interviews, the need for an oversized and over intrusive bureaucracy to monitor the benefits is eliminated. Thus the system is less costly to run.

There is some truth to the argument that the benefit will work as a subsidy to employers providing a downward pressure on wages. But I think that horse has bolted and wages have been in decline and face long term stagnation. So at this point the other side of the argument is more pertinent. An unconditional universal income pumps money into the economy with a trickle up effect as poorer people do not save they spend their money.

The UK has gone in something of the other direction. Tightening its welfare system attaching ever more burdensome conditions on claiming has realised a reduction in official unemployment figures to levels the UK has not seen for decades. However there has been a massive rise in poorly pair zero hour and temporary contracts and explosion in pay day loans and food banks. So a hard welfare system has only succeeded in also being a downward pressure on wages as it forces people into a race to the bottom. The economic want has not been removed but the burden has shifted to charities and loan sharks.

I suspect that the reason the universal credit has become something of a hot topic is the realisation that mass underemployment is likely to be a long term feature of Western economies.

I do not know if in the long term a universal credit system provides a sustainable solution. I know Marxian economist Richard Wolff - a left wing thinker - is a sceptic. He points to the resentment of the those in work eventually destabilising the system. He would prefer a reduction in the number of hours worked per week in total. Hence the total work needed to be done by human labour is shared equally rather than one smaller sector working just as hard and another sector doing little or no work. This way everyone benefits with a shorter working week. (This was the promise of technology three or four decades ago). But this answer is really a response to the specific pressure of jobs lost through new technology and ignores other reasons why people may not be working. For example, a single parent may want to be at home with their children for a few years and even if they were offered full time work could never afford the childcare. Someone with elderly parent may want to be a carer to them. There are multiple reasons why a person maybe be economically non productive and as a society that may still be a good thing.

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Re: Universal Citizens Income

Post #24

Post by DanieltheDragon »

[Replying to post 11 by bluethread]

Thought I would add this in Kurzegezagt is generally really well researched and balanced for pro v con.

[yt][/yt]

For those unfamiliar with UBI this is a good watch.
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Re: Universal Citizens Income

Post #25

Post by Furrowed Brow »

[Replying to post 24 by DanieltheDragon]

An interesting watch. It seems clear that UBI has some important advantages over a more standard welfare systems with all the strings attached. The two major advantages of UBI being: 1] cheaper to administer, 2] removes disincentive to work. If UBI is a good idea there is also the question of its optimum level. Just enough to keep people out of poverty or higher levels that is more profound in its implications. If UBI provided a middle class income that would allow people not to work if they chose not to. Which puts point 2 in doubt. Here we need to decide whether we follow established classic and neo classical theory or do we innovate and accept the result of trial and error.

Scrolling down the comment below the film someone pointed out they really wanted to be a voice coach but they were studying engineering for the money. Maybe they missed the point. UBI promises greater freedom to think about what work would give greater personal satisfaction. UBI would also allow greater flexibility to retrain and adapt to a changing and maybe dwindling job market.

I can see UBI increasingly becoming the preferred model. A generous UBI is probably not going to happen until UBI is well established. Also the film points out UBI does not help with the problem of high rents so it is not a magic wand. And the film is right about the idea of money for nothing driving some people nuts. But then I think the most irritated are probably already irritated by the idea of welfare of any kind. On this point a lot of people deal in stereotypes and think in terms of fat people lazing on couches smoking, drinking, taking drugs and having dozens of kids; which as the film points out is a false stereotype.

Folk that follow neo classical economics will always hate the idea of UBI and will be waiting for the experiment to fail.

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Re: Universal Citizens Income

Post #26

Post by Nanon »

I'm so annoyed by this rule. If you earn more, you should pay more taxes. Infuriating! What if I hide the fact that I earn more? How will they know I'm making more money? If I work at home on a laptop, how can they know that I'm earning more?

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Post #27

Post by 2ndRateMind »

bluethread wrote: Wed Nov 29, 2017 3:43 pm
2ndRateMind wrote:
bluethread wrote:
2ndRateMind wrote: I'm not expert on Finland's politics, and they are, as I say, experimenting.

But suppose the income were sufficient to live, if not well, then at least without pressing want.

Best wishes, 2RM.
What is pressing want? If I feel pressure, because I want something, does that count?
By 'pressing want', I guess I mean fundamental needs, such as food for oneself and family; clean, safe, water; adequate sanitation; climate appropriate clothing; secure shelter; primary education and healthcare, etc. Ie., those basics without which one is so poor as to be said to be in want, rather than just wanting stuff that might be nice to have.

Cheers, 2RM.
... This is a bottomless pit. Regardless of how good it gets, it will still be said that people are in want...
What people need is not as good as it gets. When people, all people, wherever, get their fundamental requirements, that will be good, and perhaps at this moment in history, as good as it might be expected to get. The bottomless pit is, as you imply, the expectation that everyone could get as much as they want. That is clearly an impossibility, given today's economies.

Best wishes, 2RM
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Re: Universal Citizens Income

Post #28

Post by 2ndRateMind »

Nanon wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 7:58 am I'm so annoyed by this rule. If you earn more, you should pay more taxes. Infuriating! What if I hide the fact that I earn more? How will they know I'm making more money? If I work at home on a laptop, how can they know that I'm earning more?
That's a problem for Governments and Tax Authorities, not for me. And one I suspect they are very aware of.

Best wishes, 2RM.
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Re: Universal Citizens Income

Post #29

Post by nobspeople »

2ndRateMind wrote: Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:35 pm So, Finland is experimenting with this idea.

As I understand it, everyone gets a minimum basic income sufficient to cover their basic needs; rent, bills, food, etc.

If they want more than that, they can get a job, offer a service, build a corporation, whatever.

The advantage is that no one is homeless, and no one starves. The disadvantage is a higher tax rate on those earning more than the basic essentials.

Do you have an opinion on this arrangement?

Best wishes, 2RM.
An interesting idea for sure. I would think in a smaller population it would be easier to implement and control than a larger population like in the USA (cost of living can vary wildly from bordering states for example). It seems like it would less (maybe eliminate?) the idea of ultra rich corporations that we see in the USA (drug mfg'ers for example).
It sounds like one small step towards the Gene Rodenberry concept we see in TOST and STNG.
Have a great, potentially godless, day!

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Re: Universal Citizens Income

Post #30

Post by Purple Knight »

I like it with one caveat: I don't think people on UBI should be allowed to breed any more than at self-replacement levels.

In an ideal world everyone would have a farm and enough land to support themself. Everyone would be self-sufficient. And if they had too many kids they would starve. I think a society should aim to reproduce this dynamic, both for the good of itself and the good of the environment.

I want to avoid debating about whether having more than one's "share" of capital is bad, but having more than one's share of land certainly is. Every modicum of sustenance anyone gets is gotten through land.

Even taking aside food, no matter how money is made, it is made through land. Even a business that's completely online... the server is sitting somewhere. In modern day the most valuable land is land you can grow money in, not food (in other words, commercially zoned land in a good location). You cannot do anything without land.

Someone without land is a slave.

How does one come to have no land? No other way than being born without it. Ideally you can work to buy it but since those with land have all the power, they would have no reason to pay you any more than they need to keep you alive. Ideally you could move to someone offering you more, but if you're exactly at subsistence, any energy spent on moving starves you.

If we were to make sure land was equally distributed at the start of capitalism, and no one could scam anyone else out of land, I would be fine with capitalism.

But I'm not fine with slavery. While some people own land and some do not, we have slavery, not capitalism. Those without land must serve those with it.

If some people have land and some do not, there is no reason why those with land should not pay a tax to support those without, provided those without do not overbreed so much that they kill the world.

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