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  1. Post
    #1

    Universal Basic Income



    There's now real discussion about basic income and with the upcoming Swiss referendum, I thought I'd bring it up here.


    http://www.weforum.org/events/world-...d-without-work

    For a time it looked like NZ was simply a testing ground for testing new economic concepts (rogernomics, gst) due to our smaller sample size. Would it be in our interest to make an attempt at basic income, considering the large wealth gap we're already experiencing?

    Or should we just change the flag?

  2. Post
    #2
    refused wrote:
    Or should we just change the flag?
    Nah, we're not changing the flag.

  3. Post
    #3
    What does the rest of the universe think about this?

  4. Post
    #4
    I think for that to happen and be a proper thing we'd also need to address issues around scarcity and individual wealth. We're probably a collapse or war away from that, at best.

  5. Post
    #5
    So people get paid without doing any work?

    Who does the work then?

    Seams to be a flaw with this concept.

  6. Post
    #6
    So what happens when this is introduced? Does everyone continue to pay the same amount of tax and people who need assistance still get the same amount of assistance? On the other hand if an 18 year old living at home suddenly gets a UBI of $20,000 a year, where is that coming from? Is it coming from someone who previously needed it?

    UBI has always struck me as something that left-wing people push with the idea that it will solve inequality. What they really want is the rich to pay for it. If you want higher taxes on some people and to give more money to others, just say so. In reality if UBI was implemented I think people would quickly discover it is actually a right-wing idea: treat everyone the same regardless of need. Gareth Morgan loves the idea.

    tl;dr; Government assistance should be targeted at people who need it.

  7. Post
    #7
    The people who want to live on more than basic income will do the jobs. Fewer people will be forced into careers they're not suited for and a lot of menial jobs will be replaced with the inevitable artificial workforce.

    The idea is that the middle class has more to spend on leisure, low income workers keep their heads above water while maintaining their societal important low wage jobs, entrepreneurs and innovators are given the opportunity to take more risk and the unemployed are free to explore new opportunities. Eventually cities are no longer filled with job seekers who are priced out by the market and new work opportunities are spread nationwide.

    The point is that wealth disparity has been steadily increasing for the last 20 years and shows no sign of slowing. Remove lower tier jobs from the equation and you have a societal tinderbox that could cost us more than a few losers getting a free ride.

  8. Post
    #8
    TD wrote:
    UBI has always struck me as something that left-wing people push with the idea that it will solve inequality. What they really want is the rich to pay for it. If you want higher taxes on some people and to give more money to others, just say so. In reality if UBI was implemented I think people would quickly discover it is actually a right-wing idea: treat everyone the same regardless of need. Gareth Morgan loves the idea.
    Really? I thought it had only gotten traction lately because of the rapidly closing era of robotic mass production. Can't just let all the people who can't program robots starve.

    This is probably going to sound pretty basic (I'm not very good with economics) but I see it as a big circle. Businesses sell people things. People buy the things with their money. They get money from working for the business making things to sell. So what happens when robots replace most of the making-things-to-sell type jobs? The people who buy them don't have jobs anymore so they don't have money to buy the things, and you can't sell them to robots. UBI steps in to the gap to keep the circle going. Now people still have money to buy the things the robots make, but you don't have 10,000 people applying for the 1 job opening that's left programming the robots. I'd imagine the funds themselves come from the people who own the robots. If you replace 10,000 workers, you pay for their equivalent tax output as a license to sell them the things your robots make.

    I agree that assistance should be targeted, but that's now. UBI is still frowned upon now because people are trying to apply it to today's economic system (and they don't like sharing) but pretty soon things are going to be very different. You could argue that the expanding wealth gap is caused in part by globalisation exposing the big makers to cheap labour markets - mid paying jobs being lost to people who will do it cheaper. Eventually, those cheap jobs will be lost to things that will do it for free - robots. Then we're going to need a new welfare system for MOST of us because it won't just be about sharing, it'll be about people not starving en masse.

  9. Post
    #9
    I have always assumed the introduction of a Universal Basic Income would be the obvious progression for society once robotic automation had eliminated the menial unpopular jobs no one wants to do.


    But first we need the robots. Without the robots, it's just a dream.

  10. Post
    #10
    Universal basic income actually allows people to do such jobs, many countries doing such jobs all costs considered would result in you receiving less money than unemployment benefit. Stagnatant wages and hollowing out of job security is already getting us there, Automation is only scary because its coming for the once secure jobs not the menial ones.

  11. Post
    #11
    Spacemonkeynzl wrote:
    So people get paid without doing any work?

    Who does the work then?

    Seams to be a flaw with this concept.
    Well the assumption is made that all humans need to work. Which is clearly not the case.

  12. Post
    #12
    I presume the 'no work' thing is more of a hint at work not being considered work so much as a hobby.

    Personally I think it would be a golden age for technical advancement, but it'd be ****ing tough for a lot of the service industry. But we're not talking about removing capitalism here are we, just that everyone gets enough to comfortably live i.e. people prepared to pick up garbage would probably end up with pretty good bonuses.

    My deep analysis of the whole thing.

  13. Post
    #13
    I'm a fan of this idea. Workers will pay more tax, we all get a basic income. Some tax brackets may end out worse off than others but there would be a way to balance it a bit (while remembering this policy is a great way to start addressing gross inequality)

    What would be great is the drastically lowered amount of bureaucracy for work & income. More people may quit their jobs? I don't believe this but that is the argument. I think it could actually stimulate the economy as people will be more inclined to take a few risks, quit their job and get more enterprising.

    In a sense we already offer a base income, but the process is awful.

  14. Post
    #14
    I notice one sort of trend throughout this in that a universal income would allow people to be more enterprising.
    While this may be true don't you think those with an already vested interest would like that?
    How many "capitalists" with a business actually like competition when the have to compete.
    They will have to decide between robots and profits/UBI and potentially more competitive market or a larger subdued lower class held low by income.

  15. Post
    #15
    silvereye wrote:
    What would be great is the drastically lowered amount of bureaucracy for work & income.
    It could potentially increase, or explode to a point whereby every employed individual has to engage in a personal accountant.

    Say for instance the UBI was $65k. If that's a guaranteed income, anyone in their right mind would structure themselves as a consultant or contractor in order to deduct a lot of their expenses as part of their life. For instance, I go become a toilet cleaner for $40k a year. But instead of an employee for the toilet cleaning company, I contract to them, deducting the costs of my vehicle, toilet brush, work clothes, computer, cell phone, a portion of my home as a home office, etc etc etc. I could make that $40k income virtually zero, allowing me to claim a further $65k, and all of a sudden we have toilet cleaners on $105k.

    And that's potentially a good thing, because not only do we have issues with income disparity, but also deductibility on behalf of the average employee, vs the self employed. but the compliance costs in terms of bureaucracy would be insane, and the foundations for the labour market could be woefully out of touch with what the real value of a toiler cleaner is to the economy.
    silvereye wrote:
    More people may quit their jobs? I don't believe this but that is the argument. I think it could actually stimulate the economy as people will be more inclined to take a few risks, quit their job and get more enterprising.
    This would be the case for the portion of the economy motivated enough to do so.

  16. Post
    #16
    Spacemonkeynzl wrote:
    So people get paid without doing any work?

    Who does the work then?

    Seams to be a flaw with this concept.
    robots do the work, this is the future, only jokes on the voters because once the robots do the work there will be no need to sustain the poor, just get rid of them

  17. Post
    #17
    bradc wrote:
    It could potentially increase, or explode to a point whereby every employed individual has to engage in a personal accountant.

    Say for instance the UBI was $65k. If that's a guaranteed income, anyone in their right mind would structure themselves as a consultant or contractor in order to deduct a lot of their expenses as part of their life. For instance, I go become a toilet cleaner for $40k a year. But instead of an employee for the toilet cleaning company, I contract to them, deducting the costs of my vehicle, toilet brush, work clothes, computer, cell phone, a portion of my home as a home office, etc etc etc. I could make that $40k income virtually zero, allowing me to claim a further $65k, and all of a sudden we have toilet cleaners on $105k.

    And that's potentially a good thing, because not only do we have issues with income disparity, but also deductibility on behalf of the average employee, vs the self employed. but the compliance costs in terms of bureaucracy would be insane, and the foundations for the labour market could be woefully out of touch with what the real value of a toiler cleaner is to the economy.
    This would be the case for the portion of the economy motivated enough to do so.
    I'm not sure I understand this. For starters 65k seems way too high. I'm thinking more 25-30k.

    But given your scenario... are you saying the toilet cleaner could make 40k and spend 40k worth of tax deductibles? Essentially you're saying since there are no profits and no tax is being paid back right? And when you break it down this is bad because someone basically acquired a bunch of stuff and still got the 65k? ... well... they did still work and provide a service in exchange for all that stuff right?

    Couldn't you make a rule where you're only allowed to write off a portion of your business income? or maybe only expenditure that exceeds your UBI? or something like that? i haven't thought that through so don't trash it too harshly. At any rate there must be some formula to balance it.

    Also your example of an inefficient company is not equatable to not having run the company in the first place. This small company has still put 40k back into the economy which is more than we can say for just sitting there without the toilet company and living on the UBI right? Not to mention there was some value in the actual work being done.

    I still don't know how it would be more bureaucracy... unless your basing that purely on the fact more people will be freelancing?

    I'm pretty sure you can't just wack a new system like this in without tuning the rules across the board.
    Last edited by silvereye; 22nd January 2016 at 8:53 am.

  18. Post
    #18
    Robots/AI replacing workers should be the start of a golden age for humanity, instead it will probably just result in even more poverty. At least until the robots/AI take over, hopefully they're benevolent.

  19. Post
    #19
    Sounds great to me. I've said it before, I 'll quit my job on the spot if they can equal what I'm earning currently or get close to it.

  20. Post
    #20
    InvisibleShadow wrote:
    Sounds great to me. I've said it before, I 'll quit my job on the spot if they can equal what I'm earning currently or get close to it.
    I dont' think it should be so high that you want to quit your job. You'd basically want to tune this system towards the middle-class breaking even I think.

    Lets say for arguments sake the average income in NZ is 50k. After 30% tax that is 37k in the hand.

    The universal income could be 20k and tax 65%. Someone who was middle class @ 50k would still have the same amount of money. 20k + (50k @ 65% tax) = 37.5k in the hand. Just an example but there is still a massive incentive there to work and double your income.

    A lot of wealth would automatically move from the top earners to the bottom and even I believe the more wealthy will feel psychologically secure knowing that everything could go tits up and they'll have an instant safety net without having to sign up for anything. The system would also lend very well to flat tax rates imo

  21. Post
    #21
    doesn't seem like much more than relabelling existing, more complex systems. wouldn't it be smarter to identify people who need it, and just give it to them ? (ie what we're doing now) I wasn't aware the governments of the world had so much spare revenue that they could just hand out cash to everybody regardless of need. It would play havok with inflation and just make $0 income $20k (or whatever they give)

  22. Post
    #22
    Unsettled wrote:
    doesn't seem like much more than relabelling existing, more complex systems. wouldn't it be smarter to identify people who need it, and just give it to them ? (ie what we're doing now) I wasn't aware the governments of the world had so much spare revenue that they could just hand out cash to everybody regardless of need. It would play havok with inflation and just make $0 income $20k (or whatever they give)
    I dont' agree. I think that's more an indoctrinated point of view. All it really is, is a slight re-distribution of wealth, and a guaranteed instant "doll" if you lose your job. Of course the "doll" was always there but your income is less due to increased tax so it balances out. It's really not that radical imo. Or at least it needn't be that radical.

    I think it's inevitable that we move to something like this and the earlier we get on board and start tuning it the better. I guess we'll see how it pans out in Scandinavia. Those countries are some of the only ones that seem interested in political/economic experiments.
    Last edited by silvereye; 22nd January 2016 at 10:19 am.

  23. Post
    #23
    so you don't think everybody getting 'free money' will affect inflation ?
    indoctrinated, into what exactly ? perhaps having seen its effect before, i give you zimbabwe.

  24. Post
    #24
    Unsettled wrote:
    so you don't think everybody getting 'free money' will affect inflation ?
    indoctrinated, into what exactly ? perhaps having seen its effect before, i give you zimbabwe.

    Oh not meant as an insult. There is a general fear of changing anything to do with the economy and the people lack any ambition for something new. It's as if people think we magically stumbled on the correct settings. It's strange because most of the people that strongly support the current way are the ones benefitting the most.

    "free money"?
    Firstly it would not be that much in a country like NZ, lets say 20k (enough to pay rent and eat). Also the money is not purpose printed for the job, it's taken from increased taxes. For the middle class it's just a different way of ending up with roughly the same buying power (hopefully a bit more as the rich will be giving away a bit more). Yeah there will be some re-balancing of our economy due to the lower end having more money and the higher end having less but what makes you think that will ruin everything?

    Of course the system will break down if everyone decides to stop doing anything productive. I think the idea of a UBI is that all the required work still gets done. It has to be tuned right so the incentive is still there. My quick example in the above post shows how a middle class average joe would still want to work.

  25. Post
    #25
    The price of nessecities would likely remain stable while luxuries increase in cost. Would that not encourage work and reduce waste?