Skip to comments.What If Everybody Didn't Have to Work to Get Paid?
Posted on 05/20/2015 8:27:35 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Scott Santens has been thinking a lot about fish lately. Specifically, hes been reflecting on the aphorism, If you give a man a fish, he eats for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he eats for life. What Santens wants to know is this: If you build a robot to fish, do all men starve, or do all men eat?
Santens is 37 years old, and hes a leader in the basic income movementa worldwide network of thousands of advocates (26,000 on Reddit alone) who believe that governments should provide every citizen with a monthly stipend big enough to cover lifes basic necessities. The idea of a basic income has been around for decades, and it once drew support from leaders as different as Martin Luther King Jr. and Richard Nixon. But rather than waiting for governments to act, Santens has started crowdfunding his own basic income of $1,000 per month. Hes nearly halfway to his his goal.
Santens, for his part, believes that job growth is no longer keeping pace with automation, and he sees a government-provided income as a viable remedy. Its not just a matter of needing basic income in the future; we need it now, says Santens, who lives in New Orleans. People dont see it, but we are already seeing the effects all around us, in the jobs and pay we take, the hours we accept, the extremes inequality is reaching, and in the loss of consumer spending power.(continued)
(Excerpt) Read more at theatlantic.com ...
Societies and governments throughout history have tried this same scheme again and again.
Reaching the “bread and circuses” stage is not a sign of a healthy society.
If you build a man a fire he will be warm for a night. If you light a man on fire he will be warm for the rest of his life.
That one always gets me (I enjoy gallows humor). I wonder how many people don't get it? Like my brother, who is very smart, didn't understand the saying "it's always in the last place you look." I had to explain to him that when you find something you're looking for, you generally stop looking for it any more. (Duh!)
I’m all for basic free income. In return, you voluntarily forfeit your right to vote - on anything.
Fair is fair.
Why limit ourselves to just a free “basic income” for everyonewho doesn’t want to work? Wouldn’t it be better to just give each person in the U.S. a trillion dollar coin for not working? Then everyone who doesn’t work would be RICH and not have to exist at just a subsistence level. Furthermore, everyone could buy anything they wanted and no one would ever have to work again. The coins could be made from a base metal, so they would be cheap to make, and a few extra ones could be minted for the government itself, so taxes could be completely eliminated and yet government could still function. It’s such an elegant solution I don’t know why it hasn’t been implemented yet.
BTW, when I get my trillion dollar coin for not working I’m going to buy a pony and the Denver Broncos. Oh, and then I’m going to buy my own private jet airplane and the Mona Lisa, and then ...
I do not think this concept is necessarily socialist / communist. The proponent is arguing that technology will make work irrelevant. Is that true? Maybe.
Conservatives need to think long and hard about the role of intellectual property rights. Should we support open-sourcing everything? I think not. The founders put the very reason for ip law in the Constitution: “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries”.
This is not natural law. Natural law gives me the right to own things. Ip law is a social contract and as such relies on the consent of the governed. Are we being served? Big corporations buy, sell and create ip. Little people, not so much any more, even though the original intent was to benefit the actual inventors and other creative types such as authors.
We the people are giving up the right to make copies of movies, music, books. We are giving up the right to reverse engineer every product and make it cheaper. We give up the right to duplicate pharmaceuticals for a fraction of their cost. Why? Because it encourages innovation. What do we get in return? Access to these innovations, inventions, works of art.
Is this a fair deal? I think ip rights should be on the negotiating table.
Look at it this way - if the director of engineering at Google is correct, computer power will match the intelligence of human beings within the next 12 years or so. And computing power and robotics will get better and cheaper so that we could theoretically have machines that do all of the work we could do, only better.
Who should have the right to financially exploit this scientific progress? Only Google? Only Facebook? Only Amazon?
We need to look at how wealth is created. It is created by work, innovation, and exploitation of natural resources (i.e. putting them to use for work or innovation). I am not really aware of any other ways wealth is created. (I am open to suggestions.)
I do not think a living wage from the government is absolutely against conservative principles. I think that if it is based on the value that the government can create by protecting ip rights through laws and treaties, and based on tariffs applied to imports, then it could be one possible conservative approach to the changing face of technological progress.
I add the following caveats though. It should be given to every citizen regardless of how rich or poor or anything else they are. It should not come from borrowed revenue (printing money is a hidden tax), and it should not come from income tax (which should be abolished anyway). It could come from tariffs and taxes on goods that receive ip protection.
Then what will be the incentive to work and invent? To have more than a living wage. All of the things that are protected by ip laws cost money and may be out of reach to those who just have a living wage.
A living wage could replace all of the broken government programs and consolidate them into a simple system.
My two cents. Hopefully will not provoke knee-jerk reactions. Intended to provoke thought. I am open to have my opinions picked apart and proven faulty, but please put a little thought into it if that is the intention.
> Santens is 37 years old, and hes a leader in the basic income movementa worldwide network of thousands of advocates (26,000 on Reddit alone) who believe that governments should provide every citizen with a monthly stipend big enough to cover lifes basic necessities
So basically he’s lazy and doesn’t want to work is what he’s really saying.
is it something beyond ‘Bread and Circuses’? Bread and Circuses was a distraction from the problems, perhaps we have the technology to solve the problems, what does that mean for the people that are not engineers or programmers. Do we invent jobs for them to do? I’m reminded of Vonnegut’s Player Piano. I don’t know the answer but I do know we have constantly gathered more food out of less space, more power out of less fuel. Soon we will reach a point where the ease of gathering these makes most of the population’s labor irrelevant. How do we handle that in the crazy near future?
We already do this. Its not the future. The government, via debt and fiat currency, basically redistribute from producers to a large and growing underclass. Technological advancement and Productivity have grown greatly in the last 3 decades, but average real wages have not budged Where has all that extra productivity gone? I would say most has been sucked up in the maw of government inefficiency and corruption.
What will more of such redistribution result in? Even more income inequality, and a growing underclass - not only economic, but social and moral as well.
Also, who is to say the owners of all this expensive capital supporting a free-loading American citizenry of the future will want to keep this capital and investment in the USA in the face of a huge and rapacious government spurred on by a mob electorate looking for a hand-out?
The gov doesn't even have to print more money. They could just take the stuff they're already printing and give an allowance to everyone who doesn't get a paycheck instead of to big banks, recreational warfare, corporate handouts etc.
Civilization would collapse, but we're on that path anyway.
If everyone didn’t have to work to get paid there would be nothing to buy. There would be no products, no commerce, no asset to purchase. We might be grazers and eat grass or bark, but no good thing could come from such a condition.
It’s called Communism, it fails every time. Liberals still want it.
Our 10th percentile person (who has less than 90 percent of all Americans) still lives better than 60 percent of the planet.
Our 10th percentile person lives as well as the 50th percentile person (the median person) in nations such as Brazil and Portugal and Russia.
Most of our poorest quintile have a car, TV, cell phone, internet access, washer/dryer, air conditioning, and refrigerator... none of which were available to kings or emperors just 150 years ago. Think about that. Kings would envy our poor, just 150 years later.
Our poor are the first poor in earth's history to have obesity as a main health issue.
Further, "the wealth gap" MUST grow, mathematically. Assume you have a million bucks, and I have $100. Obama mandates that all investments must pay the same rate of return, "to be fair". (Let's call it 10 percent.) After one year, you have $1.1 million, and I have $110. You went up $99,990 more than I did. The gap grew, even when the system was utterly rigged "to be fair". The ONLY way the gap can shrink is for the economy to be in decline, or by redistribution... both of which, they apparently desire. Anyone who ever complains about a "growing gap" is simply showing that they do not understand simple 3rd grade math.
In my efforts at getting through to those rare liberals who are still capable of honest and rational thought, I have found that throwing them the bone of showing them where their nonsensical feel-good ideas actually work, and then showing them why they don't work. Communism is one of my best approaches.
To rebut your point, Communism DOES work. It works every day, in every culture, and in every part of human history. "From each according their ability, to each according to their need." This is what every family has done since the dawn of civilization. Usually, one parent works, and earns the income for the entire family. From him, because he has the ability. Let's say one child is in their teens, and is working a little bit. Their needs are smaller than the special needs child, and also different than the baby, and also different from the non-working parent (if there is one)... but the parent(s) provide and dole out all, "each according to their need"... and the system WORKS... very well in most cases. Communism does work... at the FAMILY level.
It is when people try to force this system onto a larger scale that it falls apart... EVERY TIME... and it falls apart primarily because of Human Nature, most especially Love. I love my children, far more than I love the children of some couple in Dover Delaware. I'm sorry, I just do. I want more for them than I had, and most others have. Communism tells me that this is wrong, and I must be forced to work equally hard for both... and so of course, I work less hard, because it does not get me or my closest loved ones appreciably ahead. The economy tanks... because of Love. You, my dear Liberal friends, cannot possibly want to promote a system where Love is an enemy to its success, can you??
(We won't even get into the rampant and unavoidable fraud and cronyism inherent in national Communism.)
Anyway, I sometimes get some traction and flickering of light bulbs above their heads with that approach. YMMV
we can’t say we haven’t watched this slowly coming.
Great stuff until the Morlocks get hungry.
To which I reply, "Unless you're looking for more of it."
I'm not so sure.
Of course, the promoters of such a program should get more than just a living wage for the service they have provided the proles, oops, uhhhh, the PEOPLE (yeah, PEOPLE, that's it). (/s, of course)
I think this guy is just looking to become a future guru of wealth redistribution, and as such get more redistributed to him (with the blessings of the masses, of course).
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