Basic Guaranteed Income: The Next Big Thing? (Bloomberg)

This is a little off-topic, but I think relevant to the overall discussion in connection with E-Cat/LENR and any other revolutionary energy technology that might come along. On Facebook Mats Lewan posted a link to an article by Paula Dwyer on the BloombergView website titled “Basic Income Should Be the Next Big Thing”. The article discusses proposals for forms of guaranteed basic income that have been presented in various places around the world.

The article is here:

Where I think it fits with the topics we discuss on ECW is in the context of technological innovations that could replace many of the jobs that humans now do. There has been a lot of discussion about the impact of technological advancement on employment in recent years. What happens when factory workers are replaced by more robots? What happens to mining communities when coalmines are shut down? What about truck drivers and all the jobs surrounding the trucking industry if trucks no longer need human drivers? What if the E-Cat hits the mainstream and lots of energy related jobs are impacted? — and the list could go on. Dwyer writes:

The idea of a universal basic income is enjoying a renaissance today, not only in Washington think tanks but in Silicon Valley, as my Bloomberg View colleague, Justin Fox, has written. Y Combinator, a venture-capital firm, is launching a five-year research project, for example. The goal is to give a randomly selected group of people a monthly check to see if they sit around and play video games or create economic value.

Why does Silicon Valley care? It can see the role of technology in accelerating job losses in the U.S. Two Oxford University professors wrote recently that about 47 percent of U.S. jobs are at risk of being replaced by automation. If that happens, the economy would shrink, and fewer and fewer people would be able to buy the goods that Silicon Valley creates.

Mats notes in his comment on Facebook that with Bloomberg covering the topic, the idea of a basic income is now going mainstream. I put the idea here not to advocate it, but to stimulate thinking and discussion.

  • Observer

    Be careful who you choose to be dependent on.

  • wizkid

    Sweden and Dubai seem to be doing nicely. The 10% need servants, but are unwilling to pay them a living wage. It taints them that those in need can die from an infected scratch or a loose tooth. I know in Dubai that the police are very corrupt, perhaps that comes with the change to “basic income”. We already have that feature installed though, don’t we?

  • sam

    Rent geared to income is a good idea.
    So many people have to work all month
    and pay a big portion for housing.
    They can not get ahead.

    • Observer

      And will the mortgage payments of the landlord also be geared to income?
      How about maintenance costs? How about the property taxes?

      It costs money to own things.

      • sam

        Good point.
        What I meant was instead of spending money on guaranteed
        income for everyone use the money
        to top off the landlords rent.
        Just an idea were there is no real
        good ideas about this kind of problem.

  • psi2u2

    Thanks for making a bigger place for this discussion, Frank.

  • georgehants

    Most people are aware of my views I think, thank you Frank.
    Just say Wonderful day

  • Stanny Demesmaker

    UBI is easy to achieve, it’s not revolutionary, the real discussion is about how high is it going to be?

    Are you going to live a comfortable life with it?

    And the real hard question: how are we going to make the extremely wealthy / corporation pay their fair share?

    • Steve Savage

      Stanny, I agree on both points. The amount can be adjusted once the program is in place. Consensus will probably place the initial amount at around the poverty level.
      Your second point is more important in getting us out of the mess we are currently in and fixing it will lead to more rational policy in many ways.
      I believe that there will be a new round of international cooperation and rationalization of tax rates, collection and enforcement. The current competitive situation nation states find themselves in ends up hurting all of us and is clearly unworkable in the long run. These needed changes could be facilitated if the largest player (USA) takes a leadership role. I would argue that any attempts at removing ourselves from the international conversation will negatively impact these necessary changes to the international economic system.
      The weird thing about all of this is that we have all the tools and ideas needed to solve almost every problem in the world and yet we cannot seem to find the political agreement to move forward… Perhaps it will come soon.

  • Steve Savage

    Frank, I believe this is strongly relevant to our LENR discussions. LENR if successful will provide bot opportunities and challenges, among the challenges is the possibility for huge labor force disruption. A Basic Guaranteed Income would do much to mitigate those disruptions. LENR may end up (hopefully) to be a distributed technology and as such, it may require radically different approaches to the economy.

    I have been lifelong proponent of this approach. It makes more sense now than it did 40 years ago, although I would argue that it made sense then too. It is particularly well suited to the changes in the economy we are seeing now and it should be noted that these forces will only strengthen current trends going forward. This approach flattens and lends much more efficiency to delivery of all kinds of social services. It Increases fairness and transparency in the distribution of economic wealth.

    There are two main arguments against this idea.

    1. Economy can’t afford it …

    This Article from the Atlantic comes to the conclusion that it would be affordable with some increase in taxation at the wealthy levels of society.

    2. It will reduce the incentive to work.

    “However, different surveys, as well as experience from pilot projects, show that the overwhelming majority of people would work as wage laborers or spend their time doing activities which are beneficial for society, including studying.3 In the case of low income groups, labor supply would even increase compared to present-day tendencies.”

    This detailed study is well worth reading…

    For those interested in deeper reading … There are many interesting papers at this site.
    With or without LENR it would appear that this type of solution will be necessary and desirable. LENR may make it more so and may make it even more feasible.

  • I very strongly advocate for it. thanks for posting it Frank.

  • bachcole

    I understand and accept that we have a major problem coming our way with robots doing everything. But before they become as nimble as human beings, what happens when we introduce a guaranteed income? What happens when many people are getting a guaranteed income but there are still jobs for garbage collectors. Who in their right mind would choose garbage collecting over a guaranteed income.

    I could understand a guaranteed income of food stamps and housing stamps, and if people wanted anything beyond that, then they would have to work for it. Such currency could be called “need stamps”. But my neighbor has a really nice SUV, and he should have the right to earn such a vehicle while I motor around in my funky 1999 Alero.

    • Steve Savage

      That the nice thing about GBI, It is not an either or situation, everyone gets it and you can choose to work, or study, or play games. Most people who want more (the swanky SUV) will be motivated to work for it. Those who need a leg up will have it.

      • MLWerner

        A teacher friend was talking to her 5th grade students about jobs and the effort involved in getting a good job. One of her students commented that she didn’t want or need a job. She was planning on getting a Bridge Card (Welfare Debit Card), just like her mother.
        Don’t under estimate the number of people that will be happy with just the GBI and continue to let everyone else support them. They will continue to game the system to get the SUV regardless. Currently in the US about 1 in 5 families have no employed bread winner.
        The only positive I can see is putting all the Bureaucrats out of work that currently put all their effort into recruiting and retaining welfare recipients.

        • Steve Savage

          MLWerner, Thanks for your thoughtful reply. My experience teaching many students does not fit well with your anecdote. In fact, I find students of all economic situations to be enthusiastic learners who want a better life than the one they came from and that they are, by and large, motivated to be creative and productive.
          I assume your solution to this problem would be to more and better capitalism? Despite the fact that this is the system that has caused the problem in the first place? See my reply to Bachcole below for more…

          • Bernie Koppenhofer

            Maybe we have to start thinking a little different about “welfare”. Maybe our society has become so productive we need to think of a minimum income is a right.

    • Bernie Koppenhofer

      “Who in their right mind would choose garbage collecting over a guaranteed income.” Simply pay them twice as much as the guaranteed income and you would have all the garbage collectors you need. Since wages make up less than 30% of garbage collection fees you would only see at the most a 10% increase in fees to the consumer. In fact the fees could be decreased if garbage collection companies continue to apply more productive equipment like drone trucks. (:

      • Warthog

        And there are a huge number of charitable organizations that are doing exactly that. Until I got involved with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, I had no clue of the truly huge private effort that is “sailing under the radar”.

        Unfortunately, there are people who think that the only acceptable solution has to be “another government program”. Your idea of a “stamp approach” is a good one, but has already been bypassed because “using stamps makes poor people feel bad about themselves”. So today, they get a special credit card, so they are seen as “just like everyone else” in the checkout line.

        • George N

          Let me ask you this, what amount of UBI money per individual per year would it take to get rid of all socialized programs?

          • Warthog

            “…the pursuit of happiness…,”

            Guarantees the freedom to engage in a process…..not an end result. If you pursue happiness and fail, why should that result require action from other citizens??

      • Fibber McGourlick

        It’s either a basic income for the dispossessed or gun crime rises to the point of national anarchy.

        • Ophelia Rump

          It is not about killing the free market. The current course of Capitalism in a highly industrialized and automated world does not work. Capitalism is greed based, and that is not in a negative sense. But the way it is structured does not distribute the wealth in a sustainable way.
          If capitalism continues it’s current course the pool of customers will dry up because so few will have income.

          There are other free market alternatives to Capitalism. I am not an economist but I can see where the numbers go. I have read that already alternatives to Capitalism are growing among us.

          Crowd sourcing I believe is among the alternatives. If everyone received a secure income, and there are healthy garage industries, most of us could receive our secure income, and participate in any business of our choice. Capitalism is killing the small business, and employment, and in it’s wake leaving the disenfranchised. Micro industry can put them back in the action, and a secure income can keep everyone franchised as part of the economy and society.

          When you disenfranchise enough people a second kingdom grows within, eventually it overtakes the main society if it continues to disregard what were it’s members and leaves them to their own devices.

          This is not some kind of revolution, it is transformation. If one economic system grows too large and kills off it’s own support ecology, then another must at the same time rise to absorb the disenfranchised.

          • psi2u2

            Something we should avoid.

          • Ophelia Rump

            Capitalism was never designed to be eternal. It is not evil, and it is not good, it is just an economic game approaching the end of it’s practical growth path.

            It is a game which was only designed to be played to mid game. Now we are past mid game and the rules need revision. We can revise the rules or the game will end by the weight of it’s own design.

          • Iggy Dalrymple

            Just don’t impose your new improved “game” on me……….or do so at your own peril.

          • explain “at your own peril” please

          • psi2u2

            Very well put, Ophelia. It is pretty clear that attempts to impose communistic principles from above are doomed to failure. Yet we see that the very productivity of capitalism, in the form of free enterprise now directed to the robotization and computerization of almost all “make work,” must change if it is to survive.

          • I disagree with the naming, but agree with the meaning.
            What you describe si silmply the real capitalism, local, distributed to the mass.

            Like you I have seen something that Marx called capitalism, which was a specific form cpopular during the industrial revolution.
            It is highly concentrated capital, linked to a class separation between numerous obedient executors, and capital intensive entrepreneurs.
            School was designed to train such working class, of people who are not capitalist, not unsimilar to the “serfs” (servus) of medieval feudal organisation. Marx, then workers union based all their revendication on the implicit that ther are people with capital, and people without capital.

            in previous, and next economic states, even the poor ar/were gaining big part of their income from their capital, as from their work.

            This is wat Hernando De Soto defend and have proven for Cairo, Tunisia….
            I confirm that for poor Indonesian villages, and I confirm also that property right unreliability is tha huge problems of poor people there.

            in france people don’t even know they are capitalis through their retirement fund, and most French consider they are not at all capitalist, while they rent family houses.
            People don’t understand that they are capitalist when using AirBnb, UberPop, even Blablacar, not less than the people who rent their moped or cars or bedrooms in indonesian villages.

            my vision of france is that we have a medieval feudal pretended to be capitalist system in France.

            in the old medieval system, the lord was owning the capital, the land, and he even was owning the people. BUT he had obligation to give them work, housing (at least the right to make it), to protect them, to run an agrarian business enough profitable to feed the workers, the farmers.

            Today working laws put much burden on the employers, to protect them, sometime to accomodate them with social housing, to care of thei health, of their retirement, and more and more to prevent any unemployment, in exchange of some obedience.

            The future of capitalism is crowd capitalisme.
            the new revolution will be even more capital intensive, with robots and computers, with IP, allowing people to produce much more than before with their work.

            If the next generation of middle class is not intense capital owner and exploiter, they will be incredibly marginalized.

            Hopefully today, as it is well explained in “the next convergence” (on another movement, the catch up of emerging economies) each wave of development create space for new comers, who are lucky and entrepreneuring, who finally more the mass of capital to new territories, making previous generation of capital owners, not less rich, but comparatively less rich.

            for me the next revolution to organize politically is the capitalist equivalent to “agrarian reform”, redistributing not land but industrial and intellectual capital to the wide population.
            It is happening naturally by technology revolution that transform good old business into stranded assets, and lucky guys into new industrialists of the street.

            the new revolution of platforms (Uber, Airbnb), in tact redistribute the capital to the masses, by not requiring capital to be managed by professionals, and thus concentrated.
            It seems Uber and Airbnb are rich, but compared to what they manage they take much less money from the capital owner, and it’s clients, than the previous organizations.

            so we agree on the move, not on the wording.

            What seems a parenthesis is the medieval-feudal capitalism that Marx denounced. it is dying, replaced by what some call collaborative economy, some village economy, some informal economy,… the economy where nobody concentrate the power too much, and where market is working not too bad, with no monopoly.

          • Iggy Dalrymple

            Greed is normal healthy self-interest.
            GimmeCrats are driven by ENVY and their solution is not to work harder but to elect politicians to steal from the producers. Liberalism is a mental disorder characterized by unbridled ENVY. The only cure for Liberalism Mental Disorder is to put them out of their misery………a la Pinochet.

    • Gerard McEk

      In Europe some countries have these arrangements already. These basic guaranteed income is obviously quite low and lower than the ‘minimum wage’ that a ‘garbage collector’ or a ‘sewer cleaner’ may get, so there is always an incentive to start working. The Swiss will vote or just have voted for it, in combination with a flat tax of 30%.

    • James Rice

      The referred-to article states that in cases where UBI has been implemented, people did not work less. Also, the cost of UBI would be close to the 80-plus anti-poverty programs it would replace. The only losers are the many administrators of said poverty programs. And they’d have a UBI to fall back on when they lose their jobs!

    • Ged

      The problem is, soon robots will be doing the garbage collecting, so what jobs could those out of work garbage collectors do? With whom could the successfully compete to make a living wage?

      They won’t be going into fast food, as that is currently being automated, and waiters/bartenders are not far behind. So what jobs could garbage collector and fast food/waiter/bartender labor pools be absorbed into? All those people, how will they find work and survive?

      Janitors? Easily automated so all those folks are out of a job. Construction? Already being successfully automated, so only foreman jobs (which are higher skill) will remain. Truck/vehicle drivers? Quickly being automated on all fronts.

      So, what low skill, blue collar jobs remain which can absorb all the displaced labor for living wages from the above groups, and not also fall to automation?

      The problem isn’t that people don’t want to work (people intrinsically do, or they get bored, as I know many who don’t need to work but do solely so they have something to do), it is that increasingly people can’t find work they can do.

      So what is the solution when -no more jobs exist- for human beings without an expensive PhD very few can pay for (and how will they pay for school when they have no jobs? And such high skill job pools are -very small- and cannot accomodate all the displaced folks, so what happens to the millions for whom literally no job vacancies exist, how do they survive? )?

  • enantiomer2000

    The 10% makes a household income of $140k. I would hardly call that the controlling forces of the country. You can’t even buy a property in a decent neighborhood in Los Angeles with that income. Even the top 1% only makes $383k. These are people that can afford a nice house, take the occasional vacation and save up for retirement but that is about it. The controlling forces in the country are really the .001 percenters and above. Also, I don’t think anybody is seriously considering BGI. Maybe when the robots take all our jobs we can look at it, but for the time being most all jobs need to be done by a human and there are plenty of humans to fill these positions. For the ones that can’t find work, there are social programs. Let’s let a smaller, more flexible country try BGI before the USA does it.

  • Achi

    I suppose, by the ignorance that I see everywhere now, we will try the communist experience and see how fun it really is. The good news is, should LENR be possible, living off the grid will become a lot more easy.

    • jimbo92107

      An economy based on AI’s and free energy would be very different from communism. Material shortages would be rare, for AI factories could recycle materials and make all the things required to keep citizens living at a respectable level of prosperity.

      Feeling unneeded would be the worst problem. Like the elderly and victims of educational deprivation, the vast majority of people would not be needed to maintain the system, so there would be tremendous amounts of idle time. Do the idle rich consider themselves to be “unemployed?” Of course not; they are members of the ownership class. They get to travel the world and have endless parties.

      Like communism (in theory), an AI/E system would eliminate the distinction between rich and poor. With no economic hardships to worry about, there would be no incentive to hoard wealth or possessions. Populations might fall quite a bit, simply from the lack of a need for more people to do work. We have already reached that point in many countries, where the population has outstripped the need for workers. What do we do with the unneeded? Scold them further? Let them starve?

    • Steve Savage

      Achi, Just exactly how are 8 Billion people supposed to get on with their lives without good government? Good Government is possible and very necessary. We have seen some examples of it, however I do agree, not enough. But, the immanent technological changes will facilitate a continuing shift to better governance in all areas of human endeavor. Do not judge from the past, put your faith in the future. The current younger generation is not nearly as blind as what we were.

  • Ged

    And out of work humans with no income or places (like entertainment) to channel energy equals social unrest, crime, and ultimately revolutions and war. Hopefully folks will keep that in mind, such as modern examples like Chicago or Greece, when debating the future of the human labor market.

    When labor is replaced by capital, the entire paradigm of our economy changes, and little of the old rules apply (new ones appear instead). It’s actually a scary transition time for those watching the world wide economy imploding due to lack of labor demand–because that labor demand is not coming back.

  • Ged

    The interesting fact people often don’t notice, is that productivity and pay historically scaled in tandem (more productivity=more pay) till roughly 1980 when computers began to appear. Since then, worker productivity has skyrocketted, but pay has stayed flat all these decades relative to inflation. That is the two, which used to be intrinsically intertwined as the cost of skill, became decoupled. You aren’t being compensated for your productivity anymore.

  • Steve Savage

    Unless of course, the coal burning capitalists have gone and destroyed all the fish

    • cashmemorz

      At that point, as you describe it, from my current perspective, it looks a lot like some kind of corruption of the human “face”, that I point out above.

  • Frechette

    We’ve tried that with public housing here in the US. After a short time these projects had to be torn down because the occupants turned them into slums.

    • Thor

      It’s going to happen. No use bellyaching about it. It’s the only way forward.

      I’ve been thinking about it for quite awhile and here’s the conclusion that I’ve come to. Energy prices are going to come down eventually. Whether it’s LENR or ITER or Polywell doesn’t matter. And robotics are going to continue getting smarter and taking more and more jobs. And eventually, the asteroid mining is going to get going.

      What does this all mean? This means almost free raw materials, almost free labor, and almost free energy. Once the loop get’s closed, so to speak, there’s no need for anyone to work and we’ll be forced to go the “Star Trek” economy route. Robots building robots made out of asteroids and powered by fusion (of some sort).

      The only thing that will be limited is real estate. Invest now 🙂

      • Ophelia Rump

        No one has ever figured out how to make sharing work.

        If you want to invent something to save humanity, that is the next big thing.
        Sharing lessons.

      • LilyLover

        With unleashed creativity, Jupiter could be second home.

      • Bob Greenyer

        Right now we have free money for the privileged few to buy up/operate real hard assets for a discount – things like Greek Ports, New UK Nuclear plant etc.

        And we complain about the growing unemployed having access to free money! – the youth unemployment figures for Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal are horrendous, it is not that they don’t want to work, in this demographic before the crisis, there were jobs and they did work – now there are not the jobs. We can criticise about the danger of lack of work ethic all we want, that will happen with or without a basic guaranteed income – but a basic guaranteed income will generate work – because people will spend it on the businesses that make peoples life fun – like travel, entertainment, social engagement, better hair and nails etc.

        This is more about finding a solution to the global debt problem, the poor generate most of the velocity of money, the rich save / invest and that ties money at extremely low velocity. Business and economic activity works with a high money velocity. If large segments of the population are just existing, there is no discretionary money and the velocity of money collapses and so does job generation of any kind.

        By providing a Basic Guaranteed Income you are effectively taxing the rich by proxy, the new money will be scaled to ensure every citizen can drive economic activity through choice and necessity, the rich get the income too, however, the vast numbers of poor will ensure devaluation of the purchasing power of “dead” money, that is money that is tied up in some types of non-productive savings and investments – the worst kind being derivatives – since derivatives are a money pit that just trade on the value of another thing.

        If managed correctly, this devaluation of the currency will allow highly indebted western(ised) economies to inflate away their sovereign debt without a debt jubilee and painful write-down by creditors/creditor nations. It should reduce the desire to start damaging trade wars whilst at the same time, keeping citizenry on board who might otherwise be pushed to revolt against the cleptocratic banking/political upper-classes.

        The result will be higher gross national happiness

        • Nice post Bob!

          • Omega Z

            Two types of capitalism.
            Either people one property or the state owns it.
            If the state owns it, they own you…

          • cashmemorz

            What is yearly property tax on your house?

        • Warthog

          It is not a function of government at ANY level to supply “gross national happiness”.

          • bachcole

            Who decided what the function of government is?

            But, as long as government is coercive, it should be as small as possible. No one likes coercion except perhaps those who are exercising it. It does not foster happiness. (:->)

          • Warthog

            In the USA, the Founding Fathers. As I have read more of their writings in my 62 years as an avid reader, I have become ever more impressed with their huge knowledge of the forms and effects of government. No other country (perhaps aside from Greece) has produced such a mass of sheer geniuses over such a short time frame. And the farther we have departed from their original visions, the worse thing have gotten.

          • bachcole

            However much I admire them, they did not and could not have applied their genius to the rise of monster companies, because monster companies did not yet exist. (But this is a change of subject.)

          • Warthog

            They did precisely so, and with more direct experience than in any other era, except possibly today. Imperial Britain originated the whole idea of “monster companies”. The only difference between the ones then and the ones now was the source of their income, which was trade and control of trade in goods rather than in manufacturing and money manipulations as today. Heck, most of the colonies were STARTED by the day’s equivalent of “monster companies”. See “British East India Company” and similar topics.

            I will probably never be able to find it again, but I recently read one of the early FF (which I think was George Mason) on the responsibility of government to function as a barrier between the people of the nation and “the machinations of those of great wealth”.

          • Steve Savage

            I completely agree with this analysis… But the conclusions you draw from it seem to be erroneous (if I am understanding you correctly) … You seem to be saying that the role of government is and should be to effectively control the working of our economic systems and the excesses that markets can sometimes exhibit. This requires regulation and good government, however you then seem to say that the solution is less government?

          • psi2u2

            Yes but they kind of missed the point when it came to slavery, huh?

          • Warthog

            Not really. If you actually read their writings, they pretty much predicted what would happen. They knew the compromise was a bad idea, but it was either compromise, or have no nation.

          • Bob Greenyer
          • Omega Z

            The rich have more expensive toys.

            Beyond that, most of their wealth is tied up in government bonds that we all know will never be paid back. I’m waiting for Governments to raise their taxes then complain they aren’t buying bonds.

            Government doesn’t know they have already spent that wealth. Either through taxes or bonds. It doesn’t exist except on paper.

          • Steve Savage

            Warthog… It is a very strong statement, it seems you must “know” exactly what the role of government should and shouldn’t be. I have studied the issues in great detail over 40 years, and am still not nearly as sure as you seem to be. Here is my take, for whatever it may be worth. Thanks for keeping an open mind.

            Government is what we the people make of it. If we decide it should lay the foundations of equal opportunity for all, and we work to ensure that it is effective in that mission, then we may find ourselves in a better position overall. Maybe even with more happy people, like in Denmark, or Sweden or Canada, for example.

            Currently, governments and markets are overly influenced by the class of people who have managed accumulate wealth in some or all of the following ways; by luck, with everybody else’s contributions, through utilizing the social capital accumulated by the people over time, by hook and by crook in some cases, and last but not least, by their utilizing their own hard work, education and smarts. But, to think that the wealthy own all their accumulated wealth and that the rest of us had nothing to do with it, is indeed a very wrong assumption.

            I am not saying that we don’t need systems that reward hard work and smarts, that would be disastrous. We need strong incentives and rewards, You and I both want to do better and so does everybody, fact of human nature. However, when there are strong imbalances they need to be corrected.

            In this way, government can surely contribute to the happiness of the people, not by supplying it, but by making sure the playing field is level and that those that start short are helped and encouraged to know that they can catch up. Fairness, Justice, and Transparency are the foundations of Good Government and without good government we are certainly doomed.

            Narrowly focused arguments based on antiquated understanding of rigid ideological positions make it very difficult to work to improve our systems of government.

            We have more and more people on this earth and increasingly complicated problems. Without working together (Government), how will those problems ever be solved? It is a huge mistake to assume that the individuals operating only in their own self interest will solve these problems, that is what we have had for the past 30 years and as we have moved further along that path, THINGS HAVE GOTTEN WORSE not better.

            Many libertarians point to the invisible guiding hand made famous by Adam Smith, right? Did you know that is not the central premise of his work and that in the context he used the concept it means something completely different than how it is currently used and understood?
            “In Wealth Of Nations Smith demonstrates to what he refers when he used the IH metaphor in Book IV, chapter 2, p 456, where he used it. He describes how some, but not all, merchants are so concerned at the risks of exporting their capital or goods to foreign countries or the colonies in the Americas, that they prefers to invest only in ‘domestick industry’. It is their concerns for the security of their capital that leads them to invest locally. He states this clearly in WN, pages 452-56, where Smith analyses how from this insecurity they are, ‘led by’ the metaphor of ‘an invisible hand’, to enhance domestick investment. And that is the extent and limit of Smith’s metaphoric intentions. All other attributions and accretions are bogus,”

            Ironic, isn’t it?
            What is clear from this is that the IH (Invisible Hand) was meant only to illustrate that owners would act in the best interest of society, which, of course, is utter nonsense. Owners only operate in the pursuit of more profit and wealth, especially when ownership is separated from management as it is in our current economic system.
            Aside .. I also find it a bit ironic that the abbreviation of the invisible hand (IH) and Industrial Heat (IH) is the same, in the context of our current discussion and interests.

            It is clear, that when we think and talk about these things, that we need to be talking about how to make government better not how to make it smaller. Better government may be smaller though if we find efficiencies in distribution of services, If we find new ways of reaching consensus and we look to the future rather than getting stuck in the past. Technology will help, especially AI, data and evidence based approaches and distributed democracy (Internet enabled) and the means of production (LENR, 3D printing… etc. etc. ) …. But, first and foremost government has to be better!! In the face of these changes does it make any sense at all to argue that economic systems and ideas that are 50, 100, 200 years old are the answer to our future problems?

          • Warthog

            You completely miss the point. Like it or not, the REPUBLIC as laid out in the US Constitution is the best system yet devised for human governance, and the farther we have gotten away from that, the worse things have gotten. ALL others have thus far PROVED to be worse based on societal experiments. And yet the discussion on this thread seems to be totally unable to come up with any real new ideas, constantly harking back to socialism, proven over and over and over to be disastrous.

            Frankly, I am damned disappointed in the quality of discussion here.

            Technology almost certainly will add to means of “reaching consensus”, but there has been NO discussion of protection of individual rights. It is just as wrong to rob a rich man as it is to rob a poor one. This fundamental notion seems invisible to everyone here except me.

            The “tyranny of the majority” was well understood by the Founding Fathers. Just because a majority votes to do something does NOT make it right.

          • Steve Savage

            Warthog, thank you for your thoughtful reply, I agree that not everybody engages in serious discourse on this board, but it the best one that I have ever been involved with. I find many of the comments substantial and thoughtful even when I do not agree.
            Unfortunately, I must take exception to your understanding of what the Founding Fathers had to say. I also disagree that people on this board are “harking back to socialism”.
            The way I understand it, most commenters do not advocate state socialism in the way you seem to understand. Myself, and many others, are arguing for adjustments to our current free market based economy. These proposed changes would enable a better functioning market and may result in income being redirected to those who might use it more effectively. There are huge differences in Sate Socialism, Market based Socialism and Democratic socialism… When we get stuck on labels we sometimes loose the nuance.
            That is not what the FF had to say on “tyranny of the majority” …

            Here is what James Madison had to say …


            and here are some thoughts on the functioning of a pluralistic democracy.


          • Warthog

            Sorry, but vague hand-waving isn’t going to cut it. WHAT changes?? Exactly?? And how will they work. Given the technology of the internet, it may well be possible to have a real-time, global democracy/town hall do you do that?? How do you ensure that the result of such isn’t “hacked”?? You want a UBI?? Great….who pays for it?? How?? Who collects it?? Who distributes it.

            Not a creative idea in the whole damned thread.

          • Omega Z

            I agree..

        • cashmemorz

          Education is not a universal remedy. Those who are more able or willing to benefit from education will benefit from education. Those who do not want or are not able to take part in universal education will only be a leech on the universal education with little or no benefit to themselves or society. When I was in university on a bank loan, I saw some religious organized students protesting the rest of the “scientific” students. What is the point of such activity?

    • Skeptic

      I call it BS. “these projects had to be torn down” because they guarded against higher rental prices. If there are abundant public housing, You can not skin people alive, with rent charges.

  • f sedei

    At one time, 60% of Americans were employed on farms. Today, the figure is 2%. The rest did not “just die”. They went off to other occupations. Humans will adapt out of necessity.

    • Come on, man. Humanity can’t just rest on its laurels like that. Humans do not have an endless ability to adapt to their circumstances. If I fire a bullet into your head, you are NOT going to “adapt out of necessity.” You are just going to die. Just because they adapted in the past does not mean that they are going to be able to adapt this time, unless the social system adapts to be able to keep them alive.

  • George N

    This will only work sustainably if whoever participates in the program forfits their right to vote for 7 years after their last withdrawal.

  • AstralProjectee

    Let’s get back to the basics in our thinking right now. If the whole world was nothing but 10 to 100 people living together to survive with no technology it would be absolutely absurd that one of them should have a great life taking up most of the resources while the rest worked for that one person just because they were a little smarter. But all of the sudden if we talk about it in the context of billions of people it’s OK. Pfff we need to get back to the basics. The problem is that the rich now have a monopoly over us.

  • Ged

    Definitely less than 100 years. It’s already happening. It’s part of the force driving the glut of part time jobs and loss of full time jobs. Between 40-50 million folks are on food stamps on the US, double what was before 2007, but the weird part being reported by food banks is that a lot of those folks do have a job, just a part time one that pays no liveable wage; people aren’t being paid for skill when they can be replaced by capital. There are other forces at work too, like the drive for a $15 minimal wage which makes robots very economical even at this early stage

    Fast food is already falling to automation, with so many folks in that pool, where will they go? We already have enough garbage collectors.

    There is just no easy answer at the moment in how to address this. A guaranteed income is just one option, and I have no idea yet if it is good or bad; I am not a proponant of it. All I can say now is the crisis is already occurring, it isn’t 100 years off, and how we handle it now will affect us all for a long time coming.

  • LilyLover

    To OR,
    I have figured out sharing work, real democratic process and money creation and distribution mechanism that is more ethical than socialism and more commensurate than capitalism.
    That is a revolution pending and I shall cause it.
    For now, topic at hand …
    Today, minimum guaranteed income is offered to the rich “interest” earners, rentists, gov-thugs, uniformed murderers, and valve-celebrities. They have realized that bigger change will ensue should they continue on this murderous path, hence they want proactive implementation of minimum income to dissuade dissatisfaction.
    What we must insist is – guaranteed comfortable income and happier life.
    Self-issued competence-limited credit. Random annual debasement of currency by 5% to 5000% to wipe out ancestral-cruelty-based riches, forcing everyone to acquire human-competence for comfortable life.
    Work is sin attitude.
    Be good, do no work.
    Be bad, be drafted as a worker.
    Higher competence through free education is a ticket to faster relief from the work-draft.
    Full (at least about 99%) automation.
    Servement is meant to serve the people; not other way around.

    Equal pay for equal work across all the immoral-borders.
    Recognizing borders as a carnal sin.

    Guaranteed comfortable income is a human right.
    If you don’t want it, go live under the rock.

    For all others, don’t stay happy with basic income – comfy-income is a human right.

  • Weihenstephaner

    Free vacations.
    It’s better to send’em collecting garbage than watching water or shooting watchers.

  • Warthog

    I disagree with brainwashing the children just as much as I do the Gulag, which is what would have to happen…and even then it would fail. Non-legalistic/non-governmental groups have tried throughout history to establish such a mindset. All have failed eventually, even at the small group size, much less nation-state.

    And the effort against smoking has hardly been either non-legalistic or non-governmental.

    It all “sounds good” but never works in the long run.

  • Bob

    I agree that there could be / is better ways than welfare. UBI truthfully, is just another name for welfare, it is just administered differently, with different rules. They both are the same in the end…. one gets free money/support/material items for nothing. It is the rules on how they get the “free stuff” is the defining difference.
    So I agree that there are better ways. I am not so sure that such a small sampling of a village is indicative of the whole world. My father lived through the great depression (1930’s) At that time, millions were without jobs. My uncles went to work for the CCC project, started by the government. Because at that time, my uncles would not take “charity”! Their mind set was that one supported their family. So the government setup work projects of building roads, national parks, etc. that these men went to work and earned their wages. Now, the mind set is to many in the US… it is the rich that is keeping me down. It is the big corporations that keep me from making an living wage. I am not going to work for my welfare check, it is my entitlement. I am entitled to take that check and get tattoos, cigarettes and other stuff and obtain that check by doing nothing. I am not responsible for myself! I am not to be held accountable for my station in life.
    I am not so sure that a society where there is no accountability is a good thing.

  • MasterBlaster7

    Hey. I just lived 9 years in Nevada. What are you trying to say bachcole? haha.

  • Bernie Koppenhofer

    It all boils down to one question: Should everyone have the right to share in the benefits of productivity increases?

    • Mats002

      What about a No as an answer:

      Those who have should have more, they are superior and earned it.

      Those who have jobs should decrease to have less or nothing.

      Those who have little or nothing should increase in numbers.

      Those who have will loose customers but profits increase. They earned it.

      – sarcasm –

  • cashmemorz

    I see that too. But until then we have to learn to get along with a “human” face. If we don’t learn to do this in the interim, we will just become corrupted by excess later.

  • What country are you from? Maybe the word “libertarian” means something different in other countries, but, in The United States, libertarians are TOTALLY right-wingers.

  • Warthog

    You don’t “socialize”. Whose fault is that?? Certainly not mine, or society’s, or your neighbors. And not of “strong individualism”.

    “You, in your lack of awareness and insight, think that anyone different from you is being coerced into being different.”

    Dumbest statements I have yet seen from you. You wanna be “different”….have at it. But don’t try to force me or anyone else into being the same kind of “different” as you. Or any other. But forcing others into a “one size fits all” straight jacket is exactly what the socialistas want, and, IMO, the only way they can conceive of to implement the “social” society they want.

  • Warthog

    “ZERO wealth creation would occur in the private sector without the
    social, physical, financial, educational, legal and cultural
    INFRASTRUCTURE that government creates and maintains for the good of us

    The only one on that list that is legitimate is “legal”. Much of what is wrong with society today is the result of government’s intrusions into those other categories.

  • Steve Savage

    If I could up-vote this 1000X I certainly would

  • bachcole

    A lot of legitimate complaining, but no solutions. Is government interventions the solutions? Given that government is an agency of force, I suggest that government is not and can never be the solution until laws become suggestions.

    In fact we already have some suggestions rather than laws. From Teddy Roosevelt’s bully pulpit to the FDA’s rules about labelling nutrients and ingredient, we need more suggestions and fewer laws. The Department of Education could be reduced by 95% if they simply posted standards on the Internet, particularly in the form that parents could understand. This would force school districts to keep informed voters happy with higher standards.

    There are many ways that laws could be converted to suggestions. Forcing people to do things will only cause rebelliousness and resentment.

  • georgehants

    If it is done on purpose or by ignorant design it is certainly time a
    few people learnt the difference between Communism, Dictatorship and
    what everybody concerned with sharing and caring on page means ——
    True Democracy

  • Warthog

    More correctly….the FEDERAL (or national) government shouldn’t be involved in most of those. The country got along quite well for quite a long time with education handled at the local level, roads at the state level. The more the feds have gotten involved, the worse things have become. If that puts me on “the fringe”, then so be it.

    The Catholic Church calls that “subsidiarity”, which basically means that laws/taxes/rules should be “pushed down” to the level closest to the people.

    And I very seriously doubt that I have ever claimed the methane was not leaking from NG wells. An absolute zero emissions installation is physically impossible. An amount sufficient to be a problem….probably yes. The EPA has passed a lot of regulations with a poor scientific basis.

  • Warthog

    Nope. “Excessive Individualism” has zero to do with it.

    Crime is the result of the same mindset seen everywhere on this thread…..””I” deserve more goodies, but I am too damned lazy to work/dropped out of school/got into drugs and don’t have the means to get the goodies, so I’ll just steal them. Or as here, I’ll get the government to steal them and give them to me.

    Another major cause is urbanization, with people squeezed into smaller and smaller spaces. The human mind wasn’t evolved to handle that Plenty of studies show increased “nuttiness” under such conditions both with humans (and chimpanzees and monkeys and rats).

  • Steve Savage

    Imagine … How much better we could make things for everybody … for me, for you and for all the people in Nevada that we do not know. If we looked for better ways of working together instead of worrying about “sharing” and “entitlement”. But, alas you have long been encouraged to distrust an hint of social justice so…
    Here is the economic argument.

    We do need market signals to indicate relative value and we do not need government trying to control things. There are lots of ways that markets get skewed, currently they are skewed towards capital and away from labor. Becuase capital will increasingly account for a higher percentage production (Robotics & AI), less of the returns from productivity growth will go to labor. Labor is people, people spend money, people need money to spend to meet their needs. If they increasingly have less money they will have nothing to spend and the economy will eventually tank. The people with lots of capital will see diminishing returns, but they can hold out for many millennium and live well because labor will become so cheap relative to their capital, they won’t care to much to change the system. Why does this uneven distribution of income and wealth happen. You might say that it is because some people work harder and work smarter, and the market rewards those individuals, as it rightly should do. However, this ignores the fact that many of those people are accumulating more wealth simply based on the fact that they already have wealth (this is the problem of ever increasing returns to capital). Government has a roll to play in making sure that income and wealth remain relatively evenly distributed, not just for reasons of social justice, but also, more importantly, because it helps the economy function more efficiently. The economy (market) is currently not functioning very well for most people. It will continue functioning poorly, and the little bit of wealth that you and I have managed to accumulate can easily disappear.

    What proponents of GBI (many of whom are conservative economists and thinkers… see Milton Friedman for example) say, is that GBI presents the most efficient means to rebalance wealth and income. They say that rebalancing wealth and income will have a strong net positive effect on the economy and the people that make up the economy. They say that it will help compensate for markets that get out of balance. It is quite obvious that they are strongly out of balance now and if something is not done soon they are likely to remain that way.

    This is not primarily about social justice, or fairness, or destroying market economies, or socialism or entitlement. It is about redressing market anomalies in the face of rapid technological changes. Our current economic systems are not adequate, they need to adapt so that they can function better for everyone, not just the wealthy and clever few. Government is our only means of considering and implementing these needed changes. Instead of being anti-government we need to shift our focus to being pro good government. Government is not always good, but the answers lie in making it better not getting rid of it.

    If you are a proponent of small or very small government, it may be that you have too much faith in the functioning of markets. If you look closely, you will probably find that markets have not been doing the people of the world all that much good in the past 30 years or so. You might find many markets are seriously out of balance, and you might find that we need some form of intervention in those markets to help rebalance them for the benefit of all.

    Economic systems are only a set of rules that we all agree to play by, they are created by man for mankind. The can be changed in response to changing realities. They can be adjusted and they can be improved.
    These are only part of the arguments in favour of the need for new and better economic systems. There are many issues related to education and knowledge vis a vis capital and the economy, as well as the serious issues surrounding what unbridled market forces have done, are doing and will continue to do to our climate and eco-systems.
    It is important to note that the current holders of wealth may want to continue the status quo. And since they own and control the media, they, in all likelihood want to feed you information most likely to maintain that status quo. They are great communicators and find it only too easy create message designed to manipulate people to their desired point of view. They are also great at doing tis in way that you don’t feel manipulated and in fact I am sure some of you will continue to argue exactly as you have been and exactly as you have been encouraged to.

  • cashmemorz

    Isn’t this the way to inflation? Easy money raises prices because the money is there to get. Especially when large numbers of people are getting the easy money. Then we are back to square one and those getting easy money need more to keep up. A vicious circle. Or price control. More government activity to solve the preceding problem. Remove one level(welfare program) of government bureaucracy for another. I see this inflation especially in the grocery store of late. And I don’t hear about easy money doing it. Are the store owners to blame? Or is the price of transporting the food too high as caused by cost of petroleum? How long before LENR lowers the price of production?

  • Bob

    I am unsure what you mean? I said in “nature” if you do not work, you die, meaning that if a Lion does not kill, it will starve. It is hard work to catch and kill an antelope.
    If an elephant does not work at eating many hours per day, walking long distances to the watering repository, it will perish. It is hard and very demanding being an animal in nature. They struggle to survive. This was what I meant by in nature.
    I am not quite understanding your question.

  • Ged

    That’s tough. It’s even more frustrating when one works so hard, yet gets valued so low.

    I pray all the best for you and yours in these crazy times. Hopefully, the politicians will get their acts together and find a sensible and equitable way forward soon.

  • Bob

    I just read an article about Switzerland voting in their proposed UBI. It stated that a legal resident family of 4, (husband, wife, two kids) would get $78,000 per year on the proposal! I am getting ready to put in for a citizenwhip in Switzerland! How many families in the world would jump at the chance to have $78,000 per year, stay home and go fishing every day! I would!.
    The problem is that Switzerland only has 8 million people. That is about the size of New York city.
    This may work for a short while, but I cannot see it for long. It is expected that it will be voted down and not pass.
    I found it interesting that the group that initiated and is pushing for this proposal was a quote “a group of artists, writers and intellectuals” Not that these are bad people or bad occupations by any means! But in the US the terms “struggling Artist”, “starving writer” and “couch potato philosopher” may have be coined because of the general view of the work ethic involved?.
    Yes, $78,000 is quite the universal basic income. I could do a lot of fishing and playing golf after stopping by the bank to drop in my monthly $6,500 tax free government check! I wonder what is required for citizenship in Switzerland? Because this is a humanitarian cause, not a economic one, they surely will open their borders for everyone to partake in this wonderful new utopia! If it works for 8 million, it will surely work for the 50 million immigrants that will be signing up tomorrow, don’t you think?

    • Omega Z

      What Could Possibly Go Wrong???

    • Nicholas Chandler-Yates

      indeed, It might work for a generation, but realistically the next generation will end up a bunch of whiny entitled brats with no work ethic whatsoever. Moreover, because they have no purpose in their life, they won’t be happy anyway.

    • Bob Greenyer

      You need to hold in mind that a steak in Switzerland could cost you $30.

      With all that fishing and golfing, you will be helping to keep those robots that make the equipment and manage the golf courses well maintained.

      • Bob

        Bob G,
        But if a steak costs $30, then the $78,000 per year now drops to the poverty line. And nothing has changed! This is my point. When the minimum wage was $3.25 per hour, I could purchase a Big Mac for 75 cents. Now the minimum wage is $7.50 but the big Mac is $3.50. So it is a continual spiral. Forcing the minimum wage or giving the basic income/welfare increase will simply cause inflation. If minimum wage goes to $15.00 / hour, the Big Mac will soon cost $12.00! This is proven history.
        If welfare gives out $20,000 as now and you increase it to $78,000, I agree, the cost of living will sky rocket and now the poverty line will be at $78,000.
        I am unsure that mankind can change. It has been since the beginning of time that supply and demand does rule. If I have something that is rare and the demand is high, I can sell/trade for great value. If I have a skill that is rare and in demand, my services will be of great value.
        I would like Utopia, but I have not seen it ever in history. I do not think there is anything “new under the sun” in this case. Can we improve? I hope so. Certainly we should improve the safety net for the elderly, children and truly disabled. Society SHOULD and CAN strive to provide OPPORTUNITY for every individual to have “the pursuit of happiness”. Every individual regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, or gender should have a fair and equal chance at that pursuit.
        BUT I do not think that a government can or SHOULD try to guarantee that everyone be fiscally equal because not every one will have the same work ethic. The problem with a UBI, is that in reality, it states that everyone should be fiscally equal. “We take money from the rich and give it to the poor”. This “Balances” out the “unjust” discrepancy people say! Well what discrepancy is just then? UBI is at $78,000 and I work hard as a CEO and make $5 million. THAT IS UNJUST! TAKE MY MONEY ANY GIVE IT TO THE POOR! 5 million is too much! That is what the thinking will come around to with any level of UBI. The problem is WHO decides what is just or “too much”? History has ALWAYS shown that that person/group who rises to power to decide has not been the “Benevolent Dictator” described as the perfect government. No, it normally turns out to be a HItler, Stalin, Amin(SP), and on and on.
        The UBI always becomes the poverty line and is never enough.

        • Warthog

          You cannot understand the Constitution correctly without reading BOTH the “Federalist Papers” AND the “Antifederalist Papers”, as well as the bills of rights of the post-revolution but pre-Constitution states.

          Failure to do so has gotten us into a state of a “tyranny of the judiciary”…..a state which was predicted by “anti-Federalist” papers.

          Why don’t you tell me exactly what such a Constitutional Amendment would say??

    • Steve Savage

      Bob. Yes, Seriously !!!

      I encourage you to read the following article(s) to understand better why the inflation argument does not need to be a concern.

  • Nicholas Chandler-Yates

    The best way to discourage people from developing a good work ethic is to give them money for doing nothing.

    • bachcole

      And what if there is no work?

  • Warthog

    “People commit crimes usually because they don’t give a ph’ck about anyone but themselves; that is individualism on steroids.”

    No, that is called sociopathy, and is a mental deviant condition. The problem with your “meme” is that it is just another justification to violate the civil rights of people who don’t happen to think like you do, and to try to force them to do so.

    What all the socialists on this thread seem to be unable to acknowledge is that “fringe people”, “rich people”, and others who happen to disagree with their particular socialist nostrum ALSO HAVE CIVIL RIGHTS, and the right to exercise those rights. Which includes not having their property stolen so that the “socialist-thinkers” can play Robin Hood with money other then their own.

  • Warthog

    Fortunately, the internet and things like Khan Academy and home schooling are already beginning to demolish the “standard model” of education.

  • Omega Z

    Guaranteed- Life is short.
    Guaranteed- Life is not always fair and never will be…
    Guaranteed- All other guarantees are worthless and ultimately undeliverable in the end…

  • Mike Rion

    This is all a fallacy. Someone has to make the control devices and the hardware, mine and produce the fuels, maintain and control the devices, especially large scale ones. Also there are many jobs impractical for automated function and always will be. In addition, if this should actually come about to some degree, in the distant future (30-50years) down the road, it will come about gradually and there will be time to adapt to it and make appropriate adjustments. There will always be adequate jobs for everyone, just not maybe the ones that they are trained for, so retraining will be needed. I do see, as has already happened many times in the face of scientific advancement, a lessening of the hours worked and more time for leasure activity. Every technological advancement for the last several hundred years has created the same problem and attracted the same doomsayers, and each time we’ve managed to adapt to it and end up better for it in the end. I think you are trying to create panic and paranoia for not good reason. Ever hear of “chicken little”?

    • Omega Z

      I don’t know nothing about no chicken little or that bottle of BBQ sauce that went missing.
      Nothing at all I tell ya..

    • Steve Savage

      Mike, I agree with your perspective on this, however, I feel it may be different this time around. Computers / software are verging on intelligence, this may change the historical outcomes you highlight. There is also the problem of the divergence in returns going to labor and capital. These are difficult problems. The most productive people will not even be able to start being productive (in the near future) until they have PHD level education…. This takes much more time in than in the past. Do we not need to help finance the time people need to become productive in order to advance our position?

  • US is not so individualist in fact, especially in some zone/cultures.
    Community is very important in many places.

    note that you don’t mix midwest spirit with NYC or LA or SF or TX…

    In france our culture is much more individualistic, with state as the excuse not to care of others.

    It is proven that socialism and communism increase selfishness and fraud, as I have insiders report that state HR managers are much more inhuman than private HR with unprotected peoples.

    real non crony capitalism make you understand that you are dependent on everybody you work with, employees, managers, clients, providers, community, competitors.

    this way of mind make me think that Rossi vs Darden is not a question of “nasty capitalism” but of “greedy stupidity”.

    Today LENr make few people in the domain think of “The precious”, the one that rule them all.

  • georgehants

    Just some Facts for those that mistakenly think that nobody would work if not forced to by the ridiculous capitalist system.
    How many people volunteer in the UK?

  • Warthog

    There is a huge difference between individualism and insanity. And I don’t think “I” have trouble “looking through other people’s telescope”. It appears to me that the problem is, if anything, quite the opposite…”I” see the viewpoint of the currently politically unpopular, while most others here are blind to same, seeing them only as a source of money to steal.

    Y’see, “you” don’t get to decide things for other people. “I” don’t get to decide things for other people. The problem isn’t “individualism”….it is those who deny individualism and want to run other people’s lives.

    And yes, I object to that.

  • Warthog

    Sorry….baloney. And it has been baloney for at least the last thirty years. Schools and schools for teachers haven’t taught “individualism” as a positive idea for at least that long. Quite the opposite, they actively suppress it.

    • Steve Savage

      Schools may become completely unworkable if we encourage all students to do whatever they individually want to do. We are individuals, that is the central fact of our experience, what we need to be taught is how to work better together. That being said, of course we need to teach students how to best develop their individual talents, skills and abilities as well as how to function within a modern pluralistic society.

  • Fibber McGourlick

    What do you do when half the people in the “organized” and civilized country are unemployed? You have to provide the wherewithal to keep them (and the economy) going, one way or another. You can’t create 200 million fast food and lawn care jobs. The easiest and best way to do it (under those circumstances) is to provide unemployment insurance extended indefinitely–in other words a basic income.

    If you want to know what men with guns can do to an organized and civilized society, take a gander at the middle east. Oh, I know the west is different. As you suggest, we’re better organized and much more civilized than those dumbbells. Oh? Tell that to the 12,000 people in the U.S. who died of gun violence last year.

    • cashmemorz

      Also there was a standoff with the feds about pasture land where some one was willing to and actually died this year. Called rednecks but they can be antagonized just so much and then they will organize even better then the last time. Flavoured coffee whitener as part of their long term food entrenchment or not.

  • Warthog

    Again, if you read their writings, they pretty much predicted this kind of thing. At least they certainly knew it was possible. What they didn’t expect was that the leftists and business would enter an unholy alliance to produce several generations of woefully ignorant people by dumbing-down the educational system to the point of producing uneducated idiots who “think” they are deeply educated.

    And no, I don’t “worship” the Founding Fathers….but I do deeply respect their efforts. They did their best, and “we” blew it for them.

  • Bob Greenyer

    I had not heard this speech before, but I am glad you shared it, it is now one of my favourite’s – bookmarked.

  • Steve Savage

    Your excellent analogy is spot on. It is all about the system, not ideology. Unfortunately so many people seem to get stuck on what they think the different words mean. There are good arguments on both sides even when based on ideology, but strict adherence to simple concepts leads to very rigid thinking. Whereas a systems approach if designed with care and adjusted based on performance feedback is far and away the best approach.

  • Steve Savage

    I am not a Christian, but my understanding about the teachings of Jesus Christ would seem to pour cold water on the idea of waxing people. That being said, on of the worst problems of good government is corruption and influence of special interests. I agree that all reasonable measures should be used to prevent it!

  • Warthog

    Sorry….wrong. Unless you understand the specific language AS USED BY THE WRITERS and IN THE ERA in which the writing was done, you simply cannot (and do not) understand correctly what and how the Constitution was and is supposed to work. Languages and usages change with time.

    You want a Constitutional Amendment to eliminate “cronyism”….fine….write it out in detail. Put up or shut up.

  • Steve Savage

    But, You said …I will probably never be able to find it again, but I recently read one of the early FF (which I think was George Mason) on the responsibility of government to function as a barrier between the people of the nation and “the machinations of those of great wealth”.
    You also said you greatly admired their intelligence and insight.
    The statement above as quoted by you is exactly what I am saying. I agree completely. However, it would seem you might have a bad case of cognitive dissonance.
    Sorry for the lack of creativity as well, I will try harder next time.
    steve out

    • Warthog

      Uh, no. What government is to assure is honesty in dealing…..not control of an end result or even an attempt at such control. No cognitive dissonance on my part at all.

      • Steve Savage

        OK … Seems like a very limited interpretation of what we need from a government. Has the world ever known a society where any government at anytime was so limited? Perhaps not. But if that is all you got, so be it.
        BTW … Have you filed for your socialist security yet?

        • Warthog

          “Has the world ever known a society where any government at anytime was so limited?”

          USA….1787-1865. Seems to me we did quite well in those days.

          And yes, I “have” filed for social security….I was forced to pay it, so I damned well intend to get at least some of it back.

  • Steve Savage

    Excellent suggestion. Especially if you mean for this to happen every day for the rest of their natural lives and they have to clean up the square afterwards…. Can we throw things other than eggs? I have some interesting and disgusting suggestions.

  • Iggy Dalrymple

    Pure socialism will not work. We are already at the point in the US that one cannot find anyone willing to do hot dirty grunt work. Why do unpleasant tasks if the govt guarantees you food, shelter, and beer for doing nothing? The elites solve this dilemma by employing illegals to do grunt work. Without a working class, our society will grow dumber and less skillful. If free enterprise prevails, people will be able to subsist on fewer and fewer hours of work………because food, transportation, and shelter will be cheaper and cheaper. Those willing to work hard for long hours will be the new upper-middle class.

    • Omega Z

      I agree Iggy, This has economic disaster written all over it. The system we have works. We just need to work on curing some of the warts. One caveat. There is some hot dirty grunt work that even illegals wont do when other options for them exist. This is where hard working country boys fill in. I take my hat off for those guys. They represent what the U.S. used to all about. Hard work.

  • Albert D. Kallal

    Been meaning to comment on this concept.

    While on paper such an idea sounds great, the problem is many fold.

    First up, most governments are running deficits, and thus they don’t have “extra” tax money to spend on some guaranteed income.

    Of course the real problem is much worse. A company does not hire someone unless the value of that employee makes the company MORE then what the employee costs. I know of several small manufacturing companies that I consult for, and the owner has stated that new employee don’t
    make the company money until they been working for about 8 months and have gained experience.

    For “entry” jobs in the market (this includes many type of service jobs), the entry pay is thus quite low. As these people gain experience, then the value of their work “increases” to such employer’s.
    No company can pay someone more than what the value of that employee creates
    for that company.

    If by hiring you, you can make me MORE then what you cost, then I will hire a million people like you, since I will make MORE money by doing so! I will in fact NOT stop hiring such people until I reach a point that for each additional employee, they don’t add more value then what they cost.

    Having a guaranteed income would thus decimate entry into the job market, since why would anyone go work when they don’t have to? This would put the governments squarely in HUGE competition for business attempting to hire people. Why work at an entry level job when the government paying you

    And I know many a people are not particularly motivated. So if they are paying say $800 for rent, and they move in with a friend and say rent a room for $300, then OFTEN they simply work less! They
    want to play video games, or their guitar! (they work as LITTLE as possible!).

    However, with a guaranteed income, then why work at any entry level job? And how are business then going to find people to work? (and they can’t pay more since the value of that employee is not sufficient
    to warrant higher pay).

    More important, that LARGE number of people entering the job market are in fact tax payers. (they are paying into the tax system). If you remove that group, then they can stay at home, and a HUGE group of people is now not paying taxes!

    We see this problem in places like Greece.

    The problem is that for the government to get tax dollars, they have to FORCIBLY take that money from people actually paying into the system.

    So for example (Canada), a teacher, a doctor, a police man ALL DO NOT pay into the tax system. And in fact someone in the military or even someone on welfare is the SAME as that doctor or teacher.
    They ALL TAKE from the government and none are paying into the tax system. And thus their pay is taken from people who actually pay into the tax base! I mean if we put more people on welfare, or hire more teachers, or hire more doctors, then in ALL OF THESE cases, they are drain on the tax base. If this was not the case, then hiring more policeman, or doctors or in fact putting more people on welfare would INCREASE the tax base of dollars that the government has. (each one of these people costs MORE tax dollars then they pay to the government).

    This is grade 2 math. You have to add up what the person on welfare (or the doctor) receives from the government (the tax base) and what they pay into that system. So while some people on welfare
    might pay taxes (and so does the doctor), their NET dollars they receive from the government is FAR MORE then what they pay (in fact they not paying taxes since they are receiving tax dollars from the government. Either you net paying in, or you are not – it is that simple).

    So the ONLY tax base is from those actually paying INTO the system. This is why Greece is such a mess. The only decent jobs left are government jobs (ones that don’t pay into the tax system). The
    rest are suckers! They work 14 hours a day, don’t have good pensions, and the crap
    is taxed out of them (to pay for all those doctors, teachers, and people on welfare who are NOT paying into the tax system). Since so few people are left over paying into the system (and you would be a fool to do so due to such high tax rates and having to work 12 hours a day compared to those government funded 9-5 jobs). The result is a broke government.

    In other words, too many people are in government funded jobs. Such people/jobs are taking from the government, and so few jobs remain that actually PAY INTO the tax system remain. (That’s the main issue with Greece – no jobs left that pay into the tax base).

    It called socialism and it failed EVERYWHERE it been tried. IN every country when the economy reaches a point in which LESS jobs exist in the private sector that pay into the tax base to pay
    for that teacher or person on welfare then the country becomes a big flushing toilet of misery and poverty.

    So keep in mind that people who work at NASA, or teachers, or someone on welfare don’t pay into the tax system. Their pay and money COMES FROM the tax base which in turn comes from people who actually pay into the tax base.

    The simple question is this:

    If we have MORE of these people with such jobs, does the government have a greater tax base (MORE tax dollars) to spend from that type of job?

    So each doctor, or teacher, or person on welfare TAKES MORE money from that tax pot then they put in.

    The only real tax base is those actually paying into the tax pot. So for police, or military or teachers or someone on welfare, they all take and are fed by the government tax base.

    So given these basic issues:

    Governments are broke everywhere right now

    Their tax bases are eroded

    Less and less jobs exist that pay into the tax base.

    Suggesting that we NOW give a guaranteed income to a HUGE swath of the economy that competes with entry level positions for business will decimate job creating.

    Such business thus face a double whammy:
    Business will not be able to find people to work at a given cost.
    Business will face increased tax burdens, and that means even LESS money will be available to
    pay their existing working people, let alone try ad hire new people!
    And worse, why work when one does not have to?

    I wish such a socialist dream could work, but it a formula for poverty and formula that will fast send any economy down the toilet – and worse so many western economies are in the toilet now! This guaranteed income would simply be hitting flushing handle on our ravaged and weak economies that we have now.

    Albert D. Kallal
    Edmonton, Alberta Canada

    • Mats002

      I disagree with respect. According to Franks site rules politic debate is not allowed here, so this article should not be discussed here anymore. Or Frank change the rules if he wish.

  • it will be very hard to kill the parasits of all kind, the core of the crony capitalist socialism.
    the lords that ask regulation to protect their rents, and the servants who manage charity for poor (caring their clients don’t disappear) and for themselves.

    UBI would be good, but i’m afraid it is not possible like anything pure.
    at worst it can be implemented if our system explodes… maybe in france or in Greece.
    France at least have a working state , so UBI could work there.

    crowdequity and UBI goes together very well.
    there is also models of “equities” supported by blockchain

    it match the “Barbel” strategy of Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

    best strategy is to have a very safe income source added to incredibly risky investments (like entrepreneurship, changing life, travelling, moving, learning, cooperating, trusting, investing).
    mild risk is often underestimated and underperforming says Taleb.

  • Albert D. Kallal

    Actually, we seen this level of automation before. It less than 100 years ago that MOST worked on farms. It is un-imaginable that automation (tractors, wheat combines, trucks etc.) could eliminate 80% of the jobs, but that’s exactly what occurred with mechanization of
    farming. And actually, I think the numbers are closer to 90%.

    Back then, one would ask what is 80% of the people going to do when 80% of the work is removed. It all turned out relative fine. And our standard of living boomed.

    The main issue is countries need to re-vamp their industrial policies. The free trade experiment simply wiped out most of the middle class and has been a disaster. In my city there are many old
    beer breweries that go back to the 1920’s. (there was a law (trade policy) that stated if you brew beer, you have to setup a brewery in the province)). So we had tons of breweries, and all the taxes, accouting jobs, purchasing of wheat (local) caused may jobs, and created wealth in that locale.

    The issue not automation, since we seen automation wipe out 80% of what the population did at one time (farming). So automation in virtually all cases I can see will RAISE the standard of living of people, but ONLY when such automation occurs in that given marketplace.
    If you move out all manufacturing to china, then no automation or tons of automation will not
    help your economy when that automation is occurring in China.

    And while I pointed out that a basic income concept can’t work now, it COULD WORK if proper trade policy are in place (like they used to be), and thus the wealth creating occurs in that economy. So with automation, we could EASY afford some type of basic income, but with
    open trade policies, I simply move my work (and jobs and income) to a location
    in which I don’t have to pay for that basic income, and simply ships the goods
    into that market. And the only reason stopping me from doing this in the past
    was a proper trade policy.

    The above by no means you don’t trade with other nations etc., but you only trade when it is a benefit to the people in the given locale and marketplace.

    The issue not automation, but WHERE that automation is going to occur. If it occurs outside of your economy, then you don’t have a wealth creating occurring, and thus no tax base to pay for schools, hospitals and yes some kind of basic income level.

    Albert D. Kallal
    Edmonton, Alberta Canada

  • Nigel Appleton

    Close down the tax havens (oh yes we can!)
    Tell the wealthy – Invest it directly in job-creating enterprises (not on the stock market) or lose it

    Imprison the non-compliant

  • Bob Greenyer

    35 years ago, I was in Yogoslavia on holiday as a child. There they did not have enough jobs for everyone, so basically, everyone did a job share. You worked full time for 6 months and then travelled, studies, grew veg, improved your home etc for the other 6 months, you received you salary over 12 monthly installments. I am a big advocate of this approach in a jobless world – rather than messing up someones life all the time with half days.

    • if I look well I have a basic income, called a good work position.
      My wife have many various jobs, from civil-registry and law consultants, to maid, landlord, cooker, sociology conferencer, lobbyist.
      I work for her as taxi driver, nanny, IT expert, house builder… not much paid (she often manage to pay as …hum…) , but save money to her and since we share the same account I take this saving as a salary.
      I even work for her friends .
      I work for a business called LENR, in the hope it wis a startup investment.

      My kids have side jobs, like babysitter, transoceanic cargo concentrators, hotel keeper, food bike delivery, beside students.

      I thought about employing my daughter to sell coffee at work, but at 6yo it is illegal in france, even if she keep the money for buying a laptop.

      maybe we should accept we are already in that world, except the few who are excluded from basic income.

      note that even having a basic income, I have side jobs… (and I am more lazy than average, I a professional lazy, I’m an engineer).
      the excuse that basic income will reduce side jobs is simply refuted by evidences.

      however the taxes and the noticeable charity tax (when people remove your charity/social help because you no more need it) is proven to block people in non-work (poverty-traps in france).

  • Bob Greenyer

    The other option is that some in society work REALLY hard say 1.5 jobs, like in the UK, and then have to be taxed to pay for those on the dole. Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense does it.

  • builditnow

    We could already know the answer from ants. According to research, about 50% of ants (who are largely identical) kick back and do not work. The other 50% are busy working and feed those that don’t work.
    What is the bet that it’s similar for humans.

  • a&an article on basic income

    A Basic Income Is Smarter Than a Minimum Wage

  • an article on automation that simply asser the obvious
    Robots won’t just take jobs, they’ll create them