Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post Reply
User avatar
Hugh Akston
Posts: 17016
Joined: 05 May 2010, 15:51
Location: El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora Reina de los Angeles

Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by Hugh Akston » 03 Jan 2017, 16:38

We've talked about it before, but it's time for every libertarian's favorite welfare scheme to get its own thread.

Finland's experiment has some good things and some bad things going for it:
Under the two-year, nationwide pilot scheme, which began on 1 January, 2,000 unemployed Finns aged 25 to 58 will receive a guaranteed sum of €560 (£475). The income will replace their existing social benefits and will be paid even if they find work.
The biggest problem is that it only lasts two years. Part of the benefit of UBI is being able to count on it long term as a support/supplement. I would also prefer a bigger sample and age range, but it's okay for a pilot program. But I like that they are replacing all other benefits with the GMI. That will make this a better test than just throwing money plus whatever else at people.
"Is a Lulztopia the best we can hope for?!?" ~Taktix®
"Inexplicably cockfighting monsters that live in your pants" ~Jadagul

User avatar
Mo
Posts: 22388
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:08

Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by Mo » 03 Jan 2017, 16:43

If Finland's experiment of €560 counts, what about Alaska, which gives out 3x as much and has been doing it for decades.
his voice is so soothing, but why do conspiracy nuts always sound like Batman and Robin solving one of Riddler's puzzles out loud? - fod

no one ever yells worldstar when a pet gets fucked up - dhex

User avatar
Fin Fang Foom
Posts: 9376
Joined: 05 May 2010, 22:39

Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by Fin Fang Foom » 03 Jan 2017, 16:51

Mo wrote:If Finland's experiment of €560 counts, what about Alaska, which gives out 3x as much and has been doing it for decades.
That's probably per week. That's slightly more generous that Washington states top tier of unemployment.
". . . even the federalist folk are probably a bit wary, and they're essentially cosplaying the preacher from footloose." - dhex

User avatar
nicole
Posts: 8513
Joined: 12 Jan 2013, 16:28

Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by nicole » 03 Jan 2017, 16:53

Fin Fang Foom wrote:
Mo wrote:If Finland's experiment of €560 counts, what about Alaska, which gives out 3x as much and has been doing it for decades.
That's probably per week. That's slightly more generous that Washington states top tier of unemployment.
It's monthly, per the Guardian.
"Fucking qualia." -Hugh Akston

"This is why I carry a shoehorn.” -jadagul

User avatar
Jennifer
Posts: 21764
Joined: 28 Apr 2010, 14:03

Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by Jennifer » 03 Jan 2017, 16:53

Mo wrote:If Finland's experiment of €560 counts, what about Alaska, which gives out 3x as much and has been doing it for decades.
I'm going to guess at least part of this is because Finland has more "free" (tax-paid) stuff than Alaska -- such as, "free" national health care, "free" or extremely subsidized childcare for those who need it, and the like. Imagine how much further those Alaskans' oil payments would go if they did not personally have to shell out money for medical care, got free or super-cheap daycare if needed, and also if most Alaskans lived in "walkable" or at least "mass transit-able" cities where owning a car wasn't a necessity, the way it is for most Alaskans today.

EDIT: Plus what Nicole and F3 said.
"Myself, despite what they say about libertarians, I think we're actually allowed to pursue options beyond futility or sucking the dicks of the powerful." -- Eric the .5b

User avatar
JD
Posts: 9958
Joined: 05 May 2010, 15:26

Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by JD » 03 Jan 2017, 17:47

Uff da. The UBI has been one of my favorite bugbears lately, but I don't have time to address it right now. I'll have to share some of my observations later.
"Millennials are lazy. They'd rather have avocado toast than cave in a man's skull with a tire iron!" -FFF

User avatar
thoreau
Posts: 25421
Joined: 06 May 2010, 12:56
Location: Back to the lab again

Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by thoreau » 03 Jan 2017, 18:05

In a world where the UBI would be accompanied by a repeal of the minimum wage and the scaling back of a great many other social welfare programs, I would be a huge fan.

In this world? Not so much.
"ike Wile E. Coyote salivating over a "4000 Ways To Prepare Roadrunner" cookbook without watching his surroundings, the Road Runner of Societal Inertia snuck up on them both and beepbeeped them off the mesa."
--Shem

User avatar
D.A. Ridgely
Posts: 17793
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:09
Location: The Other Side

Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 03 Jan 2017, 19:08

In answer to a question above, I suspect booze is much cheaper in Finland than in Alaska. Alaska's oil revenue sharing program basically just covers the bar tab.

User avatar
D.A. Ridgely
Posts: 17793
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:09
Location: The Other Side

Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 03 Jan 2017, 19:09

BTW, I have never said I thought a UBI was a per se good thing, only that it strikes me as near inevitable in a world where loutish oafs with zero skills and less education can find work outside Congress.

User avatar
Mo
Posts: 22388
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:08

Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by Mo » 03 Jan 2017, 19:56

D.A. Ridgely wrote:In answer to a question above, I suspect booze is much cheaper in Finland than in Alaska. Alaska's oil revenue sharing program basically just covers the bar tab.
If Finland is anything like the rest of Scandinavia, not a chance it hell. Even Muslim countries have cheaper booze than places like Sweden, Denmark and Iceland. Beer is only sorta expensive, but hard liquor is obscenely priced. And when a bar serves a drink they measure out shots, using 1 oz shots.
his voice is so soothing, but why do conspiracy nuts always sound like Batman and Robin solving one of Riddler's puzzles out loud? - fod

no one ever yells worldstar when a pet gets fucked up - dhex

User avatar
Fin Fang Foom
Posts: 9376
Joined: 05 May 2010, 22:39

Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by Fin Fang Foom » 03 Jan 2017, 20:02

Mo wrote:
D.A. Ridgely wrote:In answer to a question above, I suspect booze is much cheaper in Finland than in Alaska. Alaska's oil revenue sharing program basically just covers the bar tab.
If Finland is anything like the rest of Scandinavia, not a chance it hell. Even Muslim countries have cheaper booze than places like Sweden, Denmark and Iceland. Beer is only sorta expensive, but hard liquor is obscenely priced. And when a bar serves a drink they measure out shots, using 1 oz shots.
It probably isn't. The Finns have a reputation of being uproariously violent drunks.
". . . even the federalist folk are probably a bit wary, and they're essentially cosplaying the preacher from footloose." - dhex

User avatar
Aresen
Posts: 13797
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 20:18
Location: Great White Pacific Northwest

Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by Aresen » 03 Jan 2017, 20:05

D.A. Ridgely wrote:BTW, I have never said I thought a UBI was a per se good thing, only that it strikes me as near inevitable in a world where loutish oafs with zero skills and less education can find work outside Congress.
I think you mean "can't". I would add "and have the power of the franchise."

TBS, we are very close to that with the 'safety net' in place in most OECD countries today, only with a lot more bureaucracy than a UBI would entail. (Even a UBI with a bureaucracy to oversee those who would otherwise blow it, inject it or drink it before the end of the first week of the month.)
If Trump supporters wanted a tough guy, why did they elect such a whiny bitch? - Mo

Those who know history are doomed to deja vu. - the innominate one

Most people don't realize Stephen King downplayed the horror that is Maine. - Jennifer

User avatar
D.A. Ridgely
Posts: 17793
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:09
Location: The Other Side

Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 03 Jan 2017, 20:08

Mo wrote:
D.A. Ridgely wrote:In answer to a question above, I suspect booze is much cheaper in Finland than in Alaska. Alaska's oil revenue sharing program basically just covers the bar tab.
If Finland is anything like the rest of Scandinavia, not a chance it hell. Even Muslim countries have cheaper booze than places like Sweden, Denmark and Iceland. Beer is only sorta expensive, but hard liquor is obscenely priced. And when a bar serves a drink they measure out shots, using 1 oz shots.
I looked and for the most part you're right. Ex rectum, I assumed Finland still had the subsidized vodka industry that kept Russia inebriated throughout the Cold War. I expect local hooch is significantly cheaper than imports, but it looks like a bad place for an alcoholic.

User avatar
dbcooper
Posts: 17919
Joined: 05 May 2010, 15:40

Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by dbcooper » 03 Jan 2017, 20:10

Mo wrote:
D.A. Ridgely wrote:In answer to a question above, I suspect booze is much cheaper in Finland than in Alaska. Alaska's oil revenue sharing program basically just covers the bar tab.
If Finland is anything like the rest of Scandinavia, not a chance it hell. Even Muslim countries have cheaper booze than places like Sweden, Denmark and Iceland. Beer is only sorta expensive, but hard liquor is obscenely priced. And when a bar serves a drink they measure out shots, using 1 oz shots.
Denmark is the exception to the rule in the Nordic countries. Booze is reasonably priced there.
Slip inside a sleeping bag.

User avatar
thoreau
Posts: 25421
Joined: 06 May 2010, 12:56
Location: Back to the lab again

Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by thoreau » 03 Jan 2017, 20:15

One of the many problems of the UBI is what Aresen mentions. There will still be a bureaucracy to run some sort of additional safety measures (whether subsidies, supervision, or some mix thereof) for the following groups of people:
1) Those who would inject, drink, or gamble away their UBI but aren't provably destructive enough to put in jail.
2) Those who are too disabled to earn much money above and beyond a UBI.
3) Children whose parents are either in those categories or in gray areas close to them.

Category 1 is just an inevitable feature of the landscape, and a society with enough sympathy to have a UBI is going to have a bureaucracy to go above and beyond for category 1.

Category 2 is a feature of the landscape even in the absence of fraud/presence of stringent disability monitoring. And any sustainable UBI has to be austere enough to incentivize the able-bodied to still seek work, which means it's austere enough that the legitimately disabled will be objects of sympathy. (And the illegitimately disabled will be objects of scorn, making the monitoring bureaucracy more intrusive and hence more expensive.)

And children are just one of those topics that make all social welfare discussions messy.

The more I think about the UBI, the less convinced I am that it would actually lead to much downsizing of the social welfare bureaucracy, which (combined with the efficiency of abolishing the minimum wage) is the most attractive stated advantage of the UBI.
"ike Wile E. Coyote salivating over a "4000 Ways To Prepare Roadrunner" cookbook without watching his surroundings, the Road Runner of Societal Inertia snuck up on them both and beepbeeped them off the mesa."
--Shem

User avatar
Eric the .5b
Posts: 11718
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 16:29

Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by Eric the .5b » 03 Jan 2017, 20:20

Mo wrote:
D.A. Ridgely wrote:In answer to a question above, I suspect booze is much cheaper in Finland than in Alaska. Alaska's oil revenue sharing program basically just covers the bar tab.
If Finland is anything like the rest of Scandinavia, not a chance it hell. Even Muslim countries have cheaper booze than places like Sweden, Denmark and Iceland. Beer is only sorta expensive, but hard liquor is obscenely priced. And when a bar serves a drink they measure out shots, using 1 oz shots.
And Finland has a much lower per capita purchasing power while having a per capita income not far off from the US average.

I don't think we can rule out the idea that this is meant to fail.
"Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer."
"Cyberpunk never really gave the government enough credit for their ability to secure a favorable prenup during the Corporate-State wedding." - Shem

User avatar
Mo
Posts: 22388
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:08

Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by Mo » 03 Jan 2017, 21:32

dbcooper wrote:
Mo wrote:
D.A. Ridgely wrote:In answer to a question above, I suspect booze is much cheaper in Finland than in Alaska. Alaska's oil revenue sharing program basically just covers the bar tab.
If Finland is anything like the rest of Scandinavia, not a chance it hell. Even Muslim countries have cheaper booze than places like Sweden, Denmark and Iceland. Beer is only sorta expensive, but hard liquor is obscenely priced. And when a bar serves a drink they measure out shots, using 1 oz shots.
Denmark is the exception to the rule in the Nordic countries. Booze is reasonably priced there.
I remember Copenhagen having somewhat expensive booze, as opposed to beer, when I was visiting. Though perhaps my impression was skewed by coming from the US, where booze is cheap and at that time I was living in South Bend Indiana, where you could get cirrhosis for about $7 a day.
his voice is so soothing, but why do conspiracy nuts always sound like Batman and Robin solving one of Riddler's puzzles out loud? - fod

no one ever yells worldstar when a pet gets fucked up - dhex

User avatar
dbcooper
Posts: 17919
Joined: 05 May 2010, 15:40

Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by dbcooper » 03 Jan 2017, 21:34

At the supermarket spirits were more expensive than the US, but in line with the UK. Beer was cheap.
Slip inside a sleeping bag.

User avatar
Shem
Posts: 6887
Joined: 27 Apr 2010, 00:27

Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by Shem » 04 Jan 2017, 01:43

Eric the .5b wrote:
Mo wrote:
D.A. Ridgely wrote:In answer to a question above, I suspect booze is much cheaper in Finland than in Alaska. Alaska's oil revenue sharing program basically just covers the bar tab.
If Finland is anything like the rest of Scandinavia, not a chance it hell. Even Muslim countries have cheaper booze than places like Sweden, Denmark and Iceland. Beer is only sorta expensive, but hard liquor is obscenely priced. And when a bar serves a drink they measure out shots, using 1 oz shots.
And Finland has a much lower per capita purchasing power while having a per capita income not far off from the US average.

I don't think we can rule out the idea that this is meant to fail.
I don't know that it's meant to fail so much as it's not meant to provide an immediate path to a workable UBI. At this point, the whole thing is so new, I can see people wanting to try it at some level just to see what people do with the money. I mean, we all think we know what would happen if we just cut everyone a check (even though we don't necessarily agree on what the "obvious" answer is as to what that would be) but this seems like an attempt to actually get some empirical information about what actually happens. Do people save? Do they blow it all the first day they get it? Do they work less? Do they take more risks in business and wind up working more because they feel secure enough to do something they like? Truthfully, while we all have ideas about what happens based on varying evidence and our own ideas about human nature, we're pretty short on proof. Just having some knowledge about that could be an important first step in devising a program that'll provide the desired results while minimizing the possible downsides.
"VOTE SHEMOCRACY! You will only have to do it once!" -Loyalty Officer Aresen

User avatar
Eric the .5b
Posts: 11718
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 16:29

Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by Eric the .5b » 04 Jan 2017, 01:57

At less than $600 dollars a month in a country with a higher cost of living than the US average, with all other means of assistance cut off? I suspect the experiment is to see how fast they can discredit the idea in favor of the existing welfare state.
"Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer."
"Cyberpunk never really gave the government enough credit for their ability to secure a favorable prenup during the Corporate-State wedding." - Shem

User avatar
Shem
Posts: 6887
Joined: 27 Apr 2010, 00:27

Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by Shem » 04 Jan 2017, 02:06

Eric the .5b wrote:At less than $600 dollars a month in a country with a higher cost of living than the US average, with all other means of assistance cut off? I suspect the experiment is to see how fast they can discredit the idea in favor of the existing welfare state.
Possible, I suppose. Though it seems a lot of work to discredit an idea that's not exactly on the verge of overturning the status quo.
"VOTE SHEMOCRACY! You will only have to do it once!" -Loyalty Officer Aresen

User avatar
Eric the .5b
Posts: 11718
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 16:29

Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by Eric the .5b » 04 Jan 2017, 03:20

Shem wrote:
Eric the .5b wrote:At less than $600 dollars a month in a country with a higher cost of living than the US average, with all other means of assistance cut off? I suspect the experiment is to see how fast they can discredit the idea in favor of the existing welfare state.
Possible, I suppose. Though it seems a lot of work to discredit an idea that's not exactly on the verge of overturning the status quo.
If it's big enough to get tried, it's big enough to be acted against.
"Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer."
"Cyberpunk never really gave the government enough credit for their ability to secure a favorable prenup during the Corporate-State wedding." - Shem

User avatar
JD
Posts: 9958
Joined: 05 May 2010, 15:26

Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by JD » 04 Jan 2017, 08:20

As I mentioned before, the UBI has been kind of a bugbear of mine lately, because such an obviously silly idea idea is getting so much traction. Firstly, let's all be honest about one thing: it will boil down to "the new welfare", because in practice, since the UBI will be paid for out of taxes, there will be two categories of people:
-people who are net gainers, receiving more than they pay out (the unemployed, underemployed, sporadically employed, very-low-wage workers)
-people who are net losers, paying out more than they take in (everybody else)

Proponents love to say "both left and right find things to love about UBI!" but both left and right will find things to hate about it too. The right will hate the fact that the unemployed will have the option to spend all their money on drugs and porn. And a certain percentage will do this, obviously; just look at San Francisco and Vancouver BC. The left will hate the fact that parents will be able to spend all their UBI at the casino, leaving little Susie and Johnny still without food and clothes.

This last bit is why, as people have mentioned, it is never going to replace all other forms of welfare payments. That is a complete pipe dream. So in practice, the only thing we're likely to end up with is UBI and free daycare and free school lunches and socialized medicine and rent assistance, etc.
"Millennials are lazy. They'd rather have avocado toast than cave in a man's skull with a tire iron!" -FFF

User avatar
JD
Posts: 9958
Joined: 05 May 2010, 15:26

Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by JD » 04 Jan 2017, 09:54

Another thing I have noticed, not so much about UBI itself as about its proponents, while reading arguments in favor of the UBI: the proponents fall into two major categories.

The first I call "the well-meaning liberals". They say things like "A UBI would actually cost less than our current patchwork of welfare systems, and be less susceptible to both Type I and Type II errors. Studies show that it wouldn't actually be a disincentive to work or productivity - in fact, it gives people the flexibility to be entrepreneurs or to go back to school."

The second I call "the revolutionaries". They say things like, "The UBI could fundamentally change the nature of the relationship between work and survival! It will enable people to say no to jobs! Most of those jobs shouldn't exist anyway! It would let people do things like be artists or community organizers, things we currently don't pay for!"

I would really like to see a conversation between people from these two groups, because they claim to both think the same thing is a good idea for very different reasons.
"Millennials are lazy. They'd rather have avocado toast than cave in a man's skull with a tire iron!" -FFF

User avatar
Hugh Akston
Posts: 17016
Joined: 05 May 2010, 15:51
Location: El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora Reina de los Angeles

Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by Hugh Akston » 04 Jan 2017, 10:05

JD wrote:This last bit is why, as people have mentioned, it is never going to replace all other forms of welfare payments.
The Finland program is replacing all other welfare benefits with a cash payout.
"Is a Lulztopia the best we can hope for?!?" ~Taktix®
"Inexplicably cockfighting monsters that live in your pants" ~Jadagul

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests