Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

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Shem
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Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by Shem » 24 Jun 2017, 19:17

Finnish citizens given universal basic income report lower stress levels and greater incentive to work.

It makes sense, especially at that level of payment. Having money to cover essentials regardless means earning allows you to actually get ahead rather than trying to do intricate calculus about "how much will I lose by taking a job?'
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Jennifer
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Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by Jennifer » 24 Jun 2017, 19:46

Shem wrote:Finnish citizens given universal basic income report lower stress levels and greater incentive to work.

It makes sense, especially at that level of payment. Having money to cover essentials regardless means earning allows you to actually get ahead rather than trying to do intricate calculus about "how much will I lose by taking a job?'
I do think that, for humans in general, the psychological benefits of "feeling you're getting ahead" rather than "struggling just to get by" are of major importance, and worth being viewed as a major factor when weighing the pros and cons of a UBI.

It's similar to the difference between working a shit job and living in a shitty apartment when you're a college student with reason to expect something much better after you graduate in a couple of years, versus having that same job and living situation when you're a full-fledged adult with reason to fear "This is as good as it's ever likely to get for me."
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JasonL
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Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by JasonL » 24 Jun 2017, 23:09

I'll wait for actual earned income numbers to see what the incentive really looks like. Yeah I'm sure people are less stressed. I'm sure they feel liberated to do their pet thing more often. What I care about is the degree to which that pet thing becomes something of actual economic value. Something should be telling shit artists to do something else with their labor.

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Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by thoreau » 24 Jun 2017, 23:28

To the extent that there are fewer hoops to spend time and mental bandwidth jumping through, and no disincentives to work due to loss of means-tested benefits, basic economic theory suggests that this should incentivize healthy people without too many issues to work.

I do want to know what the "artist and entrepreneur" is doing. If he is making shitty art, ugh. If he has something with a snowball's chance in hell of attracting customers, good for him.

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Shem
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Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by Shem » 25 Jun 2017, 01:32

Shitty art can be distressingly lucrative. See: Thomas Kincaid: Painter of Light Wallets.
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JasonL
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Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by JasonL » 25 Jun 2017, 09:22

And if so that's fine. Doing any thing that produces value to customers such that they give you enough money to offset input costs plus a bit counts. I would rather have the incentive to consider opportunity cost be quite high, but that's a least ok. Note though that everyone can't do it that way. If everyone values their time so poorly that the surplus is small, there's no money for UBI

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Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by Jennifer » 25 Jun 2017, 14:12

JasonL wrote: If everyone values their time so poorly that the surplus is small, there's no money for UBI
Hence the point of experiments such as Finland's. So far, whenever UBI-type experiments have been tried in various places, the recipients have not responded by primarily becoming lotus-eating bad artists.
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JasonL
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Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by JasonL » 25 Jun 2017, 20:49

Insufficient data.

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Painboy
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Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by Painboy » 25 Jun 2017, 21:04

Shem wrote:Finnish citizens given universal basic income report lower stress levels and greater incentive to work.

It makes sense, especially at that level of payment. Having money to cover essentials regardless means earning allows you to actually get ahead rather than trying to do intricate calculus about "how much will I lose by taking a job?'
Even if the program did everything it's proponents say it did, any social policy coming out of Scandinavia needs to be tested in several other non-Scandinavian countries before I would even consider it here. Most of these social policy victories can't ever be repeated by countries not named Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and occasionally Minnesota. The policies do not appear to export well.

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Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by Jennifer » 26 Jun 2017, 18:17

JasonL wrote:Insufficient data.
How much data would be "sufficient" to even hypothetically shake your firm faith in the proposition "Without the fear of destitution to motivate them, most currently poor people won't bother to do anything productive with their lives?"
Painboy wrote:Even if the program did everything it's proponents say it did, any social policy coming out of Scandinavia needs to be tested in several other non-Scandinavian countries before I would even consider it here. Most of these social policy victories can't ever be repeated by countries not named Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and occasionally Minnesota. The policies do not appear to export well.
One of the Cherokee (IIRC) tribes in North Carolina instituted something similar for tribe members with profits from a casino; rather than sit around getting drunk and paying video games all day, the majority of recipients did indeed do "useful" things with the money: pursue higher education, things of that sort. Despite Jason's oft-stated concerns, there is very little evidence to suggest that most people, if guaranteed the bare basics of living, will be content to effortlessly settle for that. (And what little "evidence" there is tends not to last long -- yeah, there were the 1960s hippies who decided to eschew materialism and join communes and "drop out" of society ... until they got it out of their system and became Yuppies who voted for Reagan in the 1980s.)

Remember: the UBI proposals are not "Everyone guaranteed a comfortable middle-class life with no effort"; it's only "Everyone guaranteed the bare necessities of living, but if you want anything extra you have to work for it."

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JasonL
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Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by JasonL » 26 Jun 2017, 19:38

I'll take broad based test programs in Europe and the US that shows earned income over say 5 years of the test groups.

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Jennifer
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Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by Jennifer » 26 Jun 2017, 20:33

That will be a tough sell, because without prior evidence, people-in-power who are already skeptical of a UBI will naturally be reluctant to fund a five-year-long program for a sufficiently large sample population. (Though of course, there are the Cherokees and other casino-Indian tribes, many of whom have been collecting for far more than five years already. OTOH, the luckier ones also collect sums far in excess of "bare necessities covered, but you must work for anything extra.")

Until such a five-year, large-population sample is brought about, though, I'll continue to be encouraged by the fact that thus far, every time a shorter duration, smaller-sample-size UBI experiment has been put into effect, the results were not "Most recipients turned into lazy lotus-eaters."

Then again, I am not surprised by this, anymore than I'd be surprised by reports saying "Once this economic system switched to Communism, everything got worse across the board" -- well, duh. Anyone who understands and accepts certain fundamental facts about human nature could've told you that. Communism is bound to fail because people are not going to put the "Common Good" ahead of their own personal self-interest all the time, and also because people won't bother working if they know it doesn't matter if they work or not. Yet a bare-bones UBI is likely to succeed for a closely related reason: people are not going to be content with just "the bare bones, but nothing better" -- especially not when they live in a world full of awesome stuff to see and want. One big reason the Soviet Union fell is because even though people for the most part DID have the bare-bones necessities by the late 1970s and beyond, they wanted more than that. The kids wanted blue jeans and trendy clothes, everybody wanted some of the "not necessary, but really really fun" luxuries they knew Westerners had--people did not settle for just the basics and nothing more. That's not how humans are.
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JasonL
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Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by JasonL » 26 Jun 2017, 22:01

Changing the entire economy is changing the entire economy. An analogous program in the US would cost bojillions of dollars and once introduced it will be forever. The burden of proof has to be higher than what we've seen so far - in scale and duration and real earned income impact.

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Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by Jennifer » 26 Jun 2017, 23:06

JasonL wrote:Changing the entire economy is changing the entire economy.

Tautology is a tautology. So?
The burden of proof has to be higher than what we've seen so far - in scale and duration and real earned income impact.
If we're Congressmen actually voting on whether to implement such a proposal, sure. But in the context of a forum discussion between two equally powerless people (politically speaking), I'd still be interested in hearing some actual evidence (as opposed to statements of faith) to back up the assertion that either "People guaranteed the basics of survival will be content to drift by with just that, and want nothing more" or (another way of putting it) "Without fear of actual destitution/homelessness/hunger, people won't be motivated to do anything other than coast." Have you anything at all to point to in known human history to lend credence to your theory?

FWIW, I've offered plenty of examples which seem to lend credence to mine: when the textile revolution made it near-effortless for people to get "That one set of clothing sufficient to protect then from the local climate," people did not effortlessly settle for what had been the standard for all of history before then; they wanted more clothes, more variety, more stuff than people ever could've had before. When various technological innovations made "light after sunset" super-cheap, people didn't settle for near-effortlessly acquiring one or two candlepower illumination (or even a single 25-watt electric bulb); people now illuminate their homes to levels that would've been impossible for even rich people to get before. Now that food is insanely cheap by world historical standards, nobody settles for simply the bare-minimum amount of work and effort to acquire the food medieval peasants had to struggle to get; even "cheap" food by today's standards is an unbelievable cornucopia of abundance by the standards of most of history. When cars became affordable for the masses, people didn't settle for near-effortlessly copying their horse-n-buggy lifestyles; they started to do things (take extensive day trips, etc.) which would've been impossible in the days when horses and shank's mare were the only transportation options possible.

When, in all of history, have people by and large been content to merely settle for those bare minimum essentials, once they or society they reached the point where that bare minimum became easy to get, but with some extra effort there was everso-much more out there to enjoy?
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JasonL
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Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by JasonL » 26 Jun 2017, 23:57

You are using sloppy and inapt examples as evidence. Impact of UBI doesn't follow from those examples because they are nothing like UBI. People have never had a universal program that pays for all necessities without any effort. The tradeoff is effort vs leisure with no harmful outcome to doing nothing. It's not working hard to get a nice car. It's working at all vs not having to do anything to have a good enough car.

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Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by Jennifer » 27 Jun 2017, 02:33

JasonL wrote:You are using sloppy and inapt examples as evidence.
If you would offer even sloppy and inexact examples as evidence, that would be a vast improvement over the examples you have offered, which are: none. What in human history makes you think people will settle for the bare minimum and not want anything else, in a world filled with enticing other things? Even teenagers today whose parents pay for all their necessities (and usually more than that) still want to get summer or after-school jobs so they can have spending money -- are you suggesting that the average American teenager has a better work ethic than the average human adult?
It's not working hard to get a nice car. It's working at all vs not having to do anything to have a good enough car.
The UBI suggestions I've seen weren't enough to pay for a good-enough car, plus gas, insurance and related expenses -- at most, it's "not having to do anything to afford bus fare." But, again -- what examples can you point to from history (or the present) to suggest this is how people will react? Do you have any evidence other than gut feelings and "I just know most people really are this lazy, indeed I do?"
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Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by JasonL » 27 Jun 2017, 06:54

I'll say for the bazillionth time there is no historical analog for doing this. Disability fraud on a large scale. The behavior of trust fund kids. The behavior of the extended families of my fathers 2nd and third wives. Everything my my sister says. Everything all of her friends say. Everything people at the local bar say. If you make it just barely too high. If people can afford some beer and weed, there are lots and lots of people who wouldn't bother doing anything annoying by their own account.

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Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by nicole » 27 Jun 2017, 06:59

One thing I'd be curious about is how many people collecting the extended post-recession unemployment benefits were working while they did so (under the table).
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JasonL
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Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by JasonL » 27 Jun 2017, 08:29

That's a fair question. All I know is people in numbers are opting out of the formal work force and many of them are committing fraud to do it.

http://apps.npr.org/unfit-for-work/

http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalr ... g-men.html

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Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by nicole » 27 Jun 2017, 09:01

I mean I'm inclined to think people would work a lot less/a lot of people would be happy to not work. I just think that could be a way to investigate it. I know young people in that situation who mostly didn't work, but were truly desperate to...but it seems many of the older people in that situation ended up sloughing off into disability/retirement while the younger people do mostly have jobs now.
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JasonL
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Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by JasonL » 27 Jun 2017, 09:03

Something near 20% of 25 year old males without a degree are not employed and not looking for work by their own account as of 2015. Now lets say "good news, same deal, but you get guaranteed income sufficient to cover your basics for ever, go forth and be productive!"

Uh, yeah.

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Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by Dangerman » 27 Jun 2017, 10:07

All that, and immersive-level entertainment has never been more available. I imagine people sinking all their time into the next-gen version of Second Life, in cheap cardboard VR, brought to you by Facebook.

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Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by Hugh Akston » 27 Jun 2017, 10:25

I can definitely see how people not working forever on a UBI is much worse than people not working forever on SSDI.
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Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by nicole » 27 Jun 2017, 10:28

Hugh Akston wrote:I can definitely see how people not working forever on a UBI is much worse than people not working forever on SSDI.
In case it's not clear, I definitely think it would be better.
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JasonL
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Re: Money for Nothing: the Universal Basic Income

Post by JasonL » 27 Jun 2017, 10:49

Hugh Akston wrote:I can definitely see how people not working forever on a UBI is much worse than people not working forever on SSDI.
I think the number of people doing this currently is really bad and would like to nearly cut it in half. My concern is what if you get say 3-5X the number of people doing it when it's not going to require fraud or doctors notes or even mom and dad paying your way. You just get to sit there and collect checks but now its normal.

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