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Comment Re: Weep for humanity. (Score 1) 375

The reason to save is so that you don't need to borrow in the future. Not all savings are immediately lent out, and it's only because of inflation that anyone feels like they have to, because savings not invested somehow will be diminished by inflation. Inflation forces people to lend and rewards borrowers, encouraging a society of people constantly scrambling to service their debts, terrified of all their "savings" (that aren't actually set aside, but are being used riskily by others) vanishing with a fluctuation of the market, and a tiny fraction of people with absurdly huge and diversified assets (the big lenders and rentiers) reaping the benefits of all that debt-servicing by other people.

Of course deflation has its own problems too, causing those who have more to get more, more quickly, without having to do anything for anyone.

What we really want is a stable currency, with no inflation or deflation, where people can work, actually save when times are good instead of "investing" their earnings in risky ventures, and then "borrow" from themselves (spend from their own savings) in the future when times are lean.

Comment Re:I approve, sorta (Score 1) 1291

It's very heartening to me to see that you are at least the second libertarian highly-modded in this thread who thinks that something like this is, at the very least, better than what we've got already.

For decades I've been advocating that we could comfortably get rid of a whole bunch of statist intervention and have a really free, libertarian market if we just slapped one simple elegant bandaid over the problem of growing inequality and concentration of wealth that comes about when you do that naively. (I have thoughts on how to do it less-naively and not even require that bandaid, but that's a topic for elsewhere).

Just make sure that nobody can get too far from the mean income, up or down -- that the further away from it you get, the harder you are pulled back toward it, but in the wide ranges nearer to it you're free to succeed or fail on your own -- and then let the market sort out things like paying wages and providing services as efficiently as possible, knowing that even the most desperately needy person is getting at least enough to cover their basic needs, and that the cost of that is being paid only by those most easily able to shoulder it, leaving the bulk of people in the middle classes largely alone and free.

Comment Re:I can't see how this will work (Score 1) 1291

I make about twice what the median American makes and I still have plenty of things (mostly a house) I could use more money for and work hard to get more money to get those things.

You can sure well bet that I wouldn't quit this job to live off of $10k a year work-free.

And if I was working part-time at McDonalds, I sure as hell wouldn't quit that job to live off of $10k a year work-free, instead of working AND getting that $10k/year and enjoying all the better quality of living that would afford me.

My mom lives off $10k/year because of disability, and believe me, it is a terrible existence. Even though she's disabled and isn't supposed to be able to work, she still wants to, because she needs more damn money. Of course, with disability, if she gets any job at all, even one paying minimum wage for an hour a day, she loses all her benefits. With a basic income, people like that would be allowed to work to better their lives, unlike with the perverse incentives current programs offer.

Comment Re:Don't we (the US) already have that... (Score 2) 1291

Exactly, so we get a negative feedback loop that diminishes economic activity and wealth. People are working for money building things that people buy with the money they get from building other things and so on; that's how the economy works and how people's needs get met. If we replace the people building things with machines building things, then those machines would also have to do the buying of things (and be paid money with which to do so) to justify their own existence, which they're not going to do, so you'll end up with people not working, having no money, not building things, and nobody buying them; and machines not working and building things either, and everything stops. That is the problem.

Since paying the machines so that they can go buy the products (like we used to pay the people the machines replaced) isn't going to happen, one possible solution is that, even once machines are doing the work, we keep paying the people (who aren't working anymore) so they can keep buying the stuff that the machines are making, and use the money made by those machines to fund that paying of people so that they can keep buying the stuff that the machines make, and so on. In the end it's just like the pre-machine economy, except that people don't have to work. Which was the point of inventing machines in the first place, wasn't it?

Comment Re:Free money isn't free (Score 1) 1291

At least you've got it better than my generation, who are still paying into social security and pretty much guaranteed, whether this basic income happens or not, that it's not going to be there when we're old enough to collect. Instead, all our SS payments will be funding your SS income, if you still get it... the way that your payments were actually to fund your parents' income, and so on since the beginning. SS is not a savings account, and though I agree that it's a really unfair broken way of doing things, the first generation of people who got SS got it without paying anything in, so the last generation, whenever it ends, are going to be totally fucked, and it's that first generation who fucked them.

Comment For best results, scale with average (Score 2) 1291

If we do this by giving everyone half of (the average income minus their own income), then we basically guarantee that nobody makes less than half of average, we cost average people nothing to pay for it, and the burden on the rich who do pay for it scales with the inequality of income distribution automatically. In a market where income distribution was close to uniform already, this kind of distribution would automatically scale back to almost nothing. If a tiny handful of people get almost all the money and most people get almost none, then that tiny handful will be paying a lot to a lot of people. It creates a spring-like centerward pressure on everyone; people near average are barely affected at all, the further from average you get the harded it pulls you back toward average.

Comment Re:Never Understood the Name (Score 1) 266

It has nothing to do with the political spectrum. The "liberal" in "liberal arts" refers to freemen, i.e. full citizens, not slaves. The classical liberal arts were the things needed to conduct life as a free citizen: grammar, logic, and rhetoric (the most basic three, the "trivium", whence our term "trivial"), and four kinds of mathematics: arithmetic, geometry, "music" (meaning harmonics) and "astronomy" (meaning dynamics).

Modern use of the term to mean "non-STEM" is just misuse of the language.

Unix is the worst operating system; except for all others. -- Berry Kercheval