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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.

Comment Re:That's OK, the World ows us 10x that for.... (Score 1) 528

The US is both a republic and a (representative) democracy. The two are not contrary, they are orthogonal. Besides democratic republics like the US, you can have democratic non-republics like the UK, non-democratic republics like North Korea, and non-democratic non-republics like Saudi Arabia.

Comment Fix my problems, invest the rest (Score 1) 842

First things's first, I'd hire an accountant, a lawyer, and an executive assistant, have them all keep each other in check and keep me financially and legally secure, and let me direct the use of that money more easily than having to spend it all myself. But that settled, I would fix the problems that personally affect me the most, first:

My mom is presently homeless and in terrible physical health, and her mom (my only living grandparent) likewise; grandma at least can stay with another of her kids for now, but I live in a tiny trailer and can't really help mom. But simultaneously, the first childhood home I can remember, near where I live now, is for sale. I'd buy that house in cash immediately and let mom and grandma live there, with in-home nursing care and a personal assistant to help them with anything they need, and instructions to help enroll them both in creative and social programs (painting classes, book clubs, etc) to help bring them both back into good enough mental shape that I can have positive relations with them again.

I'd buy my dad's underwater land off him, and basically redevelop the entire thing into a proper house, rather than the decaying frankenstein partially rebuild mobile home and unpermitted slapdash structures it's made of now. It would include a lot of garden space, so that dad could grow his own food, which he loves to do already, and which would save him a lot of money. I'd probably also buy him a lot of musical instruments, and let him retire to the music he's always wanted to do his entire life.

And lastly I'd buy the property at the top of the hill from where dad lives now, the ruins of the huge old house I grew up in as a kid, before the mountain fell on it. I'd have the whole place rebuilt the way I remember it, and retire there myself. I'd finally be able to live with my girlfriend, and we'd get married and live happily ever after in there.

Of course, new cars and computers and phones and such for all of the above, and physical and mental health care and therapy for everyone involved until everyone's in as good a shape as possible, but that's all trivial on the scale we're talking about.

I'd then invest enough money in some stable long-term investment like index funds, such that the returns are enough to fund the upkeep of all of the above and a comfortable lifestyle for everyone involved indefinitely. I would then spend my time completing the life's work that I've had to put off until retirement.

I'd probably finish the mod for an ancient video game that I never quite completed, and then make another mod for another ancient game that I never even got to start, just for a warm-up. I would likely hire a bunch of my old friends who wanted careers as video game developers to help me with this, and maybe fund a startup for them to bring their own projects to fruition together and realize their own life dreams.

Then I would finish writing my philosophy book (probably hiring a philosophy student or graduate from the local university to be my sounding-board and fact-checker, since I'm so out of practice in that world now). Then I would probably spend the rest of my life fleshing out the speculative fiction series I've been very slowly developing in one form or another my entire life. I'd probably also study a lot on my own, or take classes or hire teachers when I can't teach myself something from books.

I might want to make the personal-funding investment large enough that I could afford to travel while I do all of this, and then I'd buy a boat and sail from port to port along all the coasts (and up all the rivers) of the world, maybe traveling by horseback up the rivers where boats can't fit. Bringing an entourage with me the whole time to make sure we can communicate with the locals, get us through customs, stay out of trouble with the law, don't miss any important sights, etc. See the world, while doing my life's work, since all I need to write is a laptop and I can do that from any hotel room anywhere.

Any money left over would go to further investments granted to a foundation I would create to fund charities, and to create a charity. The charity I create would be a general-purpose help center, where people come first when they need any kind of help. It would direct them to other existing charities where they exists to help with those kinds of problems (and direct funding to those charities for the good work they do), and also offer custom help, including both guidance and as necessary (and affordable) funding, to solve problems not covered by existing charities. It would gather, in essence, emic ethnographic data from its clients, figuring out what it is that people in general are suffering the most from, and aside from publishing that information for the charitable economy (and private businesses who may see opportunities for new niches to serve), either boosting existing efforts to solve those problems, or founding new charitable organizations to address those problems specifically. Where possible, such new charities would operate by subsidizing the purchase of relevant services from private businesses, and then invest in those private businesses, using the proceeds from those investments to further fund subsidize the purchase of their services by those in need of them, creative a positive feedback loop that grows the charity's ability to give over time and helps keep it self-sustaining.

It's not hard to admit errors that are [only] cosmetically wrong. -- J.K. Galbraith