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Comment: Re:This is not the problem (Score 1) 535

by bluefoxlucid (#48620997) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

Removing minimum wage right now would leave the poorest under the threat of a worse situation than a horribly low salary. The salaries they would be offered would be below tolerable, but better than nothing.

You should negotiate based on your best alternative to a negotiated agreement. When the best alternative is having nothing, anything is something. That's why we have minimum wage. My observation was that we can immediately repeal minimum wage when the best alternative to a negotiated agreement is functionally superior to working the grease fryer at McDonalds for $2/hr; we can do that by separating unemployment from death, and instead attaching it to stability and security with extreme discomfort. Our current welfare system retracts its offerings when you get a job, and can even permanently remove your security (e.g. if you get a job and lose it again, or it's actually horrible and you quit, you lose unemployment), and so pursuing employment when on welfare comes with the risk of lost stability; removing this risk but leaving discomfort and security means people will be highly motivated to seek employment, and highly motivated to refuse or abandon employment which is ill-compensated.

We don't provide an alternative to work. I want to provide one that encourages employment, but that does allow you to give anyone and everyone the finger if they refuse to hire you on fair terms.

Comment: Re:This is not the problem (Score 1) 535

by bluefoxlucid (#48620927) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

I worry about how much of that would simply be funneled to the casinos and liqueur marts. Maybe they are acceptable parasites. I imagine it would help some people. But some of the homeless are down'n'outers are there because they can't get their act together, and handing them money isn't going to necessarily help them do so.

I abandoned this argument long ago, when I realized I could use an EBT card to buy a lot of Tide laundry detergent that I can then sell. Back in 1912, Winston Chuchill said that old-age pensions (Social Security OASDI) and unemployment insurance wouldn't save anybody; but that it would provide hope, which would encourage people to save. That's exactly what happened: people gained hope. Show people what should be a clean shot to survival--or at least a guaranteed resource that they very probably can scrape by on, and if not then they can get by with minimal help--and they will be encouraged to survive, rather than to booze out. It may still happen, but it will happen less; moreover, I do not need to put my sympathies with people whose bad decisions cost them their livelihoods when their livelihood has been bought and paid for completely by society's good graces.

If that was true, then there really wouldn't be any problems when factories had massive layoffs. And when they do eventually find work elsewhere, the extra competition drives down wages.

What of the delay between losing millions of jobs and finding a new way to capitalize on all of this available labor? Should the factory worker put aside his need for food, shelter, and clean water for three, maybe five years, until the market discovers a new way to employ them?

Except that there is work for people with real skills. Tech schools, trade schools, STEM degrees, and less so with philosophy or anthropology.

You mean that whole crippling debt thing, with the 3-5 years out of college delay to find a job, with deferred loan payments accruing interest, leaving skilled laborers with something akin to a 30-year mortgage, endless debt that will suck their paychecks dry? It delivers the upside of having dropped STEM salaries from ridiculous numbers such as $150k or $220k down to the reasonable range of $50k-$80k. I've known many Nursing students who had Nursing master's degrees, and could attain a full $40,000 annual salary... in Washington DC, where salaries are high. This when we supposedly have a nursing shortage.

Well.... I highly doubt that it wouldn't be a contentious issue and be tweaked up and down on a regular basis at the whims of the politicians and the voting blocs.

My simulations indicate that a partial dividend is viable, because I leave state welfare alone as a huge risk control: the state welfare system, in a predictable failure mode, may shrink to 10% or smaller if the dividend is not quite enough for the unemployed to survive. The single impedance I've encountered is a landlord's explanation that landlords usually don't underwrite leases of more than 1/3 of the tenant's income, as a risk control; and I find this dubious because I qualify a Citizen's Dividend as a "Right to Life" provision, guaranteeing access to all basic needs, and thus would provide it statutory immunization from taxation and court-ordered garnering of all kinds.

The landlord risk is, essentially, that the tenant may have an unpredicted medical expense, or spend their money on booze, or some such; but you can't refuse life-saving medical treatment, you can't garner this income source, and I provide an additional mechanism for two parties to agree to divert part of the payment first. This mechanism is such that the two contact the Social Security administration, sign a co-agreement to divert some dollar amount to a third party (e.g. landlord) each month, and will each be immediately notified if either party contacts to cancel the agreement (which is unilaterally effective by both parties). The risk of non-payment is non-existent. Still, landlords tell me underwriting an apartment for more than 1/3 of income is too risky.

Assuming the landlords have a legitimate complaint, a partial dividend is viable; but, as you say, it opens itself to political manipulation. I want a full dividend, 100% eliminating poverty; this becomes more viable in the future, as society's wealth increases. If we go partial, it will set precedent by giving valid reason to occasionally manipulate the system by handing out more welfare money, which is exactly what I want to never do. Obviously, with that being an expected phenomena, it will become a political talking point like minimum wage, which is being doubled and tripled in some states ($15 in 2015 and $21 by 2020?!).

The long and short of it is that economic systems like this are complex. As with all concepts, there is a complex basis--particle physics research--and a practical basis--how to construct a nuclear reactor. Practical knowledge always sounds like an oversimplification, but it's also practical and useful (some boy scout built a nuclear reactor in his garage); complex theoretical knowledge is important, and improving it allows us to summarize it as practical knowledge, developing engineering schematics that don't care about all the caveats and nuances of the field. I mostly talk about the engineering schematics: what we must do, and roughly what impact it has; but do realize that it is extremely nuanced in theory, and only simple in practice when you've ingested a ton of theory and come up with a rough diagram that doesn't violate that theory.

Comment: Re:This is not the problem (Score 1) 535

by bluefoxlucid (#48620677) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

Dividends often come from stock markets, or from board members who own a lot of common stock and get paid in stock options. Most investment nowadays isn't venture; venture investment is actually a very small portion of the investment market.

If a person wants to be a dairy farmer, he's entering a market of dairy farmers. What value is he bringing but the chance to take business (and value, and profits) away from other dairy farmers, and thus the chance to make himself and his venture backers rich?

Comment: Re:This is not the problem (Score 1) 535

by bluefoxlucid (#48620647) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

No, doesn't work that way.

Imagine you require 100 people working 10 hours at $10/hr to build a car. The car costs $10,000. There are 2080 work hours in a year (40*52), so these persons can afford to buy a car in 173 days or about 5.75 months. They must produce about 876.5 cars in that time: the economy must support other services, providing a market for about 776.5 cars, so that these 100 people can buy the cars they're building. This is, essentially, the Ford model.

Now imagine you automate half of that. You have 50 people working 10 hours at $10/hr to build a car. The car costs $5,000. These people can now afford the car in 87 days; but the other 50 have to find other jobs, or else can't afford the car. Their other jobs may be less lucrative: they may make $8/hr, so have to work 108 days to afford the car.

If you want to pay the worker based on improved productivity--that is, the productivity of the machine, which is not an employee and not paid and does the work of 50 men--you pay them $20/hr. 50 people working 10 hours at $20/hr, the car costs $10,000, and it still takes them 87 days to afford it. The other 50, if they've found other jobs which have not experienced such improvements, again working $8/hr, will require 216 days to afford the car.

Both of these situations carry out. In the first, after the 87 days, less money has been paid for the car, and so the other $5,000 usually paid for the car in the next 86 days is owned by the workers (they work, they get paid, but the car cost half as much for them to buy); the 50 who have fallen to janitorial jobs will take 108 days instead of 173 days, and come out with about $3,000 at the end of that whole period. In the second, the worker pays $10,000 in 87 days, but still has $10,000 after the next 87 days--he comes out a full $10,000 ahead, instead of $5,000 ahead; while the other workers, in lower jobs, require 216 days to pay that $10,000, falling behind by about $2,000.

In essence, when we automate jobs and divert the pay to the worker whose job wasn't excessed, we are diverting the money from the pockets of the poor (the excessed laborer) into the pockets of an elite class of laborers whose jobs are still important. In the most basic sense, you move money from consumers to laborers; consumers may be those with little money, especially since you are excessing a lot of jobs. If we improve efficiency all the way down, those lower jobs evaporate; we're left with unemployed laborers who can't afford goods, and expensive goods.

Comment: Re:This is not the problem (Score 1) 535

by bluefoxlucid (#48618737) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

You remove them, or put in dysfunctional ones, and see what happens.

A large business without middle management is like a global command economy run by three people: it works great on paper, but three people cannot account for the needs and functions of every individual township.

Think about managers like CPU cores devoted to the task of scheduling processes, and laborers like CPU cores devoted to executing application code, with each task they're assigned being a thread in a process. You have a hundred thousand CPU cores and a million tasks; do you think a single-threaded CPU scheduler would handle this? Or would you need to devote 10 or 50 or 100 CPU cores to a multi-threaded, non-locking scheduler?

Comment: Re:This is not the problem (Score 1) 535

by bluefoxlucid (#48618663) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

Dividends are paid out to shareholders. Good question. The only labor shareholders of common stocks have applied is buying stock. Same with capital gains, except trading stock market is just gambling and not really trading a product.

Thing is these things don't actually provide any value. They have no value. They are not goods which can be traded, and cannot do anything except siphon money. At the end of the day, you have an auto mechanic fixing your car, or you have a hamburger; if McDonalds pays out dividends, that's sort of like salary to non-working shareholders, but it doesn't technically count as labor. Trying to call it value, however, also doesn't work.

Amusingly, a competitor could simply not pay dividends, re-investing the money in the business, and sell a cheaper hamburger. That opens up a whole counter-debate where I can just accuse you of bringing up broken shit that doesn't follow the rules, because we can discount it by starting up a competing business in the same market and thus show it's all imaginary. Which then becomes stubborn and unpleasant.

You raise interesting points. As poverty is both absolute poverty, being the real condition of not affording basic needs, and relative poverty, being the imaginary condition of having less money than average for an arbitrary standard of living considered to be attainable, I will say the same about value: things like food and steel and auto repair have real value; things like investments and dividends and capital gains are imaginary. My position works perfectly for things with real value.

Comment: Re:This is not the problem (Score 1) 535

by bluefoxlucid (#48617745) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

Sort of.

The truth of the matter is costs come from risks, material mark-up, Government taxes, etc. But all these things translate back to labor: Somebody has a job in which they receive those funds. Risks are controlled with funds which occasionally pay out to cover risk events, reducing the insurance premiums for transfer risk (e.g. we'll accept the 99.999% likely loss of less than $1M/year, but the insurer will pay anything beyond that in such rare cases); risks turn into the purchase of other goods from other businesses. Mark-up on materials pays other businesses, which goes into the same system, and also pays executive salaries and taxes and such. Taxes pay the Government to spend money paying people and businesses to do things for the good of society.

Costs which don't eventually turn into salary go into a vault to never be spent.

Comment: Re:This is not the problem (Score 1) 535

by bluefoxlucid (#48617069) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

Upper management is one of the most important parts of any business.

Our business is dysfunctional due to old-school upper management which has not moved with modern trends; they haven't integrated a technical officer or a risk officer, and so the business now has no strategy for handling risk. We have executives who seek to capitalize on purchases of other business assets, who seek to capitalize on markets, and so on; they sit at the table arguing who is most important, what strategies need the most emphasis, and how they work together. That's what executives do.

Nobody discusses how to build our technology infrastructure to handle it, and so Finance runs two hundred thousand legal contracts by the manual labor of clerks and filing cabinets--meaning clerks must remember, in their heads, that certain contracts must be fetched from the cabinets and manually examined to remember to pay bills, lest we enter breach of contract. Likewise, nobody looks around the boardroom and cries out that all of the shit we're doing has risks, may destroy the company, and needs controls in place to prevent that. This is what CTOs and CROs are for, and these are what we don't have.

Another issue I've seen is a lack of project management--middle management and lower management, in a sense. Project managers directly work with people, while program managers and portfolio managers align projects and the entire portfolio of projects in a business to avoid overlapping work and make sure the business is only doing things that support the business strategy. Because we have none of this, the business bleeds money like crazy; I've worked at Government agencies, and respect them for their extremely high level of monetary efficiency, because this place is approximately 3% as efficient at getting anything done as Social Security or the IRS.

Corporate governance is a fascinating topic. Project managers study a lot about human resource management and stakeholder management; it turns out you need to keep your laborers happy and continuously develop their skills, or else your business fails. Team building is a big part of project management, but so is individual human resource management: you should know that certain people are interested in certain projects, and disinterested in others, and so you assign them as best you can where their skills and interests align so they actually work. This includes people having interests in some projects because they impact other projects they're interested in: you want the new IT fiber network upgrade to go through properly because you are a storage nerd and highly interested in this new SAN system you're installing on the new 10GbE backend, so we're assigning you as a design resource to make sure the switches and networks and cabling take storage networks into account and can properly back our VM farms.

Everyone thinks their job is more important than everyone else's job. If it were, we would fire everyone else.

Comment: Re:This is not the problem (Score 2) 535

by bluefoxlucid (#48616971) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

Actually, if you can get everyone a barely survivable standard of living by default, you can repeal minimum wage. Minimum wage gives a standard of fairness to cite in negotiation; when people can survive just fine without it--albeit, not comfortably--they will look at wages and only accept wages high enough to improve their quality of life, discounting the cost of having to work. That includes the time sink (40 hours/week is a lot of time compared to not working) and the personal irritation (cashier in an air-conditioned K-Mart is worth a lot less money than hauling bricks and shoveling shit in the hot sun).

In these conditions, a minimum wage is a figure to show a standard of fairness: these laborers want $10.15/hr, but the Government says these unskilled jobs are worth $7.25/hr; more laborers will accept $7.25/hr, and those who won't will accept considerably lower wages than they would usually demand, because they're aware they're making unusual demands above the established baseline of fairness. Without a published minimum wage, the baseline of fairness is whatever each party envisions when coming to the table; the employer and employee both think each are being unreasonable, and only begrudgingly compromise to the whims of the person across the table. You will compromise less toward the solution offered by some asshole who doesn't want to pay you than you will toward the solution published as known-fair.

The key to this is you don't need a job: welfare doesn't run out, and welfare is always there, and welfare is there to ensure your survival. Today, welfare doesn't do that; you need a job, you are desperate, and so you will take unreasonably low wages just to have something to stave off death. Minimum wage is needed when the employee is at such a disadvantage; but put the employee at advantage, and minimum wage supports the employer instead.

So if those who work get more than those who don't work, but those who don't work survive, you get a lot of power into the hands of the laborer. Currently, the laborer is threatened by death for unwork.

Comment: Re:This is not the problem (Score 2) 535

by bluefoxlucid (#48616889) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

So, it's cheaper than human labor.

Low-precision human labor means throwing out parts that don't pass QA. If they're from raw steel, you have to expend more energy (cost) to remelt them again and again. The same goes for higher quality and consistency--which is precision, anyway; quality is the degree to which a deliverable satisfies requirements, and high quality is satisfying those requirements in the cheapest and most effective way. This includes opportunity requirements--that a result 20% more expensive is of attributes which make another, expressly-desirable but not necessarily required venture 50% cheaper--so you may elect to make something of higher grade than necessary for Project A because it reduces the aggregate cost of Project A and Project B. If not, making the thing of higher grade is gold plating: it's a waste of money and does nothing useful.

Safety is a cost factor. People will sue you, or you will need to pay to retrain lost workers. Either way, this costs money; it may happen infrequently enough that solving the safety issue is more expensive.

A task not directly possible with human labor can be done in another way for high expense (lots of labor), or can take too long (missed opportunity), or is a missed opportunity by being not humanly possible (lost profit). All of these cost money.

Comment: Re:This is not the problem (Score 2, Insightful) 535

by bluefoxlucid (#48616837) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

This is what a universal basic income or citizen's dividend is for. Consumers are the big movers in economy, and producers are the big makers; a portion of all income (individual and corporate) is taken and divided up among everyone (for some definition of "everyone"), stabilizing the bottom.

Imagine if all the homeless and unemployed had a fixed amount of income. Maybe $500-$600/mo. At $1.33/sqft (significantly more than I last rented), a livable microunit housing for a single individual would leave just barely enough for food, utilities, clothing, etc. Just barely. I think I have $50 of leeway in there at 17% of corporate and individual income (eliminating about half of taxes, including OASDI payroll tax, and applying a 17% flat to replace it). Right now, they have nothing, so can't buy anything; in this scenario, they have just enough to buy what they need to live.

This hypothetical creates an enormous market: if you fall to the bottom and lose everything, you still have the shirt on your back, enough money for a new shirt, and enough to rent a sardine can to live in (224sqft microunit; I may be able to get fancy without appreciably increasing costs, too...). Businesses can profit off this, while the mental and physical health problems of being homeless and hungry--starvation, unsanitary conditions, etc.--are lifted off the back of society.

On top of that, producers who fully automate are collecting profits. Automation reduces labor: it costs less to maintain a robot because it takes a collective 10,000 man-hours to produce a robot and 1,000 man-hours per year to fuel and maintain it (including mining fuel, refining fuel, shipping fuel, generating power, transmitting power, maintaining the power infrastructure, mining all the steel for the robot parts, refining steel, shaping steel, and sending maintenance people), but the robot does 50,000 man-hours of work in 10 years. 20,000 is less than 50,000, so that's 40% as many employment hours--40% as many jobs, if you will--for the same useful production.

This labor reduction by efficiency improvements includes far more than automation; for example, Toyota saved 45 seconds from a 65-second process building seats by using a shorter hose (raises the steam temperature) and installing the bolts in a different order (easier, faster access by the tech, who installs bolts and then steams the seats to drive out volatile manufacture chemicals). Many such optimizations allow the same humans to use the same tools to build the same things, but in 80% of the time overall, or 60%, or 40%; thus you only need half as many humans to build as many things in as much time.

The reduction of laborers and the increase in productive output means goods can come cheaper, but consumers are poorer. Fewer consumers exist. A citizen's dividend doesn't free us from work; it leaves us poor, but alive. It frees us from the terrible economic crash that comes when new management styles and processes. We will always find new use for laborers; but this comes after we put laborers out of jobs for a good while, and in the process destroy the labor force. Providing some return to the consumers for being consumes is, thus, advantageous to businesses: it provides them target markets to invest in, avoiding the economic problems of making higher-end goods for the working class which has just become the unemployed, and suddenly not having anyone to sell anything to.

A universal basic income, or a Citizen's Dividend in particular, is the solution to this conundrum. Universal vocational education--that is, college education--touted as a solution, is an exacerbating problem: laborers pay higher taxes or take on enormous debt to flood the market with cheap, skilled labor, giving employers the advantage of lower salaries as unemployment for a skilled labor class increases. Welfare, as a qualified service, takes on more operating cost as more people collect; while a universal income always pays at 100%, and is thus immune to the fluctuations of economy. To survive the economic dead zone between paradigm upgrades and new labor demand, we must invest in the maintenance of the labor force; and the best way to do so is to make them a profit source.

Someone needs to work; it turns out to be very few people, mostly those maintaining the robots. Labor is a resource, however: we suddenly have piles of cheap laborers who can build great big things for us, until we excess their new jobs by robots.

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