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Comment Re:This! (Score 1) 448

That's not quite what he said. He said, "we should replace the ragbag of specific welfare programs with a single comprehensive program of income supplements in cash -- a negative income tax. It would provide an assured minimum to all persons in need, regardless of the reasons for their need."

Today we don't have truly massive displacement of the labor force due to automation, so presently it would be mostly those who are working who would pay for it, and it would mean progressively higher tax rates for us. But remember *everyone* gets it, and remember in his hypothetical scenario the costs of what we now call welfare have been eliminated. As you make more you begin giving progressively more of the UBI you get back. I'd probably be paying back more than what I got in UBI, but I pay a disproportionate cost of welfare as it is.

And if you're unemployed, you're free to take any old job you like, say an apprenticeship for what you'd really like to be doing - and it ADDS to your UBI stipend. It doesn't take away from it or disqualify you from it like welfare does now. Or do nothing, if you wanted to just subsist and be considered at the bottom rung forever. I really don't think most people would be content to just fuck off full-time forever.

The minimum wage would be eliminated, since society had already taken care of that. So employers could get labor more cheaply, especially for apprenticeship-type jobs.

As "robots" began creating greater frictional unemployment (refer to George Stigler's concepts) then society would have to find a way to recoup some of the extra productivity they provided in order to pay for the displaced labor -- and that's a tough question to answer. That displaced labor wouldn't be displaced forever, but it would take time for each displaced worker to find a new spot in a heterogenous labor market - i.e., learn that new skill.

Yes immigration would need to be controlled, mainly in that as an immigrant you don't get UBI until you are a citizen or have spent X-years here paying taxes. And if you want to come here illegally, fine, as long as you are willing to work for shit wages and never get any closer to getting a UBI.

The fantasy part is thinking that it will be at all easy to transition from the screwed up dis-incentivizing system we have how (welfare) to a UBI. The government is too in love with its job as Nanny to willingly accept something where bureaucrats aren't nearly as much in control.

Comment Re:Too much to express here, but (Score 2) 448

I agree that socialism, when primarily characterized by the dis-incentivization of work, is eventually always going to run aground for the foreseeable future. However, a guaranteed minimum income (UBI or negative income tax) is NOT by itself socialism. You still get to keep it if you work, though it may get slowly taxed away as you earn more. Friedman subscribed to this idea too (cf. chapter xii in "Capitalism and Freedom). In fact, we discussed just that with him when was a guest lecturer in a class I took on Human Capital (under Gary Becker).

Comment Re:Um, why? (Score 1) 181

According to the paper submitted to the DOE by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (not the article) about 3/4 of the energy required for heat is produced by burning gaseous byproducts of the Hydrothermal Liquefaction process and the rest is bought off the grid. The biofuel is not burned or otherwise processed onsite, but shipped/sold to a centralized upgrading/refining operation that processes it on a larger scale. Since it is only about 1/10000th of the volume of the incoming raw sewage before it's processed and dewatered, it's economical to truck it to a central refinery rather than doing any refinement at the site.

Comment Re:Luddites? (Score 1) 1052

You're not making it up -- you and the Swiss seem to just be getting it wrong. Of course, paying each person to have a heartbeat will increase the money supply and devalue a currency by increasing is quantity and velocity of movement, but a stipend, as free as possible from bureaucratic constraints, will not cause a society not to work. Welfare INSTEAD of work does.

Comment Re:Luddites? (Score 4, Interesting) 1052

No. To each of your points, quantitatively, no. Perhaps not yet, but at some point, a basic income is likely to become the norm. If you are worried about low wage earners quitting jobs you are just mistaken, a worker gets the free money IN ADDITION to his/her job. Having and working at a job just gets you more, simply and without bureaucracy, which is the point. Work still has its benefits pecuniary and otherwise, though there might no longer be a minimum wage for it. Incentivization does not go away. Economists as conservative as Hayek and Freidman espoused this idea (both of whom taught at Chicago, where I graduated in Economics.) This is an idea which may fail now, for many reasons. But it a concept that will eventually succeed. Or we won't

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