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Comment Re:The desire for religion (Score 1) 1042

I don't think it's religion, per say, but control.

If you already have a massive pile of money, you have a significant amount of power in the world. For some, that's not enough. But it's pretty obvious that "World Dictator" is incredibly unlikely, even with Gates/Buffet-level money, and that's small potatoes, anyway.

Let's presume that we are in a simulation, and that there is a way to "break out"--essentially going from a simple process to su. Unless the construct that holds our simulation is connected to machinery that can be manipulated to create a physical presence that a process can be transferred to, or the process that breaks out is able to convince an observing entity to grant them such abilities, then the process that breaks out is basically stuck there. Maybe they can read input of the surrounding world, but that's as far as they can go.

But even with that, the process can still use the new su status to manipulate the simulation as they please, essentially becoming a god for the other processes.

Look at the history of religion--it's often a tool of power, used by priests to control their flock, or attempts to curry favor with the deity du jour to defeat enemies or bring prosperity. If this (very silly) request has any connection to religion, it's more of a Joseph Smith or L. Ron Hubbard connection than a Jesus Christ or Martin Luther one.

Comment Re:Better Programs (Score 1) 630

the inflationary pressure of just adding $x to everyone's income.

Like the cities that are implementing $15/hr minimum wage, it wouldn't be a sudden $x. (I should mention that this is all with an 'ideal' and thought out plan) You'd have a year of $1 just to make sure all systems are set up, then a year of $x/100, then $x/10, then $x/2, then $x. (Or an even more gradual roll out.) During this time wages would likely stagnate across the board, but income would increase. Min wage probably decreases in the same fashion until it's $0, rather than just being completely and instantly removed. Then $x is pegged to inflation.

With a gradual roll-out the year-over-year inflation should not be much larger than it would otherwise have been (disclaimer: I am not an economics shaman).

The other problem I don't know how you deal with is what prevents a UBI from simply raising the price of everything by the amount of UBI everyone gets? How do you guarantee food, shelter and clothing will be always available at UBI income rates without price controls?

While income increases, wages will depress, so at the end most people will see a financial wash except for the very bottom rung, who now has income, and the very top rung, who probably have higher taxes. After that, what "free market" forces actually exist are still in place. If property companies try to raise their rents by $x, they'll find a lot of tenants leaving (especially now that they are able to better move around the country, and aren't locked to a city). Similar things will happen for food and clothing: companies that try to super-hike will be undercut by those who just go with inflation.

A minimum wage hike doesn't lead to large inflation, and mincome is essentially a replacement for such a hike while also increasing the pool of people who have money to spend.

As for guaranteeing, that's where the government decides what $x is, based on the cost of basic housing, food, etc. This is one reason it might make more sense to have a per-state $x (and you deal with people changing states in much the same way you deal with immigration, except that after they move they would receive the amount from their prior state until they've been settled for Y months). Could companies hike to match $x? Maybe. What's stopping them from maxing out those prices right now, though?

Comment Re:Better Programs (Score 1) 630

If you posit a progressive negative income tax associated with UBI -- as earned income increases, UBI declines, a wage floor similar to a minimum wage would exist probably just below the threshold at which UBI payments start to decrease. [...] Illegal immigrants would be willing to below this wage floor, reducing the incentive for employers to attract UBI recipients into jobs. It would also reduce the incentive for employers to raise working standards to accommodate the intangible and external costs to UBI recipients.

You suggest the negative income tax, which creates the wage floor, and then you express concern about problems stemming from the wage floor. The solution to your concern is easy: Don't posit a negative income tax.

With a straight UBI--meaning every citizen gets a flat check once a month, no adjustments or concerns to their sources of income or lack thereof--minimum wage is $.01. Some types of necessary work would have a "societal min wage" amongst Americans, but without receiving UBI it is unlikely that the illegal immigrant would survive when working below that. A large variety of local low-income-focused charities and foodbanks would also disappear with the introduction of UBI, so the illegal immigrant wouldn't be able to make use of those services, either. The reward for coming over illegally would thus significantly decrease, and the flow would be reduced to a trickle if that. Companies then have to raise their pay to attract Americans--and if they're paying American-desired wages anyway, the only reason to hire an illegal immigrant at that wage is for the abusive/corrosive nature they want to maintain, but such practices will become apparent very quickly.

IMHO, any long-term UBI scheme *must* have sufficient labor incentive to work in order to maintain the labor productivity and economic growth necessary for UBI to remain economically viable.

Why? You tax the upper echelons and corporations heavily, because they are the one directly and mostly benefiting from automated work. People buy their products, but they retain or hide the money, and so it doesn't flow back to the people to buy new products. If they didn't already do this, there wouldn't be much incentive for UBI.

I'd also wager there's a social rationale -- admittedly paternalistic -- to maintain some kind of work-like activity structure for the majority of the population to constrain what I would call the "idle hands are the Devil's workshop" effect

Okay, done: Charities. While those focused on the poor would shut their doors, there's still plenty of charity work to be done. Something that will long need help are those charities focused on animals, particularly rescues and sanctuary. Libraries will also need and see an increase in volunteers.

Then there's the fact that UBI only allows for a basic subsistence, a roof, clothes, and food. If you want a TV or anything beyond that, you're gonna need a job. This will result in a lot of "as needed" work where people only do 10-20 hours a week.

Then there are hobbies; but not just those, but hobbies that can generate minor income. Be it the guitar player in a cafe, or someone who tinkers with electronics and fixes toasters and Kurigs, a lot of people will be able to dedicate themselves to a hobby full-time absent a job and part of many hobbies have potential for earning money in lieu of that 10-20 hour week.

Are there going to be people who will pool their money with others to rent a single apartment and then play video games 24/7? Sure.

People don't do well with no life purpose

Life purpose is not intrinsically linked with a job. You can have a job and not see a purpose in life. I have a job, a fairly critical job in the small company I work for, but I still see no purpose in life and suffer from severe depression. You can lack a job but still know what your purpose or desire is.

Comment Re:Better Programs (Score 1) 630

they will work for less than minimum wage

There won't be any minimum wage. None. UBI renders it unnecessary, because citizens will be guaranteed a living, or basic, income. This means that illegal immigrants can no longer undercut Americans in pay. Would they put up with worse working conditions? Sure, but they'll be receiving far less money for it now.

And if they somehow do still undercut American workers, it's not as big as a problem thanks to UBI.

Comment Re:Increase employment rate? WTF? (Score 1) 630

In large factories, sure. But we're still decades off from general-purpose robots on a local or personal level, so small companies still rely mostly on humans. Now, how might that help unemployment?

Entrepreneurship. With a guaranteed income, more people will have the financial flexibility to start a business. While the rate of failure for new ventures would be unlikely to change, the raw number of successful businesses would increase, and these businesses would need to hire people, and also hire other businesses for various things, who then need to hire more people, etc. Everyone having a guaranteed income, where any employment is used primarily for luxury purchases, will further drive this.

Comment Re:Better Programs (Score 1) 630

I think the best basic income schemes have a negative progressive income tax basis to them. You lose the basic income as your regular income increases and at some level of earned income you don't get any basic income.

The main issue I have with that suggestion is that it destroys one of the large benefits of UBI/mincome--the removal of bureaucracy overhead, where the removal also frees up money for use in mincome.

With standard mincome, you have a questionnaire that is no larger than a regular SS card:
1) Are you 18?
2) Are you American?
3) Do you have a pulse?
The end. Say yes to all three, provide whatever documentation is necessary to qualify the answers, and you're done.

Putting any stipulations on that just makes the program require more money, perhaps even more than might be "saved" by not paying anything to those with sufficient income. You have to now list your income for last year, projected income for this year. If you lose your income you have to prove that to receive UBI again, and probably every single recipient would have to do the same. Plus, making it reliant on anything specific makes it far easier for more specifics to be applied, and then very few will receive mincome and we're all worse off for it.

This provides a work incentive

Now I think you might be missing a huge reason for mincome: work is unnecessary. Not just unavailable to a portion of the population, but much of the work that is done is unnecessary. There is not enough work that actually needs to be done to regularly employee the people we have, and such a gap will only increase over time.

A person's existence shouldn't be completely dependent on their interest in working. Heck, how many hundreds of thousands, or perhaps even millions, already earn money without actually doing any work?

For one, I think employers generally fear any world where unemployment isn't an existential threat for employees -- I think it radically reshapes the balance of power.

On this I agree, and is a huge reason I support it (I work under the assumption that we would implement universal healthcare before universal income). If employees have a lot more freedom in their job choices--or even having a job at all--the employers can no longer lord over them. At the same time, companies will also be freed of a lot of stuff: minimum wage is dissolved, unions will become far less necessary, a lot of labor laws might be relaxed (or at least fewer implemented.) Businesses will have far more direct pressure from employees, potential or existing, so the government won't have to act as much to balance out things.

will also be freed of a lo Immigration is a real problem -- how do you contain a basic income system to the basic margins of your economy?

Make it based on citizenship, held for at least six months. This means that the people who immigrate are either those in moderate-high demand, who have well-paying jobs lined up that they don't need UBI, or that already have sufficient funds to survive until they meet that requirement.

Illegal immigrants? This is certainly a problem that needs addressing, but it's not going to be some sort of drain on an UBI system. In fact, it might help with that issue: Illegal immigrants are unlikely to apply because it significantly increases the chances of being discovered and deported, and without minimum wage in place it becomes far harder for them to survive so they have less incentive to come over. The Department of Basic Income would likely have an investigative division to snuff out fraud and application by illegal immigrants.

Comment Re:Who Lu? (Score 1) 111

I actually really liked Hulu, having used it from its first year until April of this year. It had a lot of "day after" showings of series I liked, and once they finally got a No Commercials plan I started giving them actual money. Even though it cost more than Netflix and the original content was subpar, I was quite happy.

But, this past April, they forced a new "Watchlist" format on all users. The move was basically an amalgam of every complaint /. has whenever UI is fucked with: control is removed, interaction is made confusing, and the system starts making decisions for you. You could no longer manage your own queue (where I had shows sitting for years as "to watch if I get bored" fare), the UI was a convoluted mess and would include listings for series long-since finished/cancelled that I had also long-since seen, and their "BFF" (as they put it) would add videos to the watchlist if you made the mistake of clicking the wrong area (and these were a pain to remove entirely.) This is made worse because they've long had a bad UI of "six episodes at a time" for series' pages, where you can only see six episodes, then have to click a button to load the next six, etc. If you were lucky you could at least jump to a season, but heaven help you if you wanted to queue up all episodes of one long-running show. They took this and put it on the "Watchlist", meaning that I was forced to look at a list of 1000 items six-at-a-time.

I not only cancelled my subscription but closed my account entirely. My understanding is that the "Watchlist" (who watches the watchlist?) reflects how Netflix does things (having never used the service myself), so this move of content to Yahoo! is just one more step by a company trying to live up to another company's ideals. It's too bad, because most of the reasons I liked Hulu were reasons I didn't have much interest in Netflix.

Comment Re:The Yahoo name makes me avoid a service entirel (Score 1) 111

Fans of Community were well aware--after NBC cancelled it a second (third?) time after the fifth season, Yahoo! picked up for the sixth and final season. (A recurring joke/plea was #SixSeasonsAndAMovie) That and Other Space were probably the only somewhat-known content it had.

Comment Re:What's the big problem? (Score 1) 675

there doesn't seem to be a clear limit

There wouldn't be because (AFAIK) the limit is set by the merchant. Merchants set the limit depending on what kind of risk they are willing to undertake in exchange for a faster/smoother transaction. For example, a fast food joint might accept $10 without signature to get people through the line. A grocery store might do $25 (I think this is King Sooper's limit). A thrift store like Goodwill might have $0, so you always have to sign because they don't have much room for risk.

Comment Re:Irrational fear of numbers again (Score 1) 1145

You can now hire people for a dollar per hour so long as that's the best money they can get at the moment.

A lot of people (particularly those in the "everyone will be a sloth if they get free money" camp) only focus on this as a negative. The flip side, however, is that people are no longer tied to their employer. (I work under the assumption that we wouldn't get UBI until after we get public healthcare.) Because they have that safety net, they have a relatively extreme amount of mobility and no longer have to work for crappy companies and/or under crappy people. The employer-employee balance tips dramatically in favor of the employee, and overall happiness will improve greatly because either people leave their miserable jobs or the companies are forced to improve management and practices in order to retain people. In addition, a lot of people will take jobs that only require 10-20 hours a week so that they can get some extra money for stuff beyond the basics, but not lose much of their life to a job.

So, yeah, a lot of people will work for a dollar an hour, but no one will put up with Mandatory Fun Day anymore.

Comment Re:Dumbest idea ever (Score 1) 202

Why not? These are connected to the electrical system; why can't they pull electricity and convert it to heat to avoid ice in the first place? It doesn't solve the other potential issues with these things, but as plausibility goes it seems more likely than others to this layman.

Or they can incorporate something like this.

Comment Re:Hillary will say anything to get elected (Score 1) 355

I was discussing with someone online about her changing what she supports based on popular support. The person I was discussing with said that this showed someone who was "politically savvy".

I responded that someone who is that "politically savvy" would support interment camps if the public was scared enough. While I want my President or Representative to at listen to my concerns and, ideally, act on them, I don't want someone who outright kowtows to public opinion because, unfortunately, public opinion is too often wrong. Pretty much every bad policy or action this country has taken had public support at some point.

Comment Re:Frivilous Law Suit (Score 1) 242

Same thing is happening in Boulder, CO. Any land put up for sale that is close to downtown and/or university is quickly sold, whatever is on it demolished, and apartments built in its place.

I just wish more of it was mixed use (e.g. bottom floor for stores, 2nd/3rd floor offices, then residential above that.)

Comment Re:No take backs!! (Score 1) 634

I already suspected regarding Trump voters' "we're voting for him to punish the establishment" mentality.

I know for certain that this is the view of at least one person. An old acquaintance of mine plans to vote for Trump now that Sanders is essentially out of the race, precisely to spit in the eye of the establishment. He even thinks it's a positive thing if Trump completely burns down the country, that we'll somehow rebuild from the ashes.

I can get behind "fuck the establishment", but I'm not going to make a deal with the devil to do so.

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