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Comment Re:wars destroy wealth (Score 1) 384

If you know of a way a government can pay for itself without collecting taxes or taking natural resources from the people (or simply descending into anarchy), I would love to hear your solution.

I've had an idea on that note mulling around in my head for a while.

People with enormous amounts of wealth get a steady stream of income without doing anything because they have that wealth invested places earning returns.

Some non-profit organizations are largely funded the same way: some rich person (or several rich people, or many many many smaller donors) donated money to a foundation that invested that money and uses the proceeds from that investment to fund the activities of the non-profit organization.

In principle, a government could be funded likewise. Have a massive foundation that owns an enormous chunk of the productive economy, but not in a controlling fashion -- not the government wholly owning and controlling companies or entire industries, rather, just having lots and lots of little pieces of lots of lots of companies through something like an index fund. The proceeds from that investment then fund the operations of the government.

How to get such a huge investment put together ex nihlo to fund a new government that way is a hard problem, but then starting a new government anywhere is a hard problem in the first place, and better governments are even harder to start from scratch. (Much easier for one powerful person to seize control with the help of other powerful people to whom he promises the spoils of conquest, than to organize and fund a democratic organization to seize the power of the state and somehow stay democratic and relatively free in the process). Usually, better governments are born out of the ruins of worse ones; liberal democracies take control of the existing wealthy and powerful state apparatus of a previous monarchy, say. So on that model, it may be possible to use the existing suboptimal method of raising government funding, taxation, to bootstrap a better one like described above. To start with, the corporate welfare budget could be replaced with a corporate investment budget instead: sure maybe we'll give your company money, but we want stock in exchange (that we'll promptly sell on the market so as to buy a more diversified spread of investments instead).

Comment Re: Yup (Score 1) 384

6. Nearly all the Founders despised slavery. The only reason it was allowed to continue was the southern Democrat States...

Major anachronism here. You're talking about political parties that wouldn't exist until decades later. The southern states weren't Democrats because there weren't Democrats period. There weren't even Democratic-Republicans yet. There weren't even parties at all. There hadn't yet been a single election. There wasn't even a constitution under which to conduct one, because you're talking about the period when it was still being drafted.

Comment Re:Rose tinted glasses (Score 1) 384

If I set aside my personal terror about the matter, I'm really curious to see what's going to happen when my generation collectively get too old to work three or four decades from now and suddenly all become homeless because nobody owns property. Or really, I'm curious to see how long before that enough people finally see it coming and start to panic and actually try to do something about it.

Everyone tells me I'm worrying about it too much right now but I do the fucking math and even making twice the median income (and living way below my means my entire life) it's going to be close even for me, and I'm watching it happen to my mom right now because her generation aren't completely un-fucked either. (Between them my parents have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on housing in their lives and somehow own no property between them. How the fuck? Rent and interest, that's how the fuck).

Comment Re:A very good more basic question (Score 1) 722

You are overlooking the fact that the same people being paid that money are also being taxed to pay for it, so it cancels out for more people near the mean income.

That $12k/year is close to 25% the mean income, so a 25% tax per person to pay for it would mean someone at the mean income pays nothing and gets nothing, someone at half the mean income gets only 12.5% the mean income (around $500/mo) in UBI-minus-tax, etc. It doesn't take 25% of the GDP away; it just shuffles it around some. To places where it will get spent more quickly actually, effectively taking less out of circulation than would have been if you had done nothing.

Comment Re:Color me skeptical (Score 1) 399

My goal would to be paid more for the same amount of time

Which will still take some kind of effort or sacrifice or expenditure of something on your part, if nothing else then whatever it takes to learn the skills to warrant better compensation. Why would you possibly want to put in effort like that if you've already got enough to live off of? (That's sarcasm).

Who is paying the taxes?

Everybody, but for people below the mean income (i.e. about 75% of people with how incomes are distributed today) the basic income payment more than cancels out the tax (so they see a net gain), and for most of the (25%) of people above the mean income, the basic income cancels out most of the tax, so only the very few people people at the very top end up paying much of anything of note, just like only the poorest of people actually see much benefit of note. (But most people still see some small benefit).

Where are the sales or corporate taxes on all the things these wonderful factories are making for free?

Who said anyone is making anything for free? In a full-automation scenario (which is not part and parcel with basic income, the two are separate things though one can address the other's problems), the people who own the factories get free labor from their robots, but they're still going to charge as much as they can get away with for their products. Which is exactly what creates the problem of all the money flowing into the hands of those who own the factories/robots, leaving everyone else destitute. Basic income can help with that problem, but that's not the only reason why basic income is a good idea.

That's a utopian view of the system. In reality, there will be far fewer "way above it" than "hand out" people. If there is just three to one, you need to tax every worker THREE TIMES THE UBI just to break even. That means you take the entire UBI away from them, plus twice the UBI. Why would ANYONE work when they would be subject to such ridiculous levels of taxation?

As it happens, there actually are around exactly three people below the mean income per person above the mean income, because the mean income is around the 75th percentile right now.

However, it's not a simple linear curve, and it's not like you hit that mean income threshold and then WHAM you're out of the free-money camp and into the taxed-to-death camp. If you give everyone some amount that is x% of the GDP per capita, and then fund that with a x% tax (which exactly works out because that's what averages do), the net result is that everyone's take-home after UBI and tax is x% closer to the mean income. Right now, incomes are distributed such that there is a long slow growth from zero income to the mean income at around the 75th percentile, and then slightly less slow growth upward away from it accelerating exponentially into an incredibly steep peak at the top few percent or fractions thereof.

An UBI has the effect of scaling that curve in the y axis, centered on the mean income value. So everyone below the mean income gets bumped up a little closer to it, with people at the very bottom seeing the most absolute movement, and most people along the way seeing lesser degrees of movement. Most of that 25% of people above it see a small absolute movement downward, because they're already just a little bit above the mean income anyway. Only that incredibly steep peak of the top few percent see any significant actual loss. And you know what? They can afford to absorb that.

If you're familiar with that study of how Americans on average think income should be distributed vs how they think it is distributed vs how it is distributed, an UBI could easily have no more effect than shifting the "how it is" curve to more closely resemble the "how we think it already is" curve, or maybe, if we really feel like it, to the "how we think it should be" curve, which still has plenty of difference between the people at the bottom and the people at the top and a gradual slope between them, not a sudden "you're in the top 25%, now you have to fully support three people in the bottom 75%" thing like you think it is.

Here's an exercise for you. Let's say the UBI is around $1000/mo. That's close to 25% of the mean personal income of around $50,000 -- let's call the UBI $12,500/year just to make the math a little simpler -- so it would take a 25% tax to fund it. A person's income post UBI and tax would thus be $(income*0.75+12500), and the UBI's net effect on them a loss of $(income*0.25-12500), or that over 2080 an hour less for a full time employee. Plug in some numbers for "income" and see what results you get and tell me if it's really that awful. I'll start you out with one: someone making $75,000/year, which puts them around the 11th percentile, would see an effective loss of about $3/hr. To end poverty for everyone in America.

There is nobody making below UBI.

The "it" in my sentence was mean income, not UBI.

Comment Re:The republicans will... (Score 1) 399

I'm not saying that UBI should provide everyone with a new car, I'm replying to someone claiming that existing welfare recipients all have fancy cars and TVs and things (though seriously? those things aren't even in the same category, cars are several orders of magnitude more expensive than TVs), and calling them out as I know people on existing welfare systems and they would LOVE to have fancy cars so if there's some way that's happening all the time I'd like to know how it works.

Comment Re:Republicans hate us... (Score 1) 399

Where "the poor" is about 75% of the American populace (below the mean income) and "the rest" is only 25%, and most of "the rest" are still not very far above the mean income and so pay for a very small part of it, most of the burden falling on those at the very top earning ridiculously, exponentially more than even "the rest", never mind "the poor".

Comment Re:The republicans will... (Score 1) 399

We're talking about the scenario where AI exists. If it takes a couple hundred years for that scenario to fully materialize, so be it, but that's the topic of the conversation.

And if the economy grinds to a halt on the way to full automation like that, and mine ownership is what makes all the difference between still needing money (= being dependent on other people) and full robotic independence, then it's the existing mine-owners who will end up the true robot-owning overlords. They won't need money. Everyone else might need money to try to buy mines from them, but they have no use for those other people's money and so no incentive to sell their mines.

Like how feudal lords didn't really buy and sell real estate, it was just owned by whatever lord owned it, inherited and merged in marriage or split between children, etc, but not really traded. Traded for what? In an agrarian society where labor is free -- from the peasants who trade you, their lord, labor for the right to live on your land -- and land is the only capital, what are you going to buy with the money you would get from your land? More land?

This hypothetical fully-automated future is the exactly the same, except the free labor comes from robots instead of humans, and the important quality to have in land is not just arability but mineral content.

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