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Thread: Universal Basic Income

  1. #81
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    Dec 2013
    Quote Originally Posted by pensive_pilgrim View Post
    Anything's possible, but I haven't seen any indication that this is the future we're moving toward. We've been eliminating jobs since it first became possible to feed a community without every single person working the fields, and somehow we keep finding things that need to get done, or at least things we're willing to work for. And the new jobs always seem to be easier and safer and more interesting than the old jobs. When machines replace humans it's generally in a role where the human has been acting as a machine.
    There's no reason why new jobs should always be created. It's just been the trend for the last couple hundred years. I actually think we're coming to a point where people are realising that they don't actually need anything more. A kind of rejection of capitalism. We seem to be so used to continual economic growth that we assume that's standard, whereas for most of human history economic growth has been at near zero. The last two hundred years or so have been driven by industrial revolution, internet, international shipping, agricultural advancements, etc. But what if we find that there is nothing really new to innovate? Or nothing that really adds much to our lives, so we're a bit 'meh' about it. Also, because of automation / efficiency / etc, we just don't all need to be working to sustain our current quality of life. You're saying that we can invent new occupations, to keep everyone working, presumably that produce something we value. What if the payoff is just not worth it and we decide that we'd prefer to all just work less and have more free time and maintain the current quality of life rather than sacrifice our time for a mediocre improvement?

  2. #82
    schlemiel Faust's Avatar
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    Dec 2013
    Quote Originally Posted by TeresaJ View Post
    Article critical of UBI from a cultural standpoint as something that would further cement class divide. This definitely seems like a possible outcome.

    It makes me want to look more closely at the common folk in Saudi Arabia.
    Yeah, though left unchecked the divide will be cemented anyway unless some conflict tears it apart. We should be pushing for balances and concessions now while we have the chance, as waiting around means we'll have less power.
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  3. #83
    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    Apr 2014
    mosquito-infested hell
    One thing keeps sticking in my mind from the critical WBJ article: The skilled jobs that currently go unfilled.

    On the one hand, yes, people get lazy.

    On the other hand, if work has prestige and remuneration and there is appropriate training available, then I think it should be attractive enough to overcome that inertia.

    With the current educational deficiencies of the labor market, if the job is less psychologically rewarding than a video game and it requires training that is unavailable or impractical for whatever reason and it's not particularly well-paid... Then it makes sense that it will go unfilled.

    And even then, by "unfilled," do they really mean that the job is vacant or that it gets filled by foreign nationals? Even with the hassle and expense of bringing someone in on a visa, that can be more palatable for major employers than making the job itself attractive enough to overcome obstacles in the local labor market.

    Thinking of the Saudi example, if the citizen populace can live comfortably without work *and* foreign nationals are abundantly available to perform the jobs that the citizens have no motivation to perform (which is continually the case in the Middle East, with a constant flow and Arab and Asian migrant workers), then it makes perfect sense to me that Saudi citizens in general prefer not to work at traditional "jobs."

    So I'm still seeing this argument against UBI as being weak. As @Faust pointed out, we already have significant and deepening class stratification. We already have disenfranchisement, both legal and practical. If UBI makes our existing class divide deeper but more humane, that's less than ideal but still, in my mind, an improvement. People are already treated like sheep. This way they'd be slightly more well cared for. Bread and circuses, sure, but better than no bread and no circuses.

    And that's the weak example. If UBI also coincides with revolutionary changes in education, work, government, and social services, then I think we could see a new kind of productivity and a new kind of value in human work - the ideal that the futurists dream of.
    Too bad, Lady Une. You were far too lenient.
    As a soldier, yes. But as a civilian I lived an austere life.

  4. #84
    Member Mxx's Avatar
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    Dec 2013
    Nicola Sturgeon announces funding of Universal Basic Income trials

    The Scottish Government will fund research into the concept of providing all citizens with a Universal Basic Income, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announed yesterday.

    I don't have an opinion either way, but I think this continues to show that Scotland leans more towards the Scandinavian model than the English model.

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