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The RICH Economy (Can such an economy work?):
Yes, but can such this hypothetical economy work? Given that people are willing to try out something for a better?
edited 2nd Mar '11 2:41:10 PM by QQQQQ
I see the Awesomeness.It's to point out that "it creates jobs!" is not a point in somethings favor.
Who Am I?QQQQ: Well, lets look at each point: "The basic idea (although Douglas, Pound, and Fuller differ on the details) is that every citizen should be declared a shareholder in the nation, and should receive dividends on the Gross National Product for the year." They actually tried something very much like this in Russia, soon after the fall of the Soviet government. Virtually everyone sold their shares for cash, with the result that a very small group of wealthy individuals ended up with almost all the shares. If you make them inalienable (cant sell it) then I suppose that would work, but you would end up with an economy that never developed new goods or grew in any way (because no wealth is available for that). "This plan would definitely cost the government less than the present welfare system, with all its bureaucratic red tape and redundancy" How is that possible? Why would disbursing a guaranteed income have any less bureaucracy or red tape than disbursing welfare checks? It should have more (since more people are involved). "The Negative Income Tax would establish a minimum income for every citizen; anyone whose income fell below that level would receive the amount necessary to bring them up to that standard." Same question as above. RICH economy: Thats a little more complicated and I would like to address that in a separate post.
Who Am I?OK, I'm ready to take on RICH (forgive the double post). Stage I: Seems superfluous. Right now, anyone who could design a machine that would replace an entire class of workers can copyright it and potentially make a lot more than $100K. We're probably operating at near peak efficiency for IT innovation. Stage II: Vastly overstating the potential effect of technical innovation. It can happen quickly, but not overnight. When you undercapitalize a new startup, it is very likely to go bankrupt in just a few years. So, no vast hordes of unemployed, no need for a Negative Income Tax or Guaranteed Annual Income? Stage III: Why the gradual ramp up? If you want a national dividend, just start there. But then you have the same issues raised above. Stage IV: That's already happened. You would probably be surprised to just what extent higher education is subsidized by the national government (mostly through guaranteed student loans). The real problem with the "workless society" is the technical and economic stagnation it would incentivize. Any neighboring society that stuck with the old souless capitalistic model would probably outcompete this one, eventually taking it over. Some would say that is what happened between the Soviet Union and the West.
I see the Awesomeness.Supposedly, you won't reach an actual workless society until development itself is automated.
94. Grandmaster of SharkMaybe I missed it, but does the article provides an alternative to distribute money among people? Because one of the reasons that the creation of jobs is seen as a good thing is that only jobs get the people money, otherwise they need to be provided for by the government, i-e the rest of society.
Non-kosherTo be fair, a job CAN be a positive thing, not because of economics, but because of psychology. There's a sense of apathy that that can breed, and even if you're doing nothing of value, if you're being kept active, it's better than sitting at home stewing over the fact that you're a worthless human being. Now, certainly, that has to be measured against one's free time, but I think that asserting that jobs themselves are simply bad is probably pushing it too far in the other direction. For instance: advertising can be viewed as a "bad" in the economic sense (in the same way garbage is), but there are funny ads, ads that people want to see. Likewise, there are fun and healthy jobs out there-even if it weren't producing anything, the fact that it gives an individual guidance does itself have some net value. You could argue that that's part of "stuff" but at that point, you're defining stuff broadly enough that it ceases to have meaning.
"How is that possible? Why would disbursing a guaranteed income have any less bureaucracy or red tape than disbursing welfare checks?" Because for welfare checks you need to determine wether someone's eligible for welfare, which costs money. Basically for each requirement there is for recieving welfare someone has to check wether everysinge potential reciever meets those requirements. So it's entirely possible to be able to save money by removing some or all of the requirements "Any neighboring society that stuck with the old souless capitalistic model would probably outcompete this one" I think any model for a post scaricity society requires that at some point of labor effieciency the capitalist model breaks down. The idea is that demand cannot grow infinitly and that eventually supply will outstrip demand and endemic unemployment will appear to offset any further gains in effiecency. And because the unemployed have less ability to create demand Also I don't think anyone's ever said that paying people to dig and fill holes is better than paying them to do nothing, but some would say that in some cases it's almost as good, and much easier to achieve as you don't have to deal with people who are upset at people getting money for nothing
edited 2nd Mar '11 4:36:55 PM by Kzickas
Who Am I?@Kzickas: Ok, that makes a little more sense, but I cant see that actually happening, for the reasons I set out in my first post. Lets assume that we develop a "post-scarcity" society. Everyone is receiving the guaranteed annual income- presumably equally. Then I offer anyone the chance to earn extra credit- "De Marquis Dollars", if they come and work in my factory making stuff. De Marquis Dollars are good for things made in De Marquis factories, as determined by a market. Pretty quickly I expect people will line up for a chance at an extra boost to their standard of living, and we are back to a "wage-slave" system. Expecting automated supply to exceed human demand seems like a really strange presumption. To increase demand all you have to do is have more children than the replacement rate. And the manufacturing robots will need to be advanced enough to self-replicate and self-maintain without human intervention. I don't think this will work. But maybe it isn't necessary. If the point is to free people from drudge work, then perhaps there is an easier way. Helping people develop their skills, so that they become more valuable and can negotiate better working conditions with their employers seems like a more efficient strategy without all the bother of transforming our entire economy away from capitalism. Transform unions into professional associations and I think you get more progress with less change.
Then I offer anyone the chance to earn extra credit- "De Marquis Dollars", if they come and work in my factory making stuff. De Marquis Dollars are good for things made in De Marquis factories, as determined by a market. Pretty quickly I expect people will line up for a chance at an extra boost to their standard of living, and we are back to a "wage-slave" system.Let's assume the de facto earnings from government is around $100, 000 a year — or $8, 333 a month. I think this is more than enough to make a decent living for a person, provided he is humble with his earnings. This is assuming of course that goods come quite cheap nowadays. He comes across your extra-credit wage program. You might have a hard time convincing this humble person to come spend his (otherwise free) time doing the work he does not need to do. It is almost like volunteering, except you are forcing the incentive with the wage. But say, this humble person sights the Bigonkers Hat! It's a rare collector's item, painstakingly hand-crafted with natural diamonds and opals! It's $10, 000 though.. (in light of the cheap, stylish hats in the market.) So this humble worker does have reason to work. If only for a while until he gets the money he wants. Then he goes back to his free time. What a reliable worker, eh? In this post-scarcity society where the menial work is relegated to tools, I think you are wasting your money putting out wages for workers what otherwise a machine can handle, no problemo, no complaints, no need to waste your money on coffee breaks.
And the manufacturing robots will need to be advanced enough to self-replicate and self-maintain without human intervention.Utility repair robots, at your service. With the ability to troubleshoot the machinery they're looking after, as well as themselves! Self-healing nanotechnology I assume can take care of the natural wear and tear?
Expecting automated supply to exceed human demand seems like a really strange presumption. To increase demand all you have to do is have more children than the replacement rate.Perhaps families can take care with having children. It's no peanuts to give your love to a son.
edited 2nd Mar '11 6:00:33 PM by QQQQQ
Hi.This all becomes meaningless in a post-scarcity society, I would suppose. If there's not enough stuff to go around there's always going to be an imbalance due to human selfishness. Making material that costs practically nothing to make, and then everyone is happy... ... ok, not happy per-say, just rich.
[Insert seemingly profound or amusing phrase here.]
I see the Awesomeness.The reproducing humans things is just a Malthusian issue. Simply alot people a specific amount of base credits that doesn't change, even if they start a family. This should quickly curtail the desire to have a family since there's no benefit. I don't see a downside.
StudentOP: In Canada they tried setting up a party advocating these ideas more or less. They don't have representation anymore, which should tell you something.
More like giant cherriesSeeing as you've basically assumed The Singularity to start with, there isn't anything that can meaningfully be said about the economy beyond that point anyway. Anyway, there is no reason to believe that such a thing would ever happen in real life, though I'd love to be proved wrong.
Life is simple: it has no nontrivial normal subgroups.
Who Am I?Deboss: your scenario results in rather severe inflation, unless production keeps pace with pop growth, but why would it?
I see the Awesomeness.What population growth?
Who Am I?So what I gather from the comments of QQQQ and Deboss is that this scheme would only work if we mass produce currently unavailable robot technology and if people give up having children? I'm afraid this has entered 'cool but impractical' territory...
The way I see it, I think this economy can become a possibility. I see mass job subsidization as akin to the Industrial Revolution of old, where radical agricultural reorganization and replacement technology manage to massively produce what 10 or 20 farmers can only dream of growing. Or also in textiles. I remember this resulted in a quantum leap into a new, vastly unfamiliar life for people as they struggled adapting to the new conditions. As aside, if we were to apply this exponential leap principle to our future, I assume by the 2040s or 50s, we would seem to the future society akin to peasants wandering dazed in a society of cell phones, internet and mass-produced books. This is why the Luddites revolted against the radical change as they yearned for the traditional familiarity back. Or much like how the Rebels would unplug someone so inured in The Matrix.
..only if we mass produce currently unavailable robot technology and if people give up having children?I have never said give up having children. I only suggest taking care with having a family, around one, two or perhaps three children for sensibilities. Not going wild with 7 or 8 and straining your parenting self. As for the technology.. I imagine strong innovations in the monotonous, grinding tasks for starters. Perhaps some kind of pseudo-intelligence for those positions like money accounting, and later on as technology sufficiently evolves enough, more positions. (It is late in the night for me, I think someone well-versed in SF can fill in the rest of these possibilities.)
edited 2nd Mar '11 10:35:27 PM by QQQQQ
People are unlikely to have 7 to 8 children in any highly educated and reasonably wealthy society because the time investment to get properly educated and successful children will necessarily limit families down to 3 children or less. However, that system is reinforced by our capitalism, since anybody who has a high number of children are likely to also fail miserably economically and thus not matter in policy decisions. I think your problem is government corruption. You need to show me how you guarantee that the government can maintain this system. Negative income tax or guaranteed minimum income are both interesting ways to eliminate the welfare bureaucracy, and as for Deboss' comment on how it could possibly be cheaper, I suggest taking a look at other government-run systems. Take for instance healthcare, it costs roughly half as much to run healthcare with the government because of bulk purchase of drugs, regulatory and consumer power versus the pharmaceutical companies, regulation of doctor/nurse/whatever wages, oversight/auditing agencies that limit government waste and spending (which would not exist with private companies but this is a special market because it is inelastic demand), zero profit in pricing. Also take free tuition fee countries, where the presumption is that their academic spending is through the roof. Actually it is not. In fact, if you compare Sweden and Canada, Sweden spends half as much per capita on each person for education compared to Canada and take a few seconds talking with Swedish students and you would think they spend 100x the amount. My problem with the RICH economy is that it wants to talk about cybernetics that don't exist. While that is fantastic, I could say anything I want about something so far in the future. Let's focus on the first stage of change. What do we want to do in the next 10 years?
In the next ten years that follow, (with my rather limited knowledge on finance and government workings), I imagine I make a start, pulling funding out of military expenditure, and start investing on technological advancements. Provide incentives to start innovating now, and find a better tomorrow. Perhaps redesign welfare also, to follow out Guaranteed Annual Income/National Dividend.
Also take free tuition fee countries, where the presumption is that their academic spending is through the roof. Actually it is not. In fact, if you compare Sweden and Canada, Sweden spends half as much per capita on each person for education compared to Canada and take a few seconds talking with Swedish students and you would think they spend 100x the amount.I think we can take a learning from Sweden in this department.
edited 3rd Mar '11 8:55:13 AM by QQQQQ
Thunder, Perfect MindSpeaking of a jobless economy, or the lack of an economy as a benefit to society: Peter Kropotkin, ladies and gentlemen!
Ah well for innovation I think a big issue has been the way we've been handling the patent system. When it was first created it was brilliant but at this point, all of its loopholes are now the dominant rules. We've patent trolling and defensive filing, which is not the intent of the patent system. It's a tricky situation. The idea is that you want incentives for people to invent, disincentives for people to steal a claim to someone else's idea and publicly record the invention so that it cannot be lost. I've heard of the concept of a patent marketplace where you own patents but their use is free/cheap for any use outside of the patent-holders intended market. For instance, a patent for some manufacturing process for shoes which is then also used to develop green technology.
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