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Skeptical of Universal Basic Income

universal basic income ubi communism futurism politics

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#1 jroseland

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 09:48 AM


I live in the bustling center of a European capital city. It's winter time and there's constantly ice and snow on the sidewalk, it's quite an inconvenience. Every time I shuffle along the slippery sidewalks I have the same thought... 
Why the hell doesn't the government give the refugees (who are cared for at the tax payers expense) shovels and have them clear the sidewalks?
The refugees are able bodied guys just sitting around bored in their centers.
It would engender good will towards the refugees because everybody would see them being helpful.
The refugees could probably use the exercise.
It would make life a whole lot easier for the people slipping and sliding on the pavement.
It's such a bloody obvious solution to a couple different problems; yet the government doesn't do it.
 
This is a quintessential example of the government's profound incompetence and wastefulness when it comes to managing resources. It would not require any great organization, planning or management just a couple dozen shovels and a bus to bring the guys downtown.
 
If the government can't even do something as obvious as having the refugees shovel the snow it really is a tremendous Indiana Jones stepping out into the abyss leap of faith to think that the government could effectively and honestly re-distribute resources from the hated 1% to solve the great challenge of technological unemployment. This great undeserved faith that people put in the government is what we call statism.
 
Karl Marx said that religion was the opium of the foolish mases; Marxism is the opium of foolish intellectuals.
 
Universal Basic Income MIGHT work if it's truly voluntary, delivered by the free market and administered by benevolent general artificial intelligence. If not it will surely become Communism 3.0 and will result in a metaphorical (and likely literal) mountain of smoldering bodies.
 
A flight of fantasy...
For example, in 20 or 30 years the trillionaire shareholders of Amazon.com decide to offer free 3D printed nutrient rich food to everyone. The cost of manufacturing and distributing food gets so low that the fabulously wealthy shareholders of Amazon decide altruistically to give free food to everyone who wants it.
Imagine numerous major companies doing this and a universal basic living standard could be provided for free to the public in the same way that Google Maps is free.
 
But if Universal Basic Income were implemented tomorrow or anytime soon with governments at all resembling the corrupt and really criminal institutions that they are now, it's just going to result in another disastrous social experiment like...
The USSR
North Korea
China under Mao
Venezuela
Greece
South Africa (This country doesn't get the attention it deserves in these debates about social justice, this once rich country started implementing all the policies that social justice warriors advocate over 20 years ago and it's a disaster! Well on it's way to being the next Yemen)
Socialists, communists, Democrats, Bernie Bros and other varieties of witting and unwitting marxists will of course say...
Yeah but what about Canada and various rich European countries that have strong socialist policies, they seem to be doing pretty ok, mannnnnn!
These countries are running on fumes; fiat currency, money printing and quantitative easing.
They will be embroiled in chaos and petty violence in the event of an economic downturn or geopolitical disruption (look at Paris, France this week!)
These countries have massive unfunded entitlement programs. Baby boomers significant health needs will pound the last nail in the coffin of their socialized healthcare institutions.
Population replacement rates have fallen below 2 below two children per woman thanks to high taxation, lack of opportunity and toxic feminism.
I've traveled the world for 5 years and I consistently meet smart, entrepreneurial, young Canadians, Swedes and Germans in places like Medellin and Kiev who are fleeing the asphyxiating taxation and regulation of these countries.
In the next 5-10 years we'll see these countries become the next Greece.
 
Perhaps what the government could do is restrict robots and AI from taking over various domains of human endeavor and industries...
Like creative work, I see no problem with banning AI and robots from writing novels, making movies or video games.
Design, we could leave humans in charge of designing buildings, fashion, products, user interfaces, etc
Cooking and hospitality, do we really want robot waiters and robot cooks? I don't think so. I'd always be willing to pay a premium for a dinning experience.
The caring economy; massage therapists, talk therapists, life coaches, etc
The artistic and leisure economy could grow to provide employment to a significant proportion of our population.
It's foolish to say that robots and AI are going to take all our jobs. Truck drivers and factory workers, yes you guys are on the chopping block but there's a lot of other jobs out there.
 
Mark Kincheloe says that if everyone just gets UBI from the government 
"Some people who would take the small check and start a business, engage in other productive forms of self-employment, or work part-time depending on their situation. There would also be far too many people who would simply take the government handout and sit in front of a TV all day or go fishing..."
I think Mark is optimistic to even think people would leave the house. Without an incentive to work 90% of the population will go on a none-stop diet of porn (just imagine what VR porn will be like in 20 years!), weed, video games and funny Youtube videos.
 
Risk
In the fantasy world of perfect platonic forms I can see the appeal of Universal Basic Income but in reality it's a very dangerous idea, I would not be surprised if the political struggle that will ensue over Universal Basic Income engulfs our society in violence and tribal warfare.
While the proponents of UBI aspire to these high minded ideals of equality and justice, our political system will turn it into divisive pissing match like Trump vs Hillary in 2016 or Obama vs the Tea Party in 2013.
UBI proponents will say but conservatives should like UBI because it will replace the welfare system. Welfare is an entrenched, bureaucratic part of the government; thousands of government employees who administrate the vast welfare system are not going to simply go away. No they will strike and protest in the street while legislators argue for months on end about which welfare programs to cut and which to keep.
Ultimately UBI is welfare, actually, it's a historically unprecedented expansion of the welfare system. Instead of just the people who ask for welfare getting welfare, now everyone gets welfare. All the problems with welfare are multiplied exponentially.
UBI will divide us further down racial racial and tribal lines. In practice UBI will amount to the government taking a lot of money away from white men and giving it to people who racially and ideologically could not be more dissimilar and often don't even speak the same language. In 2016, Trump and Brexit showed that white middle class people in the United States and UK are very resentful of the government redistributing their tax dollars to immigrants. UBI will be like dropping a nuke on the geopolitical battleground of the race wars which we now see burning in major cities in diverse western countries. If the government announces another giant program to redistribute wealth an resources, white guys will reach for their AR-15s.
UBI is a wet dream for unfireable big government bureaucrats and leftist politicians who secretly hate the free market.
UBI is just a fancy phrase for the guys with the guns stealing money from the people with money to give free stuff to the people who don't have a lot of money so they will vote for them.
 
Mime-onomics
I lived in Colombia for several years and in Colombia there are many mimes. Walk through any busy part of town and you can see mimes performing on the street for people or jugglers juggling for pesos at traffic intersections. This is because the cost of living is so low that you can actually make a living from being a juggler or mime in Colombia.
 
As technology and AI makes our economy much, much more efficient we'll see the cost of living decrease sharply to where a waiter or painter selling their art over the Internet can afford the life accountant does now.
But only if the government gets the hell of out of the way. If the government introduces price and wage controls along with reams and reams of regulations we'll have a true nightmare scenario of...
Massive unemployment 
Stagnant wages
High cost of living
Corrupt government bureaucrats giving monopolies to their friends
An entitled and angry underclass with no incentive to work living on welfare
An entrenched class of elite oligarchs who own everything
...which will inevitably result in a metaphorical (and likely literal) mountain of smoldering bodies.

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