The March Philosophy Book of the Month is Final Notice by Van Fleisher. Discuss Final Notice now.

The April Philosophy Book of the Month is The Unbound Soul by Richard L. Haight. Discuss The Unbound Soul Now

The May Philosophy Book of the Month is Misreading Judas by Robert Wahler.

Universal Basic Income - A possible future

Have philosophical discussions about politics, law, and government.
Featured Article: Definition of Freedom - What Freedom Means to Me
User avatar
Burning ghost
Posts: 3037
Joined: February 27th, 2016, 3:10 am

Universal Basic Income - A possible future

Post by Burning ghost » February 26th, 2019, 3:11 am

The way I see Universal Basic Income (UBI) is as follows ... people should be allowed the minimum means to sustain themselves - or more simply put, be provided with enough nutritious food and clean water (shelter I would have to call a “luxury” for simplicity). My question is whether or not UBI actually provides this for people? Obviously it would help, yet if we’re talking about financial assistance then we cannot guarantee that everyone will use their UBI to remain fully fed and watered. Let us assume they use these funds to sustain themselves healthily and see where that takes us ...

Now what? Everyone is fed and watered ... great! Given that we’ve assumed a lot already can we really assume that all people need is food and water?

My next question to you is what there is that needs to be taken into account to make a UBI function? I don’t wish to hear some reference to the extreme ends of this idea (ie. references to The Time Machine).

Rather than dismissing this idea out of hand consider it is a reality of what we’re progressing toward and think about problems that might arise ONLY if you can offer up some semblance of a solution (of course if some big problem gnaws at you throw it out there and see if someone else can manage it - generally speaking though I’m tired of streams of negative reactions without any attempt to offer at least a bit-part solution, so wind up your brains and think about possible fixes rather than abandoning the whole bloody project because you “disagree” or “don’t like it”.)

Thanks

If you’re not sure what Universal Basic Income is all about : Infographic on UBI from Futurism website

This has been in the mainstream fairly recently with the issue of how to cope with falling demand for general labour due to more mechanised production. UBI is seen as one possible option in combatting this seemingly inevitable problem for generations to come.
AKA badgerjelly

User avatar
Intellectual_Savnot
Posts: 94
Joined: November 26th, 2018, 11:07 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Myself
Location: Wokeville, California
Contact:

Re: Universal Basic Income - A possible future

Post by Intellectual_Savnot » February 26th, 2019, 2:13 pm

Without reading that link or knowing anything about "UBI" I can safely assume that while feeding people is all nice and cool for a while, it is not the end of focus towards complete solution. To sustain a solution in society, those in society must be able to sustain themselves. People must be able to know how to "science" on demand, with the ability to work competently with full compatibility with others. Any successful people is collectively compounded of entities who are able to create that which they need. We must all know how to do math fluently for all situations where math is needed, we must all be able to communicate no matter to who we communicate. No person who can be expected to to an optimal potential whether in value of life or in quality of life must be fully compatible with all conditions. UBI should include a full course education that will effectively reach to all people for it to work. It as well must ensure that educated people have resources at hand, not just food and water.

User avatar
Intellectual_Savnot
Posts: 94
Joined: November 26th, 2018, 11:07 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Myself
Location: Wokeville, California
Contact:

Re: Universal Basic Income - A possible future

Post by Intellectual_Savnot » February 26th, 2019, 2:15 pm

Sorry let me spell check: I said "No person who can be expected to to" where I meant " All people who are expected to live to" sorry for the really confusing sentence

User avatar
chewybrian
Posts: 352
Joined: May 9th, 2018, 7:17 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Epictetus
Location: Florida man

Re: Universal Basic Income - A possible future

Post by chewybrian » February 26th, 2019, 3:11 pm

I like it a lot in principle but see it falling apart quickly in practice. Give money to a drug addict and he may just buy more drugs and be worse off. So, the first apparent 'solution' is to offer benefits in kind. Presumably, it would be hard to trade 'people chow' and water for drugs. If your goal is only to get people food and water, then just give them food and water.

The second issue that arises for me is that food and water does not suffice, and it would create problems of homeless people living outside near the handout stations. So, right off, I want to consider adding the most basic shelter possible and clean restrooms and showers and such, and the cost begins to rise. The partial cost solution that jumps to mind is to change the law such that people can not sue the government for perceived injuries or losses in the course of receiving these types of benefits. And, hopefully, having homes and food reduces the need for these people to cost society in terms of crime and emergency room visits and such, at least a bit.

I would also like to see folks get a little bit of cash, and again I increase the perceived cost. To minimize the damage in costs and the likelihood it goes for drugs, I would require they 'earn' the money in some way, which could be some form of community service or education. Hopefully the benefits of the community service or the future earnings and tax paid due to the education would defer some of the costs.

In theory it all seems so noble, but when I try to visualize it in the real world, I see disaster. Static analysis fails, and each possible solution increases costs and creates new problems. When you get down to it, I can't see that just giving the money away with no strings attached would end up costing more or making things worse than any of the answers I am trying to give. I am right there with you in spirit, but I can't visualize much success in the messy real world. The problem I see is that you are helping a mixed population of those displaced who truly prefer to work, and those who would have found a way to be homeless even if jobs were readily available. I am interested in seeing what others think.
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."

User avatar
Burning ghost
Posts: 3037
Joined: February 27th, 2016, 3:10 am

Re: Universal Basic Income - A possible future

Post by Burning ghost » February 27th, 2019, 10:54 am

Chewy -

To some degree a soft type of UBI exists today in the form of financial benefits. If we fast forward far enough many jobs will be automated and many people will be made “redundant” (at least in the world of employment). Assuming that not all dwindle their money away on drugs (which I doubt greatly) what is actually missing from their lives? For me it seems like basic “meaning” is missing and sense of public value - we’ve all heard how people havig won the lottery go back to their old jobs after realising they miss the working environment ... how can this be replicated? Can it be replicated and/or to what degree can it be replicated?

Like most ideas I think taking it too its extreme makes it look terrible. I think some limited type of UBI is viable, but I’m not sure where exactly the “limit” will be.

The base question was given you see that it is a “noble idea” what do you think could be done to amend it? What seems deadly important to me is a sense of community and belonging for people. Also, and moe importantly I believe, an environment within which people can openly communicate day-to-day. We are social animals after all.
AKA badgerjelly

User avatar
LuckyR
Moderator
Posts: 3381
Joined: January 18th, 2015, 1:16 am

Re: Universal Basic Income - A possible future

Post by LuckyR » February 28th, 2019, 12:22 pm

To my mind, before addressing what should be offered, it should be made clear what current problem is going to be solved. For example in the US currently, the number of homeless, say who actually starve to death, ie can't get enough calories, isn't zero, but it is very close to zero.

My understanding is that the purpose of the UBI to address other issues, namely to allow the destitute to expend less energy to get the necessities that they currently get through other avenues, or to add non essentials to make the quality of their existence better.
"As usual... it depends."

User avatar
Burning ghost
Posts: 3037
Joined: February 27th, 2016, 3:10 am

Re: Universal Basic Income - A possible future

Post by Burning ghost » February 28th, 2019, 1:28 pm

LuckyR wrote:
February 28th, 2019, 12:22 pm
To my mind, before addressing what should be offered, it should be made clear what current problem is going to be solved. For example in the US currently, the number of homeless, say who actually starve to death, ie can't get enough calories, isn't zero, but it is very close to zero.

My understanding is that the purpose of the UBI to address other issues, namely to allow the destitute to expend less energy to get the necessities that they currently get through other avenues, or to add non essentials to make the quality of their existence better.
The issue is for the future. Many jobs will become automated.

In developed countries I would expect this to be a much more immediate problem given that cheap labour forces companies to venture abroad. Once technological development get so far then we’ll ne left with fewer and fewer jobs. It is somewhere here that we’ll need to contemplate how to distribute resources and who’ll be gathering them.

In the immediate now we already have certain hand-outs to help people along in western society. This is certainly not the case everywhere though. I wasn’t thinking about this in terms of any particular nation. I was thinking about this on a global scale mediated by shifts in national workforces.
AKA badgerjelly

User avatar
Intellectual_Savnot
Posts: 94
Joined: November 26th, 2018, 11:07 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Myself
Location: Wokeville, California
Contact:

Re: Universal Basic Income - A possible future

Post by Intellectual_Savnot » February 28th, 2019, 2:28 pm

I think you guys think too heavily on what exists and what does afflict us rather than what truly is possible. I might get back to this later and clarify in more depth :D. Have a good day!

User avatar
LuckyR
Moderator
Posts: 3381
Joined: January 18th, 2015, 1:16 am

Re: Universal Basic Income - A possible future

Post by LuckyR » February 28th, 2019, 4:42 pm

Burning ghost wrote:
February 28th, 2019, 1:28 pm
LuckyR wrote:
February 28th, 2019, 12:22 pm
To my mind, before addressing what should be offered, it should be made clear what current problem is going to be solved. For example in the US currently, the number of homeless, say who actually starve to death, ie can't get enough calories, isn't zero, but it is very close to zero.

My understanding is that the purpose of the UBI to address other issues, namely to allow the destitute to expend less energy to get the necessities that they currently get through other avenues, or to add non essentials to make the quality of their existence better.
The issue is for the future. Many jobs will become automated.

In developed countries I would expect this to be a much more immediate problem given that cheap labour forces companies to venture abroad. Once technological development get so far then we’ll ne left with fewer and fewer jobs. It is somewhere here that we’ll need to contemplate how to distribute resources and who’ll be gathering them.

In the immediate now we already have certain hand-outs to help people along in western society. This is certainly not the case everywhere though. I wasn’t thinking about this in terms of any particular nation. I was thinking about this on a global scale mediated by shifts in national workforces.
Ah so. In the case of what you are referring to, worldwide manufacturing jobs are decreasing for sure, the issue is not the lack of jobs but the lack of well paying jobs since the substitute for manufacturing jobs is service sector jobs (which generally pay less). There are huge numbers of the food insecure worldwide and I believe very few would disagree with a safety net to help those. You could argue that the web of NGOs are essentially trying to do that right now, though the wording of UBI sounds more official (or governmental).
"As usual... it depends."

User avatar
chewybrian
Posts: 352
Joined: May 9th, 2018, 7:17 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Epictetus
Location: Florida man

Re: Universal Basic Income - A possible future

Post by chewybrian » March 1st, 2019, 8:08 am

LuckyR wrote:
February 28th, 2019, 4:42 pm
Ah so. In the case of what you are referring to, worldwide manufacturing jobs are decreasing for sure, the issue is not the lack of jobs but the lack of well paying jobs since the substitute for manufacturing jobs is service sector jobs (which generally pay less). There are huge numbers of the food insecure worldwide and I believe very few would disagree with a safety net to help those. You could argue that the web of NGOs are essentially trying to do that right now, though the wording of UBI sounds more official (or governmental).
I would not assume the threat is limited to manufacturing jobs by any means. Retail workers, for one example, are at risk of being replaced. Here is a robot doing inventory at Walmart:

Image

Lowes has tested robots that answer customers' questions and walk them to the product they want to buy.

Image

Robot waiters are easily imagined. Robots can empty trash cans and sweep and mop and wax floors, cutting back on the need for janitors. Really, it's harder to imagine a job that could not be replaced with a robot than to imagine one that could.

All that is leading to the critical issue that all jobs could be under siege, meaning that we have to consider cutting up the economic pie in such a situation, to some degree, or the winners and losers of today's economy will not be separated by class, but by life and death. If the robot economy is throwing off enough wealth, then it should be possible to give everyone some level of security, possibly even some level of luxury, and still allow the owners of the means of production to be fat cats. You could still have a lot of relative wealth and poverty without letting people starve and die for want of owning a robot. Here's hoping we can advance as fast as the technology.

At the far end, you could even make a good case that capitalism will no longer be needed or wanted in that world, and that we should consider sharing the spoils rather evenly, with only some small incentives for what little work would still need to be done by people.
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."

User avatar
Burning ghost
Posts: 3037
Joined: February 27th, 2016, 3:10 am

Re: Universal Basic Income - A possible future

Post by Burning ghost » March 1st, 2019, 9:51 am

In an ideal future (much like Ian Bainks’ sci-fi Culture novels) no one will be required to work. The question is then more about how we’ll transition to this, what people will do with their time and how resources will be allocated?

Obviously someone will have to maintain the robots and then it is more of a question of how these people should/could be given the insentives to keep the machine oiled.

In the short term, and on a more human level, what is there to pevent people from turning into lazy wretches? What if we all had the freedom and resources to do as we please. What would people REALLY do? I imagine many would find themselves in some kind of initial existential crisis (I’ve seen this enough and find myself wondering whether everyone is psychologically suited to having such “freedom” - the issue being “freedom” comes at a price).
AKA badgerjelly

User avatar
chewybrian
Posts: 352
Joined: May 9th, 2018, 7:17 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Epictetus
Location: Florida man

Re: Universal Basic Income - A possible future

Post by chewybrian » March 1st, 2019, 10:06 am

Burning ghost wrote:
March 1st, 2019, 9:51 am
In an ideal future (much like Ian Bainks’ sci-fi Culture novels) no one will be required to work. The question is then more about how we’ll transition to this, what people will do with their time and how resources will be allocated?

Obviously someone will have to maintain the robots and then it is more of a question of how these people should/could be given the insentives to keep the machine oiled.

In the short term, and on a more human level, what is there to pevent people from turning into lazy wretches? What if we all had the freedom and resources to do as we please. What would people REALLY do? I imagine many would find themselves in some kind of initial existential crisis (I’ve seen this enough and find myself wondering whether everyone is psychologically suited to having such “freedom” - the issue being “freedom” comes at a price).
Freedom is actually quite scary. I've seen people leave work and come back, even though they don't need the money, because they 'did not know what to do with themselves'. At this point, I feel like they need the Chief Bromden treatment, as in "one Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest". Maybe it would be best for them if I smothered them with a pillow before throwing the drinking fountain through the window to enable my escape. I want so badly to believe that I, we, could do so much with our free time without the burdens and stress of work. Yet people need, or at least want, boundaries and rules and routines to spare them the horror of thinking they are in control, even as they claim to hate the rules and routines.

How many lottery winners end up in ruin in short order? They are free to do virtually anything they want, but lose the scapegoats in the process. "The man" is no longer holding them down, and they can't say they are a bad person, or they are unhappy, because they have no choice. They have the choice and they can't handle it. They are still unhappy, only now it is their own fault!
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."

User avatar
Burning ghost
Posts: 3037
Joined: February 27th, 2016, 3:10 am

Re: Universal Basic Income - A possible future

Post by Burning ghost » March 1st, 2019, 11:03 am

So, my view here would be to equip people with the means to set their own personal boundaries.

I am actually in a position where I have plenty of “free-time” and I simply asked myself what I wanted to learn and how to go about learning it. I think many get caught up in the “What should I do?” rather than asking “What do I want to know about?”

But hey, I’m far from being any kind of role-model! Haha!
AKA badgerjelly

User avatar
JosephM
Posts: 32
Joined: February 4th, 2019, 1:26 pm

Re: Universal Basic Income - A possible future

Post by JosephM » March 1st, 2019, 6:43 pm

If you really want to fix the plan , you gotta do it small scale somewhere, then you can identify the real issues that crop up, without guesswork .
- I expect that it will fall apart like communes and communism because of the lack of social cohesion that big society has compared to ye ol' tribal days. Marx was of the opinion that the overlords would magically disappear , and I think that with the kind of power wielded to do UBI your system will just do the same thing , degenerate into a form of dictatorship , or unfeasible socialism.
I would lean towards just reducing the workweek, it can be gradual, doable ,and introduces people back to having interests and purpose outside of work. It requires just a mental shift, a new expectation.

You can also start to shift away from growth as being the bringer of plenty, groups have more per individual if there are fewer individuals, exclude the new business from town exclude the influx of more bodies, raise the taxes on families that bear more than two kids ( they absorb more resources and cause the problems to compound).

User avatar
Burning ghost
Posts: 3037
Joined: February 27th, 2016, 3:10 am

Re: Universal Basic Income - A possible future

Post by Burning ghost » March 1st, 2019, 8:53 pm

Joseph -

I asked in the OP what you’d do/consider in trying to get there regardless of how faulty you think the results would be - how could you make it work as best as possible?
AKA badgerjelly

Post Reply