Basic Income by Philippe Van Parijs. A comprehensive look at all aspects of the Citizens Basic Income. It has a philosophical section looking at the ethical aspects of it and some opponents of it. It has a thorough discussion of the economics, looking at the trials that have happened and the theoretical estimates of what would happen, including the limits of both. It also has a political section looking at which groups have campaigned for it, and the difficulties they face.
One thing that's welcome is that it's a worldwide look. It has information on European campaigns that I wasn't aware of, and an intriguing proposal for an eventual EU-wide basic income, maybe even a global one.
The political section is the most depressing as he looks at the obstacles. He thinks that the best way to achieve a Basic Income is by a gradual transition, starting either with a very low-level universal income, or by starting with a non-universal system aimed at the old and young which can be gradually expanded.
The book's informative but a bit dry, a thorough analysis more than a clarion call. Worth reading if you're seriously interested in the proposal.
What I'm Reading 2
Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee. Much acclaimed space opera set in a future where a tyrannical empire called the Hexarchate uses a mixture of technology and something close to magic to rule. An infantry captain is promoted and given the assistance of a long-dead general implanted in her mind, in order to retake a space fortress from rebels.
I've been meaning to read this for a while. Thought it might have been oversold but I found it lived up to the hype. Detailed world-building, plenty of action, a decent plot and some striking imagery in the "calendarical warfare". Will definitely move onto the next volume.
What I'm Reading 3
Grabbed another Kindle Single: The Beatles' Evolving Revolution: 'Strawberry Fields Forever' and 'Penny Lane' by James Woodall. Short book about the lead-up and production of the Beatles famous double-A side. Increasingly frustrated and bored with touring, the Beatles decided to give up live performances altogether and focus on the studio. Their previous album "Revolver" could mostly have been played live: from this single and followup Sergeant Pepper there was apparently no way at the time could have been played live.
Interesting account of how a band apparently already at a peak of success managed to move forward creatively.
What I'm Reading 4
Artemis, Andy Weir's followup to his massively successful "The Martian". This one is set on a future moonbase where a tooth-and-nail capitalism rules, and the population is divided between wealthy tourists and emigrants and the workers who have to keep things going.
As with "The Martian" the detailed technology and science is the main appeal. Weir sketches a plausible design for the moonbase, and the protagonist has to repeatedly solve problems around it.
The politics is a bit regressive/libertarian and not too plausible. I've never seen the super-rich casually rub shoulders with their worker drones like this: they like to keep them invisible when possible and obsequious when not.
Overall though, decent old-school hard SF, though it leaves you oddly nostalgic for Heinlein's willingness to at least hurl some rocks at a corrupt power structure.
Was feeling pretty sick and took two days off work, which I haven't in ages. Starting to feel a bit better partway through the second day, will go back tomorrow.
Books. Anne Charnock wins Clarke award for "Dreams Before the Start of Time": I haven't read it but I liked her "A Calculated Life" so that goes on the list.
Sci/Tech. Humans racist towards robots.
One is very heavy but the other is a little lighter.
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