Print Story What's the difference between a hippo and a Zippo?
Diary
By TheophileEscargot (Thu Jul 19, 2018 at 12:30:53 PM EST) Reading, MLP, Me (all tags)
Reading: "Basic Income", "Ninefox Gambit", "The Beatles' Evolving Revolution", "Artemis". Me. Links.


What I'm Reading
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.

Me
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.

Links
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.

Pics. Tired Tropes of Flashy Architectural Graphics.

Sci/Tech. Humans racist towards robots.

Articles. Inside the "Street Fighter" movie. Medieval passion lyrics.

Politics. Independent Commission on Referendums has a summary.

The answer
One is very heavy but the other is a little lighter.

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What's the difference between a hippo and a Zippo? | 38 comments (38 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Basic income by Herring (4.00 / 1) #1 Thu Jul 19, 2018 at 02:24:44 PM EST
I think there are quite a few arguments in its favour. The political climate in the UK these days regarding benefits does seem to be "it is better for 100 innocent men to be punished than for 1 person to get something they might not be entitled to".

The UK benefits system does create some bizarre incentives though. Taking a little bit of casual work (that might lead to something better) is awkward and punishes. One that I would quote more if I had stats to back me up in single mothers. Most "benefit fraud" is where a single mother is found to have a partner living with them. They don't declare it because it's ruinous from the benefits point of view. But I thought this government were in favour of "two parent families". Go figure.

I'm surprised that libertarians aren't in favour of a basic income. Without one, people have no real freedom in signing contracts. People in dire straits can be exploited.

Basic income, people are always better off taking any work they can, people are freer to start businesses, do stuff.

It's been a while since I read it, but I'm guessing you have read Player Piano. Even in the early 50s, Vonnegut was predicting what might happen with automation and unemployment. It's not his cheeriest of works.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

Milton Friedman was in favour of basic income by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #3 Thu Jul 19, 2018 at 07:52:59 PM EST
Sometimes referred to as "negative income tax". He saw it as a way to cut bureaucratic overhead, given a certain amount of helping the less well off is inevitable in a democracy. It has an interesting combination of liberatarian and left-socialist proponents.

Iambic Web Certified

[ Parent ]
Dire Straits by Dr Thrustgood (4.00 / 1) #6 Fri Jul 20, 2018 at 04:20:10 AM EST
I thought in liberland, that was a feature, not a bug?



[ Parent ]
It's a hobby by Herring (4.00 / 1) #7 Fri Jul 20, 2018 at 12:40:28 PM EST
Pointing out the inherent unfairness and contradictions in political philosophies I think are stupid.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
"Stupid" by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #8 Fri Jul 20, 2018 at 02:51:28 PM EST
That's an extremely nice way to "the preserve of vile bullies",

[ Parent ]
librtsrianism is about not being a slave by gmd (2.00 / 0) #12 Sat Jul 21, 2018 at 07:29:39 AM EST
If you want to be a slave that’s fine. Just don't impose it via violence and coercion on the rest of us. There is nothing Libertarian about invoulantry taxation of the productive to subsidise the feckless and lazy. 



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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
Not quite by lm (2.00 / 0) #13 Sat Jul 21, 2018 at 08:38:15 AM EST
Libertarianism is about fooling others into being your slave.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Disagree by gmd (2.00 / 0) #15 Sat Jul 21, 2018 at 10:45:34 AM EST
 Fooling people would almost certainly violate the NAP. Libertarianism is after all based on voulantryism.

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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
The NAP isn't essential to Libertarianism by lm (2.00 / 0) #18 Sat Jul 21, 2018 at 12:26:38 PM EST
But, even if it were, how does is the NAP violated if someone else doesn't read, misreads, or misconstrues a contract?

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Well, yes by Herring (2.00 / 0) #20 Sat Jul 21, 2018 at 02:23:03 PM EST
Libertarianism is after all based on voulantryism.

Yes it is. And people without means or with illnesses and disabilities have the choice to die quietly or loudly. Which is not "aggression" at all.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
So you want to aggressively force me to care by gmd (2.00 / 0) #24 Sun Jul 22, 2018 at 06:59:27 AM EST
 Or steal my belongings with threats or actual violence because you are so compassionate. It’s a very slippary slope, which end up with you paying for some murderous African dictator’s private jets. 



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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
If you think it's a slippery slope by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #26 Sun Jul 22, 2018 at 07:44:39 AM EST
then please feel free to be less of a total pathetic wimp, because when we're standing on the plane of moral righteousness, most of us find there's plenty of grip, and we manage to place ourselves in gently undulating terrain, not directly adjacent to a cliff that falls off into evil.

[ Parent ]
But that’s the thing you see by gmd (2.00 / 0) #27 Mon Jul 23, 2018 at 03:03:09 AM EST
 The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I don’t doubt the sincerity of leftists, I just don’t think they have thought things through to their logicsl conclusions. Once you open the door for the state to forcibly  reallocate your personal property to those who it deems “need it more than you” it is inevitable that the state will abuse its powers and overstep whatever remit it has. Its what states do. I trust myself more than the state to decide how to allocate my resources, and I trust myself more than the state to allocate any charitable donations I care to make. But if opening the door to totalitarionism is your thing, good luck to you. 

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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
Not all roads lead to hell by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #29 Mon Jul 23, 2018 at 04:49:12 AM EST
Some of them lead to the grocery store, and you're starving other people to death in ideological purity there. I'd suggest you used a little discernment and find a place on the ideological plane which is a little less evil.

[ Parent ]
less evil you say? by gmd (2.00 / 0) #31 Mon Jul 23, 2018 at 08:03:00 AM EST
Your leftist ideology has been proven time and again to lead inexorably and inevitably to starvation at best, and torture and mass murder on an unprecedented scale at worst. The moment the State gets to decide who eats and who does not we are all in very big trouble.

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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
Yawn by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #32 Mon Jul 23, 2018 at 04:51:37 PM EST
In case you didn't get the analogy, I'm saying that the actual place where everyone survives is the middle ground, where it's nice and flat and there's no slippy slope.

[ Parent ]
Basic income by hulver (4.00 / 1) #2 Thu Jul 19, 2018 at 04:32:00 PM EST
I've always thought the problem with basic income would be rent. Greedy bastard landlords would raise the rent to what people could pay, leaving them with little left over. I don't think it would work without some form of rent control.
--
Cheese is not a hat. - clock
They do that anyway by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #4 Fri Jul 20, 2018 at 12:31:29 AM EST
Insofar as they can. Basic income at least makes it easy to move wherever rent is cheapest.
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
That was my first thought, but by dark nowhere (4.00 / 1) #5 Fri Jul 20, 2018 at 03:27:45 AM EST
it's weird. Where I am now, I've only had one rent increase. In the big big city I've had them year-on-year, but they were greatly outpaced by inflation and well under the regulatory limits.

Housing is scarce enough that if you move, that's when they get you. But not so scarce that they are willing to risk incentivizing a move.

I'm not sure whether any of this would change under basic income, though I suppose the dynamic might be different elsewhere. Though I do agree with "they do that anyway" in the sense that, well, it's a very lucrative game, especially once you get to the scale where staffing is a thing (as opposed to being that DIY deadbeat who tries to avoid ever calling the contractors and never gets the job done himself.)

See you, space cowboy.

[ Parent ]
It's hard to generalise by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #9 Fri Jul 20, 2018 at 04:32:05 PM EST
Because existing benefits systems differ.

In the UK though, housing benefit is a horrific scam. The government essentially pays the landlord. The landlord often raises the rent to huge levels. The tenant finds it very hard to move because he'd find it difficult to get housing benefit elsewhere. Slum landlords love it, but the taxpayer pays a fortune and the tenants are trapped often in a terrible place where there aren't that many jobs.

With a basic income, the tenant would be motivated and able to move to somewhere cheaper/better/with more jobs and there would be some pressure on the landlord to keep costs down and quality up.
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Housing benefit doesn't work like that. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #10 Fri Jul 20, 2018 at 05:19:23 PM EST
Where I live, 3 out of 83 one bed flats on the market cost less than what housing benefit will pay.

[ Parent ]
We have a similar system by dark nowhere (2.00 / 0) #11 Fri Jul 20, 2018 at 07:57:52 PM EST
although I've only ever seen these buildings run as coops. Not sure how many air quotes that needs, the rent they charge is pretty high, so someone's getting payed above and beyond.

But I see your point as applied to housing benefits, a term that should hopefully disappear somewhat with a basic income setup. No longer are you stuck with these few options, everything is up for it without anyone getting the governmental blessing. I wonder how that ends up being awarded... never really looked into it.

See you, space cowboy.

[ Parent ]
It wouldn't that hard to slip basic income in by lm (2.00 / 0) #14 Sat Jul 21, 2018 at 08:41:47 AM EST
... at least not stateside. We already have the "earned income credit" which is really just a negative income income tax that folks need to be employed to enjoy and which tapers off as actual income rises.

Expanding a system like that to also cover those who do not work would just take some rhetorical slight of hand. It would be an easy sell in most normal times.

Unfortunately the US is not going through normal times.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
Stigma by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #16 Sat Jul 21, 2018 at 12:02:03 PM EST
To work best, it has to be broad-based..even Jeff Bezos should get a monthly check.  But of course, there will be outrage at people who are "too rich" getting it, so there will be means testing, and invariably the line will be drawn so low that it won't do much good.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
The name helps by lm (2.00 / 0) #17 Sat Jul 21, 2018 at 12:25:10 PM EST
I've never come across a single person that feels shame in taking the Earned Income Credit.

Keep the name. Almost no one will care people that don't earn any income get it.

In fact, most people won't even notice it. It just looks like part of your taxes. It comes as a "tax refund".


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Taxes by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #19 Sat Jul 21, 2018 at 01:42:50 PM EST
I don't think it works as taxes, at least as done today.  The poorest of the poor usually can't wait all year...it needs to be a payment, and it needs to be biweekly or even weekly.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
When you qualify for the EIC ... by lm (2.00 / 0) #21 Sat Jul 21, 2018 at 05:53:56 PM EST
... one of the questions they ask you is if you want next year's estimated credit to split across your paychecks for the year.

Or at least that's the way it used to be.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
"paychecks" by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #22 Sat Jul 21, 2018 at 10:28:49 PM EST
That's a problem for people who don't have them...the people most in need of a basic income are those without jobs because they are either unable to work or unable to find work.

My crazy idea is this:

  • Any adult US citizen can obtain a government no fee bank account.
  • All government payments to citizens go to these bank accounts by default.   This includes a basic, fixed weekly payment.
This would help the very poor in a number of significant ways.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
Sure by lm (2.00 / 0) #23 Sun Jul 22, 2018 at 06:18:28 AM EST
And call it a tax collection account.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
If you got the Federal Reserve to run them by Scrymarch (2.00 / 0) #25 Sun Jul 22, 2018 at 07:05:59 AM EST
That would give a much fairer and broad based mechanism for future quantative easing. And also establish a kind of minimum standard for basic banking. As well as make the fiscal affairs of many people much more legible to the state.

Iambic Web Certified

[ Parent ]
do we really need to give the State MORE powers? by gmd (2.00 / 0) #28 Mon Jul 23, 2018 at 03:09:03 AM EST
I realize many on this site are unapologetic leftists, and I’m ok with tgat to a degree, but the relentless statism on here disturbs me, its like some kind of sinister cult where the answer to everything seems to be “give government even more intrusive power over us”. It’s bizaamrre given all the evidence of governmental competence available to anyone who cares to research it.

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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
The proposals I saw were by Scrymarch (2.00 / 0) #30 Mon Jul 23, 2018 at 07:46:07 AM EST
... more open competition with private banking than trying to replace it.

I think there is an interesting libertarian case for UBI, fwiw.

Iambic Web Certified

[ Parent ]
Yes by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #33 Tue Jul 24, 2018 at 10:28:27 PM EST
Because the state is more trustworthy than a bunch of rich fuckers.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
The state IS a bunch of rich fuckers by gmd (2.00 / 0) #34 Thu Jul 26, 2018 at 03:56:00 AM EST
 In case you hadn’t noticed.

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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
Really? by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #35 Thu Jul 26, 2018 at 10:20:51 PM EST
How many people in government are worth $100 billion?  Or even $10 billion?
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
To pluck an example out of the air by gmd (2.00 / 0) #36 Fri Jul 27, 2018 at 03:46:22 PM EST
 Our head of state’s net worth is over half a billion USD.

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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
Half a billion by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #37 Fri Jul 27, 2018 at 06:19:11 PM EST
In other words, worth 0.3% of what Jeff Bezos is worth.  Or to put it in perspective, only a tenth what a Japanese Diaper King is worth.

Wait wait..."Our"?  I thought you were British...May has a paltry $3 million.   That doesn't even put her in the 1%
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
average uk earnings is £28k pa by gmd (2.00 / 0) #38 Sat Jul 28, 2018 at 06:06:34 PM EST
 So yes, the state is a bunch of rich fuckers.

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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
What's the difference between a hippo and a Zippo? | 38 comments (38 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback