Pfhorrest wrote:i think a lot of this is making matters needlessly complex
the effect of an ubi, if funded by an income tax at least, is simply to move all incomes closer to each other.
literally, just take a graph of incomes and vertically squish it centered on the mean. that's 100% of what an income tax funded ubi does.
that could happen for other reasons. economies are complex, governments are complex, and there's a lot of things that could cause incomes to be distributed differently.
Income equality can increase for many reasons, sure. That doesn't mean that this is the only effect of any given program. Minimum wage increases, UBI, means tested safety nets...they all have effects in addition to promoting income equality. I think it's worth comparing them on their merits.
if, for whatever reason, incomes end up closer to each other, does that improve the quality of life for most people, or worsen it?
if instead, for whatever reason, incomes were further apart, would that improve the quality of life for most people, or worsen it?
the burden of proof is on people saying that bringing incomes closer together will somehow make things worse for most people, and thus implicitly that having them further apart would somehow be better.
forget the mechanism that brings that state of affairs into play. how can you possibly argue that everybody making closer to the mean income isn't a net benefit to most people?
First off, I disagree with your burden of proof. I think whoever proposes a change ought to provide evidence in favor of their change being a good one. This is a far more general principle than merely economic. It's also not terribly hard to satisfy in most cases, but burden of proof(or at least decentish evidence), ought to be on the one proposing a new system. Nobody else should be required to do the basic homework to support their idea unless they've put that effort in.
Secondly, income inequality is necessary to some degree*, as we've established up thread. How much is desirable is a bit more of an open question, and I'm not certain that a single perfect answer exists. It probably depends on the particular country's economy. A knowledge based economy values things a bit different than a subsistence farming economy, and we really shouldn't expect the workforce or wealth of each to look the same. Inequality is necessary to at least the level required to concentrate resources for high-capital production, and differing economies need differing amounts of that.
Thirdly, objections to attempts to improve inequality often are based not on a dislike of equality, but on other properties of such a program. Expense is a big one. If two programs improve equality by a similar amount, the cheaper one is definitely a good deal more desirable. We can talk about inequality in the abstract, but specific programs may have many problems in addition to any generalized like or dislike of wealth equality.
*Toy examples of 100% equality or 100% inequality both end up pretty absurd.
elasto wrote:Firstly, within our lifetime or the lifetime of our children, the value of human labour is going to drop down somewhere close to zero. This is because automation and AI is eventually going to exceed human capacity in every area of endeavour, even in the creative arts. If we stick to our capitalist model that's going to mean half-a-dozen trillionaires and the rest of us scrabbling around in the dirt. UBI or something equivalent is going to be needed.
Automation has been claimed to devalue labor for many generations now, but it's never actually happened.
If the fundamental reason we need to change society rests on a prediction, you might want to refine the accuracy of it a bit. Better than the level at which apocalyptic christian sorts predict the rapture, anyways. They also keep telling me that the end is near. Any minute now.
elasto wrote:Secondly, productivity can occur even when no exchange of money takes place. If I produce a series of Youtube videos that entertains you, and you produce a series that entertains me, we have both been productive, but the market will not really value that (except to parasitically feed off us both by overlaying ads). Such productivity will almost certainly continue even under a 100% UBI model simply because the pleasure of creating stuff is reward enough in itself.
Freely giving out stuff is allowed by any economic system worth mentioning. I have no doubt that it will continue even with a 100% UBI, but if it also exists everywhere else, it's not really a point in favor, is it?
arbiteroftruth wrote:I don't see any reason to suspect that that is purely an effect of the degenerate case.
I don't see why it cannot be. For me, the words "degenerate case" indicate that we should expect a jump discontinuity in at least some of the effects.
It'd mean a 100% taxation rate, which is generally accepted to not work out well. We can weight the pros and cons of taxation rates, but when the profit motive vanishes entirely, people are less likely to work. That's why pay exists to begin with.
Pfhorrest wrote:A thought occurred to me today and this seemed like the best place to post it.
The value of labor and capital in an economy are inverse of each other. If all labor was free and plentiful, like in a full automation scenario, then absolutely everyhing would be determined by how much capital you already hold. But conversely, if capital was free and plentiful, then all that would matter is the work that you can do for other people.
The value of everything is related to scarcity. Sure, labor is more valuable when it is scarce relative to everything else.
Capital is only useful as a proxy for wealth. If a given sort of currency ceases to be scarce, or is not recognized as a proxy for wealth, it ceases to be valuable. Printing money doesn't fundamentally fix issues of wealth. Now, if you want everyone to be able to create wealth, excellent. However, that's far more challenging a problem than capital redistribution. It's a lot worthier a goal, but it means addressing a wide range of problems throughout society. Our systems of education and incarceration are particularly important for determining if someone will be allowed to create wealth.