Minimum wage and UBI

In Foundations of logic Group – 5 Reasons Raising the Minimum Wage Is Bad Public Policy

I’m all for eliminating minimum wage laws, but only after there is a genuine livable universal basic income that is there for everyone, every day, without fail.

Anyone wants more than that – go work for it.

Once you give everyone the option of being able to live without a job, that changes the bargaining dynamic to something more even. Then more freedom works.
Then wages can actually find a level that is a reasonable balance.

Right now, the system is little short of economic slavery for the vast majority of people, and fundamentally insecure for everyone.

Not an optimal environment for creativity to flourish!

[followed by]

Hi Dirk,

It is simple – really.

Money is just numbers.

What is real is goods and services.

We have the ability to provide far more goods and services than are currently consumed, all that prevents it is the distribution of numbers.

The question is, how to keep the total of numbers being spent on real goods within the ability of the ecosystem to support it?

If the government has the ability to issue numbers to everyone, and then there is the market systems we have for creating and recycling numbers; then all that is required at the other end is a progressive taxation system that ensures that the total impact on the environment is within limits (note tax not to apply to UBI only income above that, and starting relatively low – 30%). And technological advances will impact that. An ever changing and very complex suite of assessments.

We need something like half the productivity available for uniform distribution, and about half for various forms of meritocratic distribution (market or otherwise).

Not that difficult really.

And it is more complex than that, because economic incentives are only a small part of what influences human behaviour – most influences are much more complex cultural and social factors, that take longer to influence.

[followed by]

It doesn’t require angels.

Thinking of taxation as theft is a far too simplistic idea – it really is much more complex than that.

The are many things that government does in the realm of provision of services that for all the inefficiencies of government, are still better done by them than privatized. Private armies and private police, and private judiciary really don’t do much for me.

Then there is a whole other realm of value.

There are many more sorts of value than just monetary value.

Money only values things that are scarce. It is a reasonable tool for distributing scarce resources if everyone has a reasonable amount of it.
It cannot value universal abundance positively.

Lots of things can be, and need to be, universally abundant.
Lots of things need to be done, like maintenance of ecosystem services, that have no direct beneficiary, but need to be done.

Then too add into the mix the all the things that have been supplied by those in our deep past, all the intellectual and physical works of which we are beneficiaries (though not evenly so), and there is a strong case to be made for better distribution of at least enough resources to survive. Automation makes that relatively easy, with little or nothing needing to actually be done by anyone (its almost all done by machines in practice).

So it really is far more complex than your “All Tax is theft” simplification.

[followed by]

Hi Dirk,

There remain 2 separate classes of problems with the simple thesis you promote.

Class 1 contains all the objections to the idea that a government is a monopoly that cannot be restrained. And there are many of those. A democracy has the ability to put restraints on government, like limits on taxation. The ultimate constraint is the agreement to be ruled. Piss enough people off, and you have rebellion. That is not a simple idea, it is actually indefinitely recursively applicable. Agency is a recursively abstract idea. Agents can act to create boundaries at any level of abstraction. Just because such constructs are not visible from within any lower level of abstraction, does not mean that they don’t exist. [In a deep sense, that is exactly the argument I keep having with Trick Slattery and Sam Harris.]

Class 2 comes out of the type of value that markets measure. Markets only measure value in exchange. Value in exchange always has a scarcity component. In the sense of allocating scarce resources that is entirely appropriate. In the sense of managing complex adaptive systems with exponentially increasing computational ability, it fails completely, as it fails to acknowledge the value of universally abundant goods and services to the functioning of the system as a whole. Thus the idea of market value can be a valuable tool in managing the scarcity aspect of systems, but it cannot be systemic solution to the management of entire systems – that is a problem of many orders of magnitude greater complexity. And there is no escape from the fact that the levels of complexity will extend for as long as we keep searching the space of the unknown for solutions to existing problems (which we logically must) – so there is no escaping the eternal uncertainty of this process – as the number of levels present keep extending. Awareness of the existence of the process is step one on a path that is infinite. Once you have gone a dozen or so steps along the path, the view is very different from anything one was used to.

The threats present don’t simply come from other people, they are predominantly from factors that we can only address by cooperative activity. Lone agents have no chance – period!

We either cooperate, or we perish – long term, it is that simple.

Using overly simplistic models, that do not allow that reality to be seen, is actually a threat in and of itself. And in saying that, I acknowledge the utility of using simplistic models in some contexts. And one needs to see that the depth of relationship between the variables of “time available to make a decision”, “the complexity of the models involved”, “the expected utility of the model being used”, “the computational cost of the running the model”, “the sets of value hierarchies used to evaluate model outputs”, “the sets of discount rates on future values”, “the testing datasets available”, etc as basic building blocks of a tier 2 model. There are no terms in common language for the constructs of higher level models.
And all such models demand simplifying assumptions, and the limits one puts on such assumptions can fundamentally alter the model outputs (have seen that clearly in fisheries over the last 30 years).

Then one needs to factor in known and unknown unknowns.
Some sources of non-computability we already understand quite well, things like measurement errors, Heisenberg uncertainty, maximal computational complexity, mathematical chaos, irrational numbers, systems where computation scales at some exponent of the number of bodies in the system (like QM), etc.
We have only explored relatively small integers of the infinitude of all possible mathematical theorems and systems, and very few people have explored any but the simplest of possible logics, so the space of the unknown must logically always be infinitely larger than the space of that which has been explored (infinities have that unsettling characteristic).

In the face of all that – money seems to be a simple tool of largely historical interest that is creating more threats than it delivers in benefits as we explore technological and logical spaces of greater complexity. The systemic constraints that made it a useful approximation to something are changing rapidly (some do say that it already poses far greater threat than benefit – I am uncertain if it has actually crossed that axis yet, and I am confident that it is on a very step down, and if it hasn’t already crossed the axis, it is very close – less than 10 years with 99% probability).

Continued here

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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