Why robots, trillionaires and housewives can save us from the porn powered Dystopia that idiots would vote for…
I live in the bustling center of a European capital city. It’s winter time and there’s constantly ice and snow on the sidewalk, it’s quite an inconvenience. Every time I shuffle along the slippery sidewalks I have the same thought…
Why the hell doesn’t the government give the refugees (who are cared for at the tax payers expense) shovels and have them clear the sidewalks?
The refugees are able bodied guys just sitting around bored in their centers.
It would engender good will towards the refugees because everybody would see them being helpful.
The refugees could probably use the exercise.
It would make life a whole lot easier for the people slipping and sliding on the pavement.
It’s such a bloody obvious solution to a couple different problems; yet the government doesn’t do it. I’m not saying that the government should enslave the refugees to do manual labor, but I bet if they just asked them nicely a lot of them would be happy to pick up a snow shovel and make life a little less slippery for the European tax payers providing for them.
It would not require any great organization, planning or management — just a couple dozen shovels and a bus to bring the guys downtown. This is a quintessential example of the government’s profound incompetence and wastefulness when it comes to managing resources.
If the government can’t even do something as obvious as having the refugees shovel the snow it really is a tremendous Indiana Jones stepping out into the abyss leap of faith to think that the government could effectively and honestly re-distribute resources to solve the tremendous challenge of technological unemployment.
This great undeserved faith that people put in the government is what we call statism.
Karl Marx said that religion was the opium of the foolish masses; yet Marxism is the opium of foolish intellectuals.
Universal Basic Income MIGHT work if it’s truly voluntary, delivered by the free market and administered by benevolent general artificial intelligence. If not it will surely become Communism 3.0 and will result in a metaphorical (and likely literal) mountain of smoldering bodies.
For example, in 20 or 30 years the trillionaire shareholders of Amazon.com decide to offer free 3D printed modular apartment housing. The cost of manufacturing and distributing the component parts of 3D printed apartments gets so low that the fabulously wealthy shareholders of Amazon decide altruistically to give free housing to anyone who wants it.
Imagine numerous Fortune 50 firms doing this and a universal basic living standard could be provided for free to the public in the same way that Google Maps is free.
I put “Universal Basic Income” in parenthesis because we all know that nobody really wants universal basic income. Ask a true believer Bernie bro, a purple haired SJW, a liberal tenured college professor or a hammer & sickle tattooed communist if they really think that the government should cut a $1000 monthly check to Ivanka Trump, Lloyd Blankfein or Kanye West and you’ll get a bit of angry eye twitch and they’ll admit that what they really want is basic income to help poor and middle class people.
To avert society descending into utter chaos in the age of technological unemployment I find it highly likely that out of pure self interest billionaires and CEOs of major multinational corporations, will sacrifice their own bottom line to provide free products and services so that we can maintain a baseline standard of universal basic dignity across the population.
The popular conception of Universal Basic Income requires that the government come up with at least…
$3,820,000,000,000 (318 million population of the United States X $1000 monthly X 12 months)
…Yearly to distribute to everyone. Keep in mind that the US government currently has just $48 billion in cash reserves on hand, that’s about enough for four days of universal basic income. To put that in perspective Apple has about double the cash reserves of the US government, so let’s say we raided Apple, really shook them down and cleaned out their pockets, we would be lucky to get ten days Universal Basic Income.
If you can do just a little bit of math, the mathematical impossibility of universal basic income should be smacking you in the face right about now. Is it perhaps a much better idea to allow the efficient and innovative free market to provide a universal standard of human dignity?
Perhaps as a UBI proponent you’re thinking I just don’t trust rich people that much…
Consider the altruism some of the wealthiest people in the world…
Bill Gates has given away over $30,000,000,000 of his wealth, he plans to eventually give away up to 95% of his wealth.
Warren Buffet who lives on a $100K yearly salary gave $2.8 billion to charity in 2016 and has committed to giving away 99% of his wealth upon his death.
Mark Zuckerberg has also committed to giving away almost all his wealth and put his money where his mouth was in 2016 by donating $3 billion towards the ambitious mission of “curing all disease”.
On the Giving Pledge you can find many more billionaires and very wealthy people who have also committed to giving away the majority of their wealth for the good of humanity.
A cynic might say…
Well these rich people are just doing all this charitable giving for tax purposes and to promote their own celebrity. Besides does charitable giving even work? Western countries have given trillions in foreign aid to the third world and it just seems to be getting worse.
Wealthy people at this level often paid the taxes when they made the money. These guys are giving away their post-tax wealth.
Yes it does further their celebrity to be charitable at this scale but it’s still billions of dollars that are being used to fix some of humanities worst problems, raising the universal living standard for all of us, instead of sitting in a fund or sophisticated Wall Street investment vehicle.
Do you think that perhaps these ingenuous business people will be better at meaningfully giving away their own money than apathetic, government bureaucrats are at giving away tax payer’s money?
There’s a clear correlation between intelligence and altruism and compassion towards the less fortunate in society. Some Dutch social scientists hypothesized:
The cost incurred by engaging in unconditional altruism is lower for highly intelligent people than for less intelligent people because they may expect to regain the drained resources. As a result, unconditional altruism can serve as an honest signal of intelligence.
Free market charity out performs government welfare programs by a long shot. According to data from Health and Welfare Studies at the Cato Institute;
Only 30% of the funds that go into government entitlement programs end up in the hands of the needy or paying for their services. The rest is eaten up by bureaucrats salaries, fancy offices, along with requisite waste, fraud and abuse.
Compared to private charities who contribute 82% of all funds raised to the needy, the rest goes to fundraising efforts and administration.
But if Universal Basic Income were implemented tomorrow or anytime soon with governments at all resembling the corrupt and really criminal institutions that they are now, it’s just going to result in another disastrous social experiment like…
Germany under the National Socialism
China under Mao
Romania under Ceaușescu
Cambodia under Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge
South Africa (This country doesn’t get the attention it deserves in these debates about social justice, this once rich country started implementing all the policies that social justice warriors advocate over 20 years ago and it’s a disaster! Well on it’s way to being the next Somalia)
Socialists, communists, Democrats, Bernie Bros and other varieties of witting and unwitting marxists will of course say…
Yeah but what about Canada and various rich European countries that have strong socialist policies, they seem to be doing pretty ok, mannnnnn!
These countries are running on fumes; fiat currency, money printing and quantitative easing. These countries are in a profound way cheating by not paying for anything out of money actually raised from the productive economy but instead by enslaving their children with debt.
If your roommate insisted on paying their share of rent with monopoly money how long would it be before you kicked them out?
These countries will be embroiled in chaos and petty violence in the event of an economic downturn or geopolitical disruption because so much of their population depend on government handouts (look at Paris, France this week!)
These countries have massive unfunded entitlement programs. Baby boomers significant health needs will pound the last nail in the coffin of their socialized healthcare institutions.
These rich European socialist countries have great facades, but like ancient European architecture which is beautiful from afar their foundations are cracking and crumbling. In the next 5–10 years we’ll see these countries become the next Greece.
Population replacement rates have fallen below two children per woman thanks to high taxation, lack of opportunity and toxic feminism.
I’ve traveled the world for 5 years and I consistently meet smart, entrepreneurial, young Canadians, Swedes and Germans in places like Medellin, Colombia and Kiev, Ukraine who are fleeing the asphyxiating taxation and regulation of these countries.
Perhaps what the government could do is restrict robots and AI from taking over various industries and domains of human endeavor…
Like creative work, I see no problem with banning AI and robots from writing novels, making movies or video games.
Design, we could leave humans in charge of designing the aesthetics of buildings, fashion, products, user interfaces, etc
Cooking and hospitality, do we really want robot waiters and robot cooks? I don’t think so! I’d always be willing to pay a premium for a dinning experience.
The caring economy; massage therapists, talk therapists, life coaches, etc
The education economy; as the formal university system goes away we’ll see a great boon in the long tail of the education economy. I don’t see AI replacing online professors, gurus, language teachers, coaches or talk show hosts.
The artistic and leisure economy could grow to provide employment to a significant proportion of our population.
It’s foolish to say that robots and AI are going to take all our jobs. Truck drivers, factory workers and programmers, yes you guys are on the chopping block but there is a lot of other jobs out there that will be in demand no matter how advanced technology gets.
UBI proponents will say that
If people don’t need to work for wages at a job anymore they can spend their time starting on a small business, working in their community, exercising, doing a personal development project or writing a book!
That’s just not very realistic, humans consistently respond to incentives, if all the incentives are to NOT work you’ll really see the death of human dignity as much of the population just stops working.
Mark Kincheloe says that if everyone just gets UBI from the government
Some people who would take the small check and start a business, engage in other productive forms of self-employment, or work part-time depending on their situation. There would also be far too many people who would simply take the government handout and sit in front of a TV all day or go fishing…
I think Mark is optimistic to even think people would leave the house to go fishing. Without an incentive to work at least half of the population will go on a none-stop diet of porn (just imagine what VR porn will be like in 20 years!), weed, video games and funny Youtube videos.
In a fantasy world of perfect platonic forms I can see the appeal of Universal Basic Income but in reality it’s a very dangerous idea, I would not be surprised if the political struggle that will ensue over Universal Basic Income engulfs our society in violence and tribal warfare. Why is UBI so risky?
It will be very political. While the proponents of UBI aspire to these high minded ideals of equality and justice, our political system and mainstream media will turn it into a divisive pissing match like Trump vs Clinton in 2016 or Obama vs the Tea Party in 2013. Currently UBI is mostly in the purview of intellectuals, people more interested in economics and philosophy than they are in football or celebrity gossip. One of the big mistakes that people make is assuming that everyone is as intelligent as them. The world looks very different to a person with an IQ of 90 than it does to a person with an IQ of 105. As George Carlin said
Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.
Despite simple the mathematical impossibility…
Despite the simple immorality of stealing that UBI entails…
Despite the really bad incentives it creates…
Despite the bloody history of government redistributionist schemes…
The less intelligent half of the electorate will vote for UBI. They’ll Like and Retweet for UBI. They’ll protest and march for UBI. They’ll riot for UBI. They’ll steal and kill for UBI. They’ll do whatever it takes to get the free money they deserve from greedy rich people.
UBI will divide us further down racial and tribal lines. In practice UBI will amount to the government taking a lot of money away from white men and giving it to people who racially and ideologically could not be more dissimilar and often don’t even speak the same language. In 2016, Trump and Brexit showed that white middle class people in the United States and UK are very resentful of the government redistributing their tax dollars to people who are culturally alien to them. UBI will be like dropping a nuke on the geopolitical battleground of the race wars which we now see burning in major cities in diverse western countries. If the government announces another giant program to redistribute wealth and resources, white guys will reach for their AR-15s.
UBI proponents will say
But conservatives should like UBI because it will replace the welfare system!
Welfare is an entrenched, bureaucratic part of the government; the thousands of government employees who administrate the vast welfare system and the +100 million Americans who depend upon welfare are not going to simply go away. No, they will strike, protest and riot in the street while politicians and legislators argue for years on end about which welfare programs to cut and which to keep.
Ultimately UBI is welfare, actually, it’s a historically unprecedented expansion of the welfare system. Instead of just the people who ask for welfare getting welfare, now everyone gets welfare. All the problems with welfare are multiplied exponentially.
UBI is a wet dream for unfireable big government bureaucrats and leftist politicians who secretly hate the free market. UBI is just the type of big government program that brings the worst out of politicians.
UBI is just a fancy phrase for…
The guys with the guns stealing money from the people with money to give free stuff to the people who don’t have a lot of money so they will vote for them.
It’s not so unfair to call UBI communism 3.0, because everyone should remember from their grade school civics classes that communism is a step beyond socialism, a further centralization and expansion of a government that tries to take care of everyone. Welfare is socialism; UBI is welfare on steroids which requires expansion of government power so UBI would be communism 3.0, the second iteration of communism was the various democratic socialist states that were implemented around the second half of the 20th century, many of which have now devolving into true totalitarianism.
I lived in Colombia for several years and in Colombia there are many mimes. Walk through any busy part of town and you can see mimes performing on the street for people or jugglers juggling for pesos at busy traffic intersections. This is because the cost of living is so low that you can actually make a living from being a juggler or mime in Colombia.
As technology and AI makes our economy much, much more efficient we’ll see the cost of living decrease sharply to where a waiter or a painter selling their art over the Internet can afford the life accountant does now.
But only if the government gets the hell of out of the way…
There’s only two ways the government would implement universal basic income:
Doing either of these at the scale necessary to actually have universal basic income will be disastrous:
Taxation — To provide a basic income to every citizen the government will have to raise taxes drastically on
And the middle class
Businesses large and small will respond by raising their prices drastically. The cost of living will rise correspondingly, even if we tax the robot’s labor as Bill Gates recently suggested the owners of those robots will just increases the prices of what the robots produce.
Money Printing — The other way the government could finance it is by just issuing trillions of new dollars into existence and distributing them to everyone, but this is will devalue all the other dollars in existence causing massive inflation putting the economy into a death spiral. The price of goods and the corresponding cost of living will rise.
Then the government will introduce price and wage controls along with reams and reams of regulations and we’ll have a true nightmare scenario right out of a dystopian science fiction movie…
Massive technological unemployment
High cost of living
Lack of opportunity
Corrupt government bureaucrats giving monopolies to their friends
An entitled and angry underclass with no incentive to work living on welfare
An entrenched class of elite oligarchs who own everything
A giant authoritarian government telling you what to do, say and think at all times via a technological surveillance super state that monitors you through your smart phone.
…which will inevitably result in a metaphorical (and likely literal) mountain of smoldering bodies.
UBI proponents are working under the assumption that society will utterly fall apart if all able bodied adults are not fully employed. If we look back into our not so distant past society got along quiet well with a much smaller proportion of the population working and providing for the rest of society; that small proportion of the population that supported everyone else was men.
Work was the domain of men.
The home was the woman’s domain.
Young adults volunteered in the community, apprenticed, studied and helped family.
The elderly would retire at a comfortable age and be taken care of by their family, church or community.
I’m not saying that women and elderly should be barred from having professional careers but if there’s a renaissance of traditional values and we realize as a society that it’s great folly to throw the nuclear family into the waste bin of history, the work force would shrink appreciably.
If society encouraged women to pursue their biological roles as opposed to demanding that they live and work just like men, the supply of labor would be cut nearly in half, driving up the demand and wages correspondingly.
Most modern day families requires a dual income to live comfortably but in the age of Honey I Shrunk the Cost of Living it will again be possible for a man’s income to comfortably provide for his entire family.
My ultimate message to the UBI proponents is:
This requires long term thinking, which I know is a lot to ask for because humans in general are really bad at long term thinking.
If you allow the free market to work, you’ll see that everyone is provided for by a combination of…
A drastically more efficient economy empowered by the infinite intelligence derived from General AI.
The altruism of billionaires multiplied exponentially by brilliant advances in technology.
A truly compassionate culture because of a renaissance of traditionalism and a push back against Nihilistic consumerism.
If you rush it you’ll see UBI become the most ugly, politicized, racial issue. There will be blood in the streets.
There’s already a troubling alliance between UBI proponents and leftist politicians. If you shrilly demand UBI from your politicians, you’ll get it perhaps a decade or two earlier but, believe me, it will be a deal with the devil…
Politicians will grossly pervert UBI into a callous power grab to expand the government and restrict freedom.
Politicians will send you a monthly check but it will come at the high cost of self determination and dignity.
Again, I urge patience. If you listen to the talking heads on CNN, it may seem like the economy is about to go off a cliff and the sky is going to fall tomorrow due to technological unemployment. But the economy is quiet resilient and the inventiveness of the human spirit consistently overcomes what the worriers think are truly insurmountable challenges.
The popular definition of insanity is…
Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
If you rely on the government to provide for your every need while giving it massive power to tax and redistribute resources, which is what UBI is, well that’s been tried too many times before in…
We know from history that you’re not going to get a socialist Utopia, you’re going to get a metaphorical (and likely literal) mountain of smoldering bodies.
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