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Old 02-08-2019, 12:53 PM
Velocity Velocity is offline
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Green New Deal: "Economic security for those unwilling to work"

The Green New Deal proposed by Ocasio-Cortez contains an interesting part: "Economic security for those unwilling to work."


There needs to be a strong social net for those who are unable to work or temporarily out of work, no doubt. But for those who are unwilling to work, this opens up a huge can of worms. Many workers in America - perhaps even the majority - do not enjoy their jobs and work their jobs only because they have to make financial ends meet. If we provide enough financial assistance that Americans who don't want to work, don't have to work another day in their lives, then many millions of people (especially, those who work in minimum-wage industries, such as janitors, fast food, cashiers etc) would retire on the spot. That would be catastrophic for the economy.

Perhaps one could argue that this is just another word for Universal Basic Income. But UBI would also be problematic if it is so generous that many people simply quit working altogether and leave a gaping hole in the workforce. (Unless Ocasio-Cortez is proposing massive automation that would let tens of millions of workers not have to work, but I don't think she is suggesting that at all.)
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Old 02-08-2019, 01:01 PM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is online now
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And this was about the least crazy thing in the green new deal, which I would have flunked if it had been handed in as a grade 8 social studies assignment. My favorite is the plan to replace all air travel with high speed rail.

And again, we have the marriage of climate change policy with the whole laundry list of intersectional stupidity like the UBI. Because apparently you can't have one without the other, and climate change isn't important enough on its own. So instead, let's alienate three quarters of the country by tying climate change mitigation to radical left-wing politics.

Someone in the Democratic party who actually cares about climate change should tell AOC to shut up before she makes the issue even more toxic to anyone who isn't already a fellow traveler.
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Old 02-08-2019, 01:05 PM
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This appears to be a manufactured outrage by the right wing, as the words "unwilling to work" do not appear in the legislation, but only in her press release; and the legislation is non-binding anyway.

https://assets.documentcloud.org/doc...Deal-FINAL.pdf

Look, I'm not an AOC fan. I think she would be largely laughed at and disregarded if she were a poster on this message board. But if the topic is something like whether health care and affordable housing should be available to all Americans, or just those with jobs, I'm going to side with making that available to everyone. And I mean everyone.
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Old 02-08-2019, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
The Green New Deal proposed by Ocasio-Cortez contains an interesting part: "Economic security for those unwilling to work."


There needs to be a strong social net for those who are unable to work or temporarily out of work, no doubt. But for those who are unwilling to work, this opens up a huge can of worms. Many workers in America - perhaps even the majority - do not enjoy their jobs and work their jobs only because they have to make financial ends meet. If we provide enough financial assistance that Americans who don't want to work, don't have to work another day in their lives, then many millions of people (especially, those who work in minimum-wage industries, such as janitors, fast food, cashiers etc) would retire on the spot. That would be catastrophic for the economy.

Perhaps one could argue that this is just another word for Universal Basic Income. But UBI would also be problematic if it is so generous that many people simply quit working altogether and leave a gaping hole in the workforce. (Unless Ocasio-Cortez is proposing massive automation that would let tens of millions of workers not have to work, but I don't think she is suggesting that at all.)
Then that disproves the notion that they're being paid what they're worth. They're being underpaid because the employers holds all the power.
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Old 02-08-2019, 01:06 PM
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One point of clarification from the linked article:
Quote:
The actual resolution that outlines the Green New Deal does not include the "unwilling to work" part
It was only the outline that legislators (including AOC) provided that includes that language.
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Old 02-08-2019, 01:11 PM
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So... UBI is unemployment insurance? If you are going to test for a willingness to work, then that's what it becomes. And if you aren't, then it does cover people who are unwilling to work.
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Old 02-08-2019, 01:12 PM
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Then that disproves the notion that they're being paid what they're worth. They're being underpaid because the employers holds all the power.
Employees are not worth "as much as they would like to be paid" - if that were so, everyone would be paid 2-3x as much as they are now. They are paid as much as the employer is willing or able to pay.
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Old 02-08-2019, 01:19 PM
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Employees are not worth "as much as they would like to be paid" - if that were so, everyone would be paid 2-3x as much as they are now. They are paid as much as the employer is willing or able to pay.
Why the quote marks? I didn't say that. They're not paid what they're worth.
I'll bet you wouldn't be too thrilled to clean the office bathroom yourself or wash your own dishes at a restaurant.

What the employer is willing to pay does not determine the employee's worth only the power the employer has over the employees.
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Old 02-08-2019, 01:24 PM
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This appears to be a manufactured outrage by the right wing, as the words "unwilling to work" do not appear in the legislation, but only in her press release...
It seems odd to assume that the outrage isn't genuine just because the phrase appears in a press release. There's a lot of outrage at stuff said in Trump's press releases, but I don't think it's "manufactured", at least not all of it.

Last edited by HurricaneDitka; 02-08-2019 at 01:25 PM.
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Old 02-08-2019, 01:26 PM
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Then that disproves the notion that they're being paid what they're worth. They're being underpaid because the employers holds all the power.
Wrong. If anything minimum wage workers are overpaid.

Concerning the OP, that green platforms thing was a bit nutty. I thought the cow fart detail was humorous.
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Old 02-08-2019, 01:30 PM
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It seems odd to assume that the outrage isn't genuine just because the phrase appears in a press release. There's a lot of outrage at stuff said in Trump's press releases, but I don't think it's "manufactured", at least not all of it.
Trump shoots off his mouth and sometimes something happens. "Hey, I got a stupid idea, let's withdraw from Syria!" and boom, it starts happening.

Here we are talking about someone shooting from the hip and the actual text of the resolution doesn't support what she said, PLUS the resolution doesn't do anything. If you ask me, it could well be that incompetence is partially to blame here: she may have thought her legislation said something that it didn't say.

But yes, manufactured outrage. Typical for many of those in Trump's corner when this woman is involved.
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Old 02-08-2019, 01:56 PM
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But for those who are unwilling to work, this opens up a huge can of worms.
You're not wrong, it's a huge can of worms. What do you do with someone who's unwilling to work? We're already picking up a lot of costs associated with their choices, from emergency medical care to extra policing to homeless shelters and food pantries.

The "problem" is that as a society we're generally unwilling to let this class of person just die on the streets. I mean, I think that's a good thing, but that also means we're going to have to address the problem one way or another, and there's no indication that the way we're currently addressing it is any good.
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Old 02-08-2019, 02:05 PM
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Wrong. If anything minimum wage workers are overpaid.

Concerning the OP, that green platforms thing was a bit nutty. I thought the cow fart detail was humorous.
Care to explain? Do you really think the average MW worker is such a worthless piece of shit that they should be paid even less?
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Old 02-08-2019, 02:09 PM
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There are very, very few people who are unwilling to do any work at all. What you actually get is people who don't want the work that pays them enough to live on. If we had universal basic income, then you'd see a lot more people following their dreams and becoming artists, philosophers, or other sorts of unprofitable workers.
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Old 02-08-2019, 02:19 PM
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Chronos, not everyone is a frustrated artist with an MFA working in an unsatisfying job. The vast majority of of people, if given a free income, will spend their time watching TV, surfing the net, drinking, smoking pot, or otherwise just chilling.

I grew up in a welfare neighborhood, and I never saw anyone on welfare following their dreams to be an artist. I DID see a lot of people sitting around on sofas smoking, drinking, and watching TV.

The idea that we will become a nation of artists and thinkers is ridiculous.
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Old 02-08-2019, 02:22 PM
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There are very, very few people who are unwilling to do any work at all. What you actually get is people who don't want the work that pays them enough to live on.
There are lots of people who will not do some jobs unless you pay them very well.

There are lots of people who, when offered free money or a 'rewarding' job that pays the same, will choose the free miney every time - Unless you think there are sanitation workers out there who would just love to get on their trucks and pick up garbage all day for free if they didn't have to worry about an income.

Finally, there are lots of people who talk a good game about wanting to do a lot of things, but need to have a fire lit under their ass before they'll actually get out of their chair and do it. Go look at the number of people who manage to find jobs just as their unemployment insurance is running out.

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Old 02-08-2019, 02:37 PM
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Chronos, not everyone is a frustrated artist with an MFA working in an unsatisfying job. The vast majority of of people, if given a free income, will spend their time watching TV, surfing the net, drinking, smoking pot, or otherwise just chilling.

I grew up in a welfare neighborhood, and I never saw anyone on welfare following their dreams to be an artist. I DID see a lot of people sitting around on sofas smoking, drinking, and watching TV.

The idea that we will become a nation of artists and thinkers is ridiculous.
You have such a terrible opinion of humanity.
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Old 02-08-2019, 02:39 PM
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Why the quote marks? I didn't say that. They're not paid what they're worth.
I'll bet you wouldn't be too thrilled to clean the office bathroom yourself or wash your own dishes at a restaurant.

What the employer is willing to pay does not determine the employee's worth only the power the employer has over the employees.
That's not how that works at all.

In essence you're selling your labor to the company. Hence, they set the price they're willing to pay for your labor (i.e. the value of your labor), based on economics- how fungible of a commodity are you? How high is the demand for your skills and experience? How inflexible is the demand for that position to be filled relative to the other two factors? And so on...

If you're inexperienced and/or unskilled enough to be easily replaceable by someone just like you willing to work for less, then WHY would the employer pay more to hire you? That's how a market works- if there are multiple providers of the exact same good, then people will buy from the cheapest one because why would they spend more? But if they need a specific good, or at a specific time, or with specific features, then there are less of them, and they'll still try and get it cheaply, but the sellers will price it higher- that's why a master carpenter commands a much larger wage than some goober with a hammer and no experience with carpentry.

So if you're in this lower-end situation where your skills and experience don't manage to even recommend you better than minimum wage (which is a pretty pitifully low bar for skills and experience, I have to say), and someone comes along and offers you the option of working for minimum or doing your own thing without having to work, which are you going to pick?

And if you're an employer, you'll probably have to raise wages for the people willing to work, but in the long term, you'll probably look to automate where you can to save on labor costs.

And I agree that the idea that UBI/negative income tax/whatever is going to suddenly liberate people to become artists, thinkers and authors is absurd. Plenty of middle class and above people have the ability to explore this when they're younger- how many actually end up as artists? Not many, probably because real artistic talent is scarce. What this scheme might do is convince a lot of people to be "artists" in the sense of they spend time doing artistic stuff without any skill.

Look at it this way... growing up in school, how many kids had artistic talent? Academic talent? Athletic talent? A small percentage in each category. The vast majority of students were not athletically, artistically or academically remarkable in any way, positive OR negative. The vast majority of the population is there- UBI isn't going to change that. At best what you'd see is a relatively small number of skilled people emerging who never had the time or the wherewithal to do it before. But most people are going to do the same crap they already do in their off time- watch TV, fiddle with their phones, etc...
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Old 02-08-2019, 02:45 PM
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That's not how that works at all.

In essence you're selling your labor to the company. Hence, they set the price they're willing to pay for your labor (i.e. the value of your labor), based on economics- how fungible of a commodity are you? How high is the demand for your skills and experience? How inflexible is the demand for that position to be filled relative to the other two factors? And so on...

If you're inexperienced and/or unskilled enough to be easily replaceable by someone just like you willing to work for less, then WHY would the employer pay more to hire you? That's how a market works- if there are multiple providers of the exact same good, then people will buy from the cheapest one because why would they spend more? But if they need a specific good, or at a specific time, or with specific features, then there are less of them, and they'll still try and get it cheaply, but the sellers will price it higher- that's why a master carpenter commands a much larger wage than some goober with a hammer and no experience with carpentry.

So if you're in this lower-end situation where your skills and experience don't manage to even recommend you better than minimum wage (which is a pretty pitifully low bar for skills and experience, I have to say), and someone comes along and offers you the option of working for minimum or doing your own thing without having to work, which are you going to pick?

And if you're an employer, you'll probably have to raise wages for the people willing to work, but in the long term, you'll probably look to automate where you can to save on labor costs.

And I agree that the idea that UBI/negative income tax/whatever is going to suddenly liberate people to become artists, thinkers and authors is absurd. Plenty of middle class and above people have the ability to explore this when they're younger- how many actually end up as artists? Not many, probably because real artistic talent is scarce. What this scheme might do is convince a lot of people to be "artists" in the sense of they spend time doing artistic stuff without any skill.

Look at it this way... growing up in school, how many kids had artistic talent? Academic talent? Athletic talent? A small percentage in each category. The vast majority of students were not athletically, artistically or academically remarkable in any way, positive OR negative. The vast majority of the population is there- UBI isn't going to change that. At best what you'd see is a relatively small number of skilled people emerging who never had the time or the wherewithal to do it before. But most people are going to do the same crap they already do in their off time- watch TV, fiddle with their phones, etc...
Since that applies to all skills, that takes the argument that success is based on hard work and blows it out of the water.
If someone is born with average or below average skills, why should that condemn them to a life of poverty and abuse?
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Old 02-08-2019, 02:49 PM
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And if you're an employer, you'll probably have to raise wages for the people willing to work, but in the long term, you'll probably look to automate where you can to save on labor costs
This is happening already regardless of anything happening in politics. Automation especially with ever improving AI will render most menial jobs unavailable to humans eventually. Fast food cashier? Yeah your job is going away. Warehouse worker? Many of those jobs will soon be done by robots.

So the question is what do we do about the entire class of people that will one day not be employable because there will be no jobs that they can do? Soylent Green?
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Old 02-08-2019, 02:52 PM
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You have such a terrible opinion of humanity.
No, I don't. I have a realistic view of humanity, which is that people respond to incentives. If you want people to work, you need to pay them to work.

A lot of people on this board come from privileged backgrounds, where 'fulfilling work' means creative white collar work. And because they are relatively high achievers, they assume other people are like them.

I grew up in a family of blue collar laborers. I was the only kid in my whole extended family to go to college. To people like that, work isn't 'empowering', it's what you have to do to survive. It's hard, dirty work that is no fun at all. But it's necessary work, and it's honorable. Those people have no dreams of being writers or artists - they have dreams of having a boat and fishing instead of working, or just being able to watch TV and drink a few beers.
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Old 02-08-2019, 02:54 PM
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I can't find a specific reference to UBI in the bill as introduced. There is a mention of "providing all people of the United States with economic security," but since the bill also includes, "guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States," I have a feeling there is going to be some "service requirement" (either civilian or military) involved - you don't get money for nothing.

Whether or not free college education for all is included is also subject to interpretation; the closest I can find is, "providing resources, training, and high-quality education, including higher education, to all people of the United States." Then again, if everybody who wants a college education is entitled to one, I wonder how many of the new universities created to accommodate everybody will be on the level of, say, Trump University?

And I notice the phrase "all people of the United States" used a lot - but not "all citizens and permanent residents."
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Old 02-08-2019, 02:58 PM
Royal Nonesutch Royal Nonesutch is offline
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You have such a terrible opinion of humanity.
Absolutely right, which is why the well-known stereotype of the typical Trust Fund kid getting up at 4am every day to wash the feet of homeless invalids before picking up trash in the local park just won't go away.
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Old 02-08-2019, 03:01 PM
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This is happening already regardless of anything happening in politics. Automation especially with ever improving AI will render most menial jobs unavailable to humans eventually. Fast food cashier? Yeah your job is going away. Warehouse worker? Many of those jobs will soon be done by robots.

So the question is what do we do about the entire class of people that will one day not be employable because there will be no jobs that they can do? Soylent Green?
We do what we've always done, and create more jobs.

When farming was mechanized, tens of millions of people were displaced. And these people could be described as being the most unlikely to find new work - they were often poor, relatively uneducated, and lived far away from the areas where new jobs were. If there was ever a logical case for giving people a universal income, that was it.

But because we were smarter then, we didn't do that. So what happened? All those people adapted. They moved to cities, they went to school, whatever. But they all wound up in other jobs.

Now ask yourself what would have happened if someone had said to them, "We feel your pain. It's impossible for you to survive without our help, so here is an income for life." What would have happened is that we would STILL have masses of people living on defunct farms, essentially on welfare, but convinced that their lives were hopeless. It would be a cruel thing to do to them in the long run.

We don't have to guess about this, because we've seen it played out over and over again in the inner cities, on native reservations, and anywhere else where people have been incentivized with free money to drop out of society and live off the public purse.
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Old 02-08-2019, 03:12 PM
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Automation and AI is new technology, you can't look to the past to see what will happen as this takes over, it has never happened before. Robot workers will be here sooner than you think. Doing more things than you think they'll be able to do. Better and cheaper too. Are you saying we should just create busy work so that there is something for low skilled people to do?

Don't you think it would be a good thing if people didn't have to do menial and physically debilitating work anymore? Wouldn't that be good for humanity if we were freed from that?
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Old 02-08-2019, 03:36 PM
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Since that applies to all skills, that takes the argument that success is based on hard work and blows it out of the water.
If someone is born with average or below average skills, why should that condemn them to a life of poverty and abuse?
Under the category of "skills and experience", I was including the ability and willingness to work hard and be a good worker. That's one more thing that can differentiate you from the faceless masses, and often for someone not terribly bright, it's their primary differentiator.

The point remains though; wages aren't set by a company twirling its collective mustaches and deciding to screw the workers, but rather as the collective result of millions of people being hired by companies for various jobs at various pay rates.

For example, I get paid what I get paid, not because my employer chooses to pay me that because they love me; it's because it's within the range of what people with my job title and experience get paid out in the wider world. I wouldn't work for less (and nor would the vast, vast majority of people with my job title and skill set), and they wouldn't hire me for more than the range (nor would other employers).

But for someone at the extreme lower end, it implies an almost total lack of marketable skill and/or experience. I mean, I worked as a janitor for minimum wage as a 16 year old. It took NO experience or skill whatsoever. If you're a grown adult and that's where you are, then you're literally interchangeable with some dumb-ass kid still in school, so why would an employer want to pay you more? I suspect in the absence of minimum wage laws, the position wouldn't have even paid that much as there was nothing about it that compelled any special qualifications other than the ability to push a mop or broom.

And businesses think a bit further and figure "why hire a person that I have to deal with not showing up, not doing a good job, stealing, mouthing off, etc... if I can hire a robot that'll do it every day, on time and well, and that after a relatively short period, I'll have paid off?" We've seen that already in a bunch of industries, and we're about to see it in a bunch more with the rise of machine learning applications/AI.

I think the point is that if you can work at all, you should be expected to do so. It's not beneficial for society to subsidize people not to work just because they don't feel like it, and if all the dire predictions about the workforce being automated come true, we'll need a lot of people actually working to pay all the benefits for the people who can't work.
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Old 02-08-2019, 03:46 PM
Royal Nonesutch Royal Nonesutch is offline
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Are you saying we should just create busy work so that there is something for low skilled people to do?
Of course not, we should obviously tax Capitalist Pig billionaires their fair share and use the resultant funds to buy the low skilled workers modest, energy efficient beachfront condos in Santa Monica where they can then use their newfound lesiure hours to reimagine old episodes of "Jake And The Fat Man", to be set in a classless, utopian, Afrocentric and Transgender-normative future for Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming.

Duh
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Old 02-08-2019, 03:46 PM
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I don't really think its "dire predictions". I think a world when people don't have to clean toilets, dig holes, ruin their backs lifting heavy boxes, or any myriad of other terrible jobs is a good thing. Having less overall work to do as a society is a good thing. Humanity will survive or perish together. I don't see why we can't leverage this technology and the incredible efficiencies it will create to better society for everyone. Other than greed of course. That's probably why we're doomed.
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Old 02-08-2019, 03:47 PM
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Of course not, we should obviously tax Capitalist Pig billionaires their fair share and use the resultant funds to buy the low skilled workers modest, energy efficient beachfront condos in Santa Monica where they can then use their newfound lesiure hours to reimagine old episodes of "Jake And The Fat Man", to be set in a classless, utopian, Afrocentric and Transgender-normative future for Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming.

Duh
What a completely pointless waste of perfectly good words.
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Old 02-08-2019, 03:53 PM
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Eh. Not all of them were that great.
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Old 02-08-2019, 03:57 PM
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Employees are not worth "as much as they would like to be paid" - if that were so, everyone would be paid 2-3x as much as they are now. They are paid as much as the employer is willing or able to pay.
Then again, if employers can not convince anyone to do a particular job for what the employers consider a "fair" wage the employers just might have to raise wages sufficiently to attract workers willing to do that job.
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Old 02-08-2019, 03:57 PM
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Eh. Not all of them were that great.
Yeah I was trying to be generous and not single any of them out so they'd feel bad
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Old 02-08-2019, 04:12 PM
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Yeah I was trying to be generous and not single any of them out so they'd feel bad
I don't know. I liked the "obviously tax Capitalist Pig billionaires their fair share" words.
  #34  
Old 02-08-2019, 04:20 PM
Babale Babale is offline
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I don't really think its "dire predictions". I think a world when people don't have to clean toilets, dig holes, ruin their backs lifting heavy boxes, or any myriad of other terrible jobs is a good thing. Having less overall work to do as a society is a good thing. Humanity will survive or perish together. I don't see why we can't leverage this technology and the incredible efficiencies it will create to better society for everyone. Other than greed of course. That's probably why we're doomed.
The "dire predictions" of a post-scarcity economy... that's pretty funny
  #35  
Old 02-08-2019, 04:28 PM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is online now
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Automation and AI is new technology, you can't look to the past to see what will happen as this takes over, it has never happened before. Robot workers will be here sooner than you think. Doing more things than you think they'll be able to do. Better and cheaper too. Are you saying we should just create busy work so that there is something for low skilled people to do?

Don't you think it would be a good thing if people didn't have to do menial and physically debilitating work anymore? Wouldn't that be good for humanity if we were freed from that?
AI and automation are not going to take all the jobs. Not in our lifetimes. For that to happen you would need an AI with general intelligence, and we are no closer to building that than we were 30 years ago. We don't even know how to go about achieving that.

I work in factory automation. I know what the state of the art is in AI and automation, and it isn't what you think it is. We automate things that are extremely well defined and rote. We are nowhere NEAR being able to automate a job like residential plumber or drywaller. We can't even build robots that can clean your house. Roombas are about the best we can do, and even those have to be given extremely well defined tasks and fail all the time when they come across situations they can't handle.

Notice the hype around self-driving cars has begun to recede, and manufacturers are walking back their claims for near-term full autonomy. As it turns out, the edge cases are REALLY hard to solve, and so is the fact that these things have to exist in a complex system where not everything can be determined by rules. We may get there eventually with cars, but I think it will be decades, not years from now. And a lot of that depends on how the public responds.

Yes, getting rid of menial and back-breaking labor is a good thing. Working at Wal-Mart beats the hell out of subsistence farming.
  #36  
Old 02-08-2019, 04:30 PM
Shodan Shodan is online now
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I guess this is another case where it is more important that AOC is morally right rather than factually right. Which leads to the question, was she right in the press release and wrong in the bill, or vice versa? As in "okay, technically the bill doesn't do that but it is a bit of hyperbole to push the bill, because Americans are eager to support those who won't work", or "don't worry, the bill doesn't actually do what I said it would so you should support it because everybody knows you can't believe a word I say".

I didn't think Trump would be elected, but if the Dems don't distance themselves from this kind of thing PDQ, he is going to be re-elected by a fucking landslide.

Regards,
Shodan
  #37  
Old 02-08-2019, 04:32 PM
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AI and automation are not going to take all the jobs. Not in our lifetimes.
I never said "all the jobs". I believe I said menial and physically debilitating jobs.

Also, think bigger. Imagine 50 years from now. Think about where our technology was 50 years ago, now imagine that jump from where we are now. Now imagine much much more of a jump because technology advances way faster than linearly.

We have artificial limbs that people control with their minds now. That was star wars shit. Now its reality.
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Last edited by Airbeck; 02-08-2019 at 04:33 PM.
  #38  
Old 02-08-2019, 04:34 PM
Ravenman Ravenman is online now
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Which leads to the question, was she right in the press release and wrong in the bill, or vice versa?
What a dumb question.
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Old 02-08-2019, 04:38 PM
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Then again, if employers can not convince anyone to do a particular job for what the employers consider a "fair" wage the employers just might have to raise wages sufficiently to attract workers willing to do that job.
Sheesh... there's not a lot of convincing going on.

This does feel very Groundhog Day-ish... I keep having to repeat myself- that's not how it works. Wages are predominantly set as part of a labor market- labor is a "good" just like anything else, and like anything else, it's sale price is set by the person selling it. If that good is not worth the price, then nobody buys, so the seller has to drop their price.

In the case of low-wage workers, they don't have skills and experience worth paying more for, and they're easily replaceable. Hence the low pay- "if you won't do the job for the pay I'm willing to pay, there are a dozen other people waiting who will."

That's not the company being dicks; developing skills and experience (and hard work is definitely a skill) is the main way you differentiate yourself in the job market. Luck plays a large role as well, but as far as things you can control, that's how you raise the perceived value of your labor. That's why education is important- it's a way to differentiate yourself. So are things like summer jobs, internships, etc... And stuff like criminal records also differentiate you, except negatively.

I don't doubt that some sort of UBI would increase wages for the remaining lowest wage workers- employers would have to raise wages just to compete with the option of being a sloth. But that's only at the extreme low end; almost nobody making 50k is going to turn around and say "F**k this 50k job, I want to go sit on my ass for 20k." But it's entirely likely that someone making 24k might say that. In the long run though, that's going to drive automation even harder until we reach a point when everything that can be economically automated will be. Whether or not that point is a post-scarcity economy remains to be seen. It may just end up as a situation with widespread impoverished unemployment for most people, and a small "working" class that actually does jobs that can't be automated.
  #40  
Old 02-08-2019, 04:39 PM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is online now
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Originally Posted by Airbeck View Post
I never said "all the jobs". I believe I said menial and physically debilitating jobs.

Also, think bigger. Imagine 50 years from now. Think about where our technology was 50 years ago, now imagine that jump from where we are now. Now imagine much much more of a jump because technology advances way faster than linearly.

We have artificial limbs that people control with their minds now. That was star wars shit. Now its reality.
So what? Of course we will have tech in the future that will be amazing. That says nothing at all about how people will be employed. Maybe 50 years from now the biggest growth industry will be virtual jobs in VR. I have no idea.

What I do know is that until and if we can replace the human brain, human brains will be really valuable. And not just for the technical aspects of the job they are doing, but because when humans are in the job they can use judgement to correct errors, come up with workarounds, provide feedback to managers as to what's going on at the lowest levels of the organization, etc. Ever seen what happens when a company's employees go on a 'work to rule' strike? Usually, the entire process collapses, or at best becomes highly inefficient. That's what would happen all the time if you replaced all your workers with specialized robots.
  #41  
Old 02-08-2019, 04:48 PM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is online now
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Sheesh... there's not a lot of convincing going on.

This does feel very Groundhog Day-ish... I keep having to repeat myself- that's not how it works. Wages are predominantly set as part of a labor market- labor is a "good" just like anything else, and like anything else, it's sale price is set by the person selling it. If that good is not worth the price, then nobody buys, so the seller has to drop their price.

In the case of low-wage workers, they don't have skills and experience worth paying more for, and they're easily replaceable. Hence the low pay- "if you won't do the job for the pay I'm willing to pay, there are a dozen other people waiting who will."

That's not the company being dicks; developing skills and experience (and hard work is definitely a skill) is the main way you differentiate yourself in the job market. Luck plays a large role as well, but as far as things you can control, that's how you raise the perceived value of your labor. That's why education is important- it's a way to differentiate yourself. So are things like summer jobs, internships, etc... And stuff like criminal records also differentiate you, except negatively.

I don't doubt that some sort of UBI would increase wages for the remaining lowest wage workers- employers would have to raise wages just to compete with the option of being a sloth. But that's only at the extreme low end; almost nobody making 50k is going to turn around and say "F**k this 50k job, I want to go sit on my ass for 20k." But it's entirely likely that someone making 24k might say that. In the long run though, that's going to drive automation even harder until we reach a point when everything that can be economically automated will be. Whether or not that point is a post-scarcity economy remains to be seen. It may just end up as a situation with widespread impoverished unemployment for most people, and a small "working" class that actually does jobs that can't be automated.
The utility curve of money means that if you gave people a UBI, they would demand to be paid even more for the same work. $30K per year when you're making zero looks a lot different than an additional $30K when you're already getting a $25K UBI. If I absolutely need a job, and I can get one at Tim Horton's for $25K per year and nothing else, well, I'll take that job. But if I'm already getting $25K without working at all, doubling it to 50K at the expense of having to work every day is going to look a lot different.

And if you are going to means-test the UBI in any way, rather than sending a check every month to Jeff Bezos, there will come a point where the marginal taxation of income in your new job makes it even less appealing. If every dollar I earn over, say, $100K gets clawed back out of my UBI 1:1, guess what? I'll never make more than $100K. And if you only claw it back at 50%, that's essentially a 50% marginal tax on income over $100K, on top of whatever other income taxes I might have to pay.

Then you have the problem that at first, a lot of people might be seduced by the money to just lay around. Then later they might get restless and want to work, but they'll find that their layoff from the job market makes them unemployable. Then they'll be stuck with UBI with no prospects for better.
  #42  
Old 02-08-2019, 04:53 PM
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Sheesh... there's not a lot of convincing going on.

This does feel very Groundhog Day-ish... I keep having to repeat myself- that's not how it works. Wages are predominantly set as part of a labor market- labor is a "good" just like anything else, and like anything else, it's sale price is set by the person selling it. If that good is not worth the price, then nobody buys, so the seller has to drop their price.

In the case of low-wage workers, they don't have skills and experience worth paying more for, and they're easily replaceable. Hence the low pay- "if you won't do the job for the pay I'm willing to pay, there are a dozen other people waiting who will."
You say that because you have lived all your life in a world where the available labor pool is larger than the demand for labor. If that flipped around it would be a very different world.

After the Black Death swept through Europe wages rose because there was a chronic labor shortage for quite some time afterward - more labor was needed than was available. Of course, with technology labor shortages can also drive technology and automation.

In a world where people don't HAVE to work then getting people to actually DO work that is needed might require an increase in wages for those jobs that still require humans as opposed to robots.
  #43  
Old 02-08-2019, 05:00 PM
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Care to explain? Do you really think the average MW worker is such a worthless piece of shit that they should be paid even less?
What do I think? I think in a so-called market economy price should be set by supply and demand and not counterproductive government fiat. There is no intrinsic dollar value to goods or services and that includes labor.

Last edited by octopus; 02-08-2019 at 05:00 PM.
  #44  
Old 02-08-2019, 05:02 PM
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Chronos, not everyone is a frustrated artist with an MFA working in an unsatisfying job. The vast majority of of people, if given a free income, will spend their time watching TV, surfing the net, drinking, smoking pot, or otherwise just chilling.

I grew up in a welfare neighborhood, and I never saw anyone on welfare following their dreams to be an artist. I DID see a lot of people sitting around on sofas smoking, drinking, and watching TV.

The idea that we will become a nation of artists and thinkers is ridiculous.
I grew up in a similar neighborhood and you are 100% correct. I think everyone who has such lofty ideas of humanity ought to live a few years in a very economically depressed area and see for themselves the reality of human nature.
  #45  
Old 02-08-2019, 05:04 PM
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Am I the only on who thinks "those unwilling to work" refers to stay-at-home moms & dads?
  #46  
Old 02-08-2019, 05:29 PM
Airbeck Airbeck is offline
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So what? Of course we will have tech in the future that will be amazing. That says nothing at all about how people will be employed. Maybe 50 years from now the biggest growth industry will be virtual jobs in VR. I have no idea.

What I do know is that until and if we can replace the human brain, human brains will be really valuable. And not just for the technical aspects of the job they are doing, but because when humans are in the job they can use judgement to correct errors, come up with workarounds, provide feedback to managers as to what's going on at the lowest levels of the organization, etc. Ever seen what happens when a company's employees go on a 'work to rule' strike? Usually, the entire process collapses, or at best becomes highly inefficient. That's what would happen all the time if you replaced all your workers with specialized robots.
Ok so what seems to be happening here is that you are arguing against someone that is saying that everyone's jobs will be replaced by robots and technology eventually. That isn't me though. That is never what I've said.

I'm saying that technology is going to get us to the point where there simply isn't enough work that needs to be done for everyone to have a job to do. The ones left out will be the low skilled people, manual laborers, heavy box movers, etc. For some people there will be nothing that they are qualified to do that needs doing anymore, so what do we have them do, dig a hole even though we have robots that do that just so that they can have a job? That's what I meant by are we just going to create busy work.
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  #47  
Old 02-08-2019, 05:48 PM
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What do I think? I think in a so-called market economy price should be set by supply and demand and not counterproductive government fiat. There is no intrinsic dollar value to goods or services and that includes labor.
Human beings are not just a commodity like any other. They're not oil or steel or electricity; they're human beings.

Economies exist to serve the needs of people, not the other way around. Thinking of people as a commodity can lead to a very dark place.

I don't have all of the answers and I don't know if a UBI is a workable economic model but I do know that in a post-scarcity world it's wrong to let market forces alone determine people's fate.
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  #48  
Old 02-08-2019, 05:59 PM
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I don't have all of the answers and I don't know if a UBI is a workable economic model but I do know that in a post-scarcity world it's wrong to let market forces alone determine people's fate.
I don't see why it's either-or.

If anything, UBI is a way to make the labor market more purely market-based.

With UBI, we can abolish minimum wage. Because the goal of minimum wage is to insure that everyone can make a living wage, and UBI already provides that.

UBI also can (and should) replace many of the benefits currently paid for by employers, such as pension, unemployment insurance, etc. Basically, UBI should mean each person's basic needs are covered by the government, and the employer just needs to pay for the work done.
  #49  
Old 02-08-2019, 06:18 PM
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And this was about the least crazy thing in the green new deal, which I would have flunked if it had been handed in as a grade 8 social studies assignment. My favorite is the plan to replace all air travel with high speed rail.
When you say 'replace,' what does the proposal actually say? And why is it so crazy?
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Old 02-08-2019, 06:22 PM
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When you say 'replace,' what does the proposal actually say? And why is it so crazy?
What it actually says is:

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(H) overhauling transportation systems in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible, including through investment inó
(i) zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and manufacturing;
(ii) clean, affordable, and accessible public transit; and
(iii) high-speed rail
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