Jack Saturday

Monday, June 24, 2013

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 999-1001

…an exhaustive and depressing new study of the American workplace done by the Gallup organization. Among the 100 million people in this country who hold full-time jobs, about 70 percent of them either hate going to work or have mentally checked out to the point of costing their companies money — “roaming the halls spreading discontent,” as Gallup reported.

Another surprise is the age and educational level of the most discontented workers. College graduates, now more than ever, earn far more than those with just a high school diploma. But the grumpiest, least happy people in the workplace are college graduates and baby boomers.
Checking Out
Timothy Egan June 20, 2013
New York Times

 [emphasis JS]

I’m perfectly happy with the solution, that basic income. Indeed, I support one right now, whether the machines do steal all the jobs or not: for a simple basic income would be vastly better in terms of incentives that the quite ghastly social support systems we’ve got now. And this isn’t a new idea at all: Charles Murray published “In Our Hands” a decade or so ago and the idea is really very simple indeed. Abolish all of the redistribution efforts that we currently have and simply pay every adult an unconditional grant of $10,000 a year. The money comes out to be about the same as we currently redistribute (this slight extra expense can be taxed back of high earners very easily) but we at a stroke abolish all of the welfare traps in our current system.
How To Beat The Machines: Social Security For All
Tim Worstall
[emphasis JS]

...citizen's income: the state replacing the vast majority of the benefit system with one cash payment made to everyone, regardless of employment or income.

The advantages of such a change are legion. At a stroke, the thorny issues of incentives are done away with, since work always pays; the deadweight loss associated with means testing disappears (albeit replaced with the deadweight loss of giving money to people who don't need it); those most likely to fall through the cracks of a regimented welfare state find the barrier to re-entry done away with; and it allows for a recognition of the value of certain types of non-market labour, like caring or raising children.

The New York Times' Paul Krugman and the Financial Times' Izabella Kaminska now wade into the fray, proposing another advantage of the policy: its redistributive effect.

Now, redistribution is already, prima facie, one of the absolute best things a government can do. Simply put, rich people don't need money, and poor people do. All else being equal, taking some money from rich people and giving it to poor people is therefore the absolute best way to improve worldwide welfare we know of.
 Krugman and Kaminska argue that there's a strong chance that redistribution will get significantly more important in the near future. That's because, they fear, all our jobs will be taken by robots.
For the most part, all our jobs being taken by robots isn't that bad a thing. What that would mean in practice is that we would have the same standard of living that we have now, and wouldn't need to work for it. That's actually pretty great.

The problem comes when the benefits from increased automation accrue, not to society at large, but to one small subset of society: the robot owners. (In other words, the problem comes when automation meets capitalism. But let's not go there)   
Basic income versus the robots
By Alex Hern
Published 17 June 2013
New Statesman

[emphasis JS]


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