Libertarianism

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Pfhorrest
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon Aug 27, 2018 4:25 pm UTC

The point of the language discussion is that people who are against capitalism in its original sense have no way to even say what they are against in the recent redefinition of words. There has literally been an intentional concerted effort to make that happen, to make anti-inequality sound like anti-freedom when it means no such thing.

Also, if two parties disagree about what words mean, whoever’s usage diverges from the prior usage has the burden of getting on board with the established meaning. The people using the prior sense don’t have to make up new words for the same old concepts just because someone intentionally ruined the old ones.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Kit. » Mon Aug 27, 2018 7:37 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Kit. wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:But governments have risen without having any judiciary at all.

Example?

They are mostly of the terrible, authoritarian sort. France post revolution did away with judges doing any interpretation of the law. It went poorly.

So, it is is actually an illustration to my words: it's not how a government arises, but how it falls?

Tyndmyr wrote:There are also cases where the role sort of exists, but there's no separation of power at all.

The role of judiciary services is to provide a 3rd party authority for conflict resolutions. "Separation of power" only benefits the cases where "power" is a party to the conflict; judiciary is still helpful in other conflicts.

Tyndmyr wrote:So, I don't think having a judiciary is a prerequisite for gaining power.

We were not talking about "gaining power", we were talking about:

Monopolization appears to be a natural result of evolution of a system started in a "free market" state, and the government itself is such a result of monopolization of "free market" judiciary services.

You can take power in a coup against an existing government, but if you lose that monopoly, you will in effect lose your power.

Tyndmyr wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:In any case, you don't generally have governments peacefully coexisting within the same land.

You do if you manage to deconflict the judiciary systems. That usually involves some sort of hierarchy. The US is one of such examples.

That's a single hierarchy within one government. Consumers do not have a choice of governmental systems.

Consumers may have a choice of lands, though. Also, some consumers may vote not only with feet.

But anyway, we digress. It actually was about:

Tyndmyr wrote:
At the moment, such governments are rare and their habitat is protected by governments that do have markets. Mostly in Papua New Guinea and Amazon basin. But they used to be widespread.

Violence alone doesn't build societies capable of dominating any given chunk of lands. You need something more.

If they utterly displaced other forms of government, doesn't that tell us something important about where the power lies?

They didn't. They are the original form of human government, utterly displaced from everything else and preserved there in a kind of zoo.

Tyndmyr wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:You believe the natural outcome of every market is a monopoly, and you're after that outcome?

No, I point out that the model of "It is a free market which makes monopolies impossible" is both unsustainable in the positive sense and self-contradictory in the normative sense.

It's only a problem if you believe that a free market requires no maint, or that all markets are free.

The above is not the case. You need to filter our fraud and force, or markets become unfree quite rapidly.

No, it's also a problem if you believe that all that you need to protect free markets is "to filter our fraud and force".

My bad, typo. Out, not our.

Doesn't matter, still invalid.

Tyndmyr wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:If you're the only seller, a monopoly exists.

You can define yourself as a "monopoly", but it doesn't mean that the government needs to ban or control you. Maybe you are just innovative. Or maybe your market niche is only sustainable for a single self-employed person.

Modern anti-monopoly laws are in practice unlikely to matter to you if your market is so small as to only support a single self employed person. Tiny niches, sure. It happens. If you're the only one crocheting your particular themed products, fine, the world can live with that.

But is it "bad" if someone takes a niche for a single self-employed person?
Is it "bad" if someone is innovative and creates an unique product?

And who decides to whom "laws are in practice unlikely to matter", if not the government?

Tyndmyr wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Borders of markets can be subjective, but if you, in your home, have precisely one entity you can purchase electricity or gas or water from, then so far as you're concerned, there's a monopoly on your local market.

But what if I, in my home, have precisely one entity to purchase "an OS for a PC-compatible computer" from?

While I personally use (or don't use) VMS under hobbyist license on DECstation?

There's also the mac OS, the Android OS,

There were no Android OS at that time, no smartphones at all, there were tablets with very limited functionality (PalmOS), and Mac OS did not run on a PC-compatible hardware.

Tyndmyr wrote:I'd still consider it not a monopoly, but it's worth noting that it's primary contender is unusually popular. The overall state of affairs appears to be relatively stable. Windows is not currently flattening the other contenders.

But what if there were no Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson back then?

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Aug 27, 2018 7:40 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Incidentally, this is one reason why libertarians are generally pretty negative about minimum wage laws. Yes, in practice, we want people to be paid well, but that's handled best by a competitive labor market that naturally drives up wages. An abusively minded organization can find other ways to exploit workers besides wages, if the workers have no options.

You went on to discuss pee breaks, but didn't discuss the thing that's actually happening in the world - ie, manufacturing jobs moving to places where people will do them for less money, and how that would expand on a national level

That is, if you get rid of minimum wage laws and a business offered $7 an hour to do my job, you'd absolutely get some fresh out of school kid who'd be all over it. And I've got a technical job. For "low skill" manufacturing work where you essentially push a button or sort objects for hours on end? $7 an hour with no minimum wage laws, maybe less.

Sure, you'd only get terrible workers. But it doesn't matter if you're employing 2000 people in a town of 10,000. You'll have a constant stream of workers ready to replace those $7 an hour workers, some of them offering to take $6.50. then $6. Then $4.

I mean, how do you insure a competitive labor market without legislation, especially given the libertarian stance is at best barely tolerant of labor unions?


One way you can get around this is to introduce a universal basic income like we were discussing a couple of pages ago. Then if you have a job that pays $2/hr, the prospective employee can realistically decide whether it is worthwhile to do that job for the small increase in income over their basic, or rather they'd just not work at that wage at all. Once you remove pressure that people have to work or they literally starve to death, you get some upward pressure on wages because employers need to make the job enticing enough that the person will feel like they will be better off working rather than just staying home.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Aug 27, 2018 7:51 pm UTC

Ontario recently ended it's UBI experiment two years early. Here's hoping they release data about the results of the experiment. The reason given was the $50mil/yr expense to support 4,000 individuals on it. Some reactions have been in the news, but of course, anecdotes are not data, so I'm hoping for a more complete summary once it's over.

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2018/08/02/i-may-end-up-homeless-again-six-ontarians-talk-about-their-life-before-after-and-once-again-without-basic-income.html

The Finnish experiment will likewise not be continued(though it ran longer), and results are expected to be available in 2020.

To an extent, relying on basic income to make up for a particularly low paying job can be inefficient. It's similar to how folks accuse Walmart of relying on government subsidies to support it's workers*. If a job is only efficient enough at creating value to pay $2/hr to workers, getting the government to subsidize it is not necessarily a good idea.

*This isn't particular to Walmart, but to some extent, safety nets do have this effect.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:33 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:To an extent, relying on basic income to make up for a particularly low paying job can be inefficient. It's similar to how folks accuse Walmart of relying on government subsidies to support it's workers*. If a job is only efficient enough at creating value to pay $2/hr to workers, getting the government to subsidize it is not necessarily a good idea.


A low-paying job is a voluntary supplement to a universal basic income. It helps equalize the bargaining power between the employer and the employee because the latter is not being compelled to accept a job they might not otherwise want. At very least, it would help counteract the massive downward pressure on wages that removing minimum wage laws would cause.

Ontario recently ended it's UBI experiment two years early. Here's hoping they release data about the results of the experiment. The reason given was the $50mil/yr expense to support 4,000 individuals on it. Some reactions have been in the news, but of course, anecdotes are not data, so I'm hoping for a more complete summary once it's over.


These examples aren't really the same thing as what I'm talking about because the UBI in your example is primarily an addition to, rather than primarily a replacement for, the existing safety net.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:36 pm UTC

One of the arguments I always see floated against raising the minimum wage is “Inflation will just kick in and the buying power for minimum-wage will stay the same.”

How does a universal basic income avoid this?
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon Aug 27, 2018 10:16 pm UTC

The inflation issue is the same whether you're talking UBI or minimum wage. Purchasing power for people at the top of the income scale does actually go down, it's true, because prices rise faster than their incomes do (or their incomes actually decline, post-tax, even). But purchasing power for people at the bottom goes up, because even though prices are rising, their incomes are rising even faster. It ends up as a net benefit to most people. If it didn't, they you could argue that pushing things even further the other direction would be beneficial: if only one person had all the money and everybody else was broke, then prices would plummet (because nobody could afford anything at normal prices), and that one remaining person would get everything for super cheap. Of course, that doesn't sound like an actually good thing to anyone who doesn't expect to end up that one remaining person with money.

Theoretically raising minimum wage also pushes everyone else's wages up, but it's rather indirectly, and a sane UBI, funded by income tax such that people at the mean income break even and you make out or lose out depending on how far above or below the mean your income is, makes the adjustment much more smoothly, so that it's more guaranteed that more people close to the middle-class see their post-tax-and-UBI income go up faster than prices do than it would be with just a minimum wage hike.


On the topic of what jobs will have to pay what with an UBI in place: imagine you have two middle-class small business owners. One of them needs someone to scrub his toilets for him. How much do you think he'd have to offer the other middle-class small business owner to get him to to do literally shitty work like that? Minimum wage? Fuck no. A million dollars an hour? Sure... he'd scrub a toilet for that kind of dough! The real answer of course is somewhere in the middle, and that's how much the work is actually worth in a truly free market, between participants of equal bargaining power. The only reason you can get anyone to do it for minimum wage is because there are desperate people who will die if they don't take that deal. UBI would eliminate that desperation, and then you'd have to pay what the job is actually worth to get someone to do it.

That's an excellent illustration of why you can't have actual freedom without equality.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Aug 27, 2018 10:25 pm UTC

Raising minimum wages results in direct increase of labor costs to businesses. The easiest way for them to recoup this is raising prices. If everyone does this in the same manner, then there's inflationary pressure which eats up a lot of the minimum wage increase. Though in reality the increase isn't necessarily one-to-one since there's other factors beyond minimum wages that affect inflation.

UBI has more of an indirect effect on labor costs... Businesses may pay more in taxes but the same or even less in labor costs (depending on exactly how the UBI is structured). Tax burdens vary based on the business, and businesses that are likely to be unaffected by a minimum wage increase (say, a high-end service like a lawyer) might still pay more tax, so the effect is more diffuse. Some of the pilot studies that have been done on the effects of UBI suggest the inflationary effects are negligible, or even slightly negative.

Anyway, there's been more than 3 trillion dollars in quantitative easing in the last 10 years and the inflation rate has barely budged. There are only ~2.5 million people who make the federal minimum wage or lower. The total annual income of all of these people, combined, is $36 billion, or $360 billion over those same 10 years. You'd probably need to increase the minimum wage by a pretty sizable amount at this point to see any significant inflationary pressure.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Kit. » Tue Aug 28, 2018 7:52 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:One of the arguments I always see floated against raising the minimum wage is “Inflation will just kick in and the buying power for minimum-wage will stay the same.”

How does a universal basic income avoid this?

Inflation is a monetary phenomenon. In order to keep inflation under control, you "just" don't print more money than is needed to keep the system away from deflation.

When you give money to the poor (and thus take it from the rich, because money is just a form of distributing existing resources), you increase consumer spending and decrease savings. Savings are domestic investment plus net capital outflow. By raising the minimum wage, you increase the labor costs, which increases net capital outflow and further reduces domestic investment, which increases unemployment.

With UBI, it's trickier. If humans were purely rational money making agents, UBI + no minimum wage would still relatively decrease savings, but also decrease labor costs, and if money for UBI comes not from corporate taxes, it may boost domestic investment. However, humans aren't purely rational money making agents, and they can just stop working, not seeing employment benefits as being big enough to bother, which then won't decrease the labor costs as expected. Still, even in this case, they may spend time on education instead of doing low-productivity work and then return to the market as more skilled (but still cheaper than without UBI) labor force. That's why UBI needs proper testing before committing to.

That's my understanding, but I am not a professional macroeconomist, so I may be wrong.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Zamfir » Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:49 am UTC

Yeah, macroeconomic arguments are quicksand
When you give money to the poor (and thus take it from the rich, because money is just a form of distributing existing resources), you increase consumer spending and decrease savings. Savings are domestic investment plus net capital outflow. By raising the minimum wage, you increase the labor costs, which increases net capital outflow and further reduces domestic investment, which increases unemployment.

It's not so much that it is wrong, but the size of such an effect can be disputed (and it is disputed, for pretty much any marcoeconomic claim...). And one can think of plenty of other mechanisms, that might or might not drown out this effect.

I once had an economics teachers who made exam questions like this:

Question 13a Show how an increase in the minimum wage can widen a surplus of the capital account
Question 13b Show how an increase in the minimum wage can shrink a surplus of the capital account

It would infuriate some of his students, but I always thought that it was a more important lesson than the details of any particular chapter under consideration.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Chen » Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:28 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:One of the arguments I always see floated against raising the minimum wage is “Inflation will just kick in and the buying power for minimum-wage will stay the same.”

How does a universal basic income avoid this?


I’m not sure about general inflation but inflation in the cost of neccessities seems like it would just increase. I mean the rich could care less if milk or eggs go up in price. But it matters far more for the people who are struggling to get the food they need. Im not sure why these prices wouldnt just increase if the poor with their increased income (from UBI or higher minimum wage) could now afford higher prices. The same for rent or low end housing. Basically all the things the rich would just eat in terms of increases (or that they dont buy anyways) seems like they would rise in price with new increased demand that comes from the poor having more spending money.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby elasto » Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:20 pm UTC

Off the top of my head, there's not more money in the system it's just distributed differently, so assuming the economy equivalently reorganises it feels like prices need not rise.

As in, sure, industries and the skills represented therein are not perfectly interchangeable, but someone investing capital in industries serving the rich might instead invest capital in serving the expanding middle classes, thereby increasing supply of basic necessities and hence keeping prices stable or even falling.

And the economy is not a closed system: If demand for basic goods rises, they could just get imported in cheaply from countries whose labour costs remain fixed. And if the new middle classes are freed to skill themselves on the back of a UBI and export high value products instead of scratching around in the dirt just trying to survive, the trade deficit could be closed and the whole country could be better off.

(But IANAE...)

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Aug 28, 2018 2:20 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:To an extent, relying on basic income to make up for a particularly low paying job can be inefficient. It's similar to how folks accuse Walmart of relying on government subsidies to support it's workers*. If a job is only efficient enough at creating value to pay $2/hr to workers, getting the government to subsidize it is not necessarily a good idea.


A low-paying job is a voluntary supplement to a universal basic income. It helps equalize the bargaining power between the employer and the employee because the latter is not being compelled to accept a job they might not otherwise want. At very least, it would help counteract the massive downward pressure on wages that removing minimum wage laws would cause.


I'm not sure that someone opting to accept a $2/hr wage removes downward pressure on wages.

Right now, you offer someone a $2/hr wage, and folks are mostly inclined to laugh at it, because you can't really live on $2/hr. If you can, thanks to UBI, that would seem to add more downward pressure, not less.

Ontario recently ended it's UBI experiment two years early. Here's hoping they release data about the results of the experiment. The reason given was the $50mil/yr expense to support 4,000 individuals on it. Some reactions have been in the news, but of course, anecdotes are not data, so I'm hoping for a more complete summary once it's over.


These examples aren't really the same thing as what I'm talking about because the UBI in your example is primarily an addition to, rather than primarily a replacement for, the existing safety net.


Agreed, current experiments differ from universally proposed UBI's in some important respects. That said, I think the data is potentially interesting, and I'd be interested in reading summaries of the results when they become available. Economic experiments on that scale aren't awfully common, so the data has some value, I think.

SecondTalon wrote:One of the arguments I always see floated against raising the minimum wage is “Inflation will just kick in and the buying power for minimum-wage will stay the same.”

How does a universal basic income avoid this?


I'm not sure it significantly differs from a minimum wage approach, save for that it also applies to the unemployed, so it's broader. Ultimately, if people are getting $x from wages or $x from UBI, both should be equally inflationary.

Ultimately, the same people are getting the money, and will probably spend it similarly in either case.

The money is likewise ultimately coming from higher income individuals. Doesn't really matter if it's coming out in higher labor prices or higher taxes at a macro level. It might matter for individuals, but at a nationwide level, for an equal amount, they should be roughly similar for inflationary purposes.

Secondary effects may differ, if you buy that UBI or higher minimum wages decrease employment, and at different rates. As others have noted about macroeconomic predictions, ehhh. There is significant dispute over the size of such effects. They probably exist, but depending on how impactful a minimum wage increase is, you may not actually be able to see any effect at all. Calculating the exact difference between a UBI and a minimum wage change in this respect requires a lot of specifics, and probably better data than we have.

Pfhorrest wrote:On the topic of what jobs will have to pay what with an UBI in place: imagine you have two middle-class small business owners. One of them needs someone to scrub his toilets for him. How much do you think he'd have to offer the other middle-class small business owner to get him to to do literally shitty work like that? Minimum wage? Fuck no. A million dollars an hour? Sure... he'd scrub a toilet for that kind of dough! The real answer of course is somewhere in the middle, and that's how much the work is actually worth in a truly free market, between participants of equal bargaining power. The only reason you can get anyone to do it for minimum wage is because there are desperate people who will die if they don't take that deal. UBI would eliminate that desperation, and then you'd have to pay what the job is actually worth to get someone to do it.

That's an excellent illustration of why you can't have actual freedom without equality.


Your middle class small business owner likely scrubs his own toilets. Most businesses of that size are owner-operated or family-operated. So it might be getting his kid to scrub the toilet.

In any case, not all labor is of equal value. If you have advanced skills and I do not, you can command a superior wage. One can describe this as bargaining power, but it's not imposed by business size or the like.

elasto wrote:And the economy is not a closed system: If demand for basic goods rises, they could just get imported in cheaply from countries whose labour costs remain fixed. And if the new middle classes are freed to skill themselves on the back of a UBI and export high value products instead of scratching around in the dirt just trying to survive, the trade deficit could be closed and the whole country could be better off.


A large part of the assumptions regarding UBI is that it will somehow help the currently unemployed become employed. I'm not sure that this is directly supported by data. This hypothesized method of recouping the cost of UBI, at least partially, is often proposed, but may not exist, or the effect may be small.

If you have evidence that a UBI would lead to the currently unemployed creating high value products for export, I'd be curious to see it.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Kit. » Tue Aug 28, 2018 3:10 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:A large part of the assumptions regarding UBI is that it will somehow help the currently unemployed become employed.

I'd say that the assumption is that people in dire needs are much less likely to have advanced plans such as getting educated for more productive jobs.

They are probably also more prone to unhealthy lifestyle.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Aug 28, 2018 3:16 pm UTC

I think both of those assumptions are fairly easy to demonstrate a correlation for. In the US, at least, obesity is mostly a lower/middle class problem, with lower rates for the upper class. Education, of course, we've already explicitly correlated with income. I doubt anyone here will argue with the idea that those in financial difficulty are more likely to experience other disadvantages.

The open question is how good UBI is as a cure. Does it actually boost employment and education? If it does, does it do so to a level commensurate with the cost? Particularly if we're considering it as a replacement for existing safety nets, it's fairly important that we know if it does a better job.

I mean, if we look at the example stories given from the Canadian experiment, I don't see any significant change in terms of outcome. Now, sure, anecdotes are not data, so the full summary will be a lot more reliable, but for a story in which they're attempting to highlight the value of the program, they couldn't find anything better than "they hope to do something good in the future". That seems like quite weak evidence of improvement for fifty million bucks.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Aug 28, 2018 5:33 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:I mean, if we look at the example stories given from the Canadian experiment, I don't see any significant change in terms of outcome. Now, sure, anecdotes are not data, so the full summary will be a lot more reliable, but for a story in which they're attempting to highlight the value of the program, they couldn't find anything better than "they hope to do something good in the future". That seems like quite weak evidence of improvement for fifty million bucks.


:|
That program is cheap. 50 million/yr among 4000 people is $12500 each, less administration costs. Canada spends over $100,000 per person per year on prisoners. Homelessness costs almost $50,000 per person per year. Heck, the government of Canada spent 50 million on a gazebo.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby elasto » Tue Aug 28, 2018 6:00 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:A large part of the assumptions regarding UBI is that it will somehow help the currently unemployed become employed. I'm not sure that this is directly supported by data.

The unemployed are already being supported by safety nets, and would be under pretty much any conceivable system in a modern, civilised country. Yes, any UBI worth discussing would give them more money than they receive right now, but probably not hugely more.

While, imo, UBI would be better than the current system because it eliminates the punitive marginal tax rates that disincentivise people who'd otherwise be happy moving into low-paid or part-time jobs, equally it could be fixed simply by reforming what we have right now. Either way, I wouldn't think the major benefit of UBI to be in terms of aiding the unemployed.

No, for me the gains come from those who are motivated and hard-working but all their time and energy is currently consumed by working two or three dead-end jobs simply to put food on the table. Maybe UBI could free them up to only work one job and invest the rest of their time in education or starting a business.

UBI would also free up parents to spend more time with their pre-school children, which might have a huge long-term benefit in terms of the mental health of the next generation. It would also free up adults to spend their time and energy looking after disabled or elderly relatives, again, with perhaps real wins in terms of social cohesion and overall happiness and quality of life.

Imagine if your kids had the freedom and willingness to care for you in your old age rather than you having to roll the dice living in some nursing home cared for by anonymous staff on minimum wage. It's really hard to quantify in dollars and cents terms the value of such a shift in culture, and that's why the whole conversation around UBI can't just be about its economics, and why studies like the aforementioned are useful but not the whole story.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Aug 28, 2018 6:14 pm UTC

The libertarian answer to that is "Jesus, maybe don't spend $50mil on a gazebo, either".

Now, if we're looking at it seriously, it looks like the $50mil bought more than just the gazebo, but justifying spending on the basis of other things being more wasteful seems like a bad angle to take. You can use that to justify almost anything. Instead of using bad spending to justify more bad spending, maybe we try to minimize that bad spending to begin with.

Sure, prisoners are expensive. Reworking justice systems so we're not throwing everyone in jail is a great idea. The US could do a ton better here. Now, if the UBI itself reduces the amount of people imprisoned, sure, you can make a case for it being a net savings. But to do that, you'd need some evidence of that, which is, so far, lacking. Hopefully the pilot program will provide some actual data to make this less theoretical, but a casual "fuck it, it's only fifty million" attitude towards government contributes to why governments have problems.

elasto wrote: better than the current system because it eliminates the punitive marginal tax rates that disincentivise people who'd otherwise be happy moving into low-paid or part-time jobs, equally it could be fixed simply by reforming what we have right now. Either way, I wouldn't think the major benefit of UBI to be in terms of aiding the unemployed.


Low paid and part time jobs are taxed comparatively lightly under any progressive taxation scheme. Generally, low paid workers in the US pay little in tax, as you pay only 10% federal tax on your first bit of income, and you've got deductions to consider as well.

elasto wrote:No, for me the gains come from those who are motivated and hard-working but all their time and energy is currently consumed by working two or three dead-end jobs simply to put food on the table. Maybe UBI could free them up to only work one job and invest the rest of their time in education or starting a business.


Well, so far, there's not much evidence that this actually happens. There's several assumptions that need to play out for this scenario to work.

In particular, we'd need some data supporting that this is better than means-tested safety nets. Is there something about a UBI that supports this scenario more so than, say, unemployment does? I'm not sure why this should be the case. As a generic argument for safety nets, sure, you can make the case that it allows more risk, but I don't see why it'd be unique to a UBI.

elasto wrote:Imagine if your kids had the freedom and willingness to care for you in your old age rather than some anonymous nursing home staff. It's really hard to quantify in dollars and cents terms the value of such a shift in culture, and that's why the whole conversation can't just be about its economics.


I'm not really big on children, personally. I prefer the modern culture of specialists, rather than relying on an extended family to handle things as best as they can. No objections to people who prefer the latter, but the traditional model of relying on a massive family to care for you in your old age doesn't mesh well with birth rates in a developed, specialized economy, so it simply is not a viable solution for many people.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Zamfir » Tue Aug 28, 2018 6:43 pm UTC

Elasto, i think I you're right o focus on more than technical economical issues. But it does make me skeptical.

A UBI is money for all such goals as you mention, plus other worthy goals, plus money for people who don't particularly need, want, or deserve it. Only that last part is special about a UBI.

So if there is no support today for targeted spending on the good parts, why would we expect support for the UBI that also comes with the bad parts? Or conversely, if there was support all the way to a UBI, why not focus on the good parts and stop there?

After all, the government could give money to young parents. It could spend much more on old-age care, including more grants for care by relatives. It could have more easily accessible and financially supported retraining programs, more loans for starting businesses. All of that and more could be done for way less budget than a UBI, and with easier political support.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby elasto » Tue Aug 28, 2018 7:02 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Low paid and part time jobs are taxed comparatively lightly under any progressive taxation scheme. Generally, low paid workers in the US pay little in tax, as you pay only 10% federal tax on your first bit of income, and you've got deductions to consider as well.

Maybe it's just the UK that handles this particularly poorly then. Over here, there are a huge range of benefits that taper off far too rapidly as soon as you find work, from housing benefit to healthcare sundries such as glasses, dental work, prescription fees and so on.

Well, so far, there's not much evidence that this actually happens. There's several assumptions that need to play out for this scenario to work.

In particular, we'd need some data supporting that this is better than means-tested safety nets. Is there something about a UBI that supports this scenario more so than, say, unemployment does? I'm not sure why this should be the case. As a generic argument for safety nets, sure, you can make the case that it allows more risk, but I don't see why it'd be unique to a UBI.

Well, a means-tested benefit system that tapers in a sufficiently shallow fashion is basically indistinguishable from a UBI - except that the means-tested system is way more intrusive and carries way more overhead. Given the same goal it seems to me a UBI will always work out superior in practice.

I'm not really big on children, personally. I prefer the modern culture of specialists, rather than relying on an extended family to handle things as best as they can.

Again, maybe the US and UK differ a lot here. In the UK the staffing in nursing homes is anything but specialised. Despite fees of many thousands a month the grunt work tends to be carried out by a rotating staff of virtually minimum wage operatives.

Zamfir wrote:Elasto, i think I you're right o focus on more than technical economical issues. But it does make me skeptical.

...

So if there is no support today for targeted spending on the good parts, why would we expect support for the UBI that also comes with the bad parts? Or conversely, if there was support all the way to a UBI, why not focus on the good parts and stop there?

After all, the government could give money to young parents. It could spend much more on old-age care, including more grants for care by relatives. It could have more easily accessible and financially supported retraining programs, more loans for starting businesses. All of that and more could be done for way less budget than a UBI, and with easier political support.

Basically it's the libertarian argument that people in the aggregate will always be better at allocating their time and money than government could ever be. Only you know if a thousand dollars would be better spent on clearing a debt or doing a college course or getting your elderly mother in a better care home or going towards a bigger home so your mother can come live with you.

The government can get a lot of basic things right, but here I agree with the libertarians that people in the aggregate will tend to make more accurate choices because they have access to the nitty-gritty detail - and the whole thing is self-organising without the massive bureaucratic overhead the programs you mentioned would entail.

Yes, people will make a lot of dumb choices too, but the belief is that the extra good achieved would outweigh the extra bad.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Kit. » Tue Aug 28, 2018 7:30 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:I mean, if we look at the example stories given from the Canadian experiment, I don't see any significant change in terms of outcome.

All but one story explicitly mention that they are about officially disabled people (previously on ODSP). If anything, they tell that ODSP is inadequate.

Besides, a support program knowingly planned for 3 years won't give reliable results if it's abruptly cancelled just after one year.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Aug 28, 2018 7:39 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Low paid and part time jobs are taxed comparatively lightly under any progressive taxation scheme. Generally, low paid workers in the US pay little in tax, as you pay only 10% federal tax on your first bit of income, and you've got deductions to consider as well.

Maybe it's just the UK that handles this particularly poorly then. Over here, there are a huge range of benefits that taper off far too rapidly as soon as you find work, from housing benefit to healthcare sundries such as glasses, dental work, prescription fees and so on.


Ah, those are referred to as welfare traps. Not necessarily taxation, but benefits cutting off too rapidly such that the cumulative effect of working does not get one ahead, trapping someone in welfare as every attempt to get ahead amounts to very little.

Definitely a bad design for safety nets. The US has previously had trouble with this, though I believe nowadays it's a lot more popular to gradually taper off benefits to reduce this effect.

Well, so far, there's not much evidence that this actually happens. There's several assumptions that need to play out for this scenario to work.

In particular, we'd need some data supporting that this is better than means-tested safety nets. Is there something about a UBI that supports this scenario more so than, say, unemployment does? I'm not sure why this should be the case. As a generic argument for safety nets, sure, you can make the case that it allows more risk, but I don't see why it'd be unique to a UBI.

Well, a means-tested benefit system that tapers in a sufficiently shallow fashion is basically indistinguishable from a UBI - except that the means-tested system is way more intrusive and carries way more overhead. Given the same goal it seems to me a UBI will always work out superior in practice.


So long as you have progressive income taxation, you're doing means testing anyways.

Minimizing overhead seems desirable, but it seems odd to postulate that paying literally everyone is easier/cheaper than determining who is in need. Checking someone's income seems fairly easy to do, and you probably don't need to check everyone all that often. Every additional person you're throwing money at, though, is a significant added expense.

I'm not really big on children, personally. I prefer the modern culture of specialists, rather than relying on an extended family to handle things as best as they can.

Again, maybe the US and UK differ a lot here. In the UK the staffing in nursing homes is anything but specialised. Despite fees of many thousands a month the grunt work tends to be carried out by a rotating staff of virtually minimum wage operatives.


In the US, as with many other health care related things, quality of elder care can vary. There are definitely old folks homes that are awful. There are others that are quite good. Money is of course tied up in this.

However, the fundamental issue here isn't that, it's that as a country gets more educated and wealthy, the average number of kids decreases. You're going to have a higher proportion of people without kids able to take care of them in their old age. The lower the number of kids you have on average, the less universal the strategy of "kids take care of the elderly" is. Look at Japan, they've got a really low replacement rate, and an aging population, so elder care is a big deal for them.

Basically it's the libertarian argument that people in the aggregate will always be better at allocating their time and money than government could ever be. Only you know if a thousand dollars would be better spent on clearing a debt or doing a college course or getting your elderly mother in a better care home or going towards a bigger home so your mother can come live with you.


I agree that, in general, people know themselves better than a centrally managed system. Sure. That's not really the main point in UBI vs means-tested, though. You're not leveraging self knowledge to determine where to send money, you're just sending money to everyone.

Thus, self knowledge is pretty irrelevant to it.

The government can get a lot of basic things right, but here I agree with the libertarians that people in the aggregate will tend to make more accurate choices because they have access to the nitty-gritty detail - and the whole thing is self-organising without the massive bureaucratic overhead the programs you mentioned would entail.

Yes, people will make a lot of dumb choices too, but the belief is that the extra good achieved would outweigh the extra bad.


It's not really self organizing, though. It's a government program just like any other safety net. Has to be funded by taxes, has to be distributed, fraud has to be investigated. The only bit you're eliminating is the means testing bit.

Kit. wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:I mean, if we look at the example stories given from the Canadian experiment, I don't see any significant change in terms of outcome.

All but one story explicitly mention that they are about officially disabled people (previously on ODSP). If anything, they tell that ODSP is inadequate.

Besides, a support program knowingly planned for 3 years won't give reliable results if it's abruptly cancelled just after one year.


Sure, they only got a year at most of funding. The question is, what did that one year accomplish? Is it better or worse than ODSP(or other programs)? Yes, it's clear that folks enjoyed the additional funding, but I'd consider "well, I started college, but won't be able to finish due to the program being canceled" as a reasonable sign of progress. It'd be an indication that maybe that person would, given the full three years, be able to finish a program. It'd support maybe running the program for the full term to see what happens. None of them did that, though.

If, and it's a big if, that's representative of the whole lot, then I can see why the government viewed it as expensive for the outcome.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:41 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Sure, they only got a year at most of funding. The question is, what did that one year accomplish? Is it better or worse than ODSP(or other programs)? Yes, it's clear that folks enjoyed the additional funding, but I'd consider "well, I started college, but won't be able to finish due to the program being canceled" as a reasonable sign of progress. It'd be an indication that maybe that person would, given the full three years, be able to finish a program. It'd support maybe running the program for the full term to see what happens. None of them did that, though.

If, and it's a big if, that's representative of the whole lot, then I can see why the government viewed it as expensive for the outcome.


You mean like this?:
Sherry Mendowegan has accomplished a lot in the past six months. The mother-of-two bought her first vehicle and graduated with her high school diploma in March.

"Next is my college, post-secondary, and then hopefully I get some work," she told HuffPost Canada.

Going to college would have been out of reach for Mendowegan even last year. But as a participant in Ontario's basic income pilot program, she and her husband, Dan, can now afford the tuition. She starts at Thunder Bay's Confederation College in September to study office administration.


Also, the Ontario government may end up paying a lot more for cutting the program than if they had let it run out, depending on how much they end up spending on the class action lawsuits they are now faced with for breach of contract.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Aug 29, 2018 4:40 pm UTC

Completely tangential to the whole topic, but ...

She starts at Thunder Bay's Confederation College in September to study office administration.


I struggle to imagine what about office administration would be suitable for teaching in an academic environment. Unless that term means something different in Canada than it does around here.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Aug 29, 2018 4:52 pm UTC

Here's a sample course listing of an office admin program. Looks like it is some technical skills + some basic accounting/bookkeeping stuff + basic stuff on how to run a business.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Aug 29, 2018 6:47 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Sure, they only got a year at most of funding. The question is, what did that one year accomplish? Is it better or worse than ODSP(or other programs)? Yes, it's clear that folks enjoyed the additional funding, but I'd consider "well, I started college, but won't be able to finish due to the program being canceled" as a reasonable sign of progress. It'd be an indication that maybe that person would, given the full three years, be able to finish a program. It'd support maybe running the program for the full term to see what happens. None of them did that, though.

If, and it's a big if, that's representative of the whole lot, then I can see why the government viewed it as expensive for the outcome.


You mean like this?:
Sherry Mendowegan has accomplished a lot in the past six months. The mother-of-two bought her first vehicle and graduated with her high school diploma in March.

"Next is my college, post-secondary, and then hopefully I get some work," she told HuffPost Canada.


See, that does sound like a more persuasive story of the benefits, yes. Grabbing a diploma and signing up for classes seems indicative of progress in a way that vague plans do not.

Also, the Ontario government may end up paying a lot more for cutting the program than if they had let it run out, depending on how much they end up spending on the class action lawsuits they are now faced with for breach of contract.


I dunno how it works in Canada, but in the US, you can sue for pretty much anything, reasonable or not. Unreasonable stuff generally gets tossed out early at relatively little expense, though, I don't imagine it'll cost anywhere close to the $100m the remainder of the program would have.

Pfhorrest wrote:The point of the language discussion is that people who are against capitalism in its original sense have no way to even say what they are against in the recent redefinition of words. There has literally been an intentional concerted effort to make that happen, to make anti-inequality sound like anti-freedom when it means no such thing.

Also, if two parties disagree about what words mean, whoever’s usage diverges from the prior usage has the burden of getting on board with the established meaning. The people using the prior sense don’t have to make up new words for the same old concepts just because someone intentionally ruined the old ones.


Nah, people talk about wealth inequality all the time. It's quite easy to describe the nature of this disagreement, it's pretty commonly discussed in political circles. One need not roll back the definition of Capitalism to do so.

Also, I disagree as to your latter statement. If, say, men's rights advocates use the term "nice guy" in a way that becomes commonly understood as "guy who thinks the world owes him shit", then, despite the words having a perfectly reasonable history, It's probably on me to understand the context of those words and change accordingly in some contexts to avoid being misunderstood. Sure, there's a period where a definition is in flux, but once it's become commonly understood to have another meaning, well...that's how language changes. One has to keep up with it to some degree, and that means accepting a new definition for an old word.

In the case of "capitalism", I'm not advocating for changing any current definition(forced changes rarely work in any case), merely accepting the currently popular definition for what it is. It's fine to use legacy uses so long as you make it clear in context what you mean, but you can't simply accept that everyone will ignore the current usage.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Chen » Wed Aug 29, 2018 7:31 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:Also, the Ontario government may end up paying a lot more for cutting the program than if they had let it run out, depending on how much they end up spending on the class action lawsuits they are now faced with for breach of contract.


Unless there was an actual contract specifying the program wouldn't be cut early or the like I find it really tough to see how this lawsuit will go through. I mean it sets a pretty bad precedent in terms of the government doing ANYTHING to monetarily harm you. They indexed daycare fees here in Quebec based on income (which was perfectly reasonable) which seriously messed up people's budgeting. No one sued over that (well at least to my knowledge).

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Kit. » Wed Aug 29, 2018 10:26 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Completely tangential to the whole topic, but ...

She starts at Thunder Bay's Confederation College in September to study office administration.


I struggle to imagine what about office administration would be suitable for teaching in an academic environment. Unless that term means something different in Canada than it does around here.

The term "college" means something different in Canada (it even means different things in different parts of Canada).

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Zamfir » Thu Aug 30, 2018 11:02 am UTC

Basically it's the libertarian argument that people in the aggregate will always be better at allocating their time and money than government could ever be. Only you know if a thousand dollars would be better spent on clearing a debt or doing a college course or getting your elderly mother in a better care home or going towards a bigger home so your mother can come live with you.

The examples you use are, I take it, chosen as somehow worthy causes to spend money on. Altruistic, or self-improvement. Or investments that will pay themselves back, and are therefore not really spending in the long run. They align fairly well with targetted government spending.

But what about ordinary, not especially "worthy" spending? People who use the extra money to work less, go on longer holidays, eat more takeaway, buy fancier clothes. Those are hardly dumb choices. If you ask people "how could you use money to make your life better", then such things are also reasonable answers.

From the examples you give, I get the impression that you do not consider such spending as the main goal of the UBI. You are selling the UBI on an increase in the "worthy" categories , not as a redistribution of ordinary consumption.

Is that because you think that the UBI effect will be mostly in the "worthy" categories? People who pay into the UBI will mostly reduce ordinary consumption, and the net recipients will mostly increase "good" spending?

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Thu Aug 30, 2018 4:23 pm UTC

With regards to minimum wage, while it does cause inflation, that inflation is typically less than the amount that wages increase at the bottom. Over the long run if we do as we have been and just let the real minimum wage drop with inflation then eventually it will be wiped out, but as long as minimum wage keeps increasing then wages should be able to stay above inflation.

If you were to keep increasing minimum wage the maximum amount so that the economy stayed below its inflation target, what you would expect is that on average people at the top would lose money as they can no longer exploit low wages to profit, and higher wage earners would see real wages drop as they are more impacted by inflation. Rents would go up in impoverished areas, but only to the point where it becomes a better deal to just move somewhere else or buy their own house. Over time, this would lead to greater regional equality and mobility.

The same is true for a UBI; if we were to have a VAT that was paid out equally to everyone and we started at something like 5% and increased gradually so that we could maintain our inflation target, then over time rents would go up in impoverished areas, down in rich areas, and overall it would lead to greater mobility. While there would be inflation, on net it acts as a transfer of wealth from rich areas to poor areas.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Aug 30, 2018 4:42 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:If you were to keep increasing minimum wage the maximum amount so that the economy stayed below its inflation target, what you would expect is that on average people at the top would lose money as they can no longer exploit low wages to profit, and higher wage earners would see real wages drop as they are more impacted by inflation. Rents would go up in impoverished areas, but only to the point where it becomes a better deal to just move somewhere else or buy their own house. Over time, this would lead to greater regional equality and mobility.


Rising rent prices also result in rising home prices. After all, if you can rent out a home for craptons of money, then it's more advantageous to buy that home. We should not expect inflation to make house prices drop.

Someone not being able to afford to live there, and needing to move does not seem advantageous. These are costs to inflation, not a benefit.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Thu Aug 30, 2018 4:52 pm UTC

As usual, you deliberately refuse to read what I wrote or even attempt to understand the point.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Aug 30, 2018 4:57 pm UTC

I've read and understood your point, but I disagree.

Yes, not all things will inflate equally. You're only boosting a portion of the wages, so inflation relative to overall economy will of course be relatively small. However, for goods primarily consumed by those low income individuals, such as low income housing, we can expect a pretty direct inflation. There's not really any reason to suspect that your "more able to buy" is correlated with rising rent prices. Rising rent prices are correlated with rising home prices.

This might be a positive development for those who currently rent to those people, but it probably doesn't help the actual renters at all.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Thu Aug 30, 2018 5:04 pm UTC

Now you are making assumptions contradicting what I wrote and you wrote, without actually addressing the point where I made that argument. So now you are saying that rents will necessarily increase by enough to wipe out all minimum wage increases, something that is just plain wrong based on past evidence, while your other statement basically misreads mine as saying that rents will go up by so much that it will even cause them to make less money, while ignoring that my point was about how it would effect regional differences in rent due to changes in real wages.

Like, at this point I'm just calling you a liar. Nothing about what you are writing indicates you are debating honestly.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Aug 30, 2018 5:21 pm UTC

Rents overall will not increase. But rents on the affordable housing options used by low wage workers will. This is basic supply and demand. Supply isn't increasing, demand isn't decreasing. If the market competitors are all now 20% richer, it's just more dollars chasing the same goods*.

And if you accept that rent will increase, as your initial post appears to, you have to accept that buying costs will likewise increase. Areas that are expensive to rent in are expensive to buy in. Increased minimum wage or a UBI doesn't change that basic relationship.

This is all super basic, and you're freaking out, jumping to conclusions, and calling me a liar for why now?

*This is more true with a UBI than it is for any sort of means tested assistance. After all, a UBI affects everyone, where as assistance usually only affects a segment of the market.

Zamfir wrote:The examples you use are, I take it, chosen as somehow worthy causes to spend money on. Altruistic, or self-improvement. Or investments that will pay themselves back, and are therefore not really spending in the long run. They align fairly well with targetted government spending.

But what about ordinary, not especially "worthy" spending? People who use the extra money to work less, go on longer holidays, eat more takeaway, buy fancier clothes. Those are hardly dumb choices. If you ask people "how could you use money to make your life better", then such things are also reasonable answers.

From the examples you give, I get the impression that you do not consider such spending as the main goal of the UBI. You are selling the UBI on an increase in the "worthy" categories , not as a redistribution of ordinary consumption.


Those who are justifying a UBI as more cost-effective are usually doing so on those sorts of self-improvement based arguments.

There isn't really any reason to contest that if you give a person more money, they will be able to live better. However, this isn't unique to a UBI. It's just a property of having wealth. It doesn't provide a reason why UBI is preferable to a means-tested system.

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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Aug 30, 2018 5:33 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:As usual, you deliberately refuse to read what I wrote or even attempt to understand the point.

Actually I think I didn't understand something you wrote either, because I expected to be nodding in agreement with you as usual but instead I was thinking "that sound more like a bad thing than a good thing".

I mean, about the rents going up and stuff. About lower incomes increasing faster than inflation while higher incomes don't, that's basically the same thing I said upthread already.


Tyndmyr: do you think the opposite effect will happen as well, and if we took a bunch of money from poor people, they'd suddenly be more (or at least, equally) able to afford housing etc because prices would drop in response to there being fewer dollars in that market segment?

It sounds kinda ridiculous to put it that way, doesn't it?
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Thu Aug 30, 2018 5:37 pm UTC

Either you are 1) ignoring that people care about rents relative to real incomes and just plain don't have a point but are trying to pretend like you do in order to make some sort of argument against minimum wage increases or 2) claiming that the inflation will increase by so much that it will wipe out all of the minimum wage gains.

Either way, what you quoted of my post originally was not the part about inflation, it was the part about how it would equalize rents on a regional basis; my reading was that you were deliberately ignoring my first paragraph in order to infer something objectionable with my second paragraph, to the point where you seem to suggest that it will be more expensive, which maybe you are really thinking about things solely in terms of nominal dollars, and not actually considering how rents would go up relative to wages, but since that's the entire point you would have to be just completely ignoring that.

I am calling you a liar because you cannot honestly make such consistently bad readings for everything I write. Maybe troll is a better term, but I really don't see how you can be making an honest attempt to debate here. You have demonstrated that you have made no attempt whatsoever to even consider how this would affect the relative changes in real wages on a regional basis, which is what my entire post was about. There is no way you didn't read until you found the first way to interpret it in a way that you could object to, and then immediately write your post. There is no way you are at all thinking about how minimum wage affects real wages in your post, and so absolutely nothing you write could possibly even be relevant to the topic of conversation. So you must be a liar.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Thesh » Thu Aug 30, 2018 5:48 pm UTC

Rents on a national, regional, and local level are going to be heavily influenced by income distribution. When the minimum wage goes up on a national level, it will push real income up more in poor areas, less in areas closer to median wage, and down in wealthy areas. Real rents will adjust accordingly. But there is a limit to how much that rent can go up based on what rents are in neighboring areas - an area closer to mean income won't see significant change no matter what - so rents can't just increase to absorb 100% of the income; some of it will go into either getting more or better stuff, or savings allowing people to move or buy their own houses.
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Aug 30, 2018 5:55 pm UTC

Maryland just went through a pretty significant series of minimum wage increases. Rent prices do not seem to have equalized regionally. The expensive places are still expensive, and the cheap places are still cheap.

The same seems likely to be the case after UBI. Despite somewhat flattening income, relative differences in income still exist. The rough baltimore neighborhoods will remain less desirable than the nice areas, and while both prices will shift to whatever their residents can afford to pay, the lower income people will still live in the former, and the richer in the latter.

If you have narrowly focused means tested assistance, this is less true, because you're not attempting to lift the entire market, but rather a subset of it. Now, resources are finite, so for every family that moves to the nice area, someone moves out. The only way to really get around that is to make more areas nice, increasing the resource pool. Or getting rid of people, I suppose, but forcing people to move out of the area is not a great solution.

my reading was that you were deliberately ignoring my first paragraph in order to infer something objectionable with my second paragraph, to the point where you seem to suggest that it will be more expensive, which maybe you are really thinking about things solely in terms of nominal dollars, and not actually considering how rents would go up relative to wages, but since that's the entire point you would have to be just completely ignoring that.


It's unimportant. If inflation rises enough to neutralize the gains, then the system is not helpful. I didn't quote the first paragraph because it's not necessary to read it to understand my point.

I read the entire post even if I'm not quoting it. That's not the point of quotations.

I am calling you a liar because you cannot honestly make such consistently bad readings for everything I write. Maybe troll is a better term, but I really don't see how you can be making an honest attempt to debate here. You have demonstrated that you have made no attempt whatsoever to even consider how this would affect the relative changes in real wages on a regional basis, which is what my entire post was about.


The fact that redistribution changes relative wealth is trivial. Can we ever move past reciting the basics?

A given region tosses on a UBI of whatever amount, and in nominal dollars, the bottom is now making more money. However, that doesn't mean that the social difference between the richest and poorest will change. The poorest all now have more money, and can afford to pay more for housing. They are all competing with one another for limited goods, but since they have all been equally advantaged, none of them enjoy a relative advantage over one another. They simply all expend more resources in a more expensive market, and their relative state is largely unchanged. More money flows upward to the renter, who then pays more in taxes to flow around to the bottom of this system.

The above is all pretty basic as well. Look, people in the US objectively have a fuckton more nominal money than people in many a developing country, but that doesn't mean that the relative social status is significantly different than those other countries. We still self-segregate by wealth, and wealth relative to everyone else pretty much determines where you live, what you buy, all of that. A mere UBI doesn't change that.

Perhaps one could argue that a sufficiently harsh UBI that forces complete or near complete income equality, taxing and redistributing almost everything would work differently, but that runs into other serious economic issues.

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Pfhorrest
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Re: Libertarianism

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Aug 30, 2018 6:01 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:The poorest all now have more money, and can afford to pay more for housing. They are all competing with one another for limited goods, but since they have all been equally advantaged, none of them enjoy a relative advantage over one another.

But they are more advantaged than they were before relative to those who have more than them, which was the whole point of the exercise.

wealth relative to everyone else pretty much determines where you live, what you buy, all of that. A mere UBI doesn't change that.

It changes the degree of wealth difference between any given person and everyone else. Of course it doesn't change the difference between someone and another person of identical economic standing, because multiples of zero are still zero, and an UBI basically just multiplies the economic differences between people by some number less than one. (e.g. if you tax everyone 20% of their income to fund a 20%-mean-income UBI, then the difference in effective income between any two people is now 80% of what it was. If that difference was zero, it's still zero, but most differences between most people aren't zero).
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