mfioretti: universal basic income*

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  1. Kela hopes additional data that is being collected as part of the trial from healthcare records will provide useful information on whether the security of a guaranteed unconditional income, paid in advance so beneficiaries can budget for it, might have a positive impact on anxiety, prescription drug consumption or doctor’s visits.

    “One participant has said she is less anxious because she no longer has to worry over calls from the job centre offering a job she can’t accept because she is caring for her elderly parents,” Turunen said. “We may be able to see from the trial data whether it has had unintended benefits – such as reduced medical costs.”

    The trial data may also allow the government to spend less on bureaucracy by simplifying Finland’s complex social security system – currently, it offers more than 40 different means-tested benefits – which is struggling to cope with a 21st-century labour market of part timers, short-term contracts and start-ups.

    The benefit system is simply “not suited to modern working patterns”, Turunen said. “We have too many benefits. People don’t understand what they’re entitled to or how they can get it. Even experts don’t understand. For example, it’s very hard to be in the benefit system in Finland if you are self-employed – you have to prove your income time and time and time again.”
    The Inequality Project: the Guardian's in-depth look at our unequal world
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    Perhaps most significantly, the trial marks “a real breakthrough for field experiments”, according to Kanerva. Rolled out in record time and after a brief, one-line pledge in the government’s platform, it had to function alongside all existing social security laws and clear numerous legal obstacles – including Finland’s constitution, which requires all citizens to be treated equally.

    “It was a huge effort to get it over the line,” Turunen said. “The government was determined it must be based on specific legislation – most experiments are not – and that it had to launch in January last year ... It was quite a task.”
    https://www.theguardian.com/inequalit...asic-income-trial-too-good-to-be-true
    Voting 0
  2. not artificial if you get money for it, with which to buy things.

    The money is real, but the work is artificial. So much of what happens is bullshit make-work that's unnecessary replication of effort, which happens only so that people can get paid. But there are environmental costs to work, so bullshit m
    https://yro.slashdot.org/story/18/01/...3A+Slashdot%2Fslashdot+%28Slashdot%29
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  3. You are a supporter of a universal basic income. How would it be able to protect the workforce engaged in digital labour, as intermittent and precarious as it is?

    AC: By recognizing the data labour that goes through the platforms. This has already been argued by a report by the French Ministry of Finance in 2013, and in a report by the Rockefeller Foundation last year. The digital giants should not be taxed on the basis of how many data centers or offices they have in a country, but on the basis of the data produced by the users of the platforms. If there are 30 million Google users in Italy, it is fair to tax Google based on the profits they made from these users’ activities. In this way, one could fund a basic income, arising from the digital labour that each of us carries out on the internet or on the mobile apps we use. •
    https://socialistproject.ca/2017/12/workers-heart-algorithm
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  4. Ask Järvinen what difference money for nothing has made to his life, and you are marched over to his workshop. Inside is film-making equipment, a blackboard on which is scrawled plans for an artists’ version of Airbnb, and an entire little room where he makes shaman drums that sell for up to €900. All this while helping to bring up six children. All those free euros have driven him to work harder than ever.

    None of this would have been possible before he received UBI. Until this year, Järvinen was on dole money; the Finnish equivalent of the jobcentre was always on his case about job applications and training. Ideas flow out of Järvinen as easily as water from a tap, yet he could exercise none of his initiative for fear of arousing bureaucratic scrutiny.

    In one talked-about case last year, an unemployed Finn called Christian was caught carving and selling wooden guitar plectrums. It was more pastime than business, earning him a little more than €2,000 in a year. But the sum was not what angered the authorities, it was the thought that each plectrum had taken up time that could have been spent on official hoop-jumping.
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    ‘For Iain Duncan Smith, poverty was the rotten fruit of broken families, addiction or debt.’ Photograph: Bloomberg/via Getty Images

    That was Järvinen, too, until this year. Just as with so many Britons on social security, he was trapped in a “humiliating” system that gave him barely enough to feed himself, while refusing him even a glimmer of a hope of fulfilment.

    So what accounted for his change? Certainly not the UBI money. In Finland, €560 is less than a fifth of average private-sector income. “You have to be a magician to survive on such money,” Järvinen says. Over and over, he baldly describes himself as “poor”.

    His liberation came in the lack of conditions attached to the money.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentis...oct/31/finland-universal-basic-income
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  5. Malka shrugged, looked away. "Back to the banker thing, Sergei," she said, "since Nera did bring it up. I get why you work with money -- it still makes a lot of the world go round. You take Frankfurt's various exports and patents and Swiss bank accounts and whatever, and buy us whatever we can't make here. I get that, and I get why it would be a high-rep job; we need it, and most people would find it boring. But you told me you worked for money -- not just with money." She crossed her arms beneath her breasts, where her top shimmered electric blue. "Why?"

    Sergei smiled the long-lipped, eyebrow-cocked smile of someone who is amused in advance at the reaction they're about to get. "I like money," he said.

    "What, you mean, like, physical money?" Malka said. "Like you collect coins and bills? That's cool, I guess."

    "No," Sergei said. "I mean I like money. I like exchange. Abstracted exchange. Simplicity. You give me something, I give you something. We're quits. You don't have to decide what kind of person I am, if you like me, how distant I am from you in social space. We could be masked strangers in a privacy zone. You want something from me, you give me money. I don't care who you are. I don't care what you want it for."

    Comments were flashing in, but Nera didn't stop to read them. Queasy, she thought of the hunch of her father's shoulders in his starched white uniform and red tie, behind the florist counter at the supermarket. She recalled the burn of tear gas at the back of her throat, the sound of shattering windows.

    Jörg looked like he was the proud owner of a performing dog; Malka, like she was equally disgusted and turned on. Or maybe a little more turned on.

    "Huh," Malka said. "'Masked strangers in a privacy zone'...? You know the 'raw swingers'? They hook up with strangers for sex with their services totally turned off. No peeking at comments or reviews or social map -- so they have no idea if it's going to be a total nightmare, right? That's the point, I guess, part of the thrill. They've got this whole thing about how it's so much better when it does work, because of the risk and the authenticity and whatever. So are you saying this is like that, Sergei? You do stuff just for a marker of hoarded value... you don't even know why. You don't know what the effect of your actions are, what you're contributing towards, or what people will say..."

    Pink Floyd ~ Money

    "Pink Floyd: Money." Credit: jah~ off n on

    "All you know is you want the money," Nera said.

    Malka nodded. "Pure greed, no connections, heedless of consequences. That's it? It's a kink? Like a... sick thrill?"

    Sergei laughed. To his credit, he looked a little discomfited. "I guess you could look at it like that."

    "Oh, don't underplay it," Jörg said. "Sergei -- you've written about this. It's a philosophy." Nera glanced at him, and she recognized his expression. A year ago she would have called it an eager openness -- his fascination with the unending variety of people and ideas Frankfurt's flow brought bobbing to his door. But she'd been in his collection of flotsam. Drifter Nera, banker Sergei, autie-genius Tomas, the Finns and Peruvians grilling in the kitchen; they all ended up part of Jörg's menagerie, and by means of them all, he somehow ended up rating as a life-artist instead of a pompous, lecturing do-gooder.

    "Well," said Sergei. "Okay. I think it's more than just kinky." He glanced sidelong at Malka. "Money is... clean. It severs connections. That's not always a bad thing. You say you know what the effect of your actions are. But you don't really know -- you don't trace them all in detail. You don't have time. You just go with the consensus. With fashion."

    "Sure, sure, ratings and fashion are all we have," Malka said. "That's not a new argument or anything, and we are all concerned, I'm sure, with the plight of the low-rated. Nera has done quite a bit of visiting with at-risk lonelies, did you know that? But money seems like a weird solution to that problem, doesn't it?"

    "No," he said, and there was a little bit of a quiver in his voice that made Nera wonder what history it pointed to, "no, it doesn't. With money, poverty is empty of meaning. It's not a judgement on your life and works. It doesn't mean no one likes you, that you're obnoxious or boring. If you're poor in a money economy, you know what you need to do: make money. It's not as... wounding."

    "That's stupid," Nera said. Jörg and Malka turned to look at her, eyebrows raised -- her voice was too loud, too harsh. Her heart was beating fast. "It's dead easy to get your ratings up when they fall. Your services tell you how."

    "Your services tell you how," Sergei retorted. "You have skills, you're charming. You're rated as trustworthy. People want you to babysit their kids. Carry their packages. Cook their food. It's not that easy for everyone."
    https://www.shareable.net/blog/the-guy-who-worked-for-money
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  6. They say UBI is expensive. Paying all UK citizens the current Jobseeker's Allowance amount of £73.10 per week would cost almost £250bn per year - 13 per cent of the UK’s entire GDP.

    By contrast, widening the social safety net through more comprehensive services would cost around £42bn, which can be funded by lowering the personal income tax allowance from £11,800 to £4,300, according to the IGP’s analysis.

    The experts say an expansion of basic services to everyone is highly progressive because those who rely on them will be disproportionately the least wealthy in society.

    Almost half of the world's jobs, paying almost $16 trillion in wages, could be automated just by adapting existing technology in robotics, machine learning and Artificial Intelligence, a recent report by McKinsey estimated.

    Professor Henrietta Moore, director of UCL’s Institute for Global Prosperity, said: “Without radical new ideas that challenge the status quo, we face a future where the changing shape of our society and labour market leaves more and more people struggling simply to achieve the basics – let alone having the resources and mental energy to allow themselves and their families to flourish.”
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    She said that UBS was a logical extension of the widely accepted principle that health and education should be free at the point of use to everyone.
    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/bu...zens-social-housing-ucl-a7993476.html
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  7. Nobody has created the cryptocurrency we actually need just yet.

    You see, Satoshi understood the first part of the maxim, the power to print money. What he missed was the power to distribute that money.

    The second part is actually the most crucial part of the puzzle. Missing it created a critical flaw in the Bitcoin ecosystem. Instead of distributing the money far and wide, it traded central bankers for an un-elected group of miners.

    These miners play havoc with the system, holding back much needed software upgrades like SegWit for years and threatening pointless hard forks in order to drive down the price with FUD and scoop up more coins at a depressed price.

    But what if there was a different way?

    What if you could design a system that would completely alter the economic landscape of the world forever?

    The key is how you distribute the money at the moment of creation.

    And the first group to recognize this opportunity and put it into action will change the world.


    The problem with all of the plans before now, from UBI to socialism (high taxes on the rich to spread the wealth across the game) is that to redistribute the money after it’s already been distributed is nearly impossible. The people with that money rightfully resist its redistribution. And as Margret Thatcher said “The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”

    But what if the money is NOT already distributed?

    What if we don’t have to take it from anyone at all?
    https://hackernoon.com/why-everyone-m...eature-of-cryptocurrency-860c3f25f1fb
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  8. I interpret the growing interest in a Basic Income across the political spectrum as a positive development. Here is how I see it: the demand for a Basic Income is, depending on the terms of the demand, a left-wing demand; however, the politics of the demand are not by any measure straightforward. Whether or not it can improve the lives of a broad crosssection of workers depends on several specifics, most important, on the level of the income that is provided. If it is too low, it risks further subsidizing low wage employers by offering their workers a wage supplement. The demand I support is for a miminal livable income that, insofar as it enables workers to opt out of waged work even temporarily, would force such empoyers to offer better wages and conditions. That said, the politics around this are tricky at best, as it is not unlikely that once won, a Basic Income will be first instituted at a low level. The struggle to then raise the level of income will require additional efforts.

    But even if or when it is secured in the form of a minimal livable income, it should be clear that a demand for Basic Income is not a proposal to replace the wage system, but only to loosen its grip on us a bit by providing income for those now shut out of or rendered precarious in relation to waged work, and for those whose contributions to social (re)production that are not now remunerated with wages. It would also give individuals a stronger position from which to negotiate more favorable employment contracts and better enable us to make choices about what kinds of households and intimate relationships we might want to form. While these are not insubstantial benefits, they do not add up to some revolutionary postcapitalist vision.

    Basic Income is the only way capitalism will be able to sustain itself materially and ideologically.

    On the contrary, I think a Basic Income is likely to be the only way capitalism will be able to sustain itself materially and ideologically in the near future as the wage system and family model continue to reveal themselves inadequate to the task of distributing income and organizing productive cooperation. Instead, what a Basic Income could provide is material support for the time and effort necessary to fight for additional reforms and a conceptual opening to think more critically about work and nonwork and more imaginatively about how they might be further transformed. It is in that sense a rather modest demand, but one that I think will enable further political thinking and action.
    http://politicalcritique.org/world/20...weeks-feminism-marxism-work-interview
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  9. there has recently been a set of voices on the left calling this idea out as too good to be true. To this side of the argument, basic income is being advanced as a Trojan Horse by governments attempting to maintain and deepen a neoliberal policy project while putting a new coat of paint on it to placate an increasingly restive public. They warn that a basic income will be used as cover for continuing cuts in health and educational services, along with privatization of other social programs, and state that leftists who advance even cautious cases for basic income are being played for suckers. While such arguments are not without merit in certain respects, they nevertheless fail to recognize both the traditions of social citizenship on the left that a basic income, at least in its leftist variation, speaks to, and the necessity for positive, emancipatory policy visions.

    Furthermore, these critiques also have the unwitting effect of continuing to unduly valourize “work” performed under capitalist conditions in a way that testifies to the deep penetration of certain harmful ideas about the sources of human dignity and worth into our collective social psyche.

    In all, such a notion of “work” appears to be deeply tied to an uncritical, productivist form of Marxist thinking which may have had relevance in another political context but appears hopelessly dated in the current reality. This is all to say nothing of the fact that there are many people who have disabilities which prevent them from “working” in the conventional sense of the term, either temporarily or permanently, who are entirely written out of this analysis and would likely stand to benefit most from a basic income. Even the removal of the often intrusive, deliberately demeaning and manipulative aspects of the current social assistance regime would be deeply beneficial here, absent higher benefit levels. Similar remarks could be made as to the way in which basic income would act to, at least in part, recognize unpaid care work, usually done by women, which is often not considered as “work” under the status quo.
    https://blog.p2pfoundation.net/workin...er-meaningful-alternatives/2017/06/12
    Voting 0
  10.  For a small but committed group of economists, academics, and activists who adhere to a doctrine called Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), though, #mintthecoin was the tip of the economic iceberg. The possibility of a $1 trillion coin represented more than mere monetary sophistry: It drove home their foundational point that fiat currency is a social construct, and that there are therefore no fiscal limits on how much a sovereign currency-issuing nation can spend.

     To a layperson, MMT can seem dizzyingly complex, but at its core is the belief that most of us have the economy backward. Conventional wisdom holds that the government taxes individuals and companies in order to fund its own spending. But the government—which is ultimately the source of all dollars, taxed or untaxed—pays or spends first and taxes later. When it funds programs, it literally spends money into existence, injecting cash into the economy. Taxes exist in order to control inflation by reducing the money supply, and to ensure that dollars, as the only currency accepted for tax payments, remain in demand.

    It follows that currency-issuing governments could (and, depending on how you lean politically, should) spend as much as they need to in order to guarantee full employment and other social goods. MMT’s adherents like to point out that the federal government never “runs out” of money to fund the military, but routinely invokes budget constraints to justify defunding social programs. Money, in other words, isn’t a scarce commodity like silver or gold. “To people who’ve worked in financial markets, who work at the Fed, this isn’t controversial at all,” says Galbraith, who, while not an adherent, can certainly be described as “MMT-friendly.”



    According to this small but increasingly vocal cohort of economists, including Bernie Sanders’s former chief economic adviser, once we change the way we think about money, we can provide for everyone: We don’t have to “find” the money to “pay” for universal health care by “cutting” the budget elsewhere. In fact, our government already works that way: Spending must precede taxation, or there would be no dollars in the economy to tax. It’s the political will to spend on certain things, not the money to afford it, that’s lacking.
    https://www.thenation.com/article/the...star-appeal-of-modern-monetary-theory
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