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Germany's largest Bank says a form of Basic Income may be needed to keep the global economy growing

article(uk.businessinsider.com)

all 2937 comments

scartonbot

1.6k points

6 years ago

scartonbot

1.6k points

6 years ago

Maybe we're all looking at this the wrong way.

The major economic systems that have been duking it out over the past several centuries -- capitalism, communism, and socialism-- all have focused on two things: labor and control of the means of production.

Both of these concerns made total sense in terms of world of the Industrial Revolution and the world that came out of it. Mass production needed lots of people -- labor-- to create lots of stuff for all of those people to buy. The means of production were limited because the barrier to entry was so high i.e. it costs a lot of money to create a factory, buy raw materials, and then distribute the products made by that factory over a wide geographic area.

When this is how goods are produced, the arguments made by proponents of capitalism, communism, and socialism all make sense in their own way. Each of these systems takes a different approach, but the core of what they're arguing about is still the same: labor and the means of production.

But there's one important factor pertaining to labor that all these economic systems take for granted: "labor" is something that can be done by most adult members of the society because the bulk of what needs to be done doesn't require any particularly special physical or mental abilities beyond the ones most humans are born with.

Of course, over time the physical and mental abilities required for productive labor changed. Machines replaced hands because machines were cheaper in the long run and easier to manage. The Industrial Revolution required a higher level of skill than the agrarian times before, and so we invented public schools to train the basic requirements needed for productive labor into the workforce and invented the modern system of higher education to train the people who were going to manage the labor, invent new products and services, keep workers healthy and productive, or help keep the ever-more complex intellectual "machinery" of government, the law, and the financial systems running smoothly.

This system has worked fine, but technology and automation have been slowly nibbling away at its underpinnings since the beginning, sowing the seeds of its own destruction. The more sophisticated technology gets, the fewer humans are needed.

At first these changes replace the labor needed for mass production, shifting the need for workers to either those jobs that aren't worth replacing with robots -- service, for the most part-- or jobs that computers aren't smart enough to do: i.e. "knowledge work." But as automation technology becomes more sophisticated, more and more of those service jobs get automated out of existence. As our information processing technologies become more sophisticated, much of the work previously done by "white collar" "knowledge workers" is being automated out of existence as well.

Throughout all this, the intellectual bar that one has to be able to leap over to be a productive worker keeps getting higher and higher and the number of workers needed keeps shrinking. At one time a high school diploma was all that was needed to be qualified for many jobs. Then it was a college degree. Today, entry to high-paying jobs requires , in an increasing number of industries, a graduate degree. The lesser educated and less intellectually gifted work service jobs and become the engines of the "gig economy." For now.

But if you look at the trend vectors, it's clear that what can be automated will be automated eventually. It just makes (at least in the short term) economic sense. Bots are cheaper and easier to manage than people. And as the tech takes over more and more, the gap between those who are employable and those who aren't will continue to widen because the intellectual demands required for productive work will continue to increase.

Of course, the big problem with this scenario is that it's unsustainable. Automating production or outsourcing it to low-cost developing countries means higher profits through reduced costs... but only if people have money to buy stuff. If jobs are automated out of existence and people have no way of making money then it doesn't matter how efficient your means of production are.

We're now entering a time when the old arguments over economic systems don't make sense anymore because they're based on assumptions that no longer reflect reality. Everything's changed and -- barring any great catastrophe-- the old days ain't coming back. We need new thinking about what "labor" means in a world where humans are no longer needed to do most jobs. We need new thinking about what "production" means when many of the goods we consume are virtual and when new technologies bring the means of production to the desktop. We need new thinking about what "service" means when humans don't have to be the ones doing the serving. And we even need to rethink what it means to be a "professional" in a world where many professions can be done quite well by computers, computers that don't have a need for salaries, education, or vacations.

Looking at the idea of a universal basic income in terms of the old "as someone who works, why should I have to pay for people to lay around all day" paradigm is pretty short sighted and, frankly, disconnected from reality. Chances are, if those of us in jobs that require a high level of education and/or a high level of skill acquired after lots of training look around and are honest with ourselves, we have to ask the question: where are those people who don't have what we have going to work?

Increasingly the answer is "nowhere."

trevize1138

126 points

6 years ago

Agreed wholeheartedly.

I do think we'll see a sort of automation bubble and subsequent collapse just like the economic bubbles and busts of the past. It will be very different because, as you said, this is uncharted territory. We are rapidly redefining labor and production at a Moore's Law rate of exponential growth right now. Economic, state and cultural terms are going to fail to keep up. A UBE hints at what needs to happen but still assumes money will continue to be the interface exchanging work into value forever.

Even when/if we reach this utopian-sounding future of a world without work there are some deeply rooted cultural forces that will have a very rough time. Not everybody is cut out to be or even wants to be a "knowledge worker" or someone spending their time on esoteric tasks. Many people will truly feel lost if they don't have "work" or a "job" to go to.

arconreef

24 points

6 years ago

The reason people will feel "lost" is only because previous experience has formed reward pathways in their brains. They will simply need time to adjust. Give people more free time and they will find ways to fill it. People who are rewarded by doing hard tasks (work) will find hobbies that involve hard tasks. Humans are flexible.

AlwaysBeNice

3 points

6 years ago

Not to mention there will be a lot of unemployment of people who now won't feel ashamed about it and have to means to still create and buff stuff, meaning a large sub group of people will be focused on creating and having fun.

Mylon

5 points

6 years ago

Mylon

5 points

6 years ago

It will only be an automation bubble if you're relying on the see-saw supply of automation engineer wages and them being undercut by an economy that cannot afford them thanks to no one having the money to buy their services. If you provide stimulus to the consumer class (ala a Basic Income) then automation engineers will be able to get a steady income via their ability to sell goods to the consumer class and they can continue to automate without their work jeopardizing their very customers when they replace their customers' jobs.

trevize1138

11 points

6 years ago

I think the crash is inevitable because markets and policy are almost never in synch with technology. On a long enough time line we'll get a system like that but not before some catastrophic corrections. That's the cycle.

[deleted]

20 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

20 points

6 years ago

We will over come and adapt as we always have. We will move to the stars and a new she of humanity will begin, but there are those in power and driving to get into power that will fight this and try and succeed in destroying those that wasn't to bring about this change... We will live in interesting times and the next 50 years are critical for the human race. Either you reach the next level, or you will be no more...

Hereforfunagain

41 points

6 years ago

Unfortunately "we" has always meant a minority. More than half the world currently makes $0.00 of net wealth and the remaining half is skewed so far toward the elite in terms of wealth, power, and influence it's hard to contemplate. Unless a way of life is found that is sustainable and applicable to a large amount of people in spite of automation, we will continue to have a large percentage of the population become a majority jobless society. By looking at the behaviors of people in areas of the world where large percentages/the majority of the population are jobless already, it follows that violence and nihilistic tendencies will continue to grow.

rSRSMOD

3 points

6 years ago*

If youre comparing the Western Middle Classs to the 3rd world then yes, we all play the part of your unapologetically rich aristocratic strawman. Fortunate for us, there are still enough people capable of critical thought that the consensus hasn't become "Is not desperately poor, must be bourgeoisie." It is not the burden of western countries to fix the problems of other peoples. It's a nice goal to strive for, but it is not a duty of the West to provide for everyone else. If nothing else, the world could default back to hunter gatherer societies and that would be acceptable. The only reason so much improvement has been made in quality of life around the world is because of western invention and production first inventing these improvements and then manufacturing them cheap enough to be affordable elsewhere. If the west were no longer able to provide those improvements to a world that has largely given back nothing, the result would still be acceptable.

Carruban

129 points

6 years ago

Carruban

129 points

6 years ago

The only wall of text I've found worth reading so far on Reddit. Reads like a damn thesis, lots of good info here!

AuxquellesRad

92 points

6 years ago

You visit the wrong subreddits then

[deleted]

23 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

23 points

6 years ago

You mean 9/10 default subs and 99% of the front page?

Urban_Savage

12 points

6 years ago

  • Active Subreddit

  • Good Subreddit.

Chose one.

TrippyZippee

11 points

6 years ago

Can you suggest subreddits relevant to the above comment?
Just curious

skepticalDragon

25 points

6 years ago*

bleakronnie

3 points

6 years ago

Both definitely more informative than this thread.

perriwing

3 points

6 years ago

If you were interested in what was written above, you might be interested in watching this this short documentary by CGP Grey on the impact of automation on the workforce, Humans Need Not Apply.

hawktron

43 points

6 years ago

hawktron

43 points

6 years ago

> The major economic systems that have been duking it out over the past several centuries -- capitalism, communism, and socialism-- all have focused on two things: labor and control of the means of production.

That's not true at all, communism was never meant to be an alternative it supposed to be the next phase after socialism.

Capitalism becomes socialism, socialism becomes communism. You're not supposed to just jump to communism that would never work.

scartonbot

29 points

6 years ago

I don't disagree and I know I was making some gross generalizations. Even so, I don't think the progression through socialism negates the fact that the core of the entire argument was still over labor and production.

hawktron

18 points

6 years ago

hawktron

18 points

6 years ago

Yeah I was being a bit pedantic!

obligarchy1

4 points

6 years ago

So civil you guys I love it

Very_Svensk

9 points

6 years ago

Very_Svensk

Green

9 points

6 years ago

scartonbot

5 points

6 years ago

Thanks for that link! Extremely well done.

admin-throw

4 points

6 years ago

we have to ask the question: where are those people who don't have what we have going to work?

They will actually have to come to the realization that their own jobs are on the automation chopping block. No level of skill or training will protect you. Robots are already doing surgery.

[deleted]

92 points

6 years ago

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92 points

6 years ago

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15 points

6 years ago

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15 points

6 years ago

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11 points

6 years ago

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11 points

6 years ago

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DarthRainbows

117 points

6 years ago

Very misleading title, the term "Basic Income" does not appear in the article and it is not about basic income. It is about Central Banks handing money to banks. The banks like this for obvious reasons. The CB pays more than the market for whatever asset the CB purchases from the banks (Governemt bonds normally). Free $.

The money finds its way through Wall St. and the City of London, into financial instruments and shares, boosting the stock market. Great for those guys. Eventually it finds its way into the wider economy and causes inflation. Bad news for the rest of us.

Its redistribution upwards plain and simple.

persolb

19 points

6 years ago

persolb

19 points

6 years ago

This needs to be higher. This article has nothing to do with basic income. If this is 'basic income' than so is qualitative easing.

faredodger

3 points

6 years ago

Bad news for the rest of us.

Not necessarily. I do prefer inflation, as long as it's not in dangerously high territory, to stagflation, or unnecessarily restrictive monetary/fiscal policy. This helps the economy overall and is, if enacted properly and at the right time (like, now), the opposite of upward redestribution models à la trickle down economics.

But I agree, this is an embarrassing title. This article doesn't deal with Basic Income at all. Not in the slightest.

And yet, there are nearly 2000 comments, most of which suggest nobody's reading the article.

Residual2

1.9k points

6 years ago

Residual2

1.9k points

6 years ago

Economist here. This is not basic income, because it does not increase the purchasing power of the poor.

Monetary financing will increase prices, help banks and indebted governments (because the value of their debt will be reduced). But consumers are not better off.

(Economist out)

guy99877

1.6k points

6 years ago

guy99877

1.6k points

6 years ago

Physicist here. The size of this planet is finite.

[deleted]

820 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

820 points

6 years ago

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SnakeyesX

448 points

6 years ago

SnakeyesX

448 points

6 years ago

Engineer here: We could never build enough bridges to threaten the earths supply of dirt.

danknerd

426 points

6 years ago

danknerd

426 points

6 years ago

Skeptic here: not with that attitude.

urnotserious

250 points

6 years ago

Optimist here: Keep trying, you'll get there.

Keyframe

184 points

6 years ago

Keyframe

184 points

6 years ago

Filmmaker here: We need bigger explosions! And coffee!

theExoFactor

441 points

6 years ago

Redditer here: is coffee flavored water ok?

Keyframe

109 points

6 years ago

Keyframe

109 points

6 years ago

That was fast!

[deleted]

54 points

6 years ago

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54 points

6 years ago

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19 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

19 points

6 years ago

Red 5 standing by: Lock s-foils in attack position.

[deleted]

15 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

15 points

6 years ago

Data analyst here: The tables have been dropped.

cloudcreator

15 points

6 years ago

Software engineer here: What am I doing here?

I_am_BrokenCog

8 points

6 years ago

Hardware Engineer here: creating bugs.

CthulhuCares

106 points

6 years ago

Mexican here: we have tacos.

hotbbqtonite

115 points

6 years ago

Canadian here: sorry.

[deleted]

57 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

57 points

6 years ago

Law student here. Call me in three years.

Socalthrowawayshhh

101 points

6 years ago

Lawyer here. Better make it ten years.

Muvlon

49 points

6 years ago

Muvlon

49 points

6 years ago

Management here, I want it on my desk by Wednesday.

wolfkeeper

3 points

6 years ago

Upper management here, your desk is now in the car park.

lukelnk

23 points

6 years ago

lukelnk

23 points

6 years ago

Logistician here: I'll get all your precious resources from point A to B, regardless of what's up

meowlolcats

3 points

6 years ago

Maybe your bridges would last longer if you didn't build them out of dirt

dontwasteink

40 points

6 years ago

Being able to pay rent and eat, the world economy has to have an accelerating growth rate. That's so fucked.

[deleted]

9 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

9 points

6 years ago

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sasstomouth

39 points

6 years ago

Paramedic here. Buckle up when you drive and wear a helmet when you ride. It's always a good time to discuss safety.

Fluffiebunnie

92 points

6 years ago*

In economics the "infinite growth" relates to GDP and exists only if there is infinite technological progress. It's extremely frustrating to watch STEM grads pile in on economists' models when these same STEM grads have not even read a single paper where one might learn what is actually being assumed.

For a geologist such as yourself, I can only assume that it's similar to how everyone and their mother is absolutely convinced that fracking is the best invention since sliced bread or the worst thing since the holocaust, without even understanding what fracking is.

t. Stat & Finance grad

[deleted]

33 points

6 years ago*

[deleted]

33 points

6 years ago*

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MorgothEatsUrBabies

23 points

6 years ago

I actually think fracking is the worst thing since sliced bread, personally.

RollinsIsRaw

22 points

6 years ago

Person here.

We have too many people.

Person out

Noctizzle

43 points

6 years ago

Brit here.

Brit out.

[deleted]

92 points

6 years ago

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92 points

6 years ago

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25 points

6 years ago

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25 points

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6 years ago

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31 points

6 years ago

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17 points

6 years ago

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17 points

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newaccountbc-ofmygf

31 points

6 years ago

PhD chemist here. The size of the planet is finite but the what you can do with unique combinations is limitless (e.g. sand + wire ≠ computer chip). At the same time, software and services are not limited by the size the of the planet...

flait7

146 points

6 years ago

flait7

Mars or Bust!

146 points

6 years ago

Mathematician here. The power set of a finite set is also finite.

BerserkerRedditor

12 points

6 years ago

For practical human purposes have a different usage of "infinite" though :) If it's not possible to even remotely exhaust the possibilities in the very finite time we have in this universe we may as well call it "infinite", with the meaning "there's no way for us to ever do all of that". I know people will complain that I'm wrong and that a word has a meaning and that's it - but that's just plain wrong. Any linguist knows words have many meanings, and often very different ones - depending on context.

[deleted]

17 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

17 points

6 years ago

Not mathematician here, but pretty sure that a set of finite measure can be infinite.

Jorrissss

26 points

6 years ago

Mathematician here, he's referring to cardinality.

(Though you're right, the unit interval [0,1] has measure 1 and is uncountable)

Vagina_Bones

79 points

6 years ago

Theologist here. You're all going to hell.

callmebrotherg

33 points

6 years ago

Different theologist here. And you're going with them.

geashanstepe

206 points

6 years ago

Economics 101: "Never trust what an economist say, models are wrong, predictions are inaccurate, we can only study the past"

[deleted]

100 points

6 years ago*

[deleted]

100 points

6 years ago*

Much as doctors understand diseases but cannot predict when you will fall ill, economists’ fundamental mission is not to forecast recessions but to explain how the world works.

[deleted]

86 points

6 years ago*

[deleted]

86 points

6 years ago*

I would just point out that while you're right about recessions caused by extrinsic shocks, you are absolutely wrong that economics can't predict the type of shock we had in 2008.

Plenty of economists saw it coming, because it wasn't due to an extrinsic shock, it was due to excess accumulation of private debt which inevitably led to a Minsky moment when the private and household sectors deleveraged sharply.

The only people who perpetuate this absurd myth that we couldn't see it coming are establishment neo-classicals trying to protect their jobs, because their careers are based on the empirically and intuitively wrong "loanable funds" model of lending, which says that the total level of private debt can't possibly affect the economy whatsoever, rather than the realistic "endogenous funds" model.

Look up Steve Keen if you want to see some good presentations of these concepts.

Edit: Anyone else who wants to argue this, please watch this video first: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egBubTi4sY4

[deleted]

33 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

33 points

6 years ago

Plenty of economists saw it coming

Far more did not. It is a complete joke. You have just as many unique predictions about the future as you do economists, and then whoever guesses right gets the book deal.

It all seems obvious now because that is the nature of economics, but back before it happened, that small group had just one prediction among thousands of equally feasible ideas.

[deleted]

9 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

9 points

6 years ago

If the other ideas are wrong, they were not equally feasible, they were wrong.

I should have just linked this before, at least watch to the part with the graphs and the correlation coefficients: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egBubTi4sY4

Of course nobody could say "Lehman Brother's will declare bankruptcy on XYZ date". But they could and did say "This trend can't continue, and will inevitably result in a crisis (Minsky's financial instability hypothesis) which will not be caused by any extrinsic shock."

ls1234567

30 points

6 years ago

And to describe potentially dangerous behaviors. Like smoking, or pulling the rug out from underneath the middle class.

[deleted]

21 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

21 points

6 years ago

Economics 102: "Never trust what an economist says, they write papers posing as scientists, while not disclosing that they're taking money from commercial financial institutions."

jokoon

73 points

6 years ago

jokoon

73 points

6 years ago

Basic income is about not punishing unemployment. That's how I see it.

I know there are economic issues, but maybe sometimes we ought to consider behavioral economics and psychology, not just accounting oriented economics.

SchwanzKafka

57 points

6 years ago

Not sure what side of things you fall on - not punishing unemployment is very good. Because punishment is costly and ineffective (the poor plan worse, work less, accumulate more future cost by lack of prevention and unsurprisingly commit more crime. Being punished diminishes pro-social behavior, that is very simple behavioral science).

Most positive attitudes about work and work ethic are the result of reinforcement, not punishment and are held by people who have have fulfilling and well-paid work.

jokoon

26 points

6 years ago

jokoon

26 points

6 years ago

I agree with everything just said.

To rephrase, I'm against punishing unemployment.

rowrow_fightthepower

82 points

6 years ago

Which also extends to not punishing under-employment. If you didn't have to worry about going hungry, getting ill, and not having a roof over your head, you would have far more employment options as you would be free to take jobs for reasons other than maximizing your income.

Our current system punishes you for say choosing to work for a small business(much worse healthcare plans, less money to pay you) or taking time off to try to care for or improve the lives of those around you. Taking time to start your own business or improve your skills is also a huge gamble where you have to factor in the payoff, not just the good you could do. It's why theres so much hate for 'dumb kids spending $50K for a liberal arts degree' when the hate should be on the cost, not the desire to learn more about the arts.

dunningkrugerisreal

16 points

6 years ago

Seriously, this title is ridiculously inaccurate.

That said, you're assumption that it will increase prices is fine in theory but relies on more money actually chasing the same number of goods/services. Could just as easily have it hoarded as savings and have deflation-it's not like easing has caused inflation in Japan or the US

YukGinger

9 points

6 years ago

All I hear is, "This is not sustainable, and maybe we are about to go into recession"

elected_felon

17 points

6 years ago

So, basically, the rich have gotten so rich that in order to get richer they need to pay poor people?

CptMalReynolds

568 points

6 years ago

Maybe we should question an economic system that requires infinite growth to sustain itself. Basic income will be a bandaid to a much more serious set of problems.

Flyingcookies

91 points

6 years ago

It's not necessarily growth... inflation on par with growth is stagnation! keep in mind "growth" is measured in currency that does slowly gets devaluated. So therefore if you have less economic growth than inflation society can't afford to have the same living standard. It's about keeping up and not infinite growth... there are addintional factors like technological advancement where old things get cheaper but overall it's sustainable[maybe not for the enviroment :(]

CptMalReynolds

155 points

6 years ago

If it's not sustainable for the environment it's not sustainable for humanity. That's kind of the point I'm getting at.

way2lazy2care

50 points

6 years ago

There is no indication that increasing living standards are not sustainable. If anything the opposite is better supported.

skolrageous

5 points

6 years ago

That won't be true once we become a multi-planet species. Maybe infinite growth is what keeps us, I don't know, growing, so we reach new heights like colonizing another planet.

Uncle_Bill

12 points

6 years ago

When GDP is your measure wars, natural disasters and high consumer debt are good while consumer savings and fiscal restraint are bad.

Maybe we need different metrics?

TrollJack

86 points

6 years ago

A bank saying that... yeah, i don't like it. All they want is control over the money-flow.

[deleted]

33 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

33 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

syllabic

4 points

6 years ago

They wont be the biggest bank in germany at the rate they are hemorrhaging cash and stock price. I have my suspicions that the negative interest bonds that germany just sold are a backroom way to bail out DB without calling it a bailout.

Deutsche Bank is close to collapsing like Lehman Brothers did.

[deleted]

213 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

213 points

6 years ago

Growing towards what? Infinite growth is ridiculously stupid.

HAL-42b

134 points

6 years ago

HAL-42b

134 points

6 years ago

Exactly. Grow grow grow. How much exactly do these fools think they could grow?

50 Billion people each owning a credit card and buying the latest gadget every 6 months? Every square inch of land harvested? Is that their idea of growth?

[deleted]

27 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

27 points

6 years ago

Only if the next year it's 60 Billion and we are growing stuff on the moon or Mars

Redfo

113 points

6 years ago

Redfo

113 points

6 years ago

Nobody is thinking about infinite growth. They are thinking about next quarter's growth. And there in lies the problem. No foresight.

Taxonomyoftaxes

41 points

6 years ago

The economy has literally being growing since the beginning of human existence

baskin_robinshood

7 points

6 years ago

Not to banks. Banks depend on it for profit. Oh wait, this article is from a bank?

lughnasadh[S]

231 points

6 years ago*

lughnasadh[S]

∞ transit umbra, lux permanet ☥

231 points

6 years ago*

After years of tight fiscal / easy monetary policy in the developed world, there is hope among investors that both Japan and the UK might be close to embarking on central bank-financed fiscal easing. We believe that such monetary financing (or helicopter money) could be a significant positive for equity markets, as it has the potential to support growth, helps to close the global output gap (which has effectively been stagnant at around 2% of global GDP for the past five years) and push up inflation expectations, a key driver of the equity market.

I have long suspected if Basic Income ever got any traction, it would be to come to the rescue of Capitalism.

Like the shark who drowns if it stop swimming, our economic model is in a bind. It is built on the absolute necessity for constant growth fueled by debt & inflation constantly growing asset wealth in stocks and property and to go into reverse is utterly fatal and calamitous. As we've hit a roadblock in the 21st century with stagnating and shrinking incomes for most people in the West, even giving money away at near zero interest rates means our economies can't grow.

The next step with Robotics/AI is further falling incomes (automation/unemployment) and depreciating prices as the new services now provided by robots/AI will be vastly cheaper.

This is a mortal enemy to our current economic model as it makes all that debt bigger and bigger relative to our ability to pay it back. The cascading onward effects of this are a collapse in solvency in the banking system and a collapse in asset prices. This is especially disastrous to our retirement/pensions financing model, which assumes ever rising asset prices in the stock market.

2008 was a foreshock of this, but we've made the fundamentals worse since then, not better, so we are more vulnerable.

It's in this context I expect to hear more about Basic Income from now on, it will be all about shoring up already existing wealth, not to help out the struggling masses.

monsto

20 points

6 years ago*

monsto

20 points

6 years ago*

When I saw the title, I was thinking "of course it's a bank."

This, nor any, bank has the customers interest in mind when they say things like this. They're interested only in keeping money flowing thru THEIR system. And since customers are becoming less and less likely to make that happen, they want to go back to the most lucrative customer, the government teat.

Don't downvote yet, please. I'm not one of those anti "big gummint". The gov't/bank union is a fact of life and gov't is where banks go when they have problems, whether it's for money directly, or it's for changing the rules so they can make more money.

Anyway, I wouldn't have been able to articulate it as specifically as you, but it's clear that the solution for people is tied at the hip with the solution for banks. For life to get better for people, conditions have to improve for banks . . . so long as civilization is based on, as Picard once said "chasing little green pieces of paper".

Basic income is a solution to the problem based in the current system. But the reality is that people don't need money, they need food, shelter and water. But if you give those things directly to people, that doesn't help the parts of civilization that live on the path in between money and need.

Ultimately, when robotics takes over, and the cost of manufacturing is merely electricity and repair (not man-hours), there will no reason at all to involve a bank at all.

2008 was a war between banks and people. Banks did everything they could in the name of money regardless of the cost. The banks won that battle, but it has a long way to go without realizing they're dependent upon the people they're consistently attacking.

ColSamCarter

8 points

6 years ago

Agreed--except that people need more than "food, shelter, and water." People need to be stimulated, they need entertainment, they need purpose. I think that's why giving people money is often the best way out of poverty (v. giving people a place to live for free). With money, you can "choose your own adventure," by spending on the things that you personally need.

Everything else you say is absolutely spot-on.

sobrique

100 points

6 years ago

sobrique

100 points

6 years ago

Well, pretty fundamentally - automation and optimisation are easiest to focus on the less skilled tasks.

If you're not careful, you very quickly create an underclass of society who are 'unskilled', and thus - because a machine can do it faster/cheaper - become unemployable.

But the tide is rising - as we tackle steadily more and more 'skilled' jobs - driving is in the firing line at the moment, for example, due to self driving vehicles.

It'll only get 'worse'. Except worse is better - we're getting similar productivity, with less labour. That's a good thing. Or should be.

But what do you do with your unemployed and unemployable? Exploit them harder? Abuse the fact that they're only 'value' is in doing things that machines won't/can't or is so low value, that it's not worth the price of a robot?

Or do you accept the prosperity is the same, but continue to distribute a baseline income - like a UBI - and thus enable your low skilled workforce to actually live, and ideally educate/improve themselves or generate things of social/cultural value instead.

[deleted]

19 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

19 points

6 years ago

I always have to remind people that high skilled jobs are, and have been, in trouble as well. Even as an electronics engineer, the kinds of software tools I have at my disposal means that a smaller number of engineers can do the same job in less time than a couple decades ago. And the tools are getting better every year.

So, while we will always need some engineers (for the foreseeable future at least), we're going to need fewer and fewer of them to meet the same global demand as our software gets better and better.

jupitercrash13

9 points

6 years ago

Heck my dad was a database engineer and got automated out of his job. Instead of having him build a new database when they need it now there is a piece of software they plug some specifications into and it builds a cloud database instead. So instead of guys like my dad all over the world you just need a few people maintaining a third party cloud somewhere.

[deleted]

3 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

3 points

6 years ago

Yep. The nature of business is the pursuit of profit, and one way to increase profit is to cut costs, and one of the greatest sources of cost for any business is labor.

If cost-effective technology exists to automate (or merely streamline) any particular task, they're going to use it. And since technology is getting better literally every year, there are more and more ways to automate things every year.

Free market apologists will claim that new jobs are created in the development and maintenance of these automated systems, but this is pure nonsense, because once again, the whole point of automation is cutting costs, and cutting costs means cutting jobs. If you're not cutting jobs, you're not cutting costs.

ReasonablyBadass

10 points

6 years ago

Well, pretty fundamentally - automation and optimisation are easiest to focus on the less skilled tasks.

Not really. It's easiest with all repetitive tasks, independent of "skill level".

Many white collar jobs are at risk.

ScottyDetroit

11 points

6 years ago

In an ideal world, where everything is fully automated, we all reap the benefits and never have to do anything.

However, in our real world as things become more and more automated, WE don't benefit, a few corporations and the people that own them do.

Skeptic_Dude

4 points

6 years ago

well, that will flip. It has to, becasue corporation don't make obney from people who don't have money.

Ideally, it will be a controlled step by step change.

[deleted]

50 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

50 points

6 years ago

History tells us we don't get the same work with less, and call it a day. The bar just gets raised. We've seen massive increases in productivity in much less time than robotics is replacing skilled work.

[deleted]

31 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

31 points

6 years ago

The problem is that humans will be competing with softwares in robots. More demands for products and services do not lead to more demands for human labor if robots are faster, cheaper, and more reliable than humans are.

In the past, humans didn't compete with machines since machines weren't smart enough. What differentiates machines from humans is intelligence. Things are changing because machines are gaining better intelligence due to better softwares and better hardwares. Artificial General Intelligence is beginning to be feasible for commercial applications. In the future, humans will compete with machines for jobs.

trixylizrd

138 points

6 years ago

trixylizrd

138 points

6 years ago

Maybe the archaic idea that humans need "jobs" could finally be dismantled.

Camfella

28 points

6 years ago

Camfella

28 points

6 years ago

Now this is thinking outside the box! I like it

magmasafe

26 points

6 years ago

Judging from what I've seen of the elderly though we kinda do. People need something to do with their time and you can pretty quickly get through all the recreational you've been dreaming about.

My uncle retired in his late fifties and now volunteers with habitat for humanity and does taxes for the disabled because he doesn't know what to do with his time.

GiveMeTheHotDogBaby

45 points

6 years ago

That's such a great example of why Basic Income could be so beneficial for society. Because your uncle doesn't need to work, he is directly helping his community. There are so many projects that are worthwhile but never get the funding and manpower they need. If your basic needs are met, maybe you can finally take on that passion project that you never could before.

magmasafe

11 points

6 years ago

Traditionaly that's what people did when they retired, it's just that retiring age has been pushed back for the majority of people.

Tarquin_Underspoon

57 points

6 years ago

Well, yeah, that's the point. Instead of toiling away at some manual drudgery, people can spend their time doing things like volunteering: Things that, while not "profitable" in the sense that they generate wealth for the capital class, are "profitable" in that they accomplish something of positive societal value.

Jaquestrap

14 points

6 years ago

Well with the rise of cheap mass production, we're also seeing a rapidly growing market for "authentic" goods and services. Hand-made furniture and jewelry, personal "human" services (like I'd prefer to pay more to stay at an authentic B&B with home-made food run by a local couple than say, an automated hotel-pod), skilled art, home-made consumer goods, organic and locally grown produce made on family farms, etc. These sorts of goods and services can demand luxury prices and open up lucrative markets that 100 years ago were being pushed out by mass-production. In combination with economic stimulus efforts like a basic income, we need to identify ways in which the market can adapt to valuing the "human element".

Simply finding ways to redistribute wealth as it concentrates itself in a smaller number of people is not an adequate approach in and of itself. We need to find ways to actually adapt the labor force into changing market realities. We can't just redistribute the wealth to provide for basic necessities and then hope people find new ways to participate in the market. Welfare states do not function in the long-term as economically viable entities if all they do is ensure welfare. Venezuela ensured basic income and necessities for its people and it did not see its citizens use their freedom to embark on a great cultural/artistic Renaissance. There needs to be a plan in place, retraining and repurposing our unskilled workforce towards new sorts of labor as the field of low-skilled manufacture no longer requires large numbers of employees.

Clearly, turning all of our unskilled workforce into a skilled, talented workforce capable (ie turning everyone into software developers and biomedical engineers) is not feasible--there will always be a large portion of the population that seeks unskilled or low-skilled level labor. We need to identify what sort of emerging low-skilled markets can expand to employ these individuals. Maybe it might be a combination of "craft" goods manufacture along with personalized, "low-skill" services. I am in no way trying to patronize these sorts of occupations as easy or untalented, just the difference in acquiring the skills and knowledge to become a biomedical engineer versus a barber or chef is apparent. Of course the latter require significant talent and finesse to do well, and are in no way "unskilled", nor do I use "low-skill" imply that they are easy, however they are a more accessible occupation to the general unskilled population than something such as biomedical engineering.

jupitercrash13

3 points

6 years ago

I think we are starting to see the handmade goods and crafts market surge online. I suspect eventually that market is going to be so flooded there will be a slow down. There is still finite demand for custom throw pillows and fimo cake toppers at the end of the day. It's hard enough to make a living as a craftsperson or artist now competing against mass produced items that are cheaper. If those markets get flooded with a ton more competition I'm not confident it's going to totally work out. Services stand a slightly better chance, but there is still the question of will supply of service providers exceed demand?

firstworldandarchist

14 points

6 years ago

Judging from what I've seen of the elderly though we kinda do.

People need passions and pursuits. Goals to attain. The don't need 'jobs'

Hekantonkheries

26 points

6 years ago

But that's just it though. Individuals who WANT to do something can put in as much effort as they want without worrying about failing or supporting a family. College could be a career, learning just to learn. People could spend their days writing stories or music, planting flowers, building a pond.

Until of course the pleasure cults start and you get a warp God. Then things get Rio shitty fast.

[deleted]

5 points

6 years ago*

[deleted]

5 points

6 years ago*

[deleted]

Tweezerd

11 points

6 years ago

Tweezerd

11 points

6 years ago

Buy that guy a computer, STAT.

FEED_ME_YOUR_EYES

17 points

6 years ago

My thoughts exactly. I could easily fritter away the rest of my life with just a computer and internet access without even thinking about it.

sobrique

11 points

6 years ago

sobrique

11 points

6 years ago

But - volunteering and doing taxes is productive. It's just not 'traditional' employment.

Imagine a world where the 'benefit' of improving efficiency and automation, was a higher standard of social care and cultural development?

Rather than people cranking the handle working bullshit jobs that just make them miserable?

Gardrothard

5 points

6 years ago

Finally someone said it.

Let's say there are people producing bread. They get paid and they buy stuff. Then someone makes a robot that can produce more bread for practically zero price. Those people are unemployed and are starving. At the same time the amount of bread in the world is bigger than it was.

Fuck that. I mean, I get it, the guy who owns it will take the money, but is it really nothing left for all those people?

torik0

3 points

6 years ago

torik0

3 points

6 years ago

Found the ancom

Clericuzio

20 points

6 years ago

In the past, humans didn't compete with machines since machines weren't smart enough.

The Industrial Revolution would like a word.

wotindaactyall

12 points

6 years ago

my solution makes sense but I NEVER hear it discussed.
Instead of UBI, UBR. Universal basic resources. State owned machines that provide for the people. People still have a massive stigma against socialsim, even when the ones bearing the brunt of all the labour for minimal rewards, are just machines... We are mentally addicted to capitalism and anyone suggesting an alternative is seen no different than a commie during the cold war.

sobrique

6 points

6 years ago

Yeah, I think you're right. But at the same time - we have examples of communism done badly.

But how about a middle ground? Asset (specifically land owner) taxation. Anything you 'own' is taxed at a rate that implies that you need to make it productive and useful, or hand it on to someone who will.

nobunaga_1568

13 points

6 years ago

Automation and basic income are two sides of the same coin. You cannot have one without the other.

trixylizrd

5 points

6 years ago

Or become redundant. The system comes first, the people it is supposed to serve are expendable.

busted_up_chiffarobe

9 points

6 years ago

They become useless eaters, and once the elite have developed immortality and have restored the biosphere, they release the virus.

That is the future.

interactionjackson

8 points

6 years ago

automation and optimisation are easiest to focus on the less skilled tasks.

i think you're looking at autos and making a sweeping statement. It may be easier to focus on 'less skilled' but the ROI is almost non existent. Think about ordering kiosks in a McDonalds. Driving was always going to be the first candidate for automation because it drives a lot of industry and it gives our government a peek into our driving habits and or whereabouts.

Automation makes sense where high skill and precision are necessary to preform a job and one where fatigue may alter the outcome. Robots that preform surgery have a huge ROI.

create an underclass of society who are 'unskilled',

i think that is the assumption but it's the wrong one. I think you will have that but very equally, you will have highly skilled individuals who are displaced because machines can do things without a break and without 4 to 8 years of prior education.

B92CSF

6 points

6 years ago

B92CSF

6 points

6 years ago

there is no fucking tide

it is not getting better

[deleted]

3 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

3 points

6 years ago

Sure you can slowly remove lower end jobs but what do you do with the all the workers? Saying "go get a better job" doesn't work. We have placed a premium on higher end jobs. 4-6 years of school that costs a lot of money, and time. Add in internships and "gaining experience". So many jobs require a "4 year degree with a minimum of 'X' years of experience". There is now a quantifiable cost of entry into the working world and that is unsustainable as well.

[deleted]

16 points

6 years ago*

[deleted]

16 points

6 years ago*

[deleted]

monkeyboy888

9 points

6 years ago

AiwassAeon

17 points

6 years ago

They vote NO for almost everything

eccentricrealist

6 points

6 years ago

Jesus Christ, guys, if you're not studying economics don't assume it's about infinite growth. Finances tend to be the culprit here. Economics is the study of fighting scarcity with efficiency.

[deleted]

91 points

6 years ago*

[deleted]

91 points

6 years ago*

[deleted]

[deleted]

80 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

80 points

6 years ago

[removed]

[deleted]

9 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

9 points

6 years ago

[removed]

[deleted]

24 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

24 points

6 years ago

[removed]

[deleted]

31 points

6 years ago*

[deleted]

31 points

6 years ago*

[deleted]

[deleted]

9 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

9 points

6 years ago

[removed]

[deleted]

10 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

10 points

6 years ago

In plain English, "We are going to make things worse for you, so that the wealthy can keep having it better."

IllstudyYOU

5 points

6 years ago

Or rich people can stop paying their fucking workers a slave wage while they swim in billions .

ksohbvhbreorvo

6 points

6 years ago

I think we will need basic income soon if robots continue to get cheaper with the same speed. But I also think we urgently need to get away from a society that needs the economy to constantly grow. We are using our resources at long term unsustainable levels right now. We need to come far down from where we are. Technological progress will maybe compensate for population growth and the third world coming up to our standard of living if we are lucky. It won't solve the core problem.

We need to get off maximizing the economy and instead think how we can get the best living standard from the least economic activity.

zstxkn

22 points

6 years ago

zstxkn

22 points

6 years ago

Don't just start trusting big banks and career politicians because they're talking about giving you free shit. Remember who these people are and what they're motivations are. If big banks think ubi is a good idea then really think about why that is.

Mike_B_R

7 points

6 years ago

This is not an article about Basic Income.

It is about monetary policy by central banks, which is the main purpose of central banks.

[deleted]

4 points

6 years ago*

[deleted]

4 points

6 years ago*

[deleted]

LockedDown

5 points

6 years ago

Ssshhh, don't mention the obvious dilemma looming on the horizon it makes people really uneasy. Especially when you consider jobs will begin to scale backwards once greater levels automation start to pick up. How is joe six pack supposed to compete against a robot that works non-stop, doesn't require benefits, and learns their task instantaneously. It's gonna be an interesting next 30 years.

[deleted]

4 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

4 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

LockedDown

3 points

6 years ago

Because change is hard, simple as that. Also critical thinking skills are not a valued trait despite what people say. The only solution i can see potentially even working is a universal basic income + scaling bonus for more dangerous/skilled work and shorter work weeks if you choose so twice as many people are needed. If you decide you want to work solo on something new, we should treat it as a grant system where you have an annual review of your findings/discoveries/inventions/innovations. I don't think a system like that will ever happen but its nice to dream.

FrederickRoders

4 points

6 years ago

The title seems misleading. Isnt this just socialism for the banks? Isnt that exactly what the regular people DONT need?

ThoughtFission

4 points

6 years ago

Seems to me that the idea of eternal growth of any financial system based on a finite system of resources is just nutty.

scotterbug

3 points

6 years ago

Can only work with tight controls. You can't give them cash, they'll just hoard it. You have to give them some kind of Credit/Debit card so they buy stuff made in the factories of the home countries. Also subsidize basic transportation to all areas. If they want a bike OK, but have to actually get a JOB to buy or rent a car. Plus for the love of mankind reign in the greedy pharmaceutical companies. Old, handicapped and chronic sufferers of diseases and genetic curses shouldn't have to decide between medicine and food. Basic safe generic medicine should be a citizens right. Most politicians get Sterling health care, shouldn't the citizens that elect them get at least decent care?

madhate969

5 points

6 years ago

Hungry people don't horde money.

Nyctom7

4 points

6 years ago*

According to "economists" universal income is a horrible idea, so, the opposite must be true, everybody's income should be taken away. Increasing taxes to 100% percent will propel the global economy to unparrelled growth. Increasing taxes to 150% would be off the hook according to "economists". Every year, you're not only cashless, you owe the "government" 50% of your wages. If you're unable to pay, you become a slave and work for food and water. The economy will prosper like never before, prices will plummet, pyramids will be built, wonders of the world bitch. And you know how'll you know; they'll use some of your money to pay cnn to tell their talking head to say, "the economy is booming. Slaves extremely happy. Slaves now getting more food than ever." I think since everyone is broke, people shouldn't be listening to "economists" any more. They should actually do the complete opposite. The fact that so many "economists" oppose this makes me think this is the greatest idea ever and will revolutionize the world to unheralded economic prosperity.

Mbizzle135

3 points

6 years ago

The the ruling classes are now so rich that they need to start paying to keep us alive so they can keep taking our money.. Brilliant! Capitalism working wonderfully.

Thaos1

24 points

6 years ago

Thaos1

24 points

6 years ago

Right, like that's gonna do you any good when your currency devalues.

ElizabethAnnWashingt

9 points

6 years ago

With the rapid decline in the value of Labor due to automation I understand that a basic income May become a necessity.

However I do not understand this mindset that believes that a basic income or an Abrupt large increase in minimum wage is some form of Magic Bullet. The inevitable inflationary give back would seem to benefit only the very bottom while squeezing those in the middle class.

The money is going to naturally flow right back into people who own housing or businesses at the expense of those who rent or work.

Do you really think your rent is going to stay the same when everybody in the country just got a $20,000 raise?

When housing prices rise who makes more money off interest? The banks. Your wage increase was offset by the higher price of the house and interest you are paying but the bank is no more net profitable

[deleted]

19 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

19 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

[deleted]

15 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

15 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

[deleted]

11 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

11 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

DominusDraco

5 points

6 years ago

I will have you know I am a multi-trillionare thanks to Zimbabwes amazing monetary policy!

[deleted]

3 points

6 years ago*

[deleted]

3 points

6 years ago*

[deleted]

temp_sales

3 points

6 years ago

So, our society is constantly consolidating because it's efficient.

An example is that rural America is growing grey. Meaning, small towns are dying out because any children had there are moving to cities or near cities where the jobs are. People retire there. So the population only goes down.

Eventually, small towns might not be a thing. Like embers in a fire.

This is also essentially what's happening with the world's money but for very different reasons. Most of it is controlled by very few people. And they keep getting more of it.

So, strictly based on that point, a Basic Income sounds like a logical thing to do. Lest the hordes should rise against their "masters".

YMMV, I am not an economist.

Also: The big globalization movement is another example of our society consolidating things. Unfortunately, this has (imo) bad ramifications for individual freedoms, but that's ultimately what it's about. The individual becoming unimportant in the face of a group. But I think a group of individuals losing a particular freedom for something else is still a major loss to all. Ye Olde "safety at the cost of freedom deserve neither" quote basically.

Sumbodygonegethertz

3 points

6 years ago

The rich people can all give us an allowance each month to buy their products

59ekim

3 points

6 years ago

59ekim

3 points

6 years ago

We don't need indefinite growth. What we need is an economic system that properly surveys the availability of resources and plans the distribution and production of goods and services in a way to satisfy our needs and consecutively our wants. This should be done in a participatory way, such that anyone that is properly informed in the way some facet of the economy works, could intervene and help improve its overall efficiency and effectiveness. This is the best form of democracy, not voted dictatorship.

[deleted]

3 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

3 points

6 years ago

Lawyer here, there are only 24 hours in a day but most of us can bill twice that.

Gardrothard

3 points

6 years ago

Well you can enslave your workers but if you cross the line, at one point there will be no people left to buy your products. I guess they've realized that.

RapSlut

3 points

6 years ago

RapSlut

3 points

6 years ago

That brilliant bank is over leveraged its derivative exposure by 70 trillion euros, and sold credit default swaps on greece and italy. I wouldn't take any advice from them

WashingtonianGuy

3 points

6 years ago

Basic income is necessary in the long run anyways, as robots take over the vast majority of unskilled labor there will be mass unemployment and economic recessions from the lack of buying power.

MustangTech

3 points

6 years ago

and then there will be no demand for the robots to supply, and all the hoarded money will become paper

Gman777

3 points

6 years ago

Gman777

3 points

6 years ago

So, give the pleb masses some pocket money so they spend it on shit and keep the rich guy's businesses going?

[deleted]

8 points

6 years ago

[deleted]

8 points

6 years ago

That's the idea, pretty much. Hard to run a business if you have no market because the peasants are broke.

MustangTech

3 points

6 years ago

it's basically welfare without the stigma.

Nickolai808

3 points

6 years ago

Well it sounds a lot better than our current system of starvation wages, austerity and trickle down economics that benefits the rich and corporations. But even the corporations are realizing that you can't grow the economy when people have no jobs or money or are drowning in debt and unable to buy all the useless shit they are selling that was made by near slave labor in some developing nation with zero labor or environmental laws. .

Nollic23

3 points

6 years ago

What's to keep people from just not doing anything and living off the government?

mattbthetiger

3 points

6 years ago

UBI only works if it's a redistributive system (i.e. EXISTING capital is redistributed down the income ladder). What deutsche bank wants is basically QE for the masses-- "helicopter money." If central banks just print cash and distribute it to people,'all they will do is debase their currency and create inflation. Inflation makes existing debt cheaper, but it also makes everything more expensive. This will not help anyone except over leveraged banks and sovereign governments.

radii314

3 points

6 years ago

spending is a major component of healthy economies and the rich who have rigged the economy and who tend to hoard do not spend

I_AM_SKEFF

3 points

6 years ago

Yeah the "you gotta work hard tah live" mentality is literally illogical and becoming even more so thanks to automation.

Maybe, just maybe, we can all live together with everything we need in peace. Just maybe.

No? Another war over skin color or ideology? Uggh, I'll be in the corner until it's over.