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Back from my Thanksgiving break. Delighted to see another turkey.

Because they would be in serious troubles if they quit and don't have another form of income.

So what you're saying is that your "unemployed-only" solution will make the words "We'll quit" into a more credible threat, and employers will meet their demands because employers are too stupid to call their bluff? You do recognize there are benefits to being employed other than the wage, right? Health care, networking, friends, knowledge, experience, etc? And, as I suggested before, what if the employees are paid well above your "unemployed-only" solution but wish to strike for shorter hours or a safer workplace?

My great-grandfather was on the receiving end of a strike in 1940, and he lasted for two months without blinking an eye. If you tried your simple threat of "We'll quit and go live off the benefits" on him, it would have come across like this scene from Cable Guy.

they would be getting unemployment benefits if they existed

One of my contentions is that basic income has a much better chance of coming into existence than your solution, although I'll hedge this notion with Milton Friedman's Negative Income Tax discussed below.

Nope. Cash from unemployment benefit is indistinguishable from cash from another form of income, unlike food stamps which automatically signal you as "poor" any time you use them to buy something.

Nope. We're not talking about signalling "I'm poor" to the cashier at the supermarket. We're talking at the level of policy. You know, Washington D.C. and all that. By the way, maybe you should have looked at a SNAP card before going all scarlet letter on me. Look at this mountain of shame. And here's a film about the people who carry such cards. Maybe the film will help you stop calling them "filthy poor and social parasites." Even Tyler Cowen praises SNAP.

Not any more than basic income does.

Randomized control trials (here's one for example) indicate that basic income encourages work. RCTs often inspire hipster cynics to complain: "Oh, they continued working just because they knew the RCT would end. If you guaranteed them basic income for life, they would quit their jobs." Of course, such complaints are merely handwaving, unlike the empirical evidence just presented.

Are there any RCTs for your idea? If no, why? As it turns out, the Negative Income Tax RCTs decades ago were probably the closest to your idea, since it tapers off as you earn more (similar to Viliam_Bur's suggestion in this thread). The results inspired mixed reactions, with many critics claiming a drop in labor. This paper tries to sort out the mess.

Jodie T. Allen of the Nixon administration dealt with the NIT RCTs firsthand, and she immediately noticed some practical problems. For example, just like the EITC today mistakenly gives out billions of dollars to technically ineligible recipients, the NIT will probably mistakenly give out many billions more and turn the IRS into an even bigger bureaucracy as it deals with millions of ever-changing recipients. You seem quite naive to such administrative issues, per your professed belief to Viliam_Bur:

The bureaucratic hassles could be reduced to virtually zero if the government keeps track of who is employed and who isn't. Yes, there is a risk of fraud: people could work without declaring it (with the complicity of their employers if any) and earn both their wage and the benefits. The judicial system can deal with that. I have no idea what I'm talking about.

As I've stated before, basic income has its implementation problems. But it's nowhere near the level of complexity of your idea, which you insist is not that complex, because you haven't spent much time actually thinking about it. This brings me to my main complaint against you.

Off topic. You are not helping to keep the level of this discussion high.

On topic, because I'm actually the one keeping the level of this discussion high, just like in past encounters. See, when I pointed you to this article last year, I discovered that you didn't actually read it, and you went right back to ridiculing cryonics advocates. Then when you gave this half-assed one-liner above, I realized you probably do this with every subject. Just to double-check, I provided more links. As far as I can tell, the only ones you click on are the ones you judge to be an assault to your character, because those links are easier to process. So tell me: why should I continue to provide links if all you're going to do is respond with half-assed one-liners? The only link you've provided thus far is an off-topic Wikipedia entry.

I understand you may be pressed for time, so instead of inefficiently talking past each other, let's just exchange some links to books of our respective ideas. I'll go first: here's a huge anthology of Basic Income research. Your turn.

Sure, but employees could threaten to quit their job. Anyway, how much money is currently locked as strike funds?

If threatening employers with the words "We'll quit" is all that's needed, then why do employees bother with strikes in the first place? Action gives power to words. As for your (rhetorical?) question, I'm not sure I follow. Non-unionized employees certainly don't have a strike fund.

that could be dealt with subsidies specifically targeted at startups.

Hackers' hobbies and experimentation technically don't count as startups, even though they can lead to official companies in due time. Basic income can help support such experimentation. Furthermore, subsidies targeted specifically to startups can be opposed by established businesses as government meddling.

The same endowment effect applies to taxes which affect most of the population. When the government proposes tax raises there is always some opposition, but this doesn't prevent tax raises from occurring from time to time.

When an average American interviews for a job, which of the two is more likely on his mind: the wage, or the tax implications of the new job? Tax reformers face the uphill battle of a public perplexed by the complexity of taxation, as well those who feel protected from tax increases via possible deductions and loopholes. By contrast, an income stream is an easier thing to grasp. If everyone is given this income stream, any attempts to cut this income stream won't be met with "some opposition." It will be met with widespread opposition.

If the government started to give money to everybody who turns 18 and doesn't work I suppose that people would tend to notice

But your "lazy-only"... I mean, "unemployed-only" solution won't fly because it will be demonized in the manner that you demonize SNAP here:

Food stamps are considered something extremely low status which only the filthy poor and social parasites would ever accept. Most people don't care about the issue except as a social cost.

Whereas many SNAP recipients actually are employed, your "unemployed-only" solution actively discourages work. Therefore, your belief that the problems of targeted welfare "could be reduced to the point of irrelevance" seem, to put it mildly, a bit optimistic to me.

Basic income does not actively discourage work. Instead, it gives people leverage to choose their work if they so desire. Yes, I agree it is, to put it mildly, optimistic to expect adoption of basic income in the near future. However, I'm in it for the long-run.... unless, of course, someone convinces me that basic income is a bad idea. You're currently not succeeding in this regard.

Appeal to ridicule ----- (earlier this year) ----- So cryonics induces people to commit suicide. Nice.

Appeal to authority

My point is that you can do that with unemployment benefits without the side effect of subsidizing the employers.

No. You can't. One example I've stressed is that your unemployment benefits don't help employees who wish to go on strike. Union dues can be decreased via Basic Income because unions won't have to worry about strike funds anymore. Even if you're not officially unionized, you know your coworkers get paid a Basic Income each month, and they know that you know. This simplicity-induced transparency can help you persuade/guilt-trip your co-workers to go on strike with you over, say, safer workplaces or shorter hours. And going on strike is an easier sell than getting everyone to quit for "unemployed-only" welfare (which, as I've stressed, your coworkers may not even end up receiving), especially if your coworkers are getting paid quite handsomely. After all, we're not just talking about Walmart employees going on strike.

Long story short: Basic Income subsidizes employee leverage. And as Aaron Swartz emphasized, it can even help encourage employees to become entrepreneurs. Your repeated argument that Basic Income is subsidizing Walmart reminds me of this psychicpebbles video :p

Any policy is potentially subject to being reversed in the future. I don't see why basic income would have more staying power than unemployment benefits.

Think of the aforementioned fight over food stamps today. Heck, many Americans don't even know it's called SNAP now, and SNAP advocates have to actively campaign to teach Americans what recipients receive. By contrast, Basic Income won't need active campaigning once adopted: everyone will be passively reminded each month via their monthly payments. Furthermore, the endowment effect (yes I see the criticism section at that link) makes it much less likely that everyone will support a politician's decision to cut their Basic Income monthly payments.

Seems like these costs could be reduced to the point of irrelevance.

But only if society cares to reduce the costs! Again, people don't even know the foods stamps program is now called SNAP. And they think recipients are all like Jason Greenslate.

To be fair, there are practical bottlenecks in the implementation of a basic income, so I do support already-existing welfare programs. It's just that I also point out the weakness of those programs. I'm not much fun at parties.

in the proportion it was given to workers, it would be a subsidy to their employers.

No. To illustrate, look at the starting point of the aforementioned subsidy to employers: the Earned Income Tax Credit. You can only make use of the EITC once you are employed, so all else being equal, the EITC contributes to the idea: "If you don't work, you starve." I may then feel pressured to work at McDonald's or Walmart. By contrast, Basic Income exists external to the market, serving as a base amount for everyone to live on. Since I don't have to worry about starving anymore, I now have more leverage in choosing if/where I want to work. Any amount I earn on top of the base amount is of my own volition for luxury items not needed for my survival. If I later want more money and my employer resists, I can use the basic income as a strike fund.

Unemployment benefits would be sufficient to obtain these effects without transferring wealth from the taxpayers to the employers.

Three things. First, you seem to be forgetting my earlier point regarding staying power. Even if you rally society today to support your targeted "unemployment benefits" (I put it in quotes because I know you mean it in a welfare context that is wider than merely unemployment compensation), your welfare solution is still at risk of being stigmatized in the future and then cut by politicians. Basic income for everyone avoids this risk, and will have much greater staying power.

Second, you seem to be under the impression welfare is handed out like free candy. In reality, welfare can be a pain in the butt, whether it's the intrusive paperwork, stressful delays, or the threat of fines and probation. Basic income bypasses this mess.

Third, you keep suggesting "taxpayers" and "corporations" are two separate things, even though corporations pay taxes too. Yes, corporations are quite adept at avoiding taxes, which is why tax reform also needs to be a part of this discussion.

Not necessarily. That's why I brought up the example of basic income serving as a permanent strike fund to help employees demand higher wages. Employers can respond by meeting their demands, and/or automating more quickly, etc. Then society can respond to increased automation by increasing the basic income. Or not. I won't talk about society's transition into a gift economy here because that would take too much space.

I know you're trying to paint Basic Income as a subsidy to employers, but it's really not like the Earned Income Tax Credit. At all. I'll continue this in the Luke_A_Somers thread.

On a related note, GiveWell appears to be removing Against Malaria Foundation as their top charity, making GiveDirectly their new top charity. Donating to GiveDirectly may help legitimize the idea of an unconditional basic income. I don't think basic income is as important as mass cryonics, but I still defend it in my upcoming "cryonics and basic income for everyone" website. Here's hoping I finish the website someday.

...only if the workers don't mind lower wages (such as in a Silicon Valley startup). See, among many other benefits, basic income can serve as a permanent strike fund for those who are still employed. These employed strikers would not receive anything from your solution of "unemployed-only." Furthermore, your targeted solution can be demonized as "lazy-only" and cut by politicians. Look at stigmatized food stamps today. Such drastic cuts are very unlikely with a non-stigmatizing basic income provided to everyone.

if you think it is morally preferable to redistribute wealth from the taxpayers to Walmart instead, support guaranteed basic income and/or other low-income workers benefits.

That's incorrect. Basic income is provided to everyone, even to those who choose not to work. Perhaps you were thinking of the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is provided only to low-income workers.

I can't find anything implying that GF endorses cryonics as currently practiced.


Be honest. Did you simply ctrl-F and search for his name in that article? If yes, then here is a paragraph you missed: "In 1981, an internationally renowned organ cryopreservation researcher was called into his supervisor's office (the supervisor was also an Officer and Director of the Society) and threatened with dismissal if he continued not only his low profile association with cryonicists, but also his suspension membership. It was also pointed out to this researcher that if his association with or belief in cryonics in any way became public he would never again get grants from the NIH or other routine sources. This individual, who was already wearing his suspension bracelet on his ankle to avoid public comment, was thus faced with a terrible dilemma: a choice between his chance at continued life via cryonics, or his career."

Assuming you won't take the time to read that lengthy article, here is a shorter one. Look for the part about the prominent Southern California scientist recommending cryopreservation for someone severely afflicted with Alzheimer's. Like the Cold War piece above, the Marcelon Johnson article is also written by Mike "Darwin." If his nickname from his schoolmates irks you, then you'll love this piece: Dr. Dave Crippen, Professor of Critical Care Medicine and Neurological Surgery at the UPMC Medical Center in Pittsburgh, compares Mike to - drum roll please - Richard Feynman. For the record, I disagree with that comparison and I think Mike disagrees too (・。・;)

Both of your "Reference?" inquiries were historically answered in the Cold War article above. Assuming you haven't done this yet, google the words "organ cryopreservation" just for fun. Not only does Fahy's name dominate the results, but you should also see a 1988 book by David Pegg, who was mentioned in the Cold War article. Of course, as I made clear to this Reddit user, simple googling can be misleading (I apologize to Less Wrong users for my snark at that link... I tend to get irritated by stubborn individuals...)

Well anyways, it's impossible for me to know exactly how many organ cryopreservationists are currently in their labs - Elsevier searches do not inspire confidence - and their true views on cryonics. For example, here's a recent article on porcine uterus cryopreservation. Who are these authors? Did they show up at the annual meeting of the Society for Cryobiology in June? And even if they did, would they admit to Ben they support cryonics in light of the Society's strained history? Whatever the case, I always appreciated this article by Fahy, where he concludes: "Even after currently-possible manipulations of physics and biology have all been explored, nanotechnology will come into play, allowing someone to enter the field from a wholly new perspective and change the rules of the game in more radical ways than most cryobiologists living today can imagine."


I do disagree with the conclusion that, even if cryonics has a low probablity of success, we should do it. It is the sort of "Pascal's mugging" argument that is not instrumentally rational.

I'm not going to argue the importance of cryonics in a comment section. I just want to focus on simpler corrections for now. Or in other words, please stop insinuating that no cryobiologists support cryonics.

The Society for Cryobiology consists of only ~280 members (by contrast, the Society of Neuroscience has 40,000 members). Furthermore, those ~280 largely specialize in frogs, oocytes, etc.... but not in organ cryopreservation. For whatever it's worth, focus only on organ cryopreservationists and you'll find the percentage of cryonics supporters drastically increase.

I know you skimmed this article, but I encourage you to read it again. There you'll find your answer to Greg Fahy. Also, Brian Wowk is an organ cryopreservationist who supports cryonics. Peter Mazur, one of the most prominent cryobiologists discussed in the previous link, recently referenced Wowk's paper on the thermodynamic aspects of vitrification.

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