Friday, February 17, 2017

Ben Schiller — Economists Are Not Very Enthusiastic About The Idea Of A Universal Basic Income

These days, all kinds of sensible and brilliant people, from Elon Musk to the prime minister of Finland, are voicing support for universal basic income. The idea of giving everyone—or at least some people—enough to lift them out of poverty without having to work some menial job is very of the moment. Executives like Musk are asked about it all the time, and executives like Musk generally think it's a good call; the tech elite are some of the idea's most enthusiastic supporters.
But among economists—who presumably would need to be on board if a basic income were to become mainstream policy—support is far from universal. They generally see the idea as appealing in theory, but unworkable, expensive, or creating the wrong type of incentives in practice. They worry it will stop people from working, and generally from participating in society. When the IGM Economic Experts Panel—which surveys economists from "the most elite research universities" on policy questions—asked economists about basic income, the response was noticeably negative....
Co.Exist
Economists Are Not Very Enthusiastic About The Idea Of A Universal Basic Income
Ben Schiller

8 comments:

Noah Way said...

doG created Economists so weathermen could feel good about themselves.

Andrew Anderson said...

They worry it will stop people from working, and generally from participating in society.

I am retired with a secure (I hope) income yet I do volunteer work. Indeed, I would do even more voluntary work if I had additional resources such as land to work and work on, i.e. try using machine tools in an apartment or fixing cars in the parking lot.

Besides, a UBI is a moral necessity since very much of the productive capacity of the developed world was built with what is, in essence, the PUBLIC'S CREDIT but for private gain. Where then is our Citizen's Dividend?

Kristjan said...

UBI is not needed for "citizen's dividend" because productive capacity was build on public credit or for some distribution reasons, there are zillion other ways to do those things.

I is the stupidest idea in economics that I have ever heard of. Even communists in Soviet Union supported full employment.

The thing Andrew doesn't understand is that he is doing this kind of work as a hobby that one way or another he enjoys, otherwise he wouldn't be doing It. To say that I enjoy doing what I like, you have to pay me, is a totally different thing. Because he wants to go shopping for the products produced not necessarily based on what people like doing.

UBI is basically an anti-MMT idea if you think about it. Government taxes for coercion are not needed. UBI supporters say that people work any way, what are you talking about? Very wrong idea.I've heard a lot of arguments for it. None of them have ever convinced me,

I asked Randy Wray's opinion and he said that Marxists support it because they want to destroy our production system.

Tom Hickey said...

Framing is important.

I would recommend the concept of a social dividend based on the idea that society itself is an economic factor instead of a basic income guarantee.

All members of a society should receive a dividend commensurate with the capacity of the society to produce.

I would also recommend that the dividend be paid in real goods rather than financially.

1. Free education from preschool/daycare through post-doc as the recipient desires. An advanced society might require education to the level of high school or even either an associate degree or a comparable technical certification.

2. Free access to all health care.

3. Free communications services including state of the art systems.

The economic return on these would greatly exceed the investment, especially for sovereign currency issuers, whose cost of capital is zero.

Notice that by providing real goods for social use, the funding is automatically productive.

This would have no bearing on provision of job guarantee as well since affordability is never an issue for a currency sovereign.

Andrew Anderson said...

Even communists in Soviet Union supported full employment.

People can employ themselves with sufficient resources or volunteer to work for someone else if they can't or don't want to.

The Commies were also gold-bugs. So what? Should we be gold-bugs too? Or is the lesson that JG proponents are similar to Communists?

Destroy our productive capacity or greatly increase creative work? You do know that artists often have sponsors? Then why can't we all have a sponsor?

Besides, you keep ignoring justice - people should not have to work for restitution. DUH!

Neil Wilson said...

"All members of a society should receive a dividend commensurate with the capacity of the society to produce. "

Which is of course a lovely PR wrapping around 'workers should be taxed because they are occupying scarce jobs'.

Workers produce everything ultimately. Why should they give any of it to people who haven't contributed?

At least Van Parijis was honest when he tried to make the case that the idle are doing everybody a favour by not seeking scarce jobs.

Disingenuous, but honest.

Andrew Anderson said...

Workers produce everything ultimately. Neil Wilson

Work is good; what's being argued against is unjust wage slavery. Before the commons and family farms and businesses were stolen via the unjust (and unstable, i.e.boom-bust) fiat and credit creation system, far fewer people had to work for someone else and could support themselves and their families without being a wage slave to someone else.

Why should they give any of it to people who haven't contributed?
Neil Wilson

Then why should we have welfare for the rich such as government privileges for private credit creation and positive yielding sovereign debt? And what about restitution for the victims thereof?

At least Van Parijis was honest when he tried to make the case that the idle Neil Wilson

So mothers without jobs are idle? Try telling that to them!

are doing everybody a favour by not seeking scarce jobs. Neil Wilson

If jobs are scarce, it's largely because the need for human labor has been greatly reduced via unjustly financed automation.

Tom Hickey said...

"All members of a society should receive a dividend commensurate with the capacity of the society to produce. "

Which is of course a lovely PR wrapping around 'workers should be taxed because they are occupying scarce jobs'.

Workers produce everything ultimately. Why should they give any of it to people who haven't contributed?


Americans already have already agreed to provide a social dividend, or public investment depending on how it is framed. For example, universal education through high school not optional but rather participation is required by law and it is publicly provided, although private education is permitted if it meets standards. In addition, the courts have decided that public education must be approximately equal, or at least not, egregious unequal. This is measured through standardized testing, for example. Special education must also be provided.

Provision of this social dividend or public investment creates jobs directly in its provision and indirectly through preparing the next generation work force.

Through the passage of the ACA (Obamacare) the principle of universal health care as a goal was also established as a social dividend or public investment. Provision of this ensures a healthy workforce that is more productive.

So this social dividend is also a public investment that also pays for itself. But presently, much of this is required to be offset by taxes or personal contributions like the ACA individual mandate.

MMT analysis shows that it is not necessary to fund either universal education or universal health care through taxation or personal financial contributions. The federal government can fund both with issuance without danger of inflation since both education and health care are economically productive.

The principle should be that public goods be provided where the society is able to do so productively as a matter of social cohesion and coordination. Provision of public goods and utilities is not only publicly beneficial ("public dividend") but also economically beneficial ("public investment"). It is part of public purpose in the same way as provision of security and order as public goods.

This framing is important in the US in that proponents of a market state argue that if the market doesn't provide it then it is inefficient, hence wasteful, and can be dispensed with. They also argue that politicians that advocate such provision are simply soliciting votes through a form of bribery.