Musings On Basic Income

22 February 2017 06:24 pm
heron61: (Emphasis and strong feeling)
[personal profile] heron61
There are a number of excellent arguments against basic income including this one from the UK, and there's the simple fact that if you want a solid social safety net, paying everyone, including the majority of the society who don't need it isn't necessarily the most efficient or effective method. I thought a lot about basic income a couple of years ago, and after considering these arguments decided it might not be the best course of action. However recently considered one counter-argument that (to me at least) makes all of these objections irrelevant – resentment.

The politics of bitter, hate-filled resentment is much of the reason the US and the UK are both now having considerable problems, and much of Western Europe may be headed in the same direction. It's more difficult for me to talk about anywhere else, but in the US at least, the data is clear, the rise of President Puppet wasn't due to economic deprivation, it was due to the fact that white bigots felt that other people (immigrants, people of color, urbanites, and in fact anyone who isn't a white bigot) were doing better than before (despite that fact that many of them still weren't doing as well as the white bigots), while the white bigots were mostly doing about the same, and they (the white bigots) were both jealous and afraid they'd lose out. This resentment (fueled by President Puppet and his white supremacist traveling show) motivated them to get out and vote. Until we manage to improve humanity in some global way (better education is a good start, and breaking any sort of moral link between money and human worth would be an equally good one), these sorts of resentment will continue to exist. As a result, it's far too easy for people who aren't benefiting from social safety net programs to vote to cut them. Also, one of the continuing problems with all social welfare programs is that the ultra-rich (who mostly loathe paying taxes) spend money on propaganda campaigns aimed at fueling working class resentment against social safety net programs for people poorer than them, using the time-honored tactic of "How about you and them fight".

Basic income utterly defangs all that. Sure, many 1%ers and 0.1%ers who would need to pay notably higher taxes to make this work care more about the taxes they lose than the $10,000/year they gain, but in addition to vastly helping out someone who makes $5-10,000 year, an extra $10,000 is going to be pretty noticeably to someone who makes $40,000 year. As a result, any vote to decrease basic income is a vote to get less money yourself, and that's simply something that most people aren't willing to do. Thus, I've again changed my mind and am strongly for the idea of basic income.

Surely this has been used

22 February 2017 08:22 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
A real estate developer who arranges for superhumans to scuffle in neighborhoods the developer wants leveled so they can buy the properties on the cheap and develop them.

This I believe

22 February 2017 12:06 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
When an elderly tomcat snuggles up next to a much larger, younger cat and then growls at him, it sends a mixed message.

Interesting Links for 22-02-2017

22 February 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker

New Zealand Tour Part II (DUD and WLG)

22 February 2017 10:53 pm
tcpip: (Default)
[personal profile] tcpip
In the remaining two days Dunedin found the time to visit the art gallery. I usually pooh-pooh it because it has an unhealthy obsession with abstract art (don't they know it was a CIA plot?) and pointless installation pieces, both of which I particularly loathe. This time however they had an exhibition by a local genius Kushana Bush who uses modern subject matter in a Indo-Persian medieval style. Also managed to catch a good portion what appeared to be a Scottish music festival. Slept quite poorly that night courtesy of freshman students discovering the joys of orientation week. Get off my lawn.

Arriving in Wellington I stayed in Mount Victoria, very close to a famous scene from the Lord of the Rings. Not that I managed to see much of Wellington, except for the harbourside and Shed 6 where Multicore World was held. But my goodness, what a conference it is - small (around seventy people), but three days of a packed agenda with some of the best IT minds in the world, including John Gustafson, Tony Hey, Michelle Simmons, [ profile] paulmck and many more. I think my own paper went reasonably well, but certainly there were many others that were right on the pointy end of core issues in computer science. Plus there was a couple of politicians who dropped in to visit, including Clare Curran who is something of a regular. After the three days of conferencing managed to get to have dinner with [ profile] mundens and Joe G., making it my only non-conference/work social activity since arriving. Tomorrow morning, it's off to Cambridge to visit the good people at Nyriad.

Man v Squirrel

21 February 2017 12:16 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Another epic battle between good and evil! Or at least me and a mail-stealing squirrel.

Interesting Links for 21-02-2017

21 February 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker

My most-used tags

21 February 2017 10:52 am
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
Yesterday there was a discussion about which tags I used the most, and as I'm at home today waiting for a boiler engineer to give me a check-up I thought I'd have a quick play.

So I downloaded my links from Pinboard's backup page (in XML format), knocked up a quick script to split out the tags and sort them, and then dumped it into GitHub, in case anyone else wanted to play with it.

Of the 4,320 tags I've used over 30,153 links, here are the tags that have over 500 uses:

Which reminds me - I've cut down on the new tags I create, having hit an LJ/DW limit - if I hit 4,000 tags then I break things, and I have 3,377 tags over there. So I've stopped adding new Via tags for anyone who I only get the occasional link through (sorry!) and I'm not creating tags for transient events. Although I am regretting not giving Brexit a tag (it's getting "Europe UK" instead. I don't regret not giving Trump a tag though...

(Some day, when I have absolutely nothing else to do, I may look at the DW tagging system internals and work out if they can be made indefinitely extensible. But today is not that day.)

Oh, and to answer the question from yesterday, OhForFucksSake has been used 327 times, making it about the 48th most popular tag. And if you want to really depress yourself, you can see them all here.

I know it wasn't a finalist

20 February 2017 05:51 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
But did Robot & Frank get nominated for the Hugo?

If it's wrong

20 February 2017 01:45 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
to work out the two levels of Mad Science behind the origin of a character I will likely never play, I don't want to be right.
(also, I like the idea of a super-villian dog named Deadly Sirius. He's embittered over having the mind of an Einstein in the body of a dog breed with a lifespan of a decade. Maybe a decade and a half if it's lucky)
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Wanted to create a unit of enhanced lifeform super-soldiers, taking otherwise expendable kids, trying to duplicate documented Origin Events on them, then training them to be loyal and competent troops. So, in these effete days they might run into a legal issue over the child labour angle.

Could they disguise it as a sports program? Or dance? Nobody seems to mind what gets committed to make athletes and dancers.

Anyone want to buy a bed?

19 February 2017 12:34 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
I have a spare large bed, about a year old. Looks like this:

It's 200cmx160cm - between king-size and super-king-size. Details here.

It's got a decent sprung mattress and slats. Cost about £600 all in, will accept any kind of reasonable offer for it. Must collect.

Interesting Links for 19-02-2017

19 February 2017 12:00 pm