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Sotha

Universal Basic Income

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UBI is not going to be enough to replace the income of most jobs. The idea, as I understand it, is that it's enough to cover basic necessities, so you don't have your population starving or living on the streets. People can take a year off to retrain without worrying about losing their housing. They can take up creative work that wouldn't otherwise provide a living wage, like writing novels, illustrating, various crafts, etc. They could, as Obs mentioned earlier, work half time instead of full time.

 

Also that (proponents hope) it slims down administration costs: it's a universal basic income rather than a means-tested benefit, so nobody needs to keep track of what the rules say you can have this month. Also, giving it to everyone unconditionally means none of it is ever withdrawn if you find work, so the incentive to work is never weakened by reaching a threshold that causes your income from benefits to be reduced: when deciding whether to work another hour, you'll always gain the full (pre-tax) market value of your labour for that hour.

 

As for the value of how people spend their time, it's related to the old problems of what GDP and so forth don't capture: that cooking our own meals and raising our own children is undervalued in what we can measure.

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Some things I'm repeatedly thinking about...

 

- louder scream when you're dying

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Though the idea is nice, I wonder how do politicians prioritize this next to helping minorities, especially immigrants that are persecuted and discriminated today ( Arabs ) and those who were segregated for centuries ( Romani people ) in Europe. Among all the Nordic countries, even Norway with a rich strategic supply of oil and other natural resources needs to figure what it wants. If you want to do charity, immigrants are the ones who need that. Not so much the nationals.

In other words, Universal Basic Income may not take in consideration the customs and life goals of other ethnic/national groups living in the respective country and become ineffcient.


"I really perceive that vanity about which most men merely prate — the vanity of the human or temporal life. I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. The result will never vary — and to suppose that it will, is to suppose that the foregone man has lived in vain — that the foregone time is but the rudiment of the future — that the myriads who have perished have not been upon equal footing with ourselves — nor are we with our posterity. I cannot agree to lose sight of man the individual, in man the mass."...

- 2 July 1844 letter to James Russell Lowell from Edgar Allan Poe.

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Arabs are not persecuted in Western Europe. Stop believing the Buzzfeed lies.

 

People should of course be treated fairly and with respect regardless of their ethnic background, but nobody deserves extra money just because they are a "minority".

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I don't read Buzzfeed but Amnesty International is straightforward like other NGO's on the subject.

 

Money is not necessarily discarded for free but fair opportunities to integrate and seek work matter a lot when you're not a local, for if your country of origin are as an example places like Sierra Leone, Palestine or Afghanistan - you realize that nobody really needs you. That is sad.

Edited by Anderson

"I really perceive that vanity about which most men merely prate — the vanity of the human or temporal life. I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. The result will never vary — and to suppose that it will, is to suppose that the foregone man has lived in vain — that the foregone time is but the rudiment of the future — that the myriads who have perished have not been upon equal footing with ourselves — nor are we with our posterity. I cannot agree to lose sight of man the individual, in man the mass."...

- 2 July 1844 letter to James Russell Lowell from Edgar Allan Poe.

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I'll crosspost a comment I wrote on FB.

 

The comment was responding to the point that happiness is at least as important as (if not more than) getting back to work, given the statistics that UBI improved happiness/reduced stress but didn't help participants find work any more than the control group.

 

 

It's a relevant factor, but felt happier & less stressed for the purposes of a questionnaire != greater well-being or life-satisfaction (necessarily). I have an intuition it might be a shallow metric. Naturally it'd take more investigation to unpack that.

Edit: Ok, a little unpacking... Generally speaking I don't have any strong intuitions on this, just because it's quite outside of my ken, and I'd defer to the empirical findings more than other topics. The aspect I'd particularly want to look into would be the connection between happiness & feeling connected to society or a way of life. My worry wasn't so much about a "something for nothing" culture, but more that it might solidify people being disconnected... Work isn't just a paycheck, it's a fundamental way people feel connected to & contributing to society and the world around them. And I worried that the UBI wouldn't be able to help and might potentially be counterproductive to that kind of problem. On the other hand, I understand that people out of work for long periods can have their ego collapse and are at even greater risk of being isolated and feeling invisible to society if they didn't have any support at all. So I can see this possibly cutting both ways.


What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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Work isn't just a paycheck, it's a fundamental way people feel connected to & contributing to society and the world around them.

 

 

That's spoken like someone who actually likes their job.

 

Yes, work CAN make you feel like a contributing member of society. It can also make you feel like an exploited wage slave. In a large part that comes down to whether you're working at something you want to do or something you have to do.

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Ok, experiences are different on that, valid point. But I also have an experience of long-term unemployment, and after more than a year that can make one start to feel worthless, frustrated & ashamed just going out & talking to people, and one's ego can start to collapse where they're not sure they can do anything of use for anybody. That's when people start giving up on even looking for work.

 

Getting paid anyway could actually reinforce that sense, like wow, even society has given up on me doing anything worthwhile. Or I should say, it doesn't really alleviate that feeling, so it's not really getting to what I see as the root of the problem, even granting it helps make ends meet in the meantime. (My position isn't so much anti-UBI is that UBI by itself isn't the solution.) I remember even small jobs that wouldn't impress anyone were important for my sense of self-worth. I was thinking more from that side of the coin.

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What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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Unemployment or feeling like a wage slave are bad - but knowing, that your doing a bullshit job or one that actually makes world less enjoying is much worse. A lot of people nowadays are trapped in such jobs.

UBI might be the chance to free people from having to be "big data expert in a company leading the field of targetted advertising".

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Well I might say they're equally bad, speaking of long-term unemployment (not just a few months). But with unemployment you get the added bonus of not being able to pay rent or food and having to completely depend on other people, and at its worst, people can become homeless and then they're really at risk.

 

UBI could at least be a lifeline from the worst of that. And I'll grant that it also gives some people the freedom to get out of soul-crushing jobs. That actually still fits with my more general point, it's useful, but the core issue is still developing the economy and people's skill sets so that people can do what they really want to for a living and don't have to be stuck either unemployed or in go-nowhere jobs. UBI to me has added value when it's joined with something like that.

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What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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Yes, work CAN make you feel like a contributing member of society. It can also make you feel like an exploited wage slave. In a large part that comes down to whether you're working at something you want to do or something you have to do.

I can see how the discussion is gravitating towards perception of things. I mean, aren't we all just exploited wage slaves, if we decide to look at it like that? Are we entitled to do what we want, or are we just doomed to do what we have to do?

 

Why would we be entitled, at all, to do what we want? I think it is more of a norm in the world that creatures do what they have to do to stay alive and well.

 

Sometimes what we want to do happens to align what we have to do, but mostly we do what we have to do, right? Or we might just decide we want to do the things we have to do.

 

Just a matter of perception, right?

 

Isn't it so that UBI might confuse people to separate what they want to do from what they have to do and pursue what they want to do at the expense of what they have to do? It is the "have to do's" that keep the gears of the society running. "Want to do's" are dangerously often just entertainment with no human/economic/welfare/other growth.

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Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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I think a huge factor is also if you consider having a children a "want to do" thing or a "have to do" necessity for survival and all that jazz. Because it is a huge hit on finances and maybe the ensuing divorce actually let's both spouses get a life because then the husband just pays the alimonies but at least there is no more pressure to keep that psychological work in maintaining relations with the wife and vice versa - the wife gets more time to do what she wants at the best capacity of her time management. This is the worst case scenario.

I like to think that no victory is final and no defeat is fatal in the end. Need to keep going and do something with this life.


"I really perceive that vanity about which most men merely prate — the vanity of the human or temporal life. I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. The result will never vary — and to suppose that it will, is to suppose that the foregone man has lived in vain — that the foregone time is but the rudiment of the future — that the myriads who have perished have not been upon equal footing with ourselves — nor are we with our posterity. I cannot agree to lose sight of man the individual, in man the mass."...

- 2 July 1844 letter to James Russell Lowell from Edgar Allan Poe.

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Why would we be entitled, at all, to do what we want? I think it is more of a norm in the world that creatures do what they have to do to stay alive and well.

 

Yes, in a natural, unregulated environment, animals like us will do what they have to do to survive. And they wont survive for long. Power structures have depended upon this very behaviour to exist. People will do whatever it is that is asked of them by what they feel is an inescapable state of affairs. Some, if not most, to avoid going insane, will even incorporate those values in their own beliefs, live by them, as in a case of collective stockholm syndrome. You'll see this throughout history, you can see it today with working class people defending the right of politicians to take away say their labour rights (earned by previous generations by the way, not without a fight), or environmental legislation, so that it benefits big business and "drive the economy", which is supposed to be their duty to sacrifice for. The whole point of leftist political theory (and in this case, a concept like UBI) is to try and find alternatives where human societies can trascend this historical tradition, by thinking of ways for a more equal and humane society to function. Its not based on a "natural selection" philosophy. So any move in that direction, however misguided, should have value for future generations, and is thus a positive thing whichever way you look at it, IMO.

 

Still, UBI is destined to fail, not because it is wrong, but because a system like this needs, in order to function, a whole cultural environment that goes in sync with what strategies like these are supposed to promote. We are going in the wrong direction right now, late capitalism is becoming louder and more agressive to an extreme point (see the rush back to coal and oil as temperatures rise, militarism and increasing talks of global conflicts), inequality is increasing (has reached cartoonish levels here in brazil) and the rise of far right movements indicate that hatred and fear are becoming the prevalent feelings in most societies. In this context, welfare initiatives become extremely frail and tend to become extinct. LIke Anderson said, what good does it do to take care of a few million people in a couple of well governed countries and leave billions subjected to extreme poverty, violence and exploitation, ruled by corrupt elites. It cannot last and avoid "abuse" (people desperately trying to move there and be a part and crashing the system).

 

PS: Does it mean that the fins are wrong in trying? Obviously not. Only that the best way would be to start implementing this in the poorer countries first, each country helping each other, untill this absurd inequality is gone. It would be like it was in the EU in a decade or two ago, countries with a mostly equal standard of living side by side, open borders and relative harmony, you would go to spain for holidays, or study in italy, then live in germany for a while, etc.

Edited by RPGista
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Hear, Hear! Capitalism has had thousands of years to evolve from tribesmen trading with each other and other tribes up to the polished, computer-sophisticated methods we have today. It's the best system mankind has at the moment. But just because some other systems get lacklustre results from brief trials does not mean they can't be made to work eventually - for the good of all.

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Hear, Hear! Capitalism has had thousands of years to evolve from tribesmen trading with each other and other tribes up to the polished, computer-sophisticated methods we have today. It's the best system mankind has at the moment. But just because some other systems get lacklustre results from brief trials does not mean they can't be made to work eventually - for the good of all.

IMHO it's too early to say that capitalism is dead when many countries are still very feudal prisons for cheap labor. Most of Africa and Asia and various second hand or third hand countries.

In addition to that, do you believe we can reinvent the wheel when the public discourse is like this? I wish it was a parody, but it's not and I'm terrified people in my country seriously think in these categories, minus the funny accents (the pastor mostly):

https://m.youtube.com/watch?t=2760s&v=LKP-PUAI96U


"I really perceive that vanity about which most men merely prate — the vanity of the human or temporal life. I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. The result will never vary — and to suppose that it will, is to suppose that the foregone man has lived in vain — that the foregone time is but the rudiment of the future — that the myriads who have perished have not been upon equal footing with ourselves — nor are we with our posterity. I cannot agree to lose sight of man the individual, in man the mass."...

- 2 July 1844 letter to James Russell Lowell from Edgar Allan Poe.

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Spring said,

I don't think it's especially subjective to say that the more a society can reduce people in the third category (wage slaves) and move them to the second (enjoying their job) or even the first (enjoying a non-monetary pursuit), the better off that society will be, assuming it can be done in a cost-effective way that respects individual freedom (and that's a big assumption).

Aye, and when discussing UBI the question is, does UBI do this (move a person from wage slave to job enjoyer)? Looking at our preliminary data, it does not. UBI does not improve employment of their receiver.

 

A society generates wealth when it's people work, wage slaves, or happy workers. When a person is on UBI, they do not generate resources for the society, but simply consume them. Everyone else has to feed the UBI receiver, who does not produce anything (necessarily, sure there could be an artist working for free, or similar).

 

Thus, a wage slave must be better for the society than a happy non-monetary pursuer on UBI, correct?

 

But another perception is this (which I read from the newspaper today):

What is the purpose of our societies? Is it generation of wealth and competitiveness? Or is it generation of well-being?

 

If wealth, productivity and competitiveness, then UBI is a disaster.

If well being, then UBI experiment was a success! (People did not gain employment, but their life quality improved substantially.)

 

For RPGista and others who say "things are worse than they used to," I must point out that humans have, for some reason, a bizarre bias towards negativity. I wholeheartedly recommend reading this book:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34890015-factfulness

 

This negativity bias the book reveals freaks me out because, what I think it results in is roughly this:

*things are getting better and better

*people think things are getting worse

*people vote with distorted worldview

*facists posing as populists gain power (have you noticed how the populist groups that gain popularity these days often have strong connection to groups that seem more fascist than liberal?)

*after gaining power, these groups enforce their position.

*bye bye, democracy, welcome dictatorships.

 

We must fight this ignorance!


Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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Aye, and when discussing UBI the question is, does UBI do this (move a person from wage slave to job enjoyer)? Looking at our preliminary data, it does not. UBI does not improve employment of their receiver.

 

 

I haven't looked at the data you're referencing, but I would suspect that being on UBI for only a single year is not a very good indicator of its value in shifting people to different categories. The amount of retraining and job-hunting that can be done in one year is limited. Not to mention that UBI with a built in cut-off point completely eliminates what is supposed to be the best part of UBI--the fact that it is a _dependable_ source of income. You're not going to start a small start-up company if you know that you'll have no further income to keep you afloat after a year is up. You're not terribly likely to abandon a job that you have, no matter how horrible, if you know you'll need it in a year's time.

 

edit: after reading the article, I'm curious where you get the conclusion that "UBI does not improve employment of their receiver." The only reference to suggest this is, "the country’s income register showed no significant effects for 2017, the first year of the trial." Yet that is quite ambiguous. Someone's income may not have changed at all, or it may even have gone down, but the person may still feel more like a happy worker due to the change. That's part of the point of UBI, is to allow people to place more value on the satisfaction a job provides, rather than how much money it provides. In fact, the anecdotal evidence of the telemarketer in the study seemed to suggest that this is exactly what happened.

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after reading the article, I'm curious where you get the conclusion that "UBI does not improve employment of their receiver."

 

 

 

This was in finnish news coverage of the data. I noticed that Huffpost for some reason left out some of the negative sounding results from the finnish news. It may have something to do with political lean towards left, I guess. It they support UBI, they don't want to mention the negative sides to their readers, correct? But sad, also. :/

 

Here is yle, the goverment controlled news site: https://yle.fi/uutiset/3-10636726

I will translate for you:

Palkkatuloa sai perustulon nostajista noin 44 prosenttia – yhden prosenttiyksikön verran useampi kuin verrokeista. Euroina vuoden palkkatulot olivat koeryhmäläisillä keskimäärin 4 230 euroa. Verrokkisuomalaisilla palkkaa kertyi nimellisesti eli 21 euroa enemmän.

 

translates to->

 

Of UBI receivers 44% received salary income - one percentage unit more than the non-UBI. The yearly salary for UBI receivers was -on average- 4230EUR, whereas non-UBI received 21EUR more.

 

I do not pretend to be a specialist and I am relying on these statistics. But to me it sounds the employment data is only marginal between UBI and non-UBI groups. The data is only preliminary, and the second year analysis data will be published later this year.

 

But yeah, it is true that one year is short time for getting employed. I've personally seen freshly graduated highly talented shoot-patents-outta-fingertips -doctors in my field spending one year looking for a job before getting one. What is clear is that UBI is no instant-magic-bullet-get-employed-free card. I wish it was.


Clipper

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Of UBI receivers 44% received salary income - one percentage unit more than the non-UBI. The yearly salary for UBI receivers was -on average- 4230EUR, whereas non-UBI received 21EUR more.

 

 

This information doesn't really provide much insight, IMO. Someone who is using UBI to retrain might very well be expected to receive less salary during the first year than someone not on UBI, yet that would still be the system working as intended. Someone who leaves their crap job and takes one with fewer hours but more satisfaction would also show up as decreased salary, yet again, that would be the system working as intended.

 

What is clear is that UBI is no instant-magic-bullet-get-employed-free card. I wish it was.

 

 

Where are you getting the notion that it should be? That's never been among the primary reasons for promoting UBI as far as I can tell.

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For RPGista and others who say "things are worse than they used to," I must point out that humans have, for some reason, a bizarre bias towards negativity. I wholeheartedly recommend reading this book:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34890015-factfulness

 

This negativity bias the book reveals freaks me out because, what I think it results in is roughly this:

*things are getting better and better

*people think things are getting worse

*people vote with distorted worldview

*facists posing as populists gain power (have you noticed how the populist groups that gain popularity these days often have strong connection to groups that seem more fascist than liberal?)

*after gaining power, these groups enforce their position.

*bye bye, democracy, welcome dictatorships.

 

We must fight this ignorance!

 

Thanks for the book, I will look for ways to torrent it. Atm stuck reading Plutarch, but on the subject of negativity/nihilism I love Emil Cioran and even A. Camus with numberous existential crises. Who needs dumbed down psychological consultations when there is philosophy?

I think people are always fluctuating between extremes in their tribalism and this tendency is today mostly created in the US.

 

I do not know if populists are the problem. Saakashvili from Georgia in recent history is also a populist but he was arguably the best leader the country had in years. The problem for second rate countries like mine and even worse in poorer countries is that the smartest, most capable people choose to emigrate for economic purposes and they will never return. Thus, they leave the poorer people who do not have enough resources/time to inform themselves and make an intelligent guess at elections, thus doomed to repeat old mistakes of history in endless cycles of nothingness, misery and despair.

 

Returning on the subject of UBI, perhaps more examination is required upon how this tool should be utilized not just as an economic crutch. Even if it is a leftist idea, it can anyway be part of a larger social, ideological fix for a broader target audience if it is more than a glorified experiment and I hope that's not the case. We can't afford to be pro's at math, dividing and multiplying whilst returning to old historic errors, else it compromises everything, therefore looking at UBI as something more than an instrument that will create quality human labor if the person gets a job will probably fail at mass scale (when it gets popular and you get protests for attempts to scrap the system, but it will then be too late), yet costs for retaining this system will keep rising. Hopefully none of this will happen. We'll see what works and what doesn't.


"I really perceive that vanity about which most men merely prate — the vanity of the human or temporal life. I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. The result will never vary — and to suppose that it will, is to suppose that the foregone man has lived in vain — that the foregone time is but the rudiment of the future — that the myriads who have perished have not been upon equal footing with ourselves — nor are we with our posterity. I cannot agree to lose sight of man the individual, in man the mass."...

- 2 July 1844 letter to James Russell Lowell from Edgar Allan Poe.

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Where are you getting the notion that it should be? That's never been among the primary reasons for promoting UBI as far as I can tell.

 

Typically, in finnish societal discussion (including but not limited to politicians, experts and media) the economy is King nowadays. That means economical benefits are often the main arguments that are used to drive reforms.

 

If the argument was "the unemployed will have more fun while unemployed!" even the UBI *test* would have never been conducted in this country. Now, the argument have been "maybe UBI empowers the unemployed to get employed, which would be beneficial for our economy"

 

What the logic is is not entirely clear to me, but it might be like you said in post #42, that UBI might empower unemployed people to start small businesses, which might hire other people and then get the snow ball rolling. But that does not seem to happen at least during the first year of receiving the UBI.

 

Finns like science a lot, and the science that has gotten news coverage indicates that being poor incapacitates people (routine tasks get impossibly difficult, not because the poor are stupid or something, but their lack of wealth impedes them. How do you get into a job interview in another city if you don't have money for the train ticket?). So there is some logic in how this incapacitation would be removed if people had predictable UBI at their disposal.

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Clipper

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Why would we be entitled, at all, to do what we want? I think it is more of a norm in the world that creatures do what they have to do to stay alive and well.

I don't think that those things are comparable. In nature, I have to do certain things to survive, indeed. But those things are concrete. I need food as a source of energy, I need other persons as living in groups grant me protection and so forth. The problem nowadays is that most of the time we worry about something abstract - money. We have to work to get this pieces of metal or paper, or most often just a digital transfer to buy the stuff we need. In return, I can't just go to the next lake and fish for food, as it is forbidden. I can't cut a tree to build myself a home, as it is forbidden. My only choice is to participate in the economical system. It is descriptive that a move called "The pursuit of Happyness" is about someone trying to get a better job, although at the very beginning of the movie he already had a wife and a child. Although I liked the movie (and Will Smith as an actor), I consider it not worthwhile to keep following that track any further.

 

Taking the statistics into account I am very much with Springheel. One year is not nearly enough to draw any meaningful conclusions. And regarding economical effects you also have take the government expenses into account. In germany, every fourth person does not work until they get retired, as they become too sick to do so. More than a fourth of them due to physical diseases, another big part because of problems with their back or similar diseases. Comparing the low-risk and high-risk professions it appears, that working in a well paid job that requires a higher qualification grants a lower risk of becoming too sick to work.

 

So increasing the overall happyness and allowing people with badly paid and unsatisfying jobs to pause from them may lead to a lower amount of people becoming unfit to work which would reduce the government expenses, that in germany as an example consist out of social expenses to a huge degree. In addition it may help balancing the payment people receive for their work. Many jobs are paid badly because there is always a "dumb one" doing it because he or she is just happy having a job. If people don't have to rely on those jobs, they must get paid better to attract people doing them. And getting paid at a reasonable level (not neccessarely high, but also not low) is an important part of the satisfication a job is able to provide, as it tells the employee how valued the job really is. Current payments don't reflect that very well.

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"

Many jobs are paid badly because there is always a "dumb one" doing it because he or she is just happy having a job. If people don't have to rely on those jobs, they must get paid better to attract people doing them. And getting paid at a reasonable level (not neccessarely high, but also not low) is an important part of the satisfication a job is able to provide, as it tells the employee how valued the job really is. Current payments don't reflect that very well."

 

This is mostly correct, I think. In market economy jobs that everyone could do have low wages. But globalisation + market economy means that if in Germany nobody does the low wage jobs and demand more salary for these jobs, then the low wage jobs simply move to less wealthy countries, if possible. Amount of jobs will go down, unemployment goes up. And people on UBI must be worse for the economy than people on low wage jobs.

 

But it is true, that occupational injuries and retirements are very expensive. Someone ought to do the calculations. It is fun to speculate, but it does not produce new knowledge. Statistics produce new knowledge, and the preliminary results show only well being benefits. That is fine, if the purpose of the society is to produce well being, and the increase in productivity (from the automation that makes the jobs disappear) is capable of funding it.

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Clipper

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