Him, your thoughts are very interesting and also in line with things I have been thinking about lately. The "problem" of automation only has to be a problem if we refuse to reconsider our basic assumptions about the way our economy works. At some point we have to realize that if there are enough goods and services available for everyone, but no one has a job because machines do everything, that it makes no sense to allow only the owners of the machines to profit from their products.
I've been thinking about the idea of a "basic income" for all citizens for a while now. To me it seems like the advantages are clear: you're basically ensuring a baseline level of demand, because everyone has access to a regular income, and your're also freeing basically everyone to take long-term creative risks with no clear payoff, which can only be a boon to discovery, innovation and art in my opinion.
I'm not quite sure I'm clear on what your head tax idea entails, but I think I just need to go back and reread it again. I love the idea of open-enrollment government, though. Absolutely brilliant, and very voluntarist, which resonates with me strongly. Thanks for putting your thoughts down so thoroughly!
EDIT: OK, I read it again and I think I've got it. But I have an objection that you may be able to answer. What happens when someone has a child and doesn't pay the tax? Either through deceit (not reporting the birth or whatever) or simple lack of means? I suppose if everyone has a trust fund, the Kernel Gov (I love that name, btw) could simply garnish future trust income against the balance of head tax owed for as long as necessary? It's definitely an interesting idea. But what if someone has 14 kids and they deplete all of their "birth wealth"? Who pays?
I think due to the fact that this will be pretty rare (most people have no interest in having that many children!), we could get away with simply publicly insuring against non-payment--basically maintain a public fund that will support the head-tax cost for any children whose parents are incapable of paying it. This is a concern for me because I could easily see an "unpaid child" growing up denied access to services or stigmatized through no fault of his/her own, or without the basic income stream that everyone else is entitled to.
Last edited by Uncephalized; 01-25-2013 at 11:19 AM.
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Guaranteed income has a surprising history. Martin Luther King, John Kenneth Galbraith, Milton Friedman and Friedrick von Hayek have all advocated it.
However, I'd like to see us lower the work week. Productivity shouldn't be a problem. We just need to leverage it to give us something we could all use --- more time.
To end: Both claims are false.
Consider Polaroid. After they were totally kaput, had no products, no labor, people were still willing to pay tens of millions of dollars for them. Why? For the brand. The buyers slapped the Polaroid name/logo on generic made-in-China products and made a lot of money BECAUSE the brand (not the shoes) increased the value. The brand was worth a lot, even with no shoe (product).
Second: What worker(s) created the value of the Brittany Spears brand? People have paid her millions of dollars to use her name on their products (products she had little or nothing to do with). That brand was created by managers and artists - the professional class - not by labor.
When it comes down to it, workers do not provide ANY of the value. Not one jot. Value is entirely a measure of what buyers are willing to pay. Workers can INFLUENCE value (not provide it) in that people are often willing to pay more for well made products, or less for crap, but at the end of the day the entire value of a product boils down to this: How much is someone willing to pay, right now, for this item? A bottle of water makes a great example. It takes essentially zero labor to manufacture (all done by machines) and most of the time it's worth basically nothing. I wouldn't pay $0.10 for one right now. However, in the right circumstances (after several days in the desert), that bottle of water would be extremely valuable. It's all a matter of what the buyer is wiling to pay. Labor, distribution/merchant, design/creation, management/planning, marketing/advertising all influence the buyer, but value itself is determined 100% by the buyer.
Which brings us to our snazzy word of the day: Synergy. The idea that combined efforts can/do yield more than the sum of the individual contributions. Labor contributes 25%, management/investment 25%, distribution/sales 25%, government 25%... but the output is 105%. That's what you are missing with your theory.
Last edited by Him; 01-25-2013 at 02:49 PM.
But in SC yeah, good old boy very traditional area. We are in SoCal, different atmosphere I think.
Honestly, I didn't realize I'd have to point this stuff out to you. I suggest you brush up on your political economy -- which is far different than Investment Business Daily articles.
Managers and artists are not workers in the "making shoes" sense.