Lion of the Blogosphere

I agree with Mark Zuckerberg

He said:

Every generation expands its definition of equality. Now it’s time for our generation to define a new social contract. We should have a society that measures progress not by economic metrics like GDP but by how many of us have a role we find meaningful. We should explore ideas like universal basic income to make sure everyone has a cushion to try new ideas.

Not only have I supported basic income, I’ve also criticized GDP as a measure of everything. In addition to not measuring whether you have a “role you find meaningful” (which is wonderfully broad and can include not only your career but also your family, friends, and involvement in your community), but also it doesn’t measure whether you feel safe in your neighborhood. If all of your money is spent on overpriced rent in Manhattan, GDP doesn’t take that into account.

* * *

Hepp writes: “A woman has a baby and takes care of it, no effect on GDP, she pays someone else to do it and suddenly we have more “economic activity” and therefore a better society somehow.”

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 25, 2017 at 6:44 PM

Posted in Economics

106 Responses

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  1. Who will clean the toilet you use when you are not at home?


    May 25, 2017 at 6:46 PM

    • Robots?

      • So the universal income plan should only come when robotics have developed to the point that all mundane tasks in society (cleaning toilets, but also picking up trash, harvesting crops, sewing clothing, changing light bulbs, making beds, milking cows, planting grass, pouring concrete, driving, manning gas stations, stocking shelves, making hamburgers, running movie theatres, changing tires, repairing and building streets, etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc) can be taken by them.

        I may agree with this, if this is ever technically feasible. If technology gets to the point where no human being has to do any mundane task anywhere on earth, then I agree, universal income makes sense.


        May 25, 2017 at 7:04 PM

      • So the universal income plan should only come when robotics have developed to the point that all mundane tasks in society (cleaning toilets, but also picking up trash, harvesting crops, sewing clothing, changing light bulbs, making beds, milking cows, planting grass, pouring concrete, driving, manning gas stations, stocking shelves, making hamburgers, running movie theatres, changing tires, repairing and building streets, etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc) can be taken by them.

        If you set the basic income high enough, it will make labor more expensive. Make it expensive enough (and limit immigration), and you’ll incentivize the development of robots to do all those things.

        Dave Pinsen

        May 27, 2017 at 12:53 AM

  2. Question is, what are the odds that Zuck’s ideas for allowing people to find purpose end up depriving them of purpose (ie, paying them to live in cubicle apartments in atomized megacities – what do you mean you’re not happy?)


    May 25, 2017 at 6:55 PM

    • Yes; a better term would be “depression subsidy.”


      May 25, 2017 at 9:28 PM

  3. If you have enough to do anything you want, you have enough money to do nothing. We’ll never get the govt out of our lives if that happens. Nobody is going to show up for 80-90% of the jobs if they don’t need the money.

    They were talking about people having a life of leisure 50-60 years ago with all the automation. It didn’t happen.

    If we have to keep the wage slave system, maybe people could work only half the year then the other half would work. Or people could work until they are 35 then retire. I doubt any of this will happen.

    Most of the jobs now are “useless” to the basic needs of humans. We don’t need movies, sports, hiking clothes, smartphones, cars etc.


    May 25, 2017 at 7:00 PM

    • We’ll never get the govt out of our lives if that happens. Nobody is going to show up for 80-90% of the jobs if they don’t need the money.

      Most of the jobs now are “useless” to the basic needs of humans. We don’t need movies, sports, hiking clothes, smartphones, cars etc.

      So what’s the problem then?


      May 25, 2017 at 7:46 PM

  4. Basic income or not, for too many people their idea of a “meaningful role” consists of drinking, gambling, smoking weed, social media, and other time wasting activities. And as our population becomes dumber and dumber that problem is going to become bigger, not smaller.

    I think Mike Judge may have overestimated how long it would take for Idiocracy to arrive, by maybe 450 years.

    Sgt. Joe Friday

    May 25, 2017 at 7:03 PM

    • “Basic income or not, for too many people their idea of a “meaningful role” consists of drinking, gambling, smoking weed, social media, and other time wasting activities.”

      What “meaningful role” should people of average intelligence have if/when their labor and intelligence becomes economically worthless? Nationalizing Planned Parenthood or something like it in combination with allowing people to legally grow their own weed sounds like a good safeguard against civil unrest.

      Horace Pinker

      May 25, 2017 at 7:48 PM

    • Furthermore, America is a crappy place to receive basic income. Imagine receiving basic income in Indiana. What will you do with that money? Buy crap and eat crap!


      May 25, 2017 at 9:54 PM

      • Now you’ve gone too far. Indiana is God’s Country.

        But I was trying to think of the best defense for us Hoosiers against criticism on the national stage and maybe it was just a lucky streak and this list is dated and it reveals the last period I really played close attention to pop culture (which is, without a doubt, the most over-ridingly powerful cultural force going), I would say that the three most influential pop culture people in the 80’s/early 90’s in the three main categories of pop culture (music, comedy, and sports) all came from Indiana.

        Axl Rose in music, David Letterman in comedy, and Larry Bird in sports.


        May 26, 2017 at 11:01 AM

      • Indiana is quite bourgeois now due to globalization, JS but I take your basic sentiment.

        Basic income is a nice idea that we can afford, but it doesn’t work given human nature. Same reason communism doesn’t work.

        Paul Ryan's Sickly Old Lapdog

        May 26, 2017 at 1:28 PM

      • Simple, there is so much fake make work in America, that basic income could be implemented in a similar manner. Even better, put forth an incentive for people to self actualize in order to get their basic income checks.


        May 26, 2017 at 9:04 PM

      • That’s more than a little arbitrary; you could just as easily say Madonna, Bill Murray and Joe Montana, or whatever other combination of celebrities.


        May 27, 2017 at 2:39 AM

      • snorl, I was thinking Joe Monatan too. But Larry Bird had a daggone Broadway play made about him. They through Magic Johnson in like they always do so it doesn’t seem so racist to focus on Bird but it was the uniqueness of Bird’s personality that was the real draw.

        When Tina Fey inducted Letterman into some comedy something or another (Kennedy Honors maybe), she basically said for her generation (which is mine), all the guys around her in college etc, basically patterned their personalities around him and that she, even though she was a female, did too to a certain extent..

        And Madonna, c’mon. We’re guys here, aren’t we? But even after all the crazy, stupid things Axl did to self-sabotage his career, he is now still in the midst of a year-long Guns N Roses stadium reunion tour. Do you think Nirvana (who would probably be the closest I think to challenge GNR for the top rock position during late 80’s/early 90’s) would still be drawing stadium size crowds if Cobain didn’t kill himself?


        May 27, 2017 at 1:15 PM

      • “Do you think Nirvana (who would probably be the closest I think to challenge GNR for the top rock position during late 80’s/early 90’s) would still be drawing stadium size crowds if Cobain didn’t kill himself?”

        I think they might have. That “smells like teen spirit” was infectious. When I first heard it (years after it came out) I thought it sounded absurd – like a caricature of rock and roll. But then it grows on you. And you can’t get the damn song out of your head! Although I think Cobain was a selfish SOB for leaving his little girl without a father. You bring a kid into the world you owe them an upbringing.


        May 27, 2017 at 5:08 PM

      • U2 is still filling stadiums, so yes, I believe Nirvana would be playing stadiums. Overall, Nirvana was a better band than U2 IMO.


        May 27, 2017 at 7:25 PM

      • I’m a big fan of early Letterman even though it was way before my time (I’m in my 20’s), but I don’t think he really defined that era in pop culture. I think if you asked people, even people old enough to remember, to name a “late 80’s comedian” most would name an SNL alum like Murray or Eddie Murphy, or else some act that’s extremely dated to the era (e.g. Yakov Smirnoff). I think you’re maybe giving him too much weight due to home-state bias and because you were in college.

        Madonna I don’t care for, but the word you used was influential. Every female pop singer since has been a copycat. From that era the only other acts who you can legitimately argue were equally influential are maybe various rappers like NWA or LL Cool J (again, not what I care for), but that’s still a niche genre compared to pop.

        GnR might’ve been fun to bang your head to but they were 180 degrees the exact opposite of influential; they and their subgenre provoked a downright-ludicrous backlash/hatedom for years, the whole genre of rock fell off a popularity cliff along with them and declines further every year, and no similar act has ever become popular (even amongst rock fans) since.

        Kinda similarly, basketball fell off the popularity cliff and continuously trended downwards (with non-blacks) after Bird’s retirement, while football, already hugely popular then, became even huger. And, to the extent athletes can be “influential,” Montana was Tom Brady’s childhood role model as QB. Who’s the most noteworthy basketball player who’d say the same about Bird? (lol)

        Nirvana would absolutely fill stadiums. F’n Radiohead does, or, much more relevantly, so do Foo Fighters.


        May 27, 2017 at 10:11 PM

      • What’s weird about the 80s is that the three best bands of that decade, The Smiths, The Replacements and The Pixies got almost no mainstream radio promotion at the time. What’s weird about the 90s is that the best music was being made in the U.K., Pulp, etc., with almost none of it penetrating the US market, in strong contrast to the 60s and 70s.


        May 28, 2017 at 11:04 AM

      • I think Letterman was Gen X’s Beatles. The Tina Fey quote is a pretty accurate description for those of us who were young during that period. Bill Murray definitely has had a long influential career and really to a large degree he and Letterman were both doing the same shtick- the super-sarcastic ironic guy. But it may just be the medium. TV is generally regarded as the red-headed step brother of movies (or at least it used to be) but it’s beamed into your house every night and so a connection develops that doesn’t with movies. I honestly can’t recall if I saw a Bill Murray movie besides Ghostbusters and the Army movie (that may have been late 70’s though) in the 80’s but I basically watched Letterman nearly every night. You’re right about the early NBC Letterman show being far superior. I think the huge Ed Sullivan theater his CBS show was taped at caused him more to play to the studio audience with naturally more broad-type humor than his old tiny NBC studio.

        Yeah. I thought about U2’s long running success as well after I posted. They and probably Bruce Springsteen are 80’s rock acts who can really pack them in still to this day. But let me add this as a reason to regard Axl and GNR’s success as unique and harbingers of a developing culture where the other two weren’t. Basically U2 and Springsteen were continuations of the 60’s hippie optimist culture that leftist ideals, if followed, would lead to greater and greater human happiness. While Axl & co. were probably the first large scale embodiment of the total cynicism that grew in working class America regarding that optimism. Sure, to a certain extent, GnR were just another 80’s hair band, but there was a sense that they were really dangerous ‘don’t give a fuck’ types to the bone and weren’t play-acting. That such an act could get such a huge following was a pretty good indicator that things were really changing in non-elite corridors of America. I would also regard Axl as being, for good or bad, kind of an early version of Trump: a guy with basically no discernible over-riding ideological explanations for how the world works, but just out for as much hedonistic pleasure as possible but still not being afraid to call it like it is when needs be, even in the face of huge PC blow-back.

        I also thought of Foo Fighters success too in regards to pondering if Nirvana would still enjoy mass popularity. But I would say Dave Grohl, at least as much as I know his oeuvre, gives off a much more stable vibe than Cobain did. I think Cobain’s tendency to depression-wallowing would have soon soured much of Nirvana’s huge following.


        May 28, 2017 at 12:42 PM

      • I live in Indiana and if I received a basic income then I could spend more time reading Lion’s blog and your comments while sitting here eating crap.

        Mark G.

        May 28, 2017 at 5:24 PM

      • Basic income will never come to fruition in America. The nation is very much an unequal place, which varies from state to state, city to city, neighborhood to neighborhood…what else?


        May 28, 2017 at 8:45 PM

  5. Sigh…and how is this going to be paid for again?

    Mike Street Station

    May 25, 2017 at 7:05 PM

    • Robots! We won’t have to work anymore because of machines.

      Never-mind the fact that energy affordability is set to plunge. Costs on all operating oil and gas wells are skyrocketing. Solar and wind prices are not coming down.

      The self-driving cars fascination and how that will unemploy millions of drivers is amusing. There will not be large numbers of self-driving cars and trucks. There are going to be far fewer vehicles, period. There will be a lot more scooters, bicycles, and walking. Whether people like that or not. These truck supplied towns (no rail line, no barge line, no port) are simply going to die and return to being backwaters.

      There is going to be *less* automation and *more* human effort in producing products and moving things around.

      All these amazing labor savings ideas like have really been systems that reduce labor inputs in favor of massively increased energy inputs. It’s vastly less energy efficient to deliver all this stuff on demand to the doorstep. Well, this era is drawing to a close.


      May 25, 2017 at 11:45 PM

  6. Explain to me why ~15% of the population won’t just waste the money on useless shit and the other 85% of people won’t waste the money bidding up the value of real estate that lets you avoid the other 15%?


    May 25, 2017 at 7:33 PM

  7. Mike Zuckerberg, like many in his intellectual cohort cannot imagine how stupid the average person is. Mark has been surrounded his entire life by high achievers, who are capable of forming concepts like “meaningful work.” This is simply not possible for many average or below average individuals. For example, most advice proffered by guys like Tim Ferris or James Altucher cannot be implemented by the average person no matter how much they try.

    A basic income provided to average or below average people would simply ease their descent into further intellectual decay and substance abuse. However, localized (rather than national) basic income schemes my be useful. For example, take Lion’s suggestion of paying people to play Wow. Why not figure out how much the average street drug seller in Baltimore makes per hour, then offer top pay them 50% more to play WoW or another game (supply them with a Xbox or PS4 and internet). I bet the cost of such a scheme would pale in comparison to the law enforcement expenses incurred trying to stop drugs.


    May 25, 2017 at 7:40 PM

    • To tell the truth, most people have never entertained the idea that Zuckerberg himself is no different at all from the rest of us in being stupid about the things that matter. Bill Gates is a mediocre bridge player (compared to his business success), Warren Buffet apparently does not have the intellectual resources to be anything but a sad boring aging stock market guy (he is no Munger, one might say), and yet each of them will some day be played in the movies by a “great actor” with “profound insight”. And so many movie fans will think well that is that, Gates and Buffet were profound. Como es triste! Well Zuckerberg is young maybe one day he will pick up a book by Maimonides or C.S. Lewis or someone like that and will start on the road towards wisdom, a road that even the richest or cleverest among us are not given a head start on. Probably not, though, I know a lot of old people and they often do not get better as they get older. Sad!

      howitzer daniel

      May 25, 2017 at 10:24 PM

      • ” C.S. Lewis”

        Like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe?

      • No, not Narnia, Zuck is too smart for kid’s lit (although the last book of Narnia, the one that describes what happens when we die, is really good, and is not remotely juvenile). “That Hideous Strength” and “The Abolition of Man” are the books I was thinking of . The first book – “That Hideous Strength” – is a version of Orwell’s 1984 where the persecutors are not Big Brother but weird 1950s era English SJWs , including “science is effing cool” types, and the heroes, including a cleaning lady and a talking bear, try their best not to let the SJWs and science dudes and science dudettes win. As for the second – “The Abolition of Man” – that is a humble, really well written, but slightly longer version of the Declaration of Independence, except it is independence from the loser influences of people like Voltaire and Woodrow Wilson and the PC UN. Maimonides is really good too but I have never read a book by or about Maimonides straight through. Typically I pick up one of his books and look at the index and just read whatever pages addresses interesting topics. It is a lot more interesting than it sounds. I bet Zuck would be a lot smarter than me about Maimonides if he read a few books on the subject, with a humble and honest heart, for just a week or two, and not only Zuck, but lots of other people too.

        howitzer daniel

        May 25, 2017 at 11:21 PM

      • No one is “too smart for kids’ lit” – in fact the foreword to The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe contains precisely this passage:

        My Dear Lucy,
        I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand a word you say but I shall still be
        your affectionate Godfather,

        In any event the Narnia books, which I try to re-read about once a year, are jam-packed with wisdom about the human condition. Not all of it is “religious”, either – you should get a load of ol’ C.S.’ take on schooling (which I particularly appreciate as a homeschool parent)!

        S.J., Esquire

        May 28, 2017 at 8:49 PM

    • I bet the cost of such a scheme would pale in comparison to the law enforcement expenses incurred trying to stop drugs.

      But then we’d have unemployed cops, prosecutors, public defenders, and prison guards.

      E. Rekshun

      May 25, 2017 at 10:31 PM

  8. Universal Basic Income program is not compatible with low-skilled immigration policy.


    May 25, 2017 at 7:42 PM

    • Which Zuck also supports. I would love to hear some reporter ask that question of him.

      Mike Street Station

      May 26, 2017 at 7:08 PM

  9. Guaranteed basic income would be a disaster for the bottom 80% iq population. Only the top of society can meaningfully self actualize. The proles were born to work, and if they do not have to work they self destruct in apathy, gluttony and despair.


    May 25, 2017 at 7:57 PM

    • This is sadly almost certainly true.

      Panther of the Blogocube

      May 25, 2017 at 8:54 PM

    • w or w/o basic income, the bottom IQ distribution will self destruct because of automation.


      May 25, 2017 at 9:44 PM

  10. It’s very simple that this will never happen. It’s incompatible with our nature’s. Any discussion of this is a complete waste of time.


    May 25, 2017 at 8:03 PM

  11. How do we dole out basic income when in fact, America is a very unequal place?

    Perhaps no basic income should be given to those who live in pricey zip codes of Manhattan and San Francisco.

    And yes, Lion is right. NAMs and to a certain extent, proles are a bane to American society. So are the hipsters/SWPL types that infest the liberal centers who fuss, f#ck, feast and fawn with their money, but for a different reason.

    This technological revolution have rendered humans as almost a liability to the Earth’s existence.


    May 25, 2017 at 8:16 PM

  12. So you think Z’s in favor of cracking down on black crime so that more people can afford to live in decent neighborhoods? Don’t forget, for vibrant sacred cows, beating YT is self actualizing.

    mel belli

    May 25, 2017 at 8:42 PM

    • I think that Z is a standard liberal on issues like that.

      • Zuckerberg is mentally retarded and it’s hilarious that you appear to hold him some esteem. There are a bunch of laugh out loud funny anecdotes about him in “Chaos Monkeys.” For one example: when Facebook opened their new HQ, Zuckerberg personally had the great idea that employees should spray paint the walls in the all the halls. This turned out as idiotic an idea as you would expect.


        May 26, 2017 at 12:53 AM

  13. Yes, you’re right. If we all decided we wanted to work 10% less and buy fewer things our leaders would treat that like it’s the greatest tragedy in history. A woman has a baby and takes care of it, no effect on GDP, she pays someone else to do it and suddenly we have more “economic activity” and therefore a better society somehow.


    May 25, 2017 at 8:53 PM

    • “A woman has a baby and takes care of it, no effect on GDP”

      What about all the crap you buy for the baby? What about taking it to Gymboree and places like that? What about all the doctor visits? Babies generate a ton of economic activity.


      May 26, 2017 at 1:04 AM

    • Hepp,

      “Yes, you’re right. If we all decided we wanted to work 10% less and buy fewer things our leaders would treat that like it’s the greatest tragedy in history.”


      The Federal Reserve calls that deflation.


      May 26, 2017 at 3:01 AM

  14. Why do people have to work at all? Because Zeus concealed the means of livelihood from men as a punishment. “For the gods keep men’s food concealed: otherwise you would easily work even in a day enough to provide you for the whole year without working.” On top of that, he got the other gods to work on a project with him, creating the first human woman, Pandora, with the shape of a goddess but “a dog’s mind and a thievish nature” as an affliction and a financial drain. [All this is in the first two pages of Hesiod’s Works and Days, from ca. 700 BC.]


    May 25, 2017 at 9:42 PM

    • Fucking Zeus. What a shit.

      At least Yahweh was cool enough to make this totally awesome garden where no one had to work for anything, and you could have whatever, so long as you didn’t touch these two trees. Then that beta-boy tool get sucked in by that bitch, and it got all fucked up.


      May 26, 2017 at 7:01 PM

  15. In the Judge Dredd comics robots do the work and people get government housing and food, so lots of people take up dangerous and anti-social hobbies, like starting what amount to gang wars between public housing units.


    May 25, 2017 at 9:43 PM

  16. I support the guaranteed minimum income aka negative income tax PROVIDED the amount paid is just enough to squeak by on beans and rice if one shares the rent for a crappy apartment with a roommate. That way they’ll still be motivated to do something constructive to improve their situation. Otherwise, if people can sit on their butts living a middle class lifestyle then it’s a recipe for disaster.

    What do you expect people to do — sit around blogging and painting and taking pictures? Most won’t do that because they don’t want to do that. If I didn’t already have a company then I’d probably spend a few months hunting and sailing before I got bored and started a company. Because that’s what I enjoy doing. But the people who enjoy causing trouble would just have more free time to do that.

    Do you want to know what causes “prole drift”? It’s not having to work your tail off to get ahead. People NEED a a purpose to keep from degenerating. The kind of people who can find their own purpose don’t need a guaranteed minimum income, The kind of people who do need it find it in struggling to meet their needs. Take that away and they go to hell. That’s why people on welfare are effed up. Welfare is the worst thing that ever happened to them.

    How about you cupcake? Did you accomplish anything worthwhile during your hiatus? Were you diligent about shaving and showering every day? Or did you stay up late and sleep in and wear the same underwear for a week? I won’t even ask how many pounds you gained.


    May 25, 2017 at 9:49 PM

  17. I would like to believe that if we had real markets, the government went after financial fraud, we never shipped jobs overseas, kept traditional families, did not devalue the dollar, then we would not have the problems we have. Wages would have kept up with productivity and people could work a part-time job and make it just fine. The elite have been looting for decades, that is the problem. We have to realize that if you are rich in America your wealth, status, and power is illegitimate. A fake communist monetary system demands a commie solution, a purge of the top 1%. The propaganda and information in our society is so divorced from reality I can only come to this conclusion because I can’t trust the information from any person or institution. The top must be removed.


    May 25, 2017 at 9:53 PM

    • The American lifestyle peaked when domestic energy return on investment peaked. In 1965 oil was still practically gushing out of the ground. The oil is gone now, for all practical, purposes. What can be produced costs $80+ per barrel to get to market at a profit.

      If you don’t grasp this dynamic then you do not understand anything about American history over the last 50 years.


      May 26, 2017 at 12:59 AM

      • Middle and working class wages stopped growing in the US in the late 70s and early 80s, not the mid 60s. And there has been massive economic growth since then it just hasn’t trickled down from the economic elite. And other, non stupid, countries have had non elite wages growing over the last forty years despite not only having to deal with the same oil prices as the US but taxing petroleum products such as gasoline like crazy on top of it.


        May 26, 2017 at 9:48 AM

      • Real wage growth peaked right alongside domestic conventional crude production in the mid 70s. Coincident with exploding trade deficits and geometric growth in debt that continues to this day.


        May 26, 2017 at 6:42 PM

      • Dude where the fuck do you live? The cost of oil production in America is no where near $80 bbl. it’s closer to $30 for Texas oil and $50-60 fracking because of all the technological and engineering progress made during the fracking boom. Please don’t spout bullshit.

        Oil is not being sold at a loss currently, oil producers like Saudi Arabia continue to make profit, but they have massive welfare states they need to support so it’s not enough.

        Paul Ryan's Sickly Old Lapdog

        May 26, 2017 at 10:07 PM

      • There doesn’t appear to be an energy problem in the near term. Americans drive around way huger cars than they need to, and gasoline is the least expensive part of owning a car.

      • American middle class wages stopped growing around the same time our massive deficits began. Debt is a way for the elites to steal money from he middle class. The middle class holds currency aka he dollar. The elites own companies and other financial instruments that benefit from increased debt aka dollar deflation due to unbacked credit emission. It truly is insidious and worthy of a few hangings.

        Paul Ryan's Sickly Old Lapdog

        May 26, 2017 at 10:09 PM

      • Paul Ryan, with all due respect you don’t appear to know what you’re talking about. The cash flow statements on these techno miracle shale plays can be dug up with not too much difficulty. They are all hemorrhaging cash and piling up debt. None of this stuff works with sub $80 oil. But oil priced at over $80 crashes the economy and tanks demand. It’s a cute little undergrad differential equation problem where the answer is economic decline.


        May 26, 2017 at 11:56 PM

      • Mr. Lion, stay tuned. Almost half of americans are in cars they can’t actually afford right now. Read up on the massive auto-loan bubble. It’s almost on the same scale as the sub-prime housing bubble of ten years ago.

        “Everybody Has A Car” is going away pretty soon. That’s not how America will work going forward. Americans already can’t actually afford it and are play-pretending right now. This is is intimately tied into the declining availability of cheap energy.


        May 27, 2017 at 12:01 AM

  18. I hugely favor a universal income. Any Mexican who lives full-time in Mexico will be eligible to receive it.

    Mark Caplan

    May 25, 2017 at 10:13 PM

  19. I am generally conservative but I support a basic income. Men, especially those without children, are vulnerable to periods of economic hardship. They often pay into the system for years but get no help if/when they need it. A basic income guarantees no one will go homeless or hungry unless it is their choice.

    Jay Fink

    May 25, 2017 at 11:43 PM

  20. You would have to seal the borders. We are not good at that.


    May 25, 2017 at 11:47 PM

  21. I agree that there is a problem here with BGI. Namely, that most people are average to stupid and *need* to have a job lest they disintegrate physically and mentally.

    But there are plenty of intelligent, creative, sensitive, and artistic people who should not be chained to a goddamned soul-crushing 9 to 5 if they don’t want to be. They would personally thrive without the work and possibly self-actualize in ways that benefit themselves and possibly others.

    Another pro for BGI is sticking it to employers. Employers have grossly UNEQUAL BARGAINING POWER. With the destruction of Unions, BGI would be a way to give workers a little leverage in the rat-race.


    May 25, 2017 at 11:51 PM

  22. I’ve been thinking about this problem quite a bit lately myself.
    Many commenters here recognize the problem of an idle low IQ lumpenproletariat on basic income who would just commit crime and get high on drugs, just like they already do.
    Also, many realize that it would distort the market for people who actually do work.
    So I figure:
    -Different IQ “castes” of society would have to be treated differently on state aid. Low IQ types have to kept busy and told what to do.
    -Those getting a basic state living would have very limited access to money and the market economy. Otherwise we end up with the same problems we see with easy money raising the low bar with college tuition, housing, and healthcare.
    -The whole setup of course would be conditional on enforced eugenic fertility.

    Giovanni Dannato

    May 26, 2017 at 12:01 AM

  23. I fear the politically connected rent-seeking class will co-opt UBI and use it to funnel ever more of the nation’s wealth to themselves. They already do this with welfare transfer payments, if what is essentially welfare is broadened and expanded to cover some 50-60% of the population, it’s just making the pool of dumb people that can be scammed greater.

    Whatever way you think you could structure the program to /not/ be a windfall to the rent-seeker class, I have no doubt that at the end of the day, once the bill is passed and we see what’s in it, it will be a boondoggle for everyone but Wall Street.

    Finally, what makes you certain anyone will be able to spend the UBI on anything approaching self-actualization? I fully expect UBI is going to be script good only at the company store: BigAg, College, Health Ins, Rent, and mortgage payments for first-time homebuyers of “approved” real-estate (single-family detached and condos purchased for <80% of the local market's median price).


    May 26, 2017 at 2:30 AM

    • You’re right which is obvious from the simple fact that Mark Zuckerberg is supporting it.


      May 26, 2017 at 9:52 AM

  24. Hepp writes: “A woman has a baby and takes care of it, no effect on GDP, she pays someone else to do it and suddenly we have more “economic activity” and therefore a better society somehow.”

    True for the average woman that is not as productive (without subsidies) as the costs incurred to raise a child.

    For highly educated and talented women, it’s definitely not worth their time to take care of their children to the effect of not working.


    May 26, 2017 at 2:56 AM

  25. I suspect one effect of UBI is 20% of the US population in prison.

    Mike Street Station

    May 26, 2017 at 6:19 AM

  26. If a women pays another being to keep her baby, it means she is able to do something else & gives a job to someone else at the same times. It is more than reasonable that the GDP increases in that case. If everyone wants to live in the same place, money is the best way to select for the scarce resource. That such a place in a locus to improve the GDP is perfectly normal. Lots of GDP critics are coherent only on appearance and aren’t acommpanied with a credible better alternative measure.

    Bruno from Paris

    May 26, 2017 at 7:23 AM

    • > If a women pays another being to keep her baby…

      Hopefully a human one, not a bear or a moth or something… 🙂

      Fact Checker

      May 26, 2017 at 12:02 PM

  27. I love this Thatcher anwer about the gap, her nail and the right head :

    Bruno from Paris

    May 26, 2017 at 7:24 AM

    • And what of it? Don’t people, provided they aren’t in danger of starving, consistently care more about their relative position in society than they do about their absolute wealth level?

      Greg Pandatshang

      May 26, 2017 at 12:10 PM

  28. I support universal forced labor for anyone unemployed for a period longer then 6 months. Lion would have bnefied more from it, then from loafing around for a year or two. What dis he accomplish in these two years? How dis he actualize himself?

    OT: could forced breeding of high IQ individuals like Lion be beneficial or should we just let Darwin do his thing?


    May 26, 2017 at 7:35 AM

    • I agree with Yako. Now that 80% of the formally employed don’t really do anything anyway and with automation, outsourcing, immigration, and a totally inadequate education system, the solution is the GULAG. It worked in Russia.


      May 26, 2017 at 3:00 PM

    • Damn that stupid Thirteenth Amendment.


      May 26, 2017 at 6:57 PM

      • A Disability Epidemic Among a Railroad’s Retirees.


        May 28, 2017 at 7:51 AM

      • The Thirteenth Amendment (Amendment XIII) to the United States Constitution abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime.

        Being unemployed while not being able to support yourself should be criminalized. They should work for food, not get fed and play video games or be glued to some stupid digital device.


        May 28, 2017 at 7:54 AM

      • During the Depression, Upton Sinclair (the guy who wrote The Jungle) put together a plan called End Poverty in California (EPIC.)

        “Specifically, the plan called for state seizure of idle factories and farm land where the owner had failed to pay property taxes.The government would then hire the unemployed to work on the farms and at the factories…self-sufficient, worker-run co-ops…the implementation of California’s first state income tax…progressive, with the wealthiest being taxed at 30%…increased inheritance taxes and instituted a 4% tax on stock transfers…government provided pensions for the old, disabled, and widowed. To implement EPIC, Sinclair called for the creation of three new government agencies…

        Sinclair ran for governor on this platform, but faced opposition, most notably “the heads of the major movie studios in Hollywood…largely due to Sinclair’s proposal to hand over idle movie studio lots to unemployed film workers to make movies of their own…the studio heads threatened to move film operations to Florida, and deducted money from employee’s paychecks to give directly to the campaign of Sinclair’s Republican opponent for Governor, Frank Merriam.”


        May 28, 2017 at 6:43 PM

  29. Maybe UBI could work if it scales in by IQ and age. Intelligent people will tend to find something useful or at least harmless to do with their time if they aren’t working. Some will spend all their time playing video games, others will form community improvement clubs or become independent entomology researchers or whatever. Or just socialise, get married and/or have kids, and spend time raising their high IQ, well-adjusted children. Dumb people will not; for them, playing video games is the best case scenario; the worst case is that they’ll get antsy and commmit violent crimes to pass the time. Better for everyone if they have mandatory employment digging ditches and filling them back in. Basically, what I’m suggesting is that you get the same amount of money regardless, but you may or may not be required to do community service to get it.

    Greg Pandatshang

    May 26, 2017 at 12:06 PM

  30. The societal burden of dealing with low-IQ criminals and other misfits is best solved by implementing a program of voluntary sterilization. Make it clear to the underclass of all hues that they can live large until they die if they undergo irreversible sterilization. It’s very simple: Pay them not to breed.

    Lewis Medlock

    May 26, 2017 at 1:51 PM

  31. Lion, you can be bleeding heart. For a man with no genetic stake in the future, you are irrationally misguided in your tribal loyalty. Allow Mother Nature to work. The foreseeable future is approaching a world where most humans may as well be pygmies. Why rant so much about ensuring pygmy survival?

    Our brains and dexterity are what gave us a competitive advantage over other animals. If it’s likely that advantage will be usurped by robots, then clearly many humans will go the way of other animals. Maybe all of us.

    proles rule

    May 26, 2017 at 2:12 PM

    • I’m not opposed to eugenic policies.

      • He’s talking about embracing mass death and possibly even extinction, not eugenics.


        May 26, 2017 at 9:57 PM

      • The most eugenic policy would be to take all the welfare money and give it to (or rather: let them keep) the working and middle class.

        Welfare is a major weapon in the top/bottom war against the middle class.

        It’s been a tough pill to swallow in realizing that the elites/govt wants the middle-class beaten down and terrorized. And they’re happy to inflict open border barbarians on basically good people because they know the good people will be forced to look to their leaders to step in to take even more control over “security.”


        May 26, 2017 at 10:55 PM

      • No, generous welfare in return for sterilization would be the most eugenic policy.

  32. As JS has pointed out so many times, a life of leisure was the aspiration of those who didn’t have it in the 19th c and prior. It still is in Europe to some extent. Theory of the Leisure Class was written in 1899.

    The ideal of work for its own sake is a recent American invention, and the ultimate in proleness. That so many take it for granted shows two things:

    1. The thorough indoctrination of Americans; America is like North Korea.

    2. The poor education of Americans and their impoverished minds.


    May 26, 2017 at 3:08 PM

    • I spoke to a few French Canadians or Québécois about America. They agree with me that America is “prole”. Prole in the sense of a cultural desert and workaholism.

      I even spoke to few Québécois who are Classics aficionados and they like my analogy.

      My take on the new world is that it’s a Neo Antiquity of Western Civilization.

      1) Canada is the Ancient Greece with its provinces. Québec is Sparta and Anglophone Canadians are the Athenians.

      2) America is the Ancient Rome and the Romans were prolier than the Greeks. They had a lower intellectual output. Sound familiar!

      3) Latin America is the looming Neo-Islam.


      May 26, 2017 at 10:51 PM

    • The ideal of work for its own sake is a recent American invention

      Not so recent and not so American:

      6 But we command you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from any brother who lives an undisciplined life and not according to the tradition they received from us. 7 For you know yourselves how you must imitate us, because we did not behave without discipline among you, 8 and we did not eat anyone’s food without paying. Instead, in toil and drudgery we worked night and day in order not to burden any of you. 9 It was not because we do not have that right, but to give ourselves as an example for you to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this command: “If anyone is not willing to work, neither should he eat.” 11 For we hear that some among you are living an undisciplined life, not doing their own work but meddling in the work of others. 12 Now such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to work quietly and so provide their own food to eat. 13 But you, brothers and sisters, do not grow weary in doing what is right. 14 But if anyone does not obey our message through this letter, take note of him and do not associate closely with him, so that he may be ashamed. 15 Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

      2 Thessalonians 3:1-15


      May 27, 2017 at 6:54 PM

      • It was there from the beginning:

        וַיִּקַּ֛ח יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶת־הָֽאָדָ֑ם וַיַּנִּחֵ֣הוּ בְגַן־עֵ֔דֶן לְעָבְדָ֖הּ וּלְשָׁמְרָֽהּ׃

        The Lord God took the Man and put him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and to maintain it. (Genesis 2:15).

        Even though the true interpretation is to keep positive commandments and to refrain from prohibitions, but the simple meaning has its place.


        May 28, 2017 at 5:12 PM

  33. The French say:

    Travailler pour vivre et non vivre pour travailler.
    Travailler moins vivre plus.


    May 26, 2017 at 3:14 PM

  34. lol how much is this basic income even gonna be? i hear the idea floated all the time but the specifics are never enunciated. we basically already have a near basic income in australia, its called the disability pension. i’m on it. it sucks and you cant live any better than a pauper. when and if a universal basic income gets floated most people are still going to want to work full time anyway. itll be scraps for the leftovers of the automated out of relevancy hordes.

    james n.s.w

    May 26, 2017 at 8:42 PM

  35. “Universal basic income” is just another name for Welfare and other government handouts.

    How has that worked out for the recipients, and for society?


    May 26, 2017 at 9:29 PM

    • Getting Medicaid worked out great for me.

    • America’s welfare is perceived as low class because a large segment of its demographics are low class.


      May 27, 2017 at 12:14 AM

  36. Slightly O/T: It’s quite interesting that the CUNY employment website considers guidos to be a minority group with hiring preferences:

    A custodial job that is well suited for guidos (or proles) –

    “CUNY encourages people with disabilities, minorities, veterans and women to apply. At CUNY, Italian Americans are also included among our protected groups. Applicants and employees will not be discriminated against on the basis of any legally protected category, including sexual orientation or gender identity”.


    May 26, 2017 at 10:38 PM

    • Yes. I heard many years ago (I believe it was in the late 1970’s) that some IAs had objected to CUNY hiring practices, complaining that there were not enough IA employees being hired. Some people there were trying to get Italians classified as a “minority” in order to correct this “problem” My own view, then as well as now, is that this was just some savvy IAs trying to get in on the affirmative action hustle. I find this embarrassing. I don’t see why IAs should be viewed as a minority. They’re white. You often can’t distinguish IAs from other Mediterranean ethnicities. Do we start giving affirmative action to Spaniards, Greeks, and Portuguese also? Who then is NOT a ‘minority?” Only Northern European whites.

      Personally, I think the only whites who should qualify for affirmative action are Appalachians. But of course it was Italian-Americans this policy was aimed at, not guidos specifically. A policy statement asking guidos to apply would be objected to immediately. Although it would be pretty funny! “Guidos are encouraged to apply. Bring your own suntan lotion and boombox to the interview.”

      My Mom and I disagreed on this issue in the 1970’s. She favored the affirmative action, thinking it was just an advantage we shouldn’t feel guilty about accepting. But I always knew that people who receive affirmative action are usually from groups that are looked down on and resented. I thought that in the long run this would be harmful.


      May 27, 2017 at 11:06 AM

      • I believe the only reason why Italian Americans get preferential treatment in the CUNY hiring process, is because a professor raised a stink about the paucity of IAs in the school’s upper echelon. He felt lonely being the only one.

        Look, there’s that custodian position waiting to be filled when the school is on lock down for cleaning and it gets dark and lonely — guess who you’re gonna call?


        May 27, 2017 at 9:29 PM

  37. Most people wouldn’t do anything but take the money.
    There are a lot of things wrong with this idea but why go there when all you have to do is imagine millions of young males with no reason to do anything productive. How about millions of young males with time on their hands. How about millions of young males of less than average IQ with time on their hands?


    May 27, 2017 at 2:35 AM

  38. we already sorta kinda have ubi. it’s just split between section 8 housing, social security disability (ssdi) benefits, food stamps, and the medicaid expansion.

    ssdi just requires a doctor’s approval. so just say you’re in pain, and can’t work, and you’ll get cash, medicaid, and a prescription for narcotics:

    fun fact, the obamacare medicaid expansion is killing people:

  39. It’s hard to beleive how stupid Jew can be sometimes.


    May 28, 2017 at 7:44 AM

    • This guy is only half Jewish, but look at just how stupid he is! The nutjob was a actually a secretary if state and had run for president. Poor country! I think Jews are the smartest people overall, but these morons do shake my faith.


      May 28, 2017 at 8:05 AM

    • Zuckerberg is a contemptible idiot but the “he stole facebook” line (used immediately in the first video) seriously annoys me. That lawsuit that paid out to the winklevoss twins was a travesty of justice and sets dangerous precedents.


      May 28, 2017 at 8:51 PM

  40. Do they know its Festivus in Africa across the tracks? Lets hand them a cool grand and hope they can make good with a nice crack overdose or gang war.
    Have any of you ever considered that if money made lives better that Hollywood wouldn’t be full of freaks and addicts and that Lottery Winners wouldn’t make The Beverly Hillbillies seem wise in comparison? A fool and his money are soon parted.
    Every black afflete made more money than a Doctor does his whole career and still ended up broke in less than six months after retirement, except for the two or three examples all you disingenuous liars use to obfuscate observable reality.
    Uncle Scam spends over Three Trillion Dollars every year. What do we get for that? If you want to spend even more on poor lazy people, lets fund a group of angry ruthless people to force them to be responsible under pain of daily beatings. I’d pay a dollar for that.
    Sure women could use more money. Some make six or seven figures a year and have worse credit ratings than hobos. Its not their fault, there was a sale EVERY FUCKING WEEK.

    Joshua Sinistar

    June 2, 2017 at 12:18 AM

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