How should minimum wage be determined?

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Puppyclaws
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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby Puppyclaws » Wed Mar 11, 2015 1:45 pm UTC

leady wrote:Anyone though that doesn't believe that a $20k citizen wage won't come with a huge set of moral hazards is close to massively deluded. Hell as soon as I'd paid off my mortgage I'd be sitting back and doing nothing for 50 years...


Anyone that believes that a $20K citizen wage comes with a huge set of moral hazards is massively deluded. There, now we have two completely unsupported opinions. High five!

morriswalters
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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby morriswalters » Wed Mar 11, 2015 2:31 pm UTC

leady wrote:Anyone though that doesn't believe that a $20k citizen wage won't come with a huge set of moral hazards is close to massively deluded. Hell as soon as I'd paid off my mortgage I'd be sitting back and doing nothing for 50 years...
A house is a hole down which you pour money, good luck on that idea. However aside from that I want to see you sit back and do nothing for 50 years. There aren't enough books and you won't be traveling the world on 20k.

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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby leady » Wed Mar 11, 2015 2:36 pm UTC

Puppyclaws wrote:Anyone that believes that a $20K citizen wage comes with a huge set of moral hazards is massively deluded. There, now we have two completely unsupported opinions. High five!


Well sure - so long as you willfully ignore the existing evidence that actual tested benefits have the same results (i.e. the million incapacity claimants in the UK that suddenly became work capable with a little push) and insist on ignoring standard economics. I don't think its exactly a groundbreaking claim that if you give everyone enough money to live comfortably for nothing then a substantial number will choose to do .

A house is a hole down which you pour money, good luck on that idea. However aside from that I want to see you sit back and do nothing for 50 years. There aren't enough books and you won't be traveling the world on 20k.


Too late to reverse that call :)

but unless you fly everywhere first class, for $20k a year you could spend your life extremely comfortably on holiday in 90% of the world

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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Mar 11, 2015 3:49 pm UTC

Puppyclaws wrote:
leady wrote:Anyone though that doesn't believe that a $20k citizen wage won't come with a huge set of moral hazards is close to massively deluded. Hell as soon as I'd paid off my mortgage I'd be sitting back and doing nothing for 50 years...


Anyone that believes that a $20K citizen wage comes with a huge set of moral hazards is massively deluded. There, now we have two completely unsupported opinions. High five!


*shrug* Ignore the moral aspect entirely. Regardless of if moral or not, it's a significant incentive change. Incentives do change human behavior. This isn't intrinsicly good or evil, it's just a thing.

The key is to determine what those behavior changes are likely to be. For this, actual testing is really best, as without that, it's easy for people to simply make assumptions, or to miss important elements.

Failing that, we have a number of economic models

EMTP wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:That's not how sampling works.


It most certainly is, in this case, because no one is claiming that the salaries of the S&P500 CEOs = the average of all other CEOs. You are the one who has decided that unless every CEO is paid millions, CEO pay is not a real issue.


You have been making statements about "CEO pay". This is as ridiculous as me describing "food service" pay as an industry of the wealthy, simply because a couple of chefs are well paid.

EMTP wrote:
The fact that workers are not spread evenly between CEOs is trivial and unrelated. It is not a point in it's favor, it merely demonstrates the bias.


No, given that we're discussing the difference between what front-line workers are paid and what the CEO of the company is paid, the number of people working in companies that express this dynamic is very much at issue. When we're discussing inequality, the status of the CEOs where people actually work matters.


Comparing "all workers" to "not all CEOs" is just invalid.

EMTP wrote:
The total number of CEOs is significantly larger. I do not believe that you simply are unaware of this. Even if you restrict it to publicly traded, that's about 19,000 stocks in total, US only*. 1500 would be an excellent sample size for that quantity if it was distributed randomly. Taking the top 1500, not even a little valid.


It's perfectly valid for the way I am using the information. You want to cram your statistical average with the "CEOs" of primary schools and local governments. That is a dishonest way to avoid talking about CEO pay.


There are a crapton of primary schools. They do not usually have CEOs. There's 100k public schools in the US alone. A simple look at the numbers indicates that "runs a primary school" is not being used synonymously with "CEO". However, private, for-profit schools exist. These can totally have a CEO. That's...really no different than any other industry.

State and local governments, likewise, sometimes own industries. Publicly owned in whole or in part, but run as a company. So, yes...they're doing the same job, and their numbers are relevant.

Additionally, even if you WERE correct, it is incredibly dishonest to argue that a sampling error of about 1% makes the data worthless, but your error of about 99.7% is perfectly okay.

EMTP wrote:This was brought up in the context of suggesting a band of salaries according to which the CEO could not make more than 100 times the lowest-paid employee. For a policy like that, there is no necessity that all CEOs make millions. Your woebegone blue-collar state government CEOs (and, just to reiterate, WTF?) would simply not be affected.


That is *a* context in which CEOs have been brought up. It is not the only one.

And I explicitly replied that they would mostly not be affected.

In any case, it would be a matter of restructuring for companies to subdivide to avoid any significant impact. So, you contract out your janitor staff instead of doing it in house. Meh. Not a lot of net change.

EMTP wrote:
I, bluntly, am not a CEO, and even the average CEO wage is more than I make. I'm hardly poor, but 150kish is probably more than most of us make. However, this is a reference to, again, the curious tendency to only worry about inequality within certain bands. Ie, those who make more than the speaker, usually. OBVIOUSLY, that's too much money. But there's a lack of concern about people making far, far less money overseas. Why? Where is the line, and why does it exist? What methodology are we using here, and why is it valid?


What is morality? Does the universe have a beginning? Does the tree make a sound?


Your questions are irrelevant to the issue, mine are not.

What concerns people about CEO pay, and the reason you get more concern about that than you do about, say, Facebook billionaires, is that to many people, it does not seem as if the CEOs are doing much for their millions and millions and millions of dollars. And those CEOs, in many cases, feel free to pay poverty wages to thousands of their front-line employees, lending to fiascos like Walmart's $6.2 billion of taxer payer money for food stamps and other welfare for their employees.


How would basic income not result in this exact same scenario? Walmart isn't going to be suddenly struck with generosity.

Radical inequality within a field is frequent, particularly at the very high end. The very top sports stars command an impressive salary compared to average, likewise the very top movie stars make a stunning wage, while the idea of the starving actor waiting tables unable to get a gig is something of a steriotype.

What do all these fields have in common? They have comparatively few openings. Competition is brutal. Therefore, being merely average in such a field is simply not good enough. Such fields are playing with only a small chunk of the bell curve. See also, CEOs.


Right, and can you show any evidence that this brutal competition has in fact led to better, smarter, more effective CEOs? Or that these folks are in any way an elite, or doing a job the average blue-collar worker could not?


It is usually simply assumed that a person who trains for a specialized field is superior to a randomly selected individual. It seems patently obvious that in most cases, success is highly related to experience, training, etc. Now, of course, we can demonstrate this. Actual random selection of workers is highly unusual, but we can pick out trends. Do more experienced workers perform better than less experienced workers? Surely most fields will have a nice range of experience to pull data from.

So, do we see a random distribution of CEO performance compared to experience, skills, and personality traits? Well, no. http://booth.chicagoexec.net/public/public_files/kks.pdf Yes, not all of these are helpful...certainly not in all situations, but there are indeed strong correlations between skills and performance.

Therefore, we can easily extrapolate that not any blue collar worker could do the same job, as skillsets are not universal.

Really, it's no different than how you'd show that not any blue collar worker could be a professional football player or whatever else. Sure, some probably could, but they would be very exceptional individuals, definitely not average.

Skipping over the emotion bit, since this is already lengthy and I suspect it could devolve into personal bickering.

It is not a matter of stupidity, per se(intelligence is a distribution, of course)...it is a matter of structuring financial benefits so as to overwelm other incentives. You will have stupidity either way, in roughly the same degree, discounting second order effects. However, if a person makes $20k/yr for doing nothing, but makes comparatively little more for giving up a large degree of time, having to pay for child care, having to maintain transportation, etc, they may decide that the costs simply outweight the benefits, and cease working. As finances are the dominant reason for employment, any significant change to this would significantly alter the employment landscape.

This will affect society negatively in a number of ways, some of which are not easily undone. If your society has most of it's poor simply stop working for a number of years, any skills or relevant work experience they possess will atrophy, and if they do decide to return to work, they will be further disadvantaged, even compared to their initially poor position.


You are arguing that it is important for your long-term prosperity to work and gain skills. I repeat my question: Are you saying that America's workforce is not smart enough to come to the conclusion you just did about the value of work? [/quote]

If incentives for the individual do not match the needs of society, then you get undesirable behavior. This isn't due to stupidity. A rational person works without the environment he has, even if that environment is imperfect.

If you give a person incentives to do bad things for society, then...yeah. A crapton of perfectly smart folks will do that.

The problem with a basic income is not something that can be addressed by making people smarter.

Ah, but here is your error, because I didn't claim they were a basic income. Let's look at the quote in context:


The context is in responding to basic income with a "this is why we think it should work" argument. Your post specifically listed it as a reason why a basic income was a good idea. It was #3 on your list. But, it doesn't actually show why a basic income should work.

I mean, if you have data showing that needs based wealth transfers are helpful, that doesn't exactly support shifting AWAY from needs based wealth transfers.

If you want to make the claim that one program of unconditional cash transfer is going to have radically different effects than another program of unconditional cash transfer, feel free to make that argument.


Obviously. There is more to a program than conditions.

Additionally, your norway example was not "without conditions". The wealth was not spread evenly. This was even in the bit you quoted. Therefore, there were conditions, and the results cannot be generalized to an entirely different scenario.

You have given a great number of generalities.


It's always funny when someone who posted one link to one Koch-funded think tank's screed accuses the person offering source after source of speaking in generalities.


Linkspam is not data. Bashing sources based on connections to folks you dislike is not data.

And here, I see you yet again, not giving specifics as to what you are proposing.

You have not laid out anything like a plan in significant detail. In particular, you have skimmed over cost, instead focusing on grand, poorly supported benefits, with no attempt at a comparison to the current system.


If you can't multiply $10k by the US population, I don't think that's my problem.


I...did exactly that. In the post you are quoting.

And seriously, if that's as far as your plan got, it's not much of a plan.

I probably would not immediately cut the kids a check from the day they pop, so cut about 25% of the cost there. No more Social Security, food stamps, etc; that'd save about $1.5 trillion. What's left is not really all that much.


Average lifespan is about 79 years. So, you're not gonna give out any benefits until almost age 20? Even if it's only until age 18, you expect a single mom with a few kids to be living on the same 10k/yr as a single guy with no dependents?

And you want to ditch food stamps, social security, etc.

And I thought ya'll were AGAINST the poor dying in ditches....
Last edited by Tyndmyr on Wed Mar 11, 2015 4:49 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

jseah
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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby jseah » Wed Mar 11, 2015 3:54 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
leady wrote:Anyone though that doesn't believe that a $20k citizen wage won't come with a huge set of moral hazards is close to massively deluded. Hell as soon as I'd paid off my mortgage I'd be sitting back and doing nothing for 50 years...
A house is a hole down which you pour money, good luck on that idea. However aside from that I want to see you sit back and do nothing for 50 years. There aren't enough books and you won't be traveling the world on 20k.

Actually, there ARE enough books. Wasn't there an xkcd what-if that concluded that more english is written every second than the average reader reads per second?

EDIT: Also, on 20k per year, I might actually start studying mathematics on my own. Or writing a book / computer game. Even if those never got further than my immediate social circle.
None of those are necessarily productive things that is required to provide the goods the 20k will buy.
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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby morriswalters » Wed Mar 11, 2015 4:19 pm UTC

leady wrote:Too late to reverse that call :)
Me too.

jseah wrote:Actually, there ARE enough books.
A library is full of books, most of which I don't want to read, I have Amazon Prime and their all you can eat book plan for 10 dollars a month, turns out that it is boring. :cry:

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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Mar 11, 2015 4:57 pm UTC

There's an endless pile of crap books, of course, but it shouldn't be hard to find a thousand or so books worthy of reading in a well stocked library. Even if the fraction of books you want to read is fairly small, there should still be a fairly significant supply. In 2013, there were 304,912 books published in the US alone. Reading a tenth of a percent of them would take up a significant amount of time, and we're not getting into older books, of which many excellent choices exist, or foreign works.

If you truly enjoy books, it's unlikely that you'll run out. More likely, the sheer volume makes it difficult to find what you want.

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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby ShadE » Wed Mar 11, 2015 6:17 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
ShadE wrote:There has to be some way to calculate a range, or table of ranges, that achieves this for both large and small businesses... I am just not smart enough to figure it out on my lunch break!!


Why does there have to be? Wanting something doesn't make it real.


There has to be because given enough time and effort Math seems to be able to explain everything in the Universe. Surely there is some formula that could be developed to create wage-ranges that had:
--'Acceptable' income inequality within business units/industries/whatever arbitrary line
--Bottom tier wages that guaranteed 'basic necessities' could be met without government assistance (other than the wage-range)
--A factor that 'leveled the impact' between large corporations and small businesses
**The words in apostrophes above are the hard part as far as determining the answers**

I realize low-skilled labor has a larger pool of qualified candidates and therefore should have lower reimbursement. Caddyshack taught me that "...the world needs ditch diggers too!" That does not mean that they need to be paid to live in poverty. Remember that we are talking about minimum wage so these people are actually working, granted that could entail 'just sitting around', but at some level it becomes an issue of humanity.

Tough to reconcile with my libertarian leanings...

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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby ucim » Wed Mar 11, 2015 7:05 pm UTC

ShadE wrote:There has to be because given enough time and effort Math seems to be able to explain everything in the Universe. Surely there is some formula...
There is. It depends on x. But x has to be a number that's simultaneously greater than 5 and less than 3.

To respond to this post by EMTP, I'm just going to say personal experience and leave it at that. Just sprinkling [citation needed] all over a quote does not invalidate it. I do find it interesting that in the "happiest people" link in that post is the following:
Meanwhile, joblessness undermines the exact kinds of feelings of well-being that Gallup/Healthworks are measuring:
  • “Whatever the job, it can give a sense of belonging, of being a contributor; an important part, however menial, of an organization with a bigger purpose, a valued part of society,” wrote Tom Fryers, a visiting professor of public health at the University of Leicester in the U.K., in a recent paper. “Work can provide a structure for the day, week, and year without which life just drifts by."
This is what I'm saying. People doing jobs is what increases (personal and societal) wealth, and also (via a different mechanism) increases happiness.

Entrapment is high on my list of things that decrease happiness. It is a sense of helplessness, of futility, a sense that what you do doesn't matter, neither to anyone else nor to your own well being. This can be caused by many things, but two are economic: Lack of enough money on which to survive, and lack of upward mobility. The cure for one can easily cause the other.
Spoiler:
Also, money is not a thing. It has no value other than the willingness of somebody else to take it in exchange. Giving somebody $10,000 (which let's say is just enough, since meat is $9.50/pound...) doesn't do them any good until they walk to the grocer and exchange it for food. Well, that grocer also just got $10,000 and isn't as interested in another $9.50 for a pound of meat as he was before. So now the meat is $15.95. And when he goes to buy it wholesale, the wholesaler and his partner also just got $10,000. Each. Instead of working on Saturday, they are going to the ball game. Less meat gets processed, the wholesale price goes up... next year Congress finds that $10,000 is not enough. So, the citizens' wage goes to $15,000. Bonanza! Now the grocery store closes on Saturdays too, and, well you see where I'm heading.

Before you ask for a citation, ask yourself if the cost of living tends to be higher where salaries are higher, and v.v.

A citizens' wage has to be funded with incoming actual goods-and-services wealth from somewhere. If it comes from outside the system, you can ride it. But if it comes from within the same system, it's a perpetual motion machine, with all the caveats.
People need to be enabled to fend for themselves and to reap the rewards of doing so. A minimum wage helps those who have gotten the job (by giving them more money) and hurts those who didn't (by raising the cost of living, and simultaneously making it harder to get a job). If we are in a situation where a minimum wage looks like an appropriate bandaid, the underlying issues (lack of demand for unskilled labor, lack of leverage by the unskilled to get a "fair" wage, health issues preventing entry into the workplace...) are what need to be addressed. Minimum wage merely covers up the problem.

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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby slinches » Wed Mar 11, 2015 7:07 pm UTC

ShadE wrote:There has to be because given enough time and effort Math seems to be able to explain everything in the Universe. Surely there is some formula that could be developed to create wage-ranges that had:
--'Acceptable' income inequality within business units/industries/whatever arbitrary line
--Bottom tier wages that guaranteed 'basic necessities' could be met without government assistance (other than the wage-range)
--A factor that 'leveled the impact' between large corporations and small businesses
**The words in apostrophes above are the hard part as far as determining the answers**

Math may be able to quantitatively describe anything in the universe, but that includes an empty set. It doesn't guarantee that a valid answer exists for every problem.

ShadE wrote:I realize low-skilled labor has a larger pool of qualified candidates and therefore should have lower reimbursement. Caddyshack taught me that "...the world needs ditch diggers too!" That does not mean that they need to be paid to live in poverty.

Actually, it sort of does. Poverty isn't some fixed state. It's defined relative to the standard of living for the general populace. If unskilled labor is worth 10% of the median income and the poverty line is set at 15% of the same value, then unskilled laborers will be poor by definition. What we really should be striving for is improving the standard of living across the board without disproportionate expansion at the low end of the distribution.

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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Mar 11, 2015 9:11 pm UTC

ShadE wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
ShadE wrote:There has to be some way to calculate a range, or table of ranges, that achieves this for both large and small businesses... I am just not smart enough to figure it out on my lunch break!!


Why does there have to be? Wanting something doesn't make it real.


There has to be because given enough time and effort Math seems to be able to explain everything in the Universe. Surely there is some formula that could be developed to create wage-ranges that had:
--'Acceptable' income inequality within business units/industries/whatever arbitrary line
--Bottom tier wages that guaranteed 'basic necessities' could be met without government assistance (other than the wage-range)
--A factor that 'leveled the impact' between large corporations and small businesses
**The words in apostrophes above are the hard part as far as determining the answers**

I realize low-skilled labor has a larger pool of qualified candidates and therefore should have lower reimbursement. Caddyshack taught me that "...the world needs ditch diggers too!" That does not mean that they need to be paid to live in poverty. Remember that we are talking about minimum wage so these people are actually working, granted that could entail 'just sitting around', but at some level it becomes an issue of humanity.

Tough to reconcile with my libertarian leanings...


Yeah, math describes entropy, too, but that doesn't mean that there MUST be a solution that allows perpetual motion machines cranking out free energy.

Just because there's an answer doesn't mean it has to be the answer you want. Math/Science/Economics are very useful, but they're not a magic button that can create literally anything. They're still bounded by laws. They're just very good at figuring out those laws, and how to best work within them.

Ucim is correct in that inflation is a normal outcome of just pumping more money at the system. So, if you're printing cash to fund it, it certainly will just be inflationary...taxation is more of a redistribution plan, so instead of the usual "redistribute from the rich to the poor", you're getting "redistribute from the rich to everybody". Obviously, taking from the rich to give back to the rich is kinda futile, but it increases the quantity of money stuck in the cycle.

If we're looking at a 15k/20k basic income funded by taxation, you're looking at upper tier tax rates so high that there is essentially no economic incentive to work harder/more...and effective tax rates cap out at 100%. Taxation above that level provides a pretty nasty disincentive. Any time we're talking about introducing an economic program larger in scale than all government activity put together, we're well beyond "small twerk" levels, and resulting effects will be similarly significant. Probably rapidly economy ending, at least for the 20k.

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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby Mokele » Wed Mar 11, 2015 9:37 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:However aside from that I want to see you sit back and do nothing for 50 years. There aren't enough books and you won't be traveling the world on 20k.


Depends on where you live - I lived in Cincinnati for 5 years on less than that, in a quite nice 2BR 2BA apartment, with enough cash left over to buy DVDs, have cable, care for my pets, and even travel within the US once in a while. 5K on top of that would allow for quite a bit of travelling. Palm Bay, FL was similarly cheap, though I didn't live there nearly as long.

The point of this annecdote being that if there were a citizen's wage, it would either need to be adjusted for local cost of living (possibly city-by-city), or there would be a substantial geographical effect in terms of people's movements.
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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Mar 11, 2015 9:45 pm UTC

No. No cost of living adjustment. There isn't enough space in Manhattan; if you can't afford it, move to Jersey.

New solution; round up all the homeless people, stick em in the abandoned homes in Detroit.

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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby jseah » Thu Mar 12, 2015 12:54 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:A library is full of books, most of which I don't want to read, I have Amazon Prime and their all you can eat book plan for 10 dollars a month, turns out that it is boring. :cry:

It was a too-clever quip at the implied conclusion that people would be bored and therefore want to work.

Personal anecdote: I was unemployed for 6 months before I found my current job. It was not in any way boring (which no doubt contributed to how long it took me to find a job), and apart from the money/skills problem, I would not have minded overly much to continue doing that given a lifetime guarantee of a liveable citizens wage. Maybe I'd work a bit to earn money for a better computer but that's really it.

There are many MANY things I haven't done but would like to do but am spending too much time at work to try. When part of your interest includes learning a large section of advanced mathematics too hard for you, as well as science across multiple disciplines, you could be engaged for a very long time without anything to show for it.
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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby elasto » Thu Mar 12, 2015 8:45 am UTC

Personal anecdote: I was unemployed for 6 months before I found my current job. It was not in any way boring (which no doubt contributed to how long it took me to find a job), and apart from the money/skills problem, I would not have minded overly much to continue doing that given a lifetime guarantee of a liveable citizens wage. Maybe I'd work a bit to earn money for a better computer but that's really it.


6 months? Sure. But could you spend 60 years doing nothing interesting, productive or useful? Unlikely. You'd be too bored. Eventually you'd do something that you could turn into a business - even if it's streaming yourself playing video games...

There are many MANY things I haven't done but would like to do but am spending too much time at work to try. When part of your interest includes learning a large section of advanced mathematics too hard for you, as well as science across multiple disciplines, you could be engaged for a very long time without anything to show for it.

And that is a good example of why we should have a citizen's wage: So that people can take time-out for self-improvement. Why should it only be university students who can spend 3+ years of their lives improving their education and not having to work? Why can't taking time out to learn be a life-long possibility?

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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby morriswalters » Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:00 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:If you truly enjoy books, it's unlikely that you'll run out. More likely, the sheer volume makes it difficult to find what you want.
There are probably millions of books. I've read my fair share. But do anything long enough and it gets boring. The same thing with movies, TV, and music. The problem is that they are passive. Work isn't passive.
elasto wrote:Why can't taking time out to learn be a life-long possibility?
It already can be. But knowledge in my opinion serves a purpose. And without that purpose it isn't very meaningful. I enjoy learning the outlines of many things, but to know any one thing in detail requires doing it. I don't know how a citizens wage might work, but if you could make it work, I believe that it would leave too much time to you.

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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby elasto » Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:20 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:It already can be. But knowledge in my opinion serves a purpose. And without that purpose it isn't very meaningful. I enjoy learning the outlines of many things, but to know any one thing in detail requires doing it. I don't know how a citizens wage might work, but if you could make it work, I believe that it would leave too much time to you.

Not sure what you're saying.

Of course learning is best done by doing. A citizen's wage would free people up to a lifelong pursuit of learning by doing - whether by themselves or alongside others - whether physically present together or telelearning - whether in paid employment or not. A citizen's wage doesn't stop someone getting a job in order to learn after all. In fact it makes it more likely that a person applying for a job is actually genuinely interested in it and learning from it - and is not simply going to go through the motions and provide a poor service...

I get that for some people maximizing economic growth is the be-all and end-all - and hence the rich accruing capital at the expense of the poor is advantageous - but, for me, maximizing freedom is the end goal - because that has the best chance of maximizing happiness, satisfaction, contentment and so on. Maybe the world's next Beethoven can't compose because he had to drop out of education to flip burgers to feed his siblings...

I'd rather a society with 1% growth where 90% of citizens are happy than a society with 5% growth where 10% of citizens are happy. And that's assuming that increasing happiness through spreading economic freedom actually costs economic growth to begin with; A glance at Scandinavian societies suggests that you can have your cake and eat it...

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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby morriswalters » Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:53 am UTC

I'm not opposed or for a citizens wage, just speaking against the idea that people would just lay down and become lotus eaters if one existed. Anyway just an idle thought.

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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby Chen » Thu Mar 12, 2015 12:03 pm UTC

I'm curious about all this talk of getting bored. I'm fairly sure a number of people here have worked minimum wage jobs. Were those not mind-numbingly boring after a while too? I can't imagine there are many people who would choose to work in retail or food service to alleviate boredom. They do it because they need the money. I'd be curious to see what the impact of a citizen's wage would be on these types of jobs. Would goods and services dramatically rise in price because you'd have to pay your employees so much more before they bothered working for you? Would the citizens wage then be increased to deal with the new prices? Or would the wage remain the same and thus more people would need to work back in these fields to be able to afford any luxuries?

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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby elasto » Thu Mar 12, 2015 12:10 pm UTC

Chen wrote:I'm curious about all this talk of getting bored. I'm fairly sure a number of people here have worked minimum wage jobs. Were those not mind-numbingly boring after a while too? I can't imagine there are many people who would choose to work in retail or food service to alleviate boredom. They do it because they need the money. I'd be curious to see what the impact of a citizen's wage would be on these types of jobs. Would goods and services dramatically rise in price because you'd have to pay your employees so much more before they bothered working for you? Would the citizens wage then be increased to deal with the new prices? Or would the wage remain the same and thus more people would need to work back in these fields to be able to afford any luxuries?


The stats suggest that the number of people who stay permanently in such jobs is quite low. People already pick up skills and move upwards in the jobs market. So, yes, it's pretty boring but relatively short term. The people that get stuck in them are usually the most deserving of help anyhow (such as carers).

There could theoretically be upward pressure on wages in such jobs, but personally I doubt it would rise beyond the minimum and living wage levels that are already provably affordable. And many of these jobs will be outsourced to AI and robotics over the coming decades anyway. Anything that's trivial for an unskilled person to do is going to become trivial for an AI to do within our lifetimes, so we are going to need to have a plan to deal with that anyway. I don't see any alternative to a citizen's wage for that; Not even a minimum wage will help if unskilled and semi-skilled jobs no longer exist...

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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Mar 12, 2015 3:02 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:If you truly enjoy books, it's unlikely that you'll run out. More likely, the sheer volume makes it difficult to find what you want.
There are probably millions of books. I've read my fair share. But do anything long enough and it gets boring. The same thing with movies, TV, and music. The problem is that they are passive. Work isn't passive.


Oh sure. You probably won't JUST read. Everyone needs a certain degree of variety. But it won't necessarily be productive variety. Plenty of entertainment options exist that are not passive, for instance. Maybe you enjoy video games, or playing disc golf or whatever.

Some people who are heavily driven to create will no doubt continue to do so, but not everyone shares this drive, has it to the same extent, or is unable to fill it via recreation. Some people seriously can play world of warcraft for a great many hours on end. I was one of those people for a time. Work -> wow -> sleep was mostly my life for a good bit. Glad that's well over, but I've seen a LOT of people get into it to that level.

elasto wrote:6 months? Sure. But could you spend 60 years doing nothing interesting, productive or useful? Unlikely. You'd be too bored. Eventually you'd do something that you could turn into a business - even if it's streaming yourself playing video games...


Yeah, lots of people stream video game footage now. It's not something society has a huge shortage of...

elasto wrote:And that is a good example of why we should have a citizen's wage: So that people can take time-out for self-improvement. Why should it only be university students who can spend 3+ years of their lives improving their education and not having to work? Why can't taking time out to learn be a life-long possibility?


Frankly, university isn't the sole place for self improvement. In fact, I often found class assignments a distraction from actually learning. Not always, granted, I learned quite a bit there, but a LOT of knowledge was self taught, or picked up on the job. Learning is highly useful, but employment is educational.

elasto wrote:I get that for some people maximizing economic growth is the be-all and end-all - and hence the rich accruing capital at the expense of the poor is advantageous - but, for me, maximizing freedom is the end goal - because that has the best chance of maximizing happiness, satisfaction, contentment and so on. Maybe the world's next Beethoven can't compose because he had to drop out of education to flip burgers to feed his siblings...


Economic growth is freeing. The US can do a lot of crap that less developed places can't because we have a giant pile of resources.

Life is an RPG, really. But with very little attention by the game designer for anything like balance. Optimization is totally a thing, and advantages in one area frequently confer advantages in other areas. As an individual, being wealthy gives you more options in practice. As a civilization...same, same.

Chen wrote:I'm curious about all this talk of getting bored. I'm fairly sure a number of people here have worked minimum wage jobs. Were those not mind-numbingly boring after a while too? I can't imagine there are many people who would choose to work in retail or food service to alleviate boredom. They do it because they need the money.


Oh, yes. Hell, they're sufficiently boring that people jump ship now as soon as something better comes along, so there's a constant turnover.

Not a lot of people are seeking fulfillment via scrubbing toilets, but toilets got to be scrubbed.

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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby morriswalters » Thu Mar 12, 2015 3:32 pm UTC

Well when I speak of boring in this context it tends to be in the vein of, "idle hands are the devils workshop". I'd love to believe that people would do the right thing, but experience tells me a different story. I'm curious about what it would do to society. I have a tendency to expect the worst. So I'm probably not offering much to the conversation.:D

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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby ucim » Thu Mar 12, 2015 3:36 pm UTC

Money isn't a thing. It's a chit that says "government owes you something". It is an obligation of society. Giving people free money so they don't have to work puts an obligation on society to support them. The work still has to be done. Making it more direct by pulling money out of the equation, if we decide to feed everyone a chicken every day, we are imposing an obligation on chicken farmers to work harder and to give away their chickens. It defeats the purpose, unless "chicken farmers have too many chickens and too much free time."

elasto wrote:...And many of these jobs will be outsourced to AI and robotics over the coming decades anyway. Anything that's trivial for an unskilled person to do is going to become trivial for an AI to do within our lifetimes, so we are going to need to have a plan to deal with that anyway. I don't see any alternative to a citizen's wage for that; Not even a minimum wage will help if unskilled and semi-skilled jobs no longer exist...
We can see the effects right now as they are outsourced to developing nations. We are building a society of dependency rather than a society of self-sufficiency. On one hand that's the nature of civilization itself, but on the other hand, it leaves us vulnerable, in this case to the whims of the governing class who is handing out their largesse.

At least a minimum wage is tied to work that supports society.

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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby elasto » Thu Mar 12, 2015 3:53 pm UTC

ucim wrote:Money isn't a thing. It's a chit that says "government owes you something". It is an obligation of society. Giving people free money so they don't have to work puts an obligation on society to support them.


Well...

"Giving people free money so they don't have to work puts an obligation on society to support them"
"Giving people free education so they don't have to educate themselves puts an obligation on society to support them"
"Giving people free healthcare so they don't have to heal themselves puts an obligation on society to support them"
"Giving people free roads so they don't have to build their own puts an obligation on society to support them"

Maybe we just draw the line in different places. Maybe you support some of those 'giving people free X' but not others. I've already stated I think $10k a year is too high as a citizen's wage; I prefer more targeted benefits such as free education and healthcare. I would just include housing, food and a few other things, so people could subsist but would need to work to get anything other than the basics. In return I'd lower or abolish the minimum wage.

Don't underestimate the liberation that not needing to worry about the basics brings, and don't think that people like Bill Gates would suddenly not bother creating Microsoft if he could only have walked away with $20Bn instead of $40Bn.

Ambitious, driven people work because they are ambitious and driven. They aren't going to suddenly not bother if their tax rate is 10% higher or whatever. That's as much of a fallacy as imagining that someone given food stamps is suddenly going to chuck in their job.

We can see the effects right now as they are outsourced to developing nations. We are building a society of dependency rather than a society of self-sufficiency. On one hand that's the nature of civilization itself, but on the other hand, it leaves us vulnerable, in this case to the whims of the governing class who is handing out their largesse.

Agreed. I'd be much happier if AI research were nationalized such that the profits from AI (which will eventually be most of the economy) were owned by us all rather than a tiny, elite, untouchable group of companies.

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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby ShadE » Thu Mar 12, 2015 4:12 pm UTC

OK. Fine. I accept that Math does not necessarily provide the answer you want, or that is politically feasible. I posit we still do not know enough to say it cannot explain a perpetual motion machine or 3 > X > 5... for all we know those conditions could exist in a black hole.

Just some rough numbers from Googleverse:
$13.4T in US Total Personal Income in 2012... let's say $13.9T in 2014 (modest 2%/yr)
319M US Population (2014)
156M US Labor Force (Dec 2014, incl unemployed)
$12K 2015 Poverty (one person household)
$20K 2015 Poverty (three person household)

So for the total population there is $43K in yearly salary per person... 3.7x poverty. Every person. Just drilling down to the labor force, which is what a minimum wage would impact, that is $85K per person (i.e. 4x poverty for household of three, the single mother of two example). Surely there is a way, using currently understood Math, that could create a wage-range that would keep workers out of poverty and still give a premium to those intelligent/lucky enough to be in the high tiers. A range still allows for some market forces to set individual wages.

I concede this does not jive with the current special interest politics in the U.S. of "large gains for the few, small costs to the many".

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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:59 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
ucim wrote:Money isn't a thing. It's a chit that says "government owes you something". It is an obligation of society. Giving people free money so they don't have to work puts an obligation on society to support them.


Well...

"Giving people free money so they don't have to work puts an obligation on society to support them"
"Giving people free education so they don't have to educate themselves puts an obligation on society to support them"
"Giving people free healthcare so they don't have to heal themselves puts an obligation on society to support them"
"Giving people free roads so they don't have to build their own puts an obligation on society to support them"


Well, yes. All of those things are true.

Because nothing is really free. Somebody is paying for all of them. Language like free simply avoids discussing that fact. Something like "government funded roads" is more informative than "free roads", and "these roads are funded via a gas tax" is more informative still. Then, we can talk about things like "Are these gas taxes a good way of paying for these roads" or other similar questions, and we can generally break it down to costs vs benefits and make a nice analysis.

Note that this is much more precise than simply saying "society", as society is also a super-vague term. So, in the example of gas taxes and roads, people are not being taxed evenly, but in proportion to use of roads, roughly. It isn't quite perfect, perhaps, but in principle, it is at least an attempt to collect payment in correspondance to use, which doesn't really seem like much of a subsidy.

Maybe we just draw the line in different places. Maybe you support some of those 'giving people free X' but not others. I've already stated I think $10k a year is too high as a citizen's wage; I prefer more targeted benefits such as free education and healthcare. I would just include housing, food and a few other things, so people could subsist but would need to work to get anything other than the basics. In return I'd lower or abolish the minimum wage.


How much, and how would it be collected? $10k a year isn't a particularly high standard of living, but what do you propose in order to cover housing, food, and those few other things?

Don't underestimate the liberation that not needing to worry about the basics brings, and don't think that people like Bill Gates would suddenly not bother creating Microsoft if he could only have walked away with $20Bn instead of $40Bn.


Bill Gates didn't know he was creating something that would be worth $40b. Or $20b. Hoped, perhaps, but perhaps if he'd grown up in a different environment, he'd have felt differently about his choices. Hard to tell with certainty, because of the lack of spare earth's to test with. However, he's one dude. We don't need to care about if it would affect him, just if it would affect people on average.

Ambitious, driven people work because they are ambitious and driven. They aren't going to suddenly not bother if their tax rate is 10% higher or whatever. That's as much of a fallacy as imagining that someone given food stamps is suddenly going to chuck in their job.


Oh. Well, giving public assistance has been shown(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/10783556/Benefit-cuts-creating-new-generation-of-entrepreneurs-Bank-of-England-suggests.html) to affect employment rates, so I guess by "fallacy" you mean "proven fact". People respond to incentives and disincentives. If they did not, then laws would be mostly futile in general.

Agreed. I'd be much happier if AI research were nationalized such that the profits from AI (which will eventually be most of the economy) were owned by us all rather than a tiny, elite, untouchable group of companies.


Everyone is always in fear of AI....AI is a hard problem. It's yielding very, very slowly. There is no AI conspiracy of wealth. Hell, plenty of researchers are at educational institutions, or otherwise working for fairly little economic benefit. Yes, some are in the corporate world...but advances in one area pretty much help the whole field. Kicking corporate research out basically would just bog down everything.

Also, I find the word "nationalize" to again be telling. People worry about others being richer than them, but the idea that their country will be richer than the rest of the world doesn't even appear as a concern.

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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby Zamfir » Fri Mar 13, 2015 1:46 pm UTC

Well, giving public assistance has been shown(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politic ... gests.html) to affect employment rates, so I guess by "fallacy" you mean "proven fact". People respond to incentives and disincentives. If they did not, then laws would be mostly futile in general.

The article is about the fraction of self-employed people in the post-recession job growth. I am not sure about the situation in the UK, but there is a similar trend in the Netherlands. In our case, this largely driven by taxation changes that encourage people to become 'independents without employees', one-man companies. These people typically do similar work as employed people, but structured more as an indepedent company. Multiple employers, fixed-term contracts, less employment protection, less participation in social insurance funds for employees.

There are pros and cons to this system, but one consequence is that they make certain statistics hard to read. The governments likes to trot them out as exciting dynamic entrepeneurs, using similar terms as that telegraph article. In practice, many of them are laid-off people who are now doing the same work on more precarious terms. Often working billable hours that would count them as under-employed if they had a regular job, paying for their own expenses, skimping on their pension build-up, etc. Self-employment is big among the construction workers hit hardest by the recession.

It's not all bad, but it good to keep this counterimage in mind when faced with upbeat retoric from the usual suspects*. Some of the New Improved Entrepreneurs are simply worse off than before the recession, but in a way that is not well reflected in traditional employment statistics.

* Note that Iain Duncan Smith's job description is basically 'Minister of Benefit Cutting'. He's about as reliable on the effects of benefit cutting as BAT is about the effects of smoking.

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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby jseah » Fri Mar 13, 2015 3:48 pm UTC

elasto wrote:6 months? Sure. But could you spend 60 years doing nothing interesting, productive or useful? Unlikely. You'd be too bored. Eventually you'd do something that you could turn into a business - even if it's streaming yourself playing video games...

Er... not really. I write as a hobby, and that can already suck ridiculous amounts of time. The number of unplayed games and visual novels and books I would like to read continues to pile up faster than I take things out (what I have on my harddrive and various electronic sales accounts is enough to occupy me for a good two years of full time play... and every two weeks, the backlog increases by four weeks).
I sometimes put my hand into making a program or two for the hell of it and I have an idea for a computer game.

None of it is guaranteed to be economically useful. Just things I find interesting to try.

elasto wrote:And that is a good example of why we should have a citizen's wage: So that people can take time-out for self-improvement. Why should it only be university students who can spend 3+ years of their lives improving their education and not having to work? Why can't taking time out to learn be a life-long possibility?

Well, I am in favour of a citizen's wage. But I think a CW will cause a large collapse in productive enterprise and so is only feasible if the economy can dispense with most of it. IE. We need automation, we need to reduce the number of people required to do things, we need AI (perhaps not the Strong AI sort, but just the specialized AIs good at jobs they're designed for).

Attempting a CW in any other condition is, I feel, a fool's game.
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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Mar 13, 2015 5:30 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
Well, giving public assistance has been shown(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politic ... gests.html) to affect employment rates, so I guess by "fallacy" you mean "proven fact". People respond to incentives and disincentives. If they did not, then laws would be mostly futile in general.

The article is about the fraction of self-employed people in the post-recession job growth. I am not sure about the situation in the UK, but there is a similar trend in the Netherlands. In our case, this largely driven by taxation changes that encourage people to become 'independents without employees', one-man companies. These people typically do similar work as employed people, but structured more as an indepedent company. Multiple employers, fixed-term contracts, less employment protection, less participation in social insurance funds for employees.

There are pros and cons to this system, but one consequence is that they make certain statistics hard to read. The governments likes to trot them out as exciting dynamic entrepeneurs, using similar terms as that telegraph article. In practice, many of them are laid-off people who are now doing the same work on more precarious terms. Often working billable hours that would count them as under-employed if they had a regular job, paying for their own expenses, skimping on their pension build-up, etc. Self-employment is big among the construction workers hit hardest by the recession.

It's not all bad, but it good to keep this counterimage in mind when faced with upbeat retoric from the usual suspects*. Some of the New Improved Entrepreneurs are simply worse off than before the recession, but in a way that is not well reflected in traditional employment statistics.

* Note that Iain Duncan Smith's job description is basically 'Minister of Benefit Cutting'. He's about as reliable on the effects of benefit cutting as BAT is about the effects of smoking.


Yeah, the total picture is more complex than portrayed in that article, and it ain't all as simple as "just cut stuff to fix everything", but for the purposes of "incentives affect human employment behavior", I think it suffices, as that's a fairly simple thing.

And any changes as sweeping as a citizen's wage/basic wage program that provides enough to live on without working is going to be a pretty big deal. So, it isn't really reasonable to assume that people will just keep doing the same thing in a different system. All of us are products of our culture/society/economic system, and if we'd grown up in a different one, we'd be different.

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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby EMTP » Tue Mar 17, 2015 6:59 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Note that this is much more precise than simply saying "society", as society is also a super-vague term. So, in the example of gas taxes and roads, people are not being taxed evenly, but in proportion to use of roads, roughly. It isn't quite perfect, perhaps, but in principle, it is at least an attempt to collect payment in correspondance to use, which doesn't really seem like much of a subsidy.


But the unspoken assumption in trying to match taxation to benefit is that the money in your possession prior to taxation is intrinsically yours, and society has no part in putting it there. That's far from being the case. Without society, the bank account doesn't even exist. The rules of society, from inheritance laws to joint-stock corporations, play a large part in what ends up in that bank account.

Of course, in a free-market system, we try to maintain some correspondence between the value of your work to your fellows and the money in your bank account, and insofar as that mechanism is successful, you have some claim that you have a better right to what's in the account than Jan from down the block. Or at least, we can argue that the system works better while people can be confident that their rewards will reliably adhere to them, at least to a broadly shared and predictable extent.

But this correspondence, which is not perfect, doesn't obviate the fact that the rules of society that put money in the account are fundamentally similar to the rules that take money out. It's illogical to embrace the $200 from passing Go as "yours" and then complain that you have to pay rent to the owner of Baltic. Both are simply the rules of the game.

Tyndmyr wrote:Everyone is always in fear of AI....AI is a hard problem. It's yielding very, very slowly. There is no AI conspiracy of wealth. Hell, plenty of researchers are at educational institutions, or otherwise working for fairly little economic benefit. Yes, some are in the corporate world...but advances in one area pretty much help the whole field. Kicking corporate research out basically would just bog down everything.


In today's news from the edge of the singularity, autocorrect changes my "fyi" to "dying."

Also, I find the word "nationalize" to again be telling. People worry about others being richer than them, but the idea that their country will be richer than the rest of the world doesn't even appear as a concern.


Some people do worry about that. But the idea of nations as separate and distinct units is still very strong. Doubtless it will pass, and other ideas about human groupings will replace it. But for now nationalism is still going strong.
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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Mar 17, 2015 7:37 pm UTC

EMTP wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Note that this is much more precise than simply saying "society", as society is also a super-vague term. So, in the example of gas taxes and roads, people are not being taxed evenly, but in proportion to use of roads, roughly. It isn't quite perfect, perhaps, but in principle, it is at least an attempt to collect payment in correspondance to use, which doesn't really seem like much of a subsidy.


But the unspoken assumption in trying to match taxation to benefit is that the money in your possession prior to taxation is intrinsically yours, and society has no part in putting it there. That's far from being the case. Without society, the bank account doesn't even exist. The rules of society, from inheritance laws to joint-stock corporations, play a large part in what ends up in that bank account.


Society is a fuzzy handwavy term. Identify the actual debts, the parties, and the amounts.

After all, why does "society" end at national borders? Again, why would this be any different domestically vs internationally? Surely money and goods flow pretty much 'round the world nowadays. We can't really pretend countries don't affect each other.

So, the "society" explanation fails hard for minimum wage just like everything else.

But this correspondence, which is not perfect, doesn't obviate the fact that the rules of society that put money in the account are fundamentally similar to the rules that take money out. It's illogical to embrace the $200 from passing Go as "yours" and then complain that you have to pay rent to the owner of Baltic. Both are simply the rules of the game.


Ah, yes, the rules are justified, because they are the rules, and this justifies any additional, new rules.

This does not justify any set of rules over any other set, and is therefore meaningless, irrelevant, and can be ignored with no net change of support for anything.

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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby Cradarc » Sun Mar 22, 2015 2:52 am UTC

Everyone is entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Pursuit of Happiness:
There are no laws that prevent you from rising up the socioeconomic ladder. The pursuit may be long and arduous, but it is open to everyone.
Liberty:
Nobody can force you to take a job you don't want. You are free to pursue whatever you want.
Life:
Here is the tricky part. Everyone is entitled to life, regardless of what they're pursuing or how well they are pursuing "happiness" in the economic rat race. What is "life", and how does it differ from "happiness"?

I think this is the crucial question when we're debating minimum wage/welfare.

People need to "pursue happiness" to keep the economy going, but for some people, simply being alive is an acceptable level of happiness. These people throw a wrench in the welfare/citizen's wage solution.
On the other hand, we can't simply not have a baseline, because there is extreme competition at the bottom of the ladder. High demand for jobs pushes wages down below the level required to sustain life. Unions exist to mitigate this effect, but unions themselves can become power hungry.
Another solution is to have the government dictate everyone's wages and everyone's jobs (AKA communism). In theory, if the people in charge are intelligent and just, everybody would win.

The first option relies on people being motivated. The second option relies on businesses/institutions being considerate of individuals. The third option relies on the government having integrity. It's a "pick your poison" scenario.
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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby ucim » Sun Mar 22, 2015 4:35 am UTC

Cradarc wrote:The first option relies on people being motivated. The second option relies on businesses/institutions being considerate of individuals. The third option relies on the government having integrity. It's a "pick your poison" scenario.
I would say that the second and third options depend on fantasy, but that's not quite the point. But in the case of failure (of what is being relied on here) on either of the three scenarios, who suffers?

Only in the first case is the failing entity the one that suffers. In the other two cases, the failing entity does not take the main brunt of failure.

This is why I favor the first option with certain corrective factors over any of the other two options, despite corrective factors.

In the first case, minimum wage is a corrective factor to be applied. In the other two cases, it's a way of life.

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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby Cradarc » Sun Mar 22, 2015 5:48 am UTC

ucim wrote:Only in the first case is the failing entity the one that suffers. In the other two cases, the failing entity does not take the main brunt of failure.

In the first option, the people who aren't motivated to work still get their citizen's wage. They don't suffer. Society suffers. Society as a whole stagnates when people don't put their full potential to use.

Minimum wage is actually a balance of 1 and 2. It withholds "life" from the unemployed and guarantees it to the employed.
The problem is, with such a large, diverse country, minimum wage seekers do not all have the same needs. For John, the minimum wage may be part of his "pursuit of happiness" while for Jane, it is just "life". When John and Jane compete for a job, who gets it? The one whom the employer likes. In many cases, this is John instead of Jane.
This problem exists because jobs are really part of "pursuit of happiness", and by linking living wage to jobs, we are actually guaranteeing the "pursuit of life" rather than life itself.

This compromise divides people into two groups. Some look at John claim proof that such jobs are actually "pursuit of happiness" jobs that are being overpaid, therefore the system must be choosing option 1. Others look at Jane and say life is not being guaranteed, therefore the system must be choosing option 2.
People who like option 1 hate it. People who like option 2 also hate it. (People who like option 3 don't exist in 'murica.)
I've come to realize that there is no ideal minimum wage, because the very notion is going to make people unhappy.
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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby Quercus » Sun Mar 22, 2015 6:55 am UTC

Cradarc wrote:There are no laws that prevent you from rising up the socioeconomic ladder. The pursuit may be long and arduous, but it is open to everyone.

No laws of the United States. There are plenty of laws of physics and biology that can completely prevent someone from rising up the socioeconomic ladder. If you are sufficiently ill or disabled you are in effect debarred from taking part in economic activity. This is an important point, because in order to be intellectually honest it must be acknowledged that certain economic solutions will cause these people to suffer, and still others will cause them to die. Now you could argue a position in which that is an acceptable cost, but a lot of people don't acknowledge this cost at all. I don't think you fall into that category, because you go on to say the following:
Cradarc wrote:Here is the tricky part. Everyone is entitled to life, regardless of what they're pursuing or how well they are pursuing "happiness" in the economic rat race. What is "life", and how does it differ from "happiness"?

but I felt I needed to point this out, because it seems to be a common fallacy to assume that everyone is capable of meaningful economic activity given sufficient incentives.

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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby ucim » Sun Mar 22, 2015 2:11 pm UTC

Cradarc wrote:In the first option, the people who aren't motivated to work still get their citizen's wage.
Not the way I had read it. If that's the case, then there's no solution absent a number greater than five and less than three.

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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby Cradarc » Sun Mar 22, 2015 8:25 pm UTC

Quercus,
You make a good point. There are people who are, by birth, a burden to society. It would be unfair to punish them for something they have no control over, but it would also be unfair to punish others by forcing them to pay what they do not owe.
One can imagine societies where 1%, 5%, 20% of the people are unable to perform meaningful work. At what point do we say "screw them for the sake of the majority" versus "help them for the sake of humanity"? I don't know, and I don't think anyone does.

Ucim,
I think we have all agreed there is no solution. Right now we're just trying to minimize the error. Unfortunately people disagree about what type of error is acceptable.
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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby Quercus » Sun Mar 22, 2015 11:11 pm UTC

Cradarc wrote:Quercus,
You make a good point. There are people who are, by birth, a burden to society.

I'd suggest the more specific phrase "economic burden" here. While I'm sure that there are a few people who are a burden to society in every way it is possible to be so, there are many people who, while not able to contribute economically, nevertheless provide value to society socially or artistically. I certainly know some people who, due to their disabilities, will likely never be able to work a day in their lives, but nevertheless bring a great deal of joy to a great number of people. Assisting with the pursuit of happiness of others seems to me to be a valuable societal function, yet not one that always garners monetary reward.

It would be unfair to punish them for something they have no control over, but it would also be unfair to punish others by forcing them to pay what they do not owe.

This, of course, depends on how you determine what people owe to society. I would personally suggest that simply living in a relatively peaceful, free and well-ordered society grants one benefits far beyond those that are directly provided by the state. Civil society is important too. For example taxation pays for a police force and a judicial system to enforce the social contract, but it does not directly pay towards ensuring the generation of a society where people are for the most part willing to abide by the social contract of their own free will. Of course, it indirectly pays for this in many ways: it pays for education that instils respect for the rule of law, it pays for public spaces where people can feel comfortable and not threatened etc. I would tender that paying for economic security for those who are unable to provide it for themselves fulfils much the same function in providing a stable and healthy society. I (perhaps naively) believe that a society in which such people suffer preventably would be a worse society for everybody, not just for those people who suffer themselves. But perhaps I have taken John Donne too much to heart.

One can imagine societies where 1%, 5%, 20% of the people are unable to perform meaningful work. At what point do we say "screw them for the sake of the majority" versus "help them for the sake of humanity"? I don't know, and I don't think anyone does.

I certainly don't, and I'm very glad that the level of disease and disability in our society does not make that decision very hard for me. That is, I don't know where the cut-off is, but I believe we are very firmly on the "help them" side of it at the moment, at least for those who are genuinely unable to work, even acknowledging the inevitable extra cost of "casting a wide (safety) net" and allowing some people who could work to benefit from it.

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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby ucim » Mon Mar 23, 2015 1:14 am UTC

Cradarc wrote:Unfortunately people disagree about what type of error is acceptable.
Bingo!

Quercus wrote:...there are many people who, while not able to contribute economically, nevertheless provide value to society socially or artistically. I certainly know some people who, due to their disabilities, will likely never be able to work a day in their lives, but nevertheless bring a great deal of joy to a great number of people. Assisting with the pursuit of happiness of others seems to me to be a valuable societal function, yet not one that always garners monetary reward.
I agree 100%
Spoiler:
It's also the dilemma of the housewife.
I can't think of a system which rewards them for this contribution that they make, that doesn't also reward lots of other nonproductive behavior. I think this is one of the things where individual acts of kindness and charity operate best. It's certainly possible for government to do it on a small scale (e.g. a town where, say, the governor knows his constituency personally), but I do not see it happening well and easily on a large scale (i.e. an entire state, or even a fair sized city).

Jose
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Re: How should minimum wage be determined?

Postby Sizik » Mon Mar 23, 2015 5:06 am UTC

ucim wrote:I can't think of a system which rewards them for this contribution that they make, that doesn't also reward lots of other nonproductive behavior. I think this is one of the things where individual acts of kindness and charity operate best. It's certainly possible for government to do it on a small scale (e.g. a town where, say, the governor knows his constituency personally), but I do not see it happening well and easily on a large scale (i.e. an entire state, or even a fair sized city).

Jose


Perhaps some sort of system where some portion of your paycheck is a new form of money that you can't directly spend yourself; you have to give it to someone else instead. So, it's essentially only useful for personal exchanges, tips, charity/donations, etc., and not for normally purchased goods and services. To incentivize use, spending them could also grant you that amount of money (so if you tip someone $5, you also get $5 when they redeem it for normal cash).
gmalivuk wrote:
King Author wrote:If space (rather, distance) is an illusion, it'd be possible for one meta-me to experience both body's sensory inputs.
Yes. And if wishes were horses, wishing wells would fill up very quickly with drowned horses.


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