jseah wrote:On the other hand, I support a minimum wage for the completely wrong reason.
Namely that I think our organizations have not been that enthusiastic at implementing the changes required to make full use of automation technology. There is still a ton more productivity to be gained by adding a few more machines.
Minimum wage is effectively an indirect subsidy to investment in labour productivity increasing technologies and organizational structure, by way of increasing the cost of the default (have more people).
*shrug* That's a valid economic effect, yes. While I quite like automation, I'm not sure that subsidzing it is ideal. Like others have said, net negative. But it's definitely an interesting point to argue, and one could construct a pretty good argument for minimum wages based upon such a goal. Perhaps one feels that creation of AIs is some great public good, and this would push that along.
Anytime I see something like that and realize that Glenn Beck believes it, I hold my nose and take a second look. I'm still reading but my take away to this point is that while some dicks believed this, others who supported a minimum age didn't. From a footnote on page 214.
Not all progressives endorsed eugenics, and not all of those who endorsed eugenics were progressives, traditionally defined, still less proponents of minimum wages. Taussig was not especially well-disposed to minimum wages, but his intemperate remarks measure the influence of eugenic ideas upon economics in the Progressive Era.
However it informs my beliefs about economists in general.
It's important to note that you've usually got a lot of different factions even among economists. Sure, some have advocated some terrible things. So have some scientists. And some doctors. In certain time frames, you have some pretty terrible popular ideas. Studying why these ideas died out, and who opposed them and why, can be quite interesting. Decrying all economists is a bit like decrying all scientists. It's just too broad.
ucim wrote:Who's going to pay it?
How about the rich?
This is always a pat answer, but it rarely is accompanied by an actual plan that's reasonable. Citizen's wage is an economically terrible idea, regardless of who you intend to pay for it.
And who's going to flip burgers for next to nothing if they already get paid for doing next to nothing?
Anyone not satisfied with sitting on their arse all day - which will be almost everyone. I dunno if you've ever been out of work but, after the novelty factor of having free time it's damn boring and unsatisfying. Sure, if the citizen's wage was set ridiculously high, and a burger flipper's wage was set ridiculously low, what you say would become true - but that's why the citizen's wage wouldn't
be that high or a burger flipper's wage that low.
I am a crazy person, and thus, work multiple jobs basically constantly because I hate boredom. And also, because I like money. If money ceased to be a large factor, I'm sure I would still keep busy, because that desire would be unchanged. But the things I pursued would not necessarily be the things society needs if the money factor went away. The simple fact is that while we like doing things, the things we enjoy are not necessarily the same as the things others need. PLENTY of jobs are sort of tedious and unenjoyable, and have occupants that wish to do other things, but who need to pay bills. Few people dream of flipping burgers at McDonalds.
There is nothing wrong with needing to work for a living. It's what drives the economy.
That's fine in a full employment society. But ours is not one of those. If you need to work for a living but have no skills worth anything, then, what, you deserve to crawl in a hole and die?
That's inefficient. Growing a human to adult age, training them, etc is a costly thing. It is better that this person gain skills.
Additionally, full employment is not a thing. There will always be frictional unemployment, and that's fine. It is persistant unemployment that is of great concern.
elasto wrote:Any, anyway, how is that principle supposed to play when AI and mechanization eventually becomes cheaper and better than human labor at every job - skilled and unskilled? We might disagree on the timescale that will come about (I think it will be 50-100 years), but unless we bomb ourselves back to the stone age it will come about...
Ah, yes, technology will get TOO good, and thus ruin everything. Nah. We'll handle that just fine. We've had tech advances throughout all of human history, and it's been quite nice.
And seriously, people LOVE to worry about AI. Why is artificial intelligence any more worrying than natural intelligence? What, precisely, are we even worrying about, given the number of different portrayals? We'll likely just keep making incremental improvements, and as we learn more and more, we will be far better equipped to make realistic assessments of capabilities, rather than fear-mongering about unknowns.
You absolutely cannot convince me that a CEO buying his second private jet needs that money more than this woman does.
Perhaps. But it is possible that society needs him to have that private jet more than that woman to have money. This is an unpleasant truth, but people starve to death every day. Oh, maybe not so often in civilized countries, but in less bountiful regions, a famine can kill a ton of people.
And yet, we do not dismantle our middle class lives to subsidize them. Why, we even spend money on entertainment and status symbols instead of spending it to them. How are we different from the rich?
Is it reasonable to expect a person to give up all entertainment, status symbols, etc? Would our system work if such was expected of the middle class? Why are the rich different?
EMTP wrote:If everyone is getting enough money to survive without working, no one needs disability insurance.
Maybe I'm misunderstanding how disability insurance works in the US (I don't know if the amount received is scaled depending on individual care needs for example), but the problem with that is that some people need a lot more
money to survive without working than others. The cost of living for a severely disabled person (someone with tetraplegia above C4 for example) might be an order of magnitude higher than for a non-disabled person. If you want to avoid either disabled people suffering and dying due to lack of adequate care, or giving everyone a ridiculously generous citizens wage to cover a small proportion of people with complex care needs, you need to do some form of testing/assessment. I agree that the use of it can probably be substantially reduced
, but I don't think it can be eliminated.
You are correct. No potential living wage scenario can possibly remove this. You'd need a very high wage to cover all such scenarios*. Significantly higher than the current average. You cannot possibly pay everyone above average wages.
Also, while paying everyone would remove some incentive for fraud, and fraud is certainly undesirable, our mechanisms for avoiding fraud are fairly effective in general. The vast majority of people receiving help are not doing so fraudulently.
*Even ignoring medical expenses as a seperate issue, people have different incomes, different expenses, and thus, require different levels of insurance. If you live in an expensive part of the country, your mortgage alone might be 2-3 thousand a month. On a townhouse or similar, not a mansion. To provide a reasonable income replacement, you would need a quite large "living wage". Note that current disability insurance does often contain allowances for some extra expenses due to the disability, though medical insurance is usually purchased as well.
ucim wrote:Yeah. They [the rich] have "too much money".
On a utility curve they absolutely do. One extra dollar to a millionaire makes them less happier than giving an extra dollar to a starving person. It's a no-brainer who should get the extra dollar - unless you regard a rich person's extra happiness more important than a poor person's?
That guy who wants to buy heroin but has no heroin money will be EXTRA happy to get it. Therefore, all money should be spent on heroin.
EMTP wrote:Now if you have a natural rights theory of property and you want to argue that that is prior to society and society is bound to respect it, you can make that argument. I think it is difficult going to try and show a prior and absolute right to money that it actually created by the government, especially when we acknowledge that the government does have to claim some of "our" money in order for society to function.
This argument relies on equating money and wealth. Yes, the government prints the money and runs that system. Obviously. But the wealth is created by many people. Money is merely a means of conveniently transferring wealth. It is a representation of wealth, it is not wealth itself.
Cradarc wrote:You guys brought discussion to a far deeper level than I anticipated!
I think most people agree that everyone should be given the opportunity to do something productive in exchange for a healthy life.
If you have a healthy life, you already have that opportunity. That is intrinsic.
I am generally for people being healthy, but there are practical difficulties in guaranteeing perfect health. There are always outliers that we don't yet know how to fix.
Cradarc wrote:What if instead of a federal minimum wage, we have a law that mandates every state to have some sort of legislation that guarantees any full-time employee can afford a acceptable standard of living?
I'm not sure that goes quite far enough. If my (limited) understanding of economics is correct even a well functioning economy will operate with a small, but non-zero, unemployment rate. Therefore it is a consequence of the economic system we use that not everyone who wants one can obtain a full-time job. It seems rather invidious to choose to operate a system which mostly guarantees that not everyone employable can be employed, and then simultaneously say "if you're not employed you don't deserve an acceptable standard of living".
Feel free to shoot this down if it is bollocks, like I said my understanding of economics is limited.
You can't kill frictional unemployment entirely. There's a degree of it at all times. This does not mean "you can't get a job". It merely means that it takes some degree of time to find a job, during which time you are unemployed. If this is, for most people, a reasonably short time period, it can be planned for and dealt with. It is not entirely avoidable, because information does not travel instantly. You need time to find a new job which is mutually suitable to you and your prospective employer. Structural unemployment, where a person basically cannot find a job at all, is much different, and far worse. This is not a required thing, and should be avoided.
leady wrote:As a final aside government does create and enforce the use of its money, but its what money represents that important, which is time and effort.
That's what money should
represent, but that's often very far from the reality. Are you really telling me that CEOs put in hundreds
of times more time and effort than the lowest paid workers in their company, to justify their hundreds of times higher salary? Nah - money doesn't simply represent value - it accrues around power. That can be political power leading to regressive taxation, power over controlling renumeration for employees (look what happened
to the UK parliament when you let MPs set their own rules around expenses). The question is - what, if anything, can/should be done about this distortion of value by power? Anything effective pretty much has to involve the threat of violence at some point - people do not willingly give up either wealth or power.
And you have equated money with time and effort with your example. This is the labor theory of value, and it is false, and a bit of a strawman. Nobody is proposing that.
They are proposing that the CEO's time is significantly more valuable than the janitor's may be, and that his skillset is rarer.
Also, wages do correlate with time spent at work, so the CEO is generally spending more time at the office. This is particularly true when speaking of minimum wage jobs, which are often part time employment. Now, there is still usually a very large $/hr gap, and connections ARE important, but there is a very real element of "these people work harder" which gets ignored, distorted, or contradicted.