U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Covid-19 Information Page
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Economics
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 05-30-2020, 02:10 PM
 
1,982 posts, read 503,478 times
Reputation: 3191

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellis Bell View Post
"Any UBI estimate that just multiplies the size of the UBI by the population is a red flag that the cost has been over-inflated. A true cost estimate will always discuss who the net beneficiaries will be, who the net contributors will be, and the rate at which we gradually switch people over from being beneficiaries to being contributors as they get richer (this is sometimes called the claw-back rate, the withdrawal rate or the marginal tax rate—which is not an overall tax, but simply the rate at which people start to return their UBI to the communal pot as they earn more.)"
As much as I'd like to thumbs-up here, this is the kind of half-thunk nonsense that permeates the discussion. It assumes that recipients will be funded by tax on those who earn (at all) and above certain levels, which is the completely wrong and unworkable notion that most opponents base their opinion on.

There is absolutely no point or purpose in taxing workers (or the generic "wealthy") to pay for non workers.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 05-30-2020, 03:01 PM
 
Location: Right here; Right now
10,652 posts, read 5,044,736 times
Reputation: 1694
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellis Bell View Post
Universal basic income costs far less than you think

True costs

"Any UBI estimate that just multiplies the size of the UBI by the population is a red flag that the cost has been over-inflated. A true cost estimate will always discuss who the net beneficiaries will be, who the net contributors will be, and the rate at which we gradually switch people over from being beneficiaries to being contributors as they get richer (this is sometimes called the claw-back rate, the withdrawal rate or the marginal tax rate—which is not an overall tax, but simply the rate at which people start to return their UBI to the communal pot as they earn more.)"
Quote:
Originally Posted by Therblig View Post
As much as I'd like to thumbs-up here, this is the kind of half-thunk nonsense that permeates the discussion. It assumes that recipients will be funded by tax on those who earn (at all) and above certain levels, which is the completely wrong and unworkable notion that most opponents base their opinion on.

There is absolutely no point or purpose in taxing workers (or the generic "wealthy") to pay for non workers.
The hard right libertarian in me is going to tell you that you can not steal from one to give to another; it's unacceptable.
"End Federal Income Tax" ~ Ron Paul 2012 ~ That is the source of our ills, the federal income tax and more to the point, it isn't necessary to (steal) tax peoples earnings to fund the Federal Government, the States can do that through Excise Tax.

The u.s. government is the largest employer in the u.s.; the (theft of earnings) taxpayer is meeting that payroll. When the citizens of the u.s. say there is a need and yell it loud enough, the government steps in and says great, we'll take care of it and they open another government office and staff it and they use the taxpayer money to fund it --- what if people quit doing that, but take care of their needs by --- privatization? However, many private companies (private jails) rely on Federal Funding --- is this just crazy or what?
Quote:
There is absolutely no point or purpose in taxing workers (or the generic "wealthy") to pay for non workers.
The source will always be, taking from one and giving to another ...

"This point still holds if you’re raising money for UBI from other sources than income or wealth taxes. If you use a corporate or data tax, or a natural resource or carbon tax to finance a UBI, you are still redistributing money that would otherwise ultimately be profits that go to Google shareholders or BP executives. And you’re taking less away from them than you would think—because they too get a UBI. So the money they end up losing through the new tax is offset by the UBI they receive. The same holds if you’re paying for a UBI by reshuffling your budget."

Calling it a profit tax or an income tax, is six of one, half dozen of the other ... half-thunk nonsense my ars ... Andrew Yang called it a tech check, for a reason.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-30-2020, 09:59 PM
 
Location: Holly Neighborhood, Austin, Texas
3,757 posts, read 5,565,994 times
Reputation: 2533
Quote:
Originally Posted by Therblig View Post
Your points are not necessarily wrong, but tied to exactly the way things work now. That's the sort of pointless loop most discussions get stuck in, the moreso participants drill down to specific points and rates and amounts.

What I've emphasized repeatedly is that UBI must be part of a completely revised economic model. It can't just be sprung on us or fitted into the existing structure. Until we have some idea of that model's structure — e.g. a production tax scheme that does not draw from existing revenue streams and the changes needed to accommodate that — it's probably not useful to get into market segments and import ratios and income tax rates and so forth.

We're also not implementing this next week; insisting there has to be some kind of a complete plan to even discuss the subject is, well, for presidential candidates. Which is why Yang's contributions are suspect: he's trying too hard to solve the whole problem in one pass. Can't be done.

And remember, this is not about implementing UBI because it's a good idea or it's 'progressive' or will buy votes or will keep the sheep under control... it's because we very likely have no other choice. The job crisis has been rumbling under our feet for forty years, largely ignored; this crisis kind of generated a front-row preview of what we're facing; we have two choices, one less lousy than the other.

And as far as that "revised model" it's a further mistake to assume that too many things will remain the same. UBI is only a component of a macroeconomic change we need on an even greater level.

From all that I would have this as the most important point:

"The job crisis has been rumbling under our feet for forty years, largely ignored"

So what is your description of the job crisis? income disparities and cost of living? difficulty in finding a job or getting training for a good one? workplace conditions?

I posted this in another thread, implying there isn't an AI doomsday scenario (at least not yet) but rather a failure of leadership/management/entrepreneurism.

"Lastly three numbers, 3.9%, 14.7% and 3.2%, or the unemployment rates in 2019 for the U.S., Spain and Germany respectively. The first number indicates that AI has taken no net toll on the labor market in the U.S. The third number indicates the same but within the environment of the EU. The second number - the outlier of the bunch - shows an EU country with decades of bad economic policies and no bogeyman in the form of AI."
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-31-2020, 12:18 AM
 
Location: Right here; Right now
10,652 posts, read 5,044,736 times
Reputation: 1694
Quote:
Originally Posted by verybadgnome View Post
From all that I would have this as the most important point:

"The job crisis has been rumbling under our feet for forty years, largely ignored"

So what is your description of the job crisis? income disparities and cost of living? difficulty in finding a job or getting training for a good one? workplace conditions?

I posted this in another thread, implying there isn't an AI doomsday scenario (at least not yet) but rather a failure of leadership/management/entrepreneurism.

"Lastly three numbers, 3.9%, 14.7% and 3.2%, or the unemployment rates in 2019 for the U.S., Spain and Germany respectively. The first number indicates that AI has taken no net toll on the labor market in the U.S. The third number indicates the same but within the environment of the EU. The second number - the outlier of the bunch - shows an EU country with decades of bad economic policies and no bogeyman in the form of AI."
Quote:
"The job crisis has been rumbling under our feet for forty years, largely ignored"

So what is your description of the job crisis? income disparities and cost of living? difficulty in finding a job or getting training for a good one? workplace conditions?
All the above.
Quote:
I posted this in another thread, implying there isn't an AI doomsday scenario (at least not yet) but rather a failure of leadership/management/entrepreneurism.
I agree that there is a failure of leadership and management, however, entrepreneurship that I am not so sure about. Failure in that area, when the government moves top down, rather than bottom up in federal funding, that's a debate all in itself. AI doomsday ---

From my post, "Andrew Yang Makes the Case for Universal Basic Income on Joe Rogan"

"There are five most common jobs in the u.s. and they are:

Administrative and clerical work
Retail and Sales
Food Service and Food Prep
Truck Driving and Transportation
Manufacturing

Those five comprise about 1/2 of American jobs; only 32% graduate from college; so the average American is a high school grad. Technology is already doing a number on each of those jobs.

Administrative and clerical includes call center workers and AI is in the process of taking over that job. 30% of the malls are closing in the next 4 years ...

When he's talking to people he asks, Have you notice stores closing on your main street? Yes ... Why is that? ... Amazon; then he continues ...

It isn't your imagination, we are actually getting rid of the most common jobs in the economy, filled by high school graduates and then replacing them with a handful of jobs for a higher skilled people in different places and then we're pretending that the first population is some how gonna access the new opportunities when the odds of them of like getting up and moving to Settle or whatnot and becoming a web designer or logistics manager or big data scientist or something is essentially, near zero."
Quote:
"Lastly three numbers, 3.9%, 14.7% and 3.2%, or the unemployment rates in 2019 for the U.S., Spain and Germany respectively. The first number indicates that AI has taken no net toll on the labor market in the U.S.
The US labor force participation rate dropped to 60.2 percent in April 2020 from 62.7 percent in the previous month, reflecting the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic and efforts to contain it. That was the lowest rate since January 1973. [thus the reason u.s. employment numbers look good there are folks that are no longer counted]

I don't know about Spain or Germany, but the reason, you do not 'see' AI taking a net toll, is because no one is talking ...

GAO WORKFORCE AUTOMATION

Better Data Needed to Assess and Plan for Effects of Advanced Technologies on Jobs
What GAO Found

"Although existing federal data provide useful information on the U.S. workforce, they do not identify the causes of shifts in employment. As a result, it is difficult to determine whether changes are due to firms adopting advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence and robots (see photo), or other unrelated factors." (my emphasis)

However ...

McKinsey & Company Report, DECEMBER 2017
JOBS LOST, JOBS GAINED: WORKFORCE TRANSITIONS IN A TIME OF AUTOMATION

"Even if there is enough work to ensure full employment by 2030, major transitions lie ahead that could match or even exceed the scale of historical shifts out of agriculture and manufacturing. Our scenarios suggest that by 2030, 75 million to 375 million workers (3 to 14 percent of the global workforce) will need to switch occupational categories. Moreover, all workers will need to adapt, as their occupations evolve alongside increasingly capable machines. Some of that adaptation will require higher educational attainment, or spending more time on activities that require social and emotional skills, creativity, high-level cognitive capabilities and other skills relatively hard to automate."

A UBI, or Guarantee Basic Income would make that a much smoother transition, as Andrew Yang has said, it's a revolution, you'd rather undertake it, than undergo it.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-31-2020, 09:13 PM
 
Location: Holly Neighborhood, Austin, Texas
3,757 posts, read 5,565,994 times
Reputation: 2533
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellis Bell View Post
All the above.
I agree that there is a failure of leadership and management, however, entrepreneurship that I am not so sure about. Failure in that area, when the government moves top down, rather than bottom up in federal funding, that's a debate all in itself. AI doomsday ---

From my post, "Andrew Yang Makes the Case for Universal Basic Income on Joe Rogan"

"There are five most common jobs in the u.s. and they are:

Administrative and clerical work
Retail and Sales
Food Service and Food Prep
Truck Driving and Transportation
Manufacturing

Those five comprise about 1/2 of American jobs; only 32% graduate from college; so the average American is a high school grad. Technology is already doing a number on each of those jobs.

Administrative and clerical includes call center workers and AI is in the process of taking over that job. 30% of the malls are closing in the next 4 years ...

When he's talking to people he asks, Have you notice stores closing on your main street? Yes ... Why is that? ... Amazon; then he continues ...

It isn't your imagination, we are actually getting rid of the most common jobs in the economy, filled by high school graduates and then replacing them with a handful of jobs for a higher skilled people in different places and then we're pretending that the first population is some how gonna access the new opportunities when the odds of them of like getting up and moving to Settle or whatnot and becoming a web designer or logistics manager or big data scientist or something is essentially, near zero."
The US labor force participation rate dropped to 60.2 percent in April 2020 from 62.7 percent in the previous month, reflecting the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic and efforts to contain it. That was the lowest rate since January 1973. [thus the reason u.s. employment numbers look good there are folks that are no longer counted]

I don't know about Spain or Germany, but the reason, you do not 'see' AI taking a net toll, is because no one is talking ...

GAO WORKFORCE AUTOMATION

Better Data Needed to Assess and Plan for Effects of Advanced Technologies on Jobs
What GAO Found

"Although existing federal data provide useful information on the U.S. workforce, they do not identify the causes of shifts in employment. As a result, it is difficult to determine whether changes are due to firms adopting advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence and robots (see photo), or other unrelated factors." (my emphasis)

However ...

McKinsey & Company Report, DECEMBER 2017
JOBS LOST, JOBS GAINED: WORKFORCE TRANSITIONS IN A TIME OF AUTOMATION

"Even if there is enough work to ensure full employment by 2030, major transitions lie ahead that could match or even exceed the scale of historical shifts out of agriculture and manufacturing. Our scenarios suggest that by 2030, 75 million to 375 million workers (3 to 14 percent of the global workforce) will need to switch occupational categories. Moreover, all workers will need to adapt, as their occupations evolve alongside increasingly capable machines. Some of that adaptation will require higher educational attainment, or spending more time on activities that require social and emotional skills, creativity, high-level cognitive capabilities and other skills relatively hard to automate."

A UBI, or Guarantee Basic Income would make that a much smoother transition, as Andrew Yang has said, it's a revolution, you'd rather undertake it, than undergo it.

Actually it that unfolds as outlined here my first inclination would not be UBI, but rather to extend unemployment benefits to those workers laid off and deemed functionally obsolete. My second tactic would be job training, so they could transition to newly created job categories. Ironically enough a lot of the higher paid STEM jobs are being filled by those without college degrees like my college dropout BIL with a six figure job. To never even try to enter the job market and expect something for it seems entirely unreasonable to those of us who've spent our entire careers working.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-03-2020, 12:02 AM
 
Location: Right here; Right now
10,652 posts, read 5,044,736 times
Reputation: 1694
Quote:
Originally Posted by verybadgnome View Post
Actually it that unfolds as outlined here my first inclination would not be UBI, but rather to extend unemployment benefits to those workers laid off and deemed functionally obsolete. My second tactic would be job training, so they could transition to newly created job categories. Ironically enough a lot of the higher paid STEM jobs are being filled by those without college degrees like my college dropout BIL with a six figure job. To never even try to enter the job market and expect something for it seems entirely unreasonable to those of us who've spent our entire careers working.
I'll start here:
"Those five comprise about 1/2 of American jobs; only 32% graduate from college; so the average American is a high school grad."

So that is 68% of the people that are not excited about an extended education. About 3 million within that percentage are truck drivers --- that is a lot of extend unemployment benefits, that the federal government (from those still employed) is going to need to allocate funds to.
Quote:
My second tactic would be job training, so they could transition to newly created job categories.
Andrew Yang often mentions a study that says government retraining programs are less than 15% effective - does anyone know the specific study he is referencing?

Why can’t we just retrain people who lose their jobs?

"This would be great – unfortunately the data indicates that retraining programs do not work on a large scale. The Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, a Federal program for displaced manufacturing workers, was found to have only 37% of its program members working in the field of work they were retrained for. Michigan’s No Worker Left Behind program found that one-third of its members remained unemployed after the program, similar to the 40% unemployment rate of their peers who did not enroll. About half of all Michigan workers who left the workforce between 2003 and 2013 went on disability and were not retrained for a new job.

Many of the workers who are most at risk for displacement are middle-aged and past their primes. Many have health problems. Retraining will be difficult and many employers will prefer to hire younger employees with lower job requirements."
Quote:
Ironically enough a lot of the higher paid STEM jobs are being filled by those without college degrees like my college dropout BIL with a six figure job.
Bill with a six figure job is of the 20% ...

No STEM Degree Necessary to Land Great Jobs at Tech Giants

"Stack Overflow’s most recent developer survey shows that about 70 percent of tech pros have a degree, while 20 percent don’t have any degree: “It is not that rare to find accomplished professional developers who have not completed a degree.”"
Quote:
To never even try to enter the job market and expect something for it seems entirely unreasonable to those of us who've spent our entire careers working.
Are you talking about caregivers and stay at home moms and dads? They do make a valuable contribution to society, funny how not only are they not recognized by the GDP, they are not recognized by society either ... yet without 'em where would society be, in reality? For the rest of the people, they were in the job market; the job market kicked 'em out. And if people are thinking that those folks can just go pound sand ... AI is coming for --- everyone. No one will be in an industry that is not going to be disrupted, why not vote yourself in, a safety net as you may find yourself within that transition period; scrambling to find your place once again?

AI will disrupt white-collar workers the most, predicts a new report


Economically it makes sense to have money to spend within communities, so that people within the communities do not get laid off, because local commerce took a nose dive.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-03-2020, 11:54 AM
 
1,982 posts, read 503,478 times
Reputation: 3191
Quote:
Originally Posted by verybadgnome View Post
From all that I would have this as the most important point:

"The job crisis has been rumbling under our feet for forty years, largely ignored"

So what is your description of the job crisis? income disparities and cost of living? difficulty in finding a job or getting training for a good one? workplace conditions?
Sorry, I missed this. You asked. Next post answers.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-03-2020, 12:03 PM
 
1,982 posts, read 503,478 times
Reputation: 3191
Default The Job-Crisis Basis for UBI

The Job-Crisis Basis for UBI

UBI has several advantages for our foreseeable economic future, but is pushed more by one economic crisis than pulled by collateral benefits. Too much discussion of UBI tries to sell it on these relatively weak points (inter-job and unemployment security, greater ease of childrearing for working couples, greater ease of combining education and employment, reduction of 'welfare' administrative costs, etc.) These benefits could be trivial and the need for UBI would still rest on one overwhelming driver:
The number of "real" jobs has been declining since the 1970s, on a rising curve of job skills and demands.
(Without getting mired in details, a 'real job' is the kind that's talked about when the discussion or politician doesn't mean temp, hourly, gig, seasonal, passing, underpaid, minimal-benefit or second jobs. The job our fathers were supposed to have had: permanent, stable, paying enough to support oneself and a family and with no 'sunset' in sight. What politicians stumping for 'job creation' want to do is bring back 1955 and all those good union jobs.)

Where did these jobs go? In a word, automation. In three words, automation, robotics and efficiency. In four words, add whatever variation of "machine intelligence" into "artificial intelligence" suits you.

The traditional heavy industries lost more jobs to "efficiency" in the 1970s than to any competitor. Steel and coal and to a lesser extent automaking replaced endless ranks of workers with larger and larger equipment that could be operated by fewer and fewer workers. There are now mills and mines that are operated by fewer people than used to manage and supervise the thousands of workers.

Automaking was next, as relatively simple robots replaced several line workers at a shot, and then increasing sophistication replaced even more.

Shipping and warehousing replaced hundreds of workers with more sophisticated and capable equipment that could move pallets and containers far faster with far fewer operators. Bar-coding and automated inventory management systems replaced more floor, wharf and records people. Automated routing drastically reduced postal workers and all but eliminated the need for the parcel services to ever hire equivalent numbers.

The efficiency of simple machine intelligence and basic AI replaced typing pools, phone operators, receptionists and secretaries and whole rooms of accounting clerks. AutoCAD reduced the ranks of draftsmen and the like by at least a factor of 10.

The examples go on and on, in every field: millions of jobs that simply evaporated. And would have evaporated in much the same way and scale without significant offshoring and overseas sourcing; jobs in low-wage countries are not equivalent to US jobs. Where a factory in China might have 1,000 people assembling appliances, retaining that function in the US would have led to more automation and a still-significant reduction of jobs. (To think otherwise is 1955 nostalgia.)

There is every indication that this loss will continue, soon, into the lower tiers of what was considered untouchable, un-automatable white collar work. As word processors replaced the typing pool and spreadsheet/accounting software replaced floors of clerks, more sophisticated machine intelligence is already replacing jobs requiring more than rote calculation or spell checking. AI may not yet be able to replace a fully cognizant and trained human, but a floor of CPAs can be reduced to sophisticated rule-driven judgment overseen by a handful of problem solvers.

Real job loss is going to continue for the foreseeable future, with a period of acceleration almost upon us. No company is going to maintain 100 workers where an automated system and 5 workers will do. And much more importantly, no company is going to roll out new facilities, new products or even "new industries we haven't even heard of yet" using one more human worker than they have to. The next generation of "new and completely different" industries will leave their inventor's garage as automated processes. The number one example of this is the vaunted Tesla factory... which is automated to a degree astonishing even by modern automaking standards. The claim is that some 10,000 workers are employed there, but excluding those in management, operations, programming, software and subsidiary (parts-manufacture) operations (for an entire car company, not just one plant), the number actually contributing to building cars is probably not 10% of what a 1960s assembly line would have used — not 20% of the first "efficient' lines of ca. 1990. That's the future.

And none of these jobs are coming back. Ever. There is no future in which jobs will use an increasing number of human workers; the proportion to production rate will start small and only decline.

So why haven't we seen a vast landscape of the unemployed? Two words: "tech" and "service." More or less as the traditional industries faded as employment bulwarks, software, computers and "tech" in general rose, needing all the specialized workers it could get. (There was even a long period of hand-waving and shadow-puppetry during which displaced assembly line workers were supposed to retrain as programmers or computer engineers. A few even did.) For at least thirty years, tech has absorbed a huge number of otherwise surplus workers.

But tech employment has already peaked, and efficiency, automation and AI are going to start eroding those ranks. Just as humans still design cars and appliances, there will always be a core of innovators and initiators, but just as with steel, cars, computers and electronics, their guidance will increasingly be over automated systems that develop, manage and refine both digital components and hardware. Large networks used to need a full staff at every site; modern control and telemetry now allow a handful of supervisors to manage networks and server farms of vast scale, with a small team of hands-on maintenance people (of far less training than the gods above). Software development is increasingly modular and meta, assembled at low levels by AI according to the direction of a human... or a more sophisticated AI. Bare-metal, code-level work is simply not done on the scale it used to be... and does not need a fraction of the programming hierarchy such work once needed. These numbers, too, will continue to decline. There are few things more suited to automation, machine intelligence and AI than... the automating and intelligencing of not only those processes, but the processes they achieve.

Which leaves the real reason we pride ourselves on the boom-boom economy and low unemployment of the last several decades: the service economy. We have done well enough, as a whole, to be able to afford a vast range of servants-for-hire. Whether they make our burgers, our lattes (sorry, our "flat whites") or our floral arrangements; whether they help us sweat at weight training, martial arts or yoga; whether they clean or decorate our houses, watch our children, do our accounting and taxes; whether they wash and service our cars in our driveways or show up at the touch of an app icon to drive us where we whim... we have had the spare income to pay a monstrous percentage of our own population to do things most people could, and used to, do for themselves. With tips, even.

But support of a service economy depends on the surplus income of other jobs — with some circularity, as a couple of bartenders can usually afford Starbucks, meals out and a gym membership. But only because somewhere, at the core of our economy, people are making money at "real jobs." Production — even intellectual production — is all. Moving the pieces around is not.

And the decline of those jobs has been steady for forty years, and will continue, and is probably on the cusp of a sharp downhill slope due to changes in automation and AI that are ready to leave their test sites. I expect significant job loss in fairly new areas — white collar, traditional, "impossible" — within the decade... and we will be halfway through the curve before anyone but us tin foil hats notice it. (Watch for the shocked banner headlines.)

(The current crisis, with 40%+ unemployment, is both a preview of our future in which there are no jobs for those who want them, and likely an accelerator of automation and job loss. For one thing, expect nearly all fast food restaurants to complete the conversion of kiosk ordering and largely 'blind' pickup; that bevy of jobs in every store is going to be reduced to a cook, a front person and a floating manager... even at lunch on Friday. And not someday... but by the end of this summer. It had already started and proved out; the crisis will simply collapse the timeframe tenfold. Those that hold out will change over after the others do the dirty job of converting customer expectations.)

So the future is a continuing decline in real jobs, with the first of several sharp drops all but upon us. And it won't take much more for the loss of real income to reduce the 'funding' for services... meaning a secondary cascade of job losses in the service industry. Which will feed on itself, and those bartenders won't be engaging baristas twice a day any more, and will pretend to keep up with their yoga at home.

We are facing permanent unemployment on a scale never before seen.
The huge spikes in unemployment of the past always had a future of "rebuilding" and "retraining" and economic magic to look forward to; no more. The jobs we have lost will become apparent; the jobs we lose over the next decade will be shocking; the result, of unemployment much as we are seeing right now in the virus crisis, will be without foreseeable end. And it will get worse from there, no matter what fabulous new industry Elon Musk and Bill Gates invent in the interim. (Their robots will dance in the streets, though.)

So we have the choice of transferring the concentrated wealth of production, which will not decline and once rested directly on human shoulders and rewarded their bellies, directly to those for whom unemployment is unavailable... or absolutely unimaginable poverty almost cruelly sustained by spotty, erratic, degrading, dehumanizing "welfare." (Oh, and campaign-year promises of job creation.) We will still be a phenomenally wealthy country; we can afford to share the wealth on an entirely new basis. We need the first economic model that is not based on individual worker productivity and, as an evolved civilization, decouples "sweat of your brow" from survival. A major component of that model is UBI, which must not be restricted to some sort of situational/means-tested "unemployment" — that completely misses the point of its purpose.
UBI is not something to be done because it's a nice idea. It's our only means of surviving the next century.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-03-2020, 01:50 PM
 
Location: Holly Neighborhood, Austin, Texas
3,757 posts, read 5,565,994 times
Reputation: 2533
Quote:
Originally Posted by Therblig View Post
The Job-Crisis Basis for UBI

UBI has several advantages for our foreseeable economic future, but is pushed more by one economic crisis than pulled by collateral benefits. Too much discussion of UBI tries to sell it on these relatively weak points (inter-job and unemployment security, greater ease of childrearing for working couples, greater ease of combining education and employment, reduction of 'welfare' administrative costs, etc.) These benefits could be trivial and the need for UBI would still rest on one overwhelming driver:
The number of "real" jobs has been declining since the 1970s, on a rising curve of job skills and demands.
(Without getting mired in details, a 'real job' is the kind that's talked about when the discussion or politician doesn't mean temp, hourly, gig, seasonal, passing, underpaid, minimal-benefit or second jobs. The job our fathers were supposed to have had: permanent, stable, paying enough to support oneself and a family and with no 'sunset' in sight. What politicians stumping for 'job creation' want to do is bring back 1955 and all those good union jobs.)

Where did these jobs go? In a word, automation. In three words, automation, robotics and efficiency. In four words, add whatever variation of "machine intelligence" into "artificial intelligence" suits you.

The traditional heavy industries lost more jobs to "efficiency" in the 1970s than to any competitor. Steel and coal and to a lesser extent automaking replaced endless ranks of workers with larger and larger equipment that could be operated by fewer and fewer workers. There are now mills and mines that are operated by fewer people than used to manage and supervise the thousands of workers.

Automaking was next, as relatively simple robots replaced several line workers at a shot, and then increasing sophistication replaced even more.

Shipping and warehousing replaced hundreds of workers with more sophisticated and capable equipment that could move pallets and containers far faster with far fewer operators. Bar-coding and automated inventory management systems replaced more floor, wharf and records people. Automated routing drastically reduced postal workers and all but eliminated the need for the parcel services to ever hire equivalent numbers.

The efficiency of simple machine intelligence and basic AI replaced typing pools, phone operators, receptionists and secretaries and whole rooms of accounting clerks. AutoCAD reduced the ranks of draftsmen and the like by at least a factor of 10.

The examples go on and on, in every field: millions of jobs that simply evaporated. And would have evaporated in much the same way and scale without significant offshoring and overseas sourcing; jobs in low-wage countries are not equivalent to US jobs. Where a factory in China might have 1,000 people assembling appliances, retaining that function in the US would have led to more automation and a still-significant reduction of jobs. (To think otherwise is 1955 nostalgia.)

There is every indication that this loss will continue, soon, into the lower tiers of what was considered untouchable, un-automatable white collar work. As word processors replaced the typing pool and spreadsheet/accounting software replaced floors of clerks, more sophisticated machine intelligence is already replacing jobs requiring more than rote calculation or spell checking. AI may not yet be able to replace a fully cognizant and trained human, but a floor of CPAs can be reduced to sophisticated rule-driven judgment overseen by a handful of problem solvers.

Real job loss is going to continue for the foreseeable future, with a period of acceleration almost upon us. No company is going to maintain 100 workers where an automated system and 5 workers will do. And much more importantly, no company is going to roll out new facilities, new products or even "new industries we haven't even heard of yet" using one more human worker than they have to. The next generation of "new and completely different" industries will leave their inventor's garage as automated processes. The number one example of this is the vaunted Tesla factory... which is automated to a degree astonishing even by modern automaking standards. The claim is that some 10,000 workers are employed there, but excluding those in management, operations, programming, software and subsidiary (parts-manufacture) operations (for an entire car company, not just one plant), the number actually contributing to building cars is probably not 10% of what a 1960s assembly line would have used — not 20% of the first "efficient' lines of ca. 1990. That's the future.

And none of these jobs are coming back. Ever. There is no future in which jobs will use an increasing number of human workers; the proportion to production rate will start small and only decline.

So why haven't we seen a vast landscape of the unemployed? Two words: "tech" and "service." More or less as the traditional industries faded as employment bulwarks, software, computers and "tech" in general rose, needing all the specialized workers it could get. (There was even a long period of hand-waving and shadow-puppetry during which displaced assembly line workers were supposed to retrain as programmers or computer engineers. A few even did.) For at least thirty years, tech has absorbed a huge number of otherwise surplus workers.

But tech employment has already peaked, and efficiency, automation and AI are going to start eroding those ranks. Just as humans still design cars and appliances, there will always be a core of innovators and initiators, but just as with steel, cars, computers and electronics, their guidance will increasingly be over automated systems that develop, manage and refine both digital components and hardware. Large networks used to need a full staff at every site; modern control and telemetry now allow a handful of supervisors to manage networks and server farms of vast scale, with a small team of hands-on maintenance people (of far less training than the gods above). Software development is increasingly modular and meta, assembled at low levels by AI according to the direction of a human... or a more sophisticated AI. Bare-metal, code-level work is simply not done on the scale it used to be... and does not need a fraction of the programming hierarchy such work once needed. These numbers, too, will continue to decline. There are few things more suited to automation, machine intelligence and AI than... the automating and intelligencing of not only those processes, but the processes they achieve.

Which leaves the real reason we pride ourselves on the boom-boom economy and low unemployment of the last several decades: the service economy. We have done well enough, as a whole, to be able to afford a vast range of servants-for-hire. Whether they make our burgers, our lattes (sorry, our "flat whites") or our floral arrangements; whether they help us sweat at weight training, martial arts or yoga; whether they clean or decorate our houses, watch our children, do our accounting and taxes; whether they wash and service our cars in our driveways or show up at the touch of an app icon to drive us where we whim... we have had the spare income to pay a monstrous percentage of our own population to do things most people could, and used to, do for themselves. With tips, even.

But support of a service economy depends on the surplus income of other jobs — with some circularity, as a couple of bartenders can usually afford Starbucks, meals out and a gym membership. But only because somewhere, at the core of our economy, people are making money at "real jobs." Production — even intellectual production — is all. Moving the pieces around is not.

And the decline of those jobs has been steady for forty years, and will continue, and is probably on the cusp of a sharp downhill slope due to changes in automation and AI that are ready to leave their test sites. I expect significant job loss in fairly new areas — white collar, traditional, "impossible" — within the decade... and we will be halfway through the curve before anyone but us tin foil hats notice it. (Watch for the shocked banner headlines.)

(The current crisis, with 40%+ unemployment, is both a preview of our future in which there are no jobs for those who want them, and likely an accelerator of automation and job loss. For one thing, expect nearly all fast food restaurants to complete the conversion of kiosk ordering and largely 'blind' pickup; that bevy of jobs in every store is going to be reduced to a cook, a front person and a floating manager... even at lunch on Friday. And not someday... but by the end of this summer. It had already started and proved out; the crisis will simply collapse the timeframe tenfold. Those that hold out will change over after the others do the dirty job of converting customer expectations.)

So the future is a continuing decline in real jobs, with the first of several sharp drops all but upon us. And it won't take much more for the loss of real income to reduce the 'funding' for services... meaning a secondary cascade of job losses in the service industry. Which will feed on itself, and those bartenders won't be engaging baristas twice a day any more, and will pretend to keep up with their yoga at home.

We are facing permanent unemployment on a scale never before seen.
The huge spikes in unemployment of the past always had a future of "rebuilding" and "retraining" and economic magic to look forward to; no more. The jobs we have lost will become apparent; the jobs we lose over the next decade will be shocking; the result, of unemployment much as we are seeing right now in the virus crisis, will be without foreseeable end. And it will get worse from there, no matter what fabulous new industry Elon Musk and Bill Gates invent in the interim. (Their robots will dance in the streets, though.)

So we have the choice of transferring the concentrated wealth of production, which will not decline and once rested directly on human shoulders and rewarded their bellies, directly to those for whom unemployment is unavailable... or absolutely unimaginable poverty almost cruelly sustained by spotty, erratic, degrading, dehumanizing "welfare." (Oh, and campaign-year promises of job creation.) We will still be a phenomenally wealthy country; we can afford to share the wealth on an entirely new basis. We need the first economic model that is not based on individual worker productivity and, as an evolved civilization, decouples "sweat of your brow" from survival. A major component of that model is UBI, which must not be restricted to some sort of situational/means-tested "unemployment" — that completely misses the point of its purpose.
UBI is not something to be done because it's a nice idea. It's our only means of surviving the next century.
It's always easy to discern the false prophets from those that actually solve problems. The former will claim to know the one and only solution to a particular problem - which in itself might be exaggerated - when in reality the world is much more complicated than that......Wow it almost sounds like the old southerners of yore claiming the end of the world with the coming of abolition.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-03-2020, 01:59 PM
 
1,982 posts, read 503,478 times
Reputation: 3191
Quote:
Originally Posted by verybadgnome View Post
It's always easy to discern the false prophets from those that actually solve problems. The former will claim to know the one and only solution to a particular problem - which in itself might be exaggerated - when in reality the world is much more complicated than that......Wow it almost sounds like the old southerners of yore claiming the end of the world with the coming of abolition.
It's also easy to tell considerate users from those who quote four screens of text to add two lines.

This is a summary of years of discussion among knowledgeable folks in a number of disciplines, including cutting-edge AI implementation (not theory). It's the first time I (or, as nearly as I can tell, anyone) has bothered to post more than fragments and bumper-sticker ideas, or ride-ride-ride their hobbyhorse about how those who have personal wealth deserve it, etc.

The crisis is well-defined. The crisis is coming and has been for some time; in fifty years we will be seen as well into all the curves that delineate it.

Extensive discussion hasn't produced either a different future or another workable solution.

So if that's corner-soapbox, TFH false-propheting instead of... what, measured discussion of twenty other things that can't work, well, crinkle crinkle.

Mic's yours.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Economics
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2020, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top