Curt Welch

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Curt Welch
Posted over 1 year ago
What's your opinion on Unconditional Basic Income? (This is not Communism)
Mike says: "Man will never be replaced by machines... if man makes machines that can replace us... we are all doomed. I read science fiction too!" Machines will be our slaves. We will only build the type of machines, that we can control. Humans are survival machines. We are built to keep ourselves alive and to reproduce. We could build machines with the same motivations, but then they would kill us, in order to take control away from us to increase their odds of surviving. But we can make intelligent machines, that have different motivations than humans. Instead of building smart machines that have an innate goal of self preservation, we will built smart machines with innate goals of serving humans. These will be highly intelligent machines, but won't use their intelligence to keep themselves alive. They will use it to do the best job possible of making humans happy. Just imagine a human slave, that doesn't have any motivation for self preservation that all humans have. Imagine a human slave, that only wants to make it's masters happy and would gladly, in a second, sacrifice it's own life, or cut off it's own arm, if that was the best way to help a human. Imaging a human slave, that would like you take a hammer, and bash it's hand into bits, and not think twice about you doing it because if that's what a human wants to do, it will gladly let the human do it. That's the type of robots that will build. Very intelligent, but with very different drives and motivations than humans These "slaves" will do all our work for us. They will do it better than any human ever could do the work for us. McDonald's and Wal-mart will replace all it's store workers with machines like this. Factories in China will replace it's millions of $10 a day workers, with robots like these. UPS, Fedex, USPS, Amazon, and all trucking, will replace all their workers with robots like these. All taxi companies will replace their drivers, with robots like these.
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Curt Welch
Posted over 1 year ago
What's your opinion on Unconditional Basic Income? (This is not Communism)
"If you understand, how could you sustain your argument for wealth distribution?" Because I understand what you are failing to grasp. You think machines won't replace humans, but you are dead wrong and in time, you will grasp your error. "And your contention the the rich are some sort of maniacal group bent on mass annihilation of the poor can not be farther from the truth" Not my contention at all. Again, you fail to understand. I don't blame the rich and the fact that you think I do, shows again how clueless you are. I blame the system for creating inequality. I don't blame the rich for being rich like some liberals do, and I don't blame the poor for being poor, like some conservatives do. I blame the technology of capitalism, mixed with advanced machine, for creating the inequality. If you play the game of Monopoly by the rules, the game rules are what creates inequality not the players. One person gets rich, everyone else loses. It's not the fault of the winner for wining, or the losers for losing. It's the way the game is rigged by how the rules work. Our society is rigged by the rules we play by as well. We can change the rules of the board game of monopoly and create a very different result. If every time someone wins money in the game, they have to take half of their winnings, and share it with all the other players, the game becomes every different. No one ever goes bankrupt. Everyone gets to keep playing. One person will be richest at one point, a bit later, someone else will be the richest. Technology is transforming our free trade economy into a real life game of monopoly where there will only be one winner. Technology is driving inequality higher, and higher, and it will end with billions of people in poverty, and a few lucky people owning the world. We can add a Basic Income to change the rules of society, just as in my example above, I added a basic income sharing to the board game.
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Curt Welch
Posted over 1 year ago
What's your opinion on Unconditional Basic Income? (This is not Communism)
So to continue. I'm already down to 1 trillion in effective taxes the rich actually pay for the net money the poor half of society receives. But if we implement a BI of that size, a large amount of our current welfare programs can and should be eliminated. That can reduce our current tax level by 100's of billions, reducing the new increased taxes to more like $700 billion to create that $1000 per adult Basic Income. But we should also eliminate minimum wage at the same time, to make sure everyone that wants to work, can find work, and remove the minimum wage handcuffs from businesses. This will help reduce consumer prices, saving more money, to offset the increased taxes. As you point out, current taxes are around $2.8 trillion. We would have to increase that by the $700 billion to make a BI of this size work. That's about a 30% increase in current taxes, paid by the rich (top 20% of society with most paid at the very top). The rich won't like this, but it would be very good for society as a whole. However, since there are so many people like you, that reject this idea out of principle, it will be far hard to sell even this reasonable tax number to the public. So, we start smaller. Instead of $1K per adult per month, start at $100 per adult, per month. That's only around a $100 billion net tax increase and could be directly paid for by reductions, or lack of increases, in other current social programs. We can then see what real effect, a small BI like that, (which is around what Alaska pays now), has on the entire country, and the economy.
Noface
Curt Welch
Posted over 1 year ago
What's your opinion on Unconditional Basic Income? (This is not Communism)
Let me help you with the math since that seems to be an important point for you. The size of the payment is not set to be a "free living income". The size is adjusted as needed to reduce excess inequality. You used the figure of $2800 a month which is what the Swiss is proposing. Switzerland is a much richer nation than the US. Per Capita GDP in Switzerland is $78K. In the US, it's $51K. You also used the total population of the US including kids. The Swiss proposal is only for adults, which is about 3/4 of the population. So you made two errors there in trying to use the Swiss numbers, for how the math will work in the US. The Swiss proposal is for a BI of about 41% of their GDP. That's amazingly high, but fairly doable for one of the richest and most equal nations on the planet,. The US is a very different story in what people will be willing to accept. So obviously we would go with a lower number. Figures that are often bounced around for a "healthy" sized BI in the US would be around $1000 a month, or $12K per adult. There are about 250 million adults, so your math then works out to be $12K * 250 million, or 3 trillion. Not your 10 trillion. However, this is not really 3 trillion in "cost". A BI is tricky to understand. So let me help you understand what you probably missed. Everyone get taxed to pay that 3 trillion, but then all the money is collected, and GIVEN BACK to the same people that were just taxed! So the government collects 3 trillion, and then gives back 3 trillion. The difference is that those with the most income, pay higher taxes. And everyone gets back, the same amount. So the rich end up paying far more than they get back, while the poor, get more than they pay in taxes. About 2/3 of what is taxed, ends up going back to the person that paid the tax. About 1/3 of the money, ends up actually being redistributed. So the amount redistributed, for this size BI tax is only about 1 trillion. A far cry from your 10 trillion.
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Curt Welch
Posted over 1 year ago
What's your opinion on Unconditional Basic Income? (This is not Communism)
Yeah, Mike, I fully understand why you and many others are against wealth redistribution. But times are changing, and you have to learn to change too. Without wealth redistribution, our society will collapse and fail. When one person invents robots that are 10 times more intelligent than any human, and they choose to make as much money off the invention as they can, instead of sharing it, they will take over the entire world economy. The only other people that will have money is other very rich members of society, who own resources like oil wells, and land, and coal mines, iron ore mines and the like. The guy that invents the robots, will sell his tech to all the other rich, and all the rest of the humans, will be left with no one to employ them. They won't have money to buy any consumer goods, so all the rich will stop trying to sell the poor stuff, like food, and just sell high end goods and services to the few rich that have all the money and natural assets of society. We will have 6.9 billion poor on the planet and 100 million super rich that own all the land and natural resources and robots. The rich, will use their robots to herd the poor into death camps and reservations in the Sahara desert and let them starve to death. This time, the rich won't need the poor, to tend the fields, or build the castles for them. This transformation in society is already well under way in society today, and people are blind to it, because, like you, they think "humans" do all the work and deserve to keep the "money" they "make". Humans don't do much of the work at all anymore. Machines do it all. Mark Z. is rich, not becuase of what the humans that work for him do, but becuase of what his machines do for his 1 billion users. I fully understand why this doesn't make sense to you. But in time, you will understand what I'm saying as you see your friends and family being replaced by machines. The more that happens, the more we need to share wealth.
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Curt Welch
Posted over 1 year ago
What's your opinion on Unconditional Basic Income? (This is not Communism)
Mike, you are totally correct that this is not "free" money. No matter how it's implemented, it will redistribute from the rich, to the poor. People need to understand this. However, it is very much morally valid to do this, and that's what is so hard for people to grasp. There's a huge misunderstanding in society that people think they "earn" their wealth. That's just not true in a large society where we all trade with each other for the things we need day by day. We don't create the wealth individual. We create it as a team working together. I can't write enough to make this clear in this post. It deserves an entire book be written about this misconception. But what's happening, is that technology is allowing those that own the best tech, to steal opportunity away from others trying to "earn" their money. It's the strong, pushing the weak around, using technology to do it. As our technology advances, the ability for a few, to steal the wealth of the entire world, away from everyone else advances with it. They "steal' our opportunity to earn a living, and we have the moral right, to steal some of the wealth back (aka share the wealth) when they do that. Mark Zuckerberg created great tech with Facebook. He's worth Billions today because of it. This 10 years of work, has paid off to the tune of 5 million dollars a day for him. That gives him a right, to a large slice of our country's total GDP. His 10 years of programming, and running a small company, has now entitled him the right, to 19 billion dollars of our GDP. The average family income is around $55K a year. His money, now gives him the right, to have 8,500 people that earn $55k, spend their entire 40 year working life, doing anything Mark wants them to do. So Mark donates 10 years of his live to society, and gets 340,000 years of labor in return from society. Mark's sucess, in effect, has prevented all those other people, from working for anyone else.
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Curt Welch
Posted over 1 year ago
What's your opinion on Unconditional Basic Income? (This is not Communism)
There is plenty of money to fund a Basic Income. It's total nonsense to suggest otherwise. We can do it world wide, or country by country. The point of a Basic Income is to redistribute wealth so as to lower inequality. You take some form the rich, and give to the poor. The only way there would not be "enough" money to implement a Basic Income, is if there was no inequality in the world. There is massive inequality in the world so to implement a Basic Income is trivial. It's only a matter of will. In the US for example, we have talked about a BI on the level of about $12K a year, or $1K a month for every adult being reasonable. That's about 20% of GDP. That's a lot of money. But it could be implemented with a 20% income tax and a 20% corporate profit tax. Someone with zero income, would pay no taxes, and get $12K a year. Someone with $60K of income, will pay $12K of taxes, and get $12K of BI making it wash. Someone with $60 million of income, will pay $12 million in taxes, and get $12K of BI making them a huge contributor. Every home, with less than $60K per adult (aka $120K for two adults) will come out ahead after the BI tax. Everyone with more than that, will pay greater taxes under this structure of a BI. There is NO ECONOMIC PROBLEM to implement this. It's only a matter of making people vote for it. Much of these taxes would be paid for, by reducing most our current social programs. So we won't all get a 20% tax rise, but a 10% rise would be needed for this size BI. But the way to start, is with a smaller BI, and smaller taxes. Maybe as low as $200 a month, then raise the BI over time, as we cut out our current welfare programs.
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Curt Welch
Posted over 1 year ago
What's your opinion on Unconditional Basic Income? (This is not Communism)
A Basic Income is not only desperately needed, it's shortly going to be required. It's only a question of how long it takes people to figure out how important it is and vote for it. The driving force that makes it a necessity is technology -- all forms of it, from hammers and hoes, to tractors and telephones, all the way to our current robots and AI. All these technologies, when mixed with capitalism, drives inequality in society higher and higher. Without technology, capitalism can create a fairly equal society, because human labor, is the keystone to the production of all value. No single human, can produce all that more wealth with his hands, than another. But the more technology we add to the mix, the wider the gap between the most productive and the least grows. And the wider that gap, the greater inequality grows. Technology causes our economy to shift from creating wealth with our hands, to creating wealth by what technology we own control of. The shift has been very slow for the past 100's of years, and we have coped by adding growing amounts of socialism to out society in the form of making the rich pay for services for the poor, from roads, to schools, to the military that protects the poor, to all the direct welfare programs. But technology is growing too fast now, to allow us to offset the effects of inequality with more social programs. We need to stop shifting wealth form the rich to the poor, in the form of free government services, and start doing it as a direct cash transfer to offset excess inequality. A Basic Income is the solution to the growing levels of inequality created by technology. We should have started it 100 years ago, as a small payment, but people weren't ready to even think about it. We need it badly today, and if we had had it in place, we likely would have avoided this last big recession. But most still don't understand it, or accept it. But soon enough, they will catch on, and vote for it.
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Curt Welch
Posted over 1 year ago
What's your opinion on Unconditional Basic Income? (This is not Communism)
Robert Winner. You are 100% wrong on every one of your points. There are 100's of articles about how a Basic Income works, and how it does not do what you say it will do. Read them. Then come back and try again. Alaska has had a Basic Income for over 30 years. It works. Basic Incomes have been tested in real life, for multiple years, and we know exactly what good it does, and nothing you say is correct about any of the real world studies.
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Curt Welch
Posted almost 2 years ago
Richard Wilkinson: How economic inequality harms societies
"Relationship yes, but cause and effect?" -- Read the book. He goes into great detail supporting the position that it's not just a relationship, but the cause. I believe a whole chapter is dedicated to answering this common objection from conservatives that don't want to have to worry about others and just want to keep seeking selfish personal advancement.