Author Topic: Taxation of Robots  (Read 26480 times)

Fenring

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #100 on: March 03, 2017, 02:44:22 PM »
From Textbook of Americanism (and echoed in other works):

An individualist is a man who says: "I'll not run anyone's life – nor let anyone run mine. I will not rule nor be ruled. I will not be a master nor a slave. I will not sacrifice myself to anyone – nor sacrifice anyone to myself."

Rand didn't live in a world where no one could pick up a tab at a restaurant, even though nobody at that table "earned" a free meal. Sacrifice implies that you are unwilling, and that it creates material harm to yourself. Insisting that nobody else voluntarily give food to "deadbeats" is an attempt to rule and to run those two people's lives for them.

Well, there are many quotes about Objectivism around, and certainly Rand says various things in her essays, but one constant in her writings is that she says the best way to learn her thoughts is to read her fiction, especially Atlas Shrugged. So while individual essays (or definitions) may focus on some important aspect of her thinking, the woven fabric of it, as it were, is most likely found in AS. One of the surprising features in the book isn't that the industrialists reject being controlled by people who actually depend on them; that is not at all unexpected. What's surprising is what they say when they finally speak out over the radio, which is that while no one has the right to run someone else's life, it's also true that some people are more industrious and capable than others, and that the industrialists know full well that they carry a disproportionate load of the work of society on their shoulders (this is asserted as factual in the book, anyhow). And IMO the most important takeaway from the fact that they carry others in society is that they say they're happy to do so, and only ask that they not be prevented from engaging in their business as they see best to run it. Basically, don't force them to close their factories, and more or less let them run their businesses as they see fit, and their success will happily be shared with the whole.

There is a very community-oriented message in the book, even though on closer inspection it's cutthroat in ways almost no real person would tolerate (i.e. it's an internally inconsistent 'community' in that it wouldn't really be that pleasant for anyone). While personal success is certainly advocated in AS, so is the idea that it's not just every man for himself trying to make vassals of the wage earners. Despite her hatred of communism, Rand nevertheless nods to the idea that the system ought to take into account the fact that some people contribute more than others, and that this is ok and doesn't mean everyone else is lazy or a failure. It's a fine distinction from what we see in The Fountainhead, where the 'selfishness' motif is pushed much harder and there isn't much focus on the desired relationship between producers and the general public. The book has as its premise that productive success generates success for others, and although that is a faulty premise to begin with, it will become less and less true the more 'success' and efficiency mean putting people out of work. It's really the opposite of what Rand would have hoped for. So in context of AS, I think the industrialists would be very dissatisfied to realize that their business ventures being conducted properly might actually mean harming society rather than helping it. Based on their characters as I remember them I think they would actively take steps to make sure they could both be successful and find a way to support the community. I believe that a UBI is more or less that step, it's just initiated by the government rather than private parties because - let's face it - real life industrialists are not philosopher kings like they are in AS.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2017, 02:46:52 PM by Fenring »

Gaoics79

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #101 on: March 03, 2017, 03:27:08 PM »
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I even specified further, that not just any kind of shelter counts in the way I mean it, but should be something like a 'private' home, which might include roommates but does not include a homeless shelter or hostel.

I can tell you that housing is free where I live, if you can't pay for it. It isn't nice housing - you might have roaches or bed bugs or shabby lodgings - but it's free. And I'm not talking about shelters - I mean proper apartments. Between disability support, social assistance and social programs, basic needs are met at least where I live.

I am not going to come out and declare homelessness or hunger extinct here - only point out that it seems there are other problems such as drug addiction and mental illness at play which may explain why, despite these programs, someone might live in a shelter or on the street long term. Not every problem is caused exclusively by lack of money, so it's naive to think that all of these problems would be gone if only someone wrote a bigger cheque.

But let's not lose sight of the big picture. It is a fact that in a country like Canada, basically everyone has shelter, food, healthcare and education. And Canada is nowhere close to being the most comprehensive welfare state in the first world.

You may say that there are holes or cracks in this system - and you could fill them. But at what point are people going to say that "basic" needs are met? I think the answer is never. It is counter to everything I have seen to imagine that down the road we are going to reach some kind of "end of history" where words like "poverty" vanish into obscurity and we all declare ourselves content to leave people to their own abilities. The idea of a ubi leading to all "basic" needs being met to the satisfaction of the populace is utopian. Poverty is a moving target and always will be. The poor of today aren't the poor of 50 years ago, nor will they be like the poor in 50 years.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2017, 03:29:53 PM by jasonr »

TheDrake

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #102 on: March 03, 2017, 03:36:58 PM »
Well, there are many quotes about Objectivism around, and certainly Rand says various things in her essays, but one constant in her writings is that she says the best way to learn her thoughts is to read her fiction, especially Atlas Shrugged.


I've read it, and most of her fiction. Atlas Shrugged is particularly contrived, as Rand herself acknowledged, as an expression of the ideal. That's why it took her over a decade to get a publisher, as a meta example of her own premise of no compromise. In that ideal world, a person would hurl themselves into the sea before they would ask another for a crust of bread. That world doesn't really exist, any more than the perfectly altruistic world of the communists exists.

Of course part of her novel (among others) also explores the idea that you would pay a fair wage to a worker for their efforts, and that you would not viciously attack competitors but rather strive to improve your own products. Also not terribly realistic.

As you pointed out.

What is generally objected to is the moochers who pretend to be businessmen and want to reach a top level without the work. Rearden's son who expected to be handed an important position and got told to work his way up.

I think generally the gist behind UBI is that it would be a moral failure on the part of the person who had the ability to do meaningful work who chose instead to netflix and chill. That ultimately, this would lead to their unhappiness. In point of fact, this is generally be proven to be true.

Rand herself in "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal" says:

The small minority of adults who are unable rather than unwilling to work, have to rely on voluntary charity; misfortune is not a claim to slave labor; there is no such thing as the right to consume, control, and destroy those without whom one would be unable to survive.

So, machine learning changes this equation to "The majority of adults" - potentially.

Philosopher kings or no, there are two sides to fairness. The one where everyone does things voluntarily, and the one where force is used to take something from you - property, freedom, your life. I'd prefer to see this happen voluntarily, and it can be done that way. As I pointed out earlier, it wouldn't take a majority of Earth's billionaires to make that happen. Turner, Gates, and others are already doing it.


TheDrake

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #103 on: March 03, 2017, 03:44:33 PM »
The idea of a ubi leading to all "basic" needs being met to the satisfaction of the populace is utopian. Poverty is a moving target and always will be. The poor of today aren't the poor of 50 years ago, nor will they be like the poor in 50 years.

I understand what you mean. Basic needs four centuries ago would have looked very different, and average people today live like kings of yore. So what? So basic gets redefined, what's so bad about that?

Canada may be different. I know in the US it is entirely possible to be employed and homeless. There's no program to help out with that, and it often has people living out of their vehicles. Access due to bad credit, lack of security deposit, and a host of other reasons keep one on the bubble.

I think there are some safety nets in place, however, they require constant justifications and eligibility monitoring. Like I just went through getting my mother qualified for medicaid (story tl;dr).

This is a net drain on society. Think of all the assistance paperwork that gets generated and viewed and challenged. Pointless effort to prove you've been applying for jobs to keep unemployment. Compare to UBI that just gives everyone what they need to live on. I can't make that work economically right now, but whether it is 50, 200, or 1000 years, I believe it will happen unless we manage to destroy ourselves in the meantime.

Fenring

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #104 on: March 03, 2017, 04:02:15 PM »
Compare to UBI that just gives everyone what they need to live on. I can't make that work economically right now, but whether it is 50, 200, or 1000 years, I believe it will happen unless we manage to destroy ourselves in the meantime.

I think of it in terms of a "magic replicator" scenario, where at a certain critical point in history the entire production process will be able to be completely automated. I consider our position as being some % of the way towards that, and as you say, excepting a catastrophe or massive Luddite upheaval (or Butlerian Jihad) it will happen eventually one way or another. It's hard to pin a number to what % of the way towards "fully automated production" we're at now; maybe it's 3%, maybe 10%, I'm not really sure. Right now we can still cling to the old system and it can be dragged out for a while longer. At a certain critical point it will literally be impossible to continue to expect income to come from employment, and at such a time if we haven't already shifted over to a UBI system there will be problems. Most likely before it even came to that there would be massive social unrest, rioting, who knows what else. I would much prefer the future version of UBI to be implemented piecemeal starting sometime soon, so that it can be a bloodless and peaceful transition that doesn't require overthrowing a particular class in order to make things happen. We don't need to jump right to a Star Trek mentality; right now a market economy with patchwork tending towards UBI coverage would be a great start.

D.W.

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #105 on: March 03, 2017, 04:14:16 PM »
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I understand what you mean. Basic needs four centuries ago would have looked very different, and average people today live like kings of yore. So what? So basic gets redefined, what's so bad about that?
Technology MAY also push back the other way.  Things like arcologies and virtual reality and telecommuting (for those of us still doing some form of "work") could push back against the suburban sprawl, 2 car + homes of gas guzzlers and vacations to exotic locals. 

I realize a lot of that can easily transition into dystopian for many's taste, but the point is the measures of wealth can easily shift as well.  Given the right temperament and society, someone could be content or happy with even less of some things we would count as baseline right now were we to draft up our needs/wants.

I suppose when a lot more people don't have to actually "work" we can sort out what it takes to make people "happy" from a logistics/material stand point.  :)

OR... we separate the "contents" from the "adventurers" and start exploring off this dirt ball.  Get out there!  Embrace the scarcity space society where the promise of riches and excitement helps you get past the danger, vast emptiness and grueling conditions!  (export our competitive nature) 
« Last Edit: March 03, 2017, 04:18:12 PM by D.W. »

TheDeamon

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #106 on: March 03, 2017, 04:31:38 PM »
Rand didn't live in a world where no one could pick up a tab at a restaurant, even though nobody at that table "earned" a free meal. Sacrifice implies that you are unwilling, and that it creates material harm to yourself. Insisting that nobody else voluntarily give food to "deadbeats" is an attempt to rule and to run those two people's lives for them.

The deadbeats still exist, and will continue to exist. The issue now is we are entering territory where people are going to be forced into becoming exactly that through no fault of their own. Which certainly is something outside the scope of anything Rand was writing about.

When nobody wants your labor because robots can work longer hours, perform more consistently, and cost less to "employ" in the long term. (and the "novelty" market for human labor isn't going to be large enough to employ everyone, only the super-rich will be spending on that)

When you don't have the ability to support yourself, because nobody will employ you(see above).

When you cannot start another (legal) business because you're broke, starving, and homeless. (because of the above 2 items)

What recourse are you going to have at that point? You're going to be dependent on someone/something at that point. Where that charity comes from is anybody's game(private/public/government), but the only other option at that point is death. People tend to get violent when they come to the conclusion.

TheDeamon

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #107 on: March 03, 2017, 06:56:32 PM »
What recourse are you going to have at that point? You're going to be dependent on someone/something at that point. Where that charity comes from is anybody's game(private/public/government), but the only other option at that point is death. People tend to get violent when they come to the conclusion.

And it should be augmented to point to out, once more, that unlike in history, as Robots, rather than humans, are the primary means of production, the "hardship" induced on the robot owners is going to likely be negligible at best. Which is why the Government intervention becomes a bit more palatable, because the "redistribution" in this case isn't due to scarcity of goods, but is instead happening in an essentially a surplus of goods environment where most people simply lack access to income(employment) with which to pay for them.

Of course, in the context of UBI, we probably also start venturing into the realm of population controls as well. While killing people outright is certainly unpalatable, and I'm squeamish on outright denying their ability to breed, particularly on any kind of permanent basis. But at the same time, such a provision shouldn't be taken as a license to have your wife(or wives, as polyamory is becoming a thing) pop out enough little ones so you field your own baseball team with all of that spare time you now have.

Fenring

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #108 on: March 03, 2017, 08:34:41 PM »
Of course, in the context of UBI, we probably also start venturing into the realm of population controls as well. While killing people outright is certainly unpalatable, and I'm squeamish on outright denying their ability to breed, particularly on any kind of permanent basis. But at the same time, such a provision shouldn't be taken as a license to have your wife(or wives, as polyamory is becoming a thing) pop out enough little ones so you field your own baseball team with all of that spare time you now have.

Population control must be a thing more and more in a society without economic disincentives for procreation. At present it's the case that increased industrialization and standard of living comes along with increased cost of children, and increased difficulty in logistics to raise many of them. It seems clear to me that a full UBI must not be given to children; but I would go further and say that little to no UBI should be granted to minors at all. If someone wants to have many children that's fine, but they will have to ration out their own resources if they want to do so, whether that means tightening belts or else making sure the family is employed and has income to support it. Certainly at the very least you wouldn't want to create active incentives for having too many children, so that a 'market rate' for how much UBI per child generates how much of a birth rate would be something to study over time. So that population levels don't boom out of control but remain relatively constant (with slightly increasing numbers, perhaps) some sort of control would be needed once food is plentiful enough that feeding of them isn't an issue.

Pete at Home

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #109 on: March 04, 2017, 01:40:18 AM »
Doesn't stop pligs from living off their wives' UBI like pimps off their whores.

TheDeamon

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #110 on: March 04, 2017, 02:19:09 AM »
Doesn't stop pligs from living off their wives' UBI like pimps off their whores.

On the other hand, it does provide those wives with a means of escape as well. Under a UBI scenario, they'll still have nearly all of their needs addressed regardless of if they stay or go. Which in a lot of cases will make leaving a much less intimidating option for many people in abusive relationships where the abuser is the primary wage earner at present.

Gaoics79

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #111 on: March 04, 2017, 06:13:39 AM »
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So basic gets redefined, what's so bad about that?

Well that's a good question. Does UBI work if the "basic" needs of the population can never be filled to their satisfaction? That's not a rhetorical question - I have no idea.

TheDeamon

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #112 on: March 04, 2017, 10:55:52 AM »
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So basic gets redefined, what's so bad about that?

Well that's a good question. Does UBI work if the "basic" needs of the population can never be filled to their satisfaction? That's not a rhetorical question - I have no idea.

If you're dealing in a true post-scarcity scenario, it shouldn't matter much, the capacity to meet the demand/"need" likely exists already, or can be created easily enough--so long as the bar is being risen at a "reasonable pace." If there is a scarcity that remains in the mix, that is going to be the decisive factor.

It just needs to be stipulated that many of "the basics" are fixed location items, unless you're ok with the standard becoming something silly like everyone owning a FTL capable space-faring ship they call home.

Gaoics79

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #113 on: March 04, 2017, 02:40:20 PM »
Well how about if everyone gets a single detached house with a two car garage?

TheDeamon

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #114 on: March 04, 2017, 04:57:29 PM »
Well how about if everyone gets a single detached house with a two car garage?

How many square feet per occupant(and how large are the bedrooms)? What level of build quality are we talking about? Particle board countertops with laminate surfaces, concrete counters(and which type, there are "fashionable" types now), granite, or some other kind of stone? Is the house "prewired" for anything besides electricity? What about the flooring?

Do they get an "office" as well as a bedroom so they can practice "good sleep hygiene" by keeping the computers out of their bedrooms? What about a number of other questions that can differentiate between "a nice place to live" and "the slums" by current standards. Knowing that whatever standard is set, it likely will become the new standard for "slum-like."

cherrypoptart

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #115 on: March 04, 2017, 06:15:40 PM »
People should get a Tokyo style capsule hotel with a community shower and restroom area. It's still better than what I got in the Navy, at least on the ship. Sometimes it was even worse with double bunk beds in an open barracks. But at least it would offer a cost effective solution to some of the worst parts of homelessness, a safe place to sleep and keep good hygiene with a soup kitchen on the ground floor.

TheDeamon

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #116 on: March 04, 2017, 09:00:36 PM »
People should get a Tokyo style capsule hotel with a community shower and restroom area. It's still better than what I got in the Navy, at least on the ship. Sometimes it was even worse with double bunk beds in an open barracks. But at least it would offer a cost effective solution to some of the worst parts of homelessness, a safe place to sleep and keep good hygiene with a soup kitchen on the ground floor.

The "Coffin racks" aren't very coffin like anymore. And the open bay barracks is only a thing seen in Bootcamp for the most part. They also put even the single junior enlisted in quarters ashore whenever possible, often going so far as giving them BAH to live off-base.

They were getting the E-4's off the ship when in port back in 2003/2004 and I can attest to that from personal experience, the E-5's had been cut free before I joined the fleet in 2000. My understanding is even the E-1's will at least get on-base housing at this point. The days of even the single E-6 having to live on the ship or pay out of pocket for off-base housing is long gone. 

IIRC, the Navy's goal were, and still remain to get the (long-term/non-training) barracks living situation down to 1 man to a room, although they'd likely have a common area which would include the bathing area, kitchen, and "entertainment space." With different metrics for different pay grades, higher paygrades obviously share their common space with fewer people, and likely get more space as well.

yossarian22c

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #117 on: March 05, 2017, 01:49:13 PM »
A lot of time here has gotten caught up on an "all or nothing" UBI.  But it doesn't need to be that way.  Under the economic conditions of today where most people can get a job (even if it isn't a very lucrative one) means a UBI should be scaled to replace welfare, food stamps, and other government assistance.  I would set the level at between $7,500 and $10,000 per year.  Enough to scrape by without other income but also a nice boost to lower to middle income households.  Index it to inflation + some level of the unemployment rate.  So as economic conditions mean fewer people are able to work the UBI becomes more generous but if economic conditions remain where labor is required they just continue to replace the government programs already in place. 

Here is what I think various levels of UBI would do with today's economy (assuming the UBI replaces other non healthcare related subsidies).
UBI < 5,000 : Ineffective and leads to increased deprivation in impoverished communities.
5,000 < UBI  < 7,500: Marginally effective for households with multiple adults, but probably is too low to acheive most of the types of positive outcomes from a UBI that supporters would advocate.
7,500 < UBI < 10,000: A UBI of this level should eliminate most homelessness and food insecurity. 
10,000 < UBI < 15,000: A UBI at this level would eliminate homelessness (for everyone not addicted to drugs) but I see some danger of inflationary pressures (at least in the short term as demand for better housing increases).  I think the inflation would be temporary (1-3 years) as builders caught up with the increased demand.
15,000 < UBI < 25,000: A UBI at this level with today's economy would likely lead to increased inflation and would end up harming the economy as it would be too large a shock to start at this level.
UBI > 25,000: A UBI in the current economy of above 25000 would almost certainly be almost purely inflationary and harm the middle class as much as it helped the lower class.  Many people would quit jobs thinking that they could easily live off the UBI to see inflation increase rapidly (and outpace wage growth) so that more people end up worse off than when they started.

In short I see the UBI like an economic antibiotic: too little is ineffective (and causes harm in terms of drug resistance), too much causes harm (poisons the body), but proper use makes things healthier.

I would be curious as to where other people see the line for a UBI being too little or too great.

TheDrake

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #118 on: March 05, 2017, 04:08:55 PM »
If I were setting a level, I'd choose something like minimum wage x 2000 hours, or $20k.

To responses that you can get a job when you want, this depends on your area and your background. If you have a criminal record (which many do, thanks to the drug war), have a spotty work history, or health problems this isn't as easy as you might think. If you're living in Flint, you might have a hard time.

As an exercise, go out and try to get a job with no home address, no phone, no references, and checking the felony box.


TheDeamon

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #119 on: March 05, 2017, 09:43:38 PM »
A lot of time here has gotten caught up on an "all or nothing" UBI.  But it doesn't need to be that way.  Under the economic conditions of today where most people can get a job (even if it isn't a very lucrative one) means a UBI should be scaled to replace welfare, food stamps, and other government assistance.  I would set the level at between $7,500 and $10,000 per year.  Enough to scrape by without other income but also a nice boost to lower to middle income households.  Index it to inflation + some level of the unemployment rate.  So as economic conditions mean fewer people are able to work the UBI becomes more generous but if economic conditions remain where labor is required they just continue to replace the government programs already in place.

I didn't go all in, I said up front I thought UBI is something we're "Not ready for just yet" which is why I tended to focus on the food stamps example, making it a universal benefit, rather than a welfare program for the impoverished/unemployed.

Quote
Here is what I think various levels of UBI would do with today's economy (assuming the UBI replaces other non healthcare related subsidies).
UBI < 5,000 : Ineffective and leads to increased deprivation in impoverished communities.

Unless we're talking about a focus on Food Stamps and restricting that money in such a way that it can only be spent on food. If people want to sell their monthly food allowance at that point in exchange for hard unrestricted cash, let them. So long as they aren't neglecting the basic nutrition of their children as a consequence. Consider it a market incentive to maximize the "bang for your buck" and if they can get by on less per month, and turn a profit on selling the remaining subsidy at a discount, more power to them.

The other thing is these dollar amounts are variable, a $5,000/year food budget for a single person is $13.69/day for food. Which would be a bit low for someone who gets their food from restaurants(my daily food budget exceeds that, but I live on the road. A typical meal at a sit down diner would cost me at least that much after tips), but should be adequate for someone who is doing some basic level of "cooking" at home, even if it consists of throwing things in the microwave or making cereal. 

Quote
5,000 < UBI  < 7,500: Marginally effective for households with multiple adults, but probably is too low to acheive most of the types of positive outcomes from a UBI that supporters would advocate.
7,500 < UBI < 10,000: A UBI of this level should eliminate most homelessness and food insecurity. 
10,000 < UBI < 15,000: A UBI at this level would eliminate homelessness (for everyone not addicted to drugs) but I see some danger of inflationary pressures (at least in the short term as demand for better housing increases).  I think the inflation would be temporary (1-3 years) as builders caught up with the increased demand.

A $15,000/year UBI per adult would give a single income, two person household an income on par with the median household income in many rural communities as it stands today. Meanwhile, it might get you into the cockroach apartments in many of the more urban areas. It certainly would inflate things in the rural areas in short order. As they're the start of the supply chain for the urban areas, it gets to be "fun" after that.

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In short I see the UBI like an economic antibiotic: too little is ineffective (and causes harm in terms of drug resistance), too much causes harm (poisons the body), but proper use makes things healthier.

It is income redistribution, pure and simple, and while certain types of redistribution I'm okay with(like I said, a VAT probably wouldn't be a bad idea in this context), income tax is probably the wrong way to go about it. I also am not as fan of "redistribution" in many respects, particularly based on personal income, and trying to do a "corporate income tax" just generates its own slew of issues(and the big corps have armies of lawyers to minimize what they pay anyway). The other issue with attacking income(which even VAT's will do, indirectly), is that it creates dis-incentives for production in many cases.

The issue right now is that automation, mechanization, and roboticization, are only really starting to hit the threshold where it's removing more jobs from the global market than it is creating now.  (Previously, we had issues with off-shoring, largely due to mechanization making moving things over great distances easier, but that same movement created more/different jobs even as they helped eliminate others, while the other jobs simply changed addresses)

Technology has fundamentally broken the older paradigm we have been working under. That isn't to say people won't be able to find work, they're just unlikely to be able to find work which will generate sufficient income to meet their needs. Particularly while "we're in transition" from the existing model to the primarily robotic/automation(/artificial intelligence) driven model.

Obviously, the people on welfare now are basically on a kind of UBI now, just a less fleshed out form of it. These programs are expensive as it stands, and extending them into a full fledged UBI(at whatever tier) is going to make them even more so. Which brings us back to the problem of paying for it.

I still see Food Stamps as "phase 1" for a UBI roll-out, but I think we're probably still another 10 to 15 years out from it being overly critical, but probably within 5 to 8 years, it'll be highly beneficial to have done so.

(Basic) Medical and Education are in the mix somewhere as well but will not be given a specific phase. But these are automation/AI issues more than anything else in my book. That "solution" won't be a government driven outcome, that'll be the result of AI reaching a certain threshold, and the Education environment is going to change pretty quickly after that. We're probably going to see that within 15 to 20 years. (And then we're going to have a legion of unemployed educators to deal with) Medical will likely follow within 5 to 10 years after that. There will still be humans involved in both professions, but they're going to be in highly specialized fields for the most part, and mostly focused on research.

"Universal Housing" becomes the "second phase" of things, but I think that one is still a solid 20 years out, as a minimum. As it isn't just the place they call home, it's power, its water, its sewer, and probably at least one other service(Internet/phone) as well, although in many respects, I think "Universal Internet Access" has been largely achieved in even the slightly urbanized areas. If you can't get online, its because you don't want to, or you're out in the sticks.

Edit: Need to run, so I'm leaving this as somewhat incomplete.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2017, 09:47:04 PM by TheDeamon »

Gaoics79

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #120 on: March 07, 2017, 07:53:47 AM »
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I didn't go all in, I said up front I thought UBI is something we're "Not ready for just yet" which is why I tended to focus on the food stamps example, making it a universal benefit, rather than a welfare program for the impoverished/unemployed.

Before too long a politician would come along and ask: why are we paying to subsidize caviar for millionaires? Then a little while later ubi would revert back to welfare. It is the nature of cash strapped debt ridden governments to cut cut cut - and ubi would be easy pickings, a no brainer both financially and politically.

Fenring

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #121 on: March 07, 2017, 10:14:03 AM »
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I didn't go all in, I said up front I thought UBI is something we're "Not ready for just yet" which is why I tended to focus on the food stamps example, making it a universal benefit, rather than a welfare program for the impoverished/unemployed.

Before too long a politician would come along and ask: why are we paying to subsidize caviar for millionaires? Then a little while later ubi would revert back to welfare. It is the nature of cash strapped debt ridden governments to cut cut cut - and ubi would be easy pickings, a no brainer both financially and politically.

I was going to write a post about this before but decided not to because it would bog down the discussion in my own theories. But part of it was going to be about grading the UBI depending on income, so that at a certain income level you don't get it, and below that you begin to get part of it until you get below a certain family (or personal) income and you get all of it. I'd say maybe $100,000 a year personal income could be an arbitrary cap, with those making just below that amount getting just enough to bump them up to $100,000, and slowly increasing as the personal income goes down until maybe $40,000, where they'd get the whole thing. But the important part would be that there would be no eligibility criterion; everyone would automatically get what their income suggested. Also, I think a simple way to implement the gradation for those who do have an income would be to do it through income taxes as a refund. For those without sufficient income to give the entire UBI as a refund they would just get a check for the remainder (or entire thing if they have no income at all) during income tax time.

TheDeamon

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #122 on: March 07, 2017, 10:29:51 AM »
Easier way would be to "flat tax" (or whatever tax) and check the taxes due against what their UBI would be, and they pay (or receive) the difference.

Basically UBI becomes the new standard deduction.

People just get the option of having it disbursed to them monthly(in which case, they get to pay it back in the form of taxes), or it can be withheld for tax purposes(in which case they may not pay any actual taxes).

The reality is the super-rich would realize they're paying for their own UBI anyhow. It's just a matter of what accounting games you want to play with it.

Making it universal just mitigates some of the other games that could be played with it, and in particular helps remove the fraud concerns with regards to UBI itself. Which isn't to say they can't be tax cheats all the same.

Seriati

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #123 on: March 07, 2017, 10:35:59 AM »
So if no one works, and is just given American "standard" (or do you mean above standard), housing, food and transportation, where does this stuff come from?

You are confusing a lack of forcing people to work with a lack of incentive for anyone to work. Where there is incentive people will do it; the market price for what incentive will work is always the issue.

I'm not confusing anything.  What you are suggesting, if a lot of work is required, but no one had to do it, would require a substantial premium to get done.  Substantial premiums mean higher prices (unless again, you just ignore actual costs in distribution of resources).  That's all you're actually doing here, you're pretending like costs are made up and we don't need to consider them in allocation of goods.  That's not a philosophy that has ever worked.

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Right now the incentive isn't based on what people feel is reasonable to agree to, but rather they must accept the terms offered on compulsion.

Where's your proof of this falsity?  I don't accept that needing money to purchase basic necessities makes compulsion inherent, if I dropped you on an island you'd be responsible for producing everything you need to survive.  Our current system encourages trade to allow you to specialize and be more efficient, so you can trade your excess product, what ever it is, for that of others.  We provide free education and massive support to ensure that no one is forced to enter the work environment with their only marketable skill being unskilled labor (yet we still get too many people with no skills).

You seem to believe that when people are free to make rational decisions they will some how arrive at erroneous ones.  There's no evidence of that.  To my knowledge every system other than a free market has as a matter of fact relied more heavily on compulsion in establishing who has to work and at what jobs, and what they get paid for it and what they should accept as fair.   

The UBI will certainly do it, with central planners on high establishing what is a "fair" living income, what's a "fair" baseline housing and food condition, and so on.  Then they'll have two choices to maintain it, either continually increase the UBI to account for accelerating inflation or institute price controls to stop inflation.  You can look at numerous historical examples of how that works out.

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The fact that they are not compelled by any given employer is a trivial irrelevancy, because when faced with the system we could just as soon treat it as the agent compelling them.

The fact?  There's no fact that they are compelled at all.  And if they have options of multiple employers then the idea that they are compelled falls apart completely absent a massive and illegal collusion.

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What 'communism' in Russia lacked was incentive to work, to compete, and above all, they deliberately inserted controls to prevent anyone from competing or being industrious.

Lol.  The USSR had no problem with compelling people to work.  They inserted price controls because their system did as you believe and completely ignored real costs in the production of goods, and was completely unresponsive to the needs and wants of its consumers.  They had no choice, because no one could afford to buy goods at the prices that reflected real costs, and no one wanted to produce goods where they lost money on every forced sale.   

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Not sure why you persist in thinking that anything like that would happen here.

Because you don't seem to have an accurate picture of what happens or why.  Every thing is based upon the free exchange of goods for value.  Communism messed with both sides of that equation directly, UBI messes with the latter part directly.  It's wishfull thinking to believe that you will have a free exchange of goods when you destroy the value of the currency in which they trade.

Honestly, your entire premise is that we can "produce" a giant pile of currency and this will create new value.  It doesn't work that way, it only seems to because there is an imperfect information effect.  When the government adds excess currency you see inflation, but it lags and sometimes its a mismatch, this is in part because people don't think of what's really going on.  How much do you think currency would be worth if you could go to Kinko's and copy the currency?  Your arguments imply that counterfeiting should have nothing but positive impacts.

Really, I think you need to address the issue that your plan undermines the currency directly.

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For the most part you have to bodily stop people from trying to make money when they think they can.

And as in Communism, with UBI, they'll come to know they can't.  What exactly is the point of working, when inflation will eat your profits and the UBI increase in the next period will make a mockery of your efforts? 

People will work they just won't do it for currency.

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How do you reconcile the logical inconsistency in declaring someone a slave, unless others become that persons slave?

Serfdom is serfdom, whether or not it's officially called that. Except that back in the old days you could opt out by literally leaving and going to live in the forest or what have you, while now even that would be illegal since you'd either be trespassing or breaking some local laws (no fire permit! no hunting license!). There is more or less no choice now but to remain 'in society' and to pay rent, do the jobs that are available, and join the cycle. There are survivalists out there, and just to put cultural things in perspective I think they are mostly cast in the light of being Unabomber terrorist-types these days.

But to push the point further, slavery in the past was 'excusable', if you want to call it that, on account that the economic system required large amounts of manual labor to get jobs done, that often could not have been done had they been free men being paid good wages. Technologically speaking, the age of brute force labor did in some sense necessitate slavery, or at the very least we could say that it made sense to have slaves, whether or not it was decent or moral in an absolute sense. But if robots take over jobs in the near future it will neither be necessary nor sensible to force people to do menial labor to earn their keep as it was in slavery's past. The only reason to employ wage slaves at that point would literally be because you want them to work, which is a far more nefarious reason than the historical one, which actually amounted to real utility (at the expense of freedom for some). In the past people had a plausible reason to press people into cheap or free labor. What's our excuse?

That's a big old dodgy response.

How do you reconcile the logical inconsistency in declaring someone a slave, unless others become that persons slave?

Your argument, in a nutshell, appears to be that a person is a slave, unless other people give that person, in exchange for no contribution to society, the right to receive the goods and benefits produced by that society.  In other words, those that work must also provide for those that choose not to, effectively as their slaves or serfs.  Please reconcile, how one is a slave unless others are their slaves.

There is no such thing as a "post scarcity" environment.  We live on a single planet of close to what 6 billion people.  Unless you plan to completely destroy all nature, there is no resolution of this that results in everyone have a stand alone dwelling with two cars and a yard.  Just allocating the resources to produce that would set back the environment tremendously.  If you want true equality of outcomes (which, despite your protests, seems to be what you really want) then the western standard of living can't be the baseline, you'd need to advocate for more of a hive living idea with massive communities and only shared common spaces (like large parks), and you have to accept much more strict restrictions on the goods people can own.  Robots can't fix this, they only make the human element less necessary, they still can't violate the basic physical laws of the universe.

Of course in later posts, some of you advocate population controls and even reeducation, so pretty scary stuff.  Entirely predictable but still scary.

Seriati

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #124 on: March 07, 2017, 10:40:51 AM »
I was going to write a post about this before but decided not to because it would bog down the discussion in my own theories. But part of it was going to be about grading the UBI depending on income, so that at a certain income level you don't get it, and below that you begin to get part of it until you get below a certain family (or personal) income and you get all of it. I'd say maybe $100,000 a year personal income could be an arbitrary cap, with those making just below that amount getting just enough to bump them up to $100,000, and slowly increasing as the personal income goes down until maybe $40,000, where they'd get the whole thing. But the important part would be that there would be no eligibility criterion; everyone would automatically get what their income suggested. Also, I think a simple way to implement the gradation for those who do have an income would be to do it through income taxes as a refund. For those without sufficient income to give the entire UBI as a refund they would just get a check for the remainder (or entire thing if they have no income at all) during income tax time.

UBI = universal basic income.  It's inherent in the concept that it be universal.  What you're suggesting here is called welfare and will act to magnify a redistribution effect, by constantly undermining the benefit of wealth, savings and income generation.

Seriati

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #125 on: March 07, 2017, 10:43:00 AM »
The reality is the super-rich would realize they're paying for their own UBI anyhow. It's just a matter of what accounting games you want to play with it.

If you are going to have a UBI and make it clear that the government is printing currency without regard to value, why have taxes at all?  In such a system taxes only exist to redistribute wealth or to maintain an illusion that currency is related to value.

TheDeamon

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #126 on: March 07, 2017, 01:42:07 PM »
You are confusing a lack of forcing people to work with a lack of incentive for anyone to work. Where there is incentive people will do it; the market price for what incentive will work is always the issue.

I'm not confusing anything.  What you are suggesting, if a lot of work is required, but no one had to do it, would require a substantial premium to get done.  Substantial premiums mean higher prices (unless again, you just ignore actual costs in distribution of resources).  That's all you're actually doing here, you're pretending like costs are made up and we don't need to consider them in allocation of goods.  That's not a philosophy that has ever worked.

You're running in a different loop on this. Communism-like efforts generally fail and end badly because of the "lowest common denominator" dragging things down. There were communist efforts even before Marx coined the term, and the United States was ground zero for a number of those failed efforts, both before and after our independence from Britain.

A major factor in those failures was the reliance on manpower to get work done, and the human tendency to seek maximum reward for minimal effort. Which communism sets the effort baseline at virtually 0. Which then in turn demoralizes and disenfranchises others until they too quit producing "according to their ability" and their own efforts, while they may not reach zero, aren't going to be particularly ambitious/energetic either, as they gained little to nothing directly for doing so, as the fruits of their personal labor would be distributed across 100+ other people. Labor unions also tend to generate comparable outcomes even though the mechanisms for pay are different.

Which isn't to say other such "communal efforts" fail outright, they just have to make sure things are more "fair" to the producers. Otherwise we wouldn't have Co-op's(cooperatives) all over the place.

Robotics is a major game changer at this point because unlike mechanization, which while it greatly multiplied the productivity of an individual human, it still requires a human to be present. We're nearing the point where we're able eliminate the human from the equation almost entirely. As robot's don't care about George being a lazy sack of cow manure, they don't get demoralized, their efficiency and quality of work is also not contingent on mood swings. Their needs are also comparatively few, even if they do involve quite the logistics chain in their own right. Albeit, a logistics chain with a lot in common with consumer products as well.

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Right now the incentive isn't based on what people feel is reasonable to agree to, but rather they must accept the terms offered on compulsion.

Where's your proof of this falsity?  I don't accept that needing money to purchase basic necessities makes compulsion inherent, if I dropped you on an island you'd be responsible for producing everything you need to survive.  Our current system encourages trade to allow you to specialize and be more efficient, so you can trade your excess product, what ever it is, for that of others.

Finding an uninhabited island capable of supporting human life for an indefinite duration in this day and age is getting to be a difficult undertaking, unless you happen upon a nature preserve, in which case staying there, or putting someone else there, is a criminal act. Which isn't to mention Fish & Game, or equivalent agency, is probably going to want to have some words with you as well. Otherwise, you're trespassing on somebody's land, and its just a matter of when someone finds you/catches you, although you may be lucky and find it isn't law enforcement that does so, of course, that could be bad in other ways.

But fleeing into "the frontier" and living off the land isn't a thing anymore. You better have some $$$ before you go and try something like that, or you're going to have legal problems. You still might have legal problems even with the $$$ to clear the way before hand.

Which puts us back to if you're unemployed, have bills to pay, and don't want to default on anything you can avoid defaulting on, and don't want to go on government assistance(as it exists). You must have a job, now yes, it doesn't have to be a specific job, but it must be a job, and of course, it has to be one that's available when/where you need it to be, and one that will both hire you and provide enough work/pay to cover your needs rather than wants. It is that combination of factors that can, and often does, "entrap" people into employment with some outfits.

Although more commonly today, the "slave master" as it were isn't the employer. It's a creditor instead. Want to keep your car? Better have a job. Want to stay in your home? Better have a job. Need to pay off that Federal Student Loan that you can't declare bankruptcy to get away from? Better have a job.

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We provide free education and massive support to ensure that no one is forced to enter the work environment with their only marketable skill being unskilled labor (yet we still get too many people with no skills).

Getting grants for most Americans, particularly if they're White, and from anything close to a Middle Class background is virtually impossible. Might as well tell a toddler to go scale Mount Everest next week. Scholarships are an option, but they're the exception, not the rule, and the bar for getting many of them is such that I'd hardly call them "free."

Which basically leaves them with paying out of pocket, student loans, or more creative/alternative paths(like military service to get at the College Fund/GI Bill) or work-study programs. Neither of which would qualify in my book as "a free education."

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You seem to believe that when people are free to make rational decisions they will some how arrive at erroneous ones.  There's no evidence of that.  To my knowledge every system other than a free market has as a matter of fact relied more heavily on compulsion in establishing who has to work and at what jobs, and what they get paid for it and what they should accept as fair.

There is plenty of evidence to show that in a unrestricted market, people are more than capable of making uninformed decisions which usually lead to disastrous outcomes. As the examples of exactly that happening are legion.

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The UBI will certainly do it, with central planners on high establishing what is a "fair" living income, what's a "fair" baseline housing and food condition, and so on.  Then they'll have two choices to maintain it, either continually increase the UBI to account for accelerating inflation or institute price controls to stop inflation.  You can look at numerous historical examples of how that works out.

Food stamps doesn't seem to have caused run away inflation? Section 8 housing has been around for decades now, and while we have had run away housing markets, it didn't have anything to do with Section 8. So I'm going to say your premise is moderately flawed, I am agreed that inflation is something to be concerned about, particularly given that we're not properly paying for Food Stamps, or Section 8 like we should be doing(funding them through the national debt). But claiming the programs are going to be highly inflationary by themselves is a bit extreme.

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Lol.  The USSR had no problem with compelling people to work.

Indeed, except I think their preferred solution for those who wouldn't work was a gulag.

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Because you don't seem to have an accurate picture of what happens or why.  Every thing is based upon the free exchange of goods for value.  Communism messed with both sides of that equation directly, UBI messes with the latter part directly.  It's wishfull thinking to believe that you will have a free exchange of goods when you destroy the value of the currency in which they trade.

If it is properly funded, it isn't "creating currency" it is redistributing it instead, and the currency creation is the inflationary risk, not the redistribution. Although the resulting economic activity that happens because of that redistribution would result in some inflationary pressures. Which is why you phase in such an implementation so you can give the market time to react rather than hit it with a massive "shock."

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Honestly, your entire premise is that we can "produce" a giant pile of currency and this will create new value.  It doesn't work that way, it only seems to because there is an imperfect information effect.  When the government adds excess currency you see inflation, but it lags and sometimes its a mismatch, this is in part because people don't think of what's really going on.  How much do you think currency would be worth if you could go to Kinko's and copy the currency?  Your arguments imply that counterfeiting should have nothing but positive impacts.

Where was anyone talking about currency manipulation? You're the only one bringing it up, so far as I can tell.

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Really, I think you need to address the issue that your plan undermines the currency directly.

As we were talking currency/material redistribution, rather than currency manipulation("printing" money and inflating the money supply), I'm going to say you're off track on this.

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And as in Communism, with UBI, they'll come to know they can't.  What exactly is the point of working, when inflation will eat your profits and the UBI increase in the next period will make a mockery of your efforts?

In the context of the Wiemar Republic, because it allows you get that item NOW rather than later, or because it allows to get something a little bit better than you have obtained otherwise. If people believe they will gain materially from doing work, they'll typically do it, if they believe that gain sufficient to justify the effort. But you're also talking present day, while we're talking 50 to 60 years from now where the Robots are doing most of the work, where human workers are likely a vanity item for the wealthy.

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Serfdom is serfdom, whether or not it's officially called that. Except that back in the old days you could opt out by literally leaving and going to live in the forest or what have you, while now even that would be illegal since you'd either be trespassing or breaking some local laws (no fire permit! no hunting license!). There is more or less no choice now but to remain 'in society' and to pay rent, do the jobs that are available, and join the cycle. There are survivalists out there, and just to put cultural things in perspective I think they are mostly cast in the light of being Unabomber terrorist-types these days.

It should be pointed out that in Europe, even going into the forest was problematic. Those trees? They belong to a local noble. The wildlife? They also belong to either the local noble, or the King/Queen of the area. So unless you had permission to do so, you didn't, or made sure you didn't get caught. Colonial America was a different critter for a number of largely obvious reasons.

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There is no such thing as a "post scarcity" environment.  We live on a single planet of close to what 6 billion people.
7 Billion and counting.
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Unless you plan to completely destroy all nature, there is no resolution of this that results in everyone have a stand alone dwelling with two cars and a yard.  Just allocating the resources to produce that would set back the environment tremendously.

It also isn't viable in terms of say, providing "affordable housing" in and around New York City for example. The people who choose to live there would require an alternative arrangement. Such as giving them a 600 square ft studio apartment with 1 or 2 parking stalls if single.

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If you want true equality of outcomes (which, despite your protests, seems to be what you really want) then the western standard of living can't be the baseline, you'd need to advocate for more of a hive living idea with massive communities and only shared common spaces (like large parks), and you have to accept much more strict restrictions on the goods people can own.  Robots can't fix this, they only make the human element less necessary, they still can't violate the basic physical laws of the universe.

In the 50 to 60 year horizon, we're realistically looking at Fusion Power being viable, even using older conduction technologies than we have available today, they passed the break-even point on a fusion reaction at NIF in 2014(more energy released than introduced/used), and others have reported being able to contain reactions for upwards of 30 seconds now. (South Korea claims a high energy plasma containment period of 70 seconds as of December 2016)

Progress on Fusion is moving at a decent clip, and they're in positive returns territory now, so the game is starting to shift in research that's happening there. The running joke about it being "the energy source for 30 years in the future" probably remains correct at this time, but the horizon is highly likely to start drawing closer in from this point on.

So yes, you're correct, robotics by itself doesn't really solve scarcity. But robotics + space colonization(with or without humans) + fusion power creates an entirely different dynamic. Particularly since Fusion Power has enormous potential to make the "energy cost" of launches (using existing tech) more affordable.

But this goes back to my also saying "We're not there yet" for a full fledged UBI. We're on step C of a multi-step process, and a lot of other preconditions have to be met first. AI still has a fair bit more ground to cover, but not as much as many people working skilled labor/computer based jobs would like to think about.

Robotics has a LOT of ground to cover still, but mostly in regards to low/no skill labor positions(the guy doing "order fulfillment" at an Amazon warehouse), sensors need to be more robust, power and control systems need to be more robust, so on and so forth. And in order to make large scale deployment of robotics truly viable, you need to have a power source that they're able to use, preferably one that is clean, cheap, robust, and reliable. A breakthrough in Battery tech could help make renewable energy sources such an option, but for a solid baseline power source, Nuclear is likely to be where it's at, and Fusion is likely to be the king, once all is said and done.

Seriati

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #127 on: March 07, 2017, 04:07:21 PM »
Robotics is a major game changer at this point because unlike mechanization, which while it greatly multiplied the productivity of an individual human, it still requires a human to be present. We're nearing the point where we're able eliminate the human from the equation almost entirely.

Based on human history, if robots make it such that the robot owners no longer need anything from the rest of us, is it more likely that (A) they will spontaneously decide to give everyone a comfortable lifestyle, or (B) exploit the crap out of the useless?

My complaint about the position you guys are advocating is that you're trying to blend two fundamentally inconsistent systems, without regard for the real consequences.

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Right now the incentive isn't based on what people feel is reasonable to agree to, but rather they must accept the terms offered on compulsion.

Where's your proof of this falsity?  I don't accept that needing money to purchase basic necessities makes compulsion inherent, if I dropped you on an island you'd be responsible for producing everything you need to survive.  Our current system encourages trade to allow you to specialize and be more efficient, so you can trade your excess product, what ever it is, for that of others.

Finding an uninhabited island capable of supporting human life for an indefinite duration in this day and age is getting to be a difficult undertaking, unless you happen upon a nature preserve, in which case staying there, or putting someone else there, is a criminal act. Which isn't to mention Fish & Game, or equivalent agency, is probably going to want to have some words with you as well. Otherwise, you're trespassing on somebody's land, and its just a matter of when someone finds you/catches you, although you may be lucky and find it isn't law enforcement that does so, of course, that could be bad in other ways.

But fleeing into "the frontier" and living off the land isn't a thing anymore. You better have some $$$ before you go and try something like that, or you're going to have legal problems. You still might have legal problems even with the $$$ to clear the way before hand.

Which puts us back to if you're unemployed, have bills to pay, and don't want to default on anything you can avoid defaulting on, and don't want to go on government assistance(as it exists). You must have a job, now yes, it doesn't have to be a specific job, but it must be a job, and of course, it has to be one that's available when/where you need it to be, and one that will both hire you and provide enough work/pay to cover your needs rather than wants. It is that combination of factors that can, and often does, "entrap" people into employment with some outfits.

Although more commonly today, the "slave master" as it were isn't the employer. It's a creditor instead. Want to keep your car? Better have a job. Want to stay in your home? Better have a job. Need to pay off that Federal Student Loan that you can't declare bankruptcy to get away from? Better have a job.

You realize, none of that is actually responsive right?  Our current system requires that you produce, whatever it is you can that is of use to the community, in order to receive back from the community what you can not produce.  Nothing about that makes you a slave.  Being entitled to receive without having to produce makes everyone else your slave.

Fenring's argument appears to be premised on the idea that requiring people to contribute to their own and the common good is an affront to the moral dignity of being human, where by each should be entitled to have their needs cared for but no one should be required to so care for them.

There is nothing immoral about requiring contributions.

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We provide free education and massive support to ensure that no one is forced to enter the work environment with their only marketable skill being unskilled labor (yet we still get too many people with no skills).

Getting grants for most Americans, particularly if they're White, and from anything close to a Middle Class background is virtually impossible. Might as well tell a toddler to go scale Mount Everest next week. Scholarships are an option, but they're the exception, not the rule, and the bar for getting many of them is such that I'd hardly call them "free."

You seem to have missed the K-12 grades there.  Obtaining low interest college loans is trivially easy these days.  Not to mention there are low cost college and trade options virtually everywhere.

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Which basically leaves them with paying out of pocket, student loans, or more creative/alternative paths(like military service to get at the College Fund/GI Bill) or work-study programs. Neither of which would qualify in my book as "a free education."

America has an overeducation problem these days.  We have far more college grads than actual jobs requiring college education, leading to companies demanding degrees for work that doesn't require it, and the existence of jobs for which the vast majority of potential workers are overqualified.

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You seem to believe that when people are free to make rational decisions they will some how arrive at erroneous ones.  There's no evidence of that.  To my knowledge every system other than a free market has as a matter of fact relied more heavily on compulsion in establishing who has to work and at what jobs, and what they get paid for it and what they should accept as fair.

There is plenty of evidence to show that in a unrestricted market, people are more than capable of making uninformed decisions which usually lead to disastrous outcomes. As the examples of exactly that happening are legion.

And?  My point was that Fenring seems to think this is a necessary result, not a possible result.  Any system that involves free will, will include bad decisions.  The only way to "protect" people from their own decisions is to take them away in the most authoritarian manner.

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The UBI will certainly do it, with central planners on high establishing what is a "fair" living income, what's a "fair" baseline housing and food condition, and so on.  Then they'll have two choices to maintain it, either continually increase the UBI to account for accelerating inflation or institute price controls to stop inflation.  You can look at numerous historical examples of how that works out.

Food stamps doesn't seem to have caused run away inflation?

Lol.  Did you really just say that.  The entire US food production industry is directly subsidized by the federal government to the point of waste specifically to keep food prices artificially low.  That's why there's no inflation (note this isn't solely or even principally related to food stamps, there's a host of reasons).  We inefficiently force people to turn corn into fuel because we can't find enough reasonable uses for the stuff.

Why would you even try to make that argument?

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Section 8 housing has been around for decades now, and while we have had run away housing markets, it didn't have anything to do with Section 8. So I'm going to say your premise is moderately flawed, I am agreed that inflation is something to be concerned about, particularly given that we're not properly paying for Food Stamps, or Section 8 like we should be doing(funding them through the national debt). But claiming the programs are going to be highly inflationary by themselves is a bit extreme.

Too limited.  Rent control and rent stabilization in major cities have in fact caused under supply problems that have created gross inflationary pressure on rents in cities. Growing cities are already short of living space, and these programs make it far worse.  Of course the trade off is that people who don't have the income necessary to actually live in a city get to stay there, to the detriment of the owners of their spaces and everyone who can afford to live there and who is looking for space.

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Because you don't seem to have an accurate picture of what happens or why.  Every thing is based upon the free exchange of goods for value.  Communism messed with both sides of that equation directly, UBI messes with the latter part directly.  It's wishfull thinking to believe that you will have a free exchange of goods when you destroy the value of the currency in which they trade.

If it is properly funded, it isn't "creating currency" it is redistributing it instead, and the currency creation is the inflationary risk, not the redistribution. Although the resulting economic activity that happens because of that redistribution would result in some inflationary pressures. Which is why you phase in such an implementation so you can give the market time to react rather than hit it with a massive "shock."

If Fenring is talking about taxation to fund the UBI then the redistribution and punishment aspect of it will be far worse.  Most UBI arguments are based on the ability of a government to print the currency with only a tangential relationship to actual taxation.

Either way you get massive negative effects.  If you maximize tax to fund it, you'll also maximize tax avoidance and really penalize anyone who is trying to do the "extra" you keep positing to get a little bit ahead.  You'll penalize investment, growth, savings and development in that model.

If you print the cash without the redistribution you get the inflation issues I walked through above, and eventually end up with cost controls and/or seizures.

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Where was anyone talking about currency manipulation? You're the only one bringing it up, so far as I can tell.

You all are, you just don't seem to realize it.  Giving people currency without them providing value is a direct manipulation and breaks the concept - to most people - of what currency actually is.  You can leverage off people's understanding of money for a while, but eventually those dollars you give out take on the same "realism" and value as confederate dollars have today.

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As we were talking currency/material redistribution, rather than currency manipulation("printing" money and inflating the money supply), I'm going to say you're off track on this.

I hate to refer you to Pyrtolin, but even he could have told you that the sovereign doesn't redistribute money.  What it takes in taxes is effectively destroyed, and what it spends or gives out is effectively created from nothing.

What you are talking about is manipulation of the distribution of resources, with a belief that you as a central planner have a better understanding of what the "right" result for that distribution should look like, than what occurs in a free market.

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And as in Communism, with UBI, they'll come to know they can't.  What exactly is the point of working, when inflation will eat your profits and the UBI increase in the next period will make a mockery of your efforts?

In the context of the Wiemar Republic, because it allows you get that item NOW rather than later, or because it allows to get something a little bit better than you have obtained otherwise. If people believe they will gain materially from doing work, they'll typically do it, if they believe that gain sufficient to justify the effort. But you're also talking present day, while we're talking 50 to 60 years from now where the Robots are doing most of the work, where human workers are likely a vanity item for the wealthy.

You have it half right.  They will work, they'll just do it for barter or for blackmarket currencies.

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Unless you plan to completely destroy all nature, there is no resolution of this that results in everyone have a stand alone dwelling with two cars and a yard.  Just allocating the resources to produce that would set back the environment tremendously.

It also isn't viable in terms of say, providing "affordable housing" in and around New York City for example. The people who choose to live there would require an alternative arrangement. Such as giving them a 600 square ft studio apartment with 1 or 2 parking stalls if single.

Most people in the City don't have cars, so the parking stalls aren't needed.   600 square feet is going to end up as close to slum like as you'd care to imagine.

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So yes, you're correct, robotics by itself doesn't really solve scarcity. But robotics + space colonization(with or without humans) + fusion power creates an entirely different dynamic.

In the same way that homesteading did, you can punt the resource constraint if you keep assuming new technologies and resources (that we have no practical access to atm).  But we're not there today, and likely won't be that far for centuries more.

I get the problems you're trying to solve for, I just think the UBI is the worst kind of bandaid possible.  It completely fails to understand that the underlying mechanics are non-functional and it seeks to treat the symptoms alone.  We need to find a fundamental use or need for people when labor is not required, not just accept the situation as hopeless and subsidize people to be unthinking breeding consumer parasites.

TheDeamon

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #128 on: March 07, 2017, 05:06:26 PM »
Robotics is a major game changer at this point because unlike mechanization, which while it greatly multiplied the productivity of an individual human, it still requires a human to be present. We're nearing the point where we're able eliminate the human from the equation almost entirely.

Based on human history, if robots make it such that the robot owners no longer need anything from the rest of us, is it more likely that (A) they will spontaneously decide to give everyone a comfortable lifestyle, or (B) exploit the crap out of the useless?

My complaint about the position you guys are advocating is that you're trying to blend two fundamentally inconsistent systems, without regard for the real consequences.

. . .

Most people in the City don't have cars, so the parking stalls aren't needed.   600 square feet is going to end up as close to slum like as you'd care to imagine.

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I get the problems you're trying to solve for, I just think the UBI is the worst kind of bandaid possible.  It completely fails to understand that the underlying mechanics are non-functional and it seeks to treat the symptoms alone.  We need to find a fundamental use or need for people when labor is not required, not just accept the situation as hopeless and subsidize people to be unthinking breeding consumer parasites.

So what we need to do is develop a fully immersive Virtual Reality system, get people to sign waivers or whatever else, plug them in, stick them in a life support pod that will take care of all their physiological needs, and have perform various and sundry tasks within various Virtual Reality, well.. Realities. For the pleasure and enjoyment of the people who have the resources to live in the actual reality. Then we don't even need to worry about birth control, if they never physically have sex, they'll never actually have children in reality unless special measures are taken to allow for it.

Suddenly the future turns out to be a variation on the Matrix for most of humanity, only they're not being used as batteries for the AI's. They're being used as entertainment for "the haves." So after a fashion, it could almost be claimed they're performing in much the same role as "the hosts" in Westworld. Possibly with comparable restrictions. Only the appeal there was that WestWorld, or Delos as you may prefer, "was physically real" which I guess could be addressed by having them control realistic automatons remotely via VR for the guests who are actually there in person.

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So yes, you're correct, robotics by itself doesn't really solve scarcity. But robotics + space colonization(with or without humans) + fusion power creates an entirely different dynamic.

In the same way that homesteading did, you can punt the resource constraint if you keep assuming new technologies and resources (that we have no practical access to atm).  But we're not there today, and likely won't be that far for centuries more.

Access to space is something we didn't really have a compelling interest/need for in the past(and was/still is godawful expensive, but SpaceX has already dropped the price considerably in just years). We now have people who've decided THEY do have a compelling interest in such ventures, and in regards to some materials, we may very well reach the point of "need" as well. From an environmental standpoint, particularly if Fusion Power is able to trivialize the power requirements side of things(in making the rocket fuel if nothing else), then the argument becomes:

If almost every heavy industrial task is being performed by robotic means, and virtually all of the raw materials needed can be obtained in space. Why not move those production facilities into space? It isn't like robot's need to breath.

In fact, having them operate in a vacuum would likely be preferable in many cases, as vermin are going to have a difficult time breathing in a hard vacuum, so they won't be able to damage the equipment or contaminate it.

It removes ambient moisture from the equation completely, so your equipment won't be corroding due to the ambient environment. (Your production process itself may be another matter)

It just gives you a lot more control over your production environment in general, you don't necessarily need it to be a hard vacuum, but if the floor is manned by robots only, you certainly don't need any oxygen either. Pump it full of some other inert gas (that may or may not have decent thermal conductive properties as the case may be) that will extend the life of your production equipment.

Physical espionage is going to be a lot harder for someone to pull off if you control the entire station, and thus require less physical security.

And the Environmentalists and Conservationists alike should love it, so long as nobody ends up creating a replica of Meteor Crater, AZ somewhere else on earth. You could basically close down nearly every mine on earth, aside from the ones pursuing bio-organic derivatives from era long since past. (Marble Quarries remain safely on Planet Earth, phosphate mines as well more likely than not. Probably a handful of others as well.)

And speaking of screwing up markets. What would someone dropping 7,500 tons of platinum group metals mined from a 1km diameter asteroid do to that market? All someone needs to do is build a robot (or group thereof) than can recover said materials and package them for retrieval, or alternately: send it on by themselves.

Because talking about robotics reaching the point of autonomy from even requiring a human to be present means the tech exists for those same robots to potentially be fielded in space, once someone decides the financials make sense. I highly suspect China has already done that math, and that is an endgame they're going for.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2017, 05:09:58 PM by TheDeamon »

TheDeamon

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #129 on: March 07, 2017, 05:32:45 PM »
Just for fun, I looked it up, things started going into scientific notation after a bit.
But 10 tons(US) = 291,667 troy ounces.

Platinum is currently trading at $979.90 per ounce. So if my math is right, 10 tons would currently be worth about $285,804,493.30 (obviously, delivering that kind of quantity would devalue the metal, greatly, but anyhow) But 10 tons isn't even 1 percent of the total haul that one (theoretical) asteroid could bring in, by itself. Because remember, it was estimated to be up to 7,500 tons. but 0.1% would be 75 tons. Giving us 7.5 times the potential haul initially calculated. Which would net $2,143,533,699.75 at current market values. This also ignored the other minerals they'd likely encounter along the way, copper, iron, nickle, silver, gold, etc.

But yeah, you can rest assured, when they can look at a given asteroid an note it potentially has over a trillion dollars worth of mineral resources locked inside of it waiting for someone to take it, there are people thinking over how they can make it happen. The technology isn't there yet, as the logistics chain itself is problematic, in large part because the current option is send humans there to do the mining, and then you're not only supplying the mining operation itself, but the humans as well. But if you can find a way to do it with robots alone, then you need only find a way to get the right mix of robots on that asteroid, then wait for the payout. (And you can skip on needing to give those humans any hazard pay, as they never went)

edit: fixed a math error.

Pete at Home

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #130 on: March 07, 2017, 07:39:44 PM »
The thing about Platinum and gold in today's markets is that they now have technical uses.  Flood the market with Platinum or gold and yes, price will drop, but demand will increase in a year or two as tech expands to take advantage of the cheaper resource.  Do you know that humans have mined out more gold during our lifetimes than during the entire previous history of the human race?

TheDeamon

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #131 on: March 07, 2017, 08:15:34 PM »
Hrm, and another google search turns up that global platinum production is roughly about 8 Million (troy?) ounces of platinum per year. So in a 1 for 1 capacity replacement scenario, they'd be able to comfortably bring back about 275 tons of platinum per year without significantly disrupting the existing metals market, and they'd have the asteroid mined out in under 25 years as that estimate was 7,500 tons of platinum group metals, not just platinum. 

Oh and according to wiki, global platinum production has been in decline since about 2007, aside from a brief spike in 2011. Of course, their most recent numbers are from 2012, and they don't show it ever getting close to the 8 million ounce(270-ish tons) number I pulled from elsewhere. Hrm.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2017, 08:21:42 PM by TheDeamon »

Seriati

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #132 on: March 08, 2017, 01:22:17 PM »
If you posit the ability to exploit unlimited resources at zero cost, any system will work.  That's a form of what has worked, when it's worked, in such society's on Earth.  They've been able to exploit a resource to cause injections of outside capital to sustain the system. 

Whether there are unlimited resources in space, says nothing about whether it would truly be efficient to mine them.  You'd have the massive transportation costs, which in theory could be offset by fuel generation out there.  There's a huge time cycle on developing space resources, and bringing them to Earth when needed.  There's certainly more danger than current options.  Not to mention we are probably centuries early on discovering the technology to make that work, let alone implementing it at scale.

Even the idea of bringing "valuable" resources back undermines itself, as their value tends to be based on scarcity.

TheDeamon

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #133 on: March 08, 2017, 03:25:02 PM »
If you posit the ability to exploit unlimited resources at zero cost, any system will work.  That's a form of what has worked, when it's worked, in such society's on Earth.  They've been able to exploit a resource to cause injections of outside capital to sustain the system.

And the total number of asteroids available for exploitation is truly mind boggling. The only problem is getting to them, and the time scales involved in transportation of goods to/from those locations. Robotics and automation helps reduce the number of goods needed, as once again, it removes the "human factors" tied to it. You don't need to feed them, you don't need to maintain an ambient environment that is hostile to equipment lifespans because it's otherwise hostile to the human's life span. You don't have to worry about entertainment/mental health aspects for the human, and so forth. The "reality" of space exploration/exploitation/colonization is going to be that while the humans are still trying to get a true foothold in LEO(the ISS doesn't really count in its present form), the robots are going to be "out there" first. We've already seen that with the space probes for science.

Next up will be the expeditionary probes sent out by commercial interests looking for resources to exploit. That will be followed by the equipment needed to excavate and retrieve the relevant materials. Self-sustaining operations will likely be a while coming into being, but I'd be surprised if somebody(in particular China) doesn't have a robotic space-mining expedition underway and breaking rocks by 2040 at this point. In particular where China is concerned, the mining expedition doesn't even have to profitable on its face, just getting the process started is likely to be a "profitable" gold mine in its own right with respect to the information that'll be made available to them.

The technical capability to "break rock" via robotic means has existed for some time now. The challenge for space is the power source, but there are other more exotic techs that have existed for decades that can help there, just deploying the relevant infrastructure is highly expensive at present.

We know how to build solar cells, and we know space-based solar collectors in particular can be highly efficient. We've also known how to do wireless power transmission for decades, it just happens that using a wire is much more efficient, and nobody really had a practical use for "wireless power" until recently, and as there now are commercial applications for such tech on planet Earth at this point....

So the first robotic mining expedition, barring a major (and currently unprecedented) breakthrough in fusion that creates a power plant you could stick in a large truck, would likely play out as: A large scale, and very expensive undertaking involving many robots deployed to the surface of an asteroid, as well as a large solar array deployed into an orbit around said asteroid which would then transmit its collected energy down to the asteroid in order to power the robotic equipment working on the surface.

As to retrieval of the "mined material" that's anybody's game at present, maybe they send a stream of craft from earth to pickup and recover the stuff from the surface, or maybe one of the robot's is packing a mass driver that periodically launches material into space on trajectories for later collection.

This also isn't far from some proposals for asteroid capture, where they stick a mass driver on the thing and have it perform a task on one of two levels, if not both.
1) Eject the designated material outside of the gravity well of the asteroid for later retrieval.
2) Use the impetus created by said mass driver(or drivers) to "Steer" the asteroid towards to desired location, manipulating everything from it's "tumble" through space, to the speed its traveling at, as well as the direction of travel. Obviously, the bigger the rock, the bigger the mass driver would need to be, and the more "launches" would be needed, but it could be done in theory.

Advancing AI and the ever increasing amounts of computational power at our disposal makes it increasingly likely someone will make the attempt within this century unless actively stopped by one means or another.

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Whether there are unlimited resources in space, says nothing about whether it would truly be efficient to mine them.  You'd have the massive transportation costs, which in theory could be offset by fuel generation out there.  There's a huge time cycle on developing space resources, and bringing them to Earth when needed.  There's certainly more danger than current options.  Not to mention we are probably centuries early on discovering the technology to make that work, let alone implementing it at scale.

Going to disagree. The only issue is the cost of getting the relevant resources outside of Earth's gravity well an enroute to a desirable destination. Agreed that "the first" such expedition is going to be godawful expensive, and is very unlikely to turn a profit on its own. It will be a money loser for whomever undertakes it. However, the "lessons learned" from that expedition are likely to be where the "real money" gets made. Which means it's going to be an undertaking done by someone who isn't constrained by such things as a 5 year business model for example. (Hi China!)

Also the "huge transportation costs" are only relevant to leaving large gravity wells. It takes comparatively little energy to leave a much smaller gravity well, as there is less force trying to pull you back down to the surface. The only question is as to how patient you want to be(And how tolerant others are going to be of your preferred delivery system). For example, the Mass Driver option could very cheaply and efficiently deliver "pellets" (of potentially very large sizes) to a specified location from any given Asteroid with very little energy cost, it just might take years or even decades to get there depending on the specifics of the trajectory and the speed at which it escaped whatever gravity well it was in... And you're going to need something there to "Catch it" once it gets there, or alternately send something out to collect what was launched before it reaches the planed "final destination."

The economics of moving things through space are much different than the economics of getting things into space. There is no aerodynamic drag. Things moving at a given speed will tend to continue moving at that speed/trajectory until something else interacts with it. (Physical impact/capture, or various types of gravity well maneuver/capture scenarios.) 

The need to provide constant thrust doesn't exist in Space unless you either want to get there faster, or you're trying to slow down. So simply getting an object moving in a given direction at a predetermined speed is often all you need to do.

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Even the idea of bringing "valuable" resources back undermines itself, as their value tends to be based on scarcity.

Thing is about some of those "valuable" resources, in particular with regards to the Platinum Group Metals is that there is a weird economic/market impulse on that one. There are a lot of "high technology" applications that have been demonstrated in laboratories that could do amazing things for us here on Earth. Problem is, they require PGM's, and they require a lot of them. And as PGM's are pretty rare currently, those options are not "commercially viable" so researchers are presently directing a lot of their efforts towards finding ways to achieve comparable(and less efficient) results, but by using materials other than PGM's because of the associated costs of using PGM's.

So the market for PGM's isn't likely to completely crash because every major nation on earth suddenly has active mining expeditions underway on various asteroids scattered throughout the Solar system. As supply increases and costs decrease, demand by volume will be highly likely to increase accordingly, which will make a free-fall price scenario unlikely. Unless the people undertaking such space-mining operations were total retards and flooded the market at the onset. The more likely outcome is they gradually ramp up production over time, giving the market time to adjust and respond. Once again, it's all about avoiding "shocks" within the market.

Although it is possible at least one of the operations involved may try to drive competition out of the market by creating exactly such a supply glut and deliberately crashing the market. OPEC has demonstrated such tendencies here recently in their efforts to drive Shale-Oil extraction operations in the US out of business by creating an oil supply glut.

But from that point, we're then playing in another realm anyhow because once there is "sufficient activity" in space, then you're going to see things "snowball" up there, as more and more things shift up into orbit or beyond because it gives them "cheaper access" to the "extra-orbital market" providing logistical support for those same robotic mining expeditions.

That it's potentially cheaper to manufacture a "cheap" 3-d printed material composite "glider" that they can point at various landing fields spread across Earth for one way trips by the craft(not necessarily the computer and some of the equipment on it that will subsequently be "re-orbited") which can then be unloaded, disassembled and melted down upon arrival just makes Earth orbit "a better place to be." Being able to potentially deliver your product to within potentially only hundreds or even dozens of miles from its final destination at anywhere on Earth within only a few hours with negligible cost difference has to be a heady prospect for any logistics head at a manufacturer.

Fenring

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #134 on: March 10, 2017, 12:09:56 PM »
You all are, you just don't seem to realize it.  Giving people currency without them providing value is a direct manipulation and breaks the concept - to most people - of what currency actually is.  You can leverage off people's understanding of money for a while, but eventually those dollars you give out take on the same "realism" and value as confederate dollars have today.

What you don't seem to acknowledge is that currency already bears no relation to what people think it means conceptually! if people knew exactly what it was faith in the currency would deteriorate, and it is an entirely faith-based currency at the moment. Trust in the currency is what gives it value, so you're right that keeping up its 'image' is of practical relevance. But operating a puppet show to make people trust in the system is all you'd be talking about here because what you claim might happen has already happened long ago. The only material difference with a UBI is that the system would be rigged to help those in need, rather than rigged to help the rich get richer. We seem to have learned that either way it's going to be rigged; you will never see a 'fair' and 'balanced' free market currency, because some party will always be out to corrupt it, and they will eventually succeed (as they have done). If it's going to be rigged, at least it should be rigged properly!

Whether there are unlimited resources in space, says nothing about whether it would truly be efficient to mine them.  You'd have the massive transportation costs, which in theory could be offset by fuel generation out there.  There's a huge time cycle on developing space resources, and bringing them to Earth when needed.  There's certainly more danger than current options.  Not to mention we are probably centuries early on discovering the technology to make that work, let alone implementing it at scale.

You guys need to get your figures on scale. What I read about the single asteroid was that it contained natural resources equal to multiple times the entire planetary economy, and that if it was mined it would break the world economy as we know it. Even the idea of the "cost" of mining asteroids is a ludicrous red herring. All you're talking about is the human manpower to operate a mining ship and the physical resources to build the ship and create a docking facility. That is trivial in terms of what we can build. As TheDeamon pointed out, the very first such voyage would require a big expense, but even the question of whether it would 'pay for itself' is really a question of whether it would be a technical success. If the mining operated as expected there is no question of it paying for itself.

Seriati, your whole argument about economy being based on scarcity is also a very misled notion by this point in history. Many 'scarcities' are completely artificial and only exist to prop up a market price that suits vendors. The extreme example of this is the diamond market, where the actual supply of diamonds has zero relation to the price of diamonds, because they majority of them are hoarded to force the price up so that they can be sold at a premium. Nothing in a 'free market' would prevent practices like this, and I find it laughable that anyone would think that, if left to their own devices, people would trade freely and fairly. A more commonplace example of fake 'market prices' can be found in farmed goods and milk, where technologically our ability to produce far outstrips the amount people can reasonably consume, which in theory ought to deflate prices drastically. And, in fact, this is exactly what used to happen in the late 1800's when farming technology was improving and replacing workers. Unlike today, when inflation is a fact of life across the board, back then there were deflations as well based on market conditions. Technology was causing deflations in the price of farmed goods, which ironically would have put some farmers out of business since the 'proper cost' of their goods would have been too low to sustain them. As a result we have price-fixing schemes to keep the farms in business, and in this very down-to-earth sector again we see that supply levels bear little relation to price; on the contrary, even as technology has continued to skyrocket the inflation of the prices of farm products continues! And yet if the price-fixing had never happened what would have happened to the farmers? It's not clear to me what the best solution should have been at the time, but it seems like a very evident example of the fact that the economic system breaks down utterly when new technologies are introduced that change the game in terms of production capabilities. It was broken well over a hundred years ago, and to this day vast amounts of people argue that a return to the 'free market' will solve everything. It wouldn't have even done so in 1880 :/

One more point, Seriati: You seem to be under the belief that UBI is being suggested as a "band-aid"; you called it that, at any rate. This is not the point I am making at all (I can't speak for the others). What I am saying is that the system will completely break down at some point in the not-too-distant future, and that a solution is absolutely needed. I believe that UBI, or something like it, is the only rational and humane solution, but perhaps you can think of another one. When production capabilities get to a certain point any talk of restricted resources will be little more than a joke. It will be more a case of hoarding resources to keep prices up like De Beers does than any kind of real market system. And since robots will inevitably do the majority of work, demanding that humans have 'real jobs' to earn their keep will be absolutely equivalent to having people dig ditches to amuse the rich. The old notion of discouraging 'parasites' that consume but don't produce is very soon to be outdated. Maybe not today, but it could be in 10-20 years. All we're going to get with arguments about the lazy bums finding work is that, down the line, there will be a major crisis and things will only change after huge amounts of suffering have already taken place. I'd prefer to avoid that, but it seems that marketing for the old, broken system has been successful enough to many people will cling to it until it goes down like to Titanic. At which point they'll blame the women and children for hogging the life boats... 
« Last Edit: March 10, 2017, 12:14:04 PM by Fenring »

TheDeamon

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Re: Taxation of Robots
« Reply #135 on: March 10, 2017, 01:38:03 PM »
On scale and space: The number I was working one was based on a "generic 1 KM rocky asteroid" that someone else had crunched (probability) numbers on. I wasn't looking at the much larger asteroids out there that make the 1KM asteroid seem like a pebble by comparison in that example.