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View Diary: Jobs are not the answer (53 comments)

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  •  Is there not such a thing as laziness? (5+ / 0-)

    I mean, let's face it, some people are users. They would be fine sitting around taking money from others who are actually working. I really think that this is would be a very dangerous policy. As a liberal, I want society to help all those who, for whatever reasons, cannot support themselves. But help those who just don't feel like doing work? I'm sorry but that idea would be one of the most unpopular that I could imagine someone suggesting.

    •  I think there's another way to look at it ... (5+ / 0-)

      ... someone who really is lazy and doesn't want to work is not someone anyone would really want working for them anyway. I think most employers would tell you they want people who want to be there.

      I also would be willing to bet the number of truly lazy people is not that great. As you pointed out, most people have a psychological need to be productive.

      I would also point out that the guaranteed income would not allow anyone receiving it to live a life of luxury - it would give them enough to provide the basics of food, clothing or shelter. If you want more, you'd still need a job.

      And last but not least, it acknowledges a simple fact of modern society - there are more people of working age than there are jobs. Currently, the ratio is one job for every three people. Economists like Krugman believe automation is only going to make that worse, even if the economy recovers.

      I vote we run Rick Scott out of Florida on a high-speed rail.

      by ObamOcala on Tue Jul 23, 2013 at 02:20:26 PM PDT

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      •  We go through economic periods of (5+ / 0-)

        having (in this country) too many jobs and too few jobs. It varies over time. And those out of work can be temporary; the unemployed are not one group of people but rather are people who take turns being out of a job. However many people are "lazy" today, this policy would create a lot more of them. I think you have to believe that people are not lazy in order to support giving out money for free. I believe that laziness exists.

        •  laziness (0+ / 0-)

          I would consider myself the type of person who would work harder if I got a guaranteed income like the one described in the post than I would if I didn't have any, because my hands would be tied with absolutely no money and I would be living with likewise broke parents. People underestimate how much lack of money PREVENTS you from being able to work hard. You can't go anywhere, you eat poorly and get out of shape, nothing ever happens day after day, etc. Among young people today, I believe that sentiment is more common than it used to be. Young people today respond to being given a guarantee of a certain level of success as an incentive for more, and rebel against punishment for failure, whereas older people believe in punishment for failure as an incentive. Obviously, though, most people aren't like me and will simply abuse the system. My guess is the split is about 75/25. Food stamps, which are the most efficient welfare I think, have an "abuse" split of 20/80. It's the state programs, the HUD/energy/free car stuff, that is abused at the 75/25 I'm talking about. I think this 12k thing would be more like the HUD/state kinds of welfare, especially if there were any complexity and different wage rates based on # of kids, etc.

          As far as possible benefits, 12k is less than minimum wage for a year, and not enough to alleviate the problems among the poverty classes, given that 75% in my estimation would simply abuse the system. I would rather increase the poverty line to 14.5k and increase those benefits indirectly. There is a lot of merit in the simplification of the 12k scheme (though the OP does not make it clear).

          •  That's the point (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            native

            While some folks with spouses would have $24,000 to work with and could just volunteer, most would still have to work some. But they could work less or try a different line of work or try to open a small business or take a class because of a very basic level of economic security that most of us don't have now.

            "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon. Follow me @riseupeconomics

            by RiseUpEconomics on Tue Jul 23, 2013 at 05:28:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Too many people, not enough jobs (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kevskos, native

      If we had a fair economy, then maybe I could see your point. But we've got an economic system where working a job is the only way to make money, and you need money to survive and thrive.

      There are not enough jobs for the many many people who need them. We are all in competition for the scarce amount of jobs, instead of questioning the system.

      I understand that many of us have good educations and have been able to find meaningful work. But it's not like that for everyone. Just look at the fast food and retail workers who have been going out on strike. Walmart and McDonald's are among the biggest employers in the nation, and even McDonald's slipped up and showed that it's impossible to survive on what they pay.

      We have the ability to make enough food to feed everyone on the planet. But billions of people go to bed hungry because we have a system in place where unless they can find a paying job, they won't have enough money to buy that plentiful food.

      If we set up an independent source of money that ensures that everyone will have at least enough money to survive on, then plenty of folks will move up on that hierarchy of needs and be able to do some meaningful work. And the stimulus to the economy will mean that there might actually be something meaningful to do...

      "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon. Follow me @riseupeconomics

      by RiseUpEconomics on Tue Jul 23, 2013 at 02:23:44 PM PDT

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      •  I've had periods of unemployment, (3+ / 0-)

        periods of minimum wage work, and periods of higher wage work over my lifetime. Which I think is pretty typical. If when I was un- or under-employed the government would have said "here is a perpetual income stream for you", perhaps I would have just taken it and never worked again. We all take our turn at being unemployed, but it is not supposed to be permanent. This concept is so antithetical to modern senses of civic responsibility that I dare say it is impossible that it is ever implemented.

        •  We are all a bit greedy, and we all want more (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          native

          I imagine that you may have been happy on $12,000 a year for a while, but eventually you would have wanted more.

          For me, the key to this idea is changing "work" from an all-or-nothing institution, with people split into the over-workerd and the under-employed. Work dominates American life like no other institution outside of the family. We spend half our waking hours working, or more, if we are lucky enough to have work.

          Work shouldn't be an or-else proposition. It should be something we do to be productive and develop our talents and contribute to the world. But it shouldn't be our only way to survive, with some of us having the jobs and millions of others (billions across the planet) on the outside looking in.

          "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon. Follow me @riseupeconomics

          by RiseUpEconomics on Tue Jul 23, 2013 at 02:39:43 PM PDT

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        •  Please don't close your mind to this concept (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gfv6800, RiseUpEconomics, native

          by focusing merely on the small segment of the population that is lazy and by applying paradigms from the past.

          This concept would not have worked in the past, when economies were driven by labor intensive production.

          In the 21st century, however, the drop in labor intensity is causing a huge hit in jobs not only in developed economies, but also in developing economies.  And this trend is only going to accelerate.

          This fact makes old economic concepts outdated.  That we don't have to work so much in order to attain rising levels of productivity and wealth can actually be a good thing.  Humans generally are far more happy when they're working and earning decent money than when they are totally overworked.

          It is, however, going to end in disaster if we don't adjust our societies to this tectonic shift that is taking place in our economies.

          We have to evolve.

          "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

          by Lawrence on Tue Jul 23, 2013 at 02:57:50 PM PDT

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      •  I saw a job posting today (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiseUpEconomics

        for a job that asked for a college degree, an outgoing, well-connected, articulate person with a strong knowledge of media and social network — and a salary of $22,000.  The pay scales for jobs that used to pay decently are dropping precipitously. This can't hold.

        Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it. http://www.edfitzgeraldforohio.com/

        by anastasia p on Tue Jul 23, 2013 at 05:21:21 PM PDT

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      •  too many people, not enough jobs is why (0+ / 0-)

        the number of hours in the standard work week needs to be lowered. If we created incentives for employers to change all their 40 hour jobs to 30 hour jobs, there would be work for most of the people that wanted it. Combined with a raise in the minimum wage, we would have a reliable minimum income for everyone able to work.

        Less money for the current 40 hour people but more jobs and more money actively circulating. More demand for basic food, shelter and consumer goods. Less demand for luxury items. More time for each person to pursue what they love in life.

        Obamacare will help here because more people would work less than 40 hours now if they had the health benefits.

        People need to work. But they don't need to work 40 hours. I actually think 20-25 hours of work per week would be ideal, leaving the rest of the time available for volunteer work and creativity.

        working for a world that works for everyone ...

        by USHomeopath on Tue Jul 23, 2013 at 09:03:43 PM PDT

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