Skip to main content

View Diary: Economics Daily Digest: Will fifteen be the new floor in wage fights? (14 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Kurt Vonnegut discussed this (0+ / 0-)

    In Player Piano, engineers and managers replace human workers with automation, and there is a hollowing out of the working class obviated by machines. One of the issues raised from eliminating drudge work is what should we be doing with our time given this new freedom. The Soviet Union tried a) eliminating money and b) guaranteed a universal income. To this day, there are very few Russian companies outside the energy sector that are global powers (Kapersky Labs ironically has to do with anti-virus software), but even in the 1920s in the heady days after the revolution it was very hard to do anything with such "freedom". A lot of big artists started to emigrate in the 1970s just because they found it impossible to deal with so much freedom. Stress is necessary for every organism. The search for food and companionship stimulates the senses and give community a purpose. I like your dream, but hope you succeed in thinking it through further. We need  a system that reinforces the struggle to improve quality of life beyond banal consumerism and commodity fetishism.  

    It is not easy to see what you are not looking for, or to know what it is you do not know.

    by kosta on Thu Jun 05, 2014 at 01:03:01 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  actually a universal basic income is a good idea (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      katiec

      The Soviet communist system was a brutal authoritarian system.  

      It wasn't even necessarily more "economically liberal".  People were far more likely to starve under Stalin than under Roosevelt.

      It also made a few claims of having some humane ideas - they always officially claimed to be against racism and sexism, for example.

      Yet, persistently, immigrants from behind the iron curtain seem to mistake the baby for being part of the extensive bathwater.  A good, humane idea is not a bad idea, just because the Soviets pretended to be in favor of it.

      "We need  a system that reinforces the struggle to improve quality of life beyond banal consumerism and commodity fetishism. "

      No, we don't need a government system to do that.  That's your job as a private individual.  And to speak politely, the idea that fear of starvation contributes to this outcome is quite the opposite of reality.  Maslow.  Check it out.  And no artist ever left the Soviet Union because they wanted to starve.  They wanted to get away from censorship and constant fear of official persecution.

      The system of government that works is regulation of, and supplementation with social programs and other protections of, a basically free market economy.  That's what works in all rich, humane countries.

      Part of the job of the government is to make sure no-one starves, freezes, catches diseases that can be prevented with basic public health, dies or suffers from lack of basic health care, fails to fulfill the educational potential they have the ability and motivation for, or is forced into an excessively undignified position by poverty.  

      A guaranteed income would reduce the cost and indignities of "means testing", while providing a solid social safety net.  It may be a dream but it's a sensible one.

      •  Great for Norway, Russia or Brunei (0+ / 0-)

        If your country has a large natural resource endowment relative to your population, government can easily assure housing, healthcare, etc. Russia pays a prize to mothers just for having a child. Norway has the best-funded social schemes among the Nordic countries. Brunei takes care of all by sultanic decree. Crunch time, however, comes when you have more people and a fewer natural resources to sell. Japan comes to mind. You get taken care of as a child and as a sick adult. Unemployment is such a stigma because healthy adults are expected to be giving back and paying into the system. Even healthy elderly get very modest state support.

        It's pretty pathetic that anybody in an advanced economy like the US has to even write

        Part of the job of the government is to make sure no-one starves, freezes, catches diseases that can be prevented with basic public health, dies or suffers from lack of basic health care, fails to fulfill the educational potential they have the ability and motivation for, or is forced into an excessively undignified position by poverty.  
        By definition, that's what goes with the territory in an advanced economy. A Frenchman would feel shame at that notion. A German would think you were talking about pre-Evo Bolivia or something. The fact that half of personal bankruptcies in the US were precipitated by medical events is more of an indication of a bifurcation of the society into parallel first world and third world existences.

        It is not easy to see what you are not looking for, or to know what it is you do not know.

        by kosta on Thu Jun 05, 2014 at 06:10:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

  • Recommended (153)
  • Community (73)
  • 2016 (52)
  • Elections (50)
  • Bernie Sanders (45)
  • Environment (38)
  • Climate Change (37)
  • Culture (36)
  • Hillary Clinton (34)
  • Republicans (33)
  • Science (31)
  • Education (30)
  • Media (30)
  • Civil Rights (29)
  • Barack Obama (28)
  • Law (24)
  • Labor (22)
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership (22)
  • Economy (21)
  • Congress (21)
  • Click here for the mobile view of the site