Techdirt Podcast Episode 16: Rethinking Work, Income & Leisure: Albert Wenger On Basic Income

from the BIG-ideas dept

Recently, there's been a growing discussion around the concept of a basic income guarantee and its potential to completely change how we think about work, income and leisure. Would it change the world for the better, or create more economic problems than it solves? Albert Wenger from Union Square Ventures joins us this week to discuss the potential of this revolutionary idea.

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Filed Under: albert wenger, basic income guarantee, economics, podcast


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  1. identicon
    Septeus7, 20 Mar 2015 @ 9:42pm

    So many problems....

    I am so tired of this pipe dream and getting censored on plebbit for pointing out the very simple and basic economic flaws that so glaring it takes many years of graduate education to be able to ignore them.

    First, there is no issues of funding for anything ever just like there is never any problem find funds for bankster bailouts or bombs to kill the enemy of the month. Money is like numbers or points in a ball game; a sovereign government like the ref can't run out. The idea doesn't even make sense.

    Taxes fund nothing.

    Federal spending creates private savings just like loans create deposits. If you do not understand this please stop writing about economics and politics. Most people have monetary operation backwards. People can pay taxes because the Federal government has deficit spent money into economy that becomes their income which can be taxed. Most people because ultra far right monetarists like Uncle Milty believe the opposite of the truth.

    Taxes don't fund government. Government spending funds taxable income which drained by taxation. Until you understand this basic accounting identity you don't understand anything about economics i.e. all libertarian/rightwingers understand nothing as everything they believe is not accounting consistent.

    A sovereign government can buy anything no matter the price if it for sell in the it's own currency. The only question is how affects real world supply and thus the inflation level.

    The inflationary argument against the UBI isn't based demand outstripping productive capacity as Mr. Winger suggested.

    The argument for UBI causing inflation is based on Henry George/Adam Smith/Richardo/Mills/ every single classical economist's argument regarding economic rents.

    The problem is introducing new income will create new demand which will cause a boom. Speculators in the FIRE sector will inflate expectations and capture all the new income by driving up rents on real estate and rents on money. The result is that all money that was going towards increasing the basic standard of living now goes to supporting unproductive price increase in economic rent. The market will then crash as the basis for the productive boom is no longer based on a real increase in demand for tangle goods and services because the greedy Dragon will have eaten its own tail so to speak.

    Economists call this the business cycle and the UBI will be eaten just like everything else on the path to imperialist madness.

    The UBI will simply cause the baseline price of the most essential goods and services to increase because people will invest believing that the initial boom will go on forever and belief itself creates the inflation. As the Chinese say ambition is a dragon that devours everything including itself.

    The only solution is has a Job Guarantee so the investment directed back towards workers rather than inflationary speculation. So UBI+JB= balanced economic growth. UBI by itself= hyperinflationary boom-bust cycles.

    If you want more technical details about exactly how a JG creates stability as a buffer stock please see the Levy Instutitue papers on the subject.

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