Showing posts with label universal basic income. Show all posts
Showing posts with label universal basic income. Show all posts

Thursday, October 01, 2020

The Social Dilemma

The Social Dilemma’ Review: Unplug and Run This documentary from Jeff Orlowski explores how addiction and privacy breaches are features, not bugs, of social media platforms. ......... That social media can be addictive and creepy isn’t a revelation to anyone who uses Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like. But in Jeff Orlowski’s documentary “The Social Dilemma,” conscientious defectors from these companies explain that the perniciousness of social networking platforms is a feature, not a bug. .......... the manipulation of human behavior for profit is coded into these companies with Machiavellian precision: Infinite scrolling and push notifications keep users constantly engaged; personalized recommendations use data not just to predict but also to influence our actions, turning users into easy prey for advertisers and propagandists. ........ men and (a few) women who helped build social media and now fear the effects of their creations on users’ mental health and the foundations of democracy. They deliver their cautionary testimonies with the force of a start-up pitch, employing crisp aphorisms and pithy analogies. ......... Russia didn’t hack Facebook; it simply used the platform. ........ fictional scenes of a suburban family suffering the consequences of social-media addiction. There are silent dinners, a pubescent daughter (Sophia Hammons) with self-image issues and a teenage son (Skyler Gisondo) who’s radicalized by YouTube recommendations promoting a vague ideology. ............ the movie’s interlocutors pin an increase in mental illness on social media usage yet don’t acknowledge factors like a rise in economic insecurity. .......... many suggest that with the right changes, we can salvage the good of social media without the bad ......... two distinct targets of critique: the technology that causes destructive behaviors and the culture of unchecked capitalism that produces it. ......... the incursion of data mining and manipulative technology ....... The movie is streaming on Netflix, where it’ll become another node in the service’s data-based algorithm.

I think there is a solution. And the solution is to treat all data gathered around an individual to be the property of that individual. Companies may monetize that data, but the individual keeps the big chunk of the earning. The establishment of proper property rights might also be the antidote to the culture mindless data collecting. The data can fund the UBI, or Universal Basic Income, I think. 

One step could be the formation of a T100, the top 100 tech companies in the world by market cap. That T100 would voluntarily establish the data rights. It might be a 70-30 split in favor of the individual. 

 ‘The Social Dilemma’ Will Freak You Out—But There’s More to the Story    Dramatic political polarization. Rising anxiety and depression. An uptick in teen suicide rates. Misinformation that spreads like wildfire. The common denominator of all these phenomena is that they’re fueled in part by our seemingly innocuous participation in digital social networking. But how can simple acts like sharing photos and articles, reading the news, and connecting with friends have such destructive consequences? ............... the way social media gets people “hooked” by exploiting the brain’s dopamine response and using machine learning algorithms to serve up the customized content most likely to keep each person scrolling/watching/clicking. ........  “Every single action you take is carefully monitored and recorded,” says Jeff Siebert, a former exec at Twitter. The intelligence gleaned from those actions is then used in conjunction with our own psychological weaknesses to get us to watch more videos, share more content, see more ads, and continue driving Big Tech’s money-making engine. .............  For the first few years of social media’s existence, we thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. Now it’s on a nosedive to the other end of the spectrum—we’re condemning it and focusing on its ills and unintended consequences. The next phase is to find some kind of balance, most likely through adjustments in design and, possibly, regulation. .......... The issue with social media is that it’s going to be a lot trickier to fix than, say, adding seatbelts and air bags to cars. The sheer size and reach of these tools, and the way in which they overlap with issues of freedom of speech and privacy—not to mention how they’ve changed the way humans interact—means it will likely take a lot of trial and error to come out with tools that feel good for us to use without being addicting, give us only true, unbiased information in a way that’s engaging without preying on our emotions, and allow us to share content and experiences while preventing misinformation and hate speech. ................ “While we’ve all been looking out for the moment when AI would overwhelm human strengths—when would we get the Singularity, when would AI take our jobs, when would it be smarter than humans—we missed this much much earlier point when technology didn’t overwhelm human strengths, but it undermined human weaknesses.”

Friday, March 13, 2020

It Was Stupid To Inject 1.5 Trillion Into The Stock Market

But then you fight the war you trained for. That is why Bush went into Iraq. He needed a standing army to tussle with, even though that standing army had nothing to do with 9/11.

And so they injected 1.5 trillion into the stock market. This is the financial Iraq.

The right response would be to give everyone $1,000 a month. For 300 million people that was enough money for five months, perhaps enough to tide over the worst part of the pandemic, although there is no data yet to suggest this virus will get shy during summer.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2019

"Extreme Inequality Is Like Economic Pollution"

What could the US afford if it raised billionaires' taxes? We do the math “Every billionaire is a policy failure.” So says a key adviser to Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Ocasio-Cortez herself says that it’s wrong to have a “system that allows billionaires to exist” alongside poverty. And the New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo recently called for us to “abolish billionaires”. ...... Today, the top 1% of Americans own more wealth than the bottom 90% combined. ....... But what does it really mean? Is it setting a cap on the amount of wealth one household can own? Or does it entail something a little more structural: unrigging the system that gave us billionaires and instead creating an economy in which everyday people get the benefits from the growth that they have created. ........ The richest 1% own nearly 40% of all the wealth, but pay only 20% of all the taxes. ............

Inequality makes bubbles more likely, it undermines the foundations for innovation and productivity, and it weakens and destabilizes consumer demand.

........ taxing the super-rich would generate revenue that could be put to better uses than letting that money sit in a Bahamian bank account of a billionaire. .......

Over the next 10 years, the richest 1% of American households will take home about another $22tn, after federal taxes. Their average annual post-tax income will be about $1.7m.

........ Three trillion dollars in new revenue is enough to make college free at all public universities, make a massive new investment in infrastructure along the lines of what Senate Democrats have proposed, and triple the budget for the National Institutes of Health. Needless to say, all of these investments would pay enormous economic dividends. .......... Doing that would generate about $8tn in revenue, which is enough to send every household in the bottom 75% a check for nearly $8,500 every year for 10 years........ As of 2016, the wealthiest 1% of American households owned about $27tn in total, an average of about $23m per household. ........ A tax that took about 1% of that wealth each year would yield about $4tn over the next decade. To put that amount in perspective, $4tn is more than the federal government will spend over the next decade on foster care, school lunch, school breakfast, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, food stamps, unemployment compensation, supplemental security income for the elderly, blind people and those with disabilities, and all the tax credits for working families combined........ Rich people are neither the source of economic prosperity, nor will they decide to go off and form their own society in Antarctica or 10 miles off the coast of San Diego...... If we disincentivize hoarding at the top, money will more easily flow to the workers and families who really drive economic growth. ........ And before long, instead of a few hundred billionaires taking ever more, we could instead have a thriving middle class, widespread economic security, and real opportunities to give the next generation a better life.

Friday, December 06, 2019

Step By Step To Solving The Big Problems

I think it would be a good idea to start with basic accounting. This is very pro-market. This is pro-capitalism. And I don't think the Chinese have anything against basic bookkeeping. So accounting is ideology-free.

All wealth has to be put on the Blockchain. Everything every person on earth owns has to be put on the Blockchain. That is in the great interest of the property owners. That will secure property rights. It is said the biggest thing you can do for wealth creation in the poor countries is to secure as to which land plot belongs to who. Modern technology has now made that possible. Satellites can now put borders down to the inch. Once every person in the Global South knows exactly who owns what plot of land, suddenly they have all this collateral they can use to borrow money from banks and can invest in new businesses. The biggest risk-taking entrepreneurs are in the bottom billions. They will give immense growth.

There does not have to be a loss of privacy. Most people probably would not like the idea that now anyone with internet access can find out how much you are worth. For one, that might seriously jeopardize online dating! Privacy is important. Privacy is an important, fundamental human value. There is a way to put all property on the Blockchain and still preserve privacy. Maybe there can be an arrangement such that only authorized organizations, like the four layers of government - local, state, national, and world - should have access to your property records.

But we don't have a world government right now. Maybe we can start with a one percent wealth tax. Everything you own above a certain value (say a million dollars) should be subject to a wealth tax of one percent that you pay directly to the world government. To that every member country gets to pay one percent of its GDP every year. That would be the membership fee.

The super-rich should not be allowed to "hide" their money. A great tragedy of the 2008 Great Recession was that the world economy was staring at an abyss and there were trillions of dollars simply parked in so-called "safe havens."

This one percent wealth tax would work as a constant stimulus. If your wealth is not generating income, then that one percent tax might be a burden. And so there will be pressure on all wealth to grow.

It is high time we funded a UBI, which I have never defined as American Basic Income.

Too many people still don't have proper IDs. Well, now we can do that easily. All someone has to do is place their fingers on a touchscreen, and their unique fingerprint will give them a more secure ID than the US social security number. And every such biometric ID could have an instant online bank account. The UBI would be an automatic transfer of money into every bank account.

Poverty is a lack of cash. If we were to transfer something like $100 per month to every single human being every month, poverty is past tense.

Why should people who are not poor support something like that? Because UBI is infrastructure. What electricity was for the second industrial revolution and the internet was for the third, UBI (Universal Basic Income) is the same for the impending fourth industrial revolution. The fourth industrial revolution that will unleash tremendous wealth creation and usher an Age Of Abundance is not possible unless you put in place the UBI.

Everybody who can touch a touchscreen can get an ID, or look into a smart screen camera. And it does not even have to be a screen you own. And everyone can directly vote on those screens. We could have a directly elected President of the World.

There is the climate crisis. There is urbanization and the housing crisis. There is poverty. There is immigration. There is terrorism, a needle in a haystack problem. All these big problems are global in nature and scope. I am not saying the world government will solve them all. But only a world government can provide the framework in which the problems can be solved.

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The Blockchain: Fundamental Like The Internet
Inequality And Climate Change Are Existential: A Blueprint For Survival
Towards A World Government
Universal Basic Income (aka Freedom Dividend) Is Not Free Money

Saturday, October 05, 2019

And Now Iraq Erupts

While the world is still trying to figure out Hong Kong, Iraq erupts.

The young people in Hong Kong as well as Iraq see that there is no future for them. The story that was always told about, get an education, get a job, get married, get a place to live, that whole story seems to get out of reach. There is no delivery in sight.

The solutions necessarily have to be radical and large scale. The same old, same old will not do.

Giving every single human being an ID on the Blockchain, putting in place a 3% wealth tax on all of the $300 trillion in wealth today to pay for a Universal Basic Income for every human being on earth: that is the solution. And it requires something radical like the formation of a world government.

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Monday, September 23, 2019

Capitalism's Own Propaganda Machine

Look at this.

News: Hong Kong, Vancouver, Diaspora Nationalism

Over a hundred million Chinese travel outside China every year. And, out of their own seeming free will, they travel back. China, obviously, is no North Korea. A lot of them will tell you, they support their government. They will line up arguments in its defense. What is going on? It is conditioning. And it is so total.

There is a similar conditioning in America. It is capitalist conditioning. The corporations that so own the political process, that so own the media, have also similarly conditioned 300 million Americans.

China needs a heavy dose of democracy. China needs to open up. That is the only way it will avoid the middle income trap. The only way China can hope to become a high tech superpower that it aspires to be is if there is free speech in China.

America also needs a fair dose of democracy. Right now it is not a democracy. America is corporate socialism. It is a corporate welfare state. It is a political system designed to work for the biggest corporation and its richest citizens. Not even the top 1% but 1% of that 1%.

The CCP has a political monopoly in China that needs to be broken. Similarly, the stranglehold of the 0.01% in America has to be broken. Then America will become a democracy.

There is need for triangulation. We want post-capitalism. We want post-communism. We want democracy. We want a market economy devoid of monopolies and oligarchies and one party ownerships.

Hong Kong should not try to imitate America. Hong Kong needs to show America the way.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

The Blockchain Will Make A Global Wealth Tax Possible

Nobody is saying American Basic Income (ABI). The term is UBI, or Universal Basic Income. It necessarily has to cover every human being on the planet (and any other planet, should Elon Musk get his way).

Universal Basic Income (aka Freedom Dividend) Is Not Free Money

Forget robotics, forget automation, forget artificial intelligence, forget technology. The wealth inequality on its own is as big a problem as the climate crisis. The threat is existential. Unless the wealth gap in this country and around the world is significantly reduced, ahead lies mayhem. Human civilization will not work if the gap keeps widening. Right now it is widening.

The globe is warming. The wealth gap is widening. And the two are two sides of the same coin, like electricity and magnetism.

Inequality And Climate Change Are Existential: A Blueprint For Survival

How do you put in place a wealth tax? You need to know who everyone is. You need to know what everyone owns. You need to know what the sum total of wealth on earth is. The data on each of that is scant right now. It is certainly not in any one database.

That is where technology comes in. Look at how easy it has become to send anyone text and photos these days. We think of it as free. In 1990 it was not free. It was not possible. If you wanted to share pictures, you needed to use postal mail. It cost money. It was slow. It was not done much.

The Blockchain is the Internet on steroids. The Blockchain is going to be 100 or 1,000 times more impactful than the Internet. The Blockchain will do to money what the Internet has done to media. Everyone on earth will get a biometric ID. What every person owns in terms of wealth will get recorded on that Blockchain. And then the wealth tax is easy. According to one proposal, that of Senator Elizabeth Warren, you simply pay 2% every year on all wealth you own above 50 million dollars.

That sounds like trickle-down economics to me. Unless your wealth above 50 million is generating at least 3% income, or likely 5% or more, why will you want to keep it? And so the idea of parking money will no longer be in vogue. Right now the ultra-wealthy have trillions of dollars in parked money, wealth that exists, but that is not invested in anything productive like clean energy, or a new generation of jobs.

The global wealth tax is coming. It is unstoppable. The Blockchain does not belong to any company or country.

The Blockchain: Fundamental Like The Internet

You are looking at a world government.

Towards A World Government

All the grand challenges in the world today are global in nature. Only a world government can tackle them.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Hong Kong: A Crisis For Capitalism As Much As Communism

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The knee jerk way to interpret what is happening in Hong Kong is, well, China wrong, America right. Both are wrong. The 20th-century dichotomy no longer explains aspirations. Capitalism is in crisis in America. Communism is in crisis in China. And the trade war between the two puts the whole world in crisis mode. Something fundamental is not working. There is a need for a rethink.

A big reason capitalism is not working in Hong Kong is because the Hong Kong capitalists control half the legislature. That is not sustainable. You can't have a Chief Executive who answers to Beijing but not to the ordinary citizens of Hong Kong.

That is where you start.

But then you quickly have to move to things like Universal Basic Income.

There is an acute housing crisis in Hong Kong. It is a big city problem. Singapore does it much better. Hong Kong can learn from Singapore. But it does not have the option to learn unless it can elect its own leaders.

Election day should be a public holiday. People should be able to vote from their phones. Or maybe no holiday, and a week-long voting period.

Citizens also have the responsibility to regularly meet in-person to engage in political dialogue.

Hong Kong is showing the way for the 100 biggest cities in the world. This is a turning point in world history. New Yorkers should also march. Not for Hong Kong, but for New York. Demand UBI. Demand voting rights for all residents, citizen or not.

Hong Kong’s protests are just the tip of the iceberg: capitalism is in crisis across the globe While Hong Kong is embroiled in unprecedented social and political upheaval, a silent revolution is unfolding in the capitalist heartland of the world...... This transition from “shareholder capitalism” to “stakeholder capitalism” is more than semantics. ..... The lopsided emphasis on maximising profits has been responsible for a disproportionate share of social, environmental and political problems in contemporary society – notably, extreme economic inequality, distortion of human needs, environmental destruction and climate change, corporate tax evasion and, above all, the integration of economic power with political power...... Hong Kong has for a long time had one of the highest Gini coefficients in the world, rising from 0.533 in 2006 to 0.539 in 2016. The number of poor households reached 530,000, with more than 1.3 million people living in poverty (over 15 per cent of the population)...... In May 2018, the total net worth of the wealthiest 21 tycoons amount to HK$1.83 trillion, approximately the same as Hong Kong’s fiscal reserves. But, for low-income workers, real wages have only increased 12.3 per cent in the past decade....... In a city in which seven out of the 10 richest people are in the real estate business, financial assets are the major source of income polarisation........ Hong Kong’s case is special in that its government is not accountable to the populace; Lam was “elected” by a 1,200-strong committee and is expected to follow Beijing’s line....... These same issues plague the capitalist West. Because of the presence of a nominal democratic system, some of the mass revolt has found expression in outcomes such as Brexit and the election of Donald Trump as US president, as well as the Yellow Vest movement in France. ....... their fate is bound up with the fate of “capitalist” development in China, which is also heading towards a major crisis...... There is a huge amount of repressed unrest on the mainland; it is just not visible because of the powerful social control mechanisms in place: China’s budget for maintaining social stability is already greater than its defence budget and it is still growing....... All this points to the urgency of reinventing capitalism.

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