Monday, March 27, 2017

The Ministry and Passion of the Humanist Jesus

As you know my sources are strictly biblical.  I studied most of the religious and scholarly translations of bibles scholastically and philosophically since an early age. I never was a believer. Most of my studies were to poke at believers of all faiths.  

The Synoptic Passions were probably fable designed to remove Jesus but not his messages from the public eye. The post resurrection meet-up stories were probably only to let in group know the truth. Then Paul hijacked the passions to deify his Christ and the fables became TRUTH™.

The passion was not a cover up in the modern sense, simply a punctuation to the radical humanist ministry of Jesus.  Most popular preachers of his time ended up being executed by secular or religious authorities. John the Baptist and most of the others you have heard about.  Martyrdom was the capstone of their career.  

"I am finished." there was nothing more to add and continuing to preach would have got him killed eventually. His cults could carry the subversive message without him better than with him and seem to have done a pretty good job. His radical humanism "Love thy personal God with all thy heart... and love thy hated neighbor as thyself." was both social and religious heresy subject to sudden death.

It has nevertheless stayed alive underground through the dark ages, and blew wide open in the Enlightenment. Still heresy both civil and religious but even in America half the population is compliant with it civilly or religiously. In Europe the numbers are even higher.

Jesus was certainly a married man with children and as such had obligations to stay alive to provide for them. My personal theory is that Mary Magdalene was an integral part of the creation of his message.  It has to me a definitely feminine slant to it. Defiantly opposed to civil and religious patriarchy.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

UBI and Economic Systems

 UBI might be a way to save Capitalism from worker exploitation, one of its major failings.  Capitalism is based on using resources effectively to maximize return on investment of capital.  One important resource is labor.  There are few incentives in Capitalism to provide adequate compensation to laborers.  For most jobs in a free labor market recruiting and training costs are minimal making employee turnover a non-issue compared to pay scales driving pay and working conditions to minimum legal standards.  Even in higher skilled jobs where recruiting and training costs are significant immigrant labor can drive average compensation down if visas are easily acquired by the Capitalist. 

 With a UBI recruiting and training costs become significant even for entry level jobs, as enterprises must entice employees to accept time constraints and cooperative work in competition with unlimited free time and independence with subsistence living costs covered.  Wages, working conditions and benefits would be an important part of the exchange.   

 Enterprises must also compete on quality of products especially in service industries, as entry level entrepreneurship is essentially risk free.  Employed workers with a bit of extra disposable income might choose to become capitalists by backing an entrepreneur with capital rather than labor.  E.g. Leasing a taco truck for a latino family with traditional food preparation skills.  A risk free transactionon both sides. The capitalist still has his job and if the truck doesn't pay a competitive wage for the entrepreneurs plus a return on the lease, at the end of the lease everybody goes back to the status quo. 

At higher skill (and pay) levels working conditions, hours and time off, benefits and other intangibles, will be a competitive necessity to retain high skilled employees that can easily save enough FYM to become a competitor.  Employee spin-offs will be an important source of competition in most industries even ones with extremely high entry costs.  See Lucid Motors as a recent new entry in the automotive industry.  

 An alternative economic system to Capitalism (never before tried) that might work is based on a UBI with a slight surplus over subsistence (UBI+) where people buy goods and services direct from the producers via apps like Amazon or Lyft with the producers funding their means of production via loans from the local thrift institutions that float the UBI, surplus and accumulated savings for speculative productivity aids.  Neither the thrift institutions nor the government would invest in or subsidize productive facilities.  Government spending on infrastructure would be treated as a consumer good.  Government itself would be as usual a slush fund for politicians. 

 The money supply would be managed by the Government by regulating the amount of the surplus to balance supply and demand in the economy.  

The government providing the UBI+ would collect taxes using a progressive income tax on producers, or a VAST progressive VAT on consumption.  Links to both are below the fold.


A thorough analysis of the tax effects of UBI based on income taxes.  
Hat tip to @miniver 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Collection Post for Basic Income and Living Wages

This post is a working collection of blue road thinking on UBI and LW.  It is subject to additions, editing and other annoyances.  A more readable version an be found at which is also a work in progress but updated as comments and careful thinking refine the blue road thinking here.

Once again a guest post to start things off.  

July 19, 2015 at 4:43am

The biggest reason I support UBI (Universal Basic Income) has nothing to do with our possible automated future, as labor becomes less essential, or at least as we need much less of it, though that's a great reason to support it. It's not even about eliminating poverty or making the unemployment rate a non-issue, though those are very good reasons too.

The reason I want a UBI is to make work at least -technically- optional. I want this because so long as work is not optional, so long as it is mandatory, it is coercive. I want UBI so that every low wage worker whose boss screws them on hours, who reprimands them for taking sick days, who asks them to work too fast in unsafe conditions (see the current fast-food lawsuit), every young employee whose boss secretly grabs their ass while no one is looking, who's constantly making lewd comments, or racist comments, or any other sort of hateful bullshit... So that every employee who finds themselves trapped in the fiefdom of some petty little tyrant of a boss, which is actually The Majority Of Low End Workers, so that they can say:


So that they can really, truly, meaningfully walk the fuck away. And not have it mean they end up on the streets or their kids starve or they find themselves turning tricks to keep the water running and the lights on. Or for that matter just ending up in yet another job with a slightly different petty tyrant. And they can do this, deal with this, without having to deal with lawyers or Union Reps, who though are better than -not- having them it'd be nicer to just be able to do it ourselves. Because if -enough- of them (us) say 'NO' to this petty fucking bullshit, then firms will be forced to stop letting the petty bullshit happen (those who fail to will simply not get workers), and work in general will end up less awful for everyone.

Because the ability to say 'NO' to someone who's actively abusing you... that should be pretty high on the list of 'Liberties' worth defending. In my mind.

GDP is ultimately people buying goods and services from other people. Somebody has to flip those burgers the basic income recipients are buying. 
Since low income people spend locally and buy from people they know (not robots) the income from outside the local economy stays in the local economy and all are better off. The multiplier effect of the basic income or entry wage dollar is nearly 3 times. That is, the burger flipper who is paid somewhat more than the basic income or hesh wouldn't work, spends most of herm income on local goods and services, creating more local demand for those goods and services.   Also some basic income recipients will use their time to pursue a dream of artisan goods production, a local service like a band or restaurant or performance venue.  Some will succeed and generate more local income. 

Eliminating corporate welfare in the form of support for inadequate wages for minimum wage workers would be the first step to a more equitable distribution of the GDP.  Instead of welfare to supplement inadequate earned income each adult citizen or green card holder would be provided with one half the income necessary for housing, medical care, education,  and local transportation for a family if married, less if single.  This assumes that a two parent household is preferred for raising children.  Single mothers would be encouraged to partner up with an interested co-parent of any gender to form a family unit enabling the larger per person payment. 

Eliminating welfare with all its administrative costs would more than pay for the BI for those unable to work or have better things to do with their time than unskilled minimum wage labor. Those with better things to do will probably provide taxes and purchase goods and services which will cover their BI. Everybody wants to start a restaurant, or write a graphic novel, or sing a song. Some of them would actually succeed if they didn't have to worry about feeding the family first.

It wouldn't take much transfer of wealth from the hoarders to have a profound effect on the GDP. If the corporate welfare queens had to compete for unskilled labor with a UBI minimum wage laws would be anachronistic. Market wages and working conditions for unskilled labor in a competitive market for those willing to work at those jobs would move even unskilled laborers into the low middle class.

The economic argument for a UBI is that it is outside money to low income people who spend locally for necessities provided by mainly other low income people. The bodega proprietor, (there would be food trucks on every corner) and other neighborhood business would thrive and economic benefits would trickle UP to landlords, food truck lessors, food truck builders, etc. They might even buy a solar food truck with a Powerwall 2 from Tesla if they are really successful.

Another opportunity for recipients of UBI would be intermittent garage sales of art, crafts, artisnal foods, etc.  Advertising would be social media to regular customers who would avoid the gallery markup and have the same choices.

 About those "worthless idlers" living off the UBI as couch potatoes.

 People work. Even if it is only knitting at a boring meeting, and some of it will rise to saleable art. I am caregiver and supporter for a disabled person who assumes household chores and does them well even though hesh does not need to and does not get paid explicitly for them. Unpaid volunteer workers now could choose to be idle but work anyway. Why would that not become a way of life for those with no saleable skills? Also most people I know in the class of comfortable retired people are still working hard at something paid or otherwise. Only the trust funders are sailing and golfing their lives away.

Some work will be more useful economically than other work and it will be paid. Many "unskilled" jobs which need human attention will be filled inexpensively (to the employer) since they will be optional and provide incremental income for a slightly better life style. Those that do it well will necessarily be paid more as the market will be competitive. 

The few couch potatoes living off the stipend are probably just as well off the streets and not making trouble to survive. They still are consumers that drive the economy. They still eat, buy couches, TVs, and pay rent. If we make the "idle" comfortable enough to live a decent, if not easy, life what they do with their life is of no consequence to society.

 A note on what basic income would cover. UBI would be based on the needs of a family of whatever size is considered optimal by the goverment split between 2 adult citizens independent of relationship status or child care choices.   Basic housing, basic food, a local bus pass, HMO premiums and public education costs would be included. Infrastructure, and government costs would be abbsorbed by the government.

 See Maslow needs pyramid. Once physiological and safety needs are met (UBI and Medicare for all) and you find a friend or two, prestige and accomplishment become critical human psychological needs. Or why Grandma Moses learned to paint and why rednecks whittle.

Assuming UBI and Medicare for All, now dead rural suburbs will become vibrant villages of local commerce and art most of which will generate excess funds for local amenities. UBI is an external source of resources for the community which will be subject to the economic multiplier by those providing services to the UBI recipients.  Assuming an income tax the multiplier will be reduced a bit from a pure subsistence economy, but if the tax rate is progressive the reduction in the multiplier should be minimal for in community services as these services will be provided on narrow margins as the providers will be recipients of UBI as well.   


J'Carlin said...
Why it is worth the daily slog through facebook.
J'Carlin said...
I learned about the TTJASI from a mentor at Pan Am. His advice: As soon as you save up enough "Fuck You Money" you can begin to do your job right. In a sense privilege, and/or another livable income in the family gives the same work freedom as FYM which is after all a relative term, but UBI puts a safety net under all who wish to "do their job right."
J'Carlin said...
Nyah Wynne Yes! Definitely. That's probably my number 2 top reason, in part because it's talked about very little. There are huge numbers of activities that people can engage in that are of real meaningful value to society that don't translate well into market value. Experimenting with art is a major one. Art sometimes pays off, sometimes doesn't, but all too often ends up either compromising itself in order to sell better or having to be fit into someone's spare time while they work some non-career, low end, dead-end job to survive. Other things include many sort of research, as finding grants can be as troublesome as trying to fund art. Care of children and the elderly sometimes pays but only if the ones being cared for can pay. In fact any sort of general service to the community tends to be deeply undervalued. The market values service to people according to their ability to pay, so serving the needs of 100 poor people is worth less than serving the whims of 1 wealthy person. There are all manner of truly valuable activities one can engage in that the market deems worthless.