Saturday, April 22, 2017

Guaranteed Minimum Income

In a recent FaceBook post my nephew opined that he was in favor of such a policy and invited his friends to 'Talk Him Out Of It".

Well, needless to say, nothing but 'crickets' responded to that challenge.

I did respond, not to talk him out of his view but instead to give it a logical foundation:

  • There is a tension between folks who think that 'the-system' is there to be 'gamed' and those who think 'the-system' is there to help civilization and society to operate properly.

    The folks who do not look upon 'the-system' as an opportunity to engage in 'gaming-it' are typically a bit more tuned into how we as a species work. We are a 'social-species' and can NOT 'go-it-alone' we must have others to persist and even survive. It really is the case that: 'No Man Is An Island.'

    The folks who look upon 'the-system' as a opportunity to engage in 'gaming-the-system' are certainly aware that we are a social species but they also adhere the game-theoretic model of a strategy that is characterized by the idea of an 'opportunistic-bloom'.

    Iterated games where the strategy is aware of what other players 'did-last-time-they-interacted' will evolve toward an optimal strategy called 'Tit-For-Tat' where the player cooperates with another player on first contact and if not first contact then it reacts to that player in the same way that player last treated it. So --- start out cooperating and then do to players whatever they did to you last time you interacted.

    Tit-For-Tat naturally leads to something called a 'mono-culture' where all other strategies are extinguished. But --- the problem with a mono-culture is that it has a vulnerability to a strategy called always-default such a strategy will 'bloom' in a 'mono-culture'. The ultimate result will be either the bloom wipes out the mono-culture or the mono-culture adapts and wipes out the 'bloom'. In the second case the mono-culture is said to become more 'robust'.

    People interact with each other in just this way. Some folks are quite happy to be in the 'Tit-For-Tat' group, some folks go even further and . 'Always-Cooperate', some folks naturally go for the 'Opportunistic' side of things.

    So what does this have to do with 'Guaranteed-Minimum-Income'. There are among us very high achievers who become wealthy and cling to 'Opportunist' type behaviors and rebel against the idea of a minimum income policy. And there are folks who are not wealthy who also cling to 'Opportunistic' type behaviors and would try to 'game-the-system' if it included a minimum income provision.

    The take-away here is that a careful consideration of 'the-system' implies that it is not a 'zero-sum' situation but instead if correctly crafted could be very 'robust' and include a minimum-income policy.

    And it goes without question that such a system would result in a net increase in the standard of living for everyone (including opportunistic wealthy folks).

Earth Day 2017

Earth Day 2017 - This is a good day to reflect on just how our species works. We know that we are an integral part of the ecosphere and not separate from it. Unfortunately we evolved in such a fashion that we tend to take opportunistic advantage of our ecosphere without any forethought that would do a proper analysis of whether or not our actions will harm, leave alone, or help the ecosphere persist in such a manner as to be friendly to our species. This lack of forethought has brought us to where we find ourselves today. Our 'mucking-around' with the Carbon-Budget of the planet by the intense conversion of fossil hydrocarbons into energy has changed the composition of the atmosphere of our planet so that the its ability to back radiate solar radiation is compromised. The result is that the planet's oceans and its atmosphere are heating up and our climate is changing as a consequence.
This change if allowed to proceed, fueled by our ever increasing use of fossil hydrocarbons to produce energy will render the ecosystem of our planet hostile to our species. Put in blunt terms we are on the verge of self-extinction. There is way, way more energy falling on our planet from the sun that is needed to power every single item that we care to power and many, many more. Our current level of technology if brought to bear on this could result in the total elimination of the our hydrocarbon economy and replace it with a sustainable non hydrocarbon economy. As time proceeds technologies could be developed to roll back the imbalance in the carbon budget so the ecosystem would again be more friendly to our species.
It is beyond unfortunate that some countries (our own included) engage in willful ignorance on this matter. If this willful ignorance persists we could easily see the extinction of our species.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Best Case / Worst Case For POTUS#45

Two cases, similar outcomes.

If And Only If

  • The following cases are if and only if the Investigations of the FBI/NSA/CIA bear out one of the scenarios below that emerged from the four hour public House Intelligence Committee meeting yesterday.  I listened carefully to everything that was said by the members of the committee who were GOP and DEM.  I do not know how the investigation will actually turn out.  We will necessarily have wait and see.  It really hinges on the Federal Bureau of Investigation now.  I think that the probability of one of the two cases below emerging is all but certain (but I've been wrong in the past).

Best Case - Best Outcome

  • BEST-CASE:  POTUS#45 was just an unwitting tool of the Russians going back to his passing of information to the Kremlin about Russian Mob Activity in New York City and got help from them on his various business misadventures.  

  • BEST-OUTCOME: POTUS#45 resigns, goes home and perhaps even avoids jail time. The United States of America starts to recover from the 2016 rigged-election.  The GOP is happy because they still control all three branches of government and the DEMS start trying to get their act together to take back the Legislative Branch in 2018.


    The Russians knew that they had a dim light bulb on their hands and really did not expect things to wind up where they are now.  Given they disrupted the 2016 election and managed to foil Secretary Clinton's bid for president and throw things after the election into an uproar they still declare a Win-Win for them.

Worst Case - Not So Good Outcome

  • WORST-CASE:  POTUS#45 knew what was happening the entire time from when he first started sending data to the Kremlin about Russian Mob Activity in New York City and was happy to get into a quid-pro-quo with them as he launched into running for president perhaps even at their suggestion.  

  • WORST-OUTCOME:  POTUS#45 resist the findings of the investigation and is impeached and perhaps even enjoys some jail time.  The GOP is in disgrace the DEMS quietly take over the house and senate in 2018 and we bump-along-the-bottom with POTUS#46 (Pence). 

    The Russians knew that they had a dim bulb on their hands and did not expect things to wind up where they are now. Given they disrupted the 2016 election and managed to foil Secretary Clinton's bid for president and further threw things after the election into an uproar, they still declare a Win-Win for them.

Things To Look For - Anyone who listened closely to the committee meeting yesterday probably has come to the same/similar conclusions. If you hear POTUS#45 and/or GOP zeroing in on either of the two cases above and really ramping-up their own super-spin that ignores these then you know that one of the cases is probably spot on.