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.