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).

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