Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Here I will keep my up-today main comments on Universal Basic Income (UBI)

Years ago I wrote: “We need decent and worthy unemployments”. With ever growing structural unemployment threatening, I am sure that a Universal Basic Income is a fundamental tool for achieving that. 

Here follows my current thinking on UBI:

Universal Basic Income eats directly into the redistribution profiteers’ franchise value, and so they will be its strongest opponents. Their opposition can take many forms, like that of enthusiastically supporting UBI, but cleverly backstabbing it at any possible opportunity. We must always be alert!

There are some fundamental mistakes that could kill UBI, even after its inception, and so therefore we must see to that the enemy does not exploit any of its possible Achilles’s heels.

1. UBI is strictly for the population of working age. Children and elderly have their very specific needs that should be satisfied with different tools.

2. UBI shall strictly be related to working conditions, like 70% of the lowest fulltime salary; and NOT to any poverty related threshold.

3. UBI needs to be 100% funded with real and clearly identifiable sources of income, and not with any debts. One possibility is to apply to robots and similar automations those payroll taxes and similar that applies to humans. As am added benefit that would also allow for a more efficient allocation of labor/capital resources.

4. The more UBI is funded by sources linked to other socially relevant matters, like from carbon taxes to help stop pollution, the better.

5. UBI must always be kept as a citizen to citizens affair and so, ideally, it should be enshrined in some type of constitutional protection, so that populists trying to serve their own ambitions do not capture it.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Here some disorderly lose cannon questions about life in the just around the corner Robot/Automation La-La-Land

The more varied and crazy questions we pose, the better chance we have to prepare ourselves... and so, in no special order, here we go with some tweet-sized ones!!!

When Mexicans, Chinese and American compete for the jobs the robots are taking, is that not just a Lilliput/Blefuscu war?

Why is how to handle jobs being productively taken over by robots/automation, not sufficiently high on our agendas?

How will net salaries not paid to robots be used: Lower prices, higher salaries, bonuses or dividends?

And when robots substitute for humans, what are the consequences for a nations tax base?

Is not falling working-age population numbers quite irrelevant with so many robots volunteering to work? 

When 2nd class robots don’t cut it, how to we assure ourselves we get the 1st class ones?

No minimum wages for humans. Those are just subsidies to robots. Robots must compete, so that we get the best robots. 

Having your nation being “Second” is livable, but is having your robots not being “First” that?

The better the robots, the more we lose human jobs, the more the need of a Universal Basic Income (UBI). Are we prepared?

Universal Basic Income threatens the redistribution profiteers so they will try to stop it. How can we stop them?

The lower trade tariffs and human salaries are, the more competition do robot manufacturers face. Is that good?

The higher the trade tariffs and human salaries are, the more will robot manufacturers profit. Is that good?

The better the robot, the more it can produce for us, but the more human jobs it can take from us. So what do we do?

Should we allow 3rd class robots, only because of unfair competition, like no payroll taxes, to replace humans?

In order to force our robots to become 1st class, do we not need to tax them, a lot? 

If land A has the better robots how can B compete: with tariffs or with lower dividends, salaries, bonuses and UBIs?

If my grandchildren’s future depends on the quality of their robots, is it really a sin to engage in some industrial espionage?

To who does robot productivity that supplants human productivity belong: to all, or to the 0.00000001 percenters?

How can I help my grandchildren to be needed as sane and happy humans, in tomorrows’ Robot/Automation-land?

What are unions to do with a shrinking labor base? Will tomorrows CEO’s need a union? What if robots want to unionize?

With unions vigorously defending the employed, their clientele, don't the unemployed need to create their own unions? 

What’s better intelligent artificial intelligence or sort of dumb artificial intelligence we can still sort of better control?

When supplanted by robots how can we avoid being thought of as an unneeded human surplus?

If we humans are supplanted by robots, are we doomed to join Jethro Tull’s “Heavy Horses” in retirement? 

PS. My Universal Basic Income 

Where are those Mexicans? (and the robot is laughing)

Friday, January 20, 2017

President Trump, here is a conflict of interest on which many would appreciate you acted on in your own future self-interest.

President Trump. 

I am not an American, so I did not vote. But had I been I must confess I would most likely have voted for the Gary Johnson escape-valve. Congrats anyhow!

Mr. President, you have all your life been an entrepreneur, of one sort or another. As such we could easily presume you have quite often needed to have access to bank credit. Once you are back to civil life in some years, I also assume you would like to reassume your life as entrepreneur, since once one, forever one, and therefore to again have access to bank credit.

Now President Trump, you might not be much aware of it, few really are, and there are of course those interested in it not to be known, or at least not understood but, since 1988, with the Basel Accord, for purposes of determining how much capital banks should hold, the risk weighted for ordinary citizen borrowers was set at 100%, while if it was the central government doing the borrower, then the risk weight was 0%. Yes, you read right… 0%!

That has introduced a disastrous discrimination against all SMEs, start-ups and entrepreneurs when accessing bank credit. The risk aversion that regulation signifies banks no longer finance the riskier future our children need to be financed, they mostly just refinance the “safer” past and present.

A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are for.” John A Shedd, 1850-1926

To top it up, regulators have not been able to realize that all this does not make the banking sector any safer. All major bank crises have only resulted from unexpected events, criminal behavior or excessive exposures to what ex ante was perceived as very safe but that ex post turned out very risky. No major bank crises ever was the result of excessive exposures to something ex ante perceived risky.

May God defend me from my friends, I can defend myself from my enemies” Voltaire

So President Trump, please help America, and the rest of the world ,to banish forever this dangerous nonsense of the risk-weighted capital requirements for banks.

I have tried to inform, for instance your Consumer Financial Protection Bureau CFPB and so many others about this, but they have not been interested. You as an Entrepreneur President do surely stand a better chance to catch their attentions.

PS. When it comes to bank regulations that could destroy the economy of your country, is that not also an issue for Homeland Security?

PS. What poses a bigger threat to American jobs, Mexicans, Canadians or robots?