Grant Williams: The End Of The Road


Let's keep our eye on the details, though. This is being floated in countries with strong socialist backgrounds and a history of more direct state-run economic systems. We are socialist, granted, at least to a small degree, but the move towards this kind of overt, direct government intervention in the economy represents a fundamental shift for the United States, and I can't see it being even attempted here without a seriously catastrophic event that would catalyze support behind it; a Great Depression, for instance, or similarly gargantuan-sized thing. I just don't see it passing the political obstacles.

I was actually talking about Finland.  I should have mentioned that, I suppose.  :slight_smile:

Finland cannot print money, so they cannot fund this with anything other than new government debt, or new taxes.  And - if they have national healthcare, would this replace that?

Just curious what's left, and what gets replaced, and if it ends up being more money or less.

I just don't have enough facts to say whether or not I like the concept.  But just on general principles, I'm suspicious!

I kinda figured, but you left a lot of room for me to let my snarky-ness out of the box, so I ran with it since I've had the kind of day that makes me want to quit my profession. From your posts I knew you didn't mean America, per se, but were philosophically chewing on the notion, so to speak.


I will admit that I am having lots of mental fun imagining Rand Paul's face if such a thing were actually proposed in Congress.



You don't ever have to worry about Dave thinking you are too snarky as long as I am here  : )

Well, they rose the rate a full quarter point. All in, I suppose! Let's see how long it lasts…

Now to head over to Zerohedge and watch the fireworks. 

If we insist on living on this planet we have to reduce consumption. We have to reduce carbon use. 

By ensuring a basic wage for everyone motivation is removed from the economy. Why work when you can drink beer? Why drive to work? Consumption of goods will collapse.  I'm sure beer making can be automated. 

How is a poor girl supposed to fall in love when all the boys earn the same and have the same drunken maunderings ? She may have to settle  for an artist. At least she won't have any stupid "I've got to find meaning in my life" power junkie starting  a war. 

She may even start breeding with pretty boys if money ceases to mating choice.


I wrote a short essay outlining the three fundamental problems with basic guaranteed income:

  1. It will cost trillions more, and nobody has any realistic proposal on how to pay for it

  2. It institutionalizes a modern-day serfdom

  3. Humans need purpose, a source of meaning, a community that values their contribution. Paying people to do nothing is not positive. When people feel useless, they get hooked on drugs, get depressed and start dying.

The Flaws in Basic Income for Everyone

What we need is guaranteed paid work for all, and my book outlines a way to do this.  Even if you disagree with the specifics, it's clear we need solutions outside the usual boxes of central-bank debt, central-state borrowing and free-markets. each has a role but none deal with the wholesale destruction of work from automation. 

What few observers grasp is that automation is in essence commoditization–robotics and software can be shipped anywhere and work anywhere. If Company A buys robots and software, next month they're both cheaper and their competitor Company B can buy the exact same robots and software for less. In other words, the tools of automation have near-zero scarcity value and hence near-zero profitability. It's important to understand that labor has little scarcity value (except in a few high-value fields), and now capital has no scarcity value–that's why the yield on capital is effectively zero.

Profits are going to crash as everything that can be automated is also commoditized. As profits and payrolls both decline, so will tax revenues.

We need a new model.

or we could simply take the same path as First Nations (and many other around the world) have been pushed to: alcohol, aimlessness, social problems, downgrading level of instruction, etc… 
People need to do something with their lives. Receiving free money will, IMO, bring more problems than it is supposed to solve.

I have a slightly different take on the issue of free money Charles.
Money in a well behaved economy is a means  keeping score. In an hunter - gather  society there is no money but as society got more complex we resorted to tokens. 

As automation replaces the worker the need to keep score disappears again.  Not in the way you turn a light off, but as a light dims and goes out. We are watching the light dim and it is very confusing. 

Ultimately I believe that the tokens will be used to control consumption of carbon. How you react to that is a matter of choice. 

I agree. But you must have faith in Mr Darwin.  Eventually humanity will change to fit whatever environment he finds himself in. 
I  do not in way minimize the suffering of the first peoples.  But just wait. The wheel has not stopped  turning. 

The Aborigines of Australia are amazingly adaptive. I put it down to the unforgiving nature of their environment. Which They created. Eventually they learned to fit in with the catastrophe  their world had become, and were much more careful with their resources. 

And then Capitalism came and they are in the process of adapting again. And then we left the planet and 

When people feel useless, they get hooked on drugs, get depressed and start dying.


Aha...I get it now. Sneaky TPTB.

I envision Mr. Burns chuckling right about now…

I've lost my job every time you see one of those grey shaded area's on economic charts (ie recessions) and then some. I always get told it's not my performance or anything personal and that they like me but …
It was a long slog after 2008 trying to cobble together contract work and then run down the IOU's. But, last September I finally got hired (liberated) by a 3D printing manufacturer in Bklyn. A little over a year later, however, that bubble has burst and I'm out again. Older, smarter, a little richer (if you can call it that).

Today I received a letter from the NY State Department of Labor, having reinitiated my unemployment insurance claims, Self-Employment Assistance Program Unit offering an orientation and potentially acceptance into a training and assistance program (SEAP), if I have an idea for a business and already possess the appropriate skill sets. No financial assistance aside from the UI but lots of advice. It isn't lost on me that to make "de busy ness" one must have a good idea, incorporate, go into debt and risk it all. Not to mention disqualify myself from ever getting UI, should my bizness not work out. 

That makes me really depressed, anxious and after reading the warnings about an eminent collapse confused. If labor is worth little and soon money even less how is it that a basic income (reshuffling of the play money) a threat to western civilization? 

I can't wait to find a job so I can relax, work less hard, collect a check and continue to be confused and depressed.


Who is writing this lunatic story?


Asia's investors cheer the Fed's move to raise rates

Shares in Asia were all in positive territory on Thursday on news the US Federal Reserve had raised its rates for the first time since June 2006.

The move takes the range of rates banks offer to lend to each other overnight to between 0.25% and 0.5%.

Australia's stock exchange was the first major benchmark index in the region to open to the news - and investors cheered.

Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 was up as much as 1.6% in early trade.

Japan's Nikkei 225 was up 2.15% at 19,460.20 after marking one of its biggest daily gains in more than two months on Wednesday.

The dollar strengthened against the yen and was buying 122.38 yen in Asian trade. A weaker yen is good for Japan's big exporters.

In South Korea, the Kospi index was up 0.25% at 1,974.1.

The Fed's decision to raise rates was widely expected and analysts said it indicated a degree of optimism for the world's biggest economy.

"The move signals confidence in the ongoing recovery in the US economy after the great financial crisis," said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy and chief economist at AMP Capital in Sydney.

China's markets were also in positive territory on Thursday, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng index up 0.83% at 21,881.97 and the Shanghai Composite up 0.95% at 3,549.66.

"The question for many investors now is whether this momentum in equity markets is likely to develop into a full blown "Santa Rally" through to the end of the year," said IG Markets' Angus Nicholls.

"With little further market-moving releases expected over the coming weeks and a still dovish trajectory for future Fed policy there does seem to be a good chance of this happening," he added.

"It is worth noting that historically 16 December has been the seasonal beginning of a "Santa Rally", so its timing with the Fed meeting does seem particularly auspicious to bring some Christmas cheer to those with equity portfolio holdings."

In related news, up was down, left was right and good was bad today...


No.3 sounds like an employer's version of human meaning. Meaning doesn't come from work alone. There were no jobs for hundreds of thousands of years, and people living out in the bush aren't lacking in meaning. Serfs probably have more sense of community than workers in cubicles. Most drug users are employed.

Contrary to the notion of the craven drug fiend who will do literally anything for one more hit, Hart found that half of cocaine and meth users opted for the money over the drugs. And when he increased the payments to 20 dollars, closer to 80 percent of meth users chose the money. The lesson? "Attractive alternatives dramatically decrease drug use," he said in his talk.

This speaks to another point Hart made, which is worth quoting at length:

80 to 90 percent of people who use illegal drugs are not addicts. They don't have a drug problem. Most are responsible members of our society. They are employed. They pay their taxes. They take care of their families. And in some cases they even become president of the United States.

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Have any of you actually worked in a factory, as something other than management that is ?

Ever scrape barnacles and mussels off the bottom of a boat? In the water? Deep water? With a bull sea lion swimming up next to you, thinking that you are "mighty purty" in that tight fitting wetsuit you are wearing?




… then should you be chasing money any more?
… or maybe it’s time to work your labor, in a way that completely abandons money?
Maybe it isn’t possible, but maybe you could start changing over.
Or let me ask it a different way: is it labor that is worthless? Is it worthless to plant peas and harvest them? Or is it rather that our way of rewarding people for their labor is worthless?
If your inputs and outputs have not changed, and your system inside has flipped around backwards, then the system needs to be abandoned as fast as it possibly can be abandoned.