[ExI] Universal basic capital was Re: Universal basic income

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Wed Jan 18 00:58:04 UTC 2017

On Tue, Jan 17, 2017 at 12:34 PM, BillK <pharos at gmail.com> wrote:

I can see that universal unemployment probably means that UBI will
> become necessary.

### The word "necessary" is in this context fraught: It implies the absence
of better alternatives. But it really doesn't take a rocket scientist to
dope out superior alternatives to UBI. The only reason this abomination
maintains currency in the public discourse is due to the hordes of
leftoids, who are neither intellectually capable nor ideologically inclined
to come up with said alternatives. For them UBI is a perfect excuse to
attack the people they hate, makers, and any benefit to the downtrodden is
merely a side effect. But enough angry denunciations.

Obviously, UBI has all the wrong features of modern statist policy baked
into it. It is long-feedback loop, centralized, empowers the state,
punishes contributors to society and rewards parasites. So what are the

Let's spell out what is the predicted effect of AI and robotics: As Robin
wrote here years ago, AI increases returns to capital, potentially
massively. It does not directly reduce returns to labor, except through
disruption of patterns of specialization and trade (PSST, hat tip to Arnold
Kling). Just waiting until things shake out by themselves is my preferred
solution but for those who just cannot abide the idea of spontaneous,
dynamist solutions emerging from voluntary interactions, I would propose
the following: Universal Basic Capital, or UBC.

UBC means endowing all citizens and wards with a measure of capital
invested in the robot economy. A share of a humanoid robot, non-voting
stock of an AI-controlled company, or shares of an index fund fulfill the
criteria. Since the return to capital in the robot economy is very high,
one needs only a minuscule amount of capital to yield enough rents to pay
for a human's basic needs. In order to prevent the stupids from blowing
their inheritance the UBC would be inalienable except by a last will and
testament. The income stream from one's UBC would be under the individual's
control, allowing choices between immediate consumption and further
investment to increase the size of your endowment. Such investment by the
more reasonable humans would be socially beneficial by increasing their own
power and increasing the size of the whole economy in the long term. This
is in stark contrast to UBI, which would only encourage spending and
putting political pressure to increase the UBI by confiscation of resources
from makers (whom the leftoid hates with a vengeance).

I expect that UBC will be derided by leftoids as "conservative",
"inhumane", possibly even racist. UBC leaves too much to the individuals to
decide, it lets them choose different courses in life, which scares the
leftoid, whose obsession is with power, social status and control. But
enough angry denunciations.

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