Saturday, May 21, 2016

Nobel Prize winner gets behind basic universal income

"His thinking: Government intervention on the scale of regular monthly checks, handed to people regardless of working status for the purpose of meeting their basic needs, may be the smartest solution.
In the past, Deaton has firmly supported the idea that wealth inequality will only continue to increase unless some larger safety net acts as an insurance agent to bind people together. He won the 2015 Nobel Prize for his analysis of consumption, poverty, and welfare. His research has focused on the ways people's individual choices intersect with larger, macro-economic outcomes."

Only experiments on this idea will happen in my lifetime, but I hope it takes hold in the future.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

another look at universal basic income

"That is the sort of freedom that sounds like blasphemy to conventional, liberal, 'free-market' economists. In today’s understanding of the economic facts, individuals have the freedom to choose how they are exploited – but they cannot choose to escape exploitation, unless they are born wealthy. Basic income seeks to change that, not just because it is the right thing to do but because the coming labour crisis may soon leave world governments, whatever their orthodoxy, with no other choice.
'If we don’t disconnect work and income, humans will have to compete more and more with computers,' Bohmeyer explains. 'This is a competition they will lose sooner than we think. The result will be mass unemployment,' he says, 'and no money left for consumption.'"

I look forward to these tests.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Testing Universal basic income in Kenya

"GiveDirectly currently uses M-PESA and MTN, cellphone-based payment systems popular in East Africa, to distribute big lump-sum payments to desperately poor people in Kenya and Uganda. So far, it's gotten results: A randomized evaluation of the charity found that recipients ate more and experienced less hunger, invested in expensive but worthwhile assets like iron roofs and farm animals, and reported higher psychological well-being. They were less hungry, richer, and all-around happier.
For its basic income project, the group will randomly select dozens of villages in Kenya (it already has a specific region selected) with about 6,000 people in them total and, starting at the end of this year, provide every current resident with a basic income for the next 10 years, potentially continuing even after that. The group is still finalizing details, but the payment is expected to be about $0.70 to $1.10 per person per day. It will likely vary from village to village to allow for more testing. More than 15,000 people total will get some form of cash transfer from the project, including the 6,000 getting a full UBI."

All of this will be proven and implemented after my generation, unfortunately.  I have hope for the future.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Architects helping to fix the world

Activate14 is an outreach initiative of AIA North Carolina and the Center for Architecture and Design (CfAD) to strengthen the civic role of architecture and design in our community. 
Our goals are to
  1. Promote the Center for Architecture and Design as a public resource.
  2. Engage architects, artists, and designers in exploring “big picture” questions.
  3. Convene the public around environmental and social issues.
Our initial goal was to activate the Center, located at 14 E Peace Street – hence the name, Activate14.
We organize and host events at CfAD that marry architecture, design and the public. Each event is a call to action for those interested in building community and designed to empower people to make a difference in shaping the world around them."

It takes input from all areas of life to help improve things.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

What are libraries for anyway?

"As for Esguerra’s role, when she meets a homeless person there she does a full clinical assessment. She then presents it to her colleagues at the San Francisco homeless outreach team and they provide case management and housing.
San Francisco, which has about 6,600 homeless people, has started something of a trend.
Today, 24 public libraries provide support systems for homeless patrons, according to City Lab.
In Pima County, Arizona, for example, nurses roam the county’s 27 libraries offering blood pressure checks and identifying people in need of medical care, according to the AP.
The Queens Library in New York City connects patrons to emergency food, shelter and legal services through a mobile phone application."

My library started a Maker Space, including 3D printers and green screen for making videos. Libraries, being no longer the main place to get textual information (thanks Internet!), are looking for their major role in the community.  And what they finally settle on is whatever the community needs.  Flexibility and inventiveness are the key.  

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Can we have Nordic Utopia in the US? Yes!

"But the truth is that free-market capitalism and universal social policies go well together—this isn’t about big government, it’s about smart government. I suspect that despite Hillary Clinton’s efforts to distance herself from Sanders, she probably knows this. After all, Clinton is also endorsing policies that sound an awful lot like what the Nordics have done: paid family leave, better public schools, and affordable day care, health care and college for all.
The United States is its own country, and no one expects it to become a Nordic utopia. But Nordic countries aren’t utopias either. What they’ve done has little to do with culture, size, or homogeneity, and everything to do with figuring out how to flourish and compete in the 21st century."

Ok, not utopia.    But we CAN learn from them and implement the things that work.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Another country tries Universal Basic Income; Canada

'“As Ontario’s economy grows, the government remains committed to leaving no one behind. Maintaining an effective social safety net is one part of the government’s broader efforts to reduce poverty and ensure inclusion in communities and the economy,' Ontario’s budget statement said."

In a few years we should know how this system works.

I think back to the years when I was growing up. the plan was for robots and machines to start doing more and more of the drudgery work so humans would have more free time.  So we got the robots and machines, but the benefit went to corporations, not people.