Thursday, August 6, 2015

Basic Income experiment expands

http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2015/08/more-dutch-cities-may-join-in-basic-income-experiment/

More Dutch cities will join Utrecht in trying out a basic minimum income for its people, replacing all other forms of support from the government.  Some will stay with the current system as a base.
Other Dutch cities may join Utrecht in experimenting with a ‘basic income’ to replace the current complicated system of taxes, social security benefits and top-up benefits, the Financieele Dagblad says on Wednesday. In June, Utrecht city council announced plans to launch trials of the new system after the summer holidays together with researchers from Utrecht University. Now Tilburg has similar plans and aims to run a four-year trial, the FD says.

Read more at DutchNews.nl: More Dutch cities may join in ‘basic income’ experiment http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2015/08/more-dutch-cities-may-join-in-basic-income-experiment/
Other Dutch cities may join Utrecht in experimenting with a ‘basic income’ to replace the current complicated system of taxes, social security benefits and top-up benefits, the Financieele Dagblad says on Wednesday. In June, Utrecht city council announced plans to launch trials of the new system after the summer holidays together with researchers from Utrecht University. Now Tilburg has similar plans and aims to run a four-year trial, the FD says.

Read more at DutchNews.nl: More Dutch cities may join in ‘basic income’ experiment http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2015/08/more-dutch-cities-may-join-in-basic-income-experiment/
Other Dutch cities may join Utrecht in experimenting with a ‘basic income’ to replace the current complicated system of taxes, social security benefits and top-up benefits, the Financieele Dagblad says on Wednesday. In June, Utrecht city council announced plans to launch trials of the new system after the summer holidays together with researchers from Utrecht University. Now Tilburg has similar plans and aims to run a four-year trial, the FD says.

Read more at DutchNews.nl: More Dutch cities may join in ‘basic income’ experiment http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2015/08/more-dutch-cities-may-join-in-basic-income-experiment/

Thursday, July 30, 2015

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/business/china-sets-up-first-unmanned-factory-all-processes-are-operated-by-robots/articleshow/48238331.cms

So this factory will go from 650 workers down to 20. What happens as this rolls across China to all those workers?

When I was growing up, the promise of automation was that it would give workers more leisure time. Fewer hours of work for the same pay, was the promise.  What has happened instead is just more people out of work.  Companies pocket the money in savings rather than the employees.  I guess we should have seen this coming.

And we'd better figure out what to do with those unemployed. 
Data at the Dongguan factory show that since the robots came to the plant the defect rate of products has dropped from over 25 per cent to less than 5 per cent and the production capacity from more than 8,000 pieces per person per month increased to 21,000 pieces.

The company is only a microcosm of Dongguan, one of the manufacturing hubs in China. The city plans to finish 1,000 to 1,500 "robot replace human" programmes by 2016.

With the implementation of "Made in China 2025" st ..

With nearly 200 million people above 60 years and old age population set to rise sharply, China is bracing to face demographic crisis in the near future as it will have fewer work force.

Data at the Dongguan factory show that since the robots came to the plant the defect rate of products has dropped from over 25 per cent to less than 5 per cent and the production capacity from more than 8,000 pieces per person per month increased to 21,000 pieces.

The company is only a microcos ..

Data at the Dongguan factory show that since the robots came to the plant the defect rate of products has dropped from over 25 per cent to less than 5 per cent and the production capacity from more than 8,000 pieces per person per month increased to 21,000 pieces.

The company is only a microcosm of Dongguan, one of the manufacturing hubs in China. The city plans to finish 1,000 to 1,500 "robot replace human" programmes by 2016.

With the implementation of "Made in China 2025" st ..

Data at the Dongguan factory show that since the robots came to the plant the defect rate of products has dropped from over 25 per cent to less than 5 per cent and the production capacity from more than 8,000 pieces per person per month increased to 21,000 pieces.

The company is only a microcosm of Dongguan, one of the manufacturing hubs in China. The city plans to finish 1,000 to 1,500 "robot replace human" programmes by 2016.

With the implementation of "Made in China 2025" st ..

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Minimum income will be tested again

http://qz.com/437088/utrecht-will-give-money-for-free-to-its-citizens-will-it-make-them-lazier/

"A group of people already receiving welfare will get monthly checks ranging from around €900 ($1,000) for an adult to €1,300 ($1,450) for a couple or family per month. Out of the estimated 300 people participating, a group of at least 50 people will receive the unconditional basic income and won’t be subject to any regulation, so even if they get a job or find another source of income, they will still get their disbursement, explained Nienke Horst, a project manager for the Utrecht city government. There will be three other groups with different levels of rules, and a control group that will follow the current welfare law, with its requirements around job-seeking and qualifying income.
The experiment seeks to challenge the notion that people who receive public money need to be patrolled and punished, said Horst. The traditional criticism of basic income is that it does not incentivize people to work, and thereby damages the economy."

I'm becoming a strong believer in the idea of a universal minimum income.  Hopefully more research and experiments will be done to test this idea.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

How to really help the poor

http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2015/06/17/new-data-reveals-which-approach-to-helping-the-poor-actually-works/

"In education, we’ve learned that while some organizations in poor countries give out free uniforms and others scholarships, in Kenya a simple anti-parasite pill that kept children healthy enough to learn was 20 times as cost-effective as the uniforms, and 51 times as cost-effective as scholarships. Our local teams tracked the children into adulthood, and found that the children who received the anti-parasite pills went on to earn over 20 percent higher wages as adults than their peers who didn’t. In India and sub-Saharan Africa, where governments are implementing these programs, over 95 million children have now received the pills.
Yet poverty, and especially extreme poverty, is difficult to eliminate. The poorest of the poor have more problems than just lacking a regular income. Because they usually experience multiple challenges at the same time, we decided to look at the Graduation approach. Organizations employing this approach had been offering participants a 'productive asset' (an asset that generates income, such as livestock or supplies to sell in a small store), training on how to use it, healthcare to keep them healthy enough to work, a small amount of food or money to support themselves while they learned to make a living (so they didn’t have sell the asset immediately, merely to eat), access to a savings account to build up a buffer for future emergencies, and weekly coaching in areas like overcoming unexpected obstacles and meeting their savings goals."

There is no easy way to deal with poverty, but trickle-up actually works.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

To help any economy, help the poor

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jun/15/focus-on-low-income-families-to-boost-economic-growth-says-imf-study

"The idea that increased income inequality makes economies more dynamic has been rejected by an International Monetary Fund study, which shows the widening income gap between rich and poor is bad for growth.
A report by five IMF economists dismissed “trickle-down” economics, and said that if governments wanted to increase the pace of growth they should concentrate on helping the poorest 20% of citizens.
The study – covering advanced, emerging and developing countries – said technological progress, weaker trade unions, globalisation and tax policies that favoured the wealthy had all played their part in making widening inequality 'the defining challenge of our time'."

Strangely, that's what a lot of religious leaders have taught.  it makes sense.  If the rich get all the money, you have a huge castle with all the wealth inside, and everybody else outside just struggling to survive.  If the lower income people get money, they spend it all over the place because they need to buy food, clothing, etc.  and hopefully have some left for a movie or book or something.

It's getting hard for governments to lie

https://news.vice.com/video/selfie-soldiers-russia-checks-in-to-ukraine

Russia's Putin insists that there are no Russian troops fighting in Ukraine.  But he hasn't been able to keep his own soldiers from disproving this lie.

When so much information from so many sources is available at everyone's fingertips, all it takes is for somebody to put the pieces together.

"As the conflict in Ukraine continues, so too does Russian President Vladimir Putin's denial of any Russian involvement. But a recent report from think tank the Atlantic Council used open source information and social media to find evidence of Russian troops across the border.
Using the Atlantic Council's methodology, VICE News correspondent Simon Ostrovsky follows the digital and literal footprints of one Russian soldier, tracking him from eastern Ukraine to Siberia, to prove that Russian soldiers are fighting in Ukraine."

Friday, May 8, 2015

the future of cities

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/enrique-penalosa/cities-future_b_7216732.html

"We have had cities for more than 6,000 years. Until very recently, a child could walk without fear anywhere in them. In 1900, nobody was killed by a car in the United States. . .because there were no cars. Just 20 years later, as Peter Norton, a professor at the University of Virginia, found in his book "Fighting Traffic," more than 200,000 people were killed by cars. In 1925 alone, cars killed about 6,000 children. Cities and life in cities had changed. We should have started to make cities different to accommodate cars, where every other street would be for pedestrians only, for example. But instead we just made the streets bigger and bigger.
It is a truism to say that cities are for people. The urban challenge for the next few decades is to truly make them so, by doing things like turning half of every road into pedestrian-and-bicyclists-only space, or making every other street usable only by walkers and cyclists.
Much of the discussion about our urban future will probably refer to the distribution of that most valuable physical urban resource: road space. Democratically, every citizen has an equal right to road space, regardless of whether he or she has a car or not. How should road space be distributed between pedestrians, bicyclists, public transport and cars?"