Wednesday, August 24, 2016

More on Universal Basic Income

" But there will also be popular resistance. In June, a Swiss referendum resulted in only 23 percent support for a nationwide basic income. This skepticism was not unique to that prosperous and fairly conservative nation. Basic income will generate resistance because of practical matters, like a rise in taxes. But even if those challenges are overcome, the reform will confront resistance because of the cultural upset it will generate. There will be deeper fears in play, not easily assuaged by wonkish arguments showing how the bills can be paid.
Could it be that people are afraid of being freed from wage work, even from a portion of wage work? What would they do with their newfound free time? Watch television or play with their iPhone? A shorter work week, or no work week would make a rich leisure life possible, and it would make a dense social life possible. There would be time to invest in our communities, and time to care for one another, and especially to care for the young, the old, and the sick. But if the patterns of that leisure, the elements of that community, have become invisible to us, well, maybe everyone might as well go to work for whatever camaraderie the workplace provides."

 This article covers some of the skepticism of the plan.  I am a firm skeptic of current economic theory and think this will actually help economies in the long run.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Have we built an infrastructure that's too big to maintain?

"Simply, un-paving is less expensive than repaving as petroleum-base asphalt isn’t cheap. Faced with dwindling annual road repair budgets, rural towns like Montpelier are finding that regressing saves a significant amount of cash — cash that might be better used for larger and more urgent infrastructure needs. Case in point: by un-paving in lieu of repaving Bliss Road, a notoriously pothole-y lane just outside of town, Montpelier saved $120,000. With a population hovering just above 7,000, the city’s annual road repair budget is a mere $1.3 million.
If Montpelier’s happens to become flush with dedicated funds for road repair projects in the near future, workers can always go back and repave."

This article fits into my concern that we have built an infrastructure that's too big to maintain.  Here in my home town, the main street needed to be rebuilt.  It will take 3 years to accomplish. That's 3 years with the 4-lane road reduced to 2 lanes.  And then it's good to go for 30 or so years.  But also, it's on to all the other roads in town that need maintenance.

Have we built our infrastructure without thinking about how or whether we can maintain it all?  Roads, bridges, equipment, on and on?