Criticism of UBI
Attempting to make an assessment of the probable outcomes of UBI (Universal Basic Income), would seem to require a general systems analysis. It’s understood by Sociology and Social Psychology that social systems are extremely complex and chaotic. This significantly decreases confidence in prediction value of discrete or nuanced instances, however a more generalized, probabilistic risk assessment can still be achieved. This can be done by considering the social system as a system; and a chaotic one as well. Though a precise prediction of the resulting state of the system isn’t likely; many of the more important risk factors can be considered. Considering UBI as an input to the social system, with regard to the initial conditions is probably an effective manner of considering the probable risk factors. An understanding of the relevant disciplines can produce predictive value in various aspects of the social system. This is the value of Statistical Mechanics; as the morphology of the system is the basis of the understanding. It’s also the natural path the outcomes are likely to take.
The bulk of the issues that we face today are likely due to lack of understanding of the morphology of human presence on Earth. This has improved along with the conditions; however long term challenges still exist. This is probably the result of solving issues as they come without a general analysis of the system itself. The more time that goes by, this is less understandable and more dangerous. Taking UBI as a solution for a singular issue without a general survey of the system, though explainable by conditioning, is not justifiable by our current understanding of natural systems. This is what appears to be occurring in almost all instances.
The more influential aspects of human society in general are probably the best candidates for comparison and contrast with probable outcomes. These would likely include but may not be limited to Pavlovian Conditioning, social norms, evolutionary predispositions, emerging technologies etc.. These would represent the state of the system; and the initial conditions that UBI would be the input to.
For the analysis, I’ll be using the methodology presented in this article.
One of the likely causes of lack of general analysis in creating solutions to social issues is being conditioned to the existing state of the system. This appears to be the result of heuristic efficiencies in the processing of thought who’s value is in normative environmental influence. This can become an issue where masses of artifices can obstruct the environment. In this condition the artifices can take the place of normative influence. General analysis is not innate human behavior. The heuristic behaviors of humans are so well understood that certain types of behaviors can be predicted under certain types of initial conditions. This is the principle of “Manufacturing Consent”. The earlier crowd technologies revolved around promoting desired types of behaviors in masses of people by creating a perception of initial conditions that the desired type of behavior would be appropriate for. The population would then probabilistically behave appropriately to the perception; producing the desired types of behaviors. Over time, specific types of stimuli are now habituated. The two party system keeps populations polarized in a “divide and conquer” capacity; due to habituated behavior patterns. This is however only one example.
The current conditioning of societies is largely influenced by the industrial, 5/40 job market. The apparent, impending end to this 100 year old social construct is already displaying characteristics of Pavlovian Conditioning. The expectation of receiving funds for sustenance from a centralized institution has been clearly habituated to the point that other solutions aren’t even on the radar. This is probably to be expected.
A more generalized account of the conditions might suggest that, automation could become decentralized. This will be supported later on.
There are many interpretations of what is “fit” in systems. The accepted general assumption about fitness however, is that cooperative self-organization mitigates extinction risk to a significant degree. Being cooperative in essence means being generally useful. Humans have innate predispositions toward being useful as a consequence. The human motivational systems promote usefulness where pathology isn’t present. One could easily predict that humans would still behave in ways that would be useful even if the 5/40 job market were to evaporate and income were to be publicly funded.
What exactly would the common perception of this condition likely be?
The previous state of the system would likely influence the perception of the populous when surveying the state with the UBI input. Given that the population would likely still be doing useful tasks at home while the central government was providing income, the likely assessment might be that the work force has been taken over by the central government and egalitarian compensation replaced pay grades.
Automation isn’t just effecting the job market. It’s also effecting society in a decentralized manner that is producing interesting communities like the maker community, open source, first wave hackers, citizen scientists, self publishing, home networks etc.. This is being facilitated by automating technologies being passed down to the consumer. No one needs a printing press with affordable personal computers at hand. This is probably going to be very influential with large numbers of people with 100+ I.Q.s and plenty of free time. The pressure to be useful in the immediate environment is likely to produce home manufacturing of a wide variety of goods… facilitated by existing technologies. The obvious benefit is economizing with respect to the UBI funding. This also might effect implementation of “off grid” technologies like solar and wind power, mesh networking, art culture, research and development etc..
Artificial Intelligence may also be impacted by such a shift in the socioeconomic system. With so many people, producing so much, at such low cost, the concern of becoming less relevant might produce a proposal to not invest in AGI. This of course is going to happen anyway; however, the likelihood of bifurcation by those who are more concerned could greatly increase. If the central government decides that AGI is a security risk, this could become a messy prospect. This may seem unlikely, however the current condition is one of implemented control measures. This is the basis of all governing structures to date.
UBI could solve a large number of our current issues; however the solutions are likely to be accompanied with dangerous by-products as well. Many balances might dissolve along with such a socialized solution. People are likely to solve a lot of the issues that arise by innate behavior alone; however centuries of political conditioning would be a factor to be aware of.
UBI as a solution doesn’t seem to be sustainable; as relative self-sufficiency seems somewhat probable as a result. Bifurcation has historically played a large roll in fundamental social change; and there really is no reason to think that the results of technological advancement would be dissimilar. It seems very probable that one could expect an instance of diversification the likes that no one alive has seen. This becomes a problem in a society that is systematically polarized, psychologically manipulated and financially exploited. This is not a pessimistic view of society. It is known facts about society; that need to be considered by those who have the interest and aptitude… for our own sake.
The notion that governments can be trusted to take care of citizens is so naive that I’m not even going to consider it. I’m also not going to consider the notion that humans would be “on vacation” while everything comes to them on a whim. That’s the epitome of Utopian nonsense. I’m also not going to consider AGI providing for humans; as it’s pure speculation that has no coherent basis what so ever. Natural systems tend to behave in specific ways and that account doesn’t include them.
My own concerns about UBI revolve around the general lack of acceptance that exists in many social systems. Natural systems diversify and lack of acceptance is a poor environment for it.