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Thursday, January 18, 2024

New study on universal basic income

Joe Biden (official portrait of the man allegedly descended from the god Odin)

As Robert Anton Wilson was interested in the idea of a universal basic income, I thought I would pass on this entry in the new "Links for January" article by Scott Alexander for his Substack newsletter, Astral Codex Ten:

"The charity GiveDirectly has announced some early results from the largest yet study on universal basic income, which monitored 200 Kenyan villages for two years (so far). They report highly positive results:

"The residents who received the income] invested, became more entrepreneurial, and earned more. The common concern of “laziness” never materialized, as recipients did not work less nor drink more. 

"This study is especially important because one common previous objection to optimistic UBI studies was that sure, people didn’t quit work, but that was because they knew the UBI study would end in a year and knew they needed to maintain savings / career capital for when that happened. To test for that, this study promised a twelve-year UBI. Still, people continue to work as much as ever. I’m surprised by this result; is the claim that people still work exactly as much when they don’t need the money? Why? The paper gives some information that you can use to determine that the monthly UBI is about half the average monthly income for the villages involved, so maybe the idea was that people wouldn’t quit in a way that gave them less money than they had before?"

Follow the link to read item No. 20, which reinforces the point I was attempting to make with the recent post on RAW's views on free speech. I also liked item No. 15, on the genealogy showing that Joe Biden is descended from the god Odin. 


Brian Dean said...

I've been fairly enthusiastic about UBI since before the internet brought the idea to a wider audience - and have followed its various trials and implementations. Unlike several of the other economic alternatives that RAW said he liked in theory (but stated uncertainty over how they'd work in practice), it now has quite a lot of "real-life operation" data from different countries, cultures and types of rollout. Positive development, to my mind.

On the separate 'free speech' thing, I don't understand why the city of Berlin has banned the phrase "From the River to the Sea..." wrt Palestine. Suggested it's some kind of code for genocidal intent, but I don't know if that's true (in my relative ignorance of the issue). And if it were true, would that justify its ban? Probably not, but I don't know for sure. Would RAW agree on ban in that case? Probably not, but again I don't know for certain!

Brian Dean said...

Elon Musk said anyone using the terms "from the river to the sea" or "decolonization" would be suspended from X/Twitter, since those terms "necessarily imply genocide".

Quite confusing to me, given that Musk sometimes gets branded as a "free speech absolutist" or similar. Anyway, worth noting alongside that Berlin news item.