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Why not go the other way and encourage changes in society that reduce the cost of living?

For example, here in California there is a severe housing shortage, and it is widely agreed that the difference between us cheaper places are the restrictions placed by our own laws. Supply is therefore artificially limited.

This is on my mind because I am unemployed and living off of my savings. I don't want to be told what to do all day, and I don't want handouts either. I just want to have the option of going my own way, and to get a square deal on the things I buy.




The only way we have for limiting population influx into "preferable" regions is cost.

At the moment we pretty much let people duke it out economically. If you're productive enough (yes, I'm aware of the flaws there) then you get to live in X area.

Without that I'm not sure how any sort ot UBI can work unless you want to have arbitrary barriers around regions. What's the path for a younger version of me to move from my hometown to London in this world in which my work is valueless?


I don't think cost is the main limit on population density in preferable regions. I would think zoning plays a larger role and likely drives cost. I also don't think we necessarily have a real limit on the number of preferable regions other than land area. Most of what makes a location desirable are the amenities that it has access to, we know how to build schools, hospitals, libraries, parks, and other public services. Rather than making people duke it out for access to such things, maybe we should consider making more of those things available to people?


You can build more, but there will still be competition for what's there. Look at Manhattan as an example.

I'm not sure it's even possible to overbuild in an area that's not economically depressed. If London had three times the indoor residential area, a very possible case would be that it's still expensive, but that people previously living in small flats end up with larger ones or terraced houses etc.

It's hard to imagine how the poor are ever going to be able to meaningfully compete with people who have (at a minimum) hundreds of thousands of pounds of capital. The bottom tier of worker will be bid to their limit at almost any size of dwelling I would think.


Yeah, we still have the "top-level" issue of allocating scarce resources, even after automation "de-scarce-ifies" many things.


Right. I don't think that proponents of universal income really 'get' this. They seem to have the idea that people will just accept their lot, forever.

Personally I'd find that utterly soul destroying. Almost no-one is on top, and a good percentage of people are in tiny flats.

The fact that we have stuff like historical conquests and aristocracies kicking about is manageable precisely because some mobility still exists. Just hitting the 'freeze' button on it would be bloody awful.

Someone who is unemployed and has little savings in California might well just end up being shipped to a project or something.


> Right. I don't think that proponents of universal income really 'get' this.

:-) FWIW, I'm a proponent of UBI, and I get it. (But as I said in a sib comment, to me UBI is an alternative to mass unemployability due to rampant automation, it's not about ideology or utopian dreams.)

> They seem to have the idea that people will just accept their lot, forever. Personally I'd find that utterly soul destroying. Almost no-one is on top, and a good percentage of people are in tiny flats.

That's sounds to me like what we have now. I worked on the Google campus as a contractor, and two things (at least) seem relevant to this thread:

First, early on I realized that this was a model for what I called "secular utopia": the Quality of Life of a Googler is IMO the baseline for what a human should expect on Earth. (Given the physical conditions: the Sun and the differential between it and the rest of the sky; 4By-old self-improving self-replicating nanotechnology; and approx. 2.25 acres per human arable land surface; ...modulus psychosis (what most people call politics) and ignorance. We have knowledge to dispel ignorance and tools to cure psychosis. So really, it's just a matter of getting in the right place and putting one's back into it.)

Er, anyway, cheap and healthy food, ready transport, freedom from avoidable BS, etc.: it's a baseline. If we can get the seven or eight billion humans to a Googleplex level of QoL I would be sooooooo happy. All the other BS can be sorted out orthogonally to that simple, easy, cheap baseline (I'm factoring in Permaculture, et. al. Given land, even desert, it is not hard to bootstrap economically to this baseline.)

Second, a lot of people really are happy in lives that might seem to others to be trite or "utterly soul destroying". It's subjective. The Googleplex was the first place in my life I encountered true "jobbers": people who are totally content (as far as I can tell from external cues) to get up every day, grind out the 9-to-5, go home, and do the whole da,n thing all over again the next day.

One of my co-workers had a stroke. It was in the evening, so most of the cubicles were empty, but even so, nobody noticed and nobody said anything. It was ten days before I realized I hadn't seen him and asked our supervisor what had happened to him. But the most disturbing thing to me was, when he got better he came right back to work.

Different strokes for different folks, eh? (Morbid humor, lol.)

I didn't mean to rant at you. I've had a cold and been stuck inside.




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