Thursday, May 21, 2015

Finance: Living Stipend Encourages Work, Not Laziness

This article came to me through Hubski. Join the DreamC team on Hubski.

If you give a man a fish, he eats for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he eats for life. Anonymous

If you build a robot to fish, do all men starve, or do all men eat? Scott Santens

The concept is taken out of so many borderline-prophetic science-fiction novels: pay the population a living stipend, just enough to cover their daily basic needs.

If you pay someone just to live, the critics ask, won't that encourage a lazy workforce?

Not so. According to Guy Standing from the University of London, "When people stop working out of fear, they become more productive."

While I'm glad to hear someone it working on the problem, and with what seems like a decent head on their shoulders, I feel like starting in the US is a bad idea. It's not so much the people as it is the size of the country. The solution (and the problem) may not be easily scalable (or scalable at all).

Even if it were done to satisfaction in England, which scales to about the size of the state of Illinois, I think it would be easier for Americans to start thinking "Yeah, maybe we could do that too." England is also a primarily English-speaking country, which also aids in translation-free cross-communication and sharing of ideas.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Crime: "Everyone Behaves Better" When They Think They're Being Watched

It's a sad day for personal freedoms when it takes cameras to keep officers of the law from overstepping their duties of "protect and serve" and instead taking a page from Jim West's book, "shoot first, shoot later, shoot some more and then when everybody's dead, try to ask a question," (Wild Wild West, 1999), as officers did in two separate incidents in Illinois and South Carolina early last month.

Are we approaching a day foretold in science-fiction, where everybody has a camera ("Archangel Protocol," Lydia Morehouse, 2001) or it takes the extinction of privacy for people to behave like decent human beings ("The Light of Other Days," Arthur C Clarke and Stephen Baxter, 2000)?

"Body-worn cameras hold tremendous promise for...promoting accountability," said Attorney General Loretta Lynch. We can only hope it takes so much longer for everybody to just "get over it," and devolve back into their routines of behaving like nobody's watching, as happens in the end of The Light of Other Days.

The only sincerity of action and behavior is when you behave like somebody is watching when nobody is, where your actions in public and private are nigh identical. That is an ideal every individual should be striving to attain.