Ethical Economies

23 posts / 0 new
Last post
ringringlingling ringringlingling's picture
Ethical Economies

I had a frustrating time trying to brainstorm how kroner might actually work.

I am in love with the idea of establishing a system of human entitlements, deciding upon your societies core values, and reverse engineering your economy based on those criteria. Deciding first and foremost, that a new society is to be an ETHICAL society, and that it will promote certain values, should take precedence in any revolution or colonization in which the goal is to found a new society.

But without a solid framework for its IMPLEMENTATION, any revolution is doomed to failure, simply repeating the mistakes of the past over and over again as socialist values are lauded and decidedly un-egalitarian economies are put into place.

The closest I could come to figuring out how kroner actually works is through direct, radical income redistribution. Taking (ballpark) 70% of your income as tax every tax cycle and redistributing it equally among the population. I am not an economist and do not know what the long term consequences of this would be, but I imagine there are some pretty big holes in this plan.

The really weird thing about the Titan Socialist Model is that is seems to imply that it taxes ALL of your income, then redistributes it evenly. I can only imagine that the theory behind this is that the value of a currency isn't based on its returns, but on the governments ability to enforce arbitration in the result of a dispute in social contracts involving money.

I'm sure this all sounds pitifully ignorant, and it probably is, but everyone who ever grew up watching star trek probably asked the same question at some point regarding their economy: "How does it work?" How do you create an economy that places ethical concerns above petty self interest, and still have it function?

I don't think anyone has ever not thought to themselves, "Is this really the best we can do? Is capitalism the best economic model we have to offer? How can capitalism be ethical if there is still wide-spread poverty and corruption?" Yet every socialist model we have ever tried ended in failure. How do we account for this? Is there any way to create an economy that is both ethical and functional?

ringringlingling ringringlingling's picture
Underpants Gnomes

Step 1 Colonize Titan
Step 2 ???
Step 3 Profit

Eric8344 Eric8344's picture
Well first of all, there's

Well first of all, there's nothing ignorant about what you posted- acknowledging you don't understand economics means you're way ahead of the curve actually, compared to most economists!

Basically, I think we need to define first "ethical" and then "efficient" before the question can really be answered.

Quote:
Yet every socialist model we have ever tried ended in failure. How do we account for this?

Planned economies are doomed to fail due to the infinite amount of variables operating within an economy. There simply put is no way to gauge supply and demand without a market, and there will never be a way to accurately predict human behavior on a mass scale. Hypothetically, if we had a Promethean, maybe it would be possible... maybe. It's important to note that not all socialist models are centrally-planned however, just all the ones we've tried.

ringringlingling ringringlingling's picture
Planned Economies

Traditional models such as planned economies often fail due not necessarily to their inability to provide for consumer demand, but because of their scope. Such programs tend to snowball into massive bureaucracies and regulatory agencies, far exceeding their initial scope and dominating the political landscape.

On small scales, food programs that provide limited quantities of goods for specific criteria sometimes do mitigate the effect of poverty.

For instance, certain South American countries provided ration cards for basic food staples like corn, flour, beans, milk and other basic commodities. They also had some success with free clinics and other medical services provided to the public at no charge. These did help alleviate hunger and widespread poverty, as well as treating influenza, sexually transmitted diseases, and dysentry.

The problem, generally, is the scope and margin of these programs. Providing food is fairly simple, but when it comes to things such as housing, there are no such equivalencies. 2 otherwise identical homes, one placed near a lake and the other near a factory, are valued differently. Still there was some success with housing vouchers to mitigate the cost of low income housing.

That is generally why I suggest direct income redistribution. It is rather curious how in nearly 3000 years of human history, not so much as a Universal Basic Income has ever been adopted by a major world power, much less the far more radical distribution proposed above. It has only ever been applied in micro-economic conditions, and the results are always inconclusive..

ringringlingling ringringlingling's picture
Its almost as if

every government seeks to maintain control over the benefits it provides and the criteria under which citizens are applicable to receive them. Essentially, this is a philosophical disagreement about what qualifies as an entitlement or human right, not an economic one.

I would argue that without access to a source of capital, most people are at the mercy of those with.

Baribal Baribal's picture
If memory serves, kroner aren

If memory serves, kroner aren't used by individuals to acquire personal property, but as something that is used by microcorps to adjust the flow of resources. Each microcorp is chartered by the Titanian Commonwealth, and endowed with as many kroner as the commonwealth's citizens allocate to it, each being granted full discretionary power over the same allotment at election time. That way, popular corps have lots of kroner to buy necessary resources from other corps, and corps providing resources needed by many other corps receive their share of kroner from those corps that put those resources to popular use. I don't quite remember how wages for individuals work, or if there even were any, but I would assume that those too would flow back into funding microcorps. Actual finished goods and services then would be available to citizens free of charge (again, IIRC). I also think that I remember that exchanging kroner against other currencies is actually illegal, and a popular crime akin to money laundering.

Of course, that is a description of an is-state within the game, not a should-be that'd satisfy wishes about an out-of-game currency. Especially as there's a few key differences:
* Kroner aren't so much about what's ethical, as they are about what's popular. Of course to Titanians, who have brought Nordic culture with them, what is popular are apparently the things that are ethical. At least, sufficiently so.
* Kroner exist in a vacuum, their economy is isolated, with the possible exception of gifting and barter interfaces to other economies. Trying to establish something like that on contemporary Earth, especially given our non-cornucopia technology, is likely to be doomed from the start.

Morgan's Butchery | Body bank, morph individualization and upgrades | Psychotherapy and Psychosurgery, therapeutic and recreational | http://eclipsephase.com/comment/59484#comment-59484

Eric8344 Eric8344's picture
Quote:Traditional models such

Quote:
Traditional models such as planned economies often fail due not necessarily to their inability to provide for consumer demand, but because of their scope.

Ahh, but it is directly related. The larger the scale, the more the inefficiencies begin to accrue. It's fairly easy to estimate roughly what 5 families will need to eat, and any small mistake here won't matter. 5 million families on the other hand, and small mistakes lead to mass famine.

Quote:
Essentially, this is a philosophical disagreement about what qualifies as an entitlement or human right, not an economic one.

But it absolutely is an economic issue, unless we live in a post-scarcity world that is. Philosophically, I believe everyone in the world should be provided the best possible life the community can provide for them, assuming they also work to provide something for society. But economic reality means we cannot do this, because there is a limited amount of supply. The question is: how do we best manage and distribute the material we have? And this gets us back where we started, which is what does an ideal "ethical" economy look like, and how can we best create an economy like it in the real world?

sysop sysop's picture
It is worth noting that Titan

It is worth noting that Titan also makes use of computerized solutions / algorithms for many of these mass social questions. How those are designed and where the safety margins are calculated for any market correction may still be in human hands, but the reactivity and organizational capability of their systems are greatly accelerated by computational speed.

I fix broken things. If you need something fixed, mention it on the suggestions board.
I also sometimes speak as website administrator and/ moderator.

sysop sysop's picture
Which is to say - I think the

Which is to say - I think the answer to implementation is: Computing power.

The question to ask is: What considerations went into the design of the algorithms or lambda equations if this is a learning system?

I fix broken things. If you need something fixed, mention it on the suggestions board.
I also sometimes speak as website administrator and/ moderator.

ringringlingling ringringlingling's picture
Computer programs don't

Computer programs don't determine how resources are weighted. Without a monetary yardstick to measure commodities against, the value relative to each other is still determined arbitrarily.

sysop sysop's picture
... isn't that literally what

... isn't that literally what I said?

I fix broken things. If you need something fixed, mention it on the suggestions board.I also sometimes speak as website administrator and/ moderator.

ringringlingling ringringlingling's picture
Well, I guess the implication

Well, I guess the implication was that no one can actively manage the conditional priorities set for different resources for an entire economy. If someone sets a weight or value for a resource that is not indicative of actual demand, there are going to be supply and distribution failures.

ringringlingling ringringlingling's picture
The Next Best Thing

Considering how unpopular basic income is in the eyes of the working class, (something which I find inexplicable) The next best thing would be universal welfare such as

food stamps for basic staples
tax credits for qualified housing, health insurance and education

Unfortunately, though we have many similar welfare programs, they all require some sort of vetting process based on need or eligibility, meaning the people who pay for the benefits of others have to pay for their own benefits out of their own pockets.

Instead of having everybody qualify for food stamps, money for housing, health insurance, and education, only the poor qualify for benefits, while the wealthy and middle class are forced to provide for themselves.

This means that not only do poor people have an incentive to stay right where they are, that those who pay for their benefits are literally acting against their own interests. And when you ask the wealthy or middle class what they think the solution is, more often than not they claim that it is to reduce (in the case of the middle class) or eliminate (in the case of the wealthy) welfare, not expand it. I just can't follow their logic.

Wouldn't you like to qualify for the benefits YOU paid for?

ringringlingling ringringlingling's picture
Why Tax Credits?

Why Tax Credits? Because you don't have to work to qualify for them. Perhaps its not a perfect methodology, but then again what plan is? If people don't want to part with their money, they can at least agree that nobody really wants anyone else to starve, get sick, or freeze to death in the cold, or be stuck working a minimum wage job their whole life.

In my country, most Americans aren't even aware they qualify for welfare, or how many types of welfare there are. Our byzantine bureaucracy is a labyrinth of misinformation and deliberate obfuscation. There are million dollar grants that most people have never even heard of, navigating our legislation reminds me more of Warhammer 40k's Administratum than an actual democracy.

ringringlingling ringringlingling's picture
And of course

And of course, no bureaucracy would be complete without an incompetent administration to run the simplest concepts straight into the ground, creating a hayball of kickbacks and perverse incentives that facilitate waste, cronyism and gross mismanagement.

I'm looking at you lefty. Can't pin everything on the conservatives.

sysop sysop's picture
(No subject)

I fix broken things. If you need something fixed, mention it on the suggestions board.
I also sometimes speak as website administrator and/ moderator.

ringringlingling ringringlingling's picture
just kidding

It was meant in jest, attacking the movement i most identify with. (though I suppose the implications leave it open to interpretation.) It was in spirit of, "With friends like these, who needs enemies."

ringringlingling ringringlingling's picture
damn it

damn it

ringringlingling ringringlingling's picture
damn it

damn it

ringringlingling ringringlingling's picture
damn it

damn it

ringringlingling ringringlingling's picture
Forgive me if at first I

Forgive me if at first I appeared clever. please delete these posts as i have come down with a sudden case of foot in mouth disease.

ringringlingling ringringlingling's picture
damn it

damn it

ringringlingling ringringlingling's picture
damn it

damn it