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Friday, June 16th, 2017 03:26 pm
Except I have no gifsets. So here, have some links instead!

buzzfeed: Australians Are Using Turnbull's Leaked Trump Impression To Troll Stupid Americans: Remember that woman who planned to move to Australia after Obama was elected, because the PM was a Christian, and it turned out that our PM was a redheaded female in a defacto relationship and we had gun control?

Well, this is kind of the same thing. Although in this case, the Aussie PM made fun of Trump at a media dinner and someone leaked the footage. And, of course, a lot of Americans got mouth-frothy at the disrespect. Of course, us being Australians, we can't resist sallying back - with extra mockage. Because we're Australians: we'll laugh at just about anything...


Why Are Republicans So Cruel To The Poor:
The myth of meritocracy and its cousin, the myth of individualism, exert a powerful hold over many Americans. Social scientists and others have repeatedly demonstrated that American society is not a true meritocracy. Other research has shown that intergenerational income and class mobility are also relatively uncommon in the United States.


everydayfeminism: Equality vs. equity.

There was a really good article about equality vs fairness that I read linked off FB, but thanks to my FB app reverting back to the most recent post in my feed when I back out of an article, I can't find it anymore. It had a good explanation of the question of fairness - the idea of deserving and undeserving.

I think that's something worth considering when discussing things with conservatives: their idea of 'fairness' doesn't match the ones that liberals tend to hold - "all men are born equal" they say, even as liberals cry out in the voice of Meg Murry: "equal does not mean the same!"


the guardian: Indian Muslims are setting up a system whereby they negotiate for their daughters to marry without dowries

“We travelled to different Muslim areas and held seminars and meetings and explained to people how the practice of dowry goes against the teachings of Islam. We have involved imams, qazis and community leaders in all Muslim villages in the three districts,” Ali said.


the guardian: The Universal Basic Income, arguments for and against.


The role of economics in society is to distribute the wealth to the entire population. Until recently we achieved this by employing people to do things for those with the capital (usually to make even more capital). Firstly neo-liberal policies and more recently automation have broken this system leading to the inequalities we are beginning to see.. Read any of Greg Jericho's recent articles for evidence of this.

We have hardly scratched the surface on what is possible with AI and automation, so this problem is going to get a lot worse. There is probably very little that cannot be done with AI and robotics, and the pace of advance is going to be exponential. A robot or computer will always be a cheaper option if it can do the task, and eventually there will be very few tasks outside of their capabilities.

If we do nothing we end up with a (very) few mega-wealthy individuals that own everything (including our governments), and the rest of humanity eeking out some sort of subsistence existence or fighting over the scraps.

Unfortunately neither of our major political parties have the answer to this problem. The conservatives are in the pay of the already rich and have no real interest in the rest of us. The labour based parties are still in the mind-set that wealth distribution should be by working for others - something that is already beginning to fail. At least the Greens are thinking about the issue, so there is some faint hope.

The two options being put forward are either a UBI or a job guarantee. The problem with a job guarantee is that in the eventual future there will be no jobs that cannot be done by robots, and on the way there someone will have to specify and assign the jobs - which is not significantly different from a form of slavery.

On the other hand, a UBI frees up people to do what they want to do and still be able to live. Employers are not going to like it as they will need to pay workers enough to tempt them to do the work (this will further encourage automation). People would be free to take up study, or volunteer work in their communities, or start businesses that are too risky to start in the current environment.

Obviously if we just print money to pay for a UBI that potentially gave everyone a comfortable life we would have a serious inflation problem. We need some way to remove the excess cash from the economy (or to put it another way we need to raise taxes to pay for it). In the end state it is obvious that income tax cannot be used for this since eventually most of us will be surviving on the UBI.

A significant proportion of the required tax will need to come from companies. Perhaps something like a reverse payroll tax where the less people (per dollar of income) you employ the more tax you pay - fully automated businesses would thus still contribute to society.

Another source of income for a UBI is the profits from community owned businesses. I would start be unprivatising businesses which are natural monopolies and use their profits to fund a UBI. This would also have the added benefit that it would be politically difficult to re-privatise them as it would mean a cut in income for everybody.
It was a brand new comment, without any responses to it at the time; I'm sure that by now it's been dogpiled.


Tumblr: Wonder Woman: "I believe in love." The argument that it doesn't have to be romantic love that changes the way Diana looks at humanity - their capacity for great good and not just great evil. The Supper Clubs that are quietly fighting racism. I think the last time one of these was anywhere near me, it was already booked out.


the guardian: the donut model of economics by George Monbiot. I need to read this more closely - may have linked this here before, but I don't remember anymore.


Finally, here: have Handel's "Arrival Of The Queen Of Sheba In Solomon's Court" - WITH BRASS.

The Sydney Symphony Orchestra performed this at the last concert my sister and I went to at the start of June and it was BEAUTIFUL in person.
Friday, June 16th, 2017 06:35 am (UTC)
I love the idea of the supper clubs. In fact, an Indian takeaway near me is advertising a public Iftar that I've been thinking of attending. I might go and make a note of the date....
Saturday, June 17th, 2017 04:11 am (UTC)
This American, and most of the Americans I know giggled and had a "Hey guys! You have got to see this!" reaction. Then again, I'm a liberal and progressive Democrat, and Bernie Sanders is one of my state's two Senators, so it makes sense that people who think I'm a cool person and want to hang out with me would be on that end of the spectrum.

That said, because our current President is embattled and sinking in the polls, ardent supporters are feeling a bit besieged and are losing their sense of humor on the subject, assuming they had one to start with. It's not pretty, although it can be amusing from a distance. It's all fun and games until it's not Obama being mocked, but Trump!