Re: true abundance?

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Tue Feb 20 2001 - 17:16:17 MST

Damien Broderick wrote:

> At 07:04 PM 18/02/01 EST, Greg Burch wrote:
> >one issue keeps coming back to subvert this idea
> >in my mind: So long as people have reproductive freedom, there is no check
> on a couple's ability to impose costs on "society at large". There is no
> >feedback between the decision to have an additional child and cost to the
> >parents, since those costs are a highly "diluted" externality.
> In a sense, but, pre-nanotech, the notion is that the GI would be marginal,
> just enough to scrape by on. The incentive to earn more will remain
> unchanged; only the soul-destroying scrounging for bare necessities will be
> absent. This approach is intended to *obliterate* the current mess of
> social security payouts that can be tweaked to pay a mother more for
> producing an extra `welfare child' than that child costs to support. Of
> course, people with brains ruined or addled by major narcotics and accidie
> might not be able to make these decisions, and might therefore just keep
> getting pregnant anyway. But doesn't this happen anyway to the benighted in
> any First World community without death squads or armed contraception police?

However, such a scheme would work far better if we were honest about it being
redistributive and treat it as a matter of tax accounting, rather than many
complex social programs that try to impose behavior on people through social
engineering. The 'earned income tax credit' is a start on this, where
redistribution is in fact just a matter of tax accounting. My little brother, for
example, has had about $1400 withdrawn from his income this past year but is
getting $3700 in his tax return, none of which has been wasted on nanny-state
bureaucracies. The unfortunate thing is that you HAVE to have dependents in order
to get this sort of a tax return, so its an incentive to breed poor kids.

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