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Monday, December 16, 2013

'A Formula for Happiness' Proves the Citizen's Dividend is Ideal:

Happiness research couldn't have said it more simply.  Happiness is improved by the citizen's dividend, with zero negative side effects.

The two traditional objections to a citizen's dividend is that a) this would take money from the ones who earned it, which would make them sad, and b) this would eliminate people's incentive to work, and laziness is bad.  However, according to the latest research, both of these 'negatives' do not actually exist and would not actually happen.

Economists find that money makes truly poor people happier insofar as it relieves pressure from everyday life — getting enough to eat, having a place to live, taking your kid to the doctor. But scholars like the Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman have found that once people reach a little beyond the average middle-class income level, even big financial gains don’t yield much, if any, increases in happiness.

In other words, while giving money to the poor makes them deliriously happier, taking money from the well to do, even the middle class, does not harm them whatsoever.  Aside from the number in their banking account going down, they do not actually suffer any changes to their daily life as experienced, it is a completely phantom taxation, or in utility terms, a win - no loss.  This completely disproves the first objection to the citizen's dividend.  While people have every right to object to a government which harms them, if they can't actually point to any harm being done, they have no reason to object to the government helping others.  That's just sadism for sadism's sake.

And according to the General Social Survey, nearly three-quarters of Americans wouldn’t quit their jobs even if a financial windfall enabled them to live in luxury for the rest of their lives. Those with the least education, the lowest incomes and the least prestigious jobs were actually most likely to say they would keep working, while elites were more likely to say they would take the money and run.

This proves that objection B is also fallacious.  75% of people, even when financially secure, say they still wouldn't quit their jobs, and the poor actually say this at a higher percentage than 75%, or in other words, the people most incentivized by the citizen's dividend to quit their jobs are the people least likely to quit their jobs.  Or in other words, what people imagine is an incentive for laziness, or a driver of unemployment, does not actually have either effect, it's all just in their heads.  Sort of like how rich people imagine being taxed will make them less happy, but when we look at the actual data, it doesn't have any such effect.  Since this world should be governed based on fact and not wild fantasies, sticking to an objection not supported by the data is completely unacceptable.  So again, we have a 'win-no loss' scenario.  People are happier if they are financially secure, so we should make everyone financially secure.  No one is hurt in any way, shape, or form, whether society at large or the receivers of the public's largesse, by the giving of this money, so it's simply manna from heaven, a miraculous gift from God which no one can complain about.

It is a rare event in human history when you can make everyone's lives better without making even a single other person's life worse.  Such moments are the most low-lying fruit in utility history.  It is such an obvious choice, even an imbecile can calculate right from wrong.  The citizen's dividend is just that basic and obvious a solution.  The best way to make people happier in this world is to pass the citizen's dividend.  The best way to prolong the suffering of mankind is to not pass the citizen's dividend.  It's just that simple.

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