Sunday, July 19, 2009

Labours recession busting strategy

Labours newest policy is to offer the unemployment benefit to spouses of people with incomes so high that they would not normally qualify. The Labour party notes how this will efectively act as unemployment insurance and give a little help with paying morgages and such - National and hte media note how this would result in the government paying benefits to very rich couples.

But it seems there is an easy solution here.

What if we adjusted the way the benefit works to force those on the benefit to jump through a few extra hoops. What we are trying to do here is take advantage of the fact that those who dont really need the benefit wont be willing to do much wpork in order to get it. Obvipously if you are the wife of a man on 3 million dollars (as per the example on the TV) you are unlikely to be willing to go downto the local Work and Income every week because it would "cost" more in your time than you get back.

At present I understand there are some requirements to be actively searching for a job as assesed by your caseworker - but they are pretty simple. But what if we added a set of other requirements?

Possibly a requirement to do some sort of charity work if your case worker nominates you.
- in this case you can eliminate the complete non hopers who need lots of supervision or are dangerous by the fact that the caseworker would never nominate them - while including most of the spouses of rich people who might be very useful.

Or Possibly a requiremejnt to take suitable jobs (I believe there is some sort of requirement along these lines but it could be made stricter)

Or just having to report in on how the job search is going constantly, or having to get some sort of budgeting advice or to keep a record regarding how the benefit is being spent

Or even recieving some of that benefit as some sort of food stamp or rental credit

Mostly these are very simple things for a person on a benefit (I was on a benefit a couple of times and there was pleanty of time to do this sort of thing) But probably somthing that would be pretty annoying for a millionare. If the millionare is so determined and stingy to go through all the hoops to get the money then we can either live with it or get far more than value of money back via things like the charity work.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

against the knowledge argument

the knowledge argument is this (taken from Parableman)

Consider a color scientist named Mary who has never seen red. She lived in a black and white environment with special contact lenses all her life, so she'd never seen most colors. Then she went on to learn the neuroscience of color perception. She now knows everything there is to know from science about color perception. She knows what color words apply to which wavelengths of light. She knows what goes on in the brain when people see various colors. But she's never seen red. Then she takes off the contact lenses, and someone gives her a tomato. She now sees red for the first time. Does she learn something? Jackson says she does - what it's like to perceive the color red.

  1. Mary knows every physical fact about color perception.
  2. There's a fact about color perception that Mary learns when she sees red - namely, what it is like to experience seeing that color.
  3. Therefore, there are more than just physical facts (so materialism is false).
I suggest the main intuition tweeked by the mary argument is that mary does not have the brain power to know everything there is to know about experiencing red and to process it at a speed that would give the same feeling as seeing red and that even if she did this activity would occur in a logical part of her brain rather than a visual one so to mary as a whole it would seem different.

Because everyone has these limitations it is hard to imagine mary not having these limitations. But the existance of such limits dont threaten physicalism.

Or more simply we seem very far from being able to imagine "all the physical facts about colour perception". Because we are so far from doing this it seems unclear why we should expect our intuition (sense of implausibility) to be accurate regarding what isn't part of that set.