Economic Policies that Optimize for Future People

BLUF: This isn’t a profoundly deep postβ€”it just shows my current, general views on a variety of current economic issues.

I do not believe future people are intrinsically less valuable than the people existing today. In fact, I think they might be more valuable because their lives will intrinsically be more worth living as their well-being will probably be greater. I also respect the validity of the 20% chance of extinction by 2100 that is the average of a number of researchers’ estimations, so I think that even considering a variety of extinction scenarios, there are many more future people expected to exist in the future. Thus, I think we should optimize our political and economic policies to serve their interests even more than the selfish interests of those people alive today. What does this look like in concrete policies?

  • Steep carbon taxes
  • Taxes on ecological service destruction priced at the cost of replacement
  • A land-value tax
  • a minimum Universal Basic Income instead of less-efficient government social programs like Social Security and welfare

Principles behind optimizing our economy for the long-term future

  • A willingness to bear the temporary economic losses, as a society, of implementing steep carbon taxes and ecological service destruction taxes.
  • More deliberate experimentation to test policies via states and charter cities.
  • Beyond concerns about environmental destruction, being willing to optimize for economic growth more than redistributing resources to satisfy the preferences of everyone who happens to be alive today. Social security recipients are no longer actively contributing to the economy, so we should cut their funding to give everyone a UBI.

Beyond optimizing for the long-term, I generally support:

  • lifting economically stifling regulation; we should make entrepreneurship as easy as possible. One shouldn’t need to consult a lawyer to start many personal businesses.
  • lifting barriers to competition like government-mandated licensing (e.g. taxicabs)
  • Free trade
  • Much greater immigration, especially of educated people, but not quite open borders.

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