Thursday, November 12, 2015

Why Progressive Taxes are Fair

Different taxation approaches as regressive, proportional, and progressive involve different concepts of fairness. What is fair? We all pay the same? We all pay an equal share if we can? We all pay based on the benefit we get from the system?

Progressive schemes often rely partially on a definition of fairness that somehow involves an individual’s benefit from an economy such that those that earn more or benefit more from an economy are to pay more because the economy and the state that protects and supports it, benefits them more and makes their increase possible.

On the other hand, proportional schemes rely on the assumption that equal percentages of income are equal and therefore that the value of money in terms of quantity is linear. In other words $100 is 100 times more valuable than $1 but is this so?

It is not so. The existence of wholesale pricing is evidence that the value of money in terms of quantity is not linear. For example, one can buy 12 cans of soda for $6, 50 cents per can, but if one buys one can alone the price will be roughly $1, $12 for 12 cans individually. Higher quantities of money buy exponentially more goods and/or services than smaller quantities. The value of individual monetary units, dollars whatever, increases exponentially with quantity.

Therefore, leaving out deductions, exemptions, loopholes, and such, progressive taxes are the most fair form of taxation scheme because the higher value of larger quantities of money held or earned by individuals is taxed at a higher rate commensurate with its higher value added.

If I am incorrect, why?

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Counter-Intelligence and The Minority Report

Are we expecting the intelligence community, law enforcement, and homeland security to predict the future like the "Pre-Cogs" in "The Minority Report" predicting future-crime?

What other types of crimes would we ever expect the government to be able to foretell? Theft? Assault? I don't expect them to be able to predict any of it. So why do we expect them to be able to read the future and know when some individual is going to go radical and start killing or hurting people?

No automated system or very intelligent system will any time soon be able to predict the future for us no matter how much data it can access. If it was possible right now then people would be using it to make money in the stock market or to make some other financial gain however systems that involve humans do not always behave rationally, sometimes behave chaotically, and therefore cannot be fully predicted. And when systems do get close to being able to predict things with some coarse level of detail then often those involved learn to game that system to their own ends essentially nullifying the conclusions drawn from it.

And if we ever do get a system that can predict the future, won't any actions taken based on it change the future? And if that future is changed such that what was predicted does not come to pass then was the prediction wrong? Temporal paradoxes? What??

I'm not saying that we shouldn't try to catch terrorists and criminals, we most definitely should. However, relying on foreknowledge may not be the right answer. maybe all we can do is try to discourage those that might want to do harm by being prepared and vigilant and by fighting our adversaries ideas and beliefs with the ideas and beliefs we hold true in the free world.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Forget Robots, What About My Own Personal Drone

Amazon has it backwards. Instead of them using drones to deliver packages to me, just tell my drone where to pickup the packages. Imagine, without all the pesky logic concerning airspace crowding and drones bumping into each other, if we all had our own personal drones to run errands for us, to go forth, like ahead in traffic, to gather intelligence for us.

Forget something at work, no problem, send your drone back to get it.
Wondering why traffic is all jammed up ahead of you on the freeway, no problem, send your drone on ahead to feed video back to your car.
Live event that you can't get to, send your drone to beam back a live stream.
And so on and so on.

MIT Tech Review has a page dedicated to Drones: here