Month: October 2018

On Scientific Falsifiability

It’s said that a scientific theory can only be proven false, never true. This is basically so: for example, all the experiments in the world performed thus far can confirm (or rather, corroborate?) general relativity, but for one to show otherwise is all it takes for it to be proven false. But why is this so; why are scientific theories not like other facts, which can be confirmed as being either true or false?  Take for example the fact that there is chocolate on my desk. That can easily be either proven or disproven, with certainty.  And what if I postulated that fact as a scientific theory? Then could it no longer be proven true? No, because the principle of falsifiability is not on account of science decreeing that a theory cannot be confirmed true; it’s because of the nature of what a scientific theory is.

While physical principles are thought to be immutable “laws,” they’re actually the products of inductive reasoning. That is, from a few examples we infer a general rule. The postulate that there is chocolate on my desk only applies to my desk and right now–not everyone else’s desks, not every time the wind blows east–right now. General relativity applies to a whole class of phenomena. It makes predictions about what will happen in spaces we’ve never ventured toward, in specific scenarios we’ve never encountered. For every possible combination of values you can plug into the equations of general relativity, there’s a unique potential scenario that the theory could be being applied to. (Actually, for every combination of values you can plug into the equations, there are as many scenarios that results could be applied to as would render those particular values as measurements—measurements of, for example, velocities, positions, and masses. Everything else about a given scenario that could vary is irrelevant for the purposes of the calculations.)

How could we know for sure that the results of such equations hold true for every possible scenario that the equations could be applied to? All we have certain evidence for is that certain things behave in certain ways in certain situations—not even that, but that things once behaved that way under observation. We can’t prove that it will happen the same way under the same conditions in the future, let alone in the same general way under different conditions and maybe at another place or at another time.

So how would we make a theory certifiable? We could limit it to a statement about things having occurred that we actually observed happening, but that would make it useless as a theory. It would make it and its certification little more than a reiteration of the evidence that we had originally gathered, or most an insightful relationship applying only to a handful of particular scenarios, yet that evidence was presumably gathered for the purpose of intuiting more general rules.

We could limit it to a statement that something that happened in a specific way under the specific conditions observed would happen again in the same way under the same exact conditions in the future, but even that would be uncertifiable, as we cannot make inferences about the future with certainty (as show by Hume), as well as being nearly as useless as the previous formulation for the same reason: while the scope of extrapolation is somewhat wider, it’s still so small as to be not generally applicable, and the degree to which the scope of its application is wider is the degree to which its truth is uncertain.

All this considered, it seems odd that the laws of physics are supposed to be immutable, absolute, or all-encompassing.  General relativity (which is the arbitrary example of an “any-theory” I’m using here), being inferred via inductive reasoning, is analytically on the same grounds as the statement that “all swans are white”.  In other words, we have no idea when, why, how or under what conditions the principles of general relativity might spontaneously, or systematically, be infracted, though the theory has stood up relatively well to the tests of time thus far.

I think I’ve read that there are now contending theories to general relativity that predict certain phenomena with a little more accuracy. I think that if any infraction is to be found against the general theory of relativity, it’ll be one of subtle differences in measurements that are predictable and detectable under a determinable subset of possible conditions­, as opposed to the infraction inexplicably applying only to the kitchen sink. Basically, it would be the same way in which classical mechanics was usurped by relativity. Why is it like that? I don’t know. Maybe the means by which we determine the meaning of a theory, as far they determine the theory’s scope of applicability and what constitutes or doesn’t constitute an infraction to the theory, somehow categorically exclude types of anomalies other than those characterized above from or comprising infractions to the theory. I don’t know. Probably not.

Some pertinent questions:

  • Can a single anomaly constitute an infraction to a theory? Why or why not, or for which theories can it be so, and why?
  • Can a class of anomalies, predictable in their anomality but unpredictable in their individual details, constitute an infraction to a theory? Why or why not, or for which theories can it be so, and why?
  • What kinds of differences between predicted results and actual results indicate the effects of an interfering entity, rather than a falsification of the theory? How does this differ depending on the theory itself?
  • What kinds of differences between predicted results and actual results indicate the effects of a class of interfering entities, rather than a falsification of the theory? How does this differ depending on the theory itself?
  • What kinds of differences between predicted results and actual results indicate the interfering effects of a hitherto unknown principle, rather than an imperfection in the theory itself?
  • What kinds of differences between predicted results and actual results indicate the interfering effects of a hitherto unknown principle, which could be added alongside all current theories, rather than an imperfection in one or more of the current theories themselves?
  • When or how do we conclude that a theory, or a collection of theories, fully accounts for all universal phenomena?

And additionally…

  • What avenues exist for restricting the scope of an induction (of the theoretic variety) to something less than all-encompassing but more than a mere restatement of the observed data?
  • If such a gradient exists between the two extrema, by what means do we intuit the formula of, and the scope of, its upper bound?
  • What benefits might we accrue by explicitly specifying, and/or consciously relegating, the scope of applicability of any given theory?

So, just a few things to consider.  Because­ science without Philosophy of Science is like driving without a license, or perhaps knowledge without understanding.  Or a theory without interpretation — or worse, a theory with a totally wrong interpretation..

Why Campaign Finance Reform Is the Most Important Thing We Can Currently Do as a Species

The most important issue facing humanity today is the environment. Sure, we have tons of problems large and small, but all of those other problems are things that we can eventually conquer if we survive long enough. They’re not things that are likely to get worse and worse until civilization collapses and billions of people die and humanity starts over again from the beginning (and to say nothing of the deaths and extinctions of myriad other plants and animals that share a planet with us). We’re living utterly unsustainably and it’s only getting worse, and that means we’re metaphorically driving with increasing speed directly toward a brick wall.

In just the last quarter century alone, humans have destroyed a tenth of the world’s wilderness, and that’s just land wilderness—almost nine-tenths of the oceans can no longer be classified as wilderness because of human influence. Somewhere between 200 and 2,000 species go extinct each year due to human activity, and this rate of extinction is greater than in any other mass-extinction event in Earth’s history. Sea life is dying with stomachs full of plastic, the entire ecology is being poisoned with PCBs, greenhouse gases are warming up the planet to a critical degree and disrupting everything and raising the sea level, bees that we require to pollinate our crops are dying off due to a number of human influences, over four-fifths of all wild mammals have been killed off as well as half of all plant life, and so on and so on.

Obviously, all of life on Earth composes one large ecosystem, and we’re not separate from it. We require it to be extant and functional in order to thrive as a species. But I’m just appealing to the fears that most people relate to now; to tell the truth, it’s not like the fate of humanity overshadows the fate of all other life on Earth in terms of importance. Either way, a group of 15,000 scientists from around the world has just recently published a “dire warning” giving us only about a decade to totally change our course before there is both catastrophic biodiversity loss and untold amounts of human misery.

So, how do we change our course?

The only feasible answer is to place severe restrictions/regulations on the companies that directly and indirectly produce all of this waste, poison and greenhouse gases. This will, of course, be a great inconvenience not only to these companies’ profiteers but also to consumers at large, but it is a necessary inconvenience. If we are to avert total disaster, we cannot continue on with the lifestyle we have currently set up.

So, how do we place severe regulations on companies that are at the fulcrum of all of this?

The problem here is that private interests are in bed with the government. As long as this is the case, it will be impossible to enact laws that are against the interests of the private interests. We (the US) come nearer and nearer to being a plutocracy as time goes on. Basically, the more avenues private interests create to controlling legislation, the more power they have to create further avenues by which to control legislation. It’s an out-of-control spiral that won’t end well.

But as long as the faculties of democracy are still mostly in place, perhaps there is hope. We, the people, need to use what remaining power we have to get private interests out of bed with the government.

So, how do we get private interests out of bed with the government?

I propose a 3-part solution..

1) Effect major campaign reform. Make it illegal for any private funds to be spend on the campaign for a candidate for any public office, including the money owned by the candidate himself. Money put into a campaign obviously affects numbers of votes, and political campaigns shouldn’t be a contest of who has the most money or who’s backed by the people or organizations who have the most money.

The government should supply each candidate with a set amount of funds for doing all the things they need to do to get their voice heard across the nation; or perhaps not even that, but rather pay for the services they need to use directly, such as, for example, plane flights, air time for conveying their views to the public, etc.—and that’s it, that’s all the funds they should be allowed to use.

Even if we don’t go that far, the very least we could do is revert the legislation that enabled super PACs.

2) Make paid lobbying illegal. The only point of lobbying should be as an avenue by which The People make their wishes known to the legislators. Paying people to influence legislators by voicing opinions that they don’t even necessarily hold themselves is a form of subterfuge and undermines the whole process of democracy. Even if the paid lobbyists do hold the views they proffer, it gives private interests undue power because of all the opinions out there, the ones for which there is money being offered for people to go out of their way to be heard will get disproportionate representation.

Even if we don’t make paid lobbying illegal, we should at least eliminate the revolving door that allows former members of congress to become paid lobbyists themselves.

3) Prevent members of congress (and other government agencies, such as the FDA) from being bribed by companies with better-paying jobs. The idea is that a company secretly offers a legislature a position with them that pays significantly more than what they’re currently making as long as they vote X on Proposition Y.. this is clear bribery and should be considered a form of conflict of interest, despite the fact that the guilty person isn’t holding both positions at the same time.

So, once we have all that out of the way, maybe we can actually elect people with the integrity to do what needs to be done.

There is one problem with this I haven’t touched on, and that’s that even if we effect all of these measures within the US, there are still other countries generating waste, poison and pollution, and how are we going to convince all of them to effect such strict regulations on their industries, lifestyles and economies?

My answer is that we should do what we can, and that will be a lot since the US is the second-highest polluter behind China, and if somehow just the US and China could change their ways, that would make a huge difference as the US and China together produce almost half of all the pollution in the world..

So, the only question now is, in a country mostly controlled by the right, how do we even get bills on the floor to effect these changes, and let alone have them get enough votes to pass?

My hope is that, as a reaction to Trump’s disastrous presidency, many people will switch to the democrats’ side and tip the balance in the house and senate. Hopefully this will even happen in the upcoming midterm elections! Though there would have to be enough people switching sides to counter all of the wicked tactics and other, more incidental advantages that the republicans have that undermine the will of the people, such as the Electoral College, senate malapportionment, house gerrymandering, felony disenfranchisement laws, the Supreme Court enabling voter suppression, and plutocratic campaign financing.

Supposing we can get that far, the next step would be to contact our representatives and tell them what extreme steps we want them to take to completely divorce government from private interests, or at least to divorce them as much as possible.. so spread the word! We want to make paid lobbying illegal, allow no private funds in political campaigns, and make bribery of government agents through better-paying positions a form of conflict of interest and illegal.

Not that I necessarily know what I’m talking about. I don’t really know much about government. Well, I think my ideas for campaign finance reform and making paid lobbying illegal are good, I’m just not sure if the form of bribery I describe happens in congress, or if other forms are more prevalent. I just know I heard of it happening in the FDA.

That reminds me, we should also make all of the finances of any public official completely transparent to the public. It’s unacceptable to have people in government who care more about their own finances than the public good; that’s just bad governance. At least if we know where their money is coming from and what they’re invested in we can better identify potential conflicts of interest. Having no financial privacy may seem harsh, but it should just be considered a sacrifice one must make for the privilege of holding public office.

We also need to crack down more on known and obvious conflicts of interest. For example, how could Donald Trump be allowed to appoint someone as head of the EPA who previously worked for a coal magnate and was a lobbyist against environmental regulations? This is absurd!

Also, it’s a known fact that some bills written for and passed by congress are actually written by corporations (’s bad enough that paid lobbyists get their way. It’s absurd that the bills themselves are written by corporations. This has to be made illegal!

Ok, I’m done now.

On a Universal Wage Cap – an essay I wrote 10 years ago

Social Darwinism and The Wage Cap

Many people refer to capitalism as a kind of “social Darwinism” — which it is in a sense, but in accordance to their intentions.  Capitalism isn’t social Darwinism in the sense that it does not select for the survival of the most successful; in fact, the poorest of society are the ones who statistically bear the most children.  Perhaps it could be argued that the homeless are less likely to survive (and hence to reproduce), but the plain truth remains that calling it “social Darwinism” isn’t anything more than employing a label to free oneself from the burden of compassion.  Natural selection, while maybe seeming cruel, is a necessity and a boon in the natural world.  Capitalism, on the other hand, is a completely artificial environment.  If Darwinism is a necessary evil in the natural world, in capitalism it’s just an evil.  Apparently, we revere strength while abhorring and treading on weakness (or what we call weakness) in our society, which defeats itself, as strength without heart and compassion is like a stalk without leaves (or, better, roots).

Contrary to popular belief, homelessness is not simply a consequence of being weak, nor even the repercussions for being “lazy.”  The job market, like any other mob force, adapts primarily to the normative and has a habit of leaving the rest out to dry, hence the need for regulations for providing access for disabled people, just to give an example.  As it is a blind force, all dimensions of normativity apply, including, but not limited to, the willingness to be subservient, which is a very unnatural state for a human to be in.  As Jiddu Krishnamurti said, “it is not a sign of good health to be well adjusted to a sick society.”  So I give to the bums and don’t ask questions, because everyone has a reason.  Being homeless, dirty, hungry, toothless and uninsured, as well as spending most of your life begging for money from others, is an awfully big sacrifice to make just for the luxury of “being ­lazy”… don’t ya’ think?

The kind of “social Darwinism” that actually happens in capitalism is not about survival or reproduction, but purely one of what kind of person rises to positions of the most power.  If you think about it, having a conscience is only a disadvantage in this regard, as conscience serves only to restrict what you can do (and still “have a clear conscience”).  Not to say that conscience is a bad thing by any means, but that in the “Darwinism” of capitalism the most successful are, as a rule, the least ethical.  Money is power in this world, and hence the ones with the least scruples are the ones with the most power and influence over us and the world, whether it be through media, political influence, the conditions of employment, assassinations, perpetual debt, advertising, pollution, deforestation or mass animal cruelty.  That’s not to say that we aren’t all responsible in a sense, but that “social Darwinism” is not quite something to sing praise about.

It’s well-known, and somehow accepted without question, that the only thing important to a company is, by design, the bottom dollar.  If a company is publicly owned, it can even get sued for making a decision in the interest of anything other than profit, like say… the good of all humanity.  The amazing thing is that this is all taken for granted — that the entities with the most power in the world are excused for being, and expected to be, sociopaths.  Companies are, after all, made up of and run by people, despite their behavior and classification as conscienceless machines that grow tumorously and devour everything around them.

The advertisers, working for companies that are selling things, are necessarily most effective at their jobs when they’re busy at gearing the minds of the populace toward general consumerism.  So they help us get lost in a priority system of material gains, thinking that they will afford us happiness as a substitute for any real spiritual fulfillment.  Not that I’m saying they’re the only reason it is the way it is — just that advertising doesn’t help.  They’ll use any vice whatsoever in the way of psychological manipulation that’s available to them, and collectively they’ve had many years to develop those techniques, all the while gradually transcending their predecessors’ innocence in marketing — i.e., all it takes is for one person to invent a truly depraved technique, and everyone else to copy it without any particular sensibility.

At the beginning of the process of consumption is depletion, pollution and labor, and at the end of it is waste.  Not only that, but the waste is aggravated per the fact that products are designed to fail.  When deciding what brand to buy, or whether to buy it or not, how long a product will last is not something that “jumps out at you” when you see it in the store, or on TV.  That information is normally not even listed.  But what does jump out is the price.  So if there is an optimal balance Bt between price and longevity (as far as the consumer’s best interest or lack of wastefulness goes), in the interest of competition the actual construction of the product will be way cheaper than that­.  This also benefits the company on a second front: the more quickly the product fails, the sooner you have to come back to buy a new one.

Another thing that majorly suffers is our health.  Or do you believe that the free market can only be a win-win situation, because one wouldn’t pay for something unless it benefited them?  In that case, let’s take the issue of selling crack for example.  It’s made illegal because of the damage it causes, despite the fact that people buy it of their own accord.  Most products on the market aren’t as bad as crack, and hence aren’t made illegal, but that principle is not limited to what’s illegal; it may apply across the board, just to different degrees.  Take, for example, something that tastes seductively good, whose ingredients are harmful­ but aren’t illegal, because either their negative effects aren’t bad enough, or they’re subtle or long-term rather than acute and short-term, ­and voila! you have a wonderfully selling product.  Or take an existing product and replace a healthy (or less unhealthy) ingredient with a much more unhealthy one, because it tastes sort-of the same and is cheaper and/or more convenient to use, and voila! you have high-fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated oil.  Or say, make a product that’s a veritable neurotoxin, withhold evidence and additionally bribe key members of the FDA with high-paying jobs at your company in order to get it certified, and voila! you have aspartame.  So as with the issue of crack, just because you’re ostensibly giving the person “what they want” doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not taking advantage of them.  And if there’s one thing companies are good at, it’s taking an advantage.  And in the end, due to these myriad compromises of our health, we get sick, and then to whom do we go?  The pharmaceutical companies, who are all too happy to extend their cold, grisly welcome.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” — the WWW (1989 – ????)

But what can we do?  All of the legislation in the world won’t substitute for genuine morality.  There are always more subtle vices to be found, legal loopholes, and opportunities for just plain breaking the law.  So, what then?  Communism?  Socialism?  Communism apparently fails more often than not, and socialism is something we’ve been thoroughly programmed to believe is evil.  The answer, then, is something different..something you won’t want to accept, primarily ­due to your attachment to the American Dream.

An Analytic Argument Against Excessive Affluence

The conventional wisdom goes that, if one’s worked hard enough (or one is “good enough” or whatever) to make it rich, then one should be allowed to enjoy the full spoils of their deeds.  That’s nice and idealistic, but utilitarianly it just doesn’t work well.  Utilitarianism is the philosophy that what’s best overall is what creates the most benefit for the greatest number of people.  For example, it’s better for 90 people to each have 10, let’s say, “happy points” than for 20 people to each have 30 “happy points”, because 9010 > 2030.  To a certain degree, we can’t help but think utilitarianly.  For example, take a choice between spending an exorbitant amount of money (say 100’s of millions of dollars) to save one person’s life (someone you don’t know), and spending that same money on cleft lip surgery for thousands of infants in a third-world country.  Which would you choose?  Now instead of thinking only in terms of what’s “fair” for the individual (as if life has ever been even remotely fair), let’s start thinking about some things utilitarianly.  Let’s assume that there are two variables in society: 1) overall labor executed (we’ll call it Lt), and 2) the total amount of happiness derived from the fruits of this labor (we’ll call that Ht).  In theory, Lt and Ht would be more-or-less in direct proportion, right?  Because the more people work, the more people can benefit from the results of that work.  (Actually, there are extra factors that could make it non-linear, such as technological growth and the development of infrastructure, but that’s beside the point I’m making.)  Now enter the law of diminishing returns.  In economics, diminishing returns is what happens when the ratio between input and output is not linear, in that each additional unit of input yields less and less output.  This term technically applies to cost-effectiveness, but instead we’ll apply it to wealth vs. happiness: personal wealth as input, happiness as output.  So, why would the law of diminishing returns apply?  Having a place to live in is one keeps your head out of the rain.  Having a 32-room mansion is another.  You can’t use all of those rooms anyway; it’s more of a status symbol than anything else.  And what with all that extra space, I guess there’s nothing like feeling like a guest in your own home.  Having a can opener is one keeps you from having to tear your cans open with an ice pick.  Having a person open your cans for you instead (this is just a hypothetical) would provide only marginal benefits over having that initial can opener.  Having a car is pretty darned convenient, but having a BMW serves ­only to make others think, “damn, I so wish that guy weren’t better than I­!”  And so on and so forth.  This is what I mean about the principle of diminishing returns.  And all these novelties will probably wear off pretty quickly anyway.. True happiness comes from right livelihood (though in a society where money is required just to be able to live, a little bit of financial leverage helps also).

So because of diminishing returns, instead of Ht≈Lt, we now have Hi=Log Li, where “i” stands for the individual.  Our new totals are therefore:

math1, and math2

where I is the set of all individuals, W signifies monetary wealth, and Wt≈Lt (as a gross simplification for this specific discussion).  In this equation, Ht is maximal when fewest people have disproportionate amounts of wealth.  Or simply speaking, happiness is greatest when the principle of diminishing returns is least effected.  To put it in more practical terms: whatever the rich man uses, has to be built by someone.  Yeah, the conventional wisdom goes that he “earned” the right to purchase that labor, but let’s consider the following: which of these produces more ultimate benefit: $30,000,000 worth of man-hours (including materials mining, parts manufacturing, distribution, assemblage, coating and painting, and so on) going into a luxurious yacht, or that same or comparable number of man-hours going into, say, rehabilitating the unemployed?   Or how about that labor just going into making a million chairs, so that a million people have a place to sit, to pick a more typical example?  And that’s all to say nothing of the people currently living in third-world countries.  I believe the aphorism goes, “live simply so that others may simply live.”  But how would we effectuate this..?

The Wage Cap

Without attempting to microlegislate morality to unlimited detail (as is our current approach to the problem), we can practically annihilate the whole phenomenon of, and thereby all the deleterious effects of, profiteering, in one fell swoop, and without resorting to communism or socialism, so that we may retain the essential benefits afforded to us by a free-market economy.  The answer is to effect a universal wage cap on all earnings for everyone.  This means that, no matter who you are, anything you make or receive above say, $300,000 per year, is taxed.  (The number 300K has been chosen arbitrarily.  My friend says it’s too generous; I would personally leave it to a congressional vote.)  By that means, a healthy drive to support yourself — a healthy drive do what you love and do it well — is retained, while the corruption of excessive greed becomes moot, or at least becomes moot over and above the returns of $300K, which is enough to make ­a very “comfortable” living, and yet pales in comparison to what the most powerful men or women in a society make.  But you don’t much like this idea, I presume, and it’s probably due to the American Dream..  You want to live with the comfort of knowing that you, too, might someday “make it big”, and you’ll be damned if the government’s gonna stop you.

The American Dream

Studies have shown that as an economy becomes more wealthy — even up to 10 times more wealthy — the average happiness level of its citizens doesn’t increase; it doesn’t even budge.  Some studies even point to rising levels of depression, suicide, and myriad other indicators of unhappiness, even while the world is getting richer.  On a more individual scale, wealth does tend to correlate with happiness statistically, but the important thing to remember here is that correlation is not causation.  A couple of other attributes that are supposed to correlate with high wealth and happiness are dynamicism­ and individualism.  In order to account for the difference between 1) correspondence between national happiness levels and economic progress, and 2) correspondence between individuals’ happiness levels and their personal wealth, one might predictably speculate that it’s because people tend to evaluate their wealth and well-being by comparing themselves with others.  That’s a weak speculation though, because it implies that fulfillment derives from the perceived inferiority of others, or in other words, from the lack of success and happiness of those around one.  And that’s ridiculous.  Furthermore, the same people who have supported this concept also apparently believe that the reason wealth correlates with happiness is that higher affluence facilitates the things that people claim matter more than money, such as love and health; but that completely contradicts the other belief, unless one were to subscribe to the even more ridiculous notion that love is only joyous if you love more than your neighbor loves, and that personal health is only auspicious when your neighbors’ health is relatively poor.

Instead, it seems that what’s really going on here is that the lack of correlation in the economy-scale cases proves that the positive correlation in the individual-scale cases is not causative, on account of the fact that other possible influences that would affect both wealth levels and happiness levels would vary from individual to individual, but would likely not change just because the economy gets richer.  Said factors would likely include — wait for it —­ dynamicism and individualism.  Ding Ding Ding!

And anyway, the American Dream amounts to little more than American materialism (what else could it be?), to say nothing of selfism, as there is only so much wealth to go around, and any excess wealth is much more wisely spent on, say, sheltering the homeless or feeding the hungry anyway.

I liken chasing happiness through material gains with chasing the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow..

All money eventually ends up going to some good or service, somewhere.  Other than doing that it only changes hands.  So contrary to what some people may think, the bottom line to controlling money auspiciously is not the opposite of how much of it “goes to the government.”  As I’ve attempted to show, it’s how much of it is not spent on luxuries.

And besides, it was never totally your money anyway.  It’s exclusively per the infrastructure that is provided by the American government, and the American people, that you were able to make any money at all.  So instead of being worrying over about how much you’re taxed, I recommend being grateful for how much you’re not taxed.  “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” — JFK (1917 – 1963)

The reason they call it the American Dream is because you have to be asleep to believe it.” — George Carlin (1937 – 2008)

“The day hunger disappears, the world will see the greatest spiritual explosion humanity has ever seen.” — Federico Garcia Lorca (1898 – 1936)

*** 2018 update ***

Earlier in this essay I took a study that ostensibly says shows that, on an individual scale, happiness corresponds to wealth, and picked it apart analytically. Since then I’ve seen better studies that show directly that wealth doesn’t imply happiness beyond a certain level of income—just enough that one doesn’t have to stress over money. One such study can be found here, at Time Magazine, which shows that wealth doesn’t increase day-to-day emotional happiness beyond an average income of merely $75,000, well below the $300K limit I proposed above.

Another thing I didn’t mention in this essay, which would fit into it nicely, is that with all the extra revenue garnered by taxing all income above $300K/year we might easily afford the Universal Wage Cap’s symmetrical sister, the Universal Basic Income. It’s abhorrent and the sign of a primitive society that we let hundreds of thousands of people wander the streets without a home begging for money to eat, while the rest of us live in our comfortable little bubbles.

Homelessness can strike anyone, not just those who are too lazy to work and not even just those whose psychological issues or physical disabilities prevent them from working, and having a safety net against this situation would put everyone at ease and make being a cog in the workforce and the whole issue of having enough money to pay the bills much less stressful for tens of millions of people. “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” –not Mahatma Gandhi

Obviously, the amount of basic income should be high enough for a person to live in a home and have food, clothing, health care, heat, water, electricity, etc., but low enough that there’s still incentive for people to work, because if nobody works then nobody can pay for the Universal Basic Income to be realized.