Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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The phrase 'crumpled heap' comes to mind.

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Negative life balance

Everybody is charged for the services they consume
  (+2, -5)
(+2, -5)
  [vote for,

Everybody is charged for the services they consume off the state: education up to university, housing while at university, safety nets, retirement.

So you start life with a negative balance equal to your pension expectations, so about 1-3 million in debt. It cannot be discharged by bankruptcy.

A percentage of your assets is used to "pay off" your debt each month. It's not tax because it doesn't go anywhere, you're just paying off your debts.

chronological, Jul 08 2021


       What benefits do you get from seeing this great big negative number that offset the woe and psychologically heavy burden of being aware of this big negative number?   

       Or to put it another way, what's the difference between tax, which is used to pay for current (past, and one would hope, future) service provision, and repayment of debt which pays for past, present and future service provision?
zen_tom, Jul 08 2021

       "monetisation" of state liabilities and spending is well known to exist and generally considered to be either (if you are a politician or banker) a very clever solution to the world's problems, or (if you are a normal human) a terrible scam. For example, making students take out loans to pay for their education, rather than funding it through public spending.   

       This idea is quite a bold generalisation of that, and so would count as either a a very clever solution to the world's problems, or a terrible scam, depending on your viewpoint (see above).   

       //A percentage of your assets is used to "pay off" your debt// What if you have no assets? What if you don't care about your debt and choose not to pay it off?   

       There is a variant of the Monopoly board game called "credit Monopoly" where the paper cash is not used, and everyone starts with zero money, and the banker just records the level of everyone's debts as the game progresses. It is very silly.
pocmloc, Jul 08 2021

       So the idea is "try to make people feel guilty about money that was spent without their consent on their behalf"? And also to tax assets instead of income? [-]
Voice, Jul 08 2021

       // ... tax assets instead of income? //   

       Personally, I'd favor taxing assets instead of income. But that's a completely different discussion - and [chronological]'s suggestion here wouldn't accomplish it anyhow.   

       Bone for his lack of explaining what this would accomplish. A compelling explanation of how this would benefit anyone might get me to flip it though.
a1, Jul 08 2021

       This seems really strange. In general, most people start off with nothing, and end up with little more than nothing. Starting off in debt will simply mean you end up in debt. "User pays" has been tried (& is still implemented, unfortunately...) & has mostly failed; as soon as you mix "essential" with "profit-driven", profits take precedence & things go wrong. Eg: the USA health system, the "behind the curve" state of power generation & infrastructure.
neutrinos_shadow, Jul 08 2021

       A better name might be "Original Debt"
bs0u0155, Jul 08 2021

       //But that's a completely different discussion//   

       //A percentage of your assets is used to "pay off" your debt each month//
Voice, Jul 09 2021

       //Everybody is charged for the services they consume//   

       Ah... but how about the services they contribute which never get taken into account?
Should I be expecting credit for those?

       I think I would rather see parents incurring a debt to their child for bringing it into the world.
lingamish, Jul 09 2021

       Where do I send the invoice for the time I have spent reading this idea and the associated annos?
pocmloc, Jul 09 2021

       The reason education needs to be free at the point of delivery is that educated people are potentially an asset to society and in the past at least their greater earning power means they often end up paying more income tax. It isn't a service you consume that's provided by the state. I won't comment on the rest.   

       I hardly ever give negative votes, but on this occasion I have. Come to think of it, that's quite appropriate.
nineteenthly, Jul 09 2021

       //educated people are potentially an asset to society//   

       As an educated person, I would like to believe this. On the other hand, how much of the increased income of an educated person comes from their producing more value, and how much comes from their making friends in the course of their education who can get them into well- paid jobs despite their possible underlying uselessness?   

       That's not a rhetorical question; it would be interesting if someone could devise a way to measure it.
pertinax, Jul 09 2021

       According to educated people, educated people are potentially an asset to society.
Voice, Jul 10 2021

       According to uneducated people, educated people have gaping holes in their perspectives of what it takes to get by without an education.   

       The deck is stacked my friends...
How much of your smarts are really your own, and how much is the memmorized smarts of others who learned with no teaching?

       It's a valid question.   

       There's probably some kind of n shaped curve. If you are utterly uneducated, illiterate, innumerate, no social skills, then you are likely to be a net drain on society. On the other hand if you are pumped hard through pre-prep school all the way up to your second PhD in particle physics as well as private classes in violin, languages, dressage, flying and charity expeditions each summer to study previously undiscovered tribes, you may also be a net drain on society (the details of how are left to the reader).   

       That's halfbakers dealt with; all the rest of the population are at the top of the n curve with just the right amount of education / indoctrination to make a useful contribution to the commons.
pocmloc, Jul 10 2021

       As a self-educated person with no mysterious academic contacts or old-boys network to benefit from, my experience has been that if you're ready to take a risk (and granted, this is easier/possible only with enough support to enable and cushion likely/possible failure) and can find a suitably bustling, meritocratic environment*, then you'll do just fine. It might have been easier with a more "Royal Road" laid out, but I'm not convinced such pathways exist anymore, at least, not in the more technical fields. They may still do for old-boys private school networks, but that could just be my own prejudice/bias showing. In my field anyway, I don't see too much of that. Recent lurches away from meritocracy and freedom might mean these kinds of social nepotism become more prevalent in the coming years, which is a shame.   

       *sadly these may be in decline if not downright illusionary - cities of a certain size, that enable people to participate and seize opportunity without being priced out - a real balancing act.
zen_tom, Jul 10 2021

       I think that the most important aspect of "education" is the laying down of patterns in the first three or four years of life. This is when language is learned, as well as socialised behaviour.   

       The next most important aspect of "education" is the formal study of conceptual systems. I like to consider what are the most important such systems to learn. Second / non-native languages are probably important for building brain structures and alternative ways of thinking. The whole nexus of subjects around physics / mathematics / thermodynamics / accounting is probably the most important. And probably some kind of anthropology / sociology / psychology is also pretty vital, so as to have some kind of insight into what drives and affects human behaviour.   

       The final, and least important in overall human development and life-skills terms, yet most valourised, aspect of education, is the gaining of formal qualifications, entry to prestigious institutions, and making network connections.
pocmloc, Jul 10 2021

       Mazeltov it's a boy. We wish him a long life and you now owe us...
pashute, Jul 11 2021

       // As a self-educated person //   

       Could you explain this a bit further, [zen_tom]? I mean, the context, in this idea, touches on education as an example of a thing provided by others (parents or society), so, if your education was *not* provided by others, then ... what does that tell us about the idea?
pertinax, Jul 11 2021

       I think I was more replying to your line quoted below than making any point directly relating to the idea   

       //As an educated person, I would like to believe this. On the other hand, how much of the increased income of an educated person comes from their producing more value, and how much comes from their making friends in the course of their education who can get them into well- paid jobs despite their possible underlying uselessness? //   

       Which I took to refer to the specific phenomenon of education within the private school and (by extension, though to a lesser extent) university system which in the not too distant past has been far more affiliated/populated with the upper-classes than those from the lower and middle classes. Networks and friendships in these environments have long provided pathways for those with this background to populate managerial/power positions that boys and girls from comprehensives would find it harder to attain.   

       But yes, I did go to school up to age 17, so to say I've been entirely self-educated in that respect just isn't accurate - but since pretty much anyone in a western democracy goes to school up to age 17 or so, I was kind of taking that for granted. Mea Culpa on that one. I don't think everyone with state-provided minimal schooling gets the same "making friends ... who can get them into well paid jobs" benefits though - though again, to be brutally accurate, it should be said that the experience of going to school at all would of course give you a better chance than boys or girls brought up in the woods. But as far as I know, that's not a widespread practice, and so in the context of what I was saying, I think I was taking that for granted as a base assumption.   

       Not that it matters, but i did finally complete an Open University (correspondence) degree course, but in doing so, didn't make any useful contacts or meaningfully extend my network of pals, and as such wasn't able to use that experience to get me into any well-paid jobs despite my possible underlying uselessness.   

       As far as the idea goes, I don't see it as being meaningfully different whether you call a payment for services a tax, or a loan repayment. Tax is deducted on a combination of your wealth and your income, and income *could* be considered a part of your wealth, so the payment scheme broadly speaking amounts to the same as is currently in place, and the money is doing the exact same job, it just gets labelled using different language. People might feel about it differently of course, debt is an emotionally loaded term, but if you get past that (and any connotations that might bring) this idea could be implemented in an afternoon, and nothing practical would change other than the format of a few accounting statements. It's a naming change. Apart from the arbitrary (and likely inaccurate) amount calculated at birth that couldn't see what costs might be coming in the future, that results in everyone paying a monthly sum (just like they do currently) and were the idea were to rename the concept of "tax" to "banana" instead of "debt" it would deliver an equal amount of difference to the real world. i.e. None.   

       That being said, it's still an entertaining idea and if other people don't see the fungibility of the words "tax" and "debt" in this context, and in reading the idea get to consider that point of view, then I think it's done a good job. Hence my [+].
zen_tom, Jul 12 2021

       That's all fine and greatly to your credit, [zen_tom]. So, if we divide the education- related income premium into a knowledge premium and a shibboleth premium, the shibboleth premium in your particular case would be small, or maybe even zero.   

       On the other hand, if we consider the relationship between the education and the income of, say, the First Lord of the Treasury, the Right Honourable Bojo the Clown, the calculation might yield a different answer, mightn't it?
pertinax, Jul 12 2021

       Yes. I think that's what we're both trying to say.
zen_tom, Jul 12 2021

       I wasn't just talking about higher education, but I was focussing on it. Even so, yes, it's often substantially due to social connections made during one's time at uni. There is also, I think, a genuine problem with a consensus understanding of what constitutes a good education which is somewhat oriented around the idea that a professor is the goal, although I think this is less the case than it has been. Dunning-Kruger works both ways.
nineteenthly, Jul 12 2021

       Which is the other way that it works?
pertinax, Jul 13 2021

       [pertinax]; stupid people think they're smart, smart people think they're not.
neutrinos_shadow, Jul 13 2021

       // smart people think they're not. //   

       More commonly referred to as "imposter syndrome" rather than a an reverse Dunning-Kruger Effect.
a1, Jul 13 2021


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