I don’t see how people are incentivised to live in poverty by having more money in a less affluent city to spend. There’s an infinite number of things that one can do to produce something of value, from the vincinity of your room or within your local community, even if it is not an affluent city, and UBI is already putting people above poverty level by definition. Even further ahead of the poverty line if you chose to maximize the value of the UBI.
It is a fundamental factor of the free market, that having more customer money available to be spent within a certain area does undoubtedly increase economic activity there. Now you do raise some fair points. But you don’t need to drive people to high opportunity places to get em out of poverty, and into a productive function in society. You can however argue that we benefit from concentrating the population into cities, by choice, as the reduced physical proximity between customers further improves opportunity in some old fashioned industries (which still have a lot of juice in em to be fair. Even though the trend seems to be one of increasing knowledge based work.).
“ This has practical applications. If the only goal is to alleviate the effects of poverty, then we may want poor people to stay in poor areas, where their dollar stretches furthest. But I dislike this approach because, as I’ve said, cheap areas are often cheap because they’re poor.”
Now riddle me this: If nobody is in poverty within a ‘poor’ area, and people have plenty extra money to spend, do you really believe you’re in a duty to frame these people and areas as ‘poor’? If you say yes, then by all means I agree that condensing mankind into megacities must be the immediate course of action, at least as far as the direction of things goes.
Though I would argue that going forward, most of all opportunity you could possibly find from a city that has wealthy customers, is dependent on predominantly that. How wealthy the customers are.
And isn’t an affluent city going to be similarly popular, and similarly available to formerly poor people, as it is today, if people are less desperate to get in, so wages would naturally go up while cost of living there would fall? Wouldn’t this market mechanism be good enough for people to chose where to go? I’m one for maximizing everyone’s ability to make choices with a fair slice of access to what is ours. People are smart enough to figure out what is worth their time. Sometimes it’s not the big city, but rather making parody videos of the big city slider station commercial. RIP Billy Mays
“ So if you’re in a city with 2% unemployment in 2014, you get just over $1,400/mo. Meanwhile, in a city with over 12% unemployment, you get just over $700/mo.”
This seems counter intuitive, since the most common suggestion for recessions is to increase state spending, financial stimmulus. This can take the shape of petty projects or sometimes even somewhat useful projects, but at the core of the operation stands putting money into people pockets, so the unemployed (or their future employers) find a customer base worth monetizing. Randomly throwing in a rolling average is like throwing in a blurry filter onto an image you don’t like, by the way. Anyway, you’re trying to skew the rating of quality of opportunity, expressed in net income you can take home if you work in said opportunity, towards cities with low unemployment. And I’m not entirely sure why, even if you say that you think poor people should move out of poor areas into rich areas with plenty opportunity (but if unemployment is so low in some city and so high in another, naturally, you’d see wages skyrocket in the area with low unemployment, till there’s no extraordinary demand for labor there anymore. At least if people have the option to bargain for a decent wage.). I’d rather see it skewed a little more in favor of the regular person.
The fact we have cities with 12% unemployment and cities with 2% unemployment is a symptom of a problem with value of working in an affluent city. It’s just not worth it, for many people. It’s not an opportunity, measured in wage vs upkeep. Which boils down to the top 20% of people paying for increasingly more square meters, an increasingly higher price, so naturally you’ll keep out bottom 80%ers of affluent cities, unless you stop income inequality from increasing, maybe even reverting it some is due.
But yeah, it’s perfectly reasonable to be concerned about opportunity, in a world where opportunity becomes increasingly unavailable. Though IMO, the solution there is redistribution (/stimmulus, as much as printing is just redistribution via inflation. We get growth as a result of either, as long as aggregate demand is increased and we’re not running out of stuff to make/sell.), and that’s it.