Jack Saturday

Monday, May 23, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1458-1460

Poem About Morning
by William Meredith


Whether it's sunny or not, it's sure
To be enormously complex-
Trees or streets outdoors, indoors whoever you share,
And yourself, thirsty, hungry, washing,
An attitude towards sex.
No wonder half of you wants to stay
With your head dark and wishing
Rather than take it all on again:
Weren't you duped yesterday?
Things are not orderly here, no matter what they say.

But the clock goes off, if you have a dog
It wags, if you get up now you'll be less
Late. Life is some kind of loathsome hag
Who is forever threatening to turn beautiful.
Now she gives you a quick toothpaste kiss
And puts a glass of cold cranberry juice,
Like a big fake garnet, in your hand.
Cranberry juice! You're lucky, on the whole,
But there is a great deal about it you don't understand.




"No, I do not feel better… I have the sense that everything is going more to pieces by the day. Getting up this morning I looked at my watch, and in the little square that shows the date, I seemed to see a tiny prison widow with its two bars: the eleventh of the month…  And my nights are seldom better: the feeling that there's a big tree-trunk lying across my chest, whose weight finally waked me. After which, more or less pleased with the accuracy of the image, I got go sleep again, somewhat calmer …".

"Sometimes at the end of the afternoon, when work lets up a bit, I look at the office walls around me, then the last of  the hills, steadily nibbled away by their ashen contours. And it goes on, goes on, like an agony… It's usually at that moment I tell myself I've surely been on the wrong track all these years. And that it's not impossible, it is in fact a certainty, that I shall follow this road, the wrong one, to the very end. Then I wait a while longer, the time it takes to gather my things, bid good evening to my neighbour if he has not already left, and go home as if nothing were wrong, […]"
Gilles Ortlieb
from
Into The Deep Street 









Guess what? The worldwide arrival of the basic income is imminent.











Monday, May 16, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1455-1457

Despite the province’s 2008 poverty reduction plan, the women’s plight and that of almost 158,000 other single adults on welfare or Ontario Works is getting worse, according to a new report on social assistance being released Monday.

For this group, the poverty gap has jumped by almost 200 per cent since 1993, says the analysis by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
...
"dramatically worse than 20 years ago.”

Ontario's soaring poverty gap ‘starkest’ for single adults as welfare rates stagnate
LAURIE MONSEBRAATEN
Mon., May 9, 2016
thestar.com
[emphasis JS]



You know my old saying, “Slavery was never abolished, it was only extended to include all the colors.”

And what hurts is the steadily diminishing humanity of those fighting to hold jobs they don’t want but fear the alternative worse. People simply empty out. They are bodies with fearful and obedient minds. The color leaves the eye. The voice becomes ugly. And the body. The hair. The fingernails. The shoes. Everything does.

As a young man I could not believe that people could give their lives over to those conditions. As an old man, I still can’t believe it. What do they do it for? Sex? TV? An automobile on monthly payments? Or children? Children who are just going to do the same things that they did?

Early on, when I was quite young and going from job to job I was foolish enough to sometimes speak to my fellow workers: “Hey, the boss can come in here at any moment and lay all of us off, just like that, don’t you realize that?”

They would just look at me. I was posing something that they didn’t want to enter their minds.

Now in industry, there are vast layoffs (steel mills dead, technical changes in other factors of the work place). They are layed off by the hundreds of thousands and their faces are stunned:

“I put in 35 years…”

“It ain’t right…”

“I don’t know what to do…”

They never pay the slaves enough so they can get free, just enough so they can stay alive and come back to work. I could see all this. Why couldn’t they? I figured the park bench was just as good or being a barfly was just as good. Why not get there first before they put me there? Why wait?
openculture
[emphasis JS]



Half a century ago, harvesting California’s 2.2 million tons of tomatoes for ketchup required as many as 45,000 workers. In the 1960s, though, scientists and engineers at the University of California, Davis, developed an oblong tomato that lent itself to being machine-picked and an efficient mechanical harvester to do the job in one pass through a field.
...
How could a publicly funded university invest in research that cut farmworker jobs only to help large-scale growers?
...
In America’s factories, jobs are inevitably disappearing, too. But despite the political rhetoric, the problem is not mainly globalization. Manufacturing jobs are on the decline in factories around the world.
...
“The observation is uncontroversial,” said Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel-winning economist at Columbia University. “Global employment in manufacturing is going down because productivity increases are exceeding increases in demand for manufactured products by a significant amount.”
...
...strategies to restore manufacturing jobs in one country will amount to destroying them in another, in a worldwide zero-sum game.
The Mirage of a Return to Manufacturing Greatness
Eduardo Porter
New York Times 
APRIL 26, 2016
[emphasis JS]









Monday, May 09, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1452-1454

Everybody knows Americans are overworked. A 2014 Gallup poll found that salaried Americans now report working an average of 47 hours a week — not the supposedly standard 40 — while 18 percent report working more than 60 hours. And yet overtime pay has become such a rarity that many Americans don’t even realize that a majority of salaried workers were once eligible.

In a cruel twist, the longer and harder we work for the same wage, the fewer jobs there are for others, the higher unemployment goes and the more we weaken our own bargaining power. That helps explain why over the last 30 years, corporate profits have doubled from about 6 percent of gross domestic product to about 12 percent, while wages have fallen by almost exactly the same amount.
Overtime Pay: A Lifeline for the Overworked American

By NICK HANAUER and ROBERT B. REICH APRIL 21, 2016

New York Times
[emphasis JS]




I know about the debate over banning tips and raising the minimum wage. I am not sure how I feel about it, and from what I can tell, my co-workers don’t either. People can be awful and not all bars are like this one. I am aware that many servers have shitty jobs for shitty pay. And let’s be real, it isn’t enough money. But here is the thing; being a part-time lecturer in academia never paid me enough, either.
Sixteen years in academia made me an a-hole

After a decade at the Ivies, I work at a bar. But I've learned more waiting tables than I did as a professor
Rani Neutill

Salon




 I had a lengthy discussion about the global impact with Mexican industrialist Carlos Slim Domit. He had a surprisingly good understanding of the advances in technologies such as computing, sensors, networks, robotics, artificial intelligence, and 3D printing. He spoke of the uplift of society in the developing world through broader access to information, education, health care, and entertainment — and the need to share and spread the prosperity that advancing technologies will create. He predicted the emergence of tens of millions of new service jobs in Mexico through meeting the Mexican people’s basic needs and enabling them to spend time on leisure and learning. He sees tremendous opportunities to build infrastructure where there is none, and to improve the lives of billions of people who presently spend their lives trying to earn enough on which to subsist.     
Should We Redesign Capitalism to Address Our Jobless Future?
By Vivek Wadhwa

Singularity Hub

[emphasis JS] 
 



 

Getting There

Monday, May 02, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1449-1451

To the Editor: The toxic work environment we have today simply reflects our current American values. Employees were once a valued part of the organizations I worked for. Now they are disposable parts. Our children have been raised to value material gain at the cost of lifestyle and positive human experience, and we are paying the price in lower happiness and higher stress and related disease. This won’t change until our culture changes.
GREGORY A. BORROR
Bailey, Colo.
NYT Sunday Review | Letters




 ...taxpayers continue to pick up the difference between what fast-food workers earn and what they need to survive. An estimated $1.2 billion a year in taxpayer dollars goes toward public aid to help people who work at McDonald’s.

At the same time, McDonald’s is under fire in Europe for shifting profits to Luxembourg in ways that allow the company to avoid tax in Europe and in the United States.
At McDonald’s, Fat Profits but Lean Wages

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD APRIL 28, 2016 New York Times
[emphasis JS]  


Equilar notes that Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav makes $156.1 million a year ($74,796.36 an hour), or approximately 1,951 times as much as his average employee. Doug McMillan, the CEO of Wal-Mart takes in $25.6 million ($12,266.41 an hour), 1,133 times as much as the average experienced store associate, who earns roughly $22,000. Other highly-paid CEOs include Larry Merlo, the CEO of CVS Caremark, who makes 422 times as much as CVS employee, meaning that he earns an average worker’s yearly pay by 1 PM on his first work day of the new year; and Goodyear CEO Richard Kramer, who pulls in as much as an average Goodyear employee’s yearly pay by 3:00 PM on January 1st.
...
As the gap between the wealthy and the working-class continues to grow, the federal minimum wage remains stagnant at $7.25 an hour, or a little more than $15,000 a year, far below the $24,000 poverty line for a family of four.

Do you find this state of affairs upsetting?

Big Crony CEO Pay Grab--Effects Beyond Greed!

Ralph Nader

[emphasis JS]






Monday, April 25, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1446-1448

“This idea [basic income] works on so many levels,” she says. “It’s a very practical policy, in terms of ensuring that people don’t fall between the cracks of the welfare system. But it’s also a deeply radical idea in terms of its feminist potential, and what we do in a world in which more and more work is going to be automated. It also gets you into a sense of contributing to your community, cleaning up the beach, visiting an elderly friend who might be lonely. There’s a whole freedom and liberation that it gives you, and I think it takes you into really deep questions about whether we really exist simply to spend a third of our lives working for someone else.”
British Greens’ sole MP, Caroline Lucas

Should we scrap benefits and pay everyone £100 a week?
 
John Harris
theguardian




In 2014, following many complaints from members of the armed forces, retired Supreme Court justice Marie Deschamps was asked to conduct an external review of sexual misconduct and harassment in the armed forces. Her report, released in April 2015, found that the Canadian military was ridden with a misogynistic and sexualized culture, and that harassment and abuse were overlooked and under-reported. 

The issue gained prominence in the mid-1990s with the introduction of women into combat roles, and has resurfaced regularly with publicized reports of abusive behaviour and assault. 

Deschamps was told “there is not a female who has not had a problemsince joining the military, and yet most were afraid to complain for fear of repercussions, including being hampered in their careers or removed from their units. Reports have been received of abuse ranging from sexual jokes to inappropriate touching to sexual assault, with a chain of command largely blind to the issue.
Editorial: Hasten change in armed forces

Times Colonist

February 2, 2016 12:26 AM

[emphasis JS]








 Up to the present, man [sic] has been, to a certain extent, the slave of machinery, and there is something tragic in the fact that as soon as man had invented a machine to do his work he began to starve. This, however, is, of course, the result of our property system and our system of competition. One man [sic] owns a machine which does the work of five hundred men. Five hundred men are, in consequence, thrown out of employment, and, having no work to do, become hungry and take to thieving. The one man secures the produce of the machine and keeps it, and has five hundred times as much as he should have, and probably, which is of much more importance, a great deal more than he really wants. Were that machine the property of all, every one would benefit by it. It would be an immense advantage to the community. All unintellectual labour, all monotonous, dull labour, all labour that deals with dreadful things, and involves unpleasant conditions, must be done by machinery.
Oscar Wilde






 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1443-1445


The basic income approach is absolutely essential, but it is not part of the social democratic tradition. Think about it. The post-war consensus was all about national insurance, it was not about basic income. Now, either we are going to have a basic income that regulates this new society of ours, or we are going to have very substantial social conflicts. 
The Economist, March 31st 2016





 Had not the United Kingdom, regularly since the sixties, produced waves of popular music and youth culture that had swept the world, bringing in billions in direct and indirect revenue?
...
...the Blairites were operating with a completely false understanding of where cultural creativity comes from.

They naively assumed creativity was basically a middle-class phenomenon, the product of people like themselves. In fact, almost everything worthwhile that has come out of British culture for the last century, from music hall, to street kebabs, to standup comedy, rock ‘n’ roll, and the rave scene, has been primarily a working-class phenomenon. Essentially, these were the things the working class created when they weren’t actually working. The sprouting of British popular culture in the sixties was entirely a product of the United Kingdom’s then very generous welfare state....a surprising proportion of major bands later to sweep the world spent at least some of their formative years on unemployment relief.
...
Blairites were stupid enough to combine their promotion of “Cool Britannia” with massive welfare reforms, which effectively guaranteed the entire project would crash and burn, since they ensured that pretty much everyone with the potential to become the next John Lennon would instead spend the rest of their lives stacking boxes in their local Tesco as part of the new welfare conditionality. 
How hopelessness grew boring 
David Graeber 
The Baffler 
[emphasis JS]



 A team of researchers at the New York State Psychiatric Institute surveyed 43,000 Americans and found that, by some wide margin, the rich were more likely to shoplift than the poor.
...
“As you move up the class ladder,” says Keltner, “you are more likely to violate the rules of the road, to lie, to cheat, to take candy from kids, to shoplift, and to be tightfisted in giving to others..." 
By Michael Lewis 
November 12, 2014









Monday, April 11, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1440-1442

...many of those same global elite have argued that we cannot afford to provide education, healthcare or a basic standard of living for all, much less eradicate poverty or dramatically enhance the social safety net by guaranteeing every American a subsistence-level income.

The Tax Justice Network estimates the global elite are sitting on $21–32tn of untaxed assets. Clearly, only a portion of that is owed to the US or any other nation in taxes – the highest tax bracket in the US is 39.6% of income. …

A larger income, to ensure that no American fell into absolute abject poverty – say, $12,000 a year – would cost around $3.6tn. That is a big number, but one that once again seems far more reasonable when considered through the lens of the Panama Papers and the scandal of global tax evasion. Because the truth is that we have all been robbed, systematically, by the world’s wealthiest people, for decades. They have used those stolen dollars to build yet more wealth for themselves, and all the while we have been arguing with ourselves over what to do with the leftover pennies.
The Panama Papers prove it: America can afford a universal basic income
Colin Holtz 
theguardian  
[emphasis JS]



 Households with children under 18 were at greater risk than households without children. Across the country, nearly one-third of lone-parent families headed by women were food insecure. Other household characteristics associated with food insecurity included low income, being Aboriginal, being Black, and renting rather than owning one’s home.

While being on social assistance was a major risk factor, the majority of the food secure households in Canada were reliant on employment income.

“We know that social assistance recipients are particularly vulnerable, and the latest numbers show rates of food insecurity as high as 82% among people reliant on social assistance in Nova Scotia and 83% among those in Nunavut. At the same time, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that the majority of food insecure households in our country are working families.” said Naomi Dachner, co-author of the report. 
PROOF 






At present machinery competes against man [sic]. Under proper conditions machinery will serve man. There is no doubt at all that this is the future of machinery, and just as trees grow while the country gentleman is asleep, so while Humanity will be amusing itself, or enjoying cultivated leisurewhich, and not labour, is the aim of man – or making beautiful things, or reading beautiful things, or simply contemplating the world with admiration and delight, machinery will be doing all the necessary and unpleasant work. The fact is, that civilisation requires slaves. The Greeks were quite right there. Unless there are slaves to do the ugly, horrible, uninteresting work, culture and contemplation become almost impossible. Human slavery is wrong, insecure, and demoralising. On mechanical slavery, on the slavery of the machine, the future of the world depends. And when scientific men are no longer called upon to go down to a depressing East End and distribute bad cocoa and worse blankets to starving people, they will have delightful leisure in which to devise wonderful and marvellous things for their own joy and the joy of everyone else. There will be great storages of force for every city, and for every house if required, and this force man will convert into heat, light, or motion, according to his needs. Is this Utopian? A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing. And when Humanity lands there, it looks out, and, seeing a better country, sets sail. Progress is the realisation of Utopias. 





 






Monday, April 04, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1437-1439

between December 2011 and February 2014, the Department of Work and Pensions reported that 2,380 Britons previously on disability support were found dead no more than six weeks after receiving notice that they were having their benefits cut because they had been determined to be “fit for work.”  
Despair Fatigue 
How hopelessness grew boring 
David Graeber   
The Baffler 
[emphasis JS]




 How can women reconcile an interminable workday with the lion’s share of housekeeping and childrearing?

Neither option on its own is desirable; together, they are unbearable. Life shouldn’t be reduced to a balance between waged work and housework, a balance between work and work. Instead, if we are concerned about fixing the “time bind,” we should do the unimaginable: ask for more time.
...
A basic income would provide a minimum living standard.
...
A basic income would offer a social safety net—especially important in a time of economic instability. But it would also change the lives of its recipients in more qualitative ways. The basic income would ensure that individuals were financially solvent regardless of their jobs, decoupling economic status and employment. By offering money unconditionally, without a requirement for work or education, a basic income would offer financial support without stigma, unlike the current welfare-to-work system. Further, by giving individuals money that did not come directly from salaries, the basic income would also offer freedom and autonomy independent of waged work. Together with a shorter workweek, it would mean that individuals would be less dependent on their own labor to get by. It would give them room to explore their interests and ideas outside of work. It might very well give them more time.
...
Thinking about a world with more time would entail a more theoretical shift: it would mean decentering waged work from a feminist conception of a better life. Since the second wave, much of feminism has upheld waged work and work outside the home as a way for women to find independence and freedom. Mainstream feminists have often praised the workplace as the site of great gains for women and encouraged women to work and better the conditions of their workplaces through activism, professional organizations, and legal campaigns.
..
But waged work is itself constricting and demanding—hardly liberation itself. As women have entered the workplace, the kinds of jobs they take have often declined in quality, paying less, demanding more, and becoming more unstable and restricting. Work does not foster independence or freedom when individuals cannot choose where they work or the conditions under which they do so. Placing work at the core of a feminist demand obscures work’s problems and blinds us to life outside of it. 
Madeleine Schwartz 
Dissent 
[emphasis JS]




 
...no matter how hard you work, someone still has to do the crap low wage jobs. So even if we all busted our asses, a lot of us will still get left behind. Which kind of destroys the just work harder theory.

While the right wing advocates the best solution as eliminating minimum wage all together so everyone can work (work for less). Liberals always advocate raising minimum wage to a so called “living wage” so everyone can get ahead.

Conservatives counter that raising the minimum wage reduces the number of jobs and to some extent they are right, if it’s not raised gradually over time in small increments. Meanwhile, the democrats are right that it does help working families. What they fail to mention though is the unintended consequence is it creates an even wider income gap for the unemployed.

So what’s the solution? A Basic Guaranteed Income which is designed to replace the current welfare system by eliminating the government middle man and agencies and instead just give the money directly to everyone.

That’s right every adult in the U.S. from the homeless guy on the street corner to Bill Gates would get a monthly check for $1000. Children would receive $400 per month.

In fact once a Basic Income Guarantee is put in place, it does make the argument for needing to raise the minimum wage pretty weak since poverty would be eliminated. One may also argue that a minimum wage is no longer needed anymore since everyone has enough money for the basics now. So it gives democrats that income floor they have been fighting for and it gives republicans that argument to go forward with free market capitalism now that we’ve solved the welfare problem.
The rich will still be free to make all the money they want, but they’ll be living in a better society where everyone’s standard of living improves instead of just having 2 classes of society, “the haves” and the “have nots” that exist. 
Allen Bauer 
[emphasis JS]











Monday, March 28, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1434-1436

I returned to the United States. It felt quite a lot like stepping back into that other violent, impoverished world, where anxiety runs high and people are quarrelsome. I had, in fact, come back to the flip side of Afghanistan and Iraq: to what America’s wars have done to America. Where I live now, in the Homeland, there are not enough shelters for the homeless. Most people are either overworked or hurting for jobs; housing is overpriced; hospitals, crowded and understaffed; schools, largely segregated and not so good. Opioid or heroin overdose is a popular form of death; and men in the street threaten women wearing hijab. Did the American soldiers I covered in Afghanistan know they were fighting for this?    
 By Ann Jones / Tom Dispatch
AlerNet
February 7, 2016



 Modest estimates indicate there is $199 billion in Canadian money in offshore tax havens. That amount has grown dramatically as cuts at the CRA were implemented over the past decade. And it doesn't begin to reflect the dark side of an underground trade in hiding billions offshore -- literally laughing all the way to the Swiss bank.
Canada Joins 21st Century Fight against Tax Dodgers
Federal budget earmarks $90 million annually to
tackle evasion. It's about time.

By Dennis Howlett, 24 Mar 2016, TheTyee.ca

[emphasis JS]




 if we’re going to invent robots that will do our laundry and tidy up the kitchen, then we’re going to have to make sure that whatever replaces capitalism is based on a far more egalitarian distribution of wealth and power—one that no longer contains either the super-rich or the desperately poor willing to do their housework. Only then will technology begin to be marshaled toward human needs. And this is the best reason to break free of the dead hand of the hedge fund managers and the CEOs—to free our fantasies from the screens in which such men have imprisoned them, to let our imaginations once again become a material force in human history.
Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit
DAVID GRAEBER
TheBaffler

[emphasis JS]




 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotes Of The Week 1431-1433


…the decision to step down from a position of power—to value family over professional advancement, even for a time—is directly at odds with the prevailing social pressures on career professionals in the United States. One phrase says it all about current attitudes toward work and family, particularly among elites. In Washington, “leaving to spend time with your family” is a euphemism for being fired.
...
Think about what this “standard Washington excuse” implies: it is so unthinkable that an official would actually step down to spend time with his or her family that this must be a cover for something else. How could anyone voluntarily leave the circles of power for the responsibilities of parenthood? Depending on one’s vantage point, it is either ironic or maddening that this view abides in the nation’s capital, despite the ritual commitments to “family values” that are part of every political campaign. Regardless, this sentiment makes true work-life balance exceptionally difficult.
Why Women Still Can’t Have It All
Anne-Marie Slaughter

The Atlantic

[emphasis JS]



We like to think that people have to work for their money. In recent decades, social welfare has become geared toward a labor market that does not create enough jobs. The trend from “welfare” to “workfare” is international, with obligatory job applications, reintegration trajectories, mandatory participation in “voluntary” work. The underlying message: Free money makes people lazy.



Except that it doesn’t.

In recent years, numerous studies of development aid have found impressive correlations between free money and reductions in crime, inequality, malnutrition, infant mortality, teenage pregnancy rates and truancy. It is also correlated with better school completion rates, higher economic growth and improvement in the condition of women. “The big reason poor people are poor is because they don’t have enough money,” economist Charles Kenny, a fellow at the Center for Global Development, wrote in June. “It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that giving them money is a great way to reduce that problem.”
By Rutger Bregman
Washington Post
[emphasis JS]



 …one astrophysicist, Jonathan Katz, has recently warned students pondering a career in the sciences. Even if you do emerge from the usual decade-long period languishing as someone else’s flunky, he says, you can expect your best ideas to be stymied at every point:

You will spend your time writing proposals rather than doing research. Worse, because your proposals are judged by your competitors, you cannot follow your curiosity, but must spend your effort and talents on anticipating and deflecting criticism rather than on solving the important scientific problems. . . . It is proverbial that original ideas are the kiss of death for a proposal, because they have not yet been proved to work.
Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit

DAVID GRAEBER
TheBaffler

[emphasis JS]