Jack Saturday

Monday, August 18, 2014

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1180-1182

Just two men  made more investment income in  2013 than the entire year's  welfare budget (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), commonly referred to as 'welfare').

Just 400 individuals  made more investment income in 2013 than the  entire safety net (SNAP, WIC (Women, Infants, Children), Child Nutrition, Earned Income Tax Credit, Supplemental Security Income, TANF, and Housing).

And the richest 1%  made more from their investments in 2013 than the total cost of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the entire safety net.
AlterNet / By Paul Buchheit
3 Facts that Poverty-Deniers Don't Want to Hear

Plagued by endemic poverty, many young people in Nepal leave to work abroad. But the backbreaking labor they find there often results in death.
New York Times
August 14, 2014

The infantilising diktats of the workplace destroy our self-respect. Those who end up at the bottom of the pile are assailed by guilt and shame. The self-attribution fallacy cuts both ways: just as we congratulate ourselves for our success, we blame ourselves for our failure, even if we have little to do with it.

So, if you don’t fit in, if you feel at odds with the world, if your identity is troubled and frayed, if you feel lost and ashamed – it could be because you have retained the human values you were supposed to have discarded. You are a deviant. Be proud.
By George Monbiot
The Guardian 
Sick of This Market-Driven World? You Should Be

Monday, August 11, 2014

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1177-1179

I’ve only been back at work for a few days, but already I’m noticing that the more wholesome activities are quickly dropping out of my life: walking, exercising, reading, meditating, and extra writing.

The one conspicuous similarity between these activities is that they cost little or no money, but they take time.

Suddenly I have a lot more money and a lot less time, which means I have a lot more in common with the typical working North American than I did a few months ago. While I was abroad I wouldn’t have thought twice about spending the day wandering through a national park or reading my book on the beach for a few hours. Now that kind of stuff feels like it’s out of the question. Doing either one would take most of one of my precious weekend days!

The last thing I want to do when I get home from work is exercise. It’s also the last thing I want to do after dinner or before bed or as soon as I wake, and that’s really all the time I have on a weekday.

This seems like a problem with a simple answer: work less so I’d have more free time. I’ve already proven to myself that I can live a fulfilling lifestyle with less than I make right now. Unfortunately, this is close to impossible in my industry, and most others. You work 40-plus hours or you work zero. My clients and contractors are all firmly entrenched in the standard-workday culture, so it isn’t practical to ask them not to ask anything of me after 1pm, even if I could convince my employer not to.
JUN. 27, 2014
[emphasis JS]

A well meaning, hard working person might very well fail miserably… or maybe they do not have the cut-throat mentality or have an ethical disagreement with the way competition works in the market. There are many, many other variations than “incompetence” to justify a person’s lack of ability in the economic context and to think it is hence justified to remove people’s ability to have a quality standard of living because they don’t “fit” the model – is structural bigotry, pure and simple.

People are questioning the old conventional wisdom. For decades, even most progressives believed that any policy designed to promote equality should also be consistent with "the work ethic," by which people usually meant that we have to make the poor jump through hoops and show their willingness to do the lowest paid, most degrading jobs before they could be eligible for one cent of help. Many people are now beginning to realize that policies based on that idea are not progressive. They are great for low wage employers, but they put human beings at the mercy of employers. Once we get that awful idea out of our heads, we can talk about policies that can ensure that every single human being has access to the resources they need to survive. As Bertrand Russel said nearly 100 years ago, "A certain small income, sufficient for necessities, should be secured for all, whether they work or not, and that a larger income should be given to those who are willing to engage in some work which the community recognizes as useful. On this basis we may build further."
[emphasis JS]

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Zeitgeist's Peter Joseph on Basic Income

Pdtere Joseph, 1 min, 50 secs

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1174-1176

Here’s an unusual but extraordinarily graphic description of the current state of the labor market: If you lined up all of the unemployed shoulder-to-shoulder, the queue of people looking for work would stretch all the way from New York out past San Francisco.
AUG. 1, 2014
Justin Wolfers
New York Times

The shift from a psychology of scarcity to that of abundance is one of the most important steps in human development. A psychology of scarcity produces anxiety, envy, egotism (to be seen most drastically in peasant cultures all over the world). A psychology of abundance produces initiative, faith in life and solidarity. The fact is that most men [sic] are still geared psychologically to the economic facts of scarcity, when the industrial world is in the process of entering a new era of economic abundance. But because of this psychological "lag" many people cannot even understand new ideas as presented in the concept of a guaranteed income, because traditional ideas are usually determined by feelings that originated in previous forms of social existence.
[emphasis JS]

Small wonder that economic analysis based on monetary measures of economic activity fails so miserably. Economics can be referred to as science only in the lightest of terms. The Science of Economics is sort of a standing joke. The reason is that its practitioners are using a rubber band for a ruler.
Technocracy Inc.
[emphasis JS]

Monday, July 28, 2014

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1171-1173

Just one weapons system, the F-35, a fighter jet that has been grounded because it does not work, has cost $49 billion per year since the program begin in 2006. Hayes Brown of Think Progress made a list of what that money could have been spent on instead. It could have bought a mansion for every homeless person or fed every school child in the US, funded every humanitarian crisis or provided global security through the UN or provided funding to rebuild America.
AlterNet / By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers
[emphasis JS]

Wars throughout history have been waged for conquest and plunder. In the Middle Ages when the feudal lords who inhabited the castles whose towers may still be seen along the Rhine concluded to enlarge their domains, to increase their power, their prestige and their wealth they declared war upon one another. But they themselves did not go to war any more than the modern feudal lords, the barons of Wall Street go to war. The feudal barons of the Middle Ages, the economic predecessors of the capitalists of our day, declared all wars. And their miserable serfs fought all the battles. The poor, ignorant serfs had been taught to revere their masters; to believe that when their masters declared war upon one another, it was their patriotic duty to fall upon one another and to cut one another's throats for the profit and glory of the lords and barons who held them in contempt. And that is war in a nutshell. The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose, especially their lives.
Eugene V. Debs, Canton (Ohio) Anti-War Speech (June 16, 1918)

The French philosopher Simone Weil, an academic and revolutionary activist, decided to take a factory job in 1934 - she worked in 3 factories.

"In the factory the very basis of my self respect was radically destroyed within two or three weeks by the daily experience of brutal constraint- I was forced to recognize that the sense of personal dignity that I had thought internal to me actually depended entirely on external circumstances [sic]-and don't imagine this provoked in me any rebellious reaction- no- on the contrary it produced the last thing I expected from myself- docility: the resigned docility of the beast of burden."

Monday, July 21, 2014

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1168-1170

Humans who feel the urge to take it easy but remained burdened by a recalcitrant work ethic might do well to consider that laziness is perfectly natural, perfectly sensible and shared by nearly every other species on the planet.
Natalie Angier

In the world to come, each of us will be called to account for all the good things God put on earth which we refused to enjoy.
The Talmud

A just society, Terman proposed, would assign professions by IQ so that high- scorers received leadership roles while those with lower scores were assigned to various types of manual labor: "substantial success" required an IQ of at least 115, while the maximum I.Q. required for a barber was set at 85 and IQ 75 was deemed an unsafe risk in a motorman or conductor. Presuming that those who had failed to survive society must be the most unfit of all, Terman even launched a study of the IQs of "hobos and the unemployed." To his utter disbelief, average hobo IQs ranked above those of motormen, firemen and policemen.
Part 2
[emphasis JS]

Monday, July 14, 2014

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1165-1167

…it's interesting that the recent news of job market "improvement" doesn't mention that of the 10 occupation categories projecting the greatest growth in the next eight years, only one pays a middle-class wage. Four pay barely above poverty level and five pay beneath it, including fast-food workers, retail sales staff, health aids and janitors. The job expected to have the highest number of openings is "personal care aide" -- taking care of aging baby boomers in their houses or in nursing homes. The median salary of an aid is under $20,000. They enjoy no benefits, and about 40 percent of them must rely on food stamps and Medicaid to make ends meet, plus many are in the "shadow economy," vulnerable to being cheated on the already miserly wages.

To measure the job market by quantity -- with no regard for quality -- is to devalue workers themselves. Creating 217,000 new jobs is not a sign of economic health if each worker needs two or three of those jobs to patch together a barebones living -- and millions more are left with no work at all.
Creators Syndicate / By Jim Hightower 
The Terrible News Economists Are Trying to Hide About American Jobs
[emphasis JS]

The Way of Heaven
Is like stretching a bow.
The top is pulled down,
The bottom is pulled up.
Excess is removed
Where more is needed, it is added.

It is the Way of Heaven
To remove where there is excess
And add where there is lack.

The way of people is different:
They take away where there is need
And add where there is surplus.
Who can take his surplus and give it to the people?
Only one who possesses the Tao. 
Lao Tzu,
Tao Te Ching

But many Americans are well-educated and work hard. For example, schoolteachers. Yet they don’t get the big bucks. Last year, those 25 hedge fund managers made more than twice as much as all the kindergarten teachers in America combined. 
Second, ignore the rhetoric about “job creators” and all that. Conservatives want you to believe that the big rewards in modern America go to innovators and entrepreneurs, people who build businesses and push technology forward. But that’s not what those hedge fund managers do for a living; they’re in the business of financial speculation, which John Maynard Keynes characterized as “anticipating what average opinion expects the average opinion to be.” Or since they make much of their income from fees, they’re actually in the business of convincing other people that they can anticipate average opinion about average opinion.
Paul Krugman
New York Times
MAY 8, 2014
[emphasis JS]

Monday, July 07, 2014

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1162-1164

I was never so poorly treated, undervalued, underpaid and overworked than as an adjunct professor in three different unversities. This is a shameful system. Universities should be forced to hire consultants such as the authors of this article. Students pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to be taught by miserable, angry, exploited people who generally have no voice in university policy, no contract, no benefits or even their own office in which to prepare lessons, correct papers or receive students.
Anne, Woodstock, NY 
Why You Hate Work
New York Times
Sunday Review
[emphasis JS]

We have the garment industry allowing the poorest amongst us die in overstuffed factories, chemical plants engulfing an entire town in Texas, McDonalds/Walmart steals from their cashiers/janitors, Wall St scams. skims 401Ks with legality, equity locusts harvest pensions under the cover of bankruptcy law, and then some pundit calls this toxic environment the Invisible Hand. It may be invisible but it feels like it punches many of us in the gut as a managemnt strategy.
G. Morris NY and NJ
comment section
Wage Theft Across the Board
New York Times
APRIL 21, 2014

Rather naively, while growing up I did as I was told. There wasn't any reason to question, there was an order to the world and this is what you had to do to live in it. So I went to school, college and then university. I got qualified in information systems management because I had an interest in working with computers. This is the stuff online business runs on, so it seemed like an appropriate choice in the information age. In 2009 I got my degree, despite the recession I set out into what I believed to be the next inevitable step and looked for employment.

The end of 2013 and I am still looking for work... No matter how many jobs are applied for, both in my field or entry level, no one was interested in someone who didn't pop into existence with a couple of years of on the job experience under their belt. In 2010 I managed to get a voluntary administrative role at Remploy, which only lasted a few months as the government cuts shut the factory down. Today I've managed to get volunteer work as a retail assistant in a charity shop since March, but rarely if ever get a response to any job applications; even with the shop experience on the CV. I also do voluntary work helping to dig over beds in the local allotment during weekends, not job seeking related but I enjoy gardening and the one at home is block paved.

The government talks about people such as myself like we're scum, they're only concerned about youth unemployment; which I was once upon a time. We're demonised in the media for not working but I cannot force employers to hire me. They have A4E breathing down my neck, who seem to do nothing to help me find work but threaten to sanction me if I miss one of their useless appointments. I fear for when my time runs out and I'm forced onto the work programme under threat of sanctioning, were I'll likely have to provide free labour for the very companies who never responded to my job applications.
Comment on
Why does everyone have to work?
[emphasis JS]

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Think BIG

Allen Sheahan, 5 min 10 sec

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1159-1161

“The hunger crisis in New York is the worst that it’s been in decades,”
Rations Reduced as Demand Grows for Soup Kitchens
JUNE 27, 2014

On Friday, more than 100 academics, economists and activists for social change from around the world will gather at McGill University’s Law Faculty for the 15th International Congress of the Basic Income Earth Network.
“I don’t think there is any debate that welfare is not enough, particularly if you are trying to raise a family,” said Jonathan Brun, Quebec spokesperson for the Basic Income Canada Network. “The political class is beginning to see that something needs to be done to address the growing inequalities in our societies.”

Justin Trudeau’s federal Liberals identified a basic guaranteed income as a priority at the party’s policy convention in Montreal last winter. Ensuring every Quebecer had a living income was a key plank in Québec solidaire’s election platform.

Philippe Couillard’s Quebec government hasn’t made any promises, but there’s no denying the concept has high levels of support within the cabinet. Brun said he loves the fact guaranteed income has advocates at both ends of the political spectrum.

“People on the right seeing it as a way to eliminate bureaucracy,” he said, while people on the left laud it as progressive social policy for the poor. “It puts a floor under their feet, relieves the mental anxiety and gives them options.”
Idea of flat income to be hot topic at McGill on Friday
Montreal Gazette
[emphasis JS]

The sun, that highly convenient and free fusion reactor in the sky, radiates more energy to the Earth in a few hours than the entire human population consumes from all sources in a year.

“This means that solar panels, paired with batteries to enable power at night, can produce several orders of magnitude more electricity than is consumed by the entirety of human civilization."
Musk announces plans to build ‘one of the single largest solar panel production plants in the world’ and send people to Mars in ten years.
Elon Musk
Kurzweil News
June 18, 2014
[emphasis JS]