Jack Saturday

Monday, July 25, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1485-1487

It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?
Henry David Thoreau

Even the busy bees and ants of Aesopian fame dedicate only about 20 percent of the day to doing chores like gathering nectar or tidying up the nest. Otherwise, the insects stay still. "They seem to have run out of work to do," said Dr. Gene E. Robinson, an entomologist at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. "They really do look lazy."
Busy as a Bee? Then Who's Doing the Work? 
by Natalie Angier, NYT 30 July 1991

Interest rates are negative. Better than free borrowing is what that means. Why? Because the ultra rich have so much there’s nowhere good left to put it. Just to shove it in the bank. Hence, they’ll pay for the privilege of lending it. Supply and demand.

Leaders should be crying “hallelujah!”, taking this money, and giving it in great gobs to the young, the middle, the poor. Investing in all the public goods they’ve left in ruins, healthcare, education, transport, etc.

Why? Because average people are getting effectively poorer. Their lives are beginning to really collapse. And they’re turning now to strongmen and demagogues to rescue them.

Society is beginning to turn on itself because money is not flowing. It’s not doing anything just sitting there, right? That’s why the economy is stuck, stagnant, broken. It’s like a dammed river gone stagnant and murky.

They should be showering people with money. Nothing could be more obvious. But leaders across the world aren’t doing that. Not a single one.
umair haque
[emphasis JS]

Monday, July 18, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1482-1484

Robert Nilsson, a 25-year-old mechanic in Sweden's second city Gothenburg, may be the harbinger of a future where people work less and still enjoy a high standard of living.

He gets out of bed at the same time as everyone else, but instead of rushing to work, he takes it easy, goes for a jog, enjoys his breakfast, and doesn't arrive at his Toyota workshop until noon, only to punch out again at 6:00 pm. Toyota's Gothenburg branch introduced the six-hour day in 2002 to make its facilities more efficient by having two shifts, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, instead of a single, longer one.
Nilsson confirms that in his experience a six-hour day -- paid as much as eight -- is more efficient because it requires fewer breaks.
"Every time you have a break, it takes 10 to 15 minutes to get back to work, because you have to see where you were when you left off," he said.
That efficiency is reflected in the salary, as the Toyota workshop pays technicians like Nilsson 29,700 Swedish kronor (3,300 euro, $4,510) a month, well above the 25,100 kronor (2,790 euro, $3,810) national average for workers in the private sector.

"It was a huge success straight away," said Toyota service centre manager Elisabeth Jonsson.

"We saw the results, and everything was working for the staff, for the company, for the customers, so I don't think we ever had any discussion about putting an end to it."
[emphasis JS]

Working at walmart is one of the most unpleasant experiences of my life. I worked in the maintenance department;( which is a euphemism for custodial; which is a euphemism for janitorial.) With about eight or nine other guys. WAY too many. Because of that, most of the time you'll have about three people doing all the work, while the rest are sleeping in their cars or standing around talking. The manager's worked with my so called supervisor to schedule me so that I was ALWAYS running a machine while the rest didn't do JACK SHIT, rather than simply rotating it around, to keep it fair. Don't ask me why. It was like this for over a year. I didn't say anything because I figured they would at least appreciate me for being a team player. (lol, I know, right?) Finally, one day I got into a debate with a guy over who was the better working in maintenance and because I beat him the truth finally came out: He said they laughed at me behind my back, and took my "perseverance" for good ol fashion stupidity. I knew they'd always felt that way, but to have them tell it to me in my face was more than I could handle. I lost it. So I went to the supervisor and asked him for ONE DAY off the machines. Think about that. ONE FUCKING DAY. He was NEVER on the machines working. His pal was NEVER on the machine working. The others at least as two or three days off. When I ask him for one day, he immediately said no and that if I had a problem with it, then I should go to a manager. I went to her, and she gave me the run around. My supervisor literally LAUGHED when he heard her bullshitting me. So what I did, I got a print out of the schedule they were using that SHOWED how they were mistreating me, and I spoke with the head manager. I had a VERY long talk with him, and I have to admit, at one point I actually cried while talking about how managed and the co workers were doing me. He kept me off the machines, I made some enemies, but I solved the problem. Walmart can be a HORRIBLE place to work. Don't tolerant work place mistreatment at Walmart. At Walmart, your bosses and co workers look for signs of weakness. Once they spot 'em, they'll take advantage of you and make your life a living hell. Course I guess that's everywhere....
Comment on YouTube video
[emphasis JS]

It is cheaper to give homeless people a home than it is to leave them on the streets.
That’s not just the opinion of advocates working to end homelessness, nor is it the opinion of homeless people themselves. It is a fact that has been borne out by studies across the country, from Florida to Colorado and beyond.
The latest analysis to back up this fact comes out of Charlotte, where researchers from the University of North Carolina Charlotte examined a recently constructed apartment complex that was oriented towards homeless people.
Moore Place opened in 2012 with 85 units. Each resident is required to contribute 30 percent of his or her income, which includes any benefits like disability, veterans, or Social Security, toward rent. The rest of the housing costs, which total approximately $14,000 per person annually, are covered by a mix of local and federal government grants, as well as private donors.
In the first year alone, researchers found that Moore Place saved taxpayers $1.8 million. These savings comes from improvements in two primary areas: health care and incarceration.
Residents of Moore Place collectively visited the emergency room, an expensive but not uncommon way homeless people access health care, 447 fewer times in the year after getting housing, the study discovered. Similarly, they spent far less time running afoul of the law, with the number of arrests dropping 78 percent
[emphasis JS]

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1479-1481

Basic income is a universal income grant available to every citizen without means test or work requirement. Academic discussion of basic income and related policies has been growing in the fields of economics, philosophy, political science, sociology, and public policy over the last few decades — with dozens of journal articles published each year, and basic income constituting the subject of more than 30 books in the last 10 years. In addition, the political discussion of basic income has been expanding through social organizations, NGOs and other advocacy groups. Internationally, recent years have witnessed the endorsement of basic income by grassroots movements as well as government officials in developing countries such as Brazil or South-Africa.
Basic Income Studies

In his new book, Raising the Floor: How a Universal Basic Income Can Renew Our Economy and Rebuild the American Dream, Stern argues that technology is replacing jobs at an accelerating rate, and that this trend is permanent and threatens our society with massive job losses over the next few decades in both blue- and white-collar sectors of the economy. His premise is that this rate of change is historically without precedent and reflects an “inflection point”—a permanent paradigmatic shift in how work is and will be organized apart from anything to do with the business cycle. “We are heading off a cliff,” Stern says, and traditional liberal approaches can’t stop us.

The only solution that makes sense is a radical one; namely, a Universal Basic Income in which every person is given a fixed amount of money per year, a “floor” upon which individuals can build wealth by engaging in further work (there is no ceiling, only a floor) or which can be used as a security blanket for those who want the economic freedom to explore personal growth or leisure activity.
By Michael Bader, DMH / AlterNet July 1, 2016
[emphasis JS]

There is no more fatal blunderer than he who consumes the greater part of his life getting his living.
Henry David Thoreau

Monday, July 04, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1476-1478

Would Ms. Macy’s readers accept it if their jobs were lost to robots and precision manufacturing systems? Trade redistributes jobs but automation directly redistributes gains upwards – the gains are fully captured by owners of capital. Would Ms. Macy write a book about “unfettered automation” and CEOs that profit from robots on the assembly line? I suspect not. Why? Because robots are not foreigners, they do not belong to a strange and foreign culture and they cannot be demonized as slave labor.
Ravi Aron 
Baltimore June 25, 2015

Globally, the richest 1% now own nearly half of all the world’s wealth. The poorest 50% of the world, by contrast—fully 3 billion people—own less than 1% of its wealth.

By Simon Reid-Henry / University of Chicago Press
November 30, 2015 

To have done anything just for money is to have been truly idle.

Henry David Thoreau

Monday, June 27, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom #Quotations Of The Week 1473-1475

Between the ’80s and the aughts, when I had my children, a cloud of economic anxiety descended on parents, tightening what the sociologist Arlie Hochschild has called “the time bind.” The workweek of salaried professionals ballooned from 40 hours to 50 hours or more, not counting the email catch-up done after the kids’ bedtime. Union protections, predictable schedules and benefits vanished for vast numbers of blue-collar workers. Their jobs in the service or on-demand economies now pay so little, and child care costs so much (168 percent more than it did a quarter-century ago) that parents have to stitch together multiple jobs. Meanwhile, terrified that their offspring will sink even lower, parents siphon off time and money to hand-raise children who can compete in a global economy.
How to Fix Feminism
Judith Shulevitz
New York Times
(emphasis JS)

The wealthiest nations are failing the most disadvantaged of their children, the United Nations reported Wednesday in a study that showed widening disparities even between the middle and lowest household income levels.

The study, published by the United Nations Children’s Fund, or Unicef, focused not on the gap between the richest and poorest segments of societies but rather on the widening disparities between children at the bottom and their peers in the middle.

The purpose of the study, Unicef said in releasing the report, was to “highlight how far children are falling behind in the dimensions of income, education, health and life satisfaction.
Children in Rich Nations
New York Times
APRIL 13, 2016
(emphasis JS)

Meaningless work is a form of killing time. But leisure makes time come alive. The Chinese character for being busy is also made up of two elements: heart and killing.
David Steindl-Rast

thanks to Maria Popova

Monday, June 20, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1470-1472

According to its recent report, 25 percent of law schools obtain at least 88 percent of their total revenues from tuition. The average for all law schools is 69 percent. So law schools have a powerful incentive to maintain or increase enrollment, even if the employment outcomes are dismal for their graduates....
While enrollment did decline to about 38,000 last year from 52,000 in 2010, it has not been falling at the pace necessary to reach equilibrium in a stagnant legal job market. Too many incoming law school students still believe they will be among the lucky few who get decent jobs.
Too Many Law Students, Too Few Legal Jobs
New York Times
AUG. 25, 2015
[emphasis JS]

I was the envy of my 30-something friends in Palo Alto, Calif. I had my own law office right on California Avenue. People charged with crimes handed me cash, in advance, over a big oak desk. Occasionally, I’d make a couple of grand in an afternoon.

But soon, my body started giving out one part at a time. First a shoulder, then my lower back, knee cartilage, neck vertebrae. Two groin hernia surgeries later, at 33 years old, I could not lift a bag of groceries, or sit without an orthopedic pillow. After 10 years as a law student and lawyer, working in a profession I didn’t like was taking its toll.
I could see myself in a billowy clown suit. After a free training session, I purchased the starter kit for $59 and waited for them to call.

Within a week, the company dispatched me to a party for a 7-year-old at a Ground Round restaurant in Yonkers. I applied colorful makeup, donned oversize shoes, orange wig, bag of tricks. It took a minute to decide on “Bobo” as my name. I silly-walked up to a table of children in the party room. By the end of the performance, the birthday boy said to me, “Bobo, I love you.” In the car later, I rested my head on the steering wheel. An unexpected feeling surfaced: happiness.
New York Times
By Robert Markowitz 
August 20, 2015
[emphasis JS]

The amount of those employed within the total population is at a record 38-year low of 62.6%. Meanwhile, despite slowing, GDP is still growing, so all the work is still obviously getting done somehow...
    Those who moved into optimal jobs showed significant improvement in mental health compared to those who remained unemployed. Those respondents who moved into poor-quality jobs showed a significant worsening in their mental health compared to those who remained unemployed.

That's right, having no job at all can be better than having a bullshit one. Thanks, science. And if low-skill jobs are more likely to be worse on mental health than medium and high-skill jobs, then for decades we've been increasingly working in newly created jobs that are depressingly worse for us than not working in any job.
So unless we all wish to pursue insecure lives of low-skill underpaid mostly meaningless employment thanks to all the machines increasingly doing all the rest of the work (not really for us but mostly for the benefit of those who own them), we will need to break the connection between work and income by providing everyone an income floor sufficient to both meet basic needs and purchase the goods and services the machines are providing. 

Scott Santens[emphasis JS]

Monday, June 13, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1467-1469

The labor market in France has been offering less and less job security for decades. Today, 85 percent of new hires are temporary employees and the duration of their work contracts keeps shrinking — 70 percent of new contracts are for one month or less.
New York Times
   JUNE 8, 2016

They replaced horses, didn’t they? That’s how the late, great economist Wassily Leontief responded 35 years ago to those who argued technology would never really replace people’s work.
As the idea sinks in that humans as workhorses might also be on the way out, what happens if the job market stops doing the job of providing a living wage for hundreds of millions of people? How will the economy spread money around, so people can afford to pay the rent?

What if, say, the bottom quarter of the population in the United States and Europe simply couldn’t find a job at a wage that could cover the cost of basic staples? What if smart-learning machines took out lawyers and bankers? Or even, God forbid, journalists and economists?
Last November, Lawrence H. Summers — a former Treasury secretary under President Bill Clinton... made an unlikely admission: Perhaps economists were not always the smartest people in the room.
In a world in which many Americans do not work during large chunks of their lives, we might have to conceive of Social Security and disability much more broadly than we do today.

That, Mr. Summers said, “could start to look like a universal income.”
Eduardo Porter
New York Times
   JUNE 7, 2016

Say, for example, 20 percent of all such profits were split equally among all citizens, starting the month they turn eighteen.

In effect, this would be a basic minimum income for everyone.

The sum would be enough to ensure everyone a minimally decent standard of living – including money to buy the technologies that would free them up from the necessity of working.

Anyone wishing to supplement their basic minimum could of course choose to work – even though, as noted, most jobs will pay modestly.

This outcome would also be good for the handful of billionaire executives and owner-investors, because it would ensure they have customers with enough money to buy their labor-saving gadgets.

Such a basic minimum would allow people to pursue whatever arts or avocations provide them with meaning, thereby enabling society to enjoy the fruits of such artistry or voluntary efforts.

We would thereby create the kind of society John Maynard Keynes predicted we’d achieve by 2028  – an age of technological abundance in which no one will need to work.
via AlterNet
   [emphasis JS]

Veroufakis and Chomsky on Basic Income

Monday, June 06, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1464-1466

Treating workers as if they are widgets to be used up and discarded is a central part of the revised relationship between employers and employees that techies proclaim is an innovation as important as chips and software. The model originated in Silicon Valley, but it’s spreading. Old-guard companies are hiring “growth hackers” and building “incubators,” too. They see Silicon Valley as a model of enlightenment and forward thinking, even though this “new” way of working is actually the oldest game in the world: the exploitation of labor by capital.

Congratulations! You’ve Been Fired
New York Times
[emphasis JS]

We often hear how damaging welfare dependency is, stifling initiative and corroding the human soul. So I worry about the way we coddle executives in their suites.

A study to be released Thursday says that for each dollar America’s 50 biggest companies paid in federal taxes between 2008 and 2014, they received $27 back in federal loans, loan guarantees and bailouts.

Goodness! What will that do to their character? Won’t that sap their initiative?

The Oxfam report says that each $1 the biggest companies spent on lobbying was associated with $130 in tax breaks and more than $4,000 in federal loans, loan guarantees and bailouts.

One academic study found that tax dodging by major corporations costs the U.S. Treasury up to $111 billion a year. By my math, less than one-fifth of that annually would be more than enough to pay the additional costs of full-day prekindergarten for all 4-year-olds in America ($15 billion), prevent lead poisoning in tens of thousands of children ($2 billion), provide books and parent coaching for at-risk kids across the country ($1 billion) and end family homelessness ($2 billion).

The Real Welfare Cheats
Nicholas Kristof APRIL 14, 2016
New York Times
[emphasis JS]

Redistribution would best be in the form of a basic income, Mr Bregman believes.

And ideally, that income would be universal, unconditional and individual. It needs to be universal, regardless of other income or wealth, so that there is no stigma attached to it, he argues.

"It is not a favour, it is a right. Some people see a basic income as a dividend of progress. That, because our forefathers worked so hard and brought us all this technology and prosperity, we all deserve a share of these accomplishments.''

In answer to claims it is unaffordable, he says look at the net results.

"What we know from studies is that one of the most important effects of introducing a basic income is that it would eradicate poverty.''

Poverty is expensive in terms of higher healthcare costs and crime rates.

It means lower tax takes for government and less investment in human capital.

"Eradicating poverty is actually really cheap; it is a few percentage points of GDP. It is actually an investment.

"So in the long run the rich will profit from that as well because everyone is happier ... If your neighbour is doing well, then you are also doing better.''

Wouldn't this utopia just be full of lazy people?

Mr Bregman says he is told that all the time. In response, he asks people whether, if they received a basic income, would they stop working.

They say they might cut back a bit on work, but that they would use the extra time for volunteering and other pursuits they haven't had time for. However, when asked what they think other people would do, many reply they believe others will be lazy.
Knocking off early
By Bruce Munro on Mon, 16 May 2016
Otago Daily Times


Saturday, June 04, 2016

Calm A Crying Baby

Monday, May 30, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1461-1463

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the United States has an overwhelming surplus of cheese...

According to the United Nations World Food Programme, 795 million people on the planet don’t have enough food to lead a healthy life. That’s about two and a half times the population of the US, but there’s enough surplus cheese here to give each of those hungry people 1.5 pounds. Even though cheese is not particularly healthy, and some people are lactose intolerant, some cheese is still better than no cheese, which also happens to be my rule at cocktail parties during the passed appetizer period.

All the extra cheese would be gone, dairy farmers could milk cows as much as they pleased, the price of cheese would soar, and the world’s starving masses would be able to enjoy a spot of brie that pairs excellently with a glass of pinot noir. There are no losers here.

Of course, that’s not what will happen.

Whatever we do, though, let’s make sure we don’t give it all away to someone who needs it. That would be un-American

America is drowning in surplus cheese. What should we do with it all?

Dave Schilling

Tuesday 17 May 2016 20.09 BST

[emphasis JS]

 Manufacturing jobs described by Mr. Trump and Mr. Sanders as “lost” to China cannot be found there, or anywhere. As Charles Kenny of the nonpartisan Center for Global Development has shown, technology is causing factory-floor employment to diminish worldwide, even as loading docks hum with activity. This transition is jarring to say the least — but it was always inevitable. The evolution of the heavy-manufacturing sector away from workers and toward machines will not stop, even if international trade is cut off completely.
When Did Optimism Become Uncool?
New York Times
MAY 12, 2016

[emphasis JS]  

...recognize fully that the bulk of our real incomes is not the fruit of the efforts of today’s workers (let alone of the abstinence of today’s capitalists), but a gift from nature increasingly combined with capital accumulation, technological innovation and institutional improvements inherited from the past. In a “labourist” perspective, those morally entitled to this gift — whether directly in the form of wages or indirectly in the form of social benefits to which they are entitled through their work — are the present generation of workers, in proportion to the market value of their skills, the length of their working time and their bargaining power. In a truly “socialist” perspective, those entitled to this gift are all members of society equally, male and female, irrespective of the extent of their participation in well-protected full-time employment, and in paid work generally.
Philippe van Parijs on 11 April 2016

Social Europe

[emphasis JS]