Jack Saturday

Monday, May 18, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1298-1300

Hillary Rodham Clinton calls them “everyday Americans.” Scott Walker prefers “hard-working taxpayers.” Rand Paul says he speaks for “people who work for the people who own businesses.” Bernie Sanders talks about “ordinary Americans.”

The once ubiquitous term “middle class” has gone conspicuously missing from the 2016 campaign trail, as candidates and their strategists grasp for new terms for an unsettled economic era. The phrase, long synonymous with the American dream, now evokes anxiety, an uncertain future and a lifestyle that is increasingly out of reach.

Middle Class Is Disappearing, at Least From Vocabulary of Possible 2016 Contenders
New York Times
[emphasis JS]

There should be no doubt that technology is advancing in the direction of full unemployment.

Today's prevailing American political-economic ideology, largely shared by both parties, holds that getting money from corporations is honorable but getting money from governments is demeaning and lazy.

It turns out that who most aggressively hustle that ideology also secure huge sums of government money for corporations, whether in the form of tax breaks, grants, protection from competition, infrastructure construction - or, as this editorial points out, wage subsidies.

Our failing - "we" being the voters, the media, the politicians - has been to downplay the huge amounts of government assistance to corporations while accepting the demonization of low-earning individuals who receive comparatively trivial assistance from government
Ecce Homo Jackson Heights, NY

Monday, May 11, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1295-1297

Compulsory education remains the nursery of servile employment
Denis Pym

"The theory of Canada as a company town writ large," he (Peter C. Newman) replied. "Its citizens are a people always beholden to the company..."
Victoria Times-Colonist 27/11/85   B12

According to the IEA, the sun could be the world’s No. 1 source of energy by 2050.

Replacing fossil fuels with all that solar energy would avoid the release of 6 billion tons of carbon dioxide by mid-century. That’s nearly equivalent to the carbon emissions of all planes, trains, and automobiles worldwide, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, a Washington, D.C.–based trade group.
Solar panel prices, for instance, have fallen 80 percent in recent years, and by 2050, the IEA predicts the retail cost of solar electricity will drop by 65 percent.
The International Energy Agency predicts solar power will supply nearly 30 percent of the world's electricity.
September 30, 2014 By Kristine Wong
[emphasis JS]

Monday, May 04, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1292-1294

It is hard to overstate the extent to which work no longer results in a decent paycheck and a rising standard of living in this country. The portion of the economic pie that goes to working people is currently near the smallest on record...
...taxpayers are... providing a huge subsidy for employers by picking up the difference between what workers earn and what they need to meet basic living costs.        
New York Times
   MAY 1, 2015
    [emphasis JS]

Julie’s body was so badly damaged from blunt-force trauma to the head and face, and the subsequent fire, it took the B.C. Coroners Service almost a week to identify her, Tarpley was told.

Julie had talked with her sister and brother-in-law about leaving the abusive relationship, but didn’t want to leave their two dogs and didn’t have enough money to support herself, Tarpley said. “He beat her up so many times, I lost count,” he said.
Katie DeRosa 
Victoria Times Colonist
April 29, 2015 
[emphasis JS]

...a social researcher named Sam Tsemberis stood to deliver what he framed as a surprisingly simple, cost-effective method of ending chronic homelessness.

Give homes to the homeless.

Tsemberis’ research, conducted here in the District and in New York City, showed this wouldn’t just dramatically cut the number of chronically homeless on the streets. It would also slash spending in the long run.
In all, before instituting Housing First, Utah was spending on average $20,000 on each chronically homeless person.
Walker says the state saves $8,000 per homeless person in annual expenses. “We’ve saved millions on this..."
By Terrence McCoy April 17
    Washington Post
      [emphasis JS]

Monday, April 27, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1289-1291

Nearly three-quarters of the people helped by programs geared to the poor are members of a family headed by a worker, according to a new study by the Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California. As a result, taxpayers are providing not only support to the poor but also, in effect, a huge subsidy for employers of low-wage workers, from giants like McDonald’s and Walmart to mom-and-pop businesses.
The low-wage business model practiced by many of the largest and most profitable employers in the country not only leaves many working families unable to afford the basics, but also imposes significant costs on the public as a whole,” Sarah Leberstein, a senior staff lawyer with the National Employment Law Project, testified recently before Connecticut lawmakers.
A report issued last week by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland said that labor’s share of overall income had fallen to record lows in recent years while profits have soared.
Working, but Needing Public Assistance Anyway
APRIL 12, 2015
New York Times
[emphasis JS]

Walmart’s low-wage workers cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $6.2 billion in public assistance including food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing, according to a report published to coincide with Tax Day, April 15 [2014].
Other large retail chains have been the focus of similar reports in recent months. In October, two studies released to coincide showed that American fast food industry outsourced a combined $7 billion in annual labor costs to taxpayers. McDonald's MCD alone accounted for $1.2 billion of that outlay.

Yum Brands came in at a distant number two, with its Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC subsidiaries costing $648 million in benefits programs for workers each year.
Report: Walmart Workers Cost Taxpayers $6.2 Billion In Public Assistance
Clare O'Connor  
[emphasis JS]

How would you like to live in an economy where robots do everything that can be predictably programmed in advance, and almost all profits go to the robots' owners?

Meanwhile, human beings do the work that's unpredictable - odd jobs, on-call projects, fetching and fixing, driving and delivering, tiny tasks needed at any and all hours - and patch together barely enough to live on.

Brace yourself. This is the economy we're now barreling toward.
The euphemism is the "share" economy. A more accurate term would be the "share-the-scraps" economy.

New software technologies are allowing almost any job to be divided up into discrete tasks that can be parceled out to workers when they're needed, with pay determined by demand for that particular job at that particular moment.

Customers and workers are matched online. Workers are rated on quality and reliability.
The big money goes to the corporations that own the software. The scraps go to the on-demand workers.

Robert Reich: Why Work Is Turning Into a Nightmare
[emphasis JS]

Monday, April 20, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1286-1288

A bushel's as good as a peck to most folks outside the agricultural industry but that doesn't make the New Holland CR10.90's wheat-picking feat any less impressive. It was able to harvest nearly 800 tons of the grain from 198 acres of English farmland in a single workday—all while setting a Guinness world record.

On August 15th, a CR10.90 harvested and shucked 797.656 metric tons of wheat in the span of just eight hours. That's nearly 30,000 bushels of wheat in a single day—that's enough for 2.19 million loaves of bread or fill 1.59 million boxes of Wheaties.
Andrew Tarantola
    [emphasis JS]

The people doing moronic work hate that work, and themselves for having to do it-- and, in time, all those who do not have to do it.
John Holt     

The worker has as much latent sensibility as any human being, but that sensibility can only be awakened when meaning is restored to his daily work and he [sic] is allowed to create his own culture.
Herbert Read
To Hell With Culture, 1943

Monday, April 13, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1283-1285

thanks to Geneva Hagen
...we’re looking at fewer jobs that pay the equivalent of what an autoworker or a teacher made in the ’60s and ’70s. All but a lucky few will either have the kind of service jobs that are now paying around $9 an hour, or be worse off.

And if robots can think, be creative, teach themselves, beat humans at chess and even Jeopardy, flip burgers, take care of your aging parent, plant, tend and harvest lettuce, drive cars, deliver packages, build iPhones and run warehouses — Amazon’s “Kiva” robots can carry 3,000 pounds, stock shelves and select and ship packages — it’s hard to imagine what these jobs might be.
If no one can buy, there’s very little to sell; again, relative to their income, rich people don’t buy much. (A hundred million people with $100 each spend a lot more than one person with $10 billion.)
Better is the Guaranteed Basic Income, which is not universally despised (it’s at least as old as Thomas Paine, was endorsed by the economist Friedrich Hayek and was recently considered by Switzerland), because it would simplify matters and help keep the economy moving.
And why not? We need equally big thinkers now, and dreamers, and we need to be acting with them.
Let’s resolve to build something better. In the long run we know that we’ll make the transition from capitalism to some less destructive and hopefully more just system. Why not begin that transition now?
Mark Bittman
New York Times
Why Not Utopia?
MARCH 20, 2015

The issue of homelessness returned to the public agenda last week, with a report on camping in city parks. In parks including Beacon Hill, Cridge, Topaz, Kings, Holland Point, Arbutus and Haegert, tents pop up about 8 p.m. each night, temporary homes for hundreds of people. The next day at 7 a.m., police and bylaw officers rouse the campers and send them on their way.

The campers are taking advantage of a city bylaw passed after a B.C. Court of Appeal ruling in 2009 that in the absence of shelter beds, it is unconstitutional to prohibit people from putting up shelters in parks.

It’s called “sheltering,” and it’s not good for the campers, the law-enforcement officers or anybody else.

In dollar terms last year, it cost $400,000 for police, $165,000 for bylaw officers and $100,000 for cleanup. The camps lead to noise complaints, garbage and destruction of ecosystems. But the true cost can’t be measured in decibels or dollars.
The numbers will only grow because the winter shelters closed last week. The tireless Rev. Al Tysick of the Dandelion Society expects to see more people in parks and on the street as he goes on his rounds bringing food and cheer to the homeless.

He is supplying them with tents and tarps, as well as coffee and muffins.

“The lousy thing is it costs a lot less money for people to be housed than homeless,” he told the Times Colonist’s Sarah Petrescu.
It’s standard procedure to put money into hospital rooms and jail cells, but governments have a much tougher time investing dollars in projects that would keep people out of hospital rooms and jail cells. Housing is one of those preventive investments.
Editorial: Prevention is the cure for camping in city parks
Victoria Times Colonist 
April 7, 2015
[emphasis JS]

 Solar Roadways
Those are really our choices, that we can either go down a road towards things getting worse because we refuse to leverage technology for our own good, or we can go down the road of leveraging technology for the good of everybody.
Reddit, Robots, and Resources
Scott Santens

Monday, April 06, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1280-1282

It’s now possible to sell a new product to hundreds of millions of people without needing many, if any, workers to produce or distribute it.
The combination of advanced sensors, voice recognition, artificial intelligence, big data, text-mining, and pattern-recognition algorithms, is generating smart robots capable of quickly learning human actions, and even learning from one another.

If you think being a “professional” makes your job safe, think again.
Robert Reich
The “iEverything” and the Redistributional Imperative
MONDAY, MARCH 16, 2015

Men [sic] of lofty genius are most active when they are doing the least work.
Leonardo da Vinci

The realm of freedom does not commence until the point is passed where labor under the compulsion of necessity and external utility is required.
Karl Marx

Monday, March 30, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1277-1279

Roughly one in 20 UK students has worked in the sex industry to earn money while at university, a new study has found. 

In a climate of high tuition fees and increasing living costs, more than half of student sex workers are motivated by the need to pay for basic living costs, while 45 percent wish to avoid debt, the research revealed.
Thousands embrace sex work to fund university costs, study finds
March 27, 2015
[emphasis JS]

Last year, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 46 percent of recent college graduates were in jobs that don’t even require a college degree.
Robert Reich
Why College Isn’t (and Shouldn’t Have to be) for Everyone
SUNDAY, MARCH 22, 2015

Meanwhile, the jobs of many teachers and university professors will disappear, replaced by online courses and interactive online textbooks.

Where will this end?
Robert Reich,
MONDAY, MARCH 16, 2015

Monday, March 23, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1274-1276

All taxi drivers, not just the owner-drivers of London's famous black cabs, are under threat of extinction from automation - and they are not alone. A recent study by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne at Oxford University suggests that 47% of all categories of jobs providing employment today could be automated within 20 years.

This research has been widely misreported. Osborne and Frey did not say that 47% of all jobs will be automated but rather that 47% of all categories of jobs may disappear. If you look at the list of categories included at the end of their report it is clear that the total number of jobs under threat is far greater than 47%, simply because many of the categories are large cohorts.

Sweep away the rocket scientists of the world and we would hardly notice the blip. Make all the world's taxi drivers, delivery and distribution drivers, bus drivers, tram drivers, train drivers, street cleaner drivers and garbage truck drivers redundant and you get an unemployment problem that will destroy economies and cause serious, global social problems. There are more than four million people driving trucks, taxis, limos and buses in the USA alone.

Forget the economy: the "future of work" is the key issue in this election
By: The Leader @theleaderspeaks
Published: Monday, March 9, 2015

1800-2000, global population increased 6 times. Over the same period, the total amount of wealth produced increased 49 times…most of this wealth went to a few at the expense of the many.
Power and Powerlessness

Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold. 
Joseph Chilton Pearce

Monday, March 16, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1271-1273

The organization of work and the organization of leisure are the blades of the castrating shears whose job is to improve the race of fawning dogs.

Rescuing political action from its current paralysis is no different from developing the publicness of the Intellect outside the realm of wage Labor, in opposition to it.
Paolo Virno,
A Grammar of the Multitude

I'm a free soul who hates paying attention to things I am not interested in. Consequently, I have rarely been comfortable in the role of 'employee.'
Steve Solomon