Jack Saturday

Monday, June 19, 2017

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1627-1629

The situationist game is distinguished from the classic notion of games by its radical negation of the element of competition and of separation from everyday life. On the other hand, it is not distinct from a moral choice, since it implies taking a stand in favor of what will bring about the future reign of freedom and play.
Guy Debord
Report on the Construction and on the International Situationist Tendency's Conditions of Organization and Action

in 1930, economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that by the end of the century technology would have advanced sufficiently that in countries such as the UK and the US we’d be on 15-hour weeks. “In technological terms, we are quite capable of this. And yet it didn’t happen. Instead, technology has been marshalled, if anything, to figure out ways to make us all work more. Huge swaths of people, in Europe and North America in particular, spend their entire working lives performing tasks they believe to be unnecessary. The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. It is a scar across our collective soul. Yet virtually no one talks about it.
David Graeber
[emphasis JS]

 The goal of the future is full unemployment, so we can play. that's why we have to destroy the present politico-economic system.
Arthur C. Clarke


Monday, June 12, 2017

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1624-1626

At least rentier capitalism (where capitalism has a parasitic relationship, leeching on creativity) rather than productive capitalism (in factories and the like) will increase demand for an alternative system of organisation. Fascism, which is always possible, won't be pretty and needs fighting against tooth and nail. Socialism, where there's common ownership over the means of production, distribution and exchange, and no profits being siphoned off into corporations and private landowners, seems altogether more sensible as an organisational concept. Given how the internet has impacted on the way we see intellectual copyright, it doesn't seem quite as pie-in-the-sky as it used to be either. A national minimum income (a wage for being alive instead of a wage for keeping capitalism afloat, essentially) would be a great step towards this model. It's definitely one of the fundamentals worth fighting for.
Paul Stanway
[emphasis JS]

About 46 per cent of the work done in Canada is at risk of being taken by machines, according to a report that seeks to identify the industries and places across the country that are most vulnerable to automation.
“Current predictions suggest that these technologies are likely to disproportionately affect lower paying, lower skilled jobs,” the report said.
Accommodation and food service jobs have the highest risk of automation, the study found, followed by jobs in manufacturing and transportation and warehousing.

“About 62 per cent of work activities could be automated within these industries,” the researchers wrote — somewhat concerning, given that these sectors are among the country’s largest employers.
Canadian Cities And Industries Most At Risk From Automation

By Daniel Tencer
HuffPost Canada

 [emphasis JS] 

I know also that much is waiting for me outside that is very delightful, from what St. Francis of Assisi calls 'my brother the wind, and my sister the rain,' lovely things both of them, down to the shop-windows and sunsets of great cities.
Oscar Wilde
De Profundis

Monday, June 05, 2017

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1621-1623

It’s populism that gave us Brexit in Britain and President Donald Trump in the United States. It could soon give us President Marine Le Pen in France. But the fundamental lie of populism is that it can “bring the jobs back.”
I can watch what automation is doing in my own neighbourhood. There’s a big supermarket a five-minute walk from my house, and I’m in there almost every day to pick up something or other. Over the years I have got to know most of the people at the checkout counters, at least enough to chat a bit. And now the familiar faces are disappearing, one or more every month, to be replaced by automated self-checkout stations.

And don’t be fooled by the fantasy that computers create equal numbers of new jobs when they destroy old ones. When you lose your secure, well-paid job to a machine, you may end up with a minimum-wage MacJob if you are lucky, but you are just as likely to end up with no job at all.
Gwynne Dyer: Universal Basic Income — could it work?
The Telegram

 [emphasis JS]

 One multi-tasker bot, from Momentum Machines, can make (and flip) a gourmet hamburger in 10 seconds and could soon replace an entire McDonalds crew. A manufacturing device from Universal Robots doesn’t just solder, paint, screw, glue, and grasp—it builds new parts for itself on the fly when they wear out or bust. And just this week, Google won a patent to start building worker robots with personalities.

In Ford’s vision, a full-on worker revolt is on the horizon, followed by a radically new economic state whereby humans will live more productive and entrepreneurial lives, subsisting on guaranteed incomes generated by our amazing machines.

Rise of the Machines: The Future has Lots of Robots, Few Jobs for Humans
Marguerite McNeal

 [emphasis JS]

 If we had a reset button it should have been pushed instead of the 2000 election in the US. Many of us thought Obama was a reset button in 2008. While in ways he was, he is primarily a product of the last stage of the hyper-capitalist, Enlightenment experiment in social administration. He was the best you could get in the final years of the old order but the American version of the experiment has been in collapse for over forty years. The technology driven phase shift is planetary and is changing language and perspective for everyone. And, as we have come to understand, paradigm changes change language first, social structure second and, then literally, our common understanding of how the world works.
How to make the best of political collapse . . .
Mike Meyer
[emphasis JS]


Monday, May 29, 2017

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1618-1620

“Our generation is going to have to deal with tens of millions of jobs replaced by automation, like self-driving cars and trucks, but we have the potential to do so much more than that,” Zuckerberg said.

Zuckerberg said the greatest successes come from having the freedom to fail, and with universal basic income, more people might have the freedom to take risks.
Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg Calls for Universal Basic Income

 Nick Lucchesi on May 25, 2017
Inverse Culture

[emphasis JS] 

 In the simplest analysis, Americans today, unlike nearly any other country in the word, deny one another basically good lives. You may think that is new, but it is not. They always have — that is what slavery and segregation were, weren’t they? The deep antipathy to public goods, healthare, education, and so on, in America is the result of a legacy of hate. And that legacy is what stopped America from investing in itself, ever, and still does today — hence collapse.
Bye Bye, America
umair haque

 …a philosophy of play is the only theory of the present age worth considering.
Our Identities and Political Thinking Are Formed in Our Free Time, Which Is Constantly Shrinking
Peter Sloterdijk


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1615-1617

From energy to pharma, from the shale gas boom to lucrative lifesaving drugs, public research has everywhere laid the foundation for private profit. And the industry that produced Juicero has been an especially big beneficiary of government largesse. The advances that created what we’ve come to call tech – the development of digital computing, the invention of the internet, the formation of Silicon Valley itself – were the result of sustained and substantial government investment. Even the iPhone, that celebrated emblem of capitalist creativity, wouldn’t exist without buckets of government cash. Its core technologies, from the touch-screen display to GPS to Siri, all trace their roots to publicly funded research.
[emphasis JS]

At the corporate level, tens of billions of dollars go in  subsidies to the fossil fuel, fishing, and agricultural industries. Fossil fuel subsidies may be much, much more. The  IMF reports U.S. fossil fuel subsidies of $502 billion, and according to  Grist, even this is an underestimate.
5 Ways Rich People's "Entitlements" Cheat You and Me
By Paul Buchheit

 The top 1 percent took more than one-fifth of the income earned by Americans, one of the highest levels on record since 1913, when the government instituted an income tax.
The Rich Get Richer Through the Recovery
September 10, 2013
New York Times

Monday, May 15, 2017

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1612-1614

At the corporate level, tens of billions of dollars go in  subsidies to the fossil fuel, fishing, and agricultural industries. Fossil fuel subsidies may be much, much more. The  IMF reports U.S. fossil fuel subsidies of $502 billion, and according to  Grist, even this is an underestimate. 
5 Ways Rich People's"Entitlements" Cheat You and Me 
By Paul Buchheit 

 I spent much of my young adulthood working at a fast-food job I hated. I would distract myself from the drudgery by mentally protesting the notion that people should wake up every morning to an alarm clock, then go to their jobs and spend the bulk of their days doing something they don’t like to earn money. Who came up with this crazy system, anyway? The idea that I, and everyone around me, would be expected to continue doing this until age 65 or higher filled me with utter despair. There had to be a way out of the work-consume-die treadmill. There just had to.

Comprehensively and incisively programmed with all the relevant data regarding education, it will be evidenced that the physical and social costs will be far less for individual, at-home initiated, research-and-development interned self-teaching that have individual students go to school, being bussed and so on. This mass-production baby-sitting is only continued because of the union-organized response to the fear of the teachers about losing their jobs. Their political clout has for long been strong enough to guarantee continuance of this inefficiency to the present moment.
R. Buckminster Fuller, Critical Path P. xxxv.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1609-1611

General Motors is now the subject of a Justice Department inquiry over its failure to recall cars with a defect that is linked to 12 deaths.
Prosecutors said that Toyota concealed problems related to floor mats and sticky accelerator pedals and made misleading statements to consumers in an effort to defend its brand image.
While regulators have not given an exact number of deaths associated with the defect, the company still faces many wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits.
While the $1.2 billion penalty is the biggest ever for a carmaker, it still represents a small fraction of the more than $60 billion that Toyota has in cash reserves.
The company has admitted in filings with federal regulators that it had proposed fixes for the problem on at least two occasions, but did not follow through.
Toyota Is Fined $1.2 Billion for Concealing Safety Defects
New York Times

[emphasis JS] 

 Ah, but, the logic of “consumption” is quite different, and goes like this:

  1.  we need to employ people all the time,
  2. such employment produces a surplus,
  3. people need to be convinced to purchase the surplus through marketing and advertising,
  4. the surplus has to be quickly converted to waste, so people will purchase again,
  5. this is accomplished by denying basic needs to everyone so that they have to work in order to consume.

Paul B. Hartzog

 Put all these advances together, say the authors, and you can see that our generation will have more power to improve (or destroy) the world than any before, relying on fewer people and more technology. But it also means that we need to rethink deeply our social contracts, because labor is so important to a person’s identity and dignity and to societal stability. They suggest that we consider lowering taxes on human labor to make it cheaper relative to digital labor, that we reinvent education so more people can “race with machines” not against them, that we do much more to foster the entrepreneurship that invents new industries and jobs, and even consider guaranteeing every American a basic income. We’ve got a lot of rethinking to do, they argue, because we’re not only in a recession-induced employment slump. We’re in a technological hurricane reshaping the workplace — and it just keeps doubling.
If I Had a Hammer
New York Times
JAN. 11, 2014
Thomas L. Friedman

[emphasis JS]

Monday, May 01, 2017

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1606-1608

Most of our new jobs are in service industries, including retail and health care and personal care and food service. Those industries generally don't pay a living wage. In 2014, over half of American workers made less than $15 per hour, with some of the top employment sectors in the U.S. paying $12 an hour or less.

Worse, most underpaid workers are deprived of the benefits higher-income employees take for granted. A Princeton study concluded that a stunning 94 percent of the nine million new jobs created in the past decade were temporary or contract-based, rather than traditional full-time positions.
The Shocking Reality of a Future of Shrinking Jobs
By Paul Buchheit / AlterNet
April 20, 2017

[emphasis JS]

 ...And the jobs being created in their stead, in online warehouses for companies like Amazon, are too few to soak up those displaced.
…The numbers: U.S. retail jobs (mainly cashiers and sales people) plummeted by about 60,000 in the first three months of the year, to about 15.85 million, according to preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
..."The department store platform seems to be falling apart."

Retail workers are being displaced in droves
Steve LeVine

[emphasis JS]

 There are millions of Americans who work to the bone yet have to borrow from next month’s wages to pay last month’s bills. Millions more work two jobs just to keep the home warm and food on the table. Yet no one celebrates their hard work, and among certain circles they are derided as takers instead of makers and condemned to Mitt Romney’s “47 percent.”

The rich may worry about envy, but most Americans worry about making ends meet.
Letter to the New York Times
Washington, March 2, 2014


Monday, April 24, 2017

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1603-1605

Beware the barrenness of a busy life.

 In a 2013 survey of 12,000 professionals by the Harvard Business Review, half said they felt their job had no “meaning and significance,” and an equal number were unable to relate to their company’s mission, while another poll among 230,000 employees in 142 countries showed that only 13% of workers actually like their job. A recent poll among Brits revealed that as many as 37% think they have a job that is utterly useless.
...I’m not talking about the sanitation workers, the teachers, and the nurses of the world. If these people were to go on strike, we’d have an instant state of emergency on our hands. No, I’m talking about the growing armies of consultants, bankers, tax advisors, managers, and others who earn their money in strategic trans-sector peer-to-peer meetings to brainstorm the value-add on co-creation in the network society. Or something to that effect.
... I firmly believe that a universal basic income is the most effective answer...

A growing number of people think their job is useless. Time to rethink the meaning of work
World Economic Forum
April 12, 2017

[emphasis JS]

Finance Minister Bill Morneau last year warned Canadians they will have to get used to precarious work. Now a new survey from a staffing agency suggests precarious work will increasingly become the norm over the next decade.
...The survey squares with some other research suggesting a trend towards precarious work. In the three years following the financial crisis of 2008-09, growth in temp work tripled that of permanent work in Canada.
..."Temp agencies not only benefit from, but also drive predatory employment practices that target immigrants and women of colour disproportionately,”

Precarious Work Is Awesome And Canada Will Get Way More Of It: Report
By Daniel Tencer
The Huffington Post Canada
Posted: 04/19/2017

[emphasis JS]

Monday, April 17, 2017

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1600-1602

According to Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer, sociologists and authors of the book $2.00 per Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, in 2011 more than 1.5 million US families—including three million children—lived on as little as two dollars per person per day in any given month.

... From families who depend on their mother making plasma donations twice a week for their income, to others with nothing but a carton of spoiled milk in their refrigerator, Edin and Shaefer documented family households living “from crisis to crisis.” One of their informants told Shaefer that she had been beaten and raped and was always “looking out for the next threat.”

...the long-term consequences of President Bill Clinton’s 1996 welfare reform initiative.

...As Edin and Shaefer found, the number of families living on less than two dollars per person per day has more than doubled since 1996.
Over 1.5 Million American Families Live on Two Dollars Per Person Per Day
Project Censored

(emphasis JS)

According to Statistics Canada, 1 in 7 Canadians live below the poverty line.  That is about 5 million people with at least a million being children.  In 1989, The House of Commons vowed to end child poverty by 2000 – it is higher now than then.  Almost 900,000 need food banks every month (38% children).  Four million are in need of decent affordable housing, and there are thousands of homeless struggling with street life.  And remember, poverty doesn’t just cost the poor their dignity, it costs us all billions of tax and health care dollars every year. As former Senator, Hugh Segal put it, “Our present system doesn’t fight poverty.   It institutionalizes it”.
The Basics on Basic Income
by Art Eggletonon March 14, 2017
Basic income News

(emphasis JS)

A CBC report earlier this week about TD employees pressured to meet high sales revenue goals has touched off a firestorm of reaction from TD employees across the country — some of whom admit they have broken the law at their customers' expense in a desperate bid to meet sales targets and keep their jobs.

Hundreds of current and former TD Bank Group employees wrote to Go Public describing a pressure cooker environment they say is "poisoned," "stress inducing," "insane" and has "zero focus on ethics." 
Some employees admitted they broke the law, claiming they were desperate to earn points towards sales goals they have to reach every three months or risk being fired. CBC has agreed to conceal their identities because their confessions could have legal ramifications.

'We do it because our jobs are at stake': TD bank employees admit to breaking the law for fear of being fired
CBC News

(emphasis JS)