Jack Saturday

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1832-1834

If the good folks of Uber or any other extractive digital enterprise really want to reprogram the economy to everyone’s advantage and guarantee a sustainable supply of wealthy customers for themselves, they should start by tweaking their own operating systems. Instead of asking the government to make up the difference for unlivable wages, what about making one’s workers the owners of the company? Instead of kicking over additional, say, 10% in tax for a government UBI fund, how about offering a 10% stake in the company to the people who supply the labor? Or another 10% to the towns and cities who supply the roads and traffic signals? Not just a kickback or tax but a stake.
Universal Basic Income Is Silicon Valley’s Latest Scam
Douglas Rushkoff

Just a 15-minute walk away are the offices of Twitter and Uber, two companies that along with other nameplate technology giants have helped push the median price of a home in San Francisco well beyond $1 million.
This dichotomy of street crime and world-changing technology, of luxury condominiums and grinding, persistent homelessness, and the dehumanizing effects for those forced to live on the streets provoke outrage among the city’s residents. For many who live here it’s difficult to reconcile San Francisco’s liberal politics with the misery that surrounds them....
The Public Works Department and a nonprofit organization in the Tenderloin picked up 100,000 needles from the streets over the last year. The Public Health Department, which has its own needle recovery program, has a more alarming figure: It retrieved 164,264 needles in August alone, both through a disposal program and through street cleanups. 
Life on the Dirtiest Block in San Francisco
by Thomas Fuller
Oct. 8, 2018

The seminal Adverse Childhood Experiences Study revealed that repeated childhood trauma results in both physical and mental negative health outcomes in adulthood. Economic hardship is the most common form of childhood trauma in the U.S.—one of the richest countries in the world. And the likelihood of experiencing other forms of childhood trauma—such as living through divorce, death of a parent or guardian, a parent or guardian in prison, various forms of violence, and living with anyone abusing alcohol or drugs—also increases with poverty.
What a Society Designed for Well-Being Looks Like
Tabita Green

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Monday, October 08, 2018

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1829-1831

Americans seem to have gotten so used to exploitation that they only ever really see the most extreme examples of it anymore — someone famous abuses a woman horrifically, another school shooting happened today, and so on. But what they don’t see is that pervasive exploitation is a commonplace, everyday event, an economic necessity, the very price of subsistence — and that transformed it into a way of life. Exploitation became an American norm thanks to capitalism as the solution to everything.
umair haque
Sep 19
How Capitalism Taught Americans Exploitation Was Good For Them
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I have written to some very wealthy people who spend their time feeling empty, unable to feel happy, wondering why they feel that way. One individual was seriously stating there is nothing left to live for when I intervened.
It doesn’t matter how much or how little money one has, one fact remains: In order for your own life to be truly fulfilling, one must help others obtain freedom.
But what is freedom, today? It’s become a buzzword. Let’s use another word instead: liberty. Or another phrase: “not required into confinement, servitude, or forced labor.”

There are currently 44 million unpaid eldercare providers in the United States according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the majority are women. And yet there are very few support programs, formal or informal, in place to support these family caregivers, many of whom are struggling at work and at home. Working daughters often find they need to switch to a less demanding job, take time off, or quit work altogether in order to make time for their caregiving duties. As a result, they suffer loss of wages and risk losing job-related benefits such as health insurance, retirement savings, and Social Security benefits. In fact, a study from MetLife and the National Alliance for Caregiving calculated women lose an average $324,044 in compensation due to caregiving.
The Crisis Facing America's Working Daughters
Liz O’Donnell
The Atlantic

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1826-1828

Capitalism promised Americans that if they just worked hard and long enough — which means if they exploited themselves and everyone else enough — then one day they would join the ranks of the bourgeoisie one day. Americans happily consented to that bargain — only to discover that, just as with most things in which life which seem to be true, that it was a Faustian one. The average American is poorer than his grandparents, not richer — broke, impoverished, and desperate. He or she lives right at the edge of ruin, every single, day, one perpetual misstep, one illness, unpaid bill, or emergency away from disaster. Which means true ruin — homelessness, bankruptcy, healthcare that no one can afford, and so on. Capitalism’s promise that if you exploit yourself, and everyone else, fortune will shower down on you turned out to be a con game. What really trickled downwards was exploitation, not riches.
umair haque
Sep 19, 2018
How Capitalism Taught Americans Exploitation Was Good For Them

The Trump administration is providing up to $12 billion in emergency relief funds for American farmers, with roughly $6 billion in an initial round.
Rob Johansson, the Agriculture Department's chief economist [...]He estimated that there would be more than 784,000 applications for relief.
The breakdown has stunned corn and wheat farmers who say the payments are uneven and won't do much of anything to help keep struggling farms afloat.
As aid checks go out, farmers worry bailout won't be enough,
By juliet linderman, associated press
WASHINGTON — Sep 23, 2018

Education is facing the threat of computer-based learning posed by Khan Academy, Coursera and other upstart companies. Government is changing, too. India recently introduced a site that allows anybody to see which government workers are showing up for their jobs on time (or at all) and which are shirking. Similarly, Houston recently developed a complex database that helps managers put an end to runaway overtime costs. These changes are still new, in part because so many large businesses benefit from the old system and use their capital to impede innovation. But the changes will inevitably become greater, and the results will be drastic. Those four industries — health care, finance, education and government — represent well more than half of the U.S. economy. The lives of tens of millions of people will change.
Generally, those with power and wealth resist any significant shift in the existing institutions. Robber barons fought many of the changes of the Progressive Era, and Wall Street fought the reforms of the 1930s. Today, the political system seems incapable of wholesale reinvention. But Acemoglu said that could change in an instant if enough people demand it.
Adam Davidson
The New York Tines Magazine

Monday, September 24, 2018

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1822-1825

Re: I got laid off at Telltale:

None of my sleepless nights or long hours on weekends trying to ship a game on time got me severance today. Don’t work overtime unless you’re paid for it, y’all. Protect your health. Companies don’t care about you.
Brandon Cebenka

I hate how gaming companies work. Hire staff, crazy push at end of development to get a product out, and then fire any “excess” staff once the product is complete. I’ve never been happier since I got out of the industry.
Georgie V

I have found that employees are objects to employers.  Best to not stay in one job too long and not to think you are irreplaceable or valued as a person.  You are likely to be betrayed.
rose ingala

We might think that the existence of millions of working poor Americans... would cause us to question the notion that indolence and poverty go hand in hand. But no. While other inequality-justifying myths have withered under the force of collective rebuke, we cling to this devastatingly effective formula. Most of us lack a confident account for increasing political polarization, rising prescription drug costs, urban sprawl or any number of social ills. But ask us why the poor are poor, and we have a response quick at the ready, grasping for this palliative of explanation. We have to, or else the national shame would be too much to bear. How can a country with such a high poverty rate — higher than those in Latvia, Greece, Poland, Ireland and all other member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development — lay claim to being the greatest on earth? Vanessa’s presence is a judgment. But rather than hold itself accountable, America reverses roles by blaming the poor for their own miseries.

Here is the blueprint. First, valorize work as the ticket out of poverty, and debase caregiving as not work. Look at a single mother without a formal job, and say she is not working; spot one working part time and demand she work more. Transform love into laziness. Next, force the poor to log more hours in a labor market that treats them as expendables. Rest assured that you can pay them little and deny them sick time and health insurance because the American taxpayer will step in, subsidizing programs like the earned-income tax credit and food stamps on which your work force will rely. Watch welfare spending increase while the poverty rate stagnates because, well, you are hoarding profits. When that happens, skirt responsibility by blaming the safety net itself. From there, politicians will invent new ways of denying families relief, like slapping unrealistic work requirements on aid for the poor.
Americans want to believe jobs are the solution to poverty. They’re not
Matthew Desmond, The New York Times 15:14:29.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1819-1821

The Great Displacement is a term I’ve given to the automation of jobs by technology. Between 2000 and 2015, the U.S. automated about four million manufacturing jobs, and we’re on the cusp of automating call-centre workers, fast-food workers, truck drivers, retail workers, and the like. We are eliminating the most common jobs in the U.S. economy. We’re entering the most dramatic economic shift in human history, and anybody who believes the labour market is self-healing is mistaken.
If that’s true, then why do we keep hearing that unemployment is historically low?
The headline unemployment rate is essentially government malpractice. It only measures people who are actively looking for work. So if someone were to stop looking for a job, then it helps the unemployment rate. The more important statistic is labour-force participation. That’s down to 62.7%, which is a multi-decade low, comparable to El Salvador and the Dominican Republic. It reflects the fact that 95 million working-age Americans have left the workforce, and 1 in 5 working-age men hasn’t worked in the last 12 months.
Dumb Questions for Smart People: Automation, Unemployment, and Universal Income
By Wil S. Hylton

Of the 13,000 firefighters battling blazes across the state, more than 2,500 are prisoners. While salaried firefighters earn an annual mean wage of $74,000 a year plus benefits, prisoners earn $1 per hour when fighting active fires. According to some estimates, California saves up to $100 million a year by using prison labor to fight its biggest environmental problem.
A New Form of Slavery? Meet Incarcerated Firefighters Battling California’s Wildfires for $1 an Hour
Democracy Now

Amazon’s Move Signals End of Line for Many Cashiers
The next jobs set to disappear may be ones that are a bigger part of people’s daily lives: retail workers and cashiers in stores and restaurants. NYT HEADLINE
June 17, 2017

Monday, September 10, 2018

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1816-1818

Nearly six million factory jobs, almost a third of the entire manufacturing industry, have disappeared since 2000. And while many of these jobs were lost to competition with low-wage countries, even more vanished because of computer-driven machinery that can do the work of 10, or in some cases, 100 workers. Those jobs are not coming back...
Skills Don’t Pay the Bills
New York Times
Published: November 20, 2012

...why are Europeans so much happier and saner than Americans? Well, the reason is that Europeans don’t live under the constant, pervasive threat of genuine violence that Americans do. It’s not just that they don’t have access to guns — remember, we’re talking a deeper level of violence. It’s that they have “safety nets.” Healthcare, childcare, elderly care, retirement, pensions, and so on. And so they merrily go on with their lives, and become happier, healthier, saner people — they are not as psychologically and culturally and socially insecure precisely because they are not constantly threatened and intimidated with structural and institutional violence.
Predatory capitalism is. It is as if it is pointing a gun at the average American, laughing, and saying: “you had better sell me your labour, now, at the lowest possible price — or else.” Just like a mafia boss might. The result is that the strange paradox we see: Americans work harder than anyone else in the rich world, even in the poor world — but they only realize shrinking lives from all that hard work. And yet, every year, the cycle repeats itself. Americans work harder, only to lose more. More longevity, income, savings, assets, trust, meaning, purpose, democracy.
umair haque
Why America’s a More Violent Society Than You Think

We’re all on the same side. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for, as the expression goes, but we must let go of a system that is making us sick, making us crazy, and killing us. During my entire life, success has been defined, incorrectly, by the amount of money a person has, rather than the amount of compassion. Similarly, the entire system has been defined in terms that make no sense because the system rewards money over happiness, and death over life. As John Ralston Saul pointed out in his 1992 book Voltaire’s Bastards, “never has failure been so ardently defended as success.”
Time is not on our side, and it might be too late already to prevent our own near-term extinction. It’s long past time to let go of a system that enslaves us all while destroying all life and therefore all that matters. And it’s not merely time to let go, but to terminate this increasingly violent system that values the property of the rich more than the lives of the poor.
Guy McPherson
the good men project

Monday, August 27, 2018

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1813-1815

In the realm of ends everything has either a price or dignity. Whatever has a price can be replaced by something else which is equivalent; whatever is above all price, and therefore has no equivalent, has dignity....

...Autonomy lies at the root of the dignity of human and of every other rational nature.
Immanuel Kant, 
Metaphysical Foundations Of Morals

What gets me is that so many anti-UBI arguments posit that there'll be a class of useless parasites, hanging on to the bottom of society, that we'll
have to feed. The evidence suggests that very few people will take that route.

Meanwhile, a society of forced subordination to rich people tends to accrue power to the buyers and sellers of people– corporate executives– and therefore we end up with useless parasites at the top of society.

If we're going to have a few moochers, I'd rather have them at the bottom not bothering anyone than the current arrangement, where they're at the top and run everything.

The essence of all slavery consists in taking the product of another's labor by force. It is immaterial whether this force be founded upon ownership of the slave or ownership of the money that he must get to live.
Leo Tolstoy

Monday, August 20, 2018

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1810-1812

And how do you get the laborer to take lower and lower wages?

Through extended unemployment to create desperation and job insecurity. Through shredding the social safety net to create desperation. Through the destruction of collective bargaining. Through keeping minimum wages lower than a living wage. Through taxpayer subsidies to businesses enabling them to underpay workers, like food stamps. And now, through creating a system of worldwide wage arbitrage between the top industrialized nations and the third world in a race to the bottom for all.
comment on
Why Don't We Pay People Enough? 8 Facts About America's Struggling Working People

AlterNet / By Bill Quigley

 Central to its philosophy is the assumption the market drives not just the economy but all of social life. It construes profit-making as the essence of democracy and consuming as the only operable form of agency. It redefines identities, desires and values through a market logic that favors self-interest, a survival-of-the-fittest ethos and unchecked individualism. Under neoliberalism, life-draining and unending competition is a central concept for defining human freedom.

As an economic policy, it creates an all-encompassing market guided by the principles of privatization, deregulation, commodification and the free flow of capital. Advancing these agendas, it weakens unions, radically downsizes the welfare state and wages an assault on public goods. As the state is hollowed out, big corporations take on the functions of government, imposing severe austerity measures, redistributing wealth upward to the rich and powerful and reinforcing a notion of society as one of winners and losers. Put simply, neoliberalism gives free rein to finance capital and seeks to liberate the market from any restraints imposed by the state. At present, governments exist preeminently to maximize the profits, resources and the power of the wealthy
Henry Giroux,
Neoliberal Fascism and the Echoes of History

The State of the Economy
Louis Jenkins
There might be some change on top of the dresser at the
back, and we should check the washer and the dryer. Check
under the floor mats of the car. The couch cushions. I have
some books and CDs I could sell, and there are a couple big
bags of aluminum cans in the basement, only trouble is that
there isn’t enough gas in the car to get around the block. I’m
expecting a check sometime next week, which, if we are careful,
will get us through to payday. In the meantime with your one—
dollar rebate check and a few coins we have enough to walk to
the store and buy a quart of milk and a newspaper. On second
thought, forget the newspaper.
From Sea Smoke (Holy Cow Press, 2004) 


Monday, August 13, 2018

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1807-1809

When I was growing up the portraits I found of working-class people were always very animalistic. The characters were portrayed as violent, physically dangerous, not very bright, and unreasonably angry, as if there were no reason for their anger. When I write these characters I try to take you inside what it feels like to be treated with contempt and to have such a narrow range of possibilities out.

That no-way-out is really the difference between boys and girls in working-class culture, because a working-class boy could run, or could when I was growing up. He could go West and change his name and start a new life for himself, and I know boys in my family did that. There is nowhere a girl can go. The only runaway position is prostitution and that can kill you about as fast as a violent uncle or a crazy daddy.
It was almost like I was a boy because I was being judged on intellect rather than the other standard for girls, which was to either marry well or to become a famously successful high-class whore. But the options for marrying well are limited, and if you’re as angry and damaged as most working-class girls are you’ll marry the first mean-assed boy who takes you up, so the next thing you know you have three babies and he’s broken your jaw. They always break your jaw.
Dorothy Allison: Tender to the Bone

By Amy Wright

 Social scientists have found that when aspiring intellectuals face highly restricted employment opportunities, they often take refuge in extreme politics. In a 1996 study, the sociologist Jerome Karabel sought to identify the circumstances under which intellectuals, from would-be academics to writers and artists, embrace or rebel against the status quo. “Especially conducive to the growth of political radicalism,” he wrote, “are societies in which the higher levels of the educational system produce far more graduates than can be absorbed by the marketplace.” 
Gray Matter
By NEIL GROSS SEPT. 30, 2017
New York Times

I never did like to work, and I don’t deny it. I’d rather read, tell stories, crack jokes, talk, laugh – anything but work.
Abraham Lincoln


Monday, August 06, 2018

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1804-1806

I had whole spare summers when I was a teenager. Three spare months. No stated occupation whatsoever. Much of after-school was spare time too. I read, I wrote, I hung out with Jean and Shirley and Joyce, I moseyed around having thoughts and feelings, oh lord, deep thoughts, deep feelings… I hope some kids still have time like that. The ones I know seem to be on a treadmill of programming, rushing on without pause to the next event on their schedule, the soccer practice the playdate the whatever. I hope they find interstices and wriggle into them. Sometimes I notice that a teenager in the family group is present in body — smiling, polite, apparently attentive — but absent. I think, I hope she has found an interstice, made herself some spare time, wriggled into it, and is alone there, deep down there, thinking, feeling.
The opposite of spare time is, I guess, occupied time. In my case I still don’t know what spare time is because all my time is occupied. It always has been and it is now. It’s occupied by living.
Ursula K. LeGuin
[thanks to Maria Popova, Brain Pickings]

 The same situation can breed support for radical movements of the left. Poor job prospects for American thinkers during the Depression helped draw many into socialism or communism. More recently, the sociologist Ruth Milkman found that well-educated millennials were overrepresented among Occupy Wall Street activists. These young people had spent their lives diligently preparing to enter the knowledge economy and became disillusioned when, after the financial crisis, it all seemed to be crashing down.
Gray Matter
By NEIL GROSS SEPT. 30, 2017
New York Times

In our jobs and professions we have the experience of being special to a number of people. And much of our identity and sense of ourselves depends on that relationship. If we stop working, we find out how much we have depended on being so important to others.

But there’s another, not so obvious, dimension of being special: being distinguished in our misfortune or our misery. A victim is somebody special. I’m so unlucky, I’m so very ill, I have so much pain, that person really did me wrong and hurt me so much. Any one of these assertions may be true, but when we begin to build our identity on it, we’re in trouble. For instance, we can let a difficult childhood define our lives and control how we relate to others long after we have grown up. My suffering is unique. I had the worst childhood of anyone.

We are in Training to Be Nobody Special 
By Sandy Boucher
Dec 06, 2017