Jack Saturday

Monday, September 01, 2014

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom #Quotations Of The Week 1186-1188

Part of this loss of warm-weather joy develops because you stop getting summers off when you grow up. People say things like Hasn’t this summer been beautiful? and you think to yourself that it looked nice through the slit of your cubicle wall.
Happy Labor Day Weekend! Here's Why Summer Sucks for Us Grown Ups
The Guardian / By Alex Leo 

Both cubicles and dark mills signify working on other people’s terms, for other people’s goals, at other people’s sufferance. Neither type of work usually results in us owning the fruits of our labors or having the satisfaction of creating something from start to finish with our own hands. Neither allows us to work at our own pace, or the pace of the seasons. Neither allows us access to our families, friends, or communities when we need them or they need us. Both isolate work from every other part of our life.

And heck, especially if you work for a big corporation, you can be confident that Ebenezer Scrooge cared more about Bob Cratchett than your employer cares about you.
James Tuttle
Center For A Stateless Society

For if leisure and security were enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who are normally stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to think for themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner or later realize that the privileged minority had no function, and they would sweep it away. In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and ignorance.
George Orwell, 1984

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Basic Income Experiment Defies Economists

Federico Pistono, 4 min 35 sec

"Exactly the opposite of what the best economists predicted."

Monday, August 25, 2014

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1183-1185

You load sixteen tons, and what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt.
St. Peter don’t you call me, ’cause I can’t go.
I owe my soul to the company store.
Merle Travis, chorus of the song Sixteen Tons

We don’t work for mining companies that pay in scrip redeemable only at the company store. But we work our asses off and end up with credit cards that hit us with 19.99 percent interest, $40 late fees, and other hidden charges so heavy it’s possible – even common – to pay for years and actually owe more than you started with.

We work even longer hours than our fathers, pay higher taxes, depend on two salaries to keep one household together, shove our alienated children into daycare and government education camps, watch our money steadily inflate away, and suffer mightily from a raft of job-related mental and physical ills

What’s changed but the details? For all our material possessions, we’re in the same old cycle of working, hurting, and losing.
We take it as a given that jobs = good, that high stocks = good, and that working harder and spending lots of money = more jobs and higher stocks.

Then we go off to jobs we mostly detest. Or jobs we enjoy, but that stress us out, take us away from our families, and turn our home hours into a frenzied burden, in which we have to struggle to do everything from entertain ourselves to making artificial quality time with kids who barely know us.

There’s something wrong with this picture.
Jobs suck. Corporate employment sucks. A life crammed into 9-to-5 boxes sucks. Gray cubicles are nothing but an update on William Blake’s dark satanic mills.
Dark Satanic Cubicles – It’s time to smash the job culture!
James Tuttle | 
Center For A Stateless Society

Peter Barnes: Even though good-paying jobs are in decline, there’s a lot of wealth in our economy. It produces an enormous amount of wealth. So the economy, as a whole, is okay, but the money isn’t flowing to labor.

So if we want to have a middle-class we have to take somehow from the wealth that we actually do have, and spread it around in ways that aren’t tied to people’s time-clock labor. All right, so what is all that extra wealth out there that doesn’t come from labor? A lot of it, if you really start to dig deeper, below the surface, is wealth that is either stuff that we inherit—like all the gifts of nature; the soil, the water, the air, the minerals, the trees, etc. Also, a lot of our wealth comes from stuff that society created—all of our science, knowledge, techologies, that stuff.

Plus, and here’s the key to it, there’s a lot of social infrastructure—such as the financial systems, or legal systems, our copyrights and patent laws. All of these create enormous amounts of wealth. This is wealth that is not created by individuals, not created by private corporations, but created by society. So what I’m saying is that some of that wealth should be shared equally among everybody. And that would be the basis for supplementing labor income.

It’s kind of like in board game Monopoly, which I refer to a few times in the book. The game is supposed to be a great metaphor for capitalism. It is in lots of ways, but there are two other aspects of Monopoly that are quite interesting and not present in our current capitalist system, which is the fact that everybody starts off with the same amount of capital. Now that’s nice. That would make for an interesting and fair economic system. Plus everyone gets money every time they go around the board. That keeps the game going. Without that, in Monopoly, people wouldn’t have enough to play the game. Those features ought to be part of our real-world economy. Everybody needs cash to play the game and to survive, and to have a basis on which to build, especially as I said, in these times when labor income just is not enough.
There’s no redistribution—although you did use that word. I prefer to think of what this system would be as a kind of predistribution. In other words, the government isn’t taking money from anybody, but it’s assuring that income is distributed more fairly in the first place.
AlterNet / By Steven Rosenfeld 
Finally, A Simple Plan That Can Reverse Inequality and Save America's Sinking Middle-Class

A basic income.
If this is implemented before the impending robotics revolution takes all labor based jobs, it will free people from manual labor and allow them to pursue their creative, social, and personal interests on a scale no one has ever seen before. It will also accelerate robotics research even further, since companies that require laborers will no longer have them, they will truly need robots to fill those positions. We can either wait for job loss to occur on a greater level as robots push people out of their jobs, or we can implement the basic income first and let robots fill in the empty spots. This is absolutely necessary....
SocialCoin: A Cryptocurrency for a Global Basic Income

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

Peter 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]