Jack Saturday

Monday, August 24, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1340-1342

I think that there is nothing, not even crime, more opposed to poetry, to philosophy, nay, to life itself than this incessant business.
Henry David Thoreau

 In Amazon warehouses, employees are monitored by sophisticated electronic systems to ensure they are packing enough boxes every hour. (Amazon came under fire in 2011 when workers in an eastern Pennsylvania warehouse toiled in more than 100-degree heat with ambulances waiting outside, taking away laborers as they fell...

Bo Olson ... lasted less than two years in a book marketing role and said that his enduring image was watching people weep in the office, a sight other workers described as well. “You walk out of a conference room and you’ll see a grown man covering his face,” he said. “Nearly every person I worked with, I saw cry at their desk.”
“You learn how to diplomatically throw people under the bus,” said a marketer who spent six years in the retail division. “It’s a horrible feeling.” …

Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big
Ideas in a Bruising Workplace

AUG. 15, 2015
New York Times

[emphasis JS]

from the comments section:

 "The ones that burn out are the lucky ones, at least they escape. The one's that don't? You can see them - they're dead behind the eyes." - thats what an ex Amazon employee told me recently.
Decades ago we learned how to treat production line workers badly. More recently we learned how to treat call centre and admin workers like replaceable machines. What Amazon has achieved is to build a machine that is able to treat managers and senior professionals as automatons."
Glenn Elliott

"Oh the humanity..."
Wait. There is none. All this chest thumping and back stabbing to deliver an Elsa doll in 23 minutes? Get a grip. These people aren't saving lives in an ER for 18 hours at a stretch, they're not feeding the hungry, housing the homeless. They barely have time to engage their families let alone contribute positively to their communities or the world outside their cubicle/abattoir. This is success?

 ...when you take a person and put him in a job which he does not like. He gets irritable in his groove. His duties soon become a monotonous routine that slowly dulls his senses. As I walk into offices, through factories and stores, I often find myself looking into the expressionless faces of people going through mechanical motions. They are people whose minds are stunned and slowly dying.
William J. Reilly
How To Avoid Work

thanks to Maria Popova

Monday, August 17, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1337-1339

Despite … massive donations, largely baked goods and non-perishables such as dented cans, nearly 15 per cent of capital region residents don’t always have enough to eat, Wallace said, quoting a 2013 Victoria Foundation report. Some people sacrifice food to pay their rent.
Katherine Dedyna
Victoria Times Colonist
August 11, 2015 

[emphasis JS]

Postcapitalism is possible because of three major changes information technology has brought about in the past 25 years. First, it has reduced the need for work, blurred the edges between work and free time and loosened the relationship between work and wages. The coming wave of automation, currently stalled because our social infrastructure cannot bear the consequences, will hugely diminish the amount of work needed – not just to subsist but to provide a decent life for all.
the currency of postcapitalism: free time, networked activity and free stuff.
Yet information is abundant. Information goods are freely replicable. Once a thing is made, it can be copied/pasted infinitely. A music track or the giant database you use to build an airliner has a production cost; but its cost of reproduction falls towards zero. Therefore, if the normal price mechanism of capitalism prevails over time, its price will fall towards zero, too.

For the past 25 years economics has been wrestling with this problem: all mainstream economics proceeds from a condition of scarcity, yet the most dynamic force in our modern world is abundant and, as hippy genius Stewart Brand once put it, “wants to be free”.
the need is not for a supercomputed Five Year Plan – but a project, the aim of which should be to expand those technologies, business models and behaviours that dissolve market forces, socialise knowledge, eradicate the need for work and push the economy towards abundance. I call it Project Zero – because its aims are a zero-carbon-energy system; the production of machines, products and services with zero marginal costs; and the reduction of necessary work time as close as possible to zero.
The main contradiction today is between the possibility of free, abundant goods and information; and a system of monopolies, banks and governments trying to keep things private, scarce and commercial. Everything comes down to the struggle between the network and the hierarchy.    ...
The end of capitalism has begun.

Paul Mason
Friday 17 July 2015 

[emphasis JS]

Today, in our culture of productivity-fetishism, we have succumbed to the tyrannical notion of “work/life balance” and have come to see the very notion of “leisure” not as essential to the human spirit but as self-indulgent luxury reserved for the privileged or deplorable idleness reserved for the lazy. And yet the most significant human achievements between Aristotle’s time and our own — our greatest art, the most enduring ideas of philosophy, the spark for every technological breakthrough — originated in leisure, in moments of unburdened contemplation, of absolute presence with the universe within one’s own mind and absolute attentiveness to life without, be it Galileo inventing modern timekeeping after watching a pendulum swing in a cathedral or Oliver Sacks illuminating music’s incredible effects on the mind while hiking in a Norwegian fjord.
Maria Popova on
Josef Pieper's Leisure, The Basis Of Culture

[emphasis JS] 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1334-1336

If you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work.
Khalil Gibran

What the world really needs is more love and less paperwork.
Pearl Bailey

 It is now possible to take care of everybody at a higher standard of living than any have ever known.
R. Buckminster Fuller

Monday, August 03, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1331-1333

In the dominant North American culture we talk about health as a possession, something you have and are responsible for maintaining. But I see our health as like a tripod, a dynamic thing: One leg is your relationship with all other human beings. It’s not possible for you to be healthy when there are people living under a freeway overpass in cardboard boxes. Your health is dependent on theirs. The second leg is your relationship with all in the world that’s not human. If you have only these two legs, you can try to live a good life, but it’s like walking on stilts. The third leg is what gives you a place to rest, and that leg is your relationship with the unseen world, everything not described by the other two. Having all three constitutes health. That’s where it lives. This tripod sustains you. You don’t exist as an individual without these relationships.
Stephen Jenkinson
[emphasis JS] 

"One of the adverse effects of the government's welfare programs," says a booklet prepared for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Life Insurance Officers' Association, "is that they tend to weaken the individual's responsibility for his own well being. The more real income and security a person gets from sources outside his own effort, the less incentive he will have to work hard to improve his own economic position." If this is true, then the inheritance tax ought to be increased to one hundred per cent. More than one-fifth of the country's business elite inherited their positions; their wealth came from "sources outside their own effort."
Pierre Berton, The Smug Minority 
[emphasis JS]  

Here are a few numbers.

In 2012, the federal government spent $786 billion on Social Security and $94 billion on unemployment. Additionally, federal and state governments together spent $1 trillion on welfare of the food stamp variety. Adding those costs together, that's $1.88 trillion.

There are 115,227,000 households in the U.S. Split $1.88 trillion among all these households and each one gets $16,315.62.

"In the United States — as in all of the world’s wealthier nations — ending poverty is not a matter of resources."

Poverty exists, because of lack of political will and because of citizen miseducation.

Start demanding your share of your country's wealth.

Because you own it.
Nicole Tin

Monday, July 27, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1328-1330

The physical needs for food, water, shelter, clothing and basic comforts could be
easily met for all humans on the planet, were it not for the imbalance of resources created by the insane and rapacious need for more, the greed of the ego.
It finds collective expression
in the economic structures of this world,
such as the huge corporations, which are egoic entities that compete
with each other for more.
Their only blind aim is profit. They pursue that aim with
absolute ruthlessness.
Nature, animals, people, even their own
employees, are no more than digits on a 
balance sheet, lifeless objects to be used, then discarded.
Eckhart Tolle
A New Earth
[emphasis JS]

It is better to have a permanent income than to be fascinating.
Oscar Wilde

The happiest part of a man's [sic] life is what he passes lying in bed awake in the morning.  Samuel Johnson

Monday, July 20, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1325-1327

According to William D. Cohan, a former Wall Street banker who has written frequently about billionaires, if the investor class were truly interested in targeting unfairness, its members would try to alter the policies of the Federal Reserve, which tend to help the rich, or do away with inequity-inducing programs like tax incentives for hedge funds.

Mr. Cohan said that proposals like increasing the minimum wage, a popular rallying cry among those decrying income inequality, would have, at best, a minimal effect on reducing the rift between ordinary people and the 1 percent.

Most billionaires, he added, are apt to address inequality by donating portions of their fortunes, not by seeking systemic economic change. “Charity? Yes,” Mr. Cohan said. “But leveling the playing field? No.”

And yet the extremely wealthy do face an abiding risk from festering inequity: The have-nots might finally lose patience and turn upon the haves.

“That’s the real danger,” Mr. Cohan said. “This little thing called the French Revolution.”
Billionaires to the Barricades
JULY 3, 2015
New York Times
[emphasis JS]

We face a technological revolution potentially as significant as the agricultural revolution. Some 12,000 years ago, that revolution led to the very development of “civilization” as we understand it—a revolution so profound that it even changed our DNA, as wealthy farmers produced far more offspring than the indigent. The technological revolution now underway will again force us to question the way we live together—not which political party occupies the White House, but whether our political and economic systems can continue to serve our needs in an age of unthinkable abundance, increasing inequality, and zero-wage labor.

Already, today, machines are fighting our wars, managing our money, diagnosing patients, engaging in basic legal discovery, and manufacturing our products. Soon they will be driving our cars, flying our planes, caring for the elderly, and even running our corporations. Michael Osbourne, co-director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Technology and Employment at Oxford University, reported that 47 percent of jobs in the United States are at risk of automation in the next twenty years. This comports with similar findings from the likes of Brynjolfsson, McAffee, and a growing chorus of scholars....We are going to replace doctors, lawyers, accountants, and hedge fund managers, along with truck drivers, pilots, assembly line workers, executives, bank tellers, and scientific researchers.
Matt Burriesci
The Arts and Humanities Aren’t Worth a Dime
June 22, 2015
[emphasis JS]

 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.

As the community of people working on this issue has been expanding all over the world, incorporating grassroots activists, high profile academics — including several Nobel Prize winners in economics — and policymakers, the amount of high quality research on this topic has increased considerably.
Basic Income Studies

Monday, July 13, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1322-1324

There is enough food in the world for everyone.
Introduction to food security

Of course, at that exact moment, I had, yes, a college degree and a coveted unpaid (because of course it was unpaid) internship at a public radio station. But I also had a minimum wage job to support myself, $17 in my bank account, $65,000 in debt to my name, and $800 in rent due in 24 days. I was extremely hungry, worried about my utilities being shut off, and 100% planning to hit up the dumpster at the nearby Starbucks when I was done there. I had no functional stove in my tiny apartment because the gas it took to make it work was, at $10 per month, too expensive. I was at WorkSource to find out if I qualified for literally any program to make my finances less crushing.

I had, like millions of other working Americans and many, many Millennials, no financial safety net.

In the United States, approximately 15% of residents live below the poverty line and another 10.4 million are considered “the working poor.” And yet, we have very, very concrete — and very incorrect — perceptions about how poverty actually looks. And it does not look like Millennial college grads. So we kind of keep ignoring it.

The disconnect is simple: Poverty doesn’t look the way we think it looks, so we don’t think people who are, in fact, poor “look poor,” so we assume that poverty isn’t really that bad. We also assume that by taking steps that have traditionally been associated with improved economy status, it will get better.

We are now seeing that it might not.
In 2012, nearly half of American households were just one emergency away from poverty or homelessness. Most Americans don’t have the savings for literally one — ONE — unexpected bill. There are more individuals considered “the working poor” than there are who are not considered as such. Over 1.5 million individuals were estimated to have been homeless at some point in 2014. In a country where people never agree on a damn thing, nearly ¾ of people can agree on the sentiment that the poor are getting poorer.
 going to college made me, at least in the years since I’ve graduated, more poor. More financially strained than I ever could have imagined. More crushed by the persistent weight of debt. More driven by income than almost anything else. This is not about a lack of fiscal responsibility; this is the fallout of a culture that says there is only one way to get ahead, and that way is a treacherous one.
Hanna Brooks Olsen
[emphasis JS]

Data analyzed by the Pew Research Center concluded that more than half the world’s population remains “low-income,” while another 15 percent are still what a report issued by the center on Wednesday called “poor.”
The report defined as “middle” or “upper-middle” income those who lived on $10 to $50 a day. Fewer than one-fourth of the world’s population met that criteria. “Even those newly minted as middle class enjoy a standard of living that is modest by Western norms,” the report said, with barely 16 percent of the world’s population living above the official United States poverty line — $23,021 for a family of four in 2011.
Study Finds Low Incomes Constrain Half of World
JULY 8, 2015 
New York Times

Monday, July 06, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1319-1321

300,000 American furniture-making jobs were offshored to Asia.
The globalization of low-skilled manufacturing is already a fait accompli, T.P.P. proponents have argued, and the furniture- and textile-making jobs that once made the Piedmont region of the mid-Atlantic hum are not coming back from China or Mexico.
As imports soared in the decade following 2001, American manufacturing sector jobs dropped by roughly a third. There are now more American workers on disability (8.9 million) than are working on assembly lines (8.6 million)
And among the displaced workers in southside Virginia who were retrained via Trade Adjustment Assistance funds — only about a third of trade-displaced workers in Virginia opt for federally funded retraining — most end up with lesser-paying service jobs, many of them part-time.
...the decisions that closed some 63,300 American factories between 2001 and 2012
Who’s Speaking Up for the American Worker?
JUNE 25, 2015
New York Times
[emphasis JS]

 I've learned that a love of work and a love of family, balanced so that one never injures the other, is only an illusion.
Nancy K. Austin, in Inc., April 1997

So, again, it's only as we open up that question and say not, "How do we find jobs for everybody?" but "How do we find purpose and meaning and rights to resources for everybody" — which is a completely different question.
Robert Theobald

Monday, June 29, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1316-1318

Given the dismal first quarter, the economy is set to grow at an annual rate of 2 percent to 3 percent for the year, its pace through much of the recovery that began in mid-2009. That is enough to deliver lopsided results, in which income and wealth accrue to those at the top of the economic ladder. It is not enough to pull up wages and salaries for everyone else.
The overarching cause of the economy’s inability to achieve and sustain robust growth is the continued failure to employ everyone who wants and needs a job.
Unemployment is still above the pre-recession levels in Washington, D.C. and 36 states....
The average unemployment rate in the past year for college grads ages 21 to 24 was 7.2 percent, compared to 5.5 percent in the pre-recession year of 2007. Their underemployment rate, which includes those who do not have full-time hours, is 14.9 percent, compared to 9.6 percent in 2007

The situation is even worse for recent high school graduates....
    New York Times
     [emphasis JS]

...when I find a remark disgusting, or have my hands, shoulders and hips held for uncomfortably long periods of time by men I don’t know, I have to suppress my natural reaction. I try to ignore it, or feign amusement, all for the sake of the guest’s experience, my job security and the chance of a good tip. It’s easy to have ideals, but reconciling them with the need to pay rent is a more difficult task in a town with few professional opportunities.
Brittany Bronson
New York Times
APRIL 17, 2015

Thing I've always noticed, people don't commit suicide for love,
as you'd expect, that's just a fancy of novelists; 
they commit suicide because they haven't got any money.
I wonder why that is.
The Night-Nurse
Somerset Maugham
Of Human Bondage

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1313-1315

41 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds were recently enrolled in college, a higher share than in previous generations. But the unemployment rate of college graduates ages 21 to 24 remains high at an average of 8.5 percent over the past year. Underemployment — which includes those who are officially unemployed, those who want to work but haven’t looked recently for a job and those stuck in part-time jobs — is 16.8 percent.

Equally worrisome, 44 percent of young college graduates in 2012 were working in jobs that didn’t require a college degree.
Starting Out Behind
New York Times
JUNE 7, 2014
[emphasis JS]

Why are there no amazing new bands in England anymore? Ever since the ’60s, it used to be every five, 10 years, we’d see an incredible band. I asked a lot of friends of mine, well, what happened? And they all said, well they got rid of the dole. All those guys were on the dole. Actually in Cockney rhyming slang, the word for dole is rock and roll — as in, “oh yeah, he’s on the rock and roll.” All rock bands started on public relief.
No more “deserving” vs. “undeserving”: why we need a guaranteed basic income (and a parallel to intuitive eating)
Laura (dusty_rose)
[emphasis, link, JS]

BOSTON — Abe Gorelick has decades of marketing experience, an extensive contact list, an Ivy League undergraduate degree, a master’s in business from the University of Chicago, ideas about how to reach consumers young and old, experience working with businesses from start-ups to huge financial firms and an upbeat, effervescent way about him. What he does not have — and has not had for the last year — is a full-time job.

Five years since the recession ended, it is a story still shared by millions. Mr. Gorelick, 57, lost his position at a large marketing firm last March. As he searched, taking on freelance and consulting work, his family’s finances slowly frayed. He is now working three jobs, driving a cab and picking up shifts at Lord & Taylor and Whole Foods.
New York Times
APRIL 3, 2014