Jack Saturday

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


Monday, July 30, 2018

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1801-1803

Greenfield shows us the investment banker who cannot recall the number of homes he owns as he eyes his next yacht; the Orlando time-share mogul who builds a 90,000-square-foot mansion on credit, hoping to outrival the Palace of Versailles; the etiquette coach in Beijing who charges $16,000 to teach proper pronunciation of Western designer labels; the wife of a Russian oligarch who proudly labels herself “a luxury.”

In addition to the mega-rich, Greenfield also shows us the poor — primarily white American women, as she’s chosen to represent them — who are equally caught up in this frantic, often narcissistic, struggle for excess: the school bus driver who puts herself in debt and loses her child and home after traveling to Brazil for plastic surgery (“It was time to focus on me”); the small-town 15-year-old girl who wants to become a porn star because she is determined to “make something of [her]self”; the six-year-old beauty queen who chants through pouty, painted lips, “money, money, money!” while dressed like a Vegas showgirl.
By Anne Anlin Cheng


  For a number of years now, I have been conducting research on forms of employment seen as utterly pointless by those who perform them. The proportion of these jobs is startlingly high. Surveys in Britain and Holland reveal that 37 to 40 percent of all workers there are convinced that their jobs make no meaningful contribution to the world. And there seems every reason to believe that numbers in other wealthy countries are much the same. There would appear to be whole industries — telemarketing, corporate law, financial or management consulting, lobbying — in which almost everyone involved finds the enterprise a waste of time, and believes that if their jobs disappeared it would either make no difference or make the world a better place.
Are You in a BS Job? In Academe, You’re Hardly Alone
By David Graeber
The Chronicle Of Higher Education

May 06, 2018

[emphasis JS]

Uwe Mauch has called Vienna “home” for more than 30 years. The 52-year-old Austrian journalist and writer lives in a subsidized apartment in the north of the European city, in one of the many low-cost housing complexes built around leafy courtyards by the municipal government.

Mauch pays 300 euros, or the equivalent of $350, a month in rent for his one-bedroom apartment ― only 10 percent of his income.

“It’s great ― I’m really happy living here,” he says. “I like all the green space right outside my window. When people from other countries visit, they can’t believe it’s so nice and also so cheap.”

With its affordable and attractive places to live, the Austrian capital is fast becoming the international gold standard when it comes to public housing, or what Europeans call “social housing” ― in Vienna’s case, government-subsidized housing rented out by the municipality or nonprofit housing associations. Unlike America’s public housing projects, which remain unloved and underfunded, the city’s schemes are generally held to be at the forefront not only of progressive planning policy but also of sustainable design.
Social housing in Vienna has been widespread since the 1920s when the post-war municipality, led by the Social Democrats, began building high-density estates all over the city ― typically six- to eight-story apartment blocks with communal green spaces. Today, anyone earning up to $53,225 a year after taxes is eligible to apply for a subsidized apartment in Vienna in a country where the median gross annual income is about $31,500.

According to the municipality, 62 percent of Vienna’s citizens currently live in social housing.
Vienna’s Affordable Housing Paradise
Adam Forrest

[emphasis JS]

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1798-1800

Another way of putting it is that the badness of work is the result of a collective action problem, whereby the individually rational behaviour of workers and employers is resulting in a social arrangement that is bad for most workers, most of the time. 
The Case Against Work
John Danaher

 With Canada's job market booming but paycheques remaining stagnant, an overwhelming majority of employees say they are fed up with their pay.

The survey found 83 per cent of Canadians are dissatisfied with the pay they're receiving, slightly higher than the 81 per cent of Americans who said the same in a poll carried out for Indeed U.S.

But what it comes down to, Kasten suggested, is the rising cost of living. Canadians saw food prices climb over the past year, and they've been hearing plenty of talk about rising interest rates and the hit to household budgets that they cause.

83% Of Canadians Are Fed Up With Their Pay, And This May Be The Year They Do Something About It
By Daniel Tencer

DG:  They’re miserable! Two or three people said they kind of like their bullshit jobs, but the overwhelming majority, they’re sick all the time. They talk about depression, they talk about complex illnesses, psychological and physical and immune problems that all clearly have to do with tension and anxiety and depression.

And also they’re mean to each other. They scream at each other. The more meaningless the work, the more people suffer doing it and the worse they treat each other.
Thursday, May 10, 2018

Is Your Job Bullshit? David Graeber on Capitalism’s Endless Busywork
by Dayton Martindale
In These Times 


Monday, July 16, 2018

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1795-1797

Four days a week she works at a dental office, Fridays she nannies, weekends she babysits. And still she couldn’t keep up with her rent, car lease and student loans. Earlier this year she had to borrow money to file for bankruptcy. I heard the same walls-closing-in anxiety from millennials around the country and across the income scale, from cashiers in Detroit to nurses in Seattle.
Why millennials are facing the scariest financial future
of any generation since the Great Depression.

By Michael Hobbes
Huffington Post

Blue-collar jobs now make up less than 14 percent of total employment, down from 31 percent in 1970.
Are More and More People Working Meaningless Jobs?

By Alana Semuels
June 26, 2018 


Real freedom, that is the real possibility — not just the formal right — to do whatever one might want to do with one’s life, is a matter of degree. And there are many ways in which the institutions of a society impact the real freedom of its members, for example by providing free or highly subsidized quality education and health care, or by promoting not just sustainable mobility but also enjoyable immobility in the public spaces of our cities. But an unconditional cash income at the highest sustainable level is an obvious instrument in the pursuit of social justice as I understand it, that is as the greatest possible real freedom for those with least of it.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1792-1794

What’s there to do? It’s just a perversity of capitalism that not only is our labor a commodity to be bought as dearly as possible but on top of it all we are expected to sell it ourselves. It’s an exercise in insincerity as we try to embellish and fluff our way into the favor of a bored HR rep just so we can keep the lights on at home. That’s our lot.

There’s something of the court jester to the routine — dancing for the amusement of aloof and capricious kings. A differential in power suffuses every syllable. We have to differentiate ourselves from a crowd of the equally desperate, paupers clutching at the cloaks of nobles as they pass us by.
What would a world look like in which we stopped selling ourselves? What would a world look like in which work is a dirty necessity, best left to machines? We’ll achieve that technological point within the lifetimes of people alive today. Can we reach it socially? The future of our species may well depend on it.
Don’t Sell Yourself
Peter Breslauer

 [emphasis JS]

 One solution to income inequality is giving out free cash, according to the British billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson.

“A basic income should be introduced in Europe and in America,” Branson told David Gelles of The New York Times.

Branson was responding to the question, “What do you think those in positions of power should do to address social problems like income inequality?”

In a report published in January, the global charity Oxfam found that 82 percent of the growth in global wealth in the previous year went to the top 1 percent of individuals ranked by riches. Meanwhile, the bottom 50 percent had no increase in their wealth, the report says.

“It’s a disgrace to see people sleeping on the streets with this material wealth all around them,” Branson said.

Billionaire Richard Branson: America should give out free cash to fix income inequality
Catherine Clifford   

[emphasis JS]

Perhaps most importantly, it would offer people real freedom, to choose their own destinies and build their own futures. A low-wage, full time job would change from panicked subsistence to a more-or-less comfortable living with a little money in the bank for retirement. A part-time job would be enough to fund higher education or artistic pursuits. With no EI premiums, no minimum wage, and basic income as a fallback, the entrepreneurial spirit would flourish and small businesses would pop up all over, and with less overhead be in general more likely to succeed. And folks who still wanted to work hard, excel in business, and make their fortune, could still do so, and would still be able to enjoy the fruits of their labours just as much.
Rob MacLeod
comment section
B.C. to explore how basic income could work in the province
The Canadian Press

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1789-1791

In truth, the pharmaceutical industry in the United States is largely socialized, especially upstream in the drug development process, when basic research cuts the first pathways to medical breakthroughs. Of the 210 medicines approved for market by the FDA between 2010 and 2016, every one originated in research conducted in government laboratories or in university labs funded in large part by the National Institutes of Health. Since 1938, the government has spent more than $1 trillion on biomedical research, and at least since the 1980s, a growing proportion of the primary beneficiaries have been industry executives and major shareholders. Between 2006 and 2015, these two groups received 99 percent of the profits, totaling more than $500 billion, generated by 18 of the largest drug companies. This is not a “business” functioning in some imaginary free market. It’s a system built by and for Wall Street, resting on a foundation of $33 billion in annual taxpayer-funded research.
How Big Pharma Was Captured by the One Percent
By Alexander Zaitchik
The New Republic

[emphasis JS]

 In recent years, policymakers have paid increasing attention to the many ways in which factors beyond school influence a child’s educational outcomes. Indeed, recent research finds that the “poverty” achievement gap – that is, the difference in academic achievement between poor and non-poor children – has grown faster than the racial achievement gap.
On average, approximately 18 percent of third grade students has been subject to at least one formal investigation for child maltreatment. In some schools, more than fifty percent of third graders have experienced an investigation for maltreatment. These estimates indicate that child abuse and neglect cannot simply be treated like a secondary issue, but must be a central concern of school personnel.

How Life Outside of School Affects Student Performance in School
By Brian A. Jacob and Joseph Ryan

[emphasis JS]

 With bullshit jobs, there is the idea that if you’re not working hard at something you don’t enjoy, then you’re a bad person and don’t deserve public relief. Those deeply rooted beliefs are the strongest weapons capitalism has.
Thursday, May 10, 2018

Is Your Job Bullshit?
David Graeber on Capitalism’s Endless Busywork
by Dayton Martindale
In These Times

Monday, June 25, 2018

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1786-1788

These days, those benefits are explicitly geared toward getting mothers away from their children and into the workforce as soon as possible. A few states require women to enroll in training or start applying for jobs the day after they give birth.
Why millennials are facing the scariest financial future of any generation since the Great Depression.
By Michael Hobbes

[emphasis JS]

Contrary to the cliché, the vast majority of millennials did not go to college, do not work as baristas and cannot lean on their parents for help. Every stereotype of our generation applies only to the tiniest, richest, whitest sliver of young people. And the circumstances we live in are more dire than most people realize.
Why millennials are facing the scariest financial future of any generation since the Great Depression.
By Michael Hobbes

You’re less in favor of the whole job guarantee idea, which Bernie Sanders and others have endorsed, and would rather see a guaranteed basic income.

[David Graeber:] That's correct. I'm someone who doesn't want to create more bureaucracy and more bullshit jobs. There's a debate between job guarantee—which you’re right that Sanders is now endorsing in America. It’s the idea that governments should ensure that everybody has access to at least some kind of job. But the idea behind universal income is you just give people enough money to live on. After that, it's up to you how much more you want.

And, again, I personally think that the job guarantee would just create more bullshit jobs. Historically, that's what always happens. And why would we want the government deciding what we can do? Freedom means our ability to decide for ourselves what we want to do with ourselves and how we want to contribute to society. It seems as if we've conditioned ourselves to think that even though we talk about freedom as our highest value, we don't really want it. And basic income would help provide exactly that. Wouldn’t it be great to say, “Okay, you don't have to worry about survival. Now go off and decide what you want to do with yourself."?
Your Job Doesn't Matter
Eric Allen Been

[emphasis JS]

Monday, June 18, 2018

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1783-1785

I am 35 years old—the oldest millennial, the first millennial—and for a decade now, I’ve been waiting for adulthood to kick in. My rent consumes nearly half my income, I haven’t had a steady job since Pluto was a planet and my savings are dwindling faster than the ice caps the baby boomers melted.
Why millennials are facing the scariest financial future of any generation since the Great Depression.
By Michael Hobbes

Juha Jarvinen, one of the triallists who is 39 and married with six children and a dog, told the BBC:

    "I felt like a free man. I got out from jail and slavery...I felt I am back in society and I have my humanity back, so I was super happy."

Finland is giving each citizen a universal basic income and it's changing lives
Louis Doré

 The conclusions are damning. “The United States already leads the developed world in income and wealth inequality, and it is now moving full steam ahead to make itself even more unequal,” the report concludes. “High child and youth poverty rates perpetuate the intergenerational transmission of poverty very effectively, and ensure that the American dream is rapidly becoming the American illusion.”

The UN explicitly lays blame with the Trump administration for policies that actively increase poverty and inequality in the country. “The $1.5 trillion in tax cuts in December 2017 overwhelmingly benefited the wealthy and worsened inequality. The consequences of neglecting poverty and promoting inequality are clear,” it concludes. “The policies pursued over the past year seem deliberately designed to remove basic protections from the poorest, punish those who are not in employment and make even basic health care into a privilege to be earned rather than a right of citizenship.”

The United Nations Just Published a Scathing Indictment of US Poverty
Jeremy Slevin,