Jack Saturday

Monday, February 23, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1262-1264

The things one is paid a salary for doing are never, in my experience, serious; never seem in the long run of any particular use to anyone.
Malcolm Muggeridge

Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.
Carl Sandburg

I think wage slavery is an attack on fundamental human rights.
Noam Chomsky

Monday, February 16, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1259-1261

Most of us don’t have the freedom to complain much at work. There’s something a touch tyrannical about this condition. Our Protestant work ethic has blended with contemporary notions of self-actualization to create a situation in which we are all expected to whistle like Disney dwarfs.
FEB. 14, 2015
New York Times

A new report by the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United and Forward Together titled “The Glass Floor: Sexual Harassment in the Restaurant Industry” exposes this epidemic.

The report states that women make up 52 percent of the restaurant industry’s 11 million workers. About two-thirds of these female workers are tipped workers, who often earn a sub-minimum wage and rely on customers for the rest of their wages.

The report writes that this creates “an environment in which a majority female workforce must please and curry favor with customers to earn a living. Depending on customers’ tips for wages discourages workers who might otherwise stand up for their rights and report unwanted sexual behaviors.”

The groups spoke to one New York server who explained why workers deal with inappropriate customer behavior.

“There is a lot of sexual harassment [but] you just kind of brush it off,” she said. “I just want my tip, I don’t want anything to mess up my tip.”
'As A Waitress, I Brush Off Sexual Harassment Because I Just Want My Tip’
AlterNet / By Alyssa Figueroa 
[emphasis JS]

According to the Nova Scotia study, a single mother with three children in the province, earning the minimum wage, will be nearly $500 in the red every month if she were to purchase nutritional food (that’s after paying for other basic living costs such as rent, heat, hydro). A family of four, meanwhile, with two adults working for minimum wage, would face a monthly deficit of $44.89.

The study looked at minimum-wage data from 2002 to 2012, and used the National Nutritious Food Basket, a Health Canada measurement of 67 foods easily found in grocery stores, eaten by most Canadians and considered nutritionally balanced, to cost the food. And it concluded that the “risk of food insecurity is a critical public-health issue for low wage earners.”

The effects of a poor diet are well known. Along with stress and low energy in the short term, poor nutrition over a long time period puts people at risk for obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, and a myriad other illnesses.
HALIFAX — Globe and Mail
updated Wednesday, Oct. 22 2014

Monday, February 09, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1256-1258

I haven't been able to save anything for retirement, my son will have to find his own way to college. Vacation? what's that? And "entertainment"? don't make me laugh (though much of what passes as entertainment these days is garbage and I wouldn't spend the money on it even if I had it). Yet I make $36,000.00 per year and thus fall into the middle class bracket. I was unemployed for almost three years and it completely wiped me out. I found employment almost two years ago now but I am still digging out. I'm 53. I'll never retire. Sad thing is, I know a lot of people just like me, just hanging on. The American Dream? It's gone.
Comments section
Middle Class Shrinks Further as More Fall Out Instead of Climbing Up
New York Times
JAN. 25, 2015
[emphasis JS]

In the United States—as in all of the world’s wealthier nations—ending poverty is not a matter of resources. Many economists, including Timothy Smeeding of the University of Wisconsin (and former director of the Institute for Research on Poverty) have argued that every developed nation has the financial wherewithal to eradicate poverty. In large part this is because post-industrial productivity has reached the point where to suggest a deficit in resources is laughably disingenuous.
But there may be a solution. Some might see it as radical, but advocates, both libertarian and liberal, are suggesting straight up cash: a guaranteed subsidy to everyone.
A simple cash subsidy—$15,000 per year (which is about what the average retiree gets annually from Social Security) for every household, say—would give the poor and middle class a financial floor on which they could live, take care of their loved ones and maybe, says Jacobson, "think about what really needs doing, what they would like to do, what they have trained to do, as opposed to simply what someone might hire them to do."

It makes financial sense for the cash-strapped U.S. government.
In switching over to a universal basic income, the books will not only stay balanced—they might even move into the black. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 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 other words, if you turned the welfare system into a $15,000 basic income payment, you’d end up saving over $150 billion (or $1,315.62 per American household).
Households making over $100,000 per year probably get by just fine on their own. Cut them out of the equation, and you would end up with a $20,000 basic income check for the remaining households, while still netting the government some nice savings.
DECEMBER 14, 2014
[emphasis JS]

The animal works when deprivation is the mainspring of its activity, and it plays when the fullness of its strength is this mainspring, when superabundant life is its own stimulus to activity.
Anthropologist Marshall Sahlins
[emphasis JS]

Monday, February 02, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1253-1255

...allowing child poverty to remain at these unconscionable levels costs “far more than eliminating it would,” calculating that an immediate 60 percent reduction in child poverty would cost $77.2 billion a year, or just 2 percent of our national budget.

For context, the report puts it this way:

Every year we keep 14.7 million children in poverty costs our nation $500 billion — six times more than the $77 billion investment we propose to reduce child poverty by 60 percent.”

The report cites the M.I.T. Nobel laureate economist and 2014 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Dr. Robert Solow, who wrote in his foreword to a 1994 C.D.F. report, “Wasting America’s Future”: “As an economist I believe that good things are worth paying for; and that even if curing children’s poverty were expensive, it would be hard to think of a better use in the world for money.”
Reducing Our Obscene Level of Child Poverty
Charles M. Blow
New York Times
JAN. 28, 2015
[emphasis JS]

In the late 1960s, more than half of the households in the United States were squarely in the middle, earning, in today’s dollars, $35,000 to $100,000 a year. Few people noticed or cared as the size of that group began to fall, because the shift was primarily caused by more Americans climbing the economic ladder into upper-income brackets.

But since 2000, the middle-class share of households has continued to narrow, the main reason being that more people have fallen to the bottom. 
Middle Class Shrinks Further as More Fall Out Instead of Climbing Up
New York Times
JAN. 25, 2015
[emphasis JS]

The fundamental truth about economics is that the methods and instruments of production, freely used and fairly used, are capable of giving every human being a decent standard of living. The factors which obstruct the free and fair use of the methods and instruments of production are the factors which must disappear before a natural society can be established. Whatever these factors are - an obsolete financial system, the private ownership of property, rent and usury - they are anti-democratic factors, and prevent the establishment of a natural society, and consequently prevent the establishment of a creative civilization.
Herbert Read
To Hell With Culture
[emphasis JS]

Monday, January 26, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1250-1252

The United States offers three kinds of subsidies to tycoons with private jets: accelerated tax write-offs, avoidance of personal taxes on the benefit by claiming that private aircraft are for security, and use of air traffic control paid for by chumps flying commercial.

I worry about those tycoons sponging off government. Won’t our pampering damage their character? Won’t they become addicted to the entitlement culture, demanding subsidies even for their yachts? Oh, wait ...
Nicholas Kristof
A Nation of Takers?
MARCH 26, 2014
New York Times
[emphasis JS]

The disenfranchised, ostracised youth are an easy target for indoctrinators of all sorts. The current economic crisis, which hits the youth particularly hard, has even handed more ammunition to fanatics: among the young men who enlist to fight for Daesh, many are actually disenfranchised white youth with no familial links to Islam.
Charlie Hebdo: a letter to my British friends
Olivier Tonneau
[emphasis JS]

Target Canada currently has 133 stores across the country and employs approximately 17,600 people.

"I can't think of another time in Canadian history when 18,000 people were laid off at once; It's a tragedy on several levels," said Unifor economist Jim Stanford. "It's an incredible legacy of scorched earth that Target has left from its misguided venture up here in Canada."

The Minneapolis-based department store entered the Canadian market in 2012, after purchasing 200 former Zellers store locations from the Hudson's Bay Company.

In that $1.8 billion deal, almost 27,000 workers lost their jobs. Shortly afterward, Target announced that all Zellers employees -- regardless of experience or years of service -- would be fired and needed to reapply if they wanted a job in their rebranded workplaces. The new jobs were not unionized, and "new" hires lost their years of seniority, and started their jobs with wages set at the bottom of Target's pay scale.
...most Target workers won't qualify for Employment Insurance benefits, "because of the bias rules that makes it very hard for part-time or irregular workers to collect enough hours to qualify."
17,600 workers lose as Target Canada closes its operations
JANUARY 15, 2015
[emphasis JS]

Monday, January 19, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1247-1249

Grace also seemed disappointed that Epps would rap about smoking marijuana, among other topics, in his music, given that he graduated at the top of his high school class and attended Alabama State University on a basketball scholarship.

“Were you using pot then?” Grace asked about his high school playing days. When Epps told her he was selling marijuana then, she asked, “And would you want your children to do that?”

“No, but it was a means to an end,” he replied. “It was a way to make a living.”
Nancy Grace gets smoked trying to force her reefer madness on rapper ’2 Chainz’
[emphasis JS]

Nothing is more fundamental than food. There’s only one way you can force people to accept an intolerable lifestyle. You have to lock up the food. Though it surely isn’t recognized at the time, locking up the food is the beginning of the hierarchical life we call civilization.

As soon as the storehouse appears, someone must step forward to guard it, and this custodian needs assistants, who depend on him entirely, since they no longer earn their living as farmers. A manager class soon emerged to look after the accumulation and storage of surpluses — something that had never been necessary when everyone was just working a few hours a day. They soon came to be regarded as social and political leaders. In a single stroke, a figure of power appears on the scene to control the community’s wealth, surrounded by a cadre of loyal vassals, ready to evolve into a ruling class of royals and nobles.

What these founders of our culture fundamentally invented for us was the notion of work. They developed a hard way to live — the hardest way to live ever found on this planet. Their revolution wasn’t about food, it was about power. That’s still what it’s all about.
Daniel Quinn
Beyond Civilization: Humanity's Next Great Adventure
[emphasis JS]

The money for a basic income guarantee would be already existing money circulated through the economic system. It would not be new money, just money shifted from one location to another. This means that the value of each dollar has not changed. The dollar itself has only changed hands.

It is also important to note the observation that even when money supply is vastly expanded, the effects on prices need not be extreme. For example, the Fed’s quantitative easing added over four trillion new dollars to the U.S. money supply, and the results were not enough inflation, as defined by the Fed.

In 1982, Alaska began providing a partial basic income annually to all its residents. Until the first dividend, Alaska had a higher rate of inflation than the rest of the United States. But ever since the dividend was introduced, Alaska has had a lower rate of inflation than the rest of the United States.

A partial basic income was also provided in Kuwait in 2011, when every citizen was given $4,000. Fears of increasing inflation were rampant, as Kuwait already had high inflation. Instead of bad inflation getting worse, it actually got better, decreasing from record highs to under 4 percent.
[emphasis JS]

Monday, January 12, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1244-1246

3200. That’s how many copies of Moby-Dick were sold during Herman Melville’s lifetime. A critical and commercial flop at the time of his death — by which point he was working as an anonymous customs inspector for the City of New York — it took nearly 50 years for Melville’s book to become the Great American Novel.
How to Get Read on Medium
[emphasis JS]

Espied from some timid man-of-war, or blundering discovery vessel from afar, when the distance obscuring the swarming fouls, nevertheless shows the white mass floating in the sun, and the white spray heaving high against it; straightway the whale's
unharming corpse, with trembling fingers is set down in the log: shoals, rocks, and breakers hereabouts: beware!  And for years afterwards, perhaps, ships shun the place; leaping over it as silly sheep leap over a  vacuum, because their leader originally leapt there when a stick was held. There's your law of precedents; there's your utility of traditions; there's the story of your obstinate survival of old beliefs never bottomed on the earth, and now not even hovering in the air!  There's orthodoxy!
Melville, from Moby-Dick

Reason has no chance if men [sic] are starving, or even if they have undue cause for envy. But granted an economy that is no longer competitive, in which the highest yield of production is wisely and evenly distributed among all mankind, then reason will have a chance.
Herbert Read
The Politics Of The Unpolitical (1963)
[emphasis JS]

Monday, January 05, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1241-1243

Bumping into a student at the gym can be awkward, but exposing the reality that I, with my master’s degree, not only have another job, but must have one, risks destroying the facade of success I present to my students as one of their university mentors.

In class I emphasize the value of a degree as a means to avoid the sort of jobs that I myself go to when those hours in the classroom are over. A colleague in my department labeled these jobs (food and beverage, retail and customer service — the only legal work in abundance in Las Vegas) as “survival jobs.” He tells our students they need to learn that survival work will not grant them the economic security of white-collar careers. I never told him that I myself had such a job, that I needed our meeting to end within the next 10 minutes or I’d be late to a seven-hour shift serving drunk, needy tourists, worsening my premature back problem while getting hit on repeatedly.
Your Waitress, Your Professor
[emphasis JS]

Ft. Lauderdale has earned a national reputation for its treatment of homeless people this year. In the span of eight months, the city has passed new ordinances making it illegal for homeless people to sleep in public and prohibiting homeless people from having possessions in public on top of the recent crackdown on volunteers handing out food. The city also arrested a homeless man for speaking out during a meeting where the City Commission honored National Homeless Week.
90-Year-Old Vet Arrested For Feeding Homeless Will Hand Out Christmas Eve Dinner
[emphasis JS]

Marx never asked what might happen if intense global competition some time in the future forced entrepreneurs to introduce ever more efficient technologies, accelerating productivity to the point where the marginal cost of production approached zero, making goods and services "priceless" and potentially free, putting an end to profit and rendering the market exchange economy obsolete. But that's now beginning to happen.
Hundreds of millions of people are already transferring bits and pieces of their lives from capitalist markets to the emerging global collaborative commons, operating on a ubiquitous internet-of-things platform. The great economic paradigm shift has begun.
Jeremy Rifkin
The Guardian
[emphasis JS]

Monday, December 29, 2014

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1238-1240

Reports this year have shown the highest numbers ever of child poverty in B.C. Most of the children affected live in families led by low-income single mothers.
Other studies have found that hundreds of Victoria families are living below the poverty line and are at risk of homelessness.
One report found that on one night in February, 70 families sought emergency shelter in Victoria. Of the 78 people turned away from shelters that night, 12 were children.
Series: The growing problem of hidden poverty in Greater Victoria
Sarah Petrescu / Times Colonist 
December 26, 2014
[emphasis JS]

At The Washington Post, Christopher Ingraham reports on the results of the study, which was published in the journal Sleep: “Compared to normal sleepers, so-called ‘short sleepers’ — those who are getting six hours or less on weeknights — worked 1.5 more hours on weekdays and nearly two hours more on weekends and holidays.” And, he notes, lack of sleep is linked to car accidents and a number of health problems. “To the extent that we’re trading sleep for work,” he writes, “our jobs are literally killing us."
New York Times
[emphasis JS]

For the first time in decades, a Basic Income which would end poverty and guarantee true freedom and dignity for all has made real progress in the political arena.
Basic Income News
DECEMBER 15, 2014

Monday, December 22, 2014

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1234-1237

The digital economy demands a digital workforce.
Step Into The Future: Meet Amelia

Can Amelia be sexually harassed? I bet the egg heads have forgotten about this vital characteristic.
Comment section

There is an approximately 50% deflation rate for all information technology. That is why mobile phones were only affordable by the wealthy 15 years ago and now are dramatically better yet very inexpensive, so much so that there are approximately six billion cell phones in the world and about a billion smart phones.
Technology starts out affordable only by the rich at a point where it does not work very well. By the time a technology is perfected it is almost free. Even physical devices will become almost free with the advent of 3D printing.
Ray Kurzweil
[emphasis JS]

Let us ask: what are the needs of each one of us? Sufficient food and clothing, adequate housing - a certain minimum of these necessities should be the inalienable right of every member of the community. Until it can provide these minimum necessities, a society must be branded as inhuman and inefficient.
Herbert Read
To Hell With Culture