Jack Saturday

Monday, May 02, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1449-1451

To the Editor: The toxic work environment we have today simply reflects our current American values. Employees were once a valued part of the organizations I worked for. Now they are disposable parts. Our children have been raised to value material gain at the cost of lifestyle and positive human experience, and we are paying the price in lower happiness and higher stress and related disease. This won’t change until our culture changes.
GREGORY A. BORROR
Bailey, Colo.
NYT Sunday Review | Letters




 ...taxpayers continue to pick up the difference between what fast-food workers earn and what they need to survive. An estimated $1.2 billion a year in taxpayer dollars goes toward public aid to help people who work at McDonald’s.

At the same time, McDonald’s is under fire in Europe for shifting profits to Luxembourg in ways that allow the company to avoid tax in Europe and in the United States.
At McDonald’s, Fat Profits but Lean Wages

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD APRIL 28, 2016 New York Times
[emphasis JS]  


Equilar notes that Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav makes $156.1 million a year ($74,796.36 an hour), or approximately 1,951 times as much as his average employee. Doug McMillan, the CEO of Wal-Mart takes in $25.6 million ($12,266.41 an hour), 1,133 times as much as the average experienced store associate, who earns roughly $22,000. Other highly-paid CEOs include Larry Merlo, the CEO of CVS Caremark, who makes 422 times as much as CVS employee, meaning that he earns an average worker’s yearly pay by 1 PM on his first work day of the new year; and Goodyear CEO Richard Kramer, who pulls in as much as an average Goodyear employee’s yearly pay by 3:00 PM on January 1st.
...
As the gap between the wealthy and the working-class continues to grow, the federal minimum wage remains stagnant at $7.25 an hour, or a little more than $15,000 a year, far below the $24,000 poverty line for a family of four.

Do you find this state of affairs upsetting?

Big Crony CEO Pay Grab--Effects Beyond Greed!

Ralph Nader

[emphasis JS]






Monday, April 25, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1446-1448

“This idea [basic income] works on so many levels,” she says. “It’s a very practical policy, in terms of ensuring that people don’t fall between the cracks of the welfare system. But it’s also a deeply radical idea in terms of its feminist potential, and what we do in a world in which more and more work is going to be automated. It also gets you into a sense of contributing to your community, cleaning up the beach, visiting an elderly friend who might be lonely. There’s a whole freedom and liberation that it gives you, and I think it takes you into really deep questions about whether we really exist simply to spend a third of our lives working for someone else.”
British Greens’ sole MP, Caroline Lucas

Should we scrap benefits and pay everyone £100 a week?
 
John Harris
theguardian




In 2014, following many complaints from members of the armed forces, retired Supreme Court justice Marie Deschamps was asked to conduct an external review of sexual misconduct and harassment in the armed forces. Her report, released in April 2015, found that the Canadian military was ridden with a misogynistic and sexualized culture, and that harassment and abuse were overlooked and under-reported. 

The issue gained prominence in the mid-1990s with the introduction of women into combat roles, and has resurfaced regularly with publicized reports of abusive behaviour and assault. 

Deschamps was told “there is not a female who has not had a problemsince joining the military, and yet most were afraid to complain for fear of repercussions, including being hampered in their careers or removed from their units. Reports have been received of abuse ranging from sexual jokes to inappropriate touching to sexual assault, with a chain of command largely blind to the issue.
Editorial: Hasten change in armed forces

Times Colonist

February 2, 2016 12:26 AM

[emphasis JS]








 Up to the present, man [sic] has been, to a certain extent, the slave of machinery, and there is something tragic in the fact that as soon as man had invented a machine to do his work he began to starve. This, however, is, of course, the result of our property system and our system of competition. One man [sic] owns a machine which does the work of five hundred men. Five hundred men are, in consequence, thrown out of employment, and, having no work to do, become hungry and take to thieving. The one man secures the produce of the machine and keeps it, and has five hundred times as much as he should have, and probably, which is of much more importance, a great deal more than he really wants. Were that machine the property of all, every one would benefit by it. It would be an immense advantage to the community. All unintellectual labour, all monotonous, dull labour, all labour that deals with dreadful things, and involves unpleasant conditions, must be done by machinery.
Oscar Wilde






 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1443-1445


The basic income approach is absolutely essential, but it is not part of the social democratic tradition. Think about it. The post-war consensus was all about national insurance, it was not about basic income. Now, either we are going to have a basic income that regulates this new society of ours, or we are going to have very substantial social conflicts. 
The Economist, March 31st 2016





 Had not the United Kingdom, regularly since the sixties, produced waves of popular music and youth culture that had swept the world, bringing in billions in direct and indirect revenue?
...
...the Blairites were operating with a completely false understanding of where cultural creativity comes from.

They naively assumed creativity was basically a middle-class phenomenon, the product of people like themselves. In fact, almost everything worthwhile that has come out of British culture for the last century, from music hall, to street kebabs, to standup comedy, rock ‘n’ roll, and the rave scene, has been primarily a working-class phenomenon. Essentially, these were the things the working class created when they weren’t actually working. The sprouting of British popular culture in the sixties was entirely a product of the United Kingdom’s then very generous welfare state....a surprising proportion of major bands later to sweep the world spent at least some of their formative years on unemployment relief.
...
Blairites were stupid enough to combine their promotion of “Cool Britannia” with massive welfare reforms, which effectively guaranteed the entire project would crash and burn, since they ensured that pretty much everyone with the potential to become the next John Lennon would instead spend the rest of their lives stacking boxes in their local Tesco as part of the new welfare conditionality. 
How hopelessness grew boring 
David Graeber 
The Baffler 
[emphasis JS]



 A team of researchers at the New York State Psychiatric Institute surveyed 43,000 Americans and found that, by some wide margin, the rich were more likely to shoplift than the poor.
...
“As you move up the class ladder,” says Keltner, “you are more likely to violate the rules of the road, to lie, to cheat, to take candy from kids, to shoplift, and to be tightfisted in giving to others..." 
By Michael Lewis 
November 12, 2014









Monday, April 11, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1440-1442

...many of those same global elite have argued that we cannot afford to provide education, healthcare or a basic standard of living for all, much less eradicate poverty or dramatically enhance the social safety net by guaranteeing every American a subsistence-level income.

The Tax Justice Network estimates the global elite are sitting on $21–32tn of untaxed assets. Clearly, only a portion of that is owed to the US or any other nation in taxes – the highest tax bracket in the US is 39.6% of income. …

A larger income, to ensure that no American fell into absolute abject poverty – say, $12,000 a year – would cost around $3.6tn. That is a big number, but one that once again seems far more reasonable when considered through the lens of the Panama Papers and the scandal of global tax evasion. Because the truth is that we have all been robbed, systematically, by the world’s wealthiest people, for decades. They have used those stolen dollars to build yet more wealth for themselves, and all the while we have been arguing with ourselves over what to do with the leftover pennies.
The Panama Papers prove it: America can afford a universal basic income
Colin Holtz 
theguardian  
[emphasis JS]



 Households with children under 18 were at greater risk than households without children. Across the country, nearly one-third of lone-parent families headed by women were food insecure. Other household characteristics associated with food insecurity included low income, being Aboriginal, being Black, and renting rather than owning one’s home.

While being on social assistance was a major risk factor, the majority of the food secure households in Canada were reliant on employment income.

“We know that social assistance recipients are particularly vulnerable, and the latest numbers show rates of food insecurity as high as 82% among people reliant on social assistance in Nova Scotia and 83% among those in Nunavut. At the same time, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that the majority of food insecure households in our country are working families.” said Naomi Dachner, co-author of the report. 
PROOF 






At present machinery competes against man [sic]. Under proper conditions machinery will serve man. There is no doubt at all that this is the future of machinery, and just as trees grow while the country gentleman is asleep, so while Humanity will be amusing itself, or enjoying cultivated leisurewhich, and not labour, is the aim of man – or making beautiful things, or reading beautiful things, or simply contemplating the world with admiration and delight, machinery will be doing all the necessary and unpleasant work. The fact is, that civilisation requires slaves. The Greeks were quite right there. Unless there are slaves to do the ugly, horrible, uninteresting work, culture and contemplation become almost impossible. Human slavery is wrong, insecure, and demoralising. On mechanical slavery, on the slavery of the machine, the future of the world depends. And when scientific men are no longer called upon to go down to a depressing East End and distribute bad cocoa and worse blankets to starving people, they will have delightful leisure in which to devise wonderful and marvellous things for their own joy and the joy of everyone else. There will be great storages of force for every city, and for every house if required, and this force man will convert into heat, light, or motion, according to his needs. Is this Utopian? A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing. And when Humanity lands there, it looks out, and, seeing a better country, sets sail. Progress is the realisation of Utopias. 





 






Monday, April 04, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1437-1439

between December 2011 and February 2014, the Department of Work and Pensions reported that 2,380 Britons previously on disability support were found dead no more than six weeks after receiving notice that they were having their benefits cut because they had been determined to be “fit for work.”  
Despair Fatigue 
How hopelessness grew boring 
David Graeber   
The Baffler 
[emphasis JS]




 How can women reconcile an interminable workday with the lion’s share of housekeeping and childrearing?

Neither option on its own is desirable; together, they are unbearable. Life shouldn’t be reduced to a balance between waged work and housework, a balance between work and work. Instead, if we are concerned about fixing the “time bind,” we should do the unimaginable: ask for more time.
...
A basic income would provide a minimum living standard.
...
A basic income would offer a social safety net—especially important in a time of economic instability. But it would also change the lives of its recipients in more qualitative ways. The basic income would ensure that individuals were financially solvent regardless of their jobs, decoupling economic status and employment. By offering money unconditionally, without a requirement for work or education, a basic income would offer financial support without stigma, unlike the current welfare-to-work system. Further, by giving individuals money that did not come directly from salaries, the basic income would also offer freedom and autonomy independent of waged work. Together with a shorter workweek, it would mean that individuals would be less dependent on their own labor to get by. It would give them room to explore their interests and ideas outside of work. It might very well give them more time.
...
Thinking about a world with more time would entail a more theoretical shift: it would mean decentering waged work from a feminist conception of a better life. Since the second wave, much of feminism has upheld waged work and work outside the home as a way for women to find independence and freedom. Mainstream feminists have often praised the workplace as the site of great gains for women and encouraged women to work and better the conditions of their workplaces through activism, professional organizations, and legal campaigns.
..
But waged work is itself constricting and demanding—hardly liberation itself. As women have entered the workplace, the kinds of jobs they take have often declined in quality, paying less, demanding more, and becoming more unstable and restricting. Work does not foster independence or freedom when individuals cannot choose where they work or the conditions under which they do so. Placing work at the core of a feminist demand obscures work’s problems and blinds us to life outside of it. 
Madeleine Schwartz 
Dissent 
[emphasis JS]




 
...no matter how hard you work, someone still has to do the crap low wage jobs. So even if we all busted our asses, a lot of us will still get left behind. Which kind of destroys the just work harder theory.

While the right wing advocates the best solution as eliminating minimum wage all together so everyone can work (work for less). Liberals always advocate raising minimum wage to a so called “living wage” so everyone can get ahead.

Conservatives counter that raising the minimum wage reduces the number of jobs and to some extent they are right, if it’s not raised gradually over time in small increments. Meanwhile, the democrats are right that it does help working families. What they fail to mention though is the unintended consequence is it creates an even wider income gap for the unemployed.

So what’s the solution? A Basic Guaranteed Income which is designed to replace the current welfare system by eliminating the government middle man and agencies and instead just give the money directly to everyone.

That’s right every adult in the U.S. from the homeless guy on the street corner to Bill Gates would get a monthly check for $1000. Children would receive $400 per month.

In fact once a Basic Income Guarantee is put in place, it does make the argument for needing to raise the minimum wage pretty weak since poverty would be eliminated. One may also argue that a minimum wage is no longer needed anymore since everyone has enough money for the basics now. So it gives democrats that income floor they have been fighting for and it gives republicans that argument to go forward with free market capitalism now that we’ve solved the welfare problem.
The rich will still be free to make all the money they want, but they’ll be living in a better society where everyone’s standard of living improves instead of just having 2 classes of society, “the haves” and the “have nots” that exist. 
Allen Bauer 
[emphasis JS]











Monday, March 28, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1434-1436

I returned to the United States. It felt quite a lot like stepping back into that other violent, impoverished world, where anxiety runs high and people are quarrelsome. I had, in fact, come back to the flip side of Afghanistan and Iraq: to what America’s wars have done to America. Where I live now, in the Homeland, there are not enough shelters for the homeless. Most people are either overworked or hurting for jobs; housing is overpriced; hospitals, crowded and understaffed; schools, largely segregated and not so good. Opioid or heroin overdose is a popular form of death; and men in the street threaten women wearing hijab. Did the American soldiers I covered in Afghanistan know they were fighting for this?    
 By Ann Jones / Tom Dispatch
AlerNet
February 7, 2016



 Modest estimates indicate there is $199 billion in Canadian money in offshore tax havens. That amount has grown dramatically as cuts at the CRA were implemented over the past decade. And it doesn't begin to reflect the dark side of an underground trade in hiding billions offshore -- literally laughing all the way to the Swiss bank.
Canada Joins 21st Century Fight against Tax Dodgers
Federal budget earmarks $90 million annually to
tackle evasion. It's about time.

By Dennis Howlett, 24 Mar 2016, TheTyee.ca

[emphasis JS]




 if we’re going to invent robots that will do our laundry and tidy up the kitchen, then we’re going to have to make sure that whatever replaces capitalism is based on a far more egalitarian distribution of wealth and power—one that no longer contains either the super-rich or the desperately poor willing to do their housework. Only then will technology begin to be marshaled toward human needs. And this is the best reason to break free of the dead hand of the hedge fund managers and the CEOs—to free our fantasies from the screens in which such men have imprisoned them, to let our imaginations once again become a material force in human history.
Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit
DAVID GRAEBER
TheBaffler

[emphasis JS]




 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotes Of The Week 1431-1433


…the decision to step down from a position of power—to value family over professional advancement, even for a time—is directly at odds with the prevailing social pressures on career professionals in the United States. One phrase says it all about current attitudes toward work and family, particularly among elites. In Washington, “leaving to spend time with your family” is a euphemism for being fired.
...
Think about what this “standard Washington excuse” implies: it is so unthinkable that an official would actually step down to spend time with his or her family that this must be a cover for something else. How could anyone voluntarily leave the circles of power for the responsibilities of parenthood? Depending on one’s vantage point, it is either ironic or maddening that this view abides in the nation’s capital, despite the ritual commitments to “family values” that are part of every political campaign. Regardless, this sentiment makes true work-life balance exceptionally difficult.
Why Women Still Can’t Have It All
Anne-Marie Slaughter

The Atlantic

[emphasis JS]



We like to think that people have to work for their money. In recent decades, social welfare has become geared toward a labor market that does not create enough jobs. The trend from “welfare” to “workfare” is international, with obligatory job applications, reintegration trajectories, mandatory participation in “voluntary” work. The underlying message: Free money makes people lazy.



Except that it doesn’t.

In recent years, numerous studies of development aid have found impressive correlations between free money and reductions in crime, inequality, malnutrition, infant mortality, teenage pregnancy rates and truancy. It is also correlated with better school completion rates, higher economic growth and improvement in the condition of women. “The big reason poor people are poor is because they don’t have enough money,” economist Charles Kenny, a fellow at the Center for Global Development, wrote in June. “It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that giving them money is a great way to reduce that problem.”
By Rutger Bregman
Washington Post
[emphasis JS]



 …one astrophysicist, Jonathan Katz, has recently warned students pondering a career in the sciences. Even if you do emerge from the usual decade-long period languishing as someone else’s flunky, he says, you can expect your best ideas to be stymied at every point:

You will spend your time writing proposals rather than doing research. Worse, because your proposals are judged by your competitors, you cannot follow your curiosity, but must spend your effort and talents on anticipating and deflecting criticism rather than on solving the important scientific problems. . . . It is proverbial that original ideas are the kiss of death for a proposal, because they have not yet been proved to work.
Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit

DAVID GRAEBER
TheBaffler

[emphasis JS]








Monday, March 14, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1428-1430

While U.B.I. has been associated with left-leaning academics, feminists and other progressive activists, it has lately been adopted by a wider range of thinkers, including some libertarians and conservatives. It has also gained support among a cadre of venture capitalists in New York and Silicon Valley, the people most familiar with the potential for technology to alter modern work.

Rather than a job-killing catastrophe, tech supporters of U.B.I. consider machine intelligence to be something like a natural bounty for society: The country has struck oil, and now it can hand out checks to each of its citizens.

These supporters argue machine intelligence will produce so much economic surplus that we could collectively afford to liberate much of humanity from both labor and suffering
...

As computers perform more of our work, we’d all be free to become artists, scholars, entrepreneurs or otherwise engage our passions in a society no longer centered on the drudgery of daily labor
 ...

“I think it’s a bad use of a human to spend 20 years of their life driving a truck back and forth across the United States,” Mr. Wenger said. “That’s not what we aspire to do as humans — it’s a bad use of a human brain — and automation and basic income is a development that will free us to do lots of incredible things that are more aligned with what it means to be human.”
A Plan in Case Robots Take the Jobs: Give Everyone a Paycheck
Farhad Manjoo
New York Times

[emphasis JS]




 Deloitte, the consultancy firm, has claimed that automation, though a net benefit to the UK economy, has removed 800,000 jobs since 2001, and that up to 11m UK jobs have a high chance of being automated within the next decade. Never have we seen such a change in the landscape of the labour market. I believe the potential consequences to be so great that we should regard automation as the most urgent issue facing the country. So why isn’t the government addressing it?
When robots do all the work, how will people live?
Tom Watson

theguardian

[emphasis JS]



The promise was that we were all going to get to work fewer hours, from home, in our pajamas, on creative pursuits, while our computers and networks did the heavy lifting. Instead, however, we find ourselves automated out of gainful employment, less secure in our futures, and glued 24/7 to screens that are extracting value from us — whether or not we’re even on the job.

This is not the Internet’s fault. Technology is not breaking the economy. The real problem is that instead of building a truly digital economy, we’re using digital technology to amplify the values and mechanisms of the growth-based industrial economy we should be leaving behind.
Screw growth. It’s time to reprogram the digital economy for people

By Douglas Rushkoff — March 3, 2016
















Monday, March 07, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1425-1427

I’ve spent the past decade researching and writing about elite performers in creative fields. In this time, I’ve noticed that examples like Feynman and Stephenson are common. That is, many people who excel in producing things that matter have work habits that seem downright lazy by the standards in their field.
...
Neal Stephenson justifies his snubbing of his readers for similar reasons. As he explained in his Bad Correspondent essay:

“If I organize my life in such a way that I get lots of long, consecutive, uninterrupted time-chunks, I can write novels. But as those chunks get separated and fragmented, my productivity as a novelist drops spectacularly..."
Want to Create Things That Matter? Be Lazy.

by Cal Newport
99U
[emphasis JS]




Some economists estimate that a quarter of the American population is now engaged in “guard labor” of one sort or another—defending property, supervising work, or otherwise keeping their fellow Americans in line. Economically, most of this disciplinary apparatus is pure deadweight.
...
The morality of debt and the morality of work are the most powerful ideological weapons in the hands of those running the current system. That’s why they cling to them even as they are effectively destroying everything else.
...
The human imagination stubbornly refuses to die. And the moment any significant number of people simultaneously shake off the shackles that have been placed on that collective imagination, even our most deeply inculcated assumptions about what is and is not politically possible have been known to crumble overnight.
A Practical Utopian’s Guide to the Coming Collapse
DAVID GRAEBER

The Baffler

[emphasis JS]




 By 2011, a significant gap appears between the two lines, showing economic growth with no parallel increase in job creation. Brynjolfsson and McAfee call it the “great decoupling.” And Brynjolfsson says he is confident that technology is behind both the healthy growth in productivity and the weak growth in jobs.
...
Countless traditional white-collar jobs, such as many in the post office and in customer service, have disappeared. W. Brian Arthur, a visiting researcher at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center’s intelligence systems lab and a former economics professor at Stanford University, calls it the “autonomous economy.” It’s far more subtle than the idea of robots and automation doing human jobs, he says: it involves “digital processes talking to other digital processes and creating new processes,” enabling us to do many things with fewer people and making yet other human jobs obsolete.
...
McAfee, associate director of the MIT Center for Digital Business at the Sloan School of Management... as digital technologies—fueled with “enough computing power, data, and geeks”—continue their exponential advances over the next several decades. “I would like to be wrong,” he says, “but when all these science-fiction technologies are deployed, what will we need all the people for?”
How Technology Is Destroying Jobs
by David Rotman

MIT Technology Review

[emphasis JS]






Monday, February 29, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1422-1424

New research released on Friday contains even more jarring numbers. Looking at the extreme ends of the income spectrum, economists at the Brookings Institution found that for men born in 1920, there was a six-year difference in life expectancy between the top 10 percent of earners and the bottom 10 percent. For men born in 1950, that difference had more than doubled, to 14 years. For women, the gap grew to 13 years, from 4.7 years.
...
...disparate life expectancies are making the country’s biggest entitlement programs, like Social Security and Medicare, increasingly unfair to the poor...
...
The Social Security Administration found, for example, that life expectancy for the wealthiest American men at age 60 was just below the rates in Iceland and Japan, two countries where people live the longest. Americans in the bottom quarter of the wage scale, however, ranked much further down — one notch above Poland and the Czech Republic.
   New York Times 
   By SABRINA TAVERNISE
   FEB. 12, 2016
    [emphasis JS]



 For example, the nurses’ union and other movements are fighting for a tax on Wall Street speculation that could generate enough revenue to set low-income families on a path to economic stability. Likewise, a 1 percent tax on concentrated wealth could erase student debt over a decade and bring the cost of public higher education to zero.
JOHN CAVANAGH

Director, Institute for Policy Studies
Washington

[emphasis JS]



 I caved. I dropped the restraining order and I took him back. That’s a moment that, as a survivor, is very difficult to get over. My family and friends were extremely upset. But the legal fees stopped. The relief of not having to worry about money was palpable. I want to stress here: This is a common story. Financial insecurity is one of the top reasons why women return to their abusers, especially if they have children. I didn’t want to end up homeless. I didn’t want my kids to suffer. Logistically, it made sense to me to take him back.
    Kate Ranta
  [emphasis JS]