Jack Saturday

Monday, April 21, 2014

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1129-1131

Mr. Piketty calculates that today the richest 1 percent owns about half the planet’s wealth.
According to Mr. Piketty’s calculations, the immutable dynamic of returns on capital being greater than the rate of economic growth will concentrate half the planet’s wealth in the hands of the richest 0.1 percent within 30 years, impoverishing not only the middle, but also the upper-middle classes.
Scott Reyburn
New York Times
APRIL 20, 2014
[emphasis JS]

America’s social welfare system has denuded the civic culture that immigrants to America helped shape. That’s according to libertarian economist Charles Murray, who thinks the guaranteed basic income can restore that culture.

Editor’s Note: Switzerland is considering a ballot referendum on an unconditional income of 30,000 Francs for all Swiss citizens. As the leader of the Swiss movement for a basic income, artist Enno Schmidt, told us, a guaranteed basic income would deconstruct the link between work and income. An economy under this system, he said, would be more about working with and helping each other. That may be easy to dismiss as a Swiss, if not European, way of thinking. But even though the guaranteed basic income hasn’t generated the same mainstream buzz in the United States, it has plenty of American proponents on both sides of the political aisle.

Perhaps most outspoken among them is libertarian economist Charles Murray, who argues that a guaranteed income administered by the government would take the government out of people’s lives, and consequently, restore the fabric of American culture — a culture where people are responsible for each other. Murray, a longtime friend of Making Sen$e, spoke to us about his last book, “Coming Apart,” in 2012 and is the architect of our popular “Bubble Quiz.”

The following transcript of Paul Solman’s extended conversation with Murray about the guaranteed income has been edited and condensed for length and clarity. Murray also appears in our Making Sen$e segment about the basic income [...]

– Simone Pathe, Making Sen$e Editor

Paul Solman: What’s the case for a minimum income?

Charles Murray: From a libertarian’s point of view, we’re going to be spending a lot of money on income transfers, no matter what.

Paul Solman: Why?

Charles Murray: The society is too rich to stand aside and say, “We aren’t going to do anything for people in need.” I understand that; I accept that; I sympathize with it.

What I want is a grand compromise between the left and the right. We on the right say, “We will give you huge government, in terms of the amount of money we spend. You give us small government, in terms of the ability of government to mess around with people’s lives.”

So you have a system whereby every month, a check goes into an electronic bank account for everybody over the age of 21, which they can use as they see fit. They can get together with other people and then combine their resources. But they live their own lives. We put their lives back in their hands.

Paul Solman: So this has similarities with the voucher movement; that is, give the money to people because they will know better how to spend it.

Charles Murray: In that sense, it’s similar to a voucher program, but my real goal with all of this is to revive civil society. Here’s what I mean by that: You have a guy who gets a check every month, alright. He is dissolute; he drinks it up and he’s got 10 days to go before the next check comes in and he’s destitute. He now has to go to friends, relatives, neighbors or the Salvation Army, and say, “I really need to survive.” He will get help.

But under a guaranteed basic income, he can no longer portray himself as a victim who’s helpless to do anything about it. And you’ve got to set up feedback loops where people say, “Okay, we’re not going to let you starve on the streets, but it’s time for you to get your act together. And don’t tell us that you can’t do it because we know you’ve got another check coming in in a couple of days.”

A guaranteed basic income has the potential for making civic organizations, families and neighborhoods much more vital, helpful and responsive than they have been in decades.
Libertarian CharlesMurray: The welfare state has denuded our civic culture
April 10, 2014

[emphasis JS]

Whereas before the problem of identity had been one of meagreness and poverty, it has now become the problem of abundance and superfluity. We are individually overwhelmed by corporate  consciousness and by the inclusive experience of mankind both past and present.  It would be a cosmic irony if men [sic] proved unable to cope with abundance and riches in both the economic and psychic order.  It is not likely to happen.  The most persistent habits of penury are bound to yield before the onslaught of largesse and abundant life.
Marshall McLuhan,
Contemplating Me 
[emphasis JS]

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Alan Watts, Basic Income

Alan Watts, 4 minutes 48 seconds

Jew and Muslim

Monday, April 14, 2014

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1126-1128

If you tell a guy in the street you're hungry you scare the shit out of him, he runs like hell. That's something I never understood. I don't understand it yet. The whole thing is so simple-- you just say Yes when some one comes up to you. And if you can't say Yes you can take him by the arm and ask some other bird to help you out. Why you have to don a uniform and kill men you don't know, just to get that crust of bread, is a mystery to me. That's what I think about, more than about whose trap its going down or how much it costs. Why should I give a fuck about what anything costs? I'm here to live, not to calculate. And that's just what the bastards don't want you to do-- to live! They want you to spend your whole life adding up figures. That makes sense to them. That's reasonable. That's intelligent. If I were running the boat things wouldn't be so orderly perhaps, but it would be gayer, by Jesus! You wouldn't have to shit in your pants over trifles.
Henry Miller,
Tropic Of Capricorn

Montreal has more tall buildings. But wait! The Toronto-Dominion Bank is building the highest skyscraper in the British Commonwealth! Panic over at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce which used to have the highest skyscraper in the British Commonwealth! It must build a higher one: then maybe Toronto will be ahead of Montreal. Nobody seems to think of measuring a city's progress in terms of its park space, or the comparative breadth of its boulevards, or the number of trees still alive in the downtown area, or the size and number of public squares, or the amount of its public housing, or the recognition awarded to its artists. But then parks are for idlers, trees block traffic, there is no tax assessment on public squares, and the quality of a painting is not taken into account in the Gross National Product.
Pierre Berton, The Smug Minority, 1968 p. 22

The withered emasculation of our democratic statesmanship is the withered emasculation of America. The witch-hunting savagery of pompous male sluts in our national halls is that quality of all the people. The petty greed and relentless solicitation of these quasi males is our own. The sacrifice of power, of dignity, or responsibility, of national security and interest to a little patronage or the achievement of a trivial local profit is the measure of our universal loss of aim, purpose, moral worth, view, vision, integrity, and common cause.

The appalling stupidity of these men, highlighted by the ferocious peril of these hours, is the exact measure of the stupidity of the people in our states, cities, towns, and villages. When we condemn them, which we rightly do with nearly every dispatch concerning their multifarious and nonsensical agenda, we condemn ourselves. When we say these men have abandoned their strength to the administration, because of pressure, we state how great has been our own eagerness to lay down the chore of civic duty and let an administration--or nobody--pick up and exploit our united strength.
Philip Wylie
Generation Of Vipers, 1942

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Smart Businessmen and Moochers

(O'Reilly), Stewart, Uygur
44 seconds

Monday, April 07, 2014

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1123-1125

Art has no function. It is not necessary. It has nothing to do with what anyone wants you to do or wants it to be, nothing but you and itself. The work generates itself and ideas and progress and learning come out of doing the work in a particular way. Creative art is a learning process for the artist and not a description of what is already known. An audience is always warming but it must never be necessary to your work. The work needs concentration and one is often exhausted by it. It takes so much effort just to begin and although going on is mostly a pleasure it is also a great effort. The only thing for a creative artist to do is to do his [sic] chosen work. But really there is no choice. Nobody chooses.

The only thing left for a creative artist to do is to do his chosen work in spite of everything and regardless of anything because when living draws to its end there are no excuses he can make to himself or to anyone else for not having done it. Either he did do it or he did not do it and very often he did not. Alas very often he did not.
Gertrude Stein

For me to be a saint means to be myself. Therefore the problem of sanctity and salvation is in fact the problem of finding out who I am and of discovering my true self. Trees and animals have no problem. God makes them what they are without consulting them, and they are perfectly satisfied. With us it is different. God leaves us free to be whatever we like. We can be ourselves or not, as we please. We are at liberty to be real, or to be unreal. We may wear now one mask and now another, and never if we so desire, appear with our own true face. But we cannot make these choices with impunity. Causes have effects, and if we lie to ourselves and to others, then we cannot expect to find truth and reality whenever we happen to want them. If we have chosen the way of falsity we must not be surprised that truth eludes us when we finally come to need it.
Thomas Merton , The Shining Wilderness

How often during my work a fine idea comes to me, a rare image, and sudden ready-formed lines, and I'm obliged to leave them, because work can't be put off. Then when I go home and recover a bit, I try to remember them, but they're gone. And it's quite right. It's as if Art said to me: 'I'm not a servant, for you to turn me out when I come, and to come when you want. I'm the greatest lady in the world. And if you deny me-- miserable traitor-- for your wretched "nice house," and your wretched good clothes and your wretched social position, be content with that (but how can you?) and for the moments when I come and it happens that you're ready to receive me, come outside your door to wait for me, as you ought to every day.'
Ars Gratia Artis
from the writings of C. P. Cavafy 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1120-1122

"Have you done your homework?" my mother would ask.

           "I'll do it later."
 "You will do it now, young man. I don't want you winding up on the third shift at Flagg-Utica."
Flagg-Utica was a local textile plant.
Somehow, I never could figure how failing to read three chapters in my geography book about the various sorts of vegetation to be found in a tropical rain forest had anything to do with facing a life as a mill hand. But with enough guilt and fear as catalysts, you can read anything, even geography books and Deuteronomy.
Lewis Grizzard
[emphasis JS]

One applies oneself to joining the grazing herd of peeweesaurs. Its magnitude is obscured by the curvature of the earth. Foraging beezer-to-bum for goods and services, one prays to Santa Claus and to the square root of the hypoteneuse, that the demonstrable smartness of one's ass might migrate to lodge in one's standard of living.
Craig Piprell

Go to college, get out of poverty. In 2012, about 1.1 million people who made less than $25,000 a year, worked full time, and were heads of household had a bachelor's degree.
Mother Jones

Saturday, March 29, 2014

If All The Bankers Went On Strike

Barbara Jacobson, 30 seconds

Monday, March 24, 2014

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1117-1119

As soon as men [sic] accept money as an equivalent for life, the sale of living activity becomes a condition for their physical and social survival. Life is exchanged for survival. Creation and production come to mean sold activity. A man's activity is "productive," useful to society, only when it is sold activity. And the man himself is a productive member of society only if the activities of his daily life are sold activities. As soon as people accept the terms of this exchange, daily activity takes the form of universal prostitution.
The reproduction of daily life
Fredy Perlman

[emphasis JS]

The inherent dynamism of competitive markets is bringing costs so far down that many goods and services are becoming nearly free, abundant, and no longer subject to market forces. While economists have always welcomed a reduction in marginal cost, they never anticipated the possibility of a technological revolution that might bring those costs to near zero.

What makes the social commons more relevant today is that we are constructing an Internet of Things infrastructure that optimizes collaboration, universal access and inclusion, all of which are critical to the creation of social capital and the ushering in of a sharing economy.

We are … entering a world partly beyond markets, where we are learning how to live together in an increasingly interdependent, collaborative, global commons.
New York Times
[emphasis JS]

All over the world, people are talking guaranteeing basic incomes for citizens as a viable policy. 
Half of all Canadians want it. The Swiss have had a referendum on it. The American media is all over it: The New York Times’ Annie Lowrey considered basic income as an answer to an economy that leaves too many people behind, while Matt Bruenig and Elizabeth Stoker of the Atlantic wrote about it as a way to reduce poverty.
Alternet / by Lynn Stuart Parramore
[emphasis + link JS]

Monday, March 17, 2014

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1114-1116

 If one meets a powerful person - Rupert Murdoch, perhaps, or Joe Stalin or Hitler -  one can ask five questions: what power do you have; where did you get it; in whose interests do you exercise it; to whom are you accountable; and, how can we get rid of you? Anyone who cannot answer the last of those questions does not live in a democratic system.
Tony Benn

It can easily be seen that, in the circumstances of mature capitalism... ...that the concept of property be broadened-  that it no longer be confined to the individual right to exclude others, but be extended to include each individual's right not to be excluded from the use or benefit of things, and productive powers, that can be said to have been created by the joint efforts of the whole society.
C.B. MacPherson, 

A Political Theory Of Property,
Democratic Theory, Essays In Retrieval,
Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1973. (p. 136.)

[emphasis JS]

As Jaron Lanier points out, Kodak once provided 140,000 middle class jobs, and in the smouldering ruins of that company’s bankruptcy we have Instagram, with 13 employees.  It’s an extreme example, in most cases the economic misery is largely confined to young people, with entry-level workers trapped in a cycle of internships, ever-lengthening education, and debt.  The result is that young people are not being allowed to grow up.  In the 1960s the average first-time house buyer was 24 years old, and as late as 2002 it was 28.  The average is now 37.  The path to economic selfhood is being stretched by market forces, too many people chasing too few jobs, and a continuation of the status quo is likely to push that lifeboat out even further.

In stripping out inefficiencies and pushing digital goods to near-free prices, the Internet kills middle-class jobs.  Digitization has already largely de-monetized academia, film, music, journalism, and lots more besides.  More industries will feel the pain, including the legal professions, real estate, insurance, accounting, and the civil service, all of which are built on inefficiency, and all of which will be stripped of jobs in the years to come.  As it becomes clear to those with established positions that there are no jobs for their children, they’ll push for a more radical solution.
As has become increasingly clear, austerity is not working, and should never have been expected to work.  An unconditional basic income would be the Keynesian response that should have been launched as soon as it became clear the financial sector had a rotten core.  In other words, it would be a bailout for consumers.
by Lui in Blog
[emphasis JS]

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Robert Reich on Basic Income in the USA

Robert Reich, 1 minute 57 seconds