You load sixteen tons, and what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt.
St. Peter don’t you call me, ’cause I can’t go.
I owe my soul to the company store.
Merle Travis, chorus of the song Sixteen Tons
We don’t work for mining companies that pay in scrip redeemable only at the company store. But we work our asses off and end up with credit cards that hit us with 19.99 percent interest, $40 late fees, and other hidden charges so heavy it’s possible – even common – to pay for years and actually owe more than you started with.
We work even longer hours than our fathers, pay higher taxes, depend on two salaries to keep one household together, shove our alienated children into daycare and government education camps, watch our money steadily inflate away, and suffer mightily from a raft of job-related mental and physical ills
What’s changed but the details? For all our material possessions, we’re in the same old cycle of working, hurting, and losing.
We take it as a given that jobs = good, that high stocks = good, and that working harder and spending lots of money = more jobs and higher stocks.
Then we go off to jobs we mostly detest. Or jobs we enjoy, but that stress us out, take us away from our families, and turn our home hours into a frenzied burden, in which we have to struggle to do everything from entertain ourselves to making artificial quality time with kids who barely know us.
There’s something wrong with this picture.
Jobs suck. Corporate employment sucks. A life crammed into 9-to-5 boxes sucks. Gray cubicles are nothing but an update on William Blake’s dark satanic mills.
Dark Satanic Cubicles – It’s time to smash the job culture!
James Tuttle |
Center For A Stateless Society
Peter Barnes: Even though good-paying jobs are in decline, there’s a lot of wealth in our economy. It produces an enormous amount of wealth. So the economy, as a whole, is okay, but the money isn’t flowing to labor.
So if we want to have a middle-class we have to take somehow from the wealth that we actually do have, and spread it around in ways that aren’t tied to people’s time-clock labor. All right, so what is all that extra wealth out there that doesn’t come from labor? A lot of it, if you really start to dig deeper, below the surface, is wealth that is either stuff that we inherit—like all the gifts of nature; the soil, the water, the air, the minerals, the trees, etc. Also, a lot of our wealth comes from stuff that society created—all of our science, knowledge, techologies, that stuff.
Plus, and here’s the key to it, there’s a lot of social infrastructure—such as the financial systems, or legal systems, our copyrights and patent laws. All of these create enormous amounts of wealth. This is wealth that is not created by individuals, not created by private corporations, but created by society. So what I’m saying is that some of that wealth should be shared equally among everybody. And that would be the basis for supplementing labor income.
It’s kind of like in board game Monopoly, which I refer to a few times in the book. The game is supposed to be a great metaphor for capitalism. It is in lots of ways, but there are two other aspects of Monopoly that are quite interesting and not present in our current capitalist system, which is the fact that everybody starts off with the same amount of capital. Now that’s nice. That would make for an interesting and fair economic system. Plus everyone gets money every time they go around the board. That keeps the game going. Without that, in Monopoly, people wouldn’t have enough to play the game. Those features ought to be part of our real-world economy. Everybody needs cash to play the game and to survive, and to have a basis on which to build, especially as I said, in these times when labor income just is not enough.
There’s no redistribution—although you did use that word. I prefer to think of what this system would be as a kind of predistribution. In other words, the government isn’t taking money from anybody, but it’s assuring that income is distributed more fairly in the first place.
AlterNet / By Steven Rosenfeld
Finally, A Simple Plan That Can Reverse Inequality and Save America's Sinking Middle-Class
A basic income.
If this is implemented before the impending robotics revolution takes all labor based jobs, it will free people from manual labor and allow them to pursue their creative, social, and personal interests on a scale no one has ever seen before. It will also accelerate robotics research even further, since companies that require laborers will no longer have them, they will truly need robots to fill those positions. We can either wait for job loss to occur on a greater level as robots push people out of their jobs, or we can implement the basic income first and let robots fill in the empty spots. This is absolutely necessary....
SocialCoin: A Cryptocurrency for a Global Basic Income