Jack Saturday

Friday, May 30, 2008

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations 223, 224

An English professor who had marked one of my papers with an "F" because I had proposed an unauthorized view of a 17th century divine. In the margin of the paper, the professor had written, "I don't care what you think; I'm only interested in knowing that you know what I think." The message pretty much defined the thesis of a Yale education at the time.
...The education offered at Yale, as at Harvard, Princeton, or the University of Michigan bears comparison to the commercial procedure for stunting caterpillars just prior to the moment of their transformation into butterflies. Silkworms can be made useful but butterflies blow around in the wind, and do nothing to add to the profits of the corporation, or the power of the state.
Lewis H. Lapham,
Editor of Harper's Magazine

In any case, the goal for MIT graduates was that we would unquestioningly perform any interesting tasks that the powers that be from Harvard, Princeton, and Yale proposed for us. If the masters of the universe wanted us to produce a mechanism of corporate control over workers, or a mechanism of government oversight over citizens, or a reentry system for multiple nuclear warheads delivered by one missile, or a stabilization system so that helicopter guns could more reliably shoot water buffalo and Vietnamese peasants, or, for that matter, if the masters of the universe unexpectedly asked us to design a handgun so that those same peasants could shoot down B52s, we tech tools from MIT should meet the master's challenge. We should leave calculating the social worth of the product to the masters, their having been propitiously prepared for that at Harvard finishing school. The masters would get the social calculation right. They would ask for smart bombs, not B52-threatening handguns. Our expertise was bordered by MIT's long, gray corridors. We would deliver the goods.
Michael Albert
Remembering Tomorrow

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations 221, 222

It is fallacy that labour produces all wealth, whereas the simple fact is that production is 95 per cent a matter of tools and process.
Major Clifford Hugh Douglas,
Economic Democracy, 1920

The energy necessary to keep human life going we call "internal metabolics." Until recently, with horses and man [sic] doing all the work, primary energy was consumed internally by humanity- this last year, however, only 1% of all energy produced on earth was, and is, being consumed internally by humanity, and 99% is going into tasks outside, which flows through mechanical systems.
R. Buckminster Fuller

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotation 220

Further good news is that there is plenty of money sloshing around out there and a tiny fraction, a ridiculous, infinitesimal proportion of it would be enough to provide a decent life to every person on earth, to supply universal health and education, to clean up the environment and prevent further destruction to the planet, to close the North-South gap--at least according to the UNDP which calls for a paltry $40 billion a year. That, frankly, is peanuts.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotation 219

It is almost incredible, until you come to think of it, that a society whose key word is "enterprise," and certainly sounds active, is in fact based on the assumption that human beings are so inert, so averse to activity, that is to expenditure of energy, that every expenditure of energy is considered to be painful-- in the economist's term, a "disutility." This assumption which is a travesty of the human condition is built right into the justifying theory of the market society...

The market society is commonly justified on the grounds that it maximizes utilities, ie, that it is the arrangement by which people can get the satisfactions they want with the least effort. The notion that activity itself is pleasurable as a utility, has sunk almost without a trace under this utilitarian vision of life. This is not surprising since the economists and the liberal theoreticians following them have taken as given the capitalist market society where no one works except for a reward. To see the hollowness of this vision, one need only ask what we shall all do when automation, cybernation and new sources of non-human energy have made the system of working for material rewards quite out of date, and useless. What then shall we do-- except expend our energy in truly human activities: laughing, playing, loving, learning, creating, arranging our lives in ways that give us esthetic and emotional satisfaction.
The Real World Of Democracy

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations 217, 218

“You’re seeing a sharp slowdown in domestic demand,” said Michael T. Darda, chief economist at MKM Partners in Greenwich, Conn. “This is stall-speed growth.”
Economists suggested that larger stocks of unsold goods might portend trouble in the months ahead. If business does not swiftly improve, allowing factories to sell the products they have piled up, firms are likely to lay off workers at a more aggressive clip.
Low Spending Is Taking Toll on Economy
By Peter S. Goodman
New York Times
Published: May 1, 2008

The economy has been creating millions and millions of low-paying, no-benefits, service-sector jobs for the last 40 years. These jobs are perfect for robotic replacement. There is no reason to expect that the economy will suddenly figure out a way to create high-paying, exciting, fulfilling jobs for these tens of millions of people displaced by robots. If the economy could do that, it would be doing it now…

With robots doing all the work, we should in theory be able to enter an era of incredible human freedom and creativity. Instead of turmoil and massive unemployment, robots could theoretically release us from work. A significant portion of the population should be able to go on perpetual vacation and achieve true freedom for the first time in human history. This freedom would enable a period of creativity unlike anything that we have seen in the past. Is there a way to design the economy so that this level of creativity is possible?…

Is there a way to eliminate this dependence on a job? With the robots doing all of the work, can we actually eliminate our economy's requirement of employment? Can human beings, in other words, actually achieve true freedom as the robots make this freedom a possibility?…

What if we, as a society, simply give consumers money to spend in the economy? In other words: What if the way to achieve the strongest possible economy is to give every citizen more money to spend? For example, what if we gave every citizen of the United States $25,000 to spend?…

The economy would be strong because of all of the consumer spending.

The economy would be stable because income (and therefore spending) would be guaranteed.

With $25,000 per year to spend, innovators would no longer be forced to work -- they could focus their energy on innovation, living off of the $25K per year they receive. Inventors would have time to invent, writers to write, entrepreneurs to breed new companies, etc. They could devote all of their time to innovation.

There would be billions of dollars for people to invest, especially in their own businesses. And investors would have a stable marketplace into which to introduce new products.

Most importantly, it would create a nation where the citizens are truly free.
Marshall Brain
Robotic Freedom