Jack Saturday

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 329-332

counted as one quotation:

9/84: Percentage of Americans who say they would not accept a job if a lie-detector test was required: 55

9/87: Soup kitchens in New York City in 1980: 30
September 87: 560
1989: 600

6/88: Portion of the defense budget it would take to lift every American family over the poverty line for one year: 1/9

7/00: Number of U.S. counties in which a full-time minimum-wage earner can afford a one-bedroom apartment: 0

2/99: Amount a fourth-grade Denver class has raised since last March to buy and free Sudanese slaves: $35,000

Number of Sudanese no longer enslaved as a result: 600

7/86: Percentage change in the buying power of the minimum wage since 1981: -26

7/87: Percentage increase, since 1978, in the number of full-time workers who are paid minimum wage: 60

8/87: Average annual percentage increase, since 1981, in the productivity of U.S. manufacturing workers: 4

7/87: Percentage increase, since 1978, in the number of full-time workers who are paid minimum wage: 60

8/87: Average annual percentage increase, since 1981, in the hourly wage of U.S. manufacturing workers: 0.8

7/93: Percentage of U.S. day-care workers who earn less than poverty-level wages: 57
Harper’s Index Online

Between 1963 and 1974, Dr. Stanley Milgram conducted a series of experiments that would become one of the most famous social psychology studies of the 20th century. His focus was how average people respond to authority, and what he revealed stunned and disturbed people the world over.

Under the pretense of an experiment on "learning" and "memory," Milgram placed test subjects in a lab rigged with fake gadgetry, where a man in a lab coat instructed them to administer electrical shocks to a fellow test subject (actually an actor) seated in another room in "a kind of miniature electric chair."

Participants were told they were the "teachers" in the scenario and given a list of questions with which to quiz their counterparts (the "learners"). If the respondent answered incorrectly to a question, he got an electric shock as punishment.

The shocks were light at first -- 15 volts -- and became stronger incrementally, until they reached 450 volts -- a level labeled "Danger: Severe Shock." The actors were never actually electrocuted, but they pretended they were. They groaned, shouted, and, as the current became stronger, begged for relief. Meanwhile, the man in the lab coat coolly told the test subjects to keep going.

To people's horror, Milgram discovered that a solid majority of his subjects -- roughly two-thirds -- were willing to administer the highest levels of shock to their counterparts. This was as true among the first set of his test subjects (Yale undergrads), to subsequent "ordinary" participants as described by Milgram ("professionals, white-collar workers, unemployed persons and industrial workers"), to test subjects abroad, from Munich to South Africa. It was also as true for women as it was for men (although female subjects reported a higher degree of anxiety afterward).…Now, for the first time in decades, a psychologist has replicated Milgram's famous study….….In the end, 70 percent of the subjects reached the 150-volt mark -- a statistic basically identical to Milgram's..…Participants are also absolved of any real sense of personal responsibility. "I was doing my job," is a common refrain.
Questioning Authority: A Rethinking of the Infamous Milgram Experiments
By Liliana Segura, AlterNet.
Posted February 12, 2009.

But while Milgram so effectively demonstrated the challenge of defying authority, he also showed that subjects were far more likely to do it when they saw other people doing it. He wrote in The Perils of Obedience, "The rebellious action of others severely undermines authority."
Questioning Authority: A Rethinking of the Infamous Milgram Experiments
By Liliana Segura, AlterNet.
Posted February 12, 2009.
(emphasis JS)

You might be interested in another psychological experiment performed on Spider Monkeys, I believe. The experiment was the same as Milgram's except the monkeys actually received electrical shocks, some in the debilitating range.The results were that once the monkeys doing the shocking realized their fellow primates were actually suffering they refused to administer anymore shocks even when denied food and water.Spider monkeys would die before inflicting pain on a fellow monkey, while 70% of humans just need to be told it is okay.
Whoa, wait a minute.
Posted by: bornxeyed
on Feb 12, 2009 1:35 PM

Monday, February 23, 2009


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 327-328

Why would we assume that we must keep all labor busy when we have a vast surplus of productive capacity?
When robots do most unpleasant work we will no longer be able to pretend that wealth comes from human labor. Maybe true wealth comes from human play.
Barry Brooks

Once upon a time my husband worked ten hours a day and returned before dinner where I would do a little Elaine dance hearing the garage door arise and be waiting at the door to tag team parent my one and only loud and messy child. Now my husband works fourteen hours a day, leaves me to tackle dinnertime alone with three kids and returns most nights well after baths have been given and at least two kids have been wrestled to bed. His job sucks. His boss hates him. Brown-nosing co-workers dump on him. But he can't find anything else. No one's hiring and instead firing. Even his own company will be laying off next month and he's in fear that if his boss gets to choose, he'll be the first canned. So he works. And works. And works. He gets no overtime. No respect. Just the hope that he'll have a job, albeit one that causes him daily misery. Oh, and did I mention our mortgage went up six hundred bucks? We are some of the lucky few who get to pay extra taxes. I think I heard Obama laughing when I wondered about my own stimulus check. I try not to complain. I listen to my husband's tales of the woeful work world and pat his back or give him a hug and tell him it's no big deal that he hasn't eaten dinner with us in three weeks. That, no, I won't spend any money this week. Sure, we can cancel Valentine's Day, the kids know we love them, they don't need a special day to tell them that. I guess I can quit buying the organic milk. I mean, we didn't drink organic milk and we're fine, right? But, damn, I'm tired.
Boy Crazy

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

One on Work, Two on School

Monday, February 16, 2009

Attending the Deathbed

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 324-326

I have always said that February is the Tuesday of the year. Monday is cool because it has a great reason for sucking, being that it's the beginning of the work week. Wednesday is cool because it's "hump day", and who doesn't like anything that has "hump" in it. But Tuesday? It just sucks. It's pointless. Just like February. A black hole of despair that you hope will get better, but never does.
mental meatloaf

The core of oppression is economic; oppression theory always begins and ends in economic terms. The relevant term today is classism. It was once slavery, later it was feudalism. It is now separation of people by class, the fundamental division being between those who make their living by their own work (working class) and those who make money off other peoples' work (owning class). Other divisions (poor, low, middle-class, professional, etc.) are sub-categories of working class, reflecting varying degrees of privilege or advantage in our society. It is absolutely necessary in thinking about psychiatric oppression to be very aware of economics and money. For a full and powerful exposition, I refer the reader to Thomas Szasz' book, 'Cruel Compassion', in which he shows how psychiatry serves a societal function in modern times, analogous to prisons and poorhouses of the recent past. Large numbers of people are drugged, confined and supported by the state, not because they are sick, but because they are unproductive and unwanted. "From the sixteenth to the nineteenth century adult dependents were coerced primarily on economic grounds, because they were a financial burden on the productive members of society. Since then, they have increasingly been coerced on therapeutic grounds, because they are mentally ill and hence are a danger to themselves and others. Both remedies aggravate the problem."

The bottom line is that economics is the linchpin of all oppression, including psychiatry. Psychiatry serves a major societal control function by dealing with unproductive and unwanted citizens. A related point is that oppression thrives on separation, division and fear. Fear of "mental illness" is huge. Diagnosing, labeling and treating a class of "mentally ill patients" is a powerful way of maintaining separation and division among members and segments of our society. The cloak of benevolence may protect the consciences of psychiatry's agents and their supporters, but it in no way protects the bodies and psyches of its victims.
The Necessity of Madness and Unproductivity:
Psychiatric Oppression or Human Transformation

Perhaps 20-30 percent of the people in the developed world are doing just fine financially. They are either professionals, technical experts who are indispensable in making the world economy function, former government employees on pensions, or a small minority who live off compound interest —i.e., the bankers and the rich. Most of this 20-30 percent, particularly the latter group, do not seem to have a great deal of compassion for the majority within their own nations and even less for the billions of less privileged people around the world.

For the remaining 70-80 percent who realize, with the recession now having arrived, that their livelihoods are on a slippery slope downward, possibly taking them toward personal and family catastrophe, they need only one thing —MONEY!

For many of these it would be nice to have a job, or a better job. But jobs are not the answer, even though any time a politician, economist, activist, or commentator offers an opinion on how to improve the economy they say MORE JOBS!

The way to generate income security is not to give someone a job. It is to put money —cash —in his [sic] pocket. If we began with this simple fact the economy would soon generate far more jobs than people could fill. Of course some of these jobs would be low-paying or even volunteer jobs, which would be acceptable provided that people still had enough to live on and had opportunities to earn more.

For the world economy to function and for there to be enough produced to support everyone at a decent standard of living, not everyone has to work. In fact too many workers get in each other’s way.
Richard C. Cook

Monday, February 09, 2009

Warehouse Workers

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 319-323

A homeless Louisiana man, who robbed
a bank of $100 and then voluntarily turned himself in the
next day and apologized, was sentenced to fifteen years in

Weekly Review
Feb 3, 2009

Economist Paul Krugman wrote that the political establishment has "become devotees of a new kind of voodoo [economics]: the belief that by performing elaborate financial rituals we can keep dead banks walking." Goldman Sachs' economists estimate that those rituals might cost up to $4 trillion to perform.
Joshua Holland

Today, President Obama announced that top executives' pay at companies accepting TARP funds would be capped at $500,000, with any additional compensation coming only in the form of stock options that could not be cashed until the government had been repaid.
"That is pretty draconian -- $500,000 is not a lot of money, particularly if there is no bonus." [
James F. Reda, founder and managing director of James F. Reda & Associates]
Poor Little Rich Kids: Wall Street Elites Whine About Obama's Pay Caps
Posted by
Ali Frick, Think Progress
February 4, 2009.

Most people who learned about Palin at the Republican National Convention in August would probably be surprised to learn that such a hard-line conservative supports handing out $16,345 checks to even the poorest families. Actually, families the size of Palin’ will receive $19,416 —no conditions imposed besides residency, no judgments made.

Sounding like some kind of progressive-era land reformer, Palin replied, “What we're doing up there is returning a share of resource development dollars back to the people who own the resources. And our constitution up there mandates that as you develop resources it is to be for the maximum benefit of the people, not the corporations, not the government, but the people of Alaska.
Karl Widerquist, BIG
EDITORIAL: The Alaska Dividend and the Presidential Election

So why isn’t a dividend like the one provided through the Alaska Permanent Fund paid to every U.S. resident or, for that matter, to every person in the world? Please don’t make up any phony “economic ” answers to this question. The answer is obvious —everyone else is being cheated by the monetary system.
Richard C. Cook
Bailout for the People:
Dividend Economics and the Basic Income Guarantee