Jack Saturday

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 338, 339

What real people didn’t understand was that there is no way to compete against speculators. Speculators aren’t buying homes in which to live—they are buying houses to flip. Speculators aren’t buying corn to eat or oil to burn, but bushels to hoard and tankers to park off shore until prices rise. The fact that the speculative economy for cash and commodities accounts for over 95% of economic transactions, while people actually using money and consuming commodities constitute less than 5% tells us something important. Real supply and demand have almost nothing to do with prices. We do not live in an economy, we live in a Ponzi scheme.
Douglas Rushkoff

FULL EMPLOYMENT has been widely ballyhooed as a corollary of prosperity and social well-being. It is the hope of the politician, and almost full employment is the hope of the businessman and industrialist. It is also a desirable social condition from the viewpoint of the moralist. Furthermore, full employment is in agreement with the social objectives of the engineer, but not in the same sense as for the other three.
The politician in office wants full employment for his constituents. Full employment means that they are all getting an income and are thus able to pay taxes. It also keeps them out of mischief, especially the kind of mischief that leads to social change or even to a change of political administrators. Employment stabilizes people in an area so they do not move around and learn as much about what is going on elsewhere. There is nothing like full employment to tranquilize the people and a placid population is highly desirable to the politician.
The businessman wants full employment, but not quite. Employed people mean customers with money, and what good is business without customers with money? But the businessman wants just enough unemployment so that he can be choosy about the employees he selects for his business. In other words, if employees are relatively abundant, their price value goes down and there is a wider choice. Few things irk a businessman more than to have a scarcity of available employees, which means that he has to take what he can get and has to pay them high wages.
The moralist wants full employment because full employment means that people are earning a "virtuous" living and have more money to contribute to the collection plate and to the charity drives. But he does not want them to have a very high income, otherwise, they might begin to enjoy this life too much and not look forward with enough eagerness to the hereafter.
…When the human being was the principal prime mover, only a small amount of work gravitated to him. This meant that the typical enterprise was in or around the home. When the steam engine was set up, a larger amount of work gravitated to the site of the engine. As a consequence, factories came into being; and the human engine moved to the factory to serve merely as a secondary energy-consuming device to supplement the work of the principal prime mover, the steam engine. When internal combustion engines and hydroelectric power entered the social scene, man became still less important as a prime mover. Today, he is doing less than two percent of the work being done in manufacturing industries.

Since the human being constitutes but a minor fraction of the energy-converting capacity of this Continent, he can be all but ignored in the technological design for full employment. As a prime mover, his rating is so low, his cost so high, and his behavior so unreliable that every time he can be displaced by an electric motor or engine an advance in efficiency, productivity and quality follows. So the technological design for full employment would reduce human toil to a minimum and employ more kilowatt-hours.
A high-energy, balanced load operation is the central idea in the technological design of social operations. The engineer would see that energy is utilized in the most efficient way so as to meet the requirements of abundant living for the whole population. Then he would smooth out the oscillations to an even, balanced load, operating 24 hours per day and 365 day per year. Surplus and inefficient equipment would be reconverted into scrap or something else more useful. The human engine, in so far as is possible, would be retired from productive employment.
Thus, we would have full employment of the most efficient energy converters on the Continent. This would result in a level of production which is impossible when a low-power, low-efficiency converter like the human engine is used. More goods and services would be available to the population and the human being would have much more time and opportunity for self-expression and enjoyment of living.
Politicians will not like this form of full employment. Their capacity for control of energy-consuming devices is limited to the control of inefficient human engines. The control of a high- horsepower engine calls for a technician, not a politician. So, politicians would have to fade out of the social picture in favor of those far more informed and far better qualified.
Businessmen will not like this form of full employment either since business is geared to the distribution of a scarcity. More efficient production would mean the end of scarcity and, hence, of business.
The moralists may not like it, for they would have to develop a dynamic new philosophy of living and place less emphasis on an escapist philosophy based on the concept of misery in this life and abundance and leisure hereafter.
Full Employment
Wilton Ivie
The Northwest Technocrat, 4th quarter 1989, No. 317

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 336-337


by Ted Hughes

Remember how we picked the daffodils? Nobody else remembers,
but I remember.
Your daughter came with her armfuls, eager and happy,
Helping the harvest. She has forgotten.
She cannot even remember you. And we sold them.
It sounds like sacrilege, but we sold them.
Were we so poor? Old Stoneman, the grocer,
Boss-eyed, his blood-pressure purpling to beetroot
(It was his last chance,
He would die in the same great freeze as you),
He persuaded us. Every Spring
He always bought them, sevenpence a dozen,
'A custom of the house'.

Besides, we still weren't sure we wanted to own
Anything. Mainly we were hungry
To convert everything to profit.
Still nomads-still strangers
To our whole possession. The daffodils
Were incidental gilding of the deeds,
Treasure trove. They simply came,
And they kept on coming.
As if not from the sod but falling from heaven.
Our lives were still a raid on our own good luck.
We knew we'd live forever. We had not learned
What a fleeting glance of the everlasting
Daffodils are. Never identified
The nuptial flight of the rarest ephemera-
Our own days!
We thought they were a windfall.
Never guessed they were a last blessing.
So we sold them. We worked at selling them
As if employed on somebody else's
Flower-farm. You bent at it
In the rain of that April-- your last April.
We bent there together, among the soft shrieks
Of their jostled stems, the wet shocks shaken
Of their girlish dance-frocks-
Fresh-opened dragonflies, wet and flimsy,
Opened too early.

We piled their frailty lights on a carpenter's bench,
Distributed leaves among the dozens-
Buckling blade-leaves, limber, groping for air, zinc-silvered-
Propped their raw butts in bucket water,
Their oval, meaty butts,
And sold them, sevenpence a bunch-

Wind-wounds, spasms from the dark earth,
With their odourless metals,
A flamy purification of the deep grave's stony cold
As if ice had a breath-

We sold them, to wither.
The crop thickened faster than we could thin it.
Finally, we were overwhelmed
And we lost our wedding-present scissors.

Every March since they have lifted again
Out of the same bulbs, the same
Baby-cries from the thaw,
Ballerinas too early for music, shiverers
In the draughty wings of the year.
On that same groundswell of memory, fluttering
They return to forget you stooping there
Behind the rainy curtains of a dark April,
Snipping their stems.

But somewhere your scissors remember. Wherever they are.
Here somewhere, blades wide open,
April by April
Sinking deeper
Through the sod- an anchor, a cross of rust.

Thinking this afternoon of the prospect of my writing lectures and going abroad to read them the next winter. I realized how incomparably great the advantages of obscurity and poverty which I have enjoyed so long (and may still perhaps enjoy). I thought with what more than princely, with what poetical, leisure I had spent my years hitherto, without care or engagement, fancy-free. I have given myself up to nature; I have lived so many springs and summers and autumns and winters as if I had nothing else to do but live them, and imbibe whatever nutriment they had for me; I have spent a couple of years, for instance, with the flowers chiefly, having none other so binding engagement as to observe when they opened; I could have afforded to spend a whole fall observing the changing tints of the foliage. Ah, how I have thriven on solitude and poverty! I cannot overstate this advantage. I do not see how I could have enjoyed it, if the public had been expecting as much of me as there is danger now that they will. If I go abroad lecturing, how shall I ever recover the lost winter?
Thoreau's Journal: 19-Sep-1854

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 334-335

i often feel like i was born in the wrong time, or the wrong continent. everyone in this age (and in america specifically) seems wired to wake up early, work work work every day for ultimately hollow shit (newer house, newer car, toys they can't really afford), always multitasking, eating in their cars on the go, just constantly going.

it's too fast for me. i want to sit back and enjoy the day. appreciate art. appreciate music. appreciate the beauty of the world around us, night and day. i like to sit and think, ponder, conjecture... turn things over in my head and deconstruct them, then build them back up again. i like to take time to understand things, rather than just giving a cursory glance, a quick once-over and moving on.

i think people are too self-absorbed and overly practical. they're only concerned with themselves and what has an *immediate* impact on *their* personal lives. they're not worried about the future beyond their own lives or the lives of others unless they're some sort of celebrity.

because i hold these sentiments i worry sometimes about my future, if i'll be able to live well enough and provide well enough for my family, should i have one. i'm just not motivated by the same things most others are. i don't go to university because i want to hold a job with a six-figure salary. i don't want to go to university because it will enable me to have a bigger house or a fancier car.

i go because i want to pursue my passions, because i want to do something i love every day- something i'll never tire of, because i want to lead a full, rich life (rich in quality, not in monetary value) where i'm deliriously happy. and if i can share that with someone, that's fantastic. but at the same time i sometimes worry that it would make me too much of a burden to any significant other. there's this pressure in our society to be a bread-winner, to at least contribute equally to your household. and i definitely wouldn't feel right about having to lean a girlfriend/wife financially.

it's like going to lunch with a friend. you'd like to be able to pay for them all the time because you care about them and it makes you feel good to do it, whether they're down on their luck and are low on cash themselves or just for the hell of it. but at the very least you want to be able to pay for your part of the meal, and you feel pretty shitty when you're unable to (which is why when i'm in that position i just find an excuse not to go out, but that's another story).

so, sure, i'm also self-absorbed... but mainly because i pay close attention to the impact my life has on others, and never want to drag others down. i'd rather be self-sufficient on my own and deal with my own trials and tribulations and not get others involved. and if i'm doomed to live like a "starving artist" for the rest of my life, maybe it's better that i don't detract from any potential mate's standard of living. right?

it just seems to me that we're not meant to live this way. we're not meant to grind out 8-10 hours (or more) a day in a cubicle performing some job function we hate, either because the job itself sucks, the people we work with sucks, or the people we work for suck. whatever the reason.

i think that's why there's been such a sharp rise in psychological disorders like depression. i think it's the cause of many of the ills in society today. but i guess that could just be pure conjecture on my part...

it is inherently selfish of me to want to do something that makes *me* happy. but i have the awareness to realize this and to be wary of bringing someone into my life whom may be negatively impacted by my pursuit to do what pleases me. it seems most people lack that awareness on both accounts- knowing that what they're doing isn't right for them, and/or knowing that it negatively impacts the people close to them (either because it makes them unhappy by proxy or because it makes their lives harder for whatever reason).

in fact, most of the problems personally, interpersonally, and in society at large i think stems from lack of awareness on an epic scale. and maybe that's why we're such busy people. we lack this (self-)awareness and try to ignore it or make up for it by increased productivity. we put on the blinders and charge through life with our heads down, expecting to plow our way to the top through sheer determination.

and the people with that kind of drive/ambition generally do make it to the top. it's almost a requirement to "make it"...

while the people who lack it end up struggling to get by.

but who is happiest? and who wins in the end?

this is the crux of my internal conflict on what to major in- what to do with my life. i greatly enjoy physics, but i'm not amazing at it. i also recognize that while intensely interested in it, it is not my passion. i'm naturally adept at psychology and find it very intuitive... i've been wooed constantly over the last 3 semesters to change my major to psychology because the department sees potential in me- but i'm not terribly interested in it.

and then there's my true passion: music.
we are very busy people.

Joseph Campbell: My general formula is "Follow your bliss." Find where it is, and don't be afraid to follow it.

Bill Moyers: Is it my work or my life?

Joseph Campbell: If the work you're doing is the work that you choose to do because you are enjoying it, that's it. But if you think, "Oh, no! I couldn't do that!" that's the dragon locking you in. "No, no, I couldn't be a writer," or "No, no, I couldn't do what So-and-so is doing."

Bill Moyers: In this sense, unlike heroes such as Prometheus or Jesus, we're not going on our journey to save the world but to save ourselves.

Joseph Campbell: But in doing that, you save the world.

Joseph Campbell: Each incarnation has a potentiality, and the mission of the life is to live that potentiality. How do you do it? My answer is, "Follow your bliss." There's something inside you that knows when you're in the center, that knows when you're on the beam or off the beam. And if you get off the beam to earn money, you've lost your life. And it you stay in the center and don't get any money, you still have your bliss.

Monday, March 09, 2009

by Carl Sandburg

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotation Of The Week 333

Top Down:

"It has been the hardest thing in my life. It has been harder than my divorce from my husband. It has really been even worse than the death of my mother."
who took an hourly wage job in customer service after 20 years of working as an executive.

Bottom Up: