Jack Saturday

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 352, 353

In the 17th century, the Englishman, Francis Bacon, believed that natural philosophy (what we call science) could be applied to practical problems, and so, the idea of modern technology was born. For Bacon, the problem was this: how could man [sic] enjoy perfect freedom if he [sic] had to constantly labor to supply the necessities of existence? His answer was clear -- machines. These labor saving devices would liberate mankind, they would save labor which then could be utilized elsewhere. "Knowledge is power," said Bacon, and scientific knowledge reveals power over nature.
Lectures On Modern European Intellectual History
The Origins of the Industrial Revolution in England
Steven Kreis

The essential problem of our economy is that it can produce much more in goods and services than it can consume given how it pays out incomes. Furthermore, even a more equal distribution of income would not lead to a sustainable improvement in this situation in the long run. Technological progress is such that we will continue to need less and less workers to produce the goods and services we need. The artificial inducements to consumption and investment of military expenditures, conspicuous consumption and invidious waste are also pretty much at their maximum, with increases here not being sustainable either.
Basic Income Income for the United States of America:Ensuring that the Benefits of Economic Progress Are Equitably Shared
by Charles M. A. Clark, Ph.D., Department of Economics
College of Business Administration,
St. John's University

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Common Wages

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 349-351

Here's an interesting statistic: American spending on welfare-this is Federal, State, and municipal, from 1789 to the present day, is less than the cost of the ongoing Savings and Loan bailout.
Gore Vidal

This crisis is a thousand times worse perhaps, certainly a hundred times worse than the savings and loan crisis.

…One company [IndyMac] produced as many losses as the entire savings and loan debacle.

... AIG, all by itself, cost the same as the entire savings and loan debacle…
William K. Black,
author of
The Best Way To Rob A Bank Is To Own One

When victims are induced to collaborate as victimizers, submission is assured.
Piven And Cloward,
Regulating the Poor

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Booming Business

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 347-348

Work sent out an email asking us all to work harder so that our branch doesn’t get shut down (not in so many words, but that was pretty much the gist of it, and ohmygodicannotaffordtolosemyjob!!!!!!!!)

A A friend at work, her last day is Monday, because she got a new job. I’m happy for her, but this made me depressed, because I want to have a new job, because this job sucks! But I can’t, because until I’ve taken the bar exam, I won’t find anything better-paying than this.…

A I was still depressed when I left work and went to Wal-Mart to grab a few things. Every single thing pissed me off. I was annoyed that there was a parking space closer to the store that I hadn’t seen; I was irritated by every person who walked in front of me or blocked my way as I tried to get a cart; I was furious with the store employee who cautioned me not to leave my cart (with my purse) so far away from me. With that last one, it was clear that I was over-reacting, because I wanted to slap him, make some cutting, scathing remark. It took a lot of effort to Re-Frame as I walked away from him: He was doing a nice thing. He wasn’t judging you. He wasn’t telling you you did anything wrong. You’re the one beating yourself up for having done something wrong. Over leaving your purse in your cart while you filled up your water bottle at the fountain. Then I was able to laugh at the ridiculousness of it and let it go. HUMOR IS KEY. And by the time I left Wal-Mart I was pretty much okay. How did that happen?
Possible reasons: I was no longer at work. Automatic happiness. …

Curtis White, author of "The Spirit of Disobedience" and other social criticism. Essay of the same name in Harpers a couple years back:

"It is the money-form, as Marx called it, that has captured and distorted a more human notion of time. Time, for Homo economicus, is not "the stream I go a-fishing in." It is a medium of exchange. We trade our time for money. Our houses themselves become, in time, mere potential for exchange, or accumulated "equity," as our bankers tell us. The true cost of a thing, Thoreau shrewdly observes, condensing hundreds of pages of Marxist analysis to an epigram, is "the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run." Money does not fool Thoreau. Money always wears the face of the boss. It represents the loss of freedom and ultimately the loss of self. One is not human in the unequal world of work for exchange. One is compost in the making."

"Reality," whether defined by evangelical Christians or empiricists, is a form of disenchantment. The Real, on the other hand, is up for grabs. What the earliest utopians--Montaigne, Thomas More, Tommaso Campanella--understood was that they fought not for a place but for a new set of ideas through which to recognize what would count as Real: Equality, not hierarchical authority. Individual dignity, not slavish subservience. Our preeminent problem is that we recognize the Real in what is most deadly: a culture of duty to legalities that are, finally, cruel and destructive."
Mediasquat discussion forum,
March 10, 2009

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 344-346

And the only hope is, of course, in the one who is not devoured by the monster--who can deal with it--who can ride the monster. Therefore the old Chinese represented their heroes, or their great sages, as riding the monster. When Confucious was asked what he thought of Lao-Tzu, whom he did not know personally, he said he didn't know whether he was an expert at weapons or at driving carts, but however that might be, he knew he was an expert at riding dragons.
C.G. Jung
Zarathustra Seminars

All around me men are working;
but I am stubborn, and take no part.
The difference is this:
I prize the breasts of the Mother.
Lao Tzu,
Tao Te Ching

Believe it or not, Friedrich Nietzsche seems to have some wisdom to share on this issue of life purpose. Here I will borrow from his parable on The Three Metamorphoses in Thus Spake Zarathustra. Zarathustra shares that in the first part of our human journey we are camels, loaded up will all the rules, mores, expectations, and beliefs handed us by society, family, our schools, and our churches. We heave off into the desert of our existence, laden with weights, which constrain us while keeping us safe in our knowing that we fit into the natural order of things. We know the rules, we follow them, and everyone breathes a little easier knowing you won’t be disturbing the status quo.

You won’t be the son from the long line of physicians who will decide in his third year of college that what he really wants to be is a ballet dancer, or the daughter of the first female partner in a prestigious law firm who wants to be a stay at home mom. Yep. Safe, predictable, and content, chewing your cud under a palm tree. Right?

And yet, you might notice your body saying something different. You may see it in the Tums you eat, the Prozac you take, the occasional episode of road rage, or the number of hours you zone out in front of the TV — there is trouble in the Kasbah.

While safe, secure, and predictable, the camel is no longer vital, energized, and passionate. In those moments the camel might be heard to ask, “Why am I really here?” You may find yourself humming along with Peggy Lee, “Is that all there is, my friend?” The question starts to emerge “What is my purpose?”

Before you think this is an easy matter of dumping the load and frolicking on to the next oasis take heed, a metamorphosis is in order.

Then I’ll become a lion!

Why a lion? Because the lion is the only one strong and courageous enough to slay the mighty dragon, “Thou Shalt.” All those packs you were carrying formed this dragon, fierce and brilliant with golden scales upon each of which is written “thou shalt.”

The lion must slay this dragon. Thou shalt climb the corporate ladder and buy a bigger house. Thou shalt never waste time. Thou shalt not play until all your work is done. Thou shalt not disturb the peace in the family. Thou shalt learn politics and how to play them well. Thou shalt not sport gray hair and reveal your age. Thou shalt not partake of non-Atkins approved foods. (Feel free to insert your own here.!)

The lion’s task is to deliver the blows, the "Sacred No," to vanquish the beliefs, rules, and mandates which have threatened to extinguish the vitality of one’s existence. This is no easy fight and may take place for years (if one chooses to fight at all). The dragon comes from all angles, within and without.

What if I lose my house?
What will my parents say?
What if my spouse doesn’t want me to change?
What if I’m wrong?
What if no one likes me?
What if everyone finds out I’m really a fraud?
What if this is just a midlife crisis?
(Sing along if you know the tune.)

And how about these time-honored techniques:

I can’t slay this dragon today. I have a report due in the morning. I’m on vacation next week. The new boss just came on; things might change. I have to read this book first and clean my desk and lose 10 pounds and pay down my credit card. No, there isn’t time in my life for fighting dragons right now. Perhaps when the kids are grown.

(Picture Bill Murray as the aging Hercules. I cannot possibly slay this dragon. Here, perhaps this salamander.)

My favorite Dragon Slaying Delay Tactic is the “To Do List.” Fighting dragons just never seems to make that list. But which of your to-do lists has ever contained the essence of your life, I ask?
There are risks in slaying the dragon, especially if everyone around you appears to be devoted to maintaining the status quo. Do you have the courage (heart) to cast off what no longer serves you? Are you willing to disturb the peace? Are you willing to stand in the insecurity that will come when you enter this battle?

When I allowed myself to wake up to the reality of what burnout was doing to me (with the aid of very good friends who were brave enough to give me very honest feedback on this subject), things got a little crazy.

You see, I was proud of being a camel! We give nice pats on the back to the camels that can haul the biggest loads. I’m one of those folks lucky enough to be born healthy and with a mind that learns quickly. An oldest daughter, I’m quick to take charge and am a natural leader. Organized, efficient, professional, sincere, helpful, generous, and capable, I volunteered for everything and my opinion and advice were often sought.

I felt like people depended on me and I willingly knelt down before anyone with another pack to throw on my back. They were happy and I felt useful and important and my back was sturdy and strong. I exulted in my ability to carry the heaviest load for a long time. But then came along resentment.

Where were the other camels? Why did I always have to carry the heaviest load? Why did I always have to lead the caravan across the desert?

I resented and, I’ll admit it, cast judgments against the weaker camels and those who had no packs (that I considered to be legitimate packs anyway). Well, they were lazy! A waste of a camel! My back was sturdy and strong.

Because I was bold, the other camels were intimidated and endured my judgments and occasional moods; until one day, a shy and tender camel came up to me and said, “When you snipe at me under the weight of your load you make me feel that you don’t value me or my contribution to our work and that hurts me. I’m sorry your load is so heavy, but you are the one who is allowing this. If you don’t like it, you have to stop. It isn’t fair that you are angry at me because I appear freer and remember how to play.”

This was one humbled camel, let me tell you, and on that day a lion was born.
Finding Your Life Purpose (Part Two):
Camels and Lions and Dragons, Oh My!
Written by
Laura Young
Part of Fierce Living

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 340-343

The United Nations' International Labor Organization estimates that some 50 million workers will lose their jobs worldwide this year.
U.S. Intel Chief's Shocking Warning: Wall Street's Disaster Has Spawned Our Greatest Terrorist Threat
Chris Hedges, Truthdig.
Posted February 17, 2009.

I never could believe that Providence had sent a few men into this world, ready booted and spurred to ride, and millions ready saddled and bridled to be ridden.
Col. Richard Rumbold

In the post WWII era the rapidly expanding manufacturing sector absorbed the surplus agricultural labor force, thus preventing mass unemployment. Yet the growth in the demand for manufactured products has slowed down considerably. It is now being outstripped by technological progress, such that in many fields of manufacturing, employment levels have been falling, while output remains constant or is rising. It must be remembered that technological progress, and not foreign competition, is the primary cause of the loss of manufacturing jobs in the United States. Where did these displaced workers go? Mostly to the service sector, which has grown rapidly in the post WWII era. This structural shift in employment towards the service sector was frequently blamed for the fall in the growth in productivity in the 1970s and 1980s, yet this is no longer the case. The technological progress that so radically changed the agricultural sector and is radically changing the manufacturing sector is now starting to affect the service sector. The recent advances in computers and telecommunication is making it possible for machines to replace large classifications of service sector workers. This is seen most dramatically in such industries as Banking (the ATM machine), Retail (the scanner) and the Telecommunications (where the operator has virtually disappeared). The potential for technological unemployment here should rival manufacturing, if not agriculture, creating a world without work.
If our economy and society are to function in this new, almost worker-less world, new methods of dividing up the existing work and income must be developed in order to insure that social participation is equitable. It is towards this end that a Basic Income policy is designed.…Under a Basic Income policy, part of the overall income of the nation is distributed equally to all citizens, ensuring a minimum income floor.…It is time we started the process of developing a socially and spiritually rich society, and not merely a materially rich society. Ending poverty and ensuring that all can participate in society will move us appreciably in this direction.
Basic Income for the United States of America: Ensuring that the Benefits of Economic Progress Are Equitably Shared
by Charles M. A. Clark, Ph.D., Department of Economics
College of Business Administration, St. John's University

I'm not suggesting the conclusion that we must give up demanding an RSG [Guaranteed Income]. It is possible that - following a serious social crisis - demand be at least partially and temporarily satisfied. But that success, apart from its immediate utility in everyday life, will only take on its full meaning if it brings to light the fact that each person's right to life cannot and must not any longer depend on the sale of oneself as a member of the labor force and that the general pauperization that has accompanied unprecedented gains in productivity over the last twenty years is due solely to capitalism's inability to take advantage of the new productive forces without making wealth creation go through the needle's eye of capital valorisation, through the eye of value.

The RSG must be understood as an opportunity and as a means of opening paths for deliverance from a society of labor and commodity, as the means to develop those practices that remove sectors of production and consumption from the extrinsic determinations that the value form imposes on them and that "make people sense that materially as well as psychically, human existence can be assured by means other that that of monetary assessment."
Andre Gorz
Theorizing Deliverance from the Labor- and Commodity-Centered Society