Jack Saturday

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


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