Jack Saturday

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 432-434

The General Confederation of Workers (CGT), France's largest union, says about 400 people commit suicide in France every year due to job-related difficulties.

"Suicide because of precarious, stressful working conditions is not an exclusively French phenomenon," Laurent Vogel, who tracks labor health at the Brussels-based European Trade Union Institute told IPS. "At least 27 percent of workers in the E.U. consider that their health and safety are at risk because of their work.
"All over Europe, there are suicides at the workplace, but they do not appear in the statistics of labor. (Admitting) suicide at the job is a taboo, because it would question the steady search for higher productivity and efficiency.
This Job Is Killing Me:
Authoritarian Corporate Model Spurring Suicides in Europe
By Julio Godoy, IPS News. Posted October 21, 2009.

What's Better PRISON or your JOB?

IN PRISON: You spend the majority of your time in an 8X10 cell.

AT WORK: You spend the majority of your time in a 6X8 cubicle.

IN PRISON: You get three meals a day.

AT WORK: You only get a break for one meal and you have to pay for it.

IN PRISON: You get time off for good behavior.

AT WORK: You get more work for good behavior.

IN PRISON: The guard locks and unlocks all the doors for you.

AT WORK: You must carry around a security card and open all the doors for yourself.

IN PRISON: You can watch TV and play games.

AT WORK: You get fired for watching TV and playing games.

IN PRISON: They allow your family and friends to visit.

AT WORK: You can't even speak to your family.

IN PRISON: All expenses are paid by the taxpayers with no work required.

AT WORK: You get to pay all the expenses to go to work and then they deduct taxes from your salary to pay for prisoners.

IN PRISON: You spend most of your life inside bars wanting to get out.

AT WORK: You spend most of your time wanting to get out and go inside bars.

IN PRISON: You must deal with sadistic wardens.

AT WORK: They are called managers.

So would you like to go to your Prison again?

Last Sunday, CBC radio's Sunday Edition host Michael Enright interviewed two people about an experiment carried out in Dauphin, Manitoba in the 1970s, in which all households whose income fell below a level determined to be necessary for basic well-being received a single top-up to bring them to that level. For various reasons, the data gathered from the experiment has just recently been analyzed.

What they found was that the people who were most likely to work less under the system were adolescents and women. The youth stayed in school longer rather than leave to help support the household. Women tended to stay home longer after giving birth to take care of their children.

Researchers also found an overall improvement in community health and education indicators, and therefore a reduction in the cost of social programs. In short, the system provided income support for better education, maternity leaves and at-home child care, while delivering benefits to the entire community.

A guaranteed annual income, sometimes called a negative income tax, replaces all the piecemeal, ineffective measures now administered by provincial agencies including welfare payments, various supplements, prescription drug coverage and many others. It treats people with dignity and provides a basic level of well-being across the community without discrimination.
Janice Harvey,
Cut the roots of poverty with a living wage
Published Wednesday October 21st, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 429-431

Just being an average accountant, lawyer, contractor or assembly-line worker is not the ticket it used to be. As Daniel Pink, the author of “A Whole New Mind,” puts it: In a world in which more and more average work can be done by a computer, robot or talented foreigner faster, cheaper “and just as well,” vanilla doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s all about what chocolate sauce, whipped cream and cherry you can put on top. So our schools have a doubly hard task now — not just improving reading, writing and arithmetic but entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity.
The New Untouchables
New YorkTimes
Published: October 20, 2009

Enough! Goldman Sachs is thriving while the combined rates of unemployment and underemployment are creeping toward a mind-boggling 20 percent. Two-thirds of all the income gains from the years 2002 to 2007 — two-thirds! — went to the top 1 percent of Americans.

We cannot continue transferring the nation’s wealth to those at the apex of the economic pyramid — which is what we have been doing for the past three decades or so — while hoping that someday, maybe, the benefits of that transfer will trickle down in the form of steady employment and improved living standards for the many millions of families struggling to make it from day to day.

That money is never going to trickle down. It’s a fairy tale.
Safety Nets for the Rich
New York Times
Published: October 19, 2009

The measure of a society's industrial advancement is not dollars, but its use (consumption) of energy. In 1939, the United States consumed enough energy (from mineral fuels and water power) to produce 746 quadrillion footpounds of work.

It is estimated that one man, besides carrying his own weight, can do 150,000 foot-pounds of work in an eight-hour day, a total of 37,500,000 foot-pounds per year.

Reduced to human terms, the U. S. consumption of energy, therefore, would provide the equivalent of the work of 20,000,000,000 human slaves.
R. Buckminster Fuller,
Untitled Epic Poem On The History Of Industrialization

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 426-428

Social Security is redistributive. Medicare is redistributive. Public education is redistributive. Public investments in highways, bridges, dams, and other infrastructure are most definitely redistributive. The land reforms that accompanied the rise of every society, dating back to feudalism, are inherently and overtly redistributive. Even defense spending is redistributive, insofar as the benefits of national security are rarely captured by current taxpayers. Beyond government and politics, it’s not only "socialists" who have embraced “redistributive” thinking. The Hebrew lawgivers and prophets; Jesus Christ; Mohammad--all were blatant redistributionists. All denied that wealth or status was invariably the product of productivity and virtue, and rejected the idea that redistribution was theft.
The Attack on "Redistribution"
Ed Kilgore
The Plank
The New Republic

…unemployment among men and women is proving relentless. Of the 15.1 million people who are now officially counted as unemployed, over a third have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer, the highest percentage of long-term unemployment on record.
Wanted: Leadership on Jobs
New York Times
Published: October 3, 2009

…we spend eight to 10 to 12 hours of our daily lives at work, where we have no say.
I think when anthropologists dig us up 400 years from now -- if we make it that far -- they're going to say, "Look at these people back then. They thought they were free. They called themselves a democracy, but they spent 10 hours of every day in a totalitarian situation, and they allowed the richest 1 percent to have more financial wealth than the bottom 95 percent combined."
Naomi Klein Interviews Michael Moore on the Perils of Capitalism
By Naomi Klein,

The Nation.
Posted September 25, 2009.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 424-425

Reagan's Revolution successfully stripped whatever power and leverage employees once had, and handed it all to the shareholders and executives. Since then, it's been Hell for an increasing number of Americans, and it's no coincidence that a brand new crime of desperation appeared with the Reagan Revolution: the worker who "goes postal." The first massacres began in the mid-late 1980s, and the shootings have repeated with such regularity that it seems we've got to the point where we almost accept them as part of the landscape, as if they're inevitable and they've always been with us, and always will.
Why Jim Baldasci 'Went Postal':
How Bullying Bosses and Economic Devastation
Are Behind America's Latest Workplace Shooting
By Mark Ames, AlterNet. Posted September 28, 2009

When it comes to the underclass, there is no arguing that some people are members because they are so damned uneducated they cannot count their toes or read well enough to fill out a job app, the causes of which are too deep and tangled to go into at the moment. Others just don't care to do the smiling grammatically correct wimp assed customer service zombie thing. They prefer swinging a bigger hammer than that -- doing real work, like America used to do. And doing it without kissing ass, which is why they are called the "permanently jobless."
Look Out, Are You About to Join the White Underclass?
By Joe Bageant, JoeBageant.com. Posted July 18, 2009.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 420-423

…using a high-technology method to sort the sperm of dairy bulls, they could produce mostly female calves to be raised into profitable milk producers.

Now the first cows bred with that technology, tens of thousands of them, are entering milking herds across the country — and the timing could hardly be worse.

The dairy industry is in crisis, with prices so low that farmers are selling their milk below production cost. The industry is struggling to cut output. And yet the wave of excess cows is about to start dumping milk into a market that does not need it.

…“We’ve just got too many cattle on hand and too many heifers on hand, and the supply just keeps on coming and coming.”

…Desperate to drive up prices by stemming the gusher of unwanted milk, a dairy industry group, the National Milk Producers Federation, has been paying farmers to send herds to slaughter.

From Science, Plenty of Cows but Little Profit
New York Times
Published: September 28, 2009

Cross-connected scheduling systems allow anyone to assemble, with a few clicks, a complex, multimodal travel itinerary that would have taken a human travel agent days to create.
If that last example sounds prosaic, it simply reflects how embedded these kinds of augmentation have become. Not much more than a decade ago, such a tool was outrageously impressive—and it destroyed the travel-agent industry.

That industry won’t be the last one to go. Any occupation requiring pattern-matching and the ability to find obscure connections will quickly morph from the domain of experts to that of ordinary people whose intelligence has been augmented by cheap digital tools. Humans won’t be taken out of the loop—in fact, many, many more humans will have the capacity to do something that was once limited to a hermetic priesthood. Intelligence augmentation decreases the need for specialization and increases participatory complexity.
Get Smarter
by James Cascio

the AtlanticJuly/August 2009

While some may find the concept of a guaranteed basic level of income for citizens to be a rather provocative idea, it is important to remember there are already a variety of similar scenarios already in place within the business community of every developed nation around the world. For example, a vast array of businesses have created their own Guaranteed Incomes out of the millions of credit cards holders who only make minimum payments and who carry ever-increasing interest bearing balances from month to month. Mortgages that take decades to pay off do the same thing for banks. Companies, both public and private, that supply local and regional customer services such as phone, cable and electricity to a captive customer base for a monthly fee may well see their customers as walking and talking guaranteed income generators.
­Greater Freedom of Choice Through
Greater Economic Security of the Person
William D. Clegg, B.A. Phil