Jack Saturday

Friday, May 28, 2010

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 519-521

We can consider the global financial system, which lives in the same virtual and intangible space as other digital media, as a particular type of social network, an immaterial sheathe of connectivity, that uses an abstract metric to tabulate exchanges of goods and quantify other forms of human energy. The inherent problems built into this system - entirely controlled by private banking interests who issue money into circulation as debt, creating artificial scarcity and fostering cut-throat competition that leads automatically to tragic negligence and dire misuse of resources - are becoming increasingly self-evident. Because financiers devised and run the global markets and central banks, the work of a banker, derivatives trader, or currency speculator is valued at an exponentially, one can safely say obscenely, greater level than that of a kindergarten teacher, carpenter, or midwife. Labor that contributes nothing to the real economy, human freedom, or human knowledge and involves speculative movements of nonexistent capital is most prized, and almost all forms of honest and meaningful work are devalued by this system.

Propping up this deception, an entire mass media complex has developed to manage cultural perception and make people believe the current situation is somehow natural and good, and to keep the masses from developing the analytical tools to question it, and work together to create the alternative. As thinkers like Marx and Marcuse have noted, there remains a difference between false and true consciousness, whether or not individuals are aware of it. Recently, I spoke to a guard who works in the lobby of in an office building that contains a popular yoga studio. I had noticed the guard many times, as he sat still, staring straight ahead, without any reading material or distractions of any sort. I asked him what he used his time to think about. "I'm thinking about all the things I'm going to do when I become rich," he replied.

His answer startled me. I tend to forget that so many people in our society still believe, with a startlingly naive faith, in the Horatio Alger myth and have even extended this idea: it is no longer the case that people imagine they can become wealthy from hard work and ingenuity. It is more the case that they believe wealth to be their natural right, and expect it to happen to them in the same inevitable way that the sun rises each morning.

This is one reason that the developing situation is so extremely threatening and dangerous to the powers that be: through rigorous indoctrination via the media, they have set up unreal expectations in the populace, who may become irate when it finally dawns upon them that these expectations will never be met. Instead, in reality, the little that they have is being inexorably stripped from them.
Why the Internet Is Ground Zero in the Global Consciousness War
Daniel Pinchbeck


And while the unemployment rate for college graduates still trails the rate for high school graduates (4.9 percent versus 10.8 percent), the figure has more than doubled in less than two years.

"A four-year degree in business -- what's that get you?" asked Karl Christopher, a placement counselor at the Columbia Area Career Center vocational program. "A shift supervisor position at a store in the mall."
College for all? Experts say not necessarily
Alan Scher Zagier, Associated Press Writer,
Thursday May 13, 2010

Noam Chomsky: I think decisions should be made in an entirely different manner for entirely different ends. Should producing more goods and consuming more goods be the highest value in life? That’s not obvious, by any means.

Guernica: And what would be?

Noam Chomsky: Living decent lives, in an environment that provides for people’s essential needs, offers them opportunities to become creative, active, to work together in solidarity, [and lead] more happy, creative lives. That’s a more important goal, I think.
Chomsky Half Full

Friday, May 21, 2010

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 516-518

"We are always just at the beginning of invention and innovation," said Dr. Donald Keck, the retired co-inventor of the optical fiber that has revolutionized telecommunications. Innovation is the cornerstone of prosperity in the United States, he said, and the government should provide sustained support to promote it.

Richard M. Russell of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, who helped moderate the discussion, said 52 percent of the nation's growth since World War II had come through invention. Aside from supporting research, he said, the government's greatest role in assuring continuing innovation is promoting a strong, modern patent office.

… The patent office has issued more than 6.3 million patents since its inception, officials said, and awards about 3,500 new patents each week. The agency, part of the Commerce Department, receives more than 325,000 applications for product and process patents annually.
The Inquiring Minds Behind 200 Years of Inventions
NYT, WASHINGTON, Oct. 21, 2002


The order of things should be reversed; the seventh day should be the day of toil...and the other six his Sabbath of the affections and the soul, in which to range this widespread garden, and drink in the soft influences and sublime revelations of Nature...
Henry Thoreau, A Week On The Concord And Merrimack Rivers, 1847

A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth glancing at.
Oscar Wilde

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotation Of The Week 515


aaaaaaaaaaaaaaThe colt broken to the lead before it has
aaaaaaaaaaaaaarun free
aaaaaaaaaaaaaais the easier to harness.
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaGerry Spence


Saturday, May 08, 2010

Erich Fromm


Though one must conclude that there were no women in 1958.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 512-514

Much of the GNP serves no need at all, other than the need for job, career, status, wealth, and power of those who provide it. Nobody wants to read advertizing or to see TV commercials. Few people would have asked to pay, or if asked would have agreed to pay for the space program, the hydrogen bomb, nuclear programs, MIRV, or the Asian war, to name only a few. Another large part of the Gross National Product meets human needs that are wholly artificial—needs that can only be created and maintained by psychological pressure, intense, unrelieved, and destructive. If you do not use our product, you will go right on being what you are now—ugly, smelly, friendless, sexless, loveless, a joke, a disgrace and a failure. But for this merciless pressure most of the cosmetics would stay on the drugstore shelves, the high-style clothes on the racks, and the wild-animal named cars, power mowers, snowmobiles etc in the dealer’s lots. No sensible person believes anymore the lie that industry gives the public what it wants. Buckminster Fuller has rightly said that it would pay us many times over to give all construction workers a good lifetime pension—buy them off, so that we could begin to work seriously on the really vital task of building efficiently the housing we so desperately need. The fear that may once have made our economy run now keeps it from running.
I have offered a guess that we could do the work we now do in 2/3 of the time or less if we did it as well and efficienly as we could— this would give us a work week for those working of twenty to twenty-five hours, but we protect these work weeks, these jobs, these livelihoods, by excluding in various ways many of our people from the job market—the young, the old, a great many women, millions in the armed forces and millions of the unemployed-- the young we shut up in schools, the old we force out of the job market with retirement, which for many people comes at fifty, not sixty-five, and which forces many people against their will into idleness and poverty. We exclude women from many jobs, and we make years of useless schooling a requirement for many jobs that could be done as well or better without it.

If everyone who wanted to could do a share of what we now consider the work, how long would they have to work to do it? Twenty hours a week, or more likely fifteen, or ten. And if our economy became truly humane and efficient, if we quit the business of meeting non-needs, or of creating needs so that we could meet them, or defining real needs so that they could only be met in the most expensive ways, the average work week might be less than ten hours—if we define work in the old Puritan sense of something unpleasant we have to spend a large part of our time doing whether we like it or not. Most people will not have to work at all. Whatever truly unpleasant or dangerous work there is, we can divide up fairly among many people, or pay so much for that some people will be glad to do it, or learn how to do it with machines. Work for most people can then become what it should be—what they do because it seems worth doing. In our society we go to great trouble to preserve the “moral purity” of work-- we do not care much whether work is useful-- and we are scandalized by the thought that it might be interesting, pleasant, even joyful. We cling instead to the belief that work should be unpleasant, disagreeable, boring-- that it should take up most of a man’s [sic] waking life, and that he should do it only under the pressure of greed and fear.
John Holt,
Escape From Childhood


If the only way for most people to have a decent livelihood in a given society is to have a job, and if there are many more people than jobs, then clearly many people will have to depend on some jobholder for support. Today about half the women in the country, many of the old and all of the young are in this position. As long as they remain so, to talk about their in dependence or their equal rights is to some extent unrealistic. If they can only get the things they need from someone who holds a job, then that jobholder or breadwinner is going to feel he has the right to tell them what to do. And to a large degree, whatever the law may say, he will be right. They have little choice but to do what he tells them, because they have nowhere else to go.

In our society when we talk about equal rights for women or children we are necessarily talking mostly of the upper-middle and wealthy classes, where women and even the young are more likely to have some money of their own or where it will be easier for them to get some of whatever jobs there are or where they can more easily get help from other people who do have money. Most people do not have these choices. Lower-middle class and poor women and children will remain locked into dependency on some jobholder, unless they can have some sure source of income of their own.
For this reason the right of everyone to choose to be independent can hardly be fully meaningful except in a society that gives everyone some guaranteed minimum income.

What I propose is that such an income should be guaranteed not just to all adults, male or female, single or married, but to all children as well, down to an early age - as early as the child wants to receive it. For, obviously, the right to leave home, to travel, to seek other guardians, to live where they choose, and alone if they choose, cannot be an active or meaningful right for most young people unless they can get the money they need to live. Some will object that this much financial independence might weaken family ties. But the state ought not to use the threat of poverty as a glue to hold the family or other personal relationships together.
John Holt,
Escape From Childhood