Jack Saturday

Friday, July 30, 2010

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 550-552

…big U.S. businesses are investing their cash in labor-saving technologies. This boosts their productivity, but not their payrolls.

Bottom line: Higher corporate profits no longer lead to higher employment. We’re witnessing a great decoupling of company profits from jobs.
The Great Decoupling Of Corporate Profits From Jobs
Robert Reich
Monday, July 26, 2010

...even when employment is high, jobs still do a lousy job of distribution. They capture less than a fair return to labor while swallowing up our free time. Full employment with a liveable wage may mean jobs with justice for some, but not for those unable to work, and it reduces humans to workers, not players or creators.

Demanding jobs rather than a fair share of society’s surplus implies that there is no commonwealth or that expropriating it by a few is OK. Neither is true. Rents are real, and they are ours. There is a free lunch (just ask the privileged), as those downing it do get money for nothing. And since society, not lone owners, generates these values, that flow of funds belongs to everyone.
What the Left Must Do: Share the Surplus
Jeff Smith
The call to share the commonwealth enjoys an unshakable moral base and gets high marks for real world success, unlike taxes upon true earnings. Once implemented, sharing rent will grant us leisure – time enough to evolve and reconnect with friends, family, and neighbours – and drain away fortunes rather than let the fortunate continue to soak society. Hence support for shifting taxes and paying dividends to the citizenry grows already, without the Left’s leadership. It’s time to run with the banner of an extra income for everyone, in the halls and capitols of governments everywhere. To liberate humans from exploitive labor, let us advance the sharing of society’s surplus.

…there are five unemployed workers for every job opening. Cutting off benefits to the unemployed will make them even more desperate for work — but they can’t take jobs that aren’t there.

Helping the unemployed, by putting money in the pockets of people who badly need it, helps support consumer spending. That’s why the Congressional Budget Office rates aid to the unemployed as a highly cost-effective form of economic stimulus.
Punishing the Jobless
Paul Krugman
New York Times
July 4,2010

Monday, July 26, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 544-549

WASHINGTON — A confidential survey of workers on the Deepwater Horizon in the weeks before the oil rig exploded showed that many of them were concerned about safety practices and feared reprisals if they reported mistakes or other problems.
Workers on Doomed Rig Voiced Concern About Safety
New YorkTimes
Published: July 21, 2010

I can read and write at the undergraduate college level - but I still cannot find work. My job was outsourced to someone who does not need to know English. Having 1 or 2 college degrees will not stop you from becoming homeless.

Yeah, yeah, yeah....I get it. And I do the best I can to be "mindful"....but at the end of the day, I'm just riding this bus; I can't even get close to the steering wheel!

I'm just working my ass off, in a soul-destroying corporate job (thankful that I have one); in a constant state of fear of redundancy (corporate "synergies"); working for less money (mandatory pay-cut), and doing the work of two others (who were previously "RIFd"); coping with obscene medical and Rx costs (due to a chronic illness), with little or no credit (unilaterally increased interest rate and minimum monthly payment; with a reduction in available credit limit).... Ya know, just "livin' the dream" here in the Fucking Amerikan Gulag!
Comment by

By the time my 6-year contract was up (standard for the job I went in for), I was an E-6 taking home over $4,000 a month, and even that combined with the gucci reenlistment package they offered me could NOT convince me to stay. I knew at that point I would rather go to working a nearly minimum wage job rather than continue to sacrifice my conscience.

Of course, that was when I only had myself to worry about. Now I'm 10 days away from my due date with my first child, my fiance was just laid off last week, I'm unemployed because of quitting my part time jobs to go to school full time using the GI Bill to live off (when I got prego I had to quit school and lose the GI Bill in order to qualify for medicaid), and every job that my fiance is looking at has crappy job security. In fact, the only jobs that either of us seem to qualify for which DO have any sort of job security are the civilian intel jobs that I did NOT want to get into because of possibly having to compromise my morals again. But now those Intel jobs, where I sell my soul, are starting to look like a good deal.

And I know I'm going to have plenty of folks screaming at me for considering it, but when you are facing homelessness with a little baby to take care of, versus compromising your morals, what would you do?
Anthropos' #39 Dilemma

My only son Michael is flying out of Mississippi to Afghanistan on the 24th or 26th of this month. This after serving in the Military in his early 20's, He just got back from Kuwait about 6 months ago, And lost his job as an electrician, even though the company was unionized. He could not find another job which would allow him to keep up with his mortgage payments and other living expenses. for his wife and two kids. So like many of his friends and other men like him, he decided to risk his life to keep a roof over his kids heads and food on the table. He's not the youngster he used to be anymore, he's now going on 40. This is total bullshit, that in America, men have to literally risk their lives because they can't find a job in today's economy to support their family.
I have even begun to wonder
june roldan

Man [sic] is the only Slave. And he is the only animal who enslaves. He has always been a slave in one form or another, and has always held other slaves in bondage under him in one way or another. In our day he is always some man's slave for wages, and does that man's work, and this slave has other slaves under him for minor wages, and they do his work.
Mark Twain
The Lowest Animal

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 542-543

Theodore Roethke

I have known the inexorable sadness of pencils,
Neat in their boxes, dolor of pad and paper weight,
All the misery of manilla folders and mucilage,
Desolation in immaculate public places,
Lonely reception room, lavatory, switchboard,
The unalterable pathos of basin and pitcher,
Ritual of multigraph, paper-clip, comma,
Endless duplication of lives and objects.
And I have seen dust from the walls of institutions,
Finer than flour, alive, more dangerous than silica,
Sift, almost invisible, through long afternoons of tedium,
Dropping a fine film on nails and delicate eyebrows,
Glazing the pale hair, the duplicate grey standard faces.

…four major alternatives to mainstream economic practice (a basic income, a gift economy, stronger local subsistence economies, and resource-based planning). These alternatives could be used in combination to address what, even as far back as 1964, has been described as a breaking "income-through-jobs link". This link between jobs and income is breaking because of the declining value of most paid human labor relative to capital investments in automation and better design. Or, as is now the case, the value of paid human labor like at some newspapers or universities is also declining relative to the output of voluntary social networks such as for digital content production (like represented by this document). It is suggested that we will need to fundamentally reevaluate our economic theories and practices to adjust to these new realities emerging from exponential trends in technology and society.
Beyond a Jobless Recovery
A heterodox perspective on 21st century economics
Paul Fernhout


thanks to Paul Fernhout


Friday, July 09, 2010

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 538-541

No matter how successful or rich, how driven or ambitious, how dynamic, inner-directed, adventurous, or just plain pushy any of us is, none of us can ever claim to be "self-made." Like it or not, we're embedded in a vast skein of individual human lives and public institutions, our path determined as much by culture, timing, birth order, social class, and sheer luck as by our own personal gifts. As the 19th-century political scientist Francis Lieber said, "Self-made men, indeed! Why don't you tell me of the self-laid egg?"
Has the American Dream Become Our Nightmare?
By Mary Sykes Wylie

Abundance was created in America during the ten-year period after World War II.
Robert Theobald,
Free Men And Free Markets

In an urgent new book, Just Give Money to the Poor: The Development Revolution from the Global South, three British scholars show how the developing countries are reducing poverty by making cash payments to the poor from their national budgets. At least 45 developing nations now provide social pensions or grants to 110 million impoverished families — not in the form of charitable donations or emergency handouts or temporary safety nets but as a kind of social security. Often, there are no strings attached.

Just Give Money argues that cash transfers can solve three problems because they enable families to eat better, send their children to school and put a little money into their farms and small businesses. The programs work best, the authors say, if they are offered broadly to the poor and not exclusively to the most destitute.
“The key is to trust poor people and directly give them cash — not vouchers or projects or temporary welfare, but money they can invest and use and be sure of,” the authors say. “Cash transfers are a key part of the ladder that equips people to climb out of the poverty trap.”
The Poverty Solution: Cash
By Melinda Burns
What would you do if you could work two days and take five off? Write? Play soccer? Tend to the community garden? Time off is an option made increasingly viable by our relentlessly rising rate of productivity. French Marxist and media critic Jean Baudrillard, while still advancing the interests of labor, implores the Left to move on from seeing humans as workers to seeing workers as human beings, with more needs than merely the material. Enabling people to live their lives more fully is an issue made to order for rescuing the Left from the doldrums that descended when “history ended”.

What would single mothers do with enough income to stay home? What would minorities do with the wherewithal to begin their own businesses? What would communities do if they did not leak resources up to an upper class and out to a distant lender or tax collector? What would the elite do without our commonwealth? The means to these ends is an extra income apart from labor or capital (savings), that is, a “social salary” from society’s surplus, a “Citizens Dividend” from all the rents, natural and governmental, that people pay for land and to the privileged, redirected to everyone equally. Merely demanding a fair sharing of the bounty from nature and modern society would raise people’s self-esteem, a key component for political involvement. Actually receiving an income supplement would transform our lives and restructure society.

Unless humanity needs militarism, corporate welfare, and debt service, it’s fair to say most public revenue gets wasted. Demanding a dividend – similar to Alaska paying residents a share from oil royalties – forces a new dialog on spending priorities. Beyond arguing “bread not bombs,” a dividend replaces expenditures by politicians (necessarily influenced by donors) with spending by citizens, the people who generate the surplus in the first place. With a dividend, citizens get to see themselves as direct beneficiaries from reigning in the wild spending spree on imperial aggression, disloyal multinationals, and on “borrowing” money that never existed until “lent” by the Federal Reserve.
What the Left Must Do: Share the Surplus
Jeff Smith

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 535-537

The short summary is that men want to spend more time with their kids and are paying more attention to employers who are offering more work place flexibility. Half the dads surveyed said they’d consider switching jobs to an employer who offers more work place flexibility, while 56% said they’d take a 10% pay cut to spend more time with their kids. A surprising 71% said they feel guilty missing family obligations for work. So much for the theory that there is only “mommy guilt.”
Men’s Work/Life Balance Blog

The Country Of Everyday: Death, Death

By Tom Wayman

Why is there so much here about death? Because the face is a
behind which is a jar of fluid and water:
a bottle of muck. When the bones of the face
are pushed in, the skull is forced out at the back.
A substance pours out of the flesh
And spreads in wet lumps over the ground.
Sometimes the chin is still recognizable, as in
a photograph of a logging truck accident.
Sometimes you can tell which part was the forehead
as when a drill bangs back, catching the operator
under what were his eyes.
There is so much of death, because Rae says
on the Portage Mountain Dam they were told
the company budgeted for one hundred twenty men to die
during construction. And not a single executive
was expected to perish from ulcers or heart attack
during the whole of the project.
And the monthly totals, Rae said
fell far below the projecting figures
the foreman began cutting the weekly safety meetings
and advising crew chiefs do the same.
And one of Rae's friends was killed at the damsite.
And as they had all made a pact to get drunk
if any of them die,
they all went out and got stinking together
and it only took Rae seven beers.
There is so much of death, because
there is a demolition man who was caught
as a house wall broke in, when they had shored it up
with the cheap two-by-fours, provided by the company.
And he jumped out a window, and his friend
working inside with him didn't and was crushed.
And he said: "The stupid son-of-a-bitch waited too long
deciding what to do. It was his own fault."
Death, death because there is a war on, and
one side is losing.

Liberal or conservative, money is what we care about -- period. From birth, the empire has made one thing very clear to us: If you do not produce or acquire enough of the green stuff, meet the quota, you will be ground beneath the heel of the machine we call a society. No universal health insurance or higher education, no guaranteed minimum income, no worker rights, nothing for you suckers but the tab. So keep humping.
Joe Bageant
Blogging toward the Kingdom