Jack Saturday

Monday, February 28, 2011

Anti Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 636-638

The most controversial of the plans is the universal basic income, whose best-known contemporary proponent is Philippe van Parijs, a professor of economic and moral philosophy at the Catholic University of Louvain, in Belgium.

Mr van Parijs replies that the liberal principle of neutrality among conceptions of the good life, as articulated by such philosophers as Ronald Dworkin and the late John Rawls, demands that the state not favor the industrious (the "crazy," as Mr. van Parijs facetiously calls them) over the lazy.
David Glenn

If you want to be free, there is but one way; it is to guarantee an equally full measure of liberty to all your neighbors. There is no other.
Carl Schurz (1829 - 1906)

If there were in the world today any large number of people who desired their own happiness more than they desired the unhappiness of others, we could have paradise in a few years.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Anti Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 633-635

The whole art of Conservative politics in the 20th century is being deployed to enable wealth to persuade poverty to use its political freedom to keep wealth in power.
Aneurin Bevan,
Labour Party (UK) minister, 1897-1960

Thanks to Bill Blum
It is impossible for any man [sic] to contribute to the social system the physical equivalent of what it costs that system to sustain him from birth until death – and the higher the physical standard of living the greater the discrepancy. If, in addition to his food, he receives also the product of modern industry, this is due to the fact that material and energy resources happen to be available and, as compared with any contribution he can make, constitute a free gift from heaven."
M. King Hubbert, Man-Hours and Distribution.

The working class has several functions in a stratified society, including:

Labor for the enrichment of the rich, preferably cheap labor that is obedient, docile, and quiet.

Personal servants for the rich, to make their lives more convenient and give them a pleasant rush of power and prestige.

Guardians for the rich, to keep the poor in line.

Fighters for the rich, to advance their interests abroad.

Killing for the rich, when killing advances those interests; often, it's a part of advancing their interests abroad.

Dying for the rich.

The rich use the rest of society as pawns to maintain and advance their lifestyles of luxury, prestige, power, and comfort. We are no more than their slaves, and this is how they like it. It must give them a thrill. Our lives mean nothing in this system. All our joys and suffering, all our love and struggle: they are meaningless in this system. Only in our capacities as workers, cops, soldiers and so on are we valuable according to the needs of this system. This is why we are only paid for performing these functions, and few if any guarantees of leisure time, maternal time, sick time and so on exist. All except advancing the economic interests of the masters is just fluff.

thanks to Deb Howell for the cartoon

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Anti Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 631-632

Traditionally, economists have argued that while new forms of automation may displace jobs in the short run, over longer periods of time economic growth and job creation have continued to outpace any job-killing technologies. For example, over the past century and a half the shift from being a largely agrarian society to one in which less than 1 percent of the United States labor force is in agriculture is frequently cited as evidence of the economy’s ability to reinvent itself.

That, however, was before machines began to “understand” human language. Rapid progress in natural language processing is beginning to lead to a new wave of automation that promises to transform areas of the economy that have until now been untouched by technological change.

“As designers of tools and products and technologies we should think more about these issues,” said Pattie Maes, a computer scientist at the M.I.T. Media Lab. Not only do designers face ethical issues, she argues, but increasingly as skills that were once exclusively human are simulated by machines, their designers are faced with the challenge of rethinking what it means to be human.

it is possible, for example, to envision systems that replace not only human experts, but hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs throughout the economy and around the globe. Virtually any job that now involves answering questions and conducting commercial transactions by telephone will soon be at risk. It is only necessary to consider how quickly A.T.M.’s displaced human bank tellers to have an idea of what could happen.
A Fight to Win the Future: Computers vs. Humans
New York Times
Published: February 14, 2011
In recent years, for instance, there have been hundreds of studies on the various genes that control the differences in disease risk between men and women. These findings have included everything from the mutations responsible for the increased risk of schizophrenia to the genes underlying hypertension. Ioannidis and his colleagues looked at four hundred and thirty-two of these claims. They quickly discovered that the vast majority had serious flaws. But the most troubling fact emerged when he looked at the test of replication: out of four hundred and thirty-two claims, only a single one was consistently replicable. “This doesn’t mean that none of these claims will turn out to be true,” he says. “But, given that most of them were done badly, I wouldn’t hold my breath.”

According to Ioannidis, the main problem is that too many researchers engage in what he calls “significance chasing,” or finding ways to interpret the data so that it passes the statistical test of significance—the ninety-five-per-cent boundary invented by Ronald Fisher. “The scientists are so eager to pass this magical test that they start playing around with the numbers, trying to find anything that seems worthy,” Ioannidis says. In recent years, Ioannidis has become increasingly blunt about the pervasiveness of the problem. One of his most cited papers has a deliberately provocative title: “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False.”

The problem of selective reporting is rooted in a fundamental cognitive flaw, which is that we like proving ourselves right and hate being wrong. “It feels good to validate a hypothesis,” Ioannidis said. “It feels even better when you’ve got a financial interest in the idea or your career depends upon it.
Annals of Science
The Truth Wears Off
Is there something wrong with the scientific method?
by Jonah Lehrer
The New Yorker

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Anti Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 628-630

"if you don't like your job or income you can always go elsewhere."

* If a lifestyle that doesn't involve work is feasible, then work can be thought of as voluntary.

* If a workplace you like is feasible, then a job you don't like can be thought of as voluntary.

* If living dirt cheap is feasible, then working for a low income can be thought of as voluntary.


Realizing that direct competition with foreign industry on a straight labor basis would mean swiftly decreasing wages per hour and longer hours and decreasing buying power of the public, and compounding all the industrialization trends, America's labor will realize that its function is not to increase jobs, but to multiply the wealth and to expand the numbers benefited by the wealth at the swiftest possible rate.
R. Buckminster Fuller
The factory system also threatened the promise of economic reward--another key premise of the work ethic. The output of products manufactured by factories was so great that by the 1880's industrial capacity exceeded that which the economy could absorb (Rodgers, 1978). Under the system of home and workshop industries, production had been a virtue, and excess goods were not a problem. Now that factories could produce more than the nation could use, hard work and production no longer always provided assurance of prosperity.
Roger B. Hill, Ph.D.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 625-627

While Wall Street is pumping, Main Street bleeds.
New York Times
Published: January 30, 2011

“There is a feeling among young generations that no matter how hard we try, we can’t get ahead,” said Shigeyuki Jo, 36, co-author of “The Truth of Generational Inequalities.” “Every avenue seems to be blocked, like we’re butting our heads against a wall.”

Last year, 45 percent of those ages 15 to 24 in the work force held irregular jobs, up from 17.2 percent in 1988 and as much as twice the rate among workers in older age groups, who cling tenaciously to the old ways. Japan’s news media are now filled with grim accounts of how university seniors face a second “ice age” in the job market, with just 56.7 percent receiving job offers before graduation as of October 2010 — an all-time low.

“There is a mismatch between the old system and the young generations,” said Yuki Honda, a professor of education at the University of Tokyo. “Many young Japanese don’t want the same work-dominated lifestyles of their parents’ generation, but they have no choices.”
In Japan, Young Face Generational Roadblocks
New York Times
Published: January 27, 2011

Ayn Rand was … the progenitor of a sweeping “moral philosophy” that justifies the privilege of the wealthy and demonizes not only the slothful, undeserving poor but the lackluster middle-classes as well.

In the real world, however, Rand herself received Social Security payments and Medicare benefits under the name of Ann O'Connor (her husband was Frank O'Connor).

As Michael Ford of Xavier University's Center for the Study of the American Dream wrote, “In the end, Miss Rand was a hypocrite but she could never be faulted for failing to act in her own self-interest.”
Ayn Rand Railed Against Government Benefits, But Grabbed Social Security and Medicare When She Needed Them
By Joshua Holland
January 29, 2011