Jack Saturday

Monday, April 30, 2012

Anti Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 807-809

…a Russian man won the inaugural black-caviar speed-eating contest in Moscow, consuming $5,000 worth of caviar in 86 seconds for a prize of $326.
Harper's Weekly Review
April 24, 2012

Humans will always work. But that whole employee-employer thing is optional. It's time to start looking for another model.

What if jobs are the problem, not the solution? What if the survival of the species homo sapiens depends on imagining and creating a different way of organizing work? What if the job system is inseparable from the tyranny of the 1 percent and the incredibly stubborn persistence of racial inequality? 

The system does not work so well for many others. Even those who have had satisfying careers have seen or experienced some of the downsides of the job system: arbitrary and abusive bosses; the fear of losing a job, made all the more intense by the realization that this also usually means losing health insurance; the day-to-day monotony or stress associated with a dysfunctional workplace; the sense that the work being done is unethical or otherwise destructive to the general well-being;  brutal and demoralizing competition and conflict with co-workers; the constant pressure to stay “attractive” to the employer; long hours; low pay; and finally, getting laid-off or fired. Very few of us are exempt.
Is It Possible To Build An Economy Without Jobs?
AlterNet / By Frank Joyce

What would a 'playing society' be like? Well, for one thing it would be a society prepared for truly educated children. The time-sovereign 'shkolars' would require a degree of social security and collective resource similar to that in school - a 'ground of play' which would give them the opportunity to freely create their lives and direct their passions and talents. The welfare implications of this are obvious: we need to devote resources to a space of social autonomy. This is often called a 'social wage' or 'citizen's income', though I prefer 'creative support': the general limitation of working hours is the complementary policy. There needs to be a recognition that the capacious, dynamic creatures that might emerge from a players' education system cannot simply be expected to develop their vocations under the existing regime of jobs, functions and professions. Rather than close down all experiment and self-exploration once the moment of school is over, we need to find a social architecture that can sustain that kind of activity through a life.
Pat Kane
The Play Ethic

Monday, April 23, 2012

Anti Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 804-806

A play ethic starts from the premise that we can arrange our productive and social relations to support everyone's active passion: that a particular dispensation of technology, economic regulation, and democratic structures can remove the need for most, if not all, alienated labours.
Pat Kane
The Play Ethic

As of the end of 2011, U.S. households had $30 trillion in private assets and $13.6 trillion in liabilities for a total net worth of $16.4 trillion (PDF). How much is that? It comes to an average of $141,000 per household – free and clear of any debts.
But averages are extremely misleading, because wealth is so highly concentrated at the top.

...the bottom 40 percent of American households has a net worth of nearly zero (.2 percent).

If you take out the value of our homes, the bottom 40 percent has a negative net worth of minus 1 percent – meaning they owe more than their assets are worth.

...the top one percent has a positive net worth valued at approximately $5,700,000,000,000 (that’s $5.7 trillion).
What If the Greedy Rich Paid Their Share? 8 Things to Know About Wealth and Poverty in the US
Les Leopold

Bright Shining Star. The rocket, which was estimated to have cost the equivalent of six years’ worth of food for North Korea’s 24 million citizens, flew for one minute before disintegrating over the Yellow Sea.
Harper's Weekly Review
April 17, 2012

Monday, April 16, 2012

Anti Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 801-803

I recalled the 9-5 office job I had a few years back. I was playing Battlefield Bad Company 2 nightly then, obsessed with mastering large-scale warfare. Every day, I made the mind-numbing commute to my office; every night, the barrel of a gun guided me forward in the arid Atacama desert. Back in the office, the day-to-day always felt meaningless and unfruitful. Cubicles brimming with unfulfilled workers who didn't know what they were doing there, or how they got there at best. At worst, they were there solely because it provided a paycheck. It was well-managed rote, but it was a job.
I’m Sick of the Disturbingly Neat Lives Video Games Expect Us To Enjoy
Patricia Hernandez

Luis Buñuel concurred: "Somewhere between chance and mystery lies the imagination, the only thing that protects our freedom."
S…private enterprise doesn’t cover what Adam Smith cited as essential to the free market: wages that cover the costs of living according to the standards of the day. So, in a real sense, food stamps, unemployment insurance, school lunch programs, the earned income tax credit and other government programs can be seen as subsidizing businesses that can’t afford to pay livable wages instead of being viewed as putting working people “on the dole.”
Letter to the editor
Not Poor, but Relying on the Safety Net

New York Times
Chicago, Feb. 13, 2012
(emphasis JS)

We all know what the work ethic is (and a roomful of dissolute jazzers, fleeing from jobs, the state and even daylight, into the mystery of their fingertips, will know most acutely of all). But could a 'play ethic' ever become an equally powerful social phenomenon? What would it mean to live your life in the modern world - to be active and purposeful with politics and technology and money - if you believed that play was more important to human beings than work? That the values of playing (improvisation, fantasy, abundance) were more integral, more ennobling - more ethical, in short - than the values of working (routine, self-denial, propriety)? Could a play ethic ever shape the mainstream of a society, rather than just caper at its margins?
Pat Kane, The Play Ethic

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Monday, April 09, 2012

Anti Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 798-800

Arizona spent most of its federal welfare dollars on other programs, using permissive rules to plug state budget gaps. The poor people who were dropped from cash assistance here, mostly single mothers, talk with surprising openness about the desperate, and sometimes illegal, ways they make ends meet. They have sold food stamps, sold blood, skipped meals, shoplifted, doubled up with friends, scavenged trash bins for bottles and cans and returned to relationships with violent partners — all with children in tow.
Welfare Limits Left Poor Adrift as Recession Hit
New York Times
Published: April 7, 2012

She was 13 and worked as a maid for a couple who had gone on vacation to Thailand. They had left her locked inside their apartment.

After a firefighter rescued her, the girl described a life akin to slavery, child welfare officials said. Her uncle had sold her to a job placement agency, which sold her to the couple, both doctors. The girl was paid nothing. She said the couple barely fed her and beat her if her work did not meet expectations. She said they used closed-circuit cameras to make certain she did not take extra food.
In India, reported to have more child laborers than any other country in the world, child labor and trafficking are often considered symptoms of poverty: desperately poor families sell their children for work, and some end up as prostitutes or manual laborers.
But the case last week of the 13-year-old maid is a reminder that the exploitation of children is also a symptom of India’s rising wealth, as the country’s growing middle class has created a surging demand for domestic workers, jobs often filled by children.
Maid’s Cries Cast Light on Child Labor in India
New York Times
 Published: April 4, 2012

(emphasis JS)

[T]here are still some of us old bastards around who have seen enough in our lifetimes to call things what they really are. And we are not about to end up as more liberal roadkill alongside this historical crossroad. We are ready to lend our bad backs and grumpy attitudes to the fight for the soul of this nation with which we are stuck. Like the country songs says, "My head hurts, my feet stink and I don’t love Jesus." So get out of my way and Katy bar the door! I for one am taking to the streets, joining every damned faggot commie tree hugging protest march that comes rattling the pike. I don't care if these are the last days of the empire of the locusts. I don't care if the entire jackal nation is at our very throats. Let whatever history remains record that some of us went down with a fight, and that perhaps a few of us indeed became "sages with transfigured faces."
Staring Down the Jackals
Joe Bageant

Friday, April 06, 2012

Alan Watts on Career Choice

Monday, April 02, 2012

Anti Wage-Slavery, Pro-Fredom Quotations Of The Week 795-797

If you spend your days at a soul-numbing repetitious job with a brain simmering in anti-depressants, a belly stuffed with high fat, supercarb comfort food, and evenings half drunk or recovering on the couch from work . . . well . . . when the heck are you supposed to find time or mind to grasp the implications of global warming even as you contemplate being one payday ahead of homelessness? A while back I watched this bar full of people stare at a game of Afghani dead goat polo in silent, rapt attention. If that isn't brain dead I don't know what is. The relentless autocratic, blue collar American workplace has ground my people down, smashed 'em right into the couch. There they are force-fed the huckster's hologram of "personal freedom" in advertisements for off road vehicles. Getting a lousy public education, then being played against your fellow workers in Darwinian fashion by the free market economy does not make for optimism or open mindedness. It makes for a kind of bleak meanness nobody is openly talking about in the American political dialogue today.
Let's Drink to the Slobbering Classes
Joe Bageant

Gaining acceptance into graduate school or medical school and achieving a PhD or MD and becoming a psychologist or psychiatrist means jumping through many hoops, all of which require much behavioral and attentional compliance with authorities, even those authorities one lacks respect for.

Degrees and credentials are primarily badges of compliance. Those with extended schooling have lived for many years in a world where one routinely conforms to the demands of authorities.

I have found that most psychologists, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals are not only extraordinarily compliant with authorities but also unaware of the magnitude of their obedience.
aWhat better way to maintain the status quo than to view inattention, anger, anxiety, and depression as biochemical problems of those who are mentally ill rather than normal reactions to an increasingly authoritarian society?
Bruce E. Levine
(emphasis JS)

I am a Radiation Therapist and have seen hundreds of patient die after being burned up and shot up with chemo. I managed two different cancer centers during a ten year period.

One thing that really opened my eyes: we would get patients (on their “death bed”) and would be forced to rush to start them on radiation that same day. I ask the doctor why it was necessary to start the patient on radiation so quickly, when they were so weak, because it seemed to me that it would do more harm than good. He blew my mind when he said: “I know this will sound morbid, but if the patient dies before they receive three treatments, then we do not get paid.”
March 2012