Jack Saturday

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Who Is Hungry In The United States

Vicki Escarri
3 min 16 sec

Monday, June 24, 2013

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 999-1001

…an exhaustive and depressing new study of the American workplace done by the Gallup organization. Among the 100 million people in this country who hold full-time jobs, about 70 percent of them either hate going to work or have mentally checked out to the point of costing their companies money — “roaming the halls spreading discontent,” as Gallup reported.

Another surprise is the age and educational level of the most discontented workers. College graduates, now more than ever, earn far more than those with just a high school diploma. But the grumpiest, least happy people in the workplace are college graduates and baby boomers.
Checking Out
Timothy Egan June 20, 2013
New York Times

 [emphasis JS]

I’m perfectly happy with the solution, that basic income. Indeed, I support one right now, whether the machines do steal all the jobs or not: for a simple basic income would be vastly better in terms of incentives that the quite ghastly social support systems we’ve got now. And this isn’t a new idea at all: Charles Murray published “In Our Hands” a decade or so ago and the idea is really very simple indeed. Abolish all of the redistribution efforts that we currently have and simply pay every adult an unconditional grant of $10,000 a year. The money comes out to be about the same as we currently redistribute (this slight extra expense can be taxed back of high earners very easily) but we at a stroke abolish all of the welfare traps in our current system.
How To Beat The Machines: Social Security For All
Tim Worstall
[emphasis JS]

...citizen's income: the state replacing the vast majority of the benefit system with one cash payment made to everyone, regardless of employment or income.

The advantages of such a change are legion. At a stroke, the thorny issues of incentives are done away with, since work always pays; the deadweight loss associated with means testing disappears (albeit replaced with the deadweight loss of giving money to people who don't need it); those most likely to fall through the cracks of a regimented welfare state find the barrier to re-entry done away with; and it allows for a recognition of the value of certain types of non-market labour, like caring or raising children.

The New York Times' Paul Krugman and the Financial Times' Izabella Kaminska now wade into the fray, proposing another advantage of the policy: its redistributive effect.

Now, redistribution is already, prima facie, one of the absolute best things a government can do. Simply put, rich people don't need money, and poor people do. All else being equal, taking some money from rich people and giving it to poor people is therefore the absolute best way to improve worldwide welfare we know of.
 Krugman and Kaminska argue that there's a strong chance that redistribution will get significantly more important in the near future. That's because, they fear, all our jobs will be taken by robots.
For the most part, all our jobs being taken by robots isn't that bad a thing. What that would mean in practice is that we would have the same standard of living that we have now, and wouldn't need to work for it. That's actually pretty great.

The problem comes when the benefits from increased automation accrue, not to society at large, but to one small subset of society: the robot owners. (In other words, the problem comes when automation meets capitalism. But let's not go there)   
Basic income versus the robots
By Alex Hern
Published 17 June 2013
New Statesman

[emphasis JS]

Monday, June 17, 2013

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 996-998

Today, however, a much darker picture of the effects of technology on labor is emerging. In this picture, highly educated workers are as likely as less educated workers to find themselves displaced and devalued, and pushing for more education may create as many problems as it solves.
Even a quick scan of the report’s list suggests that some of the victims of disruption will be workers who are currently considered highly skilled, and who invested a lot of time and money in acquiring those skills. For example, the report suggests that we’re going to be seeing a lot of “automation of knowledge work,” with software doing things that used to require college graduates. Advanced robotics could further diminish employment in manufacturing, but it could also replace some medical professionals.

 Education, then, is no longer the answer to rising inequality, if it ever was (which I doubt).

So what is the answer? If the picture I’ve drawn is at all right, the only way we could have anything resembling a middle-class society — a society in which ordinary citizens have a reasonable assurance of maintaining a decent life as long as they work hard and play by the rules — would be by having a strong social safety net, one that guarantees not just health care but a minimum income, too.
Sympathy for the Luddites
New York Times
Published: June 13, 2013

[emphasis JS]

According to a Pew Foundation survey, “nearly a quarter of Americans (24%) say they had trouble putting food on the table in the past 12 month revealing a painful level of deprivation and family trauma despite the U.S.  being the richest country in the world.

In early 2013, Oxfam reported that the fortunes made by the world’s 100 richest people over the course of 2012 – roughly $240 billion – would be enough to lift the world’s poorest people out of poverty four times over.
Andrew Gavin Marshall
Global Power Project, Part 1: Exposing the Transnational Capitalist Class

 [emphasis JS]

The science fiction of the 40's and 50's and 60's assumed something like Dr K's answer, but more so. Typically, they presented a future in which everyone was issued a base income, enough to live on, and they were free to live on that or work for more. This made work a choice, and required potential employers to offer enough to get someone to make that choice, and treat them well enough that the workers did not change their minds about that.

We have never actually done that, but it was the common answer of those who thought about it for about two generations.

This was a model openly discussed in the campaign of George McGovern in 1968. It has nearly disappeared from our political life after that crushing defeat, and even from most literature after that.

It is still the only long term answer. A society that does not do this will become a non-functional dystopian society that will be too weak to survive against healthier societies that have the consent and support of their governed.
Mark Thomason
Clawson, MI
Comment on
Sympathy for the Luddites
New York Times
Published: June 13, 2013

Monday, June 10, 2013

Anti Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 993-995

As Congress continues to cut life-sustaining programs, its members should note that their 400 friends on the  Forbes list made more from their stock market gains last year than the total amount of the  food, housing, and  education budgets combined.
The Real Numbers: Half of America in Poverty -- and It's Creeping Upward
AlterNet / By Paul Buchheit

[emphasis JS]

I'm just sitting next to fucking idiot bankers who understand less about the economy than my pet hamster.

I mean the idea that a banker is "smarter" than a teacher, doctor, or academic is frankly offensively meta-stupid.

I mean let's be honest. Any idiot can be a used car salesman. Genius is Einstein, Salk, Picassi. Bankers are just morons.

And let's not even get started on hedge "funds". An industry that's a pure, worthless Ponzi scheme subsidized by you and me.

I mean I'm sorry to rant but this is ridiculous. Bankers are literally some of the dumbest people I've ever met. And yet.

Putting ibankers in charge of the economy is like putting a wrestler on roid rage in charge of the neurosurgery department.

The more time I spend around ibankers, like the morons sitting next to me right now, the more I remember what fucking morons they are.

The idea that the idiot bankers who blew up our fucking economy are now telling us what to do with it is beyond absurd. It's tragicomic.

Frankly, it's embarrassing that almost no one says this stuff. It's as fucking obvious as the clear blue sky.

Like when was the last time a banker advanced an economic argument that made any sense? I can't remember one. They're charlatans.

But it's exactly the financial types that are the most fucking clueless when it comes to understanding anything about the economy.

It's astonishing to me how stupid our leaders are; they keep buying the myths the financial types spin.

I call that idea financial determinism; the conceit that finance is a panacea for an economy. It's magical thinking at it's purest.

The idea that a thriving financial sector will "take care of everything" is even more pernicious than trickle-down economics.

Finance should serve the real economy. The real economy should not serve finance.

I'm not quite sure how we ended up in a place where the financial economy superceded the real economy. But it's crushing us.

You know, at some point we have to build an economy where finance isn't prioritized over prosperity. It's getting a little absurd.

Can someone please date the ibankers already? That would fix the economy faster than anything else.

Finally, frankly, anyone who tells you bankers are "smart" is truly a fucking moron. Because they're even dumber than bankers.
umair haque ‏@umairh
On Twitter

The one minute conservative case for a basic income:

The welfare state may not be the society we would have created, but it has been here for 4 generations, people have come to expect and rely on it, and it would be extremely disruptive to society to get rid of it. But while we may not be able to get rid of the welfare state, we can reform it. The current welfare state necessitates an immense and expensive bureaucracy, it is prohibitively complicated for some of its intended beneficiaries to navigate, it puts bureaucrats in charge of the lives of the poor, it creates perverse incentives for people to avoid work and to remain poor, and it arbitrarily allows some people to fall through the cracks. A basic income would correct all of these problems. A basic income is simple to administer, treats all people equally, retains all rewards for hard work, savings, and entrepreneurship, and trusts the poor to make their own decisions about what to do with their money, taking these decisions out of the hands of paternalistic elitist politicians.
OPINION: The One Minute Case for a Basic Income
Basic Income News

[emphasis JS]

Sunday, June 09, 2013

The World Owes You A Living Complete Audio Series

 Jack Saturday's The World Owes You a Living is like the wonderful audio montage artistry of a Firesign Theater or a Ken Nordine, but with a discernable political point. Highly recommended.
James J. Hughes PhD,
Changesurfer Radio

Executive Director, Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET)

"I have listened to The World Owes You a Living over and over again. The CDs deftly strip away the many layers of brittle toxic and dangerous lies told to us about the nature of work. The hundreds of clips of interviews, news stories and commentary are arranged in a way that the CDs are a pleasure and not an effort to listen to. Anyone who wants to know why society is f…ked should check these out. If you can’t afford to buy them for yourself, find some   friends to share the cost or ask your local library to buy them."
C. L'Hirondelle
Founding member of Livable Income For Everyone (LIFE) society and coordinator of the Victoria Status of Women Action Group.

Thank you to the above, and to all who bought and celebrated these CDs, from tenured PhD's to Welfare recipients to nurses to activists to students. Thanks to New American Radio (New York), CFUV, CFRO and Canada's ten campus stations. Now we relieve ourselves from promotion and marketing. Now the many years of gathering and organizing this associational documentary is offered as a tribute to the gift economy and the end of wage-slavery. Blessings to all.
Jack Saturday

Episode 1 is here

 Episode 2 is here

Episode 3 is here.

Episode 4 is here

Episode 5 is here.

 Episode 6 is here 

Episode 7 is here

Episode 8 is here

(Episodes 7 and 8, "Happiness" and "The Great Work" are Avalons to the main body of the series, or Happy Isles off its shore)

"This is a very good documentary."
--Karl Widerquist
coordinator, USBIG


The World Owes You A Living

in 6 episodes, plus 2
  Jack Saturday

Recently I heard an interview with a writer who warned us that if terrorists struck certain "nodal points" in the US power grid or water systems, damage could be maximal.

In researching the problem of poverty in a world of plenty, I finally stopped to examine "the work ethic as we have known it," and found in it a "nodal point" of interconnections as dense and variegated as the tenacious convolvulus in my landlady's front yard-- and as hidden as its rhizomatic roots.

Growing up in blue-collar small towns in Canada, holding various jobs in city and country, it was perfectly obvious to me, and repeatedly expressed, how much most fellow workers hated their jobs. At the same time, when the conversation lifted from the personal to the political or philosophical, the "work ethic as we have known it" was suddenly supported by the most unexamined cliché rhetoric. It was assumed. It was unquestioned. It was unconscious.

The devil is in the self-evidence. Tracing this apparent contradiction led to less articulated zones of inverted values: a constant but indirect pride in suffering (sacrifice), and indeed a competition in suffering, especially among the wives. Along with this, in males there was (promoted and sustained by all entertainment media) a love of violence, with its endless parade of violent heroes to out-violence the violent villains. The "goodness" in this violence was that it was revenge promoted as justice.

Archaic religious values lurked largely in these obscure zones, and reading through books, which served as flashlights (torches) through these dark caves, I came across the mouldy skeletons of John Calvin and John Knox. But not before a tour of the first Industrial Revolution, and the 19th century brutal "moralizing of the proletariat" during the time of Dickens. Ralph Waldo Emerson then wrote of "the habit of a realist to find things the reverse of their appearance." This realist recognized the obvious demoralizing of the proletariat, which has sustained down the generations. To thicken the plot along these lines, this demoralization is covered up by "denial" in the form of "pride." "Pride In Work" is the name of a shameful workfare program in the US.

As indicated, to ponder motives, I dived (sounded!) from the horizontal/historical quest downward into various models of psychology, finding there a tremendous world (our own) where actions and motives are as inside-out and backward as the world of Alice's looking glass-- "denial," "projection," the "Repetition Compulsion," "Ressentiment," the "Fantasy Bond"-all valuable pictures of the strange behaviour of the animal who has invented, created, and profoundly denied the Horn of Plenty.

In attempting to unearth and limn the "work ethic as we have known it," I isolated and tagged no less than 36 themes. Following the cue of Narrative Psychology, Jesus, Scheherazade, and other great figures who taught through stories, and the expert on the radio who stated that 8% of people in the West read any book after high school, I decided to gather anecdotal (and some scholarly) material presented in oral modes. I chose to fish mostly the great pond of daytime radio, specifically CBC1, my country's Public Broadcaster, because it seemed to me there was a lot of good stuff there going unheard because people were at work.

Furthermore, assessing the modern or post-modern psyche as preferring bite (byte) sized information, I fished for key lines and seminal clips with potent valences. It took 20 years to land enough of these to assemble and compose an Associational Documentary which illuminates/reveals all 36 themes of this incredible rhizome, the resplendent garment of our emperor. Of course he is naked, the listener says. Of course he always has been.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 990-992

Lower those expectations, kids!

The meme of millenials being entitled and spoiled reminds me of talk radio and the cadillac-driving welfare queen. The more you screw someone over the more you have to make up stories to justify why they deserve it. The 30 and under crowd is inheriting a world with more inequality, more debt burden, fewer jobs with fewer benefits, chronically dysfunctional government, slashed social services and a very precarious future.
Millennials: The Worst, Most Entitled, Most Spoiled Generation in the History of Humankind?

[emphasis JS]

This automatic identification with duty, role, and responsibility rather than the needs of the self is a major risk factor for chronic illness.
Gabor Mate

Almost half of Americans had NO assets in 2009.

Analysis of  Economic Policy Institute data shows that Mitt Romney's famous  47 percent, the alleged 'takers,' have taken nothing. Their debt exceeded their assets in 2009.

It's Even Worse 3 Years Later

Since the recession, the disparities have continued to grow. An  OECD report states that "inequality has increased by more over the past three years to the end of 2010 than in the previous twelve," with the U.S. experiencing one of the widest gaps among OECD countries. The 30-year  decline in wages has worsened since the recession, as low-wage jobs have replaced formerly secure middle-income positions. 
The Real Numbers: Half of America in Poverty -- and It's Creeping Upward
AlterNet / By Paul Buchheit

[emphasis JS]