Jack Saturday

Monday, February 17, 2014

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1103-1105

[E]xplain the whole mess to an 8-year-old, and you might hear a solution that will sound laughably obvious: Why not just give everyone some money? That way, even poor people could afford to feed their families and pay rent.

If that feels naive in its simplicity, prepare to be surprised.
The notion of a government paying its people just for being alive has a name—“guaranteed basic income”—and has recently been making headway as a legitimate policy proposal in countries all over the world.

Activists in Europe, most notably in Switzerland, have succeeded at injecting the idea into mainstream political debate. A recent poll showed that it has the support of nearly half of Canadians. The president of Cyprus says he’ll launch a limited version of the scheme this summer. Brazil has been giving direct cash transfers to poor families ever since passing a basic income law in 2004; pilot programs have in recent years been carried out in India and Namibia.
“You usually don’t have people from different ends of the political spectrum getting on board with the same sort of program,” said Brian Steensland, an associate professor of sociology at Indiana University and the author of the book “The Failed Welfare Revolution,” about how basic income went from being a marginal academic idea to a congressional bill and back again. “There’s just something in there that’s really appealing for people from a whole range of intellectual, philosophical, and economic perspectives.”
“At some point, we are going to be spending such a ridiculous amount of money on [the welfare state] that it will become ridiculous to everyone,” Murray said. “Right now it’s already ridiculous to people on the right. How can we have ‘X’ trillions of dollars in transfer payments and still have 15 percent of the population below the poverty line? It’s idiotic. Well, at some point it will also become idiotic to people on the left, and so, that’s what I see as the opportunity, ultimately, for a grand compromise.”

That grand compromise, he explained, will involve the libertarian right saying, “we’ll give you on the left big government in terms of the amount of money we spend on people, if you will give us small government in terms of the ability of the government to screw around with people’s lives.”
Should the government pay you to be alive?
By Leon Neyfakh
The Boston Globe
[emphasis JS]

“If some people, for a period, want to make their own life easier by avoiding the double shift and getting up at 5 o’clock in the morning, why shouldn’t it be welcomed? Does it not make for a more flourishing life?”

A recent report on Obamacare by the CBO found that the law will nudge workers to work less. Why? Because if you don’t have to take a full-time job just to get coverage, then maybe you won’t. Conservatives are interpreting the report to mean that Obamacare is a “job killer.” But they’re deliberately missing the fact that the work reduction in this case is voluntary.

 “The estimated reduction stems almost entirely from a net decline in the amount of labor that workers choose to supply,” says the report.

Assuming the CBO is correct about this voluntary reduction, what’s so bad about it? Why would anyone be up in arms about the idea of a person choosing, of her own free will, to work less?

If you’re a 60-year-old retail worker with diabetes, you’ve had to work a full-time job in order to get health insurance coverage. Under Obamacare, your pre-existing condition won’t prevent you from getting insured, so you may choose to cut back your hours or retire early. Facing job insecurity and layoffs, older workers have often been forced to taking McJobs just to be able to go to the doctor, when they could be doing much more interesting and productive things with their time, like teaching their grandchildren to read or engaging in civic activities.
Maybe the real question is, why don’t we have more choices about how and when we work, and what kind of system would provide them?
Many economists believe our obsession with endless work is not helping the bottom line. Study after study shows that overworking hurts productivity. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has found that the Greeks, who face a very bad economy, work more hours than any other Europeans. Germans, however, rank second to last in number of hours worked, and their country is considered an economic triumph.
America Has Forgotten That We Don't Have Freedom If We Don't Have Free Time
Lynn Stuart Parramore 

Just think of all the work that would be better not done: all of the prison guards that would be better unemployed, the people who made the over 70 billion dollars worth of weapons that we sold to Saudi Arabia within the last few years, the people who make the billions of dollars worth of weapons we give to Israel every year. Then consider the other resources that are consumed to do these things, the oil, the coal, the scarce metals. The lives of these people are being wasted as are the resources they consume doing their jobs.

Yet they are supposed to dread the thought of losing their jobs, of not having their lives wasted. -- profoundly perverse! Why can't they be trained to do the work that actually needs to be done so we can all work less?
America Has Forgotten That We Don't Have Freedom If We Don't Have Free Time
Lynn Stuart Parramore 


  • Jack, a note about the cartoon of Frankenstein rising from the ashes. The words "WORK CHOICES" on his shirt refers to WorkChoices, which was a legislative act in Australia. Contrary to its worker-friendly name, WorkChoices attacked workers' rights. Think of it as a rough equivalent of right-to-work laws in the USA.

    In Australia the Liberal Party is right-wing, and the Labor Party is left-wing (it's a topsy-turvy world). The Liberal Party government brought in WorkChoices in 2005, which was very unpopular, and it was a major reason they were defeated in 2007.

    The cartoon refers to the Liberal Party opposition suggesting in 2009 that WorkChoices be reintroduced. The Liberal Party was elected back into federal government in 2013, and I expect them to try to resurrect WorkChoices.

    By Anonymous Markus, at 8:25 PM  

  • Hi Markus:

    Thanks for the information. I've replaced the image. The cartoon was a little mysterious to me, but I thought it somehow represented the job system today. No need for unnecessary controversy.

    By Blogger Jack Saturday, at 9:07 PM  

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