Jack Saturday

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Fukkin Nuts

Derrick Jensen, 19 seconds

Monday, May 26, 2014

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1144-1146

Has there ever, I wonder, been a period of history when so many people worked so hard at such dull tasks, in order to maintain a quality of life which is better than anything the majority of mankind could have enjoyed in the past, but which is bought at the cost of unremitting work, economic complexity, lifelong burdens of debt, and an hysterical craving for more and costlier physical objects of a kind that can never requite the toil and servitude it takes to acquire them, in the midst of our heaped-up abundance of things made of metal and wires and plastic, we starve for the bread of the spirit.
One half of Robertson Davies

When labor advocates and law enforcement officials talk about wage theft, they are usually referring to situations in which low-wage service-sector employees are forced to work off the clock, paid subminimum wages, cheated out of overtime pay or denied their tips. It is a huge and underpoliced problem. It is also, it turns out, not confined to low-wage workers.

In the days ahead, a settlement is expected in the antitrust lawsuit pitting 64,613 software engineers against Google, Apple, Intel and Adobe. The engineers say they lost up to $3 billion in wages from 2005-9, when the companies colluded in a scheme not to solicit one another’s employees. The collusion, according to the engineers, kept their pay lower than it would have been had the companies actually competed for talent.
Money that would have flowed to workers in the form of wages went instead into corporate coffers and from there to executives and shareholders.
[...]wage-theft violations — nearly double the amount stolen that year in robberies on the street, at banks, gas stations and convenience stores.
New York Times
APRIL 21, 2014
[emphasis JS]

In the United States, the share of national income that goes to workers — in wages and benefits — has been falling for almost half a century.

Today it’s at its lowest level since the 1950s while the returns to capital have soared. Corporate profits take the largest share of national income since the government started measuring the statistic in the 1920s.
As the cost of capital investments has fallen relative to the cost of labor, businesses have rushed to replace workers with technology.

“From the mid-1970s onwards, there is evidence that capital and labor are more substitutable” than what standard economic models would suggest, Professor Neiman told me. “This is happening all over the place. It is a major global trend.”
 The persistent decline in the labor share of income suggests another dynamic. Call it “capital-biased technical change” — which encourages replacing decently paid workers with a machine, regardless of their skill.
The only safe route into the future seems to be to already have a lot of money.
New York Times
Eduardo Porter
APRIL 15, 2014
[emphasis JS]

Sunday, May 25, 2014


Jane Jacobs, 14 seconds

Monday, May 19, 2014

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1141-1143

I played the "loyalty game" for years only to discover that I was the only one playing it. Your boss may expect two weeks notice and yet see no inconsistency when he "lays off" one of your fellow workers with zero warning. I am retired now after nearly 40 years in construction and I was never fired, never quit and was usually among the very last guys layed-off at the end of a job because I thought that was how you played the game. Looking back, I wish I had quit a few jobs and moved on to something that actually enhanced my life instead of being loyal to something that would use a man up and then discard them like a broken tool.
Ronald Belew
Huffington Post / By Alexander Kjerulf
[emphasis JS]

Human capital?
Everything changed in 2008, and it hasn't changed back. Unemployment isn't concentrated among the poorly trained anymore; it has invaded the ranks of the educated and experienced. In my own field of biomedical research, new statistics have just come out indicating that 10% of former postdocs consider themselves unemployed, up from a negligible number 10 years ago. A postdoc is someone with not only a Ph.D. in a STEM field but years of research experience, inevitably in a productive, funded lab, after the Ph.D. This is some of the most valuable "human capital" you will ever meet. And there aren't enough jobs for them! If you improve human capital by taking a high school dropout, giving them a chance to finish high school, go to college for 10 years, get a universally-admired degree, and acquire solid experience beyond that, they will either be unemployed themselves or take a job away from someone equally well educated and leave that person unemployed. No, David, improving human capital is not the answer -- this is a demand-side recession, and whether you like the conclusion or not, improving demand by yanking wealth away from people who will stash it in the Cayman Islands and giving it to people who will spend it on Chevrolets, music lessons for their kids, trips to the Grand Canyon, and the occasional family meal in a restaurant is the only way to fix it.
Charles, East Lansing, MI 
Comment section
The Piketty Phenomenon
David Brooks
New York Times
APRIL 24, 2014

[emphasis JS]

As a college professor for the past 15 years, I can tell you that the entire industry is not set up for us to engage with our students in the positive ways mentioned in essay. First, the vast majority of professors are contract or adjunct faculty with insecure jobs (I am included in this bunch). We worry about whether we will have a job next semester or next year. This reduces our ability to effectively engage with students in the ways that we want. Second, those professors who have tenure-track jobs have to worry about publication. Even at "teaching institutions" (the liberal arts college I teach at is in this category), there is lip service given to teaching, while the real rewards are for the professors who publish and bring in grant money, regardless of how horrible many of them are in the classroom and in dealing with students outside the classroom. Third, the current trends in accreditation and in assessment at colleges today means higher education is being forced into the pathways K-12 education has had to go: lots of quantifiable, but meaningless data that have little or nothing to do with the real job of teaching and caring about/preparing students for their future lives. Every course we teach now needs quantifiable learning objectives. Most of the classes I teach are the sort to get students thinking - and keep them thinking for many years. How does one do an end-of-the-semester, quantifiable assessment of that? It is a horrible shame.
ailun99 Wisconsin
comment section
In College, Nurturing Matters
charles M. Blow
New York Times

MAY 7, 2014

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1138-1140

Grown-up people reconcile themselves too willingly to a supposed duty of preparing young ones for the time when they will regard as illusion what now is an inspiration to heart and mind. Deeper experience of life, however, advises their inexperience differently. It exhorts them to hold fast, their whole life through, to the thoughts which inspire them. It is through the idealism of youth that man [sic] catches sight of truth, and in that idealism he possesses a wealth which he must never exchange for anything else. 
Albert Schweitzer,
Memories of Childhood and Youth, 1955

The first experience you will encounter is the “triggering event.” This is the first time the bully does something to target you. The event itself seems quite ordinary and often isn’t an obvious catalyst for the escalation that follows.

The tendency is to brush it off as “he’s [sic] just having a bad day.” Everyone has bad days from time to time, where they become stressed and snappy.

However, this behavior repeats. You get reprimanded and insulted, you’re given an unreasonable workload, you miss out on rewards and you get that creepy feeling that the bully is talking about you behind your back — and on it goes.

Now you are dreading going to work. Every time you see the bully, you break out into a cold sweat. You can’t concentrate on your work. You lie awake at night. It takes over your every waking thought. You panic and you feel really low.

Suddenly you get more headaches, backaches, colds and stomachaches. You become preoccupied and withdrawn at home and your important relationships suffer. You lose your appetite.

The number of PhD recipients on food stamps and other forms of welfare more than tripled between 2006 and 2012 to 94,700, according to an Urban Institute analysis. The number of master's degree holders on food stamps and other forms of welfare nearly tripled during that same time period to 482,000, according to the same analysis.
The boost in PhD recipients receiving food stamps is just the latest indication of decades of Oversupply of college graduates in this nation.
A dismayed mother Stoneham, MA 
Does College Pay?
New York Times
MAY 9, 2014

Monday, May 05, 2014

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1135-1137

The Sane SocietyIt is one of the fundamental changes of the last fifty years that in all Western countries the principle has been adopted that every citizen must have a minimum material security. Yet, while this principle has been adopted [sic], there is still, among most businessmen, intense hostility against it, and especially its widening application; they speak contemptuously of the welfare state as killing private initiative and the spirit of adventure, and in fighting social security measures they pretend to fight for the freedom and initiative of the worker. That these arguments are sheer rationalizations is evidenced by the fact that the same people have no qualms about praising economic security as one of the chief aims of life. One needs only to read the advertisements of insurance companies, with their promises to free their customers from insecurity which could be caused by accidents, death, sickness, old age, etc., to be aware of the important role which the ideal of economic security plays for the moneyed class, and the praise of the same aim for those in the higher income brackets is another example of man's unlimited capacity for thinking contradictory thoughts, without even making a feeble attempt to become aware of the contradiction.
Erich Fromm, 
The Sane Society, 1955
[emphasis JS]

"It's hard on my psyche. There's no break. There's no time to breathe. I always have to think about the next step just to survive."
BOBBY BINGHAM, of Kansas City, Mo., who works three part-time jobs to make ends meet.
New York Times
Today's Headlines  Thursday, May 1, 2014

A year after the experiment had started, eleven out of thirteen had a roof above their heads. They accepted accommodation, enrolled in education, learnt how to cook, got treatment for drug use, visited their families and made plans for the future. ‘I loved the cold weather,’ one of them remembers. ‘Now I hate it.’ After decades of authorities’ fruitless pushing, pulling, fines and persecution, eleven notorious vagrants finally moved off the streets. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation did a study of this experiment.

Costs? 50,000 pounds a year, including the wages of the aid workers. In addition to giving eleven individuals another shot at life, the project had saved money by a factor of at least 7. Even The Economist concluded:

‘The most efficient way to spend money on the homeless might be to give it to them.’
The Correspondent
[emphasis JS]

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Chunkymark, "Help to Work"

chunkymark, 8 min 49 sec

Thanks to @NewsFRames for the link