Jack Saturday

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1159-1161

“The hunger crisis in New York is the worst that it’s been in decades,”
Rations Reduced as Demand Grows for Soup Kitchens
JUNE 27, 2014

On Friday, more than 100 academics, economists and activists for social change from around the world will gather at McGill University’s Law Faculty for the 15th International Congress of the Basic Income Earth Network.
“I don’t think there is any debate that welfare is not enough, particularly if you are trying to raise a family,” said Jonathan Brun, Quebec spokesperson for the Basic Income Canada Network. “The political class is beginning to see that something needs to be done to address the growing inequalities in our societies.”

Justin Trudeau’s federal Liberals identified a basic guaranteed income as a priority at the party’s policy convention in Montreal last winter. Ensuring every Quebecer had a living income was a key plank in Québec solidaire’s election platform.

Philippe Couillard’s Quebec government hasn’t made any promises, but there’s no denying the concept has high levels of support within the cabinet. Brun said he loves the fact guaranteed income has advocates at both ends of the political spectrum.

“People on the right seeing it as a way to eliminate bureaucracy,” he said, while people on the left laud it as progressive social policy for the poor. “It puts a floor under their feet, relieves the mental anxiety and gives them options.”
Idea of flat income to be hot topic at McGill on Friday
Montreal Gazette
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The sun, that highly convenient and free fusion reactor in the sky, radiates more energy to the Earth in a few hours than the entire human population consumes from all sources in a year.

“This means that solar panels, paired with batteries to enable power at night, can produce several orders of magnitude more electricity than is consumed by the entirety of human civilization."
Musk announces plans to build ‘one of the single largest solar panel production plants in the world’ and send people to Mars in ten years.
Elon Musk
Kurzweil News
June 18, 2014
[emphasis JS]

Monday, June 23, 2014

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1156-1158

There is a far cheaper option though: giving homeless people housing and supportive services. The study found that it would cost taxpayers just $10,051 per homeless person to give them a permanent place to live and services like job training and health care. That figure is 68 percent less than the public currently spends by allowing homeless people to remain on the streets. If central Florida took the permanent supportive housing approach, it could save $350 million over the next decade.
Leaving Homeless Person On The Streets: $31,065. Giving Them Housing: $10,051.
MAY 27, 2014
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A new report by the International Trade Union Confederation, an umbrella organization of unions around the world, sheds light on the state of workers' rights across 139 countries. For its 2014 Global Rights Index, the ITUC evaluated 97 different workers' rights metrics like the ability to join unions, access to legal protections and due process, and freedom from violent conditions. The group ranks each country on a scale of 1 (the best protections) to 5 (the worst protections).

The study found that in at least 35 countries, workers have been arrested or imprisoned "as a tactic to resist demands for democratic rights, decent wages, safer working conditions and secure jobs." In a minimum of nine countries, murder and disappearance are regularly used to intimidate workers.

The U.S., embarrassingly, scored a 4, indicating "systematic violations" and "serious efforts to crush the collective voice of workers."
The Worst Places On The Planet To Be A Worker
The Huffington Post  | By Kevin Short
Posted: 05/28/2014 
[emphasis JS]

THE way we’re working isn’t working. Even if you’re lucky enough to have a job, you’re probably not very excited to get to the office in the morning, you don’t feel much appreciated while you’re there, you find it difficult to get your most important work accomplished, amid all the distractions, and you don’t believe that what you’re doing makes much of a difference anyway. By the time you get home, you’re pretty much running on empty, and yet still answering emails until you fall asleep.

Increasingly, this experience is common not just to middle managers, but also to top executives.
Around the world, across 142 countries, the proportion of employees who feel engaged at work is just 13 percent. For most of us, in short, work is a depleting, dispiriting experience, and in some obvious ways, it’s getting worse.
MAY 30, 2014
New York Times
Sunday Review
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Monday, June 16, 2014

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1153-1155

Business leaders wanted easily managed employees who would be grateful to be employed, and that’s what they got. Now they are surprised that most employees are just going through the motions and doing the bare minimum to keep that job. Most fly below the radar, keep their ideas to themselves and use clothes, money, sex, reality TV and other diversions to fill the void that results from spending most of their time building someone else’s dream.
Philadelphia, June 1, 2014
New York Times
Sunday Review | LETTERS
Attitudes About Work
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When I talk about bullshit jobs, I mean, the kind of jobs that even those who work them feel do not really need to exist. A lot of them are made-up middle management, you know, I’m the “East Coast strategic vision coordinator” for some big firm, which basically means you spend all your time at meetings or forming teams that then send reports to one another. Or someone who works in an industry that they feel doesn’t need to exist, like most of the corporate lawyers I know, or telemarketers, or lobbyists…. Just think of when you walk into a hospital, how half the employees never seem to do anything for sick people, but are just filling out insurance forms and sending information to each other. Some of that work obviously does need to be done, but for the most part, everyone working there knows what really needs to get done and that the remaining 90 percent of what they do is bullshit. And then think about the ancillary workers that support people doing the bullshit jobs: here’s an office where people basically translate German formatted paperwork into British formatted paperwork or some such, and there has to be a whole infrastructure of receptionists, janitors, security guards, computer maintenance people, which are kind of second-order bullshit jobs, they’re actually doing something, but they’re doing it to support people who are doing nothing.
When I published the piece, there was a huge outpouring of confessionals from people in meaningless positions in private corporations or public service of one sort or another. The interesting thing was there was almost no difference between what they reported in the public, and in the private sector. Here’s one guy whose only duty is to maintain a spreadsheet showing when certain technical publications were out of date and send emails to the authors to remind them it needed updating. Somehow he had to turn this into an eight-hour-a-day job. Another one who had to survey policies and procedures inside the corporation and write vision statements describing alternative ways they might do them, reports that just got passed around to give other people in similar jobs a chance to go to meetings and coordinate data to write further reports, none of which were ever implemented. Another person whose job was to create ads and conduct interviews for positions in a firm that were invariably filled by internal promotion anyway.
SUNDAY, JUN 1, 2014 04:00 AM PDT
David Graeber: “Spotlight on the financial sector did make apparent just how bizarrely skewed our economy is in terms of who gets rewarded”
[emphasis JS]

Try following a high school student around for a full day, he urged, in case you’ve forgotten what it’s like to change subjects abruptly every hour, to be talked at incessantly, to be asked to sit still for long periods, to be endlessly tested and measured against others, to be moved around in cohorts by people who really do not know who you are, to be denied any civility like a coffee break and asked to eat lunch in twenty-three minutes, to be rarely trusted, and to repeat the same regimen with virtually no variation for week after week, year after year.
Now compare that perspective to those of experts whose first, and often only, question about the status quo is: How do we get kids to put up with it? For Duckworth, the challenge is how to make students pay “attention to a teacher rather than daydreaming,” persist “on long-term assignments despite boredom and frustration,” choose “homework over TV,” and “behav[e] properly in class”?

In her more recent research, she created a task that is deliberately boring, the point being to come up with strategies that will lead students to resist the temptation to do something more interesting instead. Again, cui bono?

Given these priorities, it makes perfect sense that Duckworth would turn to grades as evidence that grit is beneficial—not only because she assumes grades offer an accurate summary of learning but because “grades can motivate students to comply with teacher directives.” They are, in other words, useful as rewards or threats. Are the teacher’s directives reasonable or constructive? Same answer as to the question of whether the homework assignments are worth doing: It doesn’t matter. The point is to produce obedience—ideally, habitual obedience. This is the mindset that underlies all the enthusiasm about grit and self-discipline, evemn if it's rarely spelled out.
The Downside of "Grit"
By Alfie Kohn
Washington Post
April 6, 2014
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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

John Ralston-Saul's View of Basic Income

John Ralston-Saul, 30 seconds

Monday, June 09, 2014

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1150-1152

Growing up in a lefty, working class family, I felt it all the time. On the one hand, there’s this ideological imperative to validate work as virtue in itself. Which is constantly being reinforced by the larger society. On the other hand, there’s the reality that most work is obviously stupid, degrading, unnecessary, and the feeling that it is best avoided whenever possible. But it makes it very difficult to organize, as workers, against work.
SUNDAY, JUN 1, 2014
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The “market forces” are not physical phenomena; they are the hyenas and vultures from Wall Street who dismantle and then feed on the carcasses of a city or country. Decline does not just happen; it is engineered by the corporate entities of global capitalism  to maximize profit without regard for human costs. It is ultimately up to us, for the common good of human kind, to put wrenches  into the well-oiled wheels of this global corporate machine that is breaking our backs by grinding and crushing our accomplishments of more than 250 years to return us to the servitude of feudalism.
Gilbert Mercier
JUNE 02, 2014

Without a clear strategic goal of a humanity freed from work through the gradual expansion of automation and the social wage, all policies short of Luddite bans on new technology will have disappointing and perverse effects. If liberals and the left do not re-embrace the end of work and the need to give everyone income as a right of citizenship, unconnected to employment, they will help usher in a much bleaker future of growing class polarization and widespread immiseration. If libertarians and the right do not adapt to the need to provide universal income in a jobless future they may help bring about a populist backlash against free trade and industrial modernization.

In other words, it’s time to make a choice: Luddism, barbarism or a universal basic income guarantee.
J. Hughes
[emphasis JS]

Monday, June 02, 2014

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1147-1149

[U]niversities, where overpaid presidents act like Walmart CEOs and boards stuffed with business moguls push higher education toward corporate dystopia. No longer are universities to be places for rumination, research, and exposure to a wide range of ideas. They are “enterprises” that focus on the three Bs: branding, business model, and the bottom line.
By Lynn Stuart Parramore 

But for all of those young graduates who look out today and see a limitless horizon of excitement and opportunity, I hate to be the one to say it, but you probably won’t get there. And I’ve often wondered if, perhaps, those of us who ended up waiting tables or working the dead-end office jobs would be better suited to offering real advice to new graduates, advice tailored toward the majority, those who won’t attain the loftiest heights of their dreams — but still must find meaning and value in our imperfect world. And for those people, the rest of us, my advice is quite simple: Stay curious and keep learning.

Your job might be terrible, it might be horribly boring and physically draining like mine was. You might work in a terrifying corporate culture that stifles creativity and punishes independent thinking. You might be forced to watch round after round of layoffs and budget cuts, wondering if and when the ax will fall on you. And of course, there are plenty of other terrible ways that your life can turn sideways, too.

Stay curious. Keep learning.
 Boredom is a sickness. The complacency of sitting still is a crime against yourself, against your own ability to find meaning and happiness in our often-dreary world. We live in a hyper-connected culture that offers more opportunities than ever before to find new information, to keep learning and growing as a person.
Tim Donovan

Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates isn’t going to sugarcoat things: The increasing power of automation technology is going to put a lot of people out of work. Business Insider reports that Gates gave a talk at the American Enterprise Institute think tank in Washington, DC this week and said that both governments and businesses need to start preparing for a future where lots of people will be put out of work by software and robots.

“Software substitution, whether it’s for drivers or waiters or nurses…it’s progressing,” Gates said. “Technology over time will reduce demand for jobs, particularly at the lower end of skill set… 20 years from now, labor demand for lots of skill sets will be substantially lower. I don’t think people have that in their mental model.”
Brad Reed
March 14, 2014
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