Jack Saturday

Monday, April 27, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1289-1291

Nearly three-quarters of the people helped by programs geared to the poor are members of a family headed by a worker, according to a new study by the Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California. As a result, taxpayers are providing not only support to the poor but also, in effect, a huge subsidy for employers of low-wage workers, from giants like McDonald’s and Walmart to mom-and-pop businesses.
The low-wage business model practiced by many of the largest and most profitable employers in the country not only leaves many working families unable to afford the basics, but also imposes significant costs on the public as a whole,” Sarah Leberstein, a senior staff lawyer with the National Employment Law Project, testified recently before Connecticut lawmakers.
A report issued last week by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland said that labor’s share of overall income had fallen to record lows in recent years while profits have soared.
Working, but Needing Public Assistance Anyway
APRIL 12, 2015
New York Times
[emphasis JS]

Walmart’s low-wage workers cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $6.2 billion in public assistance including food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing, according to a report published to coincide with Tax Day, April 15 [2014].
Other large retail chains have been the focus of similar reports in recent months. In October, two studies released to coincide showed that American fast food industry outsourced a combined $7 billion in annual labor costs to taxpayers. McDonald's MCD alone accounted for $1.2 billion of that outlay.

Yum Brands came in at a distant number two, with its Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC subsidiaries costing $648 million in benefits programs for workers each year.
Report: Walmart Workers Cost Taxpayers $6.2 Billion In Public Assistance
Clare O'Connor  
[emphasis JS]

How would you like to live in an economy where robots do everything that can be predictably programmed in advance, and almost all profits go to the robots' owners?

Meanwhile, human beings do the work that's unpredictable - odd jobs, on-call projects, fetching and fixing, driving and delivering, tiny tasks needed at any and all hours - and patch together barely enough to live on.

Brace yourself. This is the economy we're now barreling toward.
The euphemism is the "share" economy. A more accurate term would be the "share-the-scraps" economy.

New software technologies are allowing almost any job to be divided up into discrete tasks that can be parceled out to workers when they're needed, with pay determined by demand for that particular job at that particular moment.

Customers and workers are matched online. Workers are rated on quality and reliability.
The big money goes to the corporations that own the software. The scraps go to the on-demand workers.

Robert Reich: Why Work Is Turning Into a Nightmare
[emphasis JS]

Monday, April 20, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1286-1288

A bushel's as good as a peck to most folks outside the agricultural industry but that doesn't make the New Holland CR10.90's wheat-picking feat any less impressive. It was able to harvest nearly 800 tons of the grain from 198 acres of English farmland in a single workday—all while setting a Guinness world record.

On August 15th, a CR10.90 harvested and shucked 797.656 metric tons of wheat in the span of just eight hours. That's nearly 30,000 bushels of wheat in a single day—that's enough for 2.19 million loaves of bread or fill 1.59 million boxes of Wheaties.
Andrew Tarantola
    [emphasis JS]

The people doing moronic work hate that work, and themselves for having to do it-- and, in time, all those who do not have to do it.
John Holt     

The worker has as much latent sensibility as any human being, but that sensibility can only be awakened when meaning is restored to his daily work and he [sic] is allowed to create his own culture.
Herbert Read
To Hell With Culture, 1943

Monday, April 13, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1283-1285

thanks to Geneva Hagen
...we’re looking at fewer jobs that pay the equivalent of what an autoworker or a teacher made in the ’60s and ’70s. All but a lucky few will either have the kind of service jobs that are now paying around $9 an hour, or be worse off.

And if robots can think, be creative, teach themselves, beat humans at chess and even Jeopardy, flip burgers, take care of your aging parent, plant, tend and harvest lettuce, drive cars, deliver packages, build iPhones and run warehouses — Amazon’s “Kiva” robots can carry 3,000 pounds, stock shelves and select and ship packages — it’s hard to imagine what these jobs might be.
If no one can buy, there’s very little to sell; again, relative to their income, rich people don’t buy much. (A hundred million people with $100 each spend a lot more than one person with $10 billion.)
Better is the Guaranteed Basic Income, which is not universally despised (it’s at least as old as Thomas Paine, was endorsed by the economist Friedrich Hayek and was recently considered by Switzerland), because it would simplify matters and help keep the economy moving.
And why not? We need equally big thinkers now, and dreamers, and we need to be acting with them.
Let’s resolve to build something better. In the long run we know that we’ll make the transition from capitalism to some less destructive and hopefully more just system. Why not begin that transition now?
Mark Bittman
New York Times
Why Not Utopia?
MARCH 20, 2015

The issue of homelessness returned to the public agenda last week, with a report on camping in city parks. In parks including Beacon Hill, Cridge, Topaz, Kings, Holland Point, Arbutus and Haegert, tents pop up about 8 p.m. each night, temporary homes for hundreds of people. The next day at 7 a.m., police and bylaw officers rouse the campers and send them on their way.

The campers are taking advantage of a city bylaw passed after a B.C. Court of Appeal ruling in 2009 that in the absence of shelter beds, it is unconstitutional to prohibit people from putting up shelters in parks.

It’s called “sheltering,” and it’s not good for the campers, the law-enforcement officers or anybody else.

In dollar terms last year, it cost $400,000 for police, $165,000 for bylaw officers and $100,000 for cleanup. The camps lead to noise complaints, garbage and destruction of ecosystems. But the true cost can’t be measured in decibels or dollars.
The numbers will only grow because the winter shelters closed last week. The tireless Rev. Al Tysick of the Dandelion Society expects to see more people in parks and on the street as he goes on his rounds bringing food and cheer to the homeless.

He is supplying them with tents and tarps, as well as coffee and muffins.

“The lousy thing is it costs a lot less money for people to be housed than homeless,” he told the Times Colonist’s Sarah Petrescu.
It’s standard procedure to put money into hospital rooms and jail cells, but governments have a much tougher time investing dollars in projects that would keep people out of hospital rooms and jail cells. Housing is one of those preventive investments.
Editorial: Prevention is the cure for camping in city parks
Victoria Times Colonist 
April 7, 2015
[emphasis JS]

 Solar Roadways
Those are really our choices, that we can either go down a road towards things getting worse because we refuse to leverage technology for our own good, or we can go down the road of leveraging technology for the good of everybody.
Reddit, Robots, and Resources
Scott Santens

Monday, April 06, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1280-1282

It’s now possible to sell a new product to hundreds of millions of people without needing many, if any, workers to produce or distribute it.
The combination of advanced sensors, voice recognition, artificial intelligence, big data, text-mining, and pattern-recognition algorithms, is generating smart robots capable of quickly learning human actions, and even learning from one another.

If you think being a “professional” makes your job safe, think again.
Robert Reich
The “iEverything” and the Redistributional Imperative
MONDAY, MARCH 16, 2015

Men [sic] of lofty genius are most active when they are doing the least work.
Leonardo da Vinci

The realm of freedom does not commence until the point is passed where labor under the compulsion of necessity and external utility is required.
Karl Marx