Jack Saturday

Monday, December 28, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1395-1397

For starters, I wrote a blog post about quitting my job and it got some attention. I heard from so many people with the same story. From junior designers getting their feet wet for the first time, all the way up to senior execs and newly established millionaires who seemed to have it all.

Everyone said the same thing — that they feel like they’re losing their souls by staying, and yet they can’t find the courage to leave.
Linda Eliasen

On Quitting: Part II

December 10, 2015

 Several recent studies have furthered our awareness of the pathologies caused by the breakdown of connection and community. According to a recent report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, white, uneducated, middle- and working-class adults between the ages of 45 and 54 are now dying at higher rates than ever before, deaths involving suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, and liver disease. The stresses of economic stagnation, along with the increased availability of prescription painkillers seem to be two factors behind his increase. The authors also suggest that hopelessness and the helplessness of social isolation—the breakdown of a sense of meaning and purpose—were common threads in the people at increased risk. As Johann Hari documents in his book, Chasing the Scream, it is emotional trauma and social disconnectedness—rather than the compellingly addictive power or “hook” of certain substances themselves—that offer the best explanations of the causes of addiction today.
Researchers and theorists have pointed to many factors that could be causing this depressing trend. The decline of social and community organizations, along with volunteerism, the increasingly long work days and commutes, the growth of two-career and single parent families, the privatizing effects of television, the decline in direct personal conversations caused by social media and the Internet,
How Can We Stop America's Deadly Epidemic of Loneliness?

By Michael Bader, DMH / AlterNet
December 22, 2015

[emphasis JS]

President Barack Obama’s 16-day Christmas getaway in Hawaii will bring the cost of his family’s personal travel during his time in office to more than $70 million, according to a new study.

This year alone the estimated bill for the first family’s holidays was $11.6 million, including golf trips to Florida and California, and Michelle Obama going skiing in Aspen. It costs just over $200,000 an hour to fly Air Force One, meaning $3.6 million for the round trip from Washington to Hawaii. It is the Obamas’ seventh family holiday in Hawaii during his presidency.
‘The Obamas are treating Air Force One like an Uber ride’: First family’s travel tab tops $70 million
National Post
Nick Allen, The Telegraph | December 21, 2015

[emphasis JS]


Monday, December 21, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1392-1394

According to the Social Security Administration, over half of Americans make less than $30,000 per year.

That's less than an appropriate average living wage of $16.87 per hour, as calculated by Alliance for a Just Society (AJS), and it's not enough -- even with two full-time workers -- to attain an "adequate but modest living standard" for a family of four, which at the median is over $60,000, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

AJS also found that there are 7 job seekers for every job opening that pays enough ($15/hr) for a single adult to make ends meet.
Market watchers rave about 'strong' and even 'blockbuster' job reports. But any upbeat news about the unemployment rate should be balanced against the fact that nine of the ten fastest growing occupations don't require a college degree. Jobs gained since the recession are paying 23 percent less than jobs lost. Low-wage jobs (under $14 per hour) made up just 1/5 of the jobs lost to the recession, but accounted for nearly 3/5 of the jobs regained in the first three years of the recovery.
Half of America Is in or Damn Near Close to Living in Poverty
By Paul Buchheit / AlterNet
December 14, 2015

[emphasis JS]

Canadian household debt hit a new high in the third quarter, as borrowing rose faster than income.
...the average household has roughly $1.64 in debt for every dollar of disposable income.
“However, set against a backdrop of rising unemployment, the debt-to-income ratio is still likely to continue to trek higher through 2016,”
Canadian household debt higher than ever

Bill Cleverley and Craig Wong
Times Colonist and The Canadian Press
December 14, 2015

[emphasis JS]

 Aimee Barnes, 33, and Jakub Zielkiewicz, 31, both work full time at the California Environmental Protection Agency and are the parents of Roman, 15 months. They said they knew they were lucky to have help, like flexible schedules and extended family nearby. Still, figuring out how to manage work and parenting has been hard.

“You basically just always feel like you’re doing a horrible job at everything,” Ms. Barnes said. “You’re not spending as much time with your baby as you want, you’re not doing the job you want to be doing at work, you’re not seeing your friends hardly ever.
Stressed, Tired, Rushed: A Portrait of the Modern Family
Claire Cain Miller
New York Times
NOV. 4, 2015

[emphasis JS]


Monday, December 14, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1389-1391

China is laying the groundwork for a robot revolution by planning to automate the work currently done by millions of low-paid workers.
The scale and importance of China’s robot ambitions were made clear when the vice president of the People’s Republic of China, Li Yuanchao, appeared at the country’s first major robotics conference, held recently in Beijing. Standing onstage between two humanoid entertainment robots with outsized heads, Li delivered a message from China’s leader, Xi Jinping, congratulating the organizers of the effort. He also made it clear that robotics would be a major priority for the country’s economic future.
Vice President Li suggested that robotics researchers and companies from outside the country would be welcome to take part in the country’s robot revolution: “China would like to welcome robot experts and entrepreneurs from all over the world to communicate and coӧperate with us, in order to push forward the development of robot technology and industry.”
    By Will Knight on December 7, 2015
     [emphasis JS]

 The Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that cash-assistance programs in six low-income countries did not discourage work. Furthermore, a World Bank review of 19 quantitative studies found that cash-assistance in Latin America, Asia and Africa was not wasted on “temptation items,” such as tobacco and alcohol.

“Almost without exception, studies find either no significant impact or a significant negative impact of transfers on temptation goods,” the World Bank report said.

Other supposed negative impacts from welfare, such as birth out of wedlock and encouraging generational poverty, have been demonstrated to be unfounded by other research.

This trove of research demonstrates that the commonly accepted myth about welfare’s “corrupting influence” is not as well-founded as many may believe. However, research has shown clear benefits from the UBI system, including alleviating poverty, increasing entrepreneurship and improving impoverished children’s educational outcomes.

In theory, unconditional assistance may encourage some individuals to frivolously spend their money. In practice, however, the research shows most individuals utilize cash-assistance to better themselves and their families.
     [emphasis JS] 

 Rising prosperity for the few means undue hardship for the many. That is the economy’s underlying problem and it won’t be solved until policymakers face up to it.
The Real Problem With the Economy
By Teresa Tritch
November 14, 2015
    New York Times

Monday, December 07, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1386-1388

I then read a detailed review of an article by Thomas Piketty, the French author of the much-acclaimed 700-page opus Capital in the Twenty-First Century, the international best-seller of last year. According to the review in Le Monde, Piketty said that inequality is a major driver of Middle Eastern terrorism, including the Paris attacks, and that Western nations have themselves largely to blame for that inequality. Terrorism that is rooted in inequality, he maintains, is best combatted economically.
William Blum
[emphasis JS]

Amazon said it sold an insane 426 items every second last Cyber Monday. Maybe it's not so surprising, then, that this year they've doubled down on robots.

As shoppers fill their digital carts this year, 30,000 robotic workers in 13 warehouses (they aren't everywhere just yet) will jump to do their bidding.
Let’s Be Thankful: Amazon’s Robot Hordes Have Doubled This Year
By Jason Dorrier
ON Nov 27, 2015
Singularity Hub

[emphasis JS]

The Mystery of the Vanishing Pay Raise

Despite economic recovery, the share of corporate income going to workers has sunk to its lowest level since 1951.
New York Times headline
OCT. 31, 2015