Jack Saturday

Monday, March 28, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1434-1436

I returned to the United States. It felt quite a lot like stepping back into that other violent, impoverished world, where anxiety runs high and people are quarrelsome. I had, in fact, come back to the flip side of Afghanistan and Iraq: to what America’s wars have done to America. Where I live now, in the Homeland, there are not enough shelters for the homeless. Most people are either overworked or hurting for jobs; housing is overpriced; hospitals, crowded and understaffed; schools, largely segregated and not so good. Opioid or heroin overdose is a popular form of death; and men in the street threaten women wearing hijab. Did the American soldiers I covered in Afghanistan know they were fighting for this?    
 By Ann Jones / Tom Dispatch
February 7, 2016

 Modest estimates indicate there is $199 billion in Canadian money in offshore tax havens. That amount has grown dramatically as cuts at the CRA were implemented over the past decade. And it doesn't begin to reflect the dark side of an underground trade in hiding billions offshore -- literally laughing all the way to the Swiss bank.
Canada Joins 21st Century Fight against Tax Dodgers
Federal budget earmarks $90 million annually to
tackle evasion. It's about time.

By Dennis Howlett, 24 Mar 2016, TheTyee.ca

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 if we’re going to invent robots that will do our laundry and tidy up the kitchen, then we’re going to have to make sure that whatever replaces capitalism is based on a far more egalitarian distribution of wealth and power—one that no longer contains either the super-rich or the desperately poor willing to do their housework. Only then will technology begin to be marshaled toward human needs. And this is the best reason to break free of the dead hand of the hedge fund managers and the CEOs—to free our fantasies from the screens in which such men have imprisoned them, to let our imaginations once again become a material force in human history.
Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotes Of The Week 1431-1433

…the decision to step down from a position of power—to value family over professional advancement, even for a time—is directly at odds with the prevailing social pressures on career professionals in the United States. One phrase says it all about current attitudes toward work and family, particularly among elites. In Washington, “leaving to spend time with your family” is a euphemism for being fired.
Think about what this “standard Washington excuse” implies: it is so unthinkable that an official would actually step down to spend time with his or her family that this must be a cover for something else. How could anyone voluntarily leave the circles of power for the responsibilities of parenthood? Depending on one’s vantage point, it is either ironic or maddening that this view abides in the nation’s capital, despite the ritual commitments to “family values” that are part of every political campaign. Regardless, this sentiment makes true work-life balance exceptionally difficult.
Why Women Still Can’t Have It All
Anne-Marie Slaughter

The Atlantic

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We like to think that people have to work for their money. In recent decades, social welfare has become geared toward a labor market that does not create enough jobs. The trend from “welfare” to “workfare” is international, with obligatory job applications, reintegration trajectories, mandatory participation in “voluntary” work. The underlying message: Free money makes people lazy.

Except that it doesn’t.

In recent years, numerous studies of development aid have found impressive correlations between free money and reductions in crime, inequality, malnutrition, infant mortality, teenage pregnancy rates and truancy. It is also correlated with better school completion rates, higher economic growth and improvement in the condition of women. “The big reason poor people are poor is because they don’t have enough money,” economist Charles Kenny, a fellow at the Center for Global Development, wrote in June. “It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that giving them money is a great way to reduce that problem.”
By Rutger Bregman
Washington Post
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 …one astrophysicist, Jonathan Katz, has recently warned students pondering a career in the sciences. Even if you do emerge from the usual decade-long period languishing as someone else’s flunky, he says, you can expect your best ideas to be stymied at every point:

You will spend your time writing proposals rather than doing research. Worse, because your proposals are judged by your competitors, you cannot follow your curiosity, but must spend your effort and talents on anticipating and deflecting criticism rather than on solving the important scientific problems. . . . It is proverbial that original ideas are the kiss of death for a proposal, because they have not yet been proved to work.
Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit


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Monday, March 14, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1428-1430

While U.B.I. has been associated with left-leaning academics, feminists and other progressive activists, it has lately been adopted by a wider range of thinkers, including some libertarians and conservatives. It has also gained support among a cadre of venture capitalists in New York and Silicon Valley, the people most familiar with the potential for technology to alter modern work.

Rather than a job-killing catastrophe, tech supporters of U.B.I. consider machine intelligence to be something like a natural bounty for society: The country has struck oil, and now it can hand out checks to each of its citizens.

These supporters argue machine intelligence will produce so much economic surplus that we could collectively afford to liberate much of humanity from both labor and suffering

As computers perform more of our work, we’d all be free to become artists, scholars, entrepreneurs or otherwise engage our passions in a society no longer centered on the drudgery of daily labor

“I think it’s a bad use of a human to spend 20 years of their life driving a truck back and forth across the United States,” Mr. Wenger said. “That’s not what we aspire to do as humans — it’s a bad use of a human brain — and automation and basic income is a development that will free us to do lots of incredible things that are more aligned with what it means to be human.”
A Plan in Case Robots Take the Jobs: Give Everyone a Paycheck
Farhad Manjoo
New York Times

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 Deloitte, the consultancy firm, has claimed that automation, though a net benefit to the UK economy, has removed 800,000 jobs since 2001, and that up to 11m UK jobs have a high chance of being automated within the next decade. Never have we seen such a change in the landscape of the labour market. I believe the potential consequences to be so great that we should regard automation as the most urgent issue facing the country. So why isn’t the government addressing it?
When robots do all the work, how will people live?
Tom Watson


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The promise was that we were all going to get to work fewer hours, from home, in our pajamas, on creative pursuits, while our computers and networks did the heavy lifting. Instead, however, we find ourselves automated out of gainful employment, less secure in our futures, and glued 24/7 to screens that are extracting value from us — whether or not we’re even on the job.

This is not the Internet’s fault. Technology is not breaking the economy. The real problem is that instead of building a truly digital economy, we’re using digital technology to amplify the values and mechanisms of the growth-based industrial economy we should be leaving behind.
Screw growth. It’s time to reprogram the digital economy for people

By Douglas Rushkoff — March 3, 2016

Monday, March 07, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1425-1427

I’ve spent the past decade researching and writing about elite performers in creative fields. In this time, I’ve noticed that examples like Feynman and Stephenson are common. That is, many people who excel in producing things that matter have work habits that seem downright lazy by the standards in their field.
Neal Stephenson justifies his snubbing of his readers for similar reasons. As he explained in his Bad Correspondent essay:

“If I organize my life in such a way that I get lots of long, consecutive, uninterrupted time-chunks, I can write novels. But as those chunks get separated and fragmented, my productivity as a novelist drops spectacularly..."
Want to Create Things That Matter? Be Lazy.

by Cal Newport
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Some economists estimate that a quarter of the American population is now engaged in “guard labor” of one sort or another—defending property, supervising work, or otherwise keeping their fellow Americans in line. Economically, most of this disciplinary apparatus is pure deadweight.
The morality of debt and the morality of work are the most powerful ideological weapons in the hands of those running the current system. That’s why they cling to them even as they are effectively destroying everything else.
The human imagination stubbornly refuses to die. And the moment any significant number of people simultaneously shake off the shackles that have been placed on that collective imagination, even our most deeply inculcated assumptions about what is and is not politically possible have been known to crumble overnight.
A Practical Utopian’s Guide to the Coming Collapse

The Baffler

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 By 2011, a significant gap appears between the two lines, showing economic growth with no parallel increase in job creation. Brynjolfsson and McAfee call it the “great decoupling.” And Brynjolfsson says he is confident that technology is behind both the healthy growth in productivity and the weak growth in jobs.
Countless traditional white-collar jobs, such as many in the post office and in customer service, have disappeared. W. Brian Arthur, a visiting researcher at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center’s intelligence systems lab and a former economics professor at Stanford University, calls it the “autonomous economy.” It’s far more subtle than the idea of robots and automation doing human jobs, he says: it involves “digital processes talking to other digital processes and creating new processes,” enabling us to do many things with fewer people and making yet other human jobs obsolete.
McAfee, associate director of the MIT Center for Digital Business at the Sloan School of Management... as digital technologies—fueled with “enough computing power, data, and geeks”—continue their exponential advances over the next several decades. “I would like to be wrong,” he says, “but when all these science-fiction technologies are deployed, what will we need all the people for?”
How Technology Is Destroying Jobs
by David Rotman

MIT Technology Review

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