Jack Saturday

Monday, June 27, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom #Quotations Of The Week 1473-1475

Between the ’80s and the aughts, when I had my children, a cloud of economic anxiety descended on parents, tightening what the sociologist Arlie Hochschild has called “the time bind.” The workweek of salaried professionals ballooned from 40 hours to 50 hours or more, not counting the email catch-up done after the kids’ bedtime. Union protections, predictable schedules and benefits vanished for vast numbers of blue-collar workers. Their jobs in the service or on-demand economies now pay so little, and child care costs so much (168 percent more than it did a quarter-century ago) that parents have to stitch together multiple jobs. Meanwhile, terrified that their offspring will sink even lower, parents siphon off time and money to hand-raise children who can compete in a global economy.
How to Fix Feminism
Judith Shulevitz
New York Times
(emphasis JS)

The wealthiest nations are failing the most disadvantaged of their children, the United Nations reported Wednesday in a study that showed widening disparities even between the middle and lowest household income levels.

The study, published by the United Nations Children’s Fund, or Unicef, focused not on the gap between the richest and poorest segments of societies but rather on the widening disparities between children at the bottom and their peers in the middle.

The purpose of the study, Unicef said in releasing the report, was to “highlight how far children are falling behind in the dimensions of income, education, health and life satisfaction.
Children in Rich Nations
New York Times
APRIL 13, 2016
(emphasis JS)

Meaningless work is a form of killing time. But leisure makes time come alive. The Chinese character for being busy is also made up of two elements: heart and killing.
David Steindl-Rast

thanks to Maria Popova

Monday, June 20, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1470-1472

According to its recent report, 25 percent of law schools obtain at least 88 percent of their total revenues from tuition. The average for all law schools is 69 percent. So law schools have a powerful incentive to maintain or increase enrollment, even if the employment outcomes are dismal for their graduates....
While enrollment did decline to about 38,000 last year from 52,000 in 2010, it has not been falling at the pace necessary to reach equilibrium in a stagnant legal job market. Too many incoming law school students still believe they will be among the lucky few who get decent jobs.
Too Many Law Students, Too Few Legal Jobs
New York Times
AUG. 25, 2015
[emphasis JS]

I was the envy of my 30-something friends in Palo Alto, Calif. I had my own law office right on California Avenue. People charged with crimes handed me cash, in advance, over a big oak desk. Occasionally, I’d make a couple of grand in an afternoon.

But soon, my body started giving out one part at a time. First a shoulder, then my lower back, knee cartilage, neck vertebrae. Two groin hernia surgeries later, at 33 years old, I could not lift a bag of groceries, or sit without an orthopedic pillow. After 10 years as a law student and lawyer, working in a profession I didn’t like was taking its toll.
I could see myself in a billowy clown suit. After a free training session, I purchased the starter kit for $59 and waited for them to call.

Within a week, the company dispatched me to a party for a 7-year-old at a Ground Round restaurant in Yonkers. I applied colorful makeup, donned oversize shoes, orange wig, bag of tricks. It took a minute to decide on “Bobo” as my name. I silly-walked up to a table of children in the party room. By the end of the performance, the birthday boy said to me, “Bobo, I love you.” In the car later, I rested my head on the steering wheel. An unexpected feeling surfaced: happiness.
New York Times
By Robert Markowitz 
August 20, 2015
[emphasis JS]

The amount of those employed within the total population is at a record 38-year low of 62.6%. Meanwhile, despite slowing, GDP is still growing, so all the work is still obviously getting done somehow...
    Those who moved into optimal jobs showed significant improvement in mental health compared to those who remained unemployed. Those respondents who moved into poor-quality jobs showed a significant worsening in their mental health compared to those who remained unemployed.

That's right, having no job at all can be better than having a bullshit one. Thanks, science. And if low-skill jobs are more likely to be worse on mental health than medium and high-skill jobs, then for decades we've been increasingly working in newly created jobs that are depressingly worse for us than not working in any job.
So unless we all wish to pursue insecure lives of low-skill underpaid mostly meaningless employment thanks to all the machines increasingly doing all the rest of the work (not really for us but mostly for the benefit of those who own them), we will need to break the connection between work and income by providing everyone an income floor sufficient to both meet basic needs and purchase the goods and services the machines are providing. 

Scott Santens[emphasis JS]

Monday, June 13, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1467-1469

The labor market in France has been offering less and less job security for decades. Today, 85 percent of new hires are temporary employees and the duration of their work contracts keeps shrinking — 70 percent of new contracts are for one month or less.
New York Times
   JUNE 8, 2016

They replaced horses, didn’t they? That’s how the late, great economist Wassily Leontief responded 35 years ago to those who argued technology would never really replace people’s work.
As the idea sinks in that humans as workhorses might also be on the way out, what happens if the job market stops doing the job of providing a living wage for hundreds of millions of people? How will the economy spread money around, so people can afford to pay the rent?

What if, say, the bottom quarter of the population in the United States and Europe simply couldn’t find a job at a wage that could cover the cost of basic staples? What if smart-learning machines took out lawyers and bankers? Or even, God forbid, journalists and economists?
Last November, Lawrence H. Summers — a former Treasury secretary under President Bill Clinton... made an unlikely admission: Perhaps economists were not always the smartest people in the room.
In a world in which many Americans do not work during large chunks of their lives, we might have to conceive of Social Security and disability much more broadly than we do today.

That, Mr. Summers said, “could start to look like a universal income.”
Eduardo Porter
New York Times
   JUNE 7, 2016

Say, for example, 20 percent of all such profits were split equally among all citizens, starting the month they turn eighteen.

In effect, this would be a basic minimum income for everyone.

The sum would be enough to ensure everyone a minimally decent standard of living – including money to buy the technologies that would free them up from the necessity of working.

Anyone wishing to supplement their basic minimum could of course choose to work – even though, as noted, most jobs will pay modestly.

This outcome would also be good for the handful of billionaire executives and owner-investors, because it would ensure they have customers with enough money to buy their labor-saving gadgets.

Such a basic minimum would allow people to pursue whatever arts or avocations provide them with meaning, thereby enabling society to enjoy the fruits of such artistry or voluntary efforts.

We would thereby create the kind of society John Maynard Keynes predicted we’d achieve by 2028  – an age of technological abundance in which no one will need to work.
via AlterNet
   [emphasis JS]

Veroufakis and Chomsky on Basic Income

Monday, June 06, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1464-1466

Treating workers as if they are widgets to be used up and discarded is a central part of the revised relationship between employers and employees that techies proclaim is an innovation as important as chips and software. The model originated in Silicon Valley, but it’s spreading. Old-guard companies are hiring “growth hackers” and building “incubators,” too. They see Silicon Valley as a model of enlightenment and forward thinking, even though this “new” way of working is actually the oldest game in the world: the exploitation of labor by capital.

Congratulations! You’ve Been Fired
New York Times
[emphasis JS]

We often hear how damaging welfare dependency is, stifling initiative and corroding the human soul. So I worry about the way we coddle executives in their suites.

A study to be released Thursday says that for each dollar America’s 50 biggest companies paid in federal taxes between 2008 and 2014, they received $27 back in federal loans, loan guarantees and bailouts.

Goodness! What will that do to their character? Won’t that sap their initiative?

The Oxfam report says that each $1 the biggest companies spent on lobbying was associated with $130 in tax breaks and more than $4,000 in federal loans, loan guarantees and bailouts.

One academic study found that tax dodging by major corporations costs the U.S. Treasury up to $111 billion a year. By my math, less than one-fifth of that annually would be more than enough to pay the additional costs of full-day prekindergarten for all 4-year-olds in America ($15 billion), prevent lead poisoning in tens of thousands of children ($2 billion), provide books and parent coaching for at-risk kids across the country ($1 billion) and end family homelessness ($2 billion).

The Real Welfare Cheats
Nicholas Kristof APRIL 14, 2016
New York Times
[emphasis JS]

Redistribution would best be in the form of a basic income, Mr Bregman believes.

And ideally, that income would be universal, unconditional and individual. It needs to be universal, regardless of other income or wealth, so that there is no stigma attached to it, he argues.

"It is not a favour, it is a right. Some people see a basic income as a dividend of progress. That, because our forefathers worked so hard and brought us all this technology and prosperity, we all deserve a share of these accomplishments.''

In answer to claims it is unaffordable, he says look at the net results.

"What we know from studies is that one of the most important effects of introducing a basic income is that it would eradicate poverty.''

Poverty is expensive in terms of higher healthcare costs and crime rates.

It means lower tax takes for government and less investment in human capital.

"Eradicating poverty is actually really cheap; it is a few percentage points of GDP. It is actually an investment.

"So in the long run the rich will profit from that as well because everyone is happier ... If your neighbour is doing well, then you are also doing better.''

Wouldn't this utopia just be full of lazy people?

Mr Bregman says he is told that all the time. In response, he asks people whether, if they received a basic income, would they stop working.

They say they might cut back a bit on work, but that they would use the extra time for volunteering and other pursuits they haven't had time for. However, when asked what they think other people would do, many reply they believe others will be lazy.
Knocking off early
By Bruce Munro on Mon, 16 May 2016
Otago Daily Times


Saturday, June 04, 2016

Calm A Crying Baby