background preloader

Economics

Facebook Twitter

The era of cheap labour is over. There will soon be children alive who don’t remember the McDonald’s serving counter.

The era of cheap labour is over

Those uncertain seconds as you decided which till to queue at, that nervous wait as the last Big Mac got snatched before your server could grab it.

Basic Income

Change the World. In 1978, the year that I graduated from high school, in Palo Alto, the name Silicon Valley was not in use beyond a small group of tech cognoscenti.

Change the World

Apple Computer had incorporated the previous year, releasing the first popular personal computer, the Apple II. The major technology companies made electronics hardware, and on the way to school I rode my bike through the Stanford Industrial Park, past the offices of Hewlett-Packard, Varian, and Xerox PARC. The neighborhoods of the Santa Clara Valley were dotted with cheap, modern, one-story houses—called Eichlers, after the builder Joseph Eichler—with glass walls, open floor plans, and flat-roofed carports.

(Steve Jobs grew up in an imitation Eichler, called a Likeler.) The average house in Palo Alto cost about a hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars. Thirty-five years later, the average house in Palo Alto sells for more than two million dollars. The technology industry’s newest wealth is swallowing up the San Francisco Peninsula.

Sharing Economy

Red Innovation. The new edition of Jacobin, focusing on technology and politics, is out now.

Red Innovation

Four-issue subscriptions start at only $19. The NGO-ization of resistance. Posted On 04 Sep 2014 By Arundhati Roy.

The NGO-ization of resistance

A hazard facing mass movements is the NGO-ization of resistance. It will be easy to twist what I’m about to say into an indictment of all NGOs. Evo Morales has proved that socialism doesn’t damage economies. The socialist Evo Morales, who yesterday was re-elected to serve a third term as president of Bolivia, has long been cast as a figure of fun by the media in the global north.

Evo Morales has proved that socialism doesn’t damage economies

Much like the now deceased Hugo Chávez, Morales is often depicted as a buffoonish populist whose flamboyant denouncements of the United States belie his incompetence. And so, reports of his landslide win inevitably focused on his announcement that it was “a victory for anti-imperialism”, as though anti-US sentiment is the only thing Morales has given to Bolivia in his eight years in government. According to a report by the Centre for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) in Washington, “Bolivia has grown much faster over the last eight years than in any period over the past three and a half decades.” Having said this, it would be dishonest to argue that Morales’s tenure has been perfect. Earlier this year the Bolivian government drew criticism from human rights groups for reducing the legal working age to 10. The Rise of Philanthro-capitalism. Late last winter at Vancouver’s Maritime Labour Centre, city councillor Geoff Meggs spoke at the launch of a regional union-backed social justice organization called the Metro Vancouver Alliance.

The Rise of Philanthro-capitalism

Meggs is a long-time anchor of the British Columbia labour movement. In the 1980s, he was the editor of the fishers’ union newspaper and the personal editor for the legendary Canadian communist Ben Swankey. In the ’90s, he was a high-level adviser in the B.C. NDP government. Minister looking at making it harder for sick and disabled to claim benefits. Iain Duncan Smith is examining how to make it harder for sick and disabled people to claim benefits, according to leaked documents from the Department of Work and Pensions.

Minister looking at making it harder for sick and disabled to claim benefits

The documents show civil servants advised the work and pensions secretary that he would not legally be able to introduce secondary legislation – which does not need a parliamentary vote – in order to give jobcentre staff more powers to make employment and support allowance (ESA) claimants undergo further tasks to prove they are trying as hard as possible to get back into work. This is why you wear your seat belt, folks. Good Guy Head Coach. The wealthy 'make mistakes', the poor go to jail. I knew him as "Mr one-glove".

The wealthy 'make mistakes', the poor go to jail

Why a medieval peasant got more vacation time than you. 5 Wildly Offensive Comments and Actions by Rich Jerks. August 23, 2013 | Like this article?

5 Wildly Offensive Comments and Actions by Rich Jerks

Join our email list: Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email. “The poor we shall always have with us,” said the Bible, and lately there are more of the poor than ever—over 50 million at last count. But that doesn’t stop wealthy Americans from saying things that reek of insensitivity and callousness toward those less fortunate than themselves, which nowadays is pretty much everybody. Stop blaming technology for high unemployment! Jobs are returning with depressing slowness, and most of the new jobs pay less than the jobs that were lost in the Great Recession.

Stop blaming technology for high unemployment!

Economic determinists — fatalists, really — assume that globalization and technological change must now condemn a large portion of the American workforce to under-unemployment and stagnant wages, while rewarding those with the best eductions and connections with ever higher wages and wealth. And therefore that the only way to get good jobs back and avoid widening inequality is to withdraw from the global economy and become neo-Luddites, destroying the new labor-saving technologies. That’s dead wrong. Economic isolationism and neo-Ludditism would reduce everyone’s living standards.

Most importantly, there are many ways to create good jobs and reduce inequality. Other nations are doing it. The Poundland principle: the only thing to gain from unskilled labour is a wage. Some young people do the grand tour between finishing compulsory education and the start of adult responsibility. A bit of backpacking round Europe. Getting off your tits on a south-east Asian beach. Asylum has become Theresa May's cruel private fiefdom. The first person I met on section 4 asylum support lived in Stockton-on-Tees, with her daughter who was nearly two.

I hadn't heard of the Azure card, or any of the mean-minded hassles that went along with it – that your benefits, such as they are, come in vouchers rather than cash, so you can't get a bus or make a phone call, can't post a letter or buy a pint of milk from your corner shop. You have to be housed three miles from a shop that takes your Azure card; that can mean a six-mile walk every time you want to buy something.

She lived in a hostel, where her baby was constantly ill, and so were all the other babies, and an ambulance pulled up outside at least once a week. From welfare to wages, women fight back against the uncaring market. It's almost unbearable to wake up to a world in which the welfare state that has defended us from the worst excesses of the market is being destroyed. The only way to hold on to the last vestiges of entitlement, and even reverse defeats, is to fight like hell. Bereaved but determined families pursuing those who neglected vulnerable patients in Staffordshire had to do a massive piece of organising before the deaths of hundreds were looked into.

(Other suspect hospitals are emerging.) Parents of children needing heart surgery organised against closure of the Leeds heart unit and won a court judgment.