Something that Yanis Varoufakis proposed in a speech I previously shared on a Video Weekend got stuck in my mind, making me want to dedicate an entire article to it. An article I have announced and promised a view times. Today, I finally fulfill that promise to me and you.
Besides explaining the mechanisms of democracy’s decline, in his speech, Varoufakis also proposed an amazingly fair economic system, one that would end the division between an owner class (from which arise the robber billionaires who ruin this world for the rest of us) and a working class. In this model, we would all become owners. If you want to skip to this part of Varoufakis’ recorded speech, it stretches from 10:00–11:49 minutes:
(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Capitalism will eat democracy – unless we speak up | Yanis Varoufakis”)
Varoufakis lays out an ingenious alternative to – or variant of – capitalism, a kind of fairly shared capitalism or universal ownership society, a fairly shared assets society — a Star-Trek-like utopia instead of the Matrix-like dystopia where we are currently headed. It is an intriguing economic system where there is no more disparity between wage-based and asset-based income, a system where we all become asset holders and will no longer be ordered around by a few ownership lords who condemn us to live out our lives as their oppressed serfs and puppets. Continue reading “What if We Were Paid for Work in Assets rather than Ephemeral Wages?”
Out of a rather winding and over-philosophizing public talk, I have extracted an answer of why we don’t already have that wonderful world of prosperity and leisure for everyone promised to us a generation or two ago and made possible by our technology. (By over-philosophizing I mean that David Graeber looses track of who the decision-makers are, which is as bad as not following the money.)
It is clear that we could build this great society right now and could have been well underway 40 to50 years ago. I grew up at a time when everybody I knew believed that we were on the verge of it, but it didn’t happen. The world has actually gone in the opposite direction, gone down the drain, gone to the dogs, slid towards a precipice throughout my entire adult life. What a horror this has been to watch!
Furthermore, I did realize years ago that the ancient Greeks could have created the modern industrial age some two millennia before our time (they were experimenting with steam engines and robots back then). They didn’t because the decision-makers had slaves. So what would they have needed robots for, other than mere toys? Their robots and steam engines therefore were just toys, not labor-saving machines; and so it never became a serious development. So, had it not been for ancient slavery, the industrial revolution could have happened 2000 years ago. It’s stunning to try to imagine where we would be by today.
In his winding talk, David Graeber eventually gets around to state that the same thing happened back in the sixties and seventies when we seemed on the verge of creating Paradise on Earth. Continue reading “Why we Don’t Have the Promised Utopia Today”
One can tell the time has come for a Universal Basic Income, which I prefer to call a National Citizen Dividend or Shared National Ownership Dividend (SNOD?), when people from all parts of the political spectrum agree on the necessity and potential for such a solution. A solution to the misery created by large sections of the citizenry being pushed into poverty by micro-employment, insufficient wages and benefit cuts, soaring medical and housing costs, or when they are even entirely ejected from the workforce by our inequality machine of a modern economy that offshores jobs or replaces us with machines and focuses exclusively on profit (for the already well-to-do and rich) while dismissing all human values and ethical concerns.
(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Ontario’s Basic Income Pilot”)
Now, I know a UBI by itself is not enough and that there exist other important fixes, some even better, and many of them best applied in combination, including a really amazing one that I already wrote an article about whose publication I have, however, been postponing since I can write and publish only so much all by myself and without getting paid for it. So please be patient (or help). Just so you know, I have started to write a visionary book on the whole big picture. If you can promote this site, get me paid writing gigs, connect me with influencers or a like-minded community, or help financing my book, please do. Following this blog is good a first step.
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Summary: (1) The explosion of bullshit jobs and the need to uncouple our livelihoods from such bullshit jobs. (2) A jobless future from automation and the opportunity to create prosperity and leisure for all. (3) A cool video on these topics.
Here is some news: most of the productive manufacturing, agricultural, and useful service jobs of the past are gone. Meanwhile, useless or even harmful(!) administrative and clerical jobs have tripled. We have three times as many people pushing paper than we had in the 1930s, and that is so despite us having computers nowadays, computers which do many times a person’s work accounting, calculating balance sheets, documenting and measuring stuff, answering consumer questions, creating and disseminating communications, and, and, and… With the quickly improving artificial intelligence, we now even have industrial robots that that can learn their tasks, software that writes music and sports news, self-driving cars and patient care robots currently being tested, and so forth.
We must really get used to the idea that many of our jobs will never come back, and many more jobs will be taken over by machines. The trajectory is one of a world without jobs! Continue reading “Our Meaningless Hell and the Heaven We Can Build”
In our warped society where human values and virtues have to take second or last place below such artificial and callous creations like money – and where the narratives we keep getting fed by the mass media turn everything upside down – we keep hearing a never-ending drum beat about entitlements. Human beings who dare to ask that they be treated as human beings keep being accused of “entitlement thinking.” People who ask that human society do what it has always done throughout almost all of humanity’s existence (at least within tribes), namely for its members to take care of one another, thereby allowing humanity to survive, are told that “personal responsibility” trumps empathy, mutual help, and even kindness. Those who need help the most are accused of being parasites living on wrongful “entitlements.” They are being told to “get a job.”
Continue reading “Entitlement Happens Not at the Bottom but at the Top”
In a recent article, Umair Haque explained pretty well why the spreading attitude of me-me-me and to hell with society and the related phenomenon of splintering into tribes are so damaging for all of us, including for those who live this attitude. You may know people who need this explained to them. I sure do. Hence this article.
“What’s a place where there’s no trust? A jungle. Maybe a prison. … Without trust, a society can’t be a society. It becomes something else entirely: a place where predators rule. … There must be some level of trust that binds people together, or else a society will almost inevitably decay into demagoguery, collapse, and ruin.”
“Americans can’t have what the rest of the rich world takes for granted: public healthcare, education, finance. They live profoundly crippled lives: precarious, anxious, afraid. They will never retire, can’t afford to educate their kids, and their incomes have been stagnant for decades. No wonder there is widespread rage.”
“First, trust is lost. Then, society loses the ability to function. Then, public goods are lost. Without public goods, people’s lives shatter. The rage that results from broken dreams produces demagoguery. Today’s gilded demagogue, then, isn’t the issue: the loss of trust is.”
Here is the link to the full article: The Five Letter Word That Spells the End of Societies
The main political difference between Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein is that Bernie isn’t an active candidate, anymore. Therefore, I see three options:
Read the full article here on Political Storm: The Third Choice
The American twin-party tyranny has clearly sold us (the American people) out to the super-rich and their corporations. We the people need to join forces across traditional party lines to wrest the power from the oligarchs and establish a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. In this regard, here is a salient passage I came across:
The presidential election is being framed as a choice between two views of America. America, the diminished great power seeking to reassert itself or America, the well-meaning work-in-progress. There is a third choice. America, a relentless democratic experiment where the people, not the parties, reimagine the way we do politics, handle social conflict, and determine our future.
The country is ready for “Our Revolution.” But it must be ours. It cannot belong to a party or an ideology. It cannot be exclusionary or narrow. It must bridge the partisan divide, not add to it. It must involve the American people in answering the question, “how do we do this?” That’s the revolution we need.
Source of the quote: Bernie, you say you want a revolution, but whose?
Jordan Chariton of TYT reports from the DNC convention. What we saw was an infomercial. The reality of the convention was very different from the corporate media version. The Democratic party is badly split after what it did to progressive voters this year. Jordan has some sick stories to tell.