Thursday, October 6, 2016

Education

A note on Hillary's (and Bernie's) position on education:

I fully support their efforts to make higher education, particularly at the "elite" schools that produce the vast majority of our leaders, affordable to people whose families do not possess lots of money.  This is because otherwise, we are just erecting one more wall between the rich and the rest of us.  It is not because this education is going to guarantee jobs to everyone who is motivated to stick it out for four years at college.

It is time to face a truth that has been obvious since at least the 1970's or 1980's:  the number of productive jobs is on a downward path and is obviously never going to turn up again.  That is, of course, if by "productive" you mean jobs that will make money for someone else, who is willing to give a part of it to you in return for your part-time slavery.  The natural progress of the industrial revolution, which is still working its way with us, along with the greed of the rentier class will guarantee that there is an inevitable progression toward work that requires less and less human involvement.

There is only one answer to this, if we are not to dissolve into chaos worse than what we see in Syria or Nigeria:  We must accept the idea of a national minimum income.  And this must be accompanied by something which business owners will fight to their dying breath: the notion that there are worthwhile things to spend our lives on that do not make profits for them.

It's that or disaster.  Given the last hundred years of the Republican party, I am confident that they will vote for disaster.  If we want a decent society to continue to exist, we'd better shove the idea of a minimum income down their throats.

5 comments:

Poll P. said...

Absolutely. I've been talking to my son about the need to roll back some mechanization, to create pleasant occupations for normal people. I'd start with receptionists...think how lovely it would be to speak to a human when you call a company or institution.6-7 hours a day 4-5 days a week would do it. And anyone who wanted to do more, make more, would be welcome to figure out a way. But artists, dreamers, gardeners, pet-lovers, etc. could have enough for weed, food and stuff.

Jerry Critter said...

We pretty much have a consensus on a minimum wage. It is now time to expand that concept to a minimum annual income. It would make us a better and safe place.

Magpie said...

Low wages are bad business. You will not have an enthusiastic and reliable workforce. The people you do hire cannot spend enough to make other businesses profitable and in turn contribute to the economy that supports YOUR business. A minimum wage for the unskilled youth down the road is therefore good for someone like me who has had more time to economically evolve.
He's not going to kill me just for my lunch, for one thing.

Walmart has no penetration in the Australian market because it doesn't pay enough to satisfy our regulations. Costco does, and is doing great business here.

But more broadly occupations are not properly valued against what they mean to the community. A nurse who saves your life, or an early childhood worker who cares for your young children - surely the most important thing in this world - may earn less than the person who markets your deodorant.

Perceived wealth - which is what money is, you can't eat it - is at a killing disconnect with things of material or moral value, and it's fucking up our civilisation.

Furthermore, there is no appropriate gradation of obligation according to your money-based power. Meaning... the rich aren't paying taxes and you are. They aren't held accountable for their crimes. They aren't asked to contribute to the community that sustains them. Past a certain point, executive salaries are so high they could be fired in a month for gross incompetence and still be set for life.

Green Eagle said...

Let me make my point a little more strongly: If a guaranteed income is not provided, within two generations, the entire industrialized world is going to dissolve into chaos and endless violence, as a very large part of its population descends into what the Marxists used to call the "lumpen proletariat-" people with no hopes of ever living sustainable lives. Of course, the prospect of another generation or so of ignoring global warming is not any better, and dealing with that is being fought at every step, so I guess no one will want to deal with this either. The results of these two threats are ominous almost beyond imagining, but in the meantime, the Trumps and Kochs and Waltons of this world are going to live a great life, so I guess it's all okay.

Jerry Critter said...

They will think "its all okay" until the "lumpen proletariat" rise upmand take it away from them...probably by violent means.