Saturday, December 18, 2010

Live Images of the New Normal: Unemployment Extension Won’t Help 99ers - WSJ

SOURCE: Unemployment Extension Won’t Help 99ers - WSJ:
The extension for unemployment benefits that is part of the compromise tax deal is good news for many of the unemployed, but it won’t provide aid to anyone who’s been out of a job over 99 weeks.

That’s a concern because the number of 99ers may be increasing. The number of people who have received their final payments from extended-benefits programs this year through the end of October — the most recent month for which data are available — is over one million, and that number has been steadily increasing. Separately, the Labor Department reported that nearly 10% of the unemployed in the third quarter of 2010 — more than one million people — had been out of a job and looking for work for about two years or more. Meanwhile, initial claims for unemployment have been trending lower recently, but the biggest surge came in early 2009. The peak of 643,000 claims in a single week came in March of last year, 89 weeks ago. Anyone still unemployed since that peak is likely to run out of benefits soon, if they haven’t already.
The New York Times adds that amidst this mancession:
Misplaced confidence in market forces is making it virtually impossible for the unemployed to man up — or woman up.
None of these figures even begin to take into account those who fell off of the 99-week edge-of-the-economic-Earth, prior to this most recent capitalist extremist economic cleansing. A post-information, post-scarcity economy is by definition a public-private partnership. Neither side can be the supreme commander; each must do their part.

We need Free Markets to create new products, services, innovations, and the number of jobs possible. It's utterly absurd to mandate non-productive, make-work J.O.B's (Justifications Of Being). It's even worse to panic and claw back industrial jobs that are needed for development throughout the rest of the world.

We need Basic Income to provide for social stability and human dignity in a nation where nearly 20% U-6 Unemployment is already the norm; and it's heading to 30% because we keep becoming more and more labor efficient. We should not roll back those efficiency gains just because we've never encountered such breakthrough levels of achievement ever before in history. In the so-called advanced west, should look at the world as it is and make the adaptive changes required to show the way forward. If we do not, why would today's developing nations seek to emulate us at all, if widespread unemployment, poverty, and panic are the final outcomes of mastering the efficiencies of advanced industrialization?

It's time to increment our understanding, time to move forward. That's the PlusPlus in Capitalism++. BasicIncome.Org | USBig.Net

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Crisis of Capital, Crisis of Theory

Forum on Capital as Power: "Crisis of Capital, Crisis of Theory." Conference Program and Videos. Co-sponsored by Routledge and Springer. Brennan, Jordan and Cochrane, D. T. and Starrs, Sean. (2010). Conference held at York University in Toronto on October 29-31 2010.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Trend of Unemployment Claims as % of Continuing Unemployment; US Population vs. Employment, vs. Labor Force, vs. Continued Unemployed

Inquiring minds might be interested in a pair of charts courtesy of Mish's reader Tim Wallace.

Note the trendline of new unemployment claims as a percentage of continuing unemployment.


Shared via my6sense

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Unsustainable Resource Skews: The Messsage Made it Through

But the WORK remains to be completed.

Do a little googling in various time frames for the quoted phrase "unsustainable resource skews" and you will find that we began signaling this particular message from approximately April 2007. So, it may have taken a little over three years to really reach mainstream exposure, but every single character typed in every single random forum and chat session, adding just one more voice to the rising global chorus for change, has been worth it.

That said, over the intervening time, many of us have come to the conclusion that there may ultimately be no other way of addressing what NPR has fleshed out as overwhelmingly unsustainable Income Inequality, or Slate's expose series on The United States of Inequality, or the New York Time's mandate for Confronting Income Inequality, other than to make the entire unsustainably skewed system completely irrelevant.

The institutional pathology just runs too deep and the hoarding dementia at the helm is impossible to reason with. If Warren Buffet can't get through, who can? It's pointless to confront people who are incapable of comprehending their own mental illness, or who refuse to adjust their world view to the empirical data right before their very eyes. They're fixated on a particular perception and to hell with facts.

We also may not need to resort to dramatic measures like rapidly aggressive taxation. For one, that wouldn't really make for structural change; it just moves around the deck chairs on the Titanic.

So let's leave the demented to continue living in their make believe world a little longer, while we go about the business of accelerating adaptation for the real world that the rest of us live in. Things will fall apart gradually all around them; they won't understand what's gone wrong; and by the point that they do notice there will not be much empathy left for that world view because when we gave it the opportunity to change, it decided to dig in with a rabid, foaming, snarling, Mine, Mine, Mine, Mine, Mine, Mine, Mine. Since the Objectivists among that number would be first and foremost to say, "we all choose our own fate," then apparently the 95% of us at the bottom can see precisely the fate chosen by an economically sociopathological 5% of the population.

If you were numbered among that 5% and made the decision was to dig in with what you got, then when the rest of the 95% of us unilaterally decide that what you got is worthless, do you see how that works, now? Oops, too late.

There are extraordinary new efforts underway and proven programs that have been a quarter century or more in the making that could essentially obviate the entire current economic fiction. When the time comes, the transition can be done relatively quickly, with little or no social unrest because 95% of people will be instantly better off and only 5% will be raging like lunatics; at which point, we will all indeed see pathological hoarders for what they've always been: snarling demented sociopaths; literally, people who lack a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience; and in extreme cases, even while paying lip service to those very principles.

Look, nobody is saying that "all rich people are demented." That's absurd. Anyone who has read this space with any frequency knows that's nothing even remotely close to the point. The sad problem is that there is a large enough number of textbook-defined clinical sociopaths in that 5% that we may have no other choice but to simply move forward without them.

So maybe this provides something of a definition for the "++" that some have asked me about, wondering what precisely that means. It means we simply leave the previous iteration behind. It's broken, don't fix it. Leave it on the side of the road and walk on. No big conflict. No big votes. Just move on. We'll figure it out.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Capitalism and Confidence: "Not So Much, Any More"

"Capitalism in the West thrives because of our ability to legally transfer property, with confidence and certitude. Only, not so much any more."
-- Barry Ritholtz
But wait, there's more:
"And we will see that at every step along the process, the reckless rush for easy profits has systemically undermined these legal property rights — how mortgages are recorded, the bungled bundling of notes to be securitized, the electronic system that fictionalized the process of assembling transfer documents, and how all the players along the way — The investment firms, banks, law firms, even court system, utterly lost sight of what they were doing.

If de Soto were to come to the United States today and review all of this, he would see a system that ignores its own laws, cheats on process, engages in wanton fraud, and is in danger of sliding not just backwards to the 18th century, but slipping towards a third world nation of dubious legal protections and the worst form of crony capitalism.

Welcome to 21st century America."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

88% of Americans say "Now is a Bad Time to Find a Quality Job"

According to Mish, anyway.

Some policy implications of the interdependence of cyclical and structural unemployment

From Econobrowser.

Valuations of Unskilled Labor

So here's a question: how many climbs like this per year should a human have to make in order to make what YOU make clicking you little tippy-tappy mice and pads and pocket-protected whiney little smart phones every day? Could you even make that climb, once in your entire life? Probably not. Yet do you depend on the signals relayed from that tower for your cute little iPhone? Likely, every single moment of every single day.

So how many climbs per year should it take to justify the climber's existence and feed his kids? 1? 6? 12? 24? As many as you can push them to do just short of dying? Or do you subscribe to the "F them, they're expendable unskilled monkeys, theory?" Show of hands?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Jobs Lost Forever

The Big Picture, Chances of a Double Dip, Gary Shilling:
Despite the huge employment losses since the end of 2007, many of those jobs are unlikely to return. Of the 7.7 million net nonfarm jobs eliminated between December 2007 and July of this year, 86% were in construction, manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, finance and leisure and hospitality. These six sectors accounted for 44.5% of nonfarm payrolls in July, only about half as much as their losses. Furthermore, job losses in those industries spawned employment losses in service and other sectors that depend on them. Home building, for example, spurs employment in the production of appliances, furniture, home furnishings and homeowner insurance and provides revenues that support state and local employment. Given the gigantic overhang of excess house inventories and resulting further price declines, it will be years before residential construction shows any meaningful revival, as we’ve explained in past Insights and will update next month. Similarly, financially troubled and massively vacant commercial real estate will inhibit new construction and jobs for many years.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Happy 50th Birthday from AARP! Here's Your Free "Will Work for Food" Sign

"After other recent downturns, older people who lost jobs fretted about how long it would take to return to the work force and worried that they might never recover their former incomes. But today, because it will take years to absorb the giant pool of unemployed at the economy’s recent pace, many of these older people may simply age out of the labor force before their luck changes.

For Ms. Reid, it has been four years of hunting — without a single job offer. She buzzes energetically as she describes the countless applications she has lobbed through the Internet, as well as the online courses she is taking to burnish her software skills.

Still, when she is pressed, her can-do spirit falters.

“There are these fears in the background, and they are suppressed,” said Ms. Reid, who is now selling some of her jewelry and clothes online and is late on some credit card payments. “I have had nightmares about becoming a bag lady,” she said. “It could happen to anyone. So many people are so close to it, and they don’t even realize it.”"
Growing numbers of people do realize this and even know the exact individuals responsible for willfully causing it. This is where things get very up close and personal, precisely as forecast in several of this blog's earliest entries.

The Angry Rich and Taxes

"Among the undeniably rich, a belligerent sense of entitlement has taken hold: it’s their money, and they have the right to keep it."

"The spectacle of high-income Americans, the world’s luckiest people, wallowing in self-pity and self-righteousness would be funny, except for one thing: they may well get their way. Never mind the $700 billion price tag for extending the high-end tax breaks: virtually all Republicans and some Democrats are rushing to the aid of the oppressed affluent."
Full Story by: Op-Ed Columnist Paul Krugman - The Angry Rich and Taxes -

FRBC: Normal Recovery, Elevated Unemployment Levels

This item was surfaced by My6Sense Digital Intuition, and shared by Pixelpipe on Android. The subject line was properly posted, but this link to the actual post didn't make it through. This entire entry is a post-edit to that mobile curation attempt. :-)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

More Responsibility. Less Pay. More Risk. Less Reward.

"A statistical slaughterhouse of historic proportion. 30 percent of jobless people 55 or older have been out of work for a year or longer, a higher rate than any other age group; some may never find another job." Amplify’d from

Americans in their 50s especially hard-hit by recession

In this bloody free-for-all of a recession, Americans in their 50s are really taking it hard on the chin.
"Is it because we're in our 50s?'' Kahn wonders. "What else could it be? Someone on the other end is looking at our résumés, doing the math and thinking, this woman's a fuddy-duddy. I feel like we've been put out to pasture. It's like we're reaching retirement age, but we're not ready for retirement."
Peek inside this statistical slaughterhouse: As older Americans headed for retirement, the recession cut into their plans, sending retirement account balances down 32 percent from a peak of $8.7 trillion in September 2007 to $5.9 trillion in March 2009, according to AARP. As the recession kicked in, more than one of every four foreclosures and delinquencies involved Americans age 50 and older, this on top of the decade's already sharp increase in bankruptcy filings for the 55-and-above set.
Some may never find another job: A Pew Economic Policy Group report in April said nearly 30 percent of jobless people 55 or older have been out of work for a year or longer, a higher rate than any other age group.
It is a demographic squeeze play of historic proportion, with a jobless rate not seen since the Great Depression.
In a sign of the angst gripping many who see their retirement fading into the future, a poll this year of people ages 44 to 75 found that more than three in five fear depleting their assets more than they fear dying.
"Typically," he says, "they've been downsized out of a job or else put into another position with more responsibility for less pay, and that puts even more stress on their lives, financially and emotionally."

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

How Social Capitalism Can Hedge Market Capitalism

Daniel Robles, The Ingenesist Project:
Today, we have one of the most extraordinary opportunities in human history playing out before our eyes. Social Capitalism is no longer merely a band-aid for an amoral Market Capitalism, it is a new form of Capitalism in it’s own right. In the age of social media, many entrepreneurs no longer allocate land, labor, and financial capital as a primary means of production. Rather, they deploy social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital to the production of a vast amount of “value” that is stored and exchanged in communities.

A new financial instrument is described which can be capitalized and securitized to form the basis of a fungible social currency to hedge the dollar. The net result could create a condition where Wall Street priorities are subservient to social priorities rather than social priorities being subservient to Wall Street priorities.

Percentage of U.S. Adults at Work is Lower Now, Than Six Months Ago

NPR Marketplace Commentator David Frum: Old assumptions equal a stagnant economy:
Supposedly, the recession ended last summer. Yet the percentage of adult Americans at work is lower now than it was six months ago. Businesses continue to shed jobs faster than they create them.

The risk that employment will decline further as the Obama Administration's fiscal stimulus ends is very real. Consumers are not spending, because they feel poor -- and getting poorer. They borrowed a lot of money in the 1990s and 2000s. Their equity in their homes has shrunk or disappeared.

These wretched figures should force us to rethink old assumptions.

The 2007-2008 economic collapse was a really, really big calamity. Yet, we have not taken that calamity's big lessons. Yes, we've tightened bank regulation a little. It will be tougher in the future for banks to bet 30 times their capital that uncredit-worthy borrowers will somehow find the money to repay huge loans. But the idea that home ownership is for everybody? That capital gains from housing will compensate ordinary Americans for stagnant wages? That we can raise living standards while importing a million low-wage workers every year?

On those fundamentals, Albert Einstein's old lament still holds: Everything has changed -- except our thinking.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Plutonomy: A Hate Story

Worth the re-run after tonight's re-watch of Capitalism: A Love Story.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

As Goes Walmart ...

... so goes America.
August 17, 2010 - The New Normal
U.S. Profits UP & UP ; Sales & Jobs DOWN & DOWN
Hello? Are we reaching?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Attacking Social Security vs Adaptive Social Security

Attacking Social Security:
"It’s a lot easier to imagine working until you’re 70 if you have a comfortable office job than if you’re engaged in manual labor. America is becoming an increasingly unequal society — and the growing disparities extend to matters of life and death. Life expectancy at age 65 has risen a lot at the top of the income distribution, but much less for lower-income workers. And remember, the retirement age is already scheduled to rise under current law.

So let’s beat back this unnecessary, unfair and — let’s not mince words — cruel attack on working Americans. Big cuts in Social Security should not be on the table." - Paul Krugman
Adaptive Social Security: When we implement the guaranteed U.S. Basic Income it will permanently fix all of this and make the costly means-tested and perpetually gamed welfare system obsolete, saving billions of dollars and improving both individual and institutional integrity of the entire system, because there is no longer any incentive to lie, cheat, or steal from a system which, as currently designed, encourages that kind of maladaptive behavior.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

More Evidence that 20th Century Industrial Age Capitalism is Trapped in what's called an "Inverted Credibility Curve"

So, this Digg of a Network World article reports that:
Tech workers are trapped in what's called "an inverted wage curve," according to a report released this week by Yoh Services.

This rare trend occurs when demand for skilled workers is increasing, while wages are decreasing. Usually -- according to the economic law of supply and demand -- increased demand for a particular set of skilled workers results in rising wages.
Usually. Right. Sure. Rare trend my arse. It's all engineering, from stem to stern. 1,000 words worth of concatenated cliches passed off as a news article -- the going best practice for cost-cutting mass media, shipping commodity newswire mash-ups and clip-downs in lieu of what used to be journalism -- doesn't even serve as a band-aid, let alone providing direct pressure to the massive hemorrhaging of what used to be a U.S. labor market.

Feel free to read the rest of the blog to get up to speed on the details and why this whole jobs narrative is functionally obsolete. It isn't even wrong or stupid anymore. It just doesn't matter at all. It's simply, increasingly, irrelevant.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Voodoo Redux: $30B aid to unemployed unaffordable, $650,000,000,000 tax cuts for rich non-negotiable

From the inexhaustibly vigilant pen of Paul Krugman:
Jon Kyl of Arizona, the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, was asked the obvious question: if deficits are so worrisome, what about the budgetary cost of extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, which the Obama administration wants to let expire but Republicans want to make permanent? What should replace $650 billion or more in lost revenue over the next decade?

His answer was breathtaking: “You do need to offset the cost of increased spending. And that’s what Republicans object to. But you should never have to offset the cost of a deliberate decision to reduce tax rates on Americans.” So $30 billion in aid to the unemployed is unaffordable, but 20 times that much in tax cuts for the rich doesn’t count.

The next day, Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, confirmed that Mr. Kyl was giving the official party line: “There’s no evidence whatsoever that the Bush tax cuts actually diminished revenue. They increased revenue, because of the vibrancy of these tax cuts in the economy. So I think what Senator Kyl was expressing was the view of virtually every Republican on that subject.”
How did that policy work out last time we tried it, Paul?
Ronald Reagan said that his tax cuts would reduce deficits, then presided over a near-tripling of federal debt. When Bill Clinton raised taxes on top incomes, conservatives predicted economic disaster; what actually followed was an economic boom and a remarkable swing from budget deficit to surplus. Then the Bush tax cuts came along, helping turn that surplus into a persistent deficit, even before the crash.

But we’re talking about voodoo economics here, so perhaps it’s not surprising that belief in the magical powers of tax cuts is a zombie doctrine: no matter how many times you kill it with facts, it just keeps coming back. And despite repeated failure in practice, it is, more than ever, the official view of the G.O.P.

SOURCE: New York Times.

Monday, July 12, 2010

We are Victims of our own Success

What does it actually mean to vote for or against extending unemployment benefits? In the context of seeking sustainable solutions, I'm afraid to say, almost absolutely nothing.

In practice, these stop-gap measures are indeed wasteful, as opponents cry, but only from the perspective of institutional denial of the fact that we are in the process of transitioning to the post Job Trance era.

Less than 65% of Americans (and dropping fast, due to ever accelerating increases in efficiency) current provide at least 100% of required goods and services for the entire economy. That means, 40% of Americans CAN'T BE IN THE WORKFORCE at all ... EVER.

We simply cannot, as bald pragmatic matter, let 40% or more of the population drift further and further into poverty and despair simply because of a deprecated, dysfunctional, nineteenth century industrial delusion about how the world used to work 100 years ago.

We suggest that it is time to open the floor to discussion and debate about economies as Circulatory Systems rather than distribution systems. Only hoarders and oligarchs amplify and defend the narrative of distribution, because it is their unsustainable resource skews that have gradually been the paramount unintended consequence of efficiency-addicted hyper-industrialization, thusly destroying the proper circulation of currency throughout the system as a whole.

In everyday practice, sustainable economies are like the body's circulatory system. We talk about how much currency is in circulation, not in distribution. It's time to open public solutions dialog on a subject that has been under careful study and analysis for decades: universal Basic Income, the most sustainable and adaptive means of maintaining a healthy Circulatory System, one that maintains the health of the capillaries of the economy first and foremost, where the transpiration of the real world economy takes place in everyday lives.

Without the exchange of oxygen, nutrients, and waste at the very fringes of our body's circulatory system, the heart can do no good whatsoever. To date, the measures taken to stimulate the economy have all focused on the wrong problem: shocking the heart to do more work. The moral problems and failures may be at the heart of the system, but the functional failures are at the edges and fringes of the system. Right here, in our everyday lives.

Let's be clear: nobody is demonizing free markets here; rather, we acknowledge that in the west, we are today a victim of our own particular brand of frenetic, neurotic success. As any alcoholic or drug addict who "made it to the top" will tell you, just because that dysfunction seemed to fuel success, doesn't mean that it actually helped. In sad fact, too often the very things that we thought were our best support structures can turn out to be the underlying cause of our greatest miseries.

GOP: Decreasing Homelessness and Starvation Makes Economies Worse

Thankfully, it looks like we can still count on The Atlantic to provide a platform for intellectual honesty about such matters. Special thanks to Daniel Indiviglio for saying it plain:
... the official reported unemployment rate should be reflective of labor market turmoil. In that sense, the unemployment rate as currently calculated more likely underestimates the struggle so many Americans face. The broader measure of unemployment was 16.5% for June. There are a lot of Americans who are so discouraged they have temporarily given up on finding work or can't get anything full time. The government doesn't consider them unemployed, even though they certainly are ...

A Few Comment Excerpts:
Timothy: All I have to say is what is wrong with these people ?! Do they think that what unemployment is giving us to barely survive on is great living to the point that one wouldnt want to look for work ? Are you kidding me ? I am not even getting by ! I have lost 2 homes 2 cars and demolished my credit and everything i have worked for my entire life ! So No I am not overjoyed about being on u/i. People are starving while [politicians] went on break and I find that very sad !

Jessica: The people that they are talking about, that left the work force, are those that have exhausted all their benefits. The real, live, unadjusted unemployment rate is well above 14-15%. They keep adjusting the numbers to see fit... but the people know differently. I think that it is great that all these people think that living on the unemployment benefits, are just living high on the hog.... wow the stupidity continues to amaze me...

KCSam: Now I've heard it all. Unemployment benefits boosting the unemployment rate? Aren't we blaming the victim here?

Monday, July 5, 2010

What Happens If Asia's Recovery Stalls Too? (TIME)

Posted by Michael Schuman at Time:
Now it looks like Asia, the guiding light of the post-recession world, is hitting speed bumps as well. What does that mean for the world economy? It's just more evidence that the entire global recovery may be running out of steam. Even mighty China isn't immune from the gloom.

Asia has been one of the primary engines of the worldwide rebound. If that engine cools down, even a bit, that will act as yet another drag on what is already an uninspiring global recovery. Add in the impact of misguided austerity measures and continued high unemployment, and this fragile recovery may not look like much of a recovery at all.

A Market Forecast That Says ‘Take Cover’ (NYT)

Jeff Sommer, The New York Times writes:
Along with A. J. Frost, Mr. Prechter wrote “Elliott Wave Principle,” a 1978 book that predicted the emergence of a great bull market — a forecast that was largely fulfilled. By 1987, he was widely regarded as an expert in technical analysis. Articles in The New York Times said he was known as “the market’s leading technical guru” — and more. An article in October that year said he had “emerged as both prophet and deity, an adviser whose advice reaches so many investors that he tends to pull the market the way he has predicted it will move.”

He has far less day-to-day influence now, after years spent developing a theory he calls “socionomics,” which holds “social moods” as the cause not only of market cycles but also of economic and political events. A grand cycle is ending, he says, and the time for reckoning is near.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

3 Biggest Lies about U.S. Economy

From The three biggest lies about the U.S. economy Brett Arends ROI - MarketWatch.
  1. Myth 1: Unemployment is below 10% - There are 79 million men in America between the ages of 25 and 65. And nearly 18 million of them, or 22%, are out of work completely. (The rate in the 1950s was less than 10%.)
  2. Myth 2: The markets are panicking about the deficit - Rates on U.S. bonds have been plummeting recently. The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond down to just 4%. By historic standards that's chickenfeed. Panicked? The bond markets are practically snoring.
  3. Myth 3: The U.S. is sliding into "socialism" - Corporate profit margins rocketed to 36% in the first quarter [of 2010]. Since records began in 1947 they have never been this high. The highest they got under Ronald Reagan was 30%.
For further consideration:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Unsustainable Resource Skews for Dummies

Don't be confused by long sounding words. The everyday reality is obvious to every five year old on the planet.

"The wealth of the walmart family in US = same as the combined income of the bottom 40% of population."

Just let that sink in for awhile if you don't have time to read the whole blog today.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

What is the right amount to pay bankers?

"The bottom line is that much like in other areas of our lives, we are not perfect, we are not rational, and there are multiple hidden forces that shape our abilities and decisions. We can continue to assume that we are perfect, but this will only set ourselves up for more fantastic failures. If instead we were to realize where we fall short, where we fail, and try to do something about it, our future could indeed be brighter -– and not just in the domain of banking and salaries."
SOURCE: TED Blog: Dan Ariely asks, What is the right amount to pay bankers?

Germany's Take on a Basic Income for All

According to a growing bloc of Christian Democrats—under the leadership of Dieter Althaus, former premier of the German state of Thuringia—the problem isn’t that the state is providing insufficient incentives to work, but rather that the state is enforcing a duty to work at all. The only way that Germany can honor people’s right to material dignity while freeing the labor market of distortions, they argue, is by means of bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen, or unconditional basic income: a single monthly payment, pegged to levels currently received by the unemployed, guaranteed to every citizen from cradle to grave.

More fundamentally, basic-income advocates argue that the duty to pursue work is based on the mistaken assumption that there’s work to be had. A growing number of economists suggest that Germany reconcile itself to the fact that in the postindustrial age, the country will provide ever fewer opportunities for low-skilled workers. In this context, policies in pursuit of full employment make no sense; indeed, the demands currently made on the out-of-work are nothing less than perverse.

Furthermore, the advocates of basic income say, the contemporary mind-set has allotted to salaried work an exaggerated role in shaping personal identity. Basic income would allow Germans to combine different avenues of part-time work or pursue types of labor that aren’t normally honored with pay, such as caring for the elderly. (This is an important difference between Murray’s concept and the German one: Murray sees his yearly $10,000 grant as a spur to work; the German variation pivots on the belief that many Germans ought to be taking up pursuits outside the classic economic framework.) Also, basic income would encourage citizens to think more like entrepreneurs in pursuing work and allow unfettered labor markets to regain control over wages. (Emphasis by ed.)

via StatusNet message from Olivier Auber at Sun 06 Jun 2010 09:09:01 AM PDT:
RT @NeuerWeg: [City Journal USA] A Basic Income for All? #Grundeinkommen #revenudevie #basicincome

Monday, May 10, 2010

From the CEO's Blog: Creating High Trust Organizations

By adopting and extending these principles, we simultaneously create high trust institutions and societies.

Whole Foods (WFMI) CEO John Mackey on Creating the High Trust Organization:

"We have the opportunity to create more conscious and higher trust organizations in the 21st century. To do so will require three major changes.
  • First, the organization must become conscious of its higher purposes. Without consciousness of higher purposes, organizations will not reach their fullest potential because the creative energy within the organization will not be fully expressed.
  • Second, we’ll need our leaders to evolve to higher levels of consciousness and trust. We will not be able to create high trust organizations without more conscious and high trust leaders. Less conscious leaders will tend to hold their organizations back.
  • Third, we will need to evolve the cultures of our organization in ways that create processes, strategies, and structures that encourage higher levels of trust. These will necessarily include the important ideals of teams, empowerment, transparency, authentic communication, fairness, love and care."

WFMI's Shared Fate Policy
"We recognize there is a community of interest among all of our stakeholders. There are no entitlements; we share together in our collective fate. To that end we have a salary cap that limits the compensation (wages plus profit incentive bonuses) of any Team Member to nineteen times the average total compensation of all full-time Team Members in the company."

Salary Caps Work. Authenticity and Transparency Work. The neuroeconomics of Neurosociety awakens.

Not only can we chart a more adaptive future beyond the unsustainable resource skews born of fundamentalist 19th century industrial capitalism, we must do so. It is a simply matter of sustainability and survival. And so, we are doing so, as demonstrated by WFMI and other progressive companies like Nika Water, "by donating 100% of our profits to support clean water projects in impoverished countries, NIKA will provide the basic tools and critical assistance to help thousands of families improve their lives in a meaningful way and end the cycle of poverty. Mindful of our duties as stewards of the Earth, NIKA has been certified as CarbonFree by through our investment in carbon offsetting program."

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Capitalism: A Love Story Opens in Great Britain and Ireland

Visit for the Full Story:

Andrew O'Hagan, London Evening Standard:
He never loses his touch as a speller-out of double standards, and no drama of the past year — no fiction — has come this close to naming names, calling out the guilty parties or asking the big questions.
Wendy Ide, London Times:
The film is brilliantly researched, both with regard to the labyrinthine web of connections between the world of finance and the corridors of power and the wittily used archive footage.
Lisa Mullen, New Statesman:
If American big business has not been noticeably dented by his efforts, he has certainly transformed the art of documentary-making in the process.
John Walsh, The Independent:
The story of how Congress was forced to vote for a $700bn bailout of the banks (without any explanation of how the money might be spent) is re-told, to jaw-dropping effect.
Donald Clark, The Irish Times:
Michael Moore’s latest documentary is both moving and blackly comical, and his best since Roger and Me.
Peter Bradshaw, Guardian:
In his typically punchy, enthralling and entertaining new picture, Michael Moore takes aim at what Milton Friedman famously called socialism for the rich and free enterprise for the poor.
Alison Rowat, Herald Scotland:
The boy who wanted to be a priest is never far from the surface of Moore.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Why do the Poor Protect the Ultra Rich from Taxes?

It's inexplicable.

Why would any thinking entity do that? Do you really think that the majority of the people in the top 1%, 2%, 5%, 10% are sitting around thinking:
"Gee, I wonder how I could create new jobs for my fellow patriots in the bottom 90%?"
Really? Do you really believe that? Because, with every Tea Party you attend, you are voting to keep things exactly like this:

Image: UCSC

Quick poll: Raise your hand if you think this situation has improved, since 2007. Let's see, I count ... um ... let's look way back to the back for the room ... yeah ... there ... I count exactly ZERO hands.

One volley on Digg put it this way:

"Without extended unemployment, I guarantee that a hard worker like yourself would have a job right now. You would move into a smaller place (bunk beds if necessary), work two crappy jobs, do whatever it takes to put food on the table. I know I would to save my family."
That's exactly what the pie bakers above want you to believe.

"That's what most people outside the situation believe dude but it's a lot fuzzier when you're in it up to your neck. Fact is, I've said the same thing myself, but have never seen this rate of unemployment nor have I ever been this directly affected."
More and more Americans are finding similar wage-slave capitalist repentance.

How many more have to be so directly affected -- directly destroyed -- before we wake from the Job Trance, and move into the next evolution of the greatest experiment in democracy that the world has ever seen?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The New Normal for Employment: A Con Job

You see? They can be taught!
The "new normal" for employment doesn't work for anyone except employers an career coaches who are trying to sell how the recession is an opportunity for resourceful people. That's why they both want us to accept depressed salaries and bigger workloads as the new status quo. -- CIO Magazine
Remember this, do we now?

Middle Class: Our Poor and Huddled Masses

I pray for healing,” says Ms. Eisen, 57. “When you’ve got nothing, you’ve got to go with what you know.”

Yeah, that should fix it all up real quick.

"Call them the new poor: people long accustomed to the comforts of middle-class life who are now relying on public assistance for the first time in their lives — potentially for years to come."

Her counselor has a couple of possibilities — a cashier at a supermarket and a night desk job at a motel.

And even these numbers are A Complete Fiction.

“American business is about maximizing shareholder value,” said Allen Sinai, chief global economist at the research firm Decision Economics. “You basically don’t want workers. You hire less, and you try to find capital equipment to replace them.”

Welcome to the American Dream 2.0. Isn't time to make the REAL change?

IMAGE: New York Times

Friday, January 22, 2010

You Don't Count - Is 2010 U.S. Structural Unemployment really 40.6% ?

No, actually, it's apparently 42.1% because I missed the incarcerated population in my copy/paste to spreadsheet, below.

Please, somebody, anybody, show me where I'm double counting ... if I'm double counting. I don't think so, but all source data is linked for your loyal relentless scrutiny.
The rest of you losers do count, sort of. You're the currently "official" 17.3% unemployed.

In Sum: 1.5 + 14.4 + 1.9 + 0.5 + 2.2 + (nevermind those 0.001% lazy dads) + 4.3 + 17.3 = 42.1%

News Flash: At best, this is going to remain steady for the foreseeable future.

Upshot: If these numbers are even anywhere near accurate, it means that we are already way into Structural Unemployment land, boys and girls. Yes, it means that 19th Century Industrial Capitalism worked. We are so astronomically technologically enhanced, roboticized, computerized, and insanely efficient, that just 60% of able bodied, educated adults are more than capable of providing 100% of market demand for our domestic and export economies.

And we're getting even more efficient, every day, as nearly all recent projections call for ever increasing corporate growth with perpetually anemic demand for workers.