Posted by: quiscus | December 22, 2010

December 22, 2010

1.  I’m glad there is so little interest:

“After 4 decades, Harvard opens door to ROTC

But interest among Harvard students has declined in recent years, according to Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Hall, commander of the Army ROTC battalion based at MIT.

Over the past 20 years, the battalion has typically counted between 15 and 20 Harvard undergraduates a year, Hall said. Currently, he said, only six from Harvard are enrolled. Over the past two years, the Army ROTC has enrolled only one Harvard freshman, while 11 members have graduated, he said.”

2.  “The Rise in Temporary Employment. The Loss of Job Security in America

These were the things I thought of as I read that Times article, which is reporting that employers want to make a large portion of the labor force go the temp route as a way of life. That would be fine if we had single-payer health care that covered us whether we were working or not, if we had an unemployment compensation system that replaced our wages at 100% when we weren’t needed, and if there were some retirement system other than the Social Security that the corporatists are taking apart. (I nearly wrote Republicans, but the Democrats are about as bad, just sneakier about their badness.)


Here is the truth that most people refuse to face: The economy does not need everybody to work full time, or at all, in order to produce the goods and services the nation needs. How many of you, in developed nations at least, face chronically empty store shelves? However, we still insist that everyone must “earn a living” or be supported by someone, preferably a parent or a spouse, who “earns a living”. If we otherwise don’t have a job, it is our fault! We are inferior, even evil, people!


Other tough truths: Employers view workers as costs to be contained. Competition creates losers even before the game begins. Work hard and play be the rules and you’ll succeed only works if you also have the right look and connections, and are the right race, age, gender, nationality and sexual orientation.

Some people call for monetary reform. I say do away with it entirely. How will we exchange goods and services without money? By gift, barter, scrip that has no intrinsic value such as supermarket and newspaper coupons, lending and borrowing without interest, which is how we lend and borrow non-monetary items, and by ways we have yet to invent because we haven’t thought to do so; we take the monetary system for granted.  Imagine a world without scalpers and thieves.  No sense scalping or stealing what it freely given.


To those who are concerned with the likelihood that there would be free riders in a world without money–-people who take from the system and give nothing back—I ask this: If you are happy with what you are doing and getting what you need, why should you care if someone is not working? It’s their loss for standing on the sidelines while other people are happily busy, and they’ll realize that after a while. Do you really want to receive goods and services that are produced by someone because they had to, not because they wanted to?


Working while others don’t is only unfair to the worker if one views work as a burden instead of as a joy. For many people who are working for a paycheck, at something they would not otherwise choose to do except for that paycheck, however small, work is a burden. Why should working for joy be only for a privileged few? Why should there be a lot of people for whom the work they do best is a hobby or a volunteer effort, which in a money-based society means they can only do it part-time or not very often, unless they have a trust fund or a supportive spouse who can work for two?


Money-based systems create scarcity, want, and exploitation of workers, consumers and the environment. ”


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