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LQD: Precariat and UBI

by ATinNM Thu Sep 24th, 2015 at 01:37:00 PM EST

The Growing Precariat: Why We Need a Universal Basic Income:

Globalisation, technological change, and government policies have produced a class structure with a tiny plutocracy of billionaires coexisting with a dwindling salariat, with employment security, pensions and paid vacations, and a rapidly growing precariat, living bits-and-pieces lives, without occupational careers and experiencing declining real wages. Telling the precariat that they must obtain more schooling and training is disingenuous. Millions are currently over-qualified for the labor and work they can expect to be doing.


A Universal Basic Income is a good first step.

It's only a first step since there is little point in spending tens of millions of dollars or euros a year training scientists only to throw them into the trash once they've gotten their sheepskin.

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We need to boost spending in pure research. The question is where the money should go. Universities? Given the state of corporate funding of university research is this really a good idea? Perhaps government sponsored research institutes for pure research in fields that have poor opportunities for recent graduates elsewhere? Perhaps that and more money for activities like DARPA?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Sep 24th, 2015 at 02:21:02 PM EST
In the US all military funded research has to, by law, have a military application.  It's directed research, IOW.

The only people doing basic research are at or associated with Universities.  Corporate funding is negligible compared to Federal funding.  

Apologies for the "telegraphese."  I'm too tired for more.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Thu Sep 24th, 2015 at 06:01:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Universities would certainly be one target for pure research. Fund a lot of 2-3 year fellowships with follow-on funding available. Fund fields from anthropology to zoology, not forgetting mathematics, psychology, etc. Applications will emerge, probably more quickly than imagined

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Sep 25th, 2015 at 12:30:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It will take more guidance than you will ever see in the US.  We have lots of research, but it is producing only more precariat jobs.  Electronics factories are a prime example.
by rifek on Mon Sep 28th, 2015 at 09:02:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I completely agree. Only a thorough housecleaning and a widespread change in CW will change the situation sufficiently so as to make this possible. But the Millennials are not buying the 'embarrassed millionaire' bit and a whole lot of the middle class have no hope, and know it, of ever making it to that status. If, together, they can be politically mobilized change is possible.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Sep 28th, 2015 at 09:46:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They're petrified of attacking the status quo because they think they still have something to gain from it.  That's the current version of "temporarily embarrassed millionaires."
by rifek on Mon Sep 28th, 2015 at 10:48:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My son is late Gen-X and a large number of his friends are very sour on today's society.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Sep 29th, 2015 at 12:47:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds just like my crew.  Fortunately, they still listen to Daddy on some things, and I've told them for years, "The old rules are still being enforced, but following them gets you nothing but the shaft.  A large part of your lives will be a covert op.
by rifek on Tue Sep 29th, 2015 at 04:03:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, when working full time doesn't even cover expenses for over half of the population - working informally for cash in your 'spare time', evenings and weekends, if you have them, becomes a lifeline. $15/hr minimum wages will help those on the lowest rungs - where and when it becomes available. And it will help the overall economy by creating greater demand. But few 'salaried' employees can now expect to be able to pay for non-covered medical, dental, optical, etc. expenses and you had better have two 'good' incomes in the family in order to buy a house and send your kids to even a local college, where they can attend and live at home. It ain't the '60s or even the '80s anymore.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Sep 29th, 2015 at 04:50:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I remember doing a sociology essay in the 1970's where I coined the term "Salariat" to define a class of workers who did not own the means of production or the companies they worked for, but who were nevertheless closely allied to the capitalist class who did; by reason of ideological orientation, training, career progression and employment rewards.  It seemed to me that the term "bourgeoisie" was much to indiscriminate a term to include both the owners of capital and the many who worked for them at varying levels in management and trainee positions.

Of course one of the defining characteristics of the 40 years since has been the growth of the precariat, denied even the partial security of a long-term job, employment protection legislation, and union representation: The triumph of Thatcherism, Reaganism, and globalisation. A universal basic wage will be opposed by the capital class because it will be seen as reducing their relative power over workers, by reducing the absolute necessity to work to survive.

As Capital doesn't carry the costs of most education directly, it can be safely allowed, particularly insofar as it provides the skilled workers capital does need. However insofar as education raises expectations that capital does not wish to meet, it becomes not just superfluous, but dangerous.  The solution is not to reduce the level of education, but to improve the distribution of wealth to make it not only possible, but a factor adding to the quality of life which cannot be measured in capital created job opportunities alone.

But all of this requires a political structure not controlled by Capital.  Good luck with that, in the Europe and USA of 2015.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 24th, 2015 at 03:19:46 PM EST
The main object of the Ueberklass for the last half century has been the reduction of salariats to precariats.  In the US, even the professions have been targeted.  Insurance companies have turned doctors into assembly line workers with strict production quotas.  A gross increase of law school grads has caused a glut forcing many attorneys to work on document review projects for less than $20/hour.  But nothing will change here because we have no poor people, just temporarily embarrassed millionaires.
by rifek on Mon Sep 28th, 2015 at 09:12:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See my response to your previous post regarding 'temporarily embarrassed millionaires'.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Sep 28th, 2015 at 09:49:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I like that phrase because it captures the central conceit of capitalism - that we can all be millionaires if we work hard enough - and its just bad luck or laziness if we haven't quite made it yet.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Sep 28th, 2015 at 04:57:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's the central myth of US culture: Horatio Alger and self-made men.  It's all crap and has mostly been a tool to control the working classes, but even the death of the middle class and all mobility but downward hasn't killed it.
by rifek on Mon Sep 28th, 2015 at 10:54:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Industry and productivity can make everyone prosperous, or to put it in other terms, "Confer upon all members of society goods, services, opportunities and choices".

Being rich is unfortunately very frequently defined as "Having much more than the average person" Which, obviously, is not something which everyone can achieve.

And policies meant to promote the first look very, very different from policies catering to people who want to achieve the second.

by Thomas on Tue Sep 29th, 2015 at 12:24:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Education in the US has become a sick joke.  We long ago gave up training people for tech fields because everyone was going to have a desk job.  When we figured out that was bullcakes, scores of for-profit schools popped up, but they don't actually train anyone in anything.  Their purpose is to create student loan debt, the new version of company store debt because it can't be discharged in bankruptcy and can be held over the debtor's head like a hammer forever.
by rifek on Mon Sep 28th, 2015 at 09:51:47 AM EST


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