Settled agriculture, cities, nation-states, information technology and every other facet of the modern world have unfolded within a long era of climatic good fortune. Those days are gone. Sea levels are rising; climate is becoming less stable; average temperatures are increasing. Civilization emerged in a geological era known as the Holocene. Some have called our new climate era the Anthropocene. Future intelligent life will know we were here because some humans have filled the fossil record with such marvels as radiation from atomic bombs, plastics from the oil industry and chicken bones.
You are here
Labor / Economics
Stories about Labor and Economics.
Here are two idioms that have no applicability to the United States Congress: “Once bitten, twice shy;” “The third time’s a charm.”
2017 was my fourth season in a row working in the Cannabis industry in California, and it might well turn out to be my last, considering how rapidly the industry is changing, especially since the 2016 passage of Proposition 64 for adult recreational use.
My employment has always been hourly, arranged with handshake contracts, and “at will” for all parties. Never been a boss and haven’t wanted to be. I’d already had my days of running-the-whole-show when I was farmer in Oregon growing vegetables, seeds and herbs (but never pot) for the ten seasons up ’til 2014. Since then, I’ve been perfectly content as a helper for somebody else‘s headaches.
As 2017 winds down, it’s important to remember that this year marks the 200th anniversary for the call for a 40-hr workweek for laboring people. The 8-hour day movement involves not only changes in the workweek, but the struggle over class power. Turning points in this history of the workweek outline the reconfiguration of modern capitalism:
This is a remarkable and inspiring movement in Spain, now involving hundreds of people in what I regard as an example of The Simpler Way transition strategy … which is primarily about going underneath the conventional economy to build our own new collective economy to meet community needs, turning our backs on and deliberately undermining and eventually replacing both the capitalist system and control by the state.
With the Senate and House all but assured to pass the US$4.5 trillion in tax cuts for businesses, investors, and the wealthiest 1 percent households by the end of this week, phases two and three of the Trump-Republican fiscal strategy have begun quickly to take shape.
Phase two is to maneuver the inept Democrats in Congress into passing a temporary budget deficit-debt extension in order to allow the tax cuts to be implemented quickly. That’s already a ‘done deal’.
A decade ago I reviewed “Amazing Grace”, a hagiographic biopic about William Wilberforce, the parliamentary opponent of the slave trade in Great Britain. Since I am far more interested in a film’s politics than tracking shots, I saw it as an opportunity to cut Wilberforce down to size:
The film was meant to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the passing of the bill that banned the slave trade in the British Empire, an event that constitutes the climactic scene.
There are different views on the meaning of the terms economic democracy and economic justice, which aspects of the concepts that should be emphasised, and how they can and should be achieved in a real-world economy.
According to one broad definition, economic democracy is about “… the citizens’ ability to influence economic developments in general or the economic decisions of their own workplace”. Some believe that this can and should be achieved within the framework and institutions of capitalism i.e. private ownership and markets, by making employees and sometimes also citizens in general, shareholders of corporations, for example via Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) and other similar tools. The term “inclusive capitalism” is sometimes used in this context. Such a version of economic democracy can often be embraced also by politicians on the right of the political spectrum.
Published 60 years ago, Frazier’s The Black Bourgeoisie (1957)analyzed the social and political behavior of the African American middle class social strata that aspired to purportedly benevolently rule their own community while pursuing their own personal advancement. Frazier saw the Black bourgeoisie as both an evolving middle class in historical materialist terms – that is, in the context of unfolding economic history creating modes of production and social classes within the Black community before the emergence of the modern Civil Rights movement. Frazier also explored this bourgeoisie as an evolving ruling class of the Black community that was subordinated by racism and fascism but wished to be independent and govern themselves.
Over the years we have all heard a great deal about the great social achievements of the Bolivarian Revolution, the government subsidized health program Barrio Adentro, the subsidized food program Mercal, the housing mission which provides free and affordable government organized housing to the poor and middle class, the Canaima program which provides computer to students, Madres del Barrio and now Hogares de la Patria which provide government subsidies to housewives as a recognition of their domestic work, Amor Mayor, the government pension program, among so many other great advances that have moved the country forward in terms of social justice and closing the economic gap.