Posts tagged ‘capitalism’

Liked “If Australia was more democratic, would its economic policies be better?”

Original post found at: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-04-11/if-australia-was-more-democratic-would-its-economic-policies-imp/100060786

Was a bit nonplussed about the beginning of this article which holds up Ancient Athens as a model of democracy (it’s not like women or the large slave population got to participate in that, after all) but after that it gets better. It makes the point that:

Australia’s economic policy settings are controlled by a small group of elites drawn from politics and the bureaucracy and ‘independent’ bodies such as the Reserve Bank.

The priorities of this elite are completely out of step with the interests of the majority; as the article points out, they have presided quite deliberately over a steep rise in wealth inequality and feel no shame about the existence of poverty, which they could eliminate overnight if they wanted to.

It goes on to ask, But what if Australians had the opportunity to vote on individual policies, like the Athenians? How would we, the majority, structure our economy? I mean, this is the power that real socialism aims to put in our hands. But even without acknowledging that, I feel like this article does a good job pointing out that if power was actually in the hands of the masses, we could make our lives so much better. And the fact that they’re not demonstrates, as this article does acknowledge, that Australia is not very democratic after all. Which is a rare thing to see admitted in a mainstream outlet like the ABC!

Liked “The real cancel culture” by Cory Doctorow

Original post found at: https://pluralistic.net/2021/04/06/digital-phrenology/#digital-phrenology

“Cancel culture” – the prospect of permanent exclusion from your chosen profession due to some flaw – has been a fixture in blue-collar labor since the 1930s, as Nathan Newman writes in The American Prospect.

Ugh yes, these aptitude tests are the bane of my partner’s existence. I haven’t had to do one in a few years but they piss me off too. “Junk science” for sure.

Bookmarked “Amazon is a disaster for workers. Nomadland glosses over that”

Original post found at: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/mar/23/amazon-nomadland-film-jeff-bezos-disaster-workers

Nomadland shows Fern working in an Amazon warehouse; the makers of the film received permission from Amazon to film on location. The work that Fern does looks tedious and difficult, but let’s just say there are no labor violations shown on screen. Fern does this menial labor to remain true to herself and the life she wants to lead, and Amazon essentially funds her authenticity.

Meanwhile, in the real world, Amazon is putting cameras in the trucks of its delivery drivers, monitors on the bodies of its warehouse workers, and security cameras inside and outside its facilities. It creates heat maps to detect if too many employees are gathering in the same place at the same time to discourage both fraternization and discussions of forming a union. And the company touts all of this, as effective methods for boosting productivity and profit margins.

Liked “The Fight for Free Time Is a Feminist Issue”

Original post found at: https://jacobinmag.com/2021/03/free-time-overwork-feminism-caregiving-workers-rights/

Caregiving is indispensable to society. Without it, “the economy” as it is typically conceived, would cease to exist. The labor of health care workers, hospice aids, and day care and childcare workers, has allowed more of us to stay alive this past year and go to work.


Fraser isn’t the first to recognize this tendency. By demanding “wages for housework,” socialist feminists in the 1970s sought not only pay for their labor in the home, but to call attention to the fact that the entire capitalist economy was free-riding on the backs of homemakers, the vast majority of whom were women. If, as was often suggested, the economy could not afford to pay for housework, the demand for wages doubled as a demand for a new kind of economy that either valued care work or abolished its necessity. As Kathi Weeks argued, “it was a reformist project with revolutionary aspirations.”

Good, if introductory, piece tying together a couple of different ways that care work is dismissed and undervalued.


Original post found at: https://everestpipkin.medium.com/but-the-environmental-issues-with-cryptoart-1128ef72e6a3

Until today I’d never even heard of NFTs, but the ABC published a wishy-washy puff piece of an article on them that didn’t seem to address the issues. Good timing, then, that a couple of hours later I came across this article on the problems with cryptocurrencies generally and NFTs more specifically being immense, and not solely ecological.

Bookmarked “The Utopian Promise of Self-Checkout Machines”

Original post found at: https://jacobinmag.com/2021/03/the-utopian-promise-of-self-checkout-machines

As these futurists saw it, technology would eliminate all kinds of boring and arduous work — making life easier for human beings and freeing up labor time in the process. Today, the self-checkout machine represents the paradox of technology and automation under capitalism: the very tools that could make life simpler and more rewarding threatening workers’ livelihoods and, in many cases, actually expanding the power of bosses to surveil and mete out discipline in the interests of profit.

photo of Jessica Smith is a left-wing feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also very interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.