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posted by CoolHand on Wednesday November 11 2015, @02:50AM   Printer-friendly
from the rise-of-the-proletariat dept.

Hundreds of fast food workers are striking nationwide Tuesday, joining other workers in pressing for a more livable wage. But while some say $15 is a minimum needed to survive, some business owners say dishing out more pay would leave them struggling to keep their doors open.

In New York City, rallies are being held in Harlem, the Financial District and Brooklyn in support of efforts to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, reports CBS New York.

In Los Angeles, the local protests are organized by Service Employees International Union, and include fast-food, home-care and child-care workers, along with other "underpaid" employees, reports CBS Los Angeles.

"Is this the America we believe in? When someone works all day long and they still can't get by," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said during an early-morning rally in Downtown Brooklyn. "Does anyone believe that it's easy to get by in New York City on less than $15 an hour?"

Critics say a $15 minimum wage would obliterate opportunity and usher in higher taxes, but de Blasio said the opposite is true -- with more money to spend, low wage workers contribute more to the economy.

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by aclarke on Wednesday November 11 2015, @02:28PM

    by aclarke (2049) on Wednesday November 11 2015, @02:28PM (#261728) Homepage

    There are different types of intelligence. Have you ever tried welding? Are you any good at it? "Skilled trades" are called "skilled" because they require ... skill. Welding isn't just moving a couple things across some metal. Here in Canada to get your tickets as a welder you actually have to go to college and learn a fair amount. Maybe you don't need to know astrophysics or Persian literature, but it does require some brains, as well as the ability to make good decisions on the fly.

    As for basic income, I don't think you're looking at it in the right way. I'll start in no particular order.

    - The current system is broken. The middle class is being decimated, the poor are getting poorer, and the rich are getting richer. I hope you see a problem with this.

    - If you look at why basic income can't work, start challenging those suppositions and assume that those problems and attitudes CAN be changed. Start looking for ways to change the system for the better, instead of assuming all those impediments have to stay the same.

    - There are many people who are employed who probably are overall a drain on their employers. They're unmotivated, lazy, dumb, burnt out, or maybe just stuck in the wrong sort of job for their temperament because they need to pay the bills. Is it such a bad idea to to free the workplace from this sort of person? It leaves the rest able to do their jobs, and it also opens up opportunities for others who may be looking for those positions themselves.

    - Many of those who are currently employed in the wrong place will go on to be productive in other ways. Perhaps they'll do a better job raising their children. Perhaps they'll look after their elderly parents, go plant a garden, clean up their neighbourhood, or do something else productive. The problem with financial capitalism is that it really only rewards jobs that can be monetized. A capitalistic society doesn't financially value taking care of our elders, so there's little financial motivation to do so. Universal basic income frees up people to work on making society better. Ultimately, a healthier and better-functioning society is a benefit to all of us.

    - Some people won't work on making society better. They'll sit around in their underpants at home, smoking weed and watching Ow my Balls. Guess what a lot of those people are already doing. Guess how they're being paid to do that. Government social assistance and/or crime. If you're already paying people to sit around and do nothing through government programs, how about doing it through a government program that might actually be more efficient?

    - Some of the people who are going to sit around doing nothing are already sitting around doing nothing in organizations all around the world. Do you really want to keep working with them if there's another alternative?

    - As alluded above, there are already a myriad of social programmes meant to look after teenage mums, kids in school, grandparents, blue-eyed amputees between the age of 45-49, whatever. Trying to make a whole lot of programmes for a bunch of special interests is an inefficient way of looking after human needs. One program, combined with a simplified tax structure and other changes aimed at streamlining the fact that you're going to start looking at peoples' economic and social needs in a different way, may actually cost less than you might think.

    - You might disagree with this, but in my opinion all humans deserve basic dignity. It's not right that some of us are getting richer and more comfortable while others in our same country are dying on the street because they lack the basic care they need. This is the case whether they're mentally or physically healthy or sick, lazy or hard-working, young or old. I don't want to be the one who, directly or indirectly, denies at least an opportunity to someone because, for example, they're mentally handicapped, bipolar, or whatever, and can't properly hold onto a job.

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  • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Wednesday November 11 2015, @04:01PM

    by The Mighty Buzzard (18) Subscriber Badge <> on Wednesday November 11 2015, @04:01PM (#261787) Homepage Journal

    Have you ever tried welding? Are you any good at it?

    Yup and not especially. My welds hold and every now and then I'll whip out a pretty one but not consistently enough to get paid for it.

    Skills are not intelligence though. Having skills has nothing to do with intelligence. Intelligence is simply the ability to learn. For instance, I learned how to weld properly (enough to do it, not enough to be paid to do it) very quickly. I know exactly what I'm supposed to be doing. I just don't have the motor control to do so. That's a muscle memory issue not an intelligence issue.

    Now the knowledge that comes along with being a badass welder, I'm not downplaying that. It's just that with enough effort, it's something that most people can learn if they put enough time and effort into it. It's valuable, specialized knowledge but it's not rocket surgery.

    The current system is broken. The middle class is being decimated, the poor are getting poorer, and the rich are getting richer. I hope you see a problem with this.

    I absolutely do not. The rich getting richer does not make the poor get poorer. Wealth is not finite. Wealth, both personal and universal, is limited only by the human mind's ability to create. You and you alone (the evils of involuntary taxation aside) determine how much wealth you will create and how your wealth will be allocated.

    Example: I code for SN here. Every bit of code I create is wealth because it, hopefully, is capable of making life a little bit easier or otherwise better for everyone who comes to the site. I do this for free because I find enough value returned to myself by having a good site and keeping my coding chops sharp. I receive value, all the other users receive value, the company receives value in the form of cash from subs, our hosting company receives value from us paying our bills, and so on and so forth. Wealth was thus produced from my mind and has added to the total sum of wealth in the world.

    Currency? That's simply one means of keeping score of how much wealth you have stored for easy exchange and it's not even a very good one.

    Do you have a car? A TV? A computer? How many mobile devices? The ability to instantly communicate with anyone on the planet? Central heat and air? Hot water? A refrigerator? The poor of today are insanely wealthy in comparison to the top 1% of a hundred years ago or even thirty years ago. The poor in the US are even a damn sight more wealthy than the poor of our neighbor Mexico. Relatively speaking, the US has no poor and I'm really getting sick of hearing that I'm a bad person if my heart doesn't bleed for them.

    Merging all programs into "basic income"? Fantastic idea. Still with the you do not get to vote stipulation. If you are a drain on the nation, you should not get to choose its direction.

    All humans are welcome to basic dignity. Dignity is not something you are given though; dignity is something you start out with and can either choose to keep or choose to drop in favor of comfort. They throw dignity out the window the first time they accept a handout. That makes them a bum and bums are without dignity.

    Cobra Kai
    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 11 2015, @08:51PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 11 2015, @08:51PM (#261916)

      "Wealth is not finite. Wealth, both personal and universal, is limited only by the human mind's ability to create."

      True (as with Julian Simon); however, a society made of humans will not work well if a few (greedy, unenlightened) humans have 99.999%+ of everything and so can buy the laws in their favor, where said laws can include imprisoning all the rest (including you) for, say, posting on the internet without an appropriate license. []

      Or, for that matter, reading the internet without a license. []

      Or reading anything else for that matter. [] []

      See also:
      "The Richest Man in the World: A parable about structural unemployment and a basic income" []

      And also: []
      "My fellow Americans. There has been some recent talk of free law by the General Public Lawyers (the GPL) who we all know hold un-American views. I speak to you today from the Oval Office in the White House to assure you how much better off you are now that all law is proprietary. The value of proprietary law should be obvious. Software is essentially just a form of law governing how computers operate, and all software and media content has long been privatized to great economic success. Economic analysts have proven conclusively that if we hadn't passed laws banning all free software like GNU/Linux and OpenOffice after our economy began its current recession, which started, how many times must I remind everyone, only coincidentally with the shutdown of Napster, that we would be in far worse shape then we are today. RIAA has confidently assured me that if independent artists were allowed to release works without using their compensation system and royalty rates, music CD sales would be even lower than their recent inexplicably low levels. The MPAA has also detailed how historically the movie industry was nearly destroyed in the 1980s by the VCR until that too was banned and all so called fair use exemptions eliminated. So clearly, these successes with software, content, and hardware indicate the value of a similar approach to law.
          There are many reasons for the value of proprietary law. You all know them since you have been taught them in school since kindergarten as part of your standardized education. They are reflected in our most fundamental beliefs, such as sharing denies the delight of payment and cookies can only be brought into the classroom if you bring enough to sell to everyone. But you are always free to eat them all yourself of course! [audience chuckles knowingly]. But I think it important to repeat such fundamental truths now as they form the core of all we hold dear in this great land.
          First off, we all know our current set of laws requires a micropayment each time a U.S. law is discussed, referenced, or applied by any person anywhere in the world. This financial incentive has produced a large amount of new law over the last decade. This body of law is all based on a core legal code owned by that fine example of American corporate capitalism at its best, the MicroSlaw Corporation. ..."

      But even if you don't buy any of that, studies show more egalitarian societies tend to have happier wealthy people. Also, other studies show most families lose their great wealth within three generations, so what's the point?

      Given the enclosure and privatization of most the land by the government (to enforce land rights), one can argue peopel have a right to soem of the fruits of the land by right of citizenship as part-owners in that national enterprise of enclosing the commons.

      Also, all humans share in our collective cultural inheritance: []
      "Douglas disagreed with classical economists who recognised only three factors of production: land, labour and capital. While Douglas did not deny the role of these factors in production, he considered the “cultural inheritance of society” as the primary factor. He defined cultural inheritance as the knowledge, techniques and processes that have accrued to us incrementally from the origins of civilization (i.e. progress). Consequently, mankind does not have to keep "reinventing the wheel". "We are merely the administrators of that cultural inheritance, and to that extent the cultural inheritance is the property of all of us, without exception.[8] Adam Smith, David Ricardo and Karl Marx claimed that labour creates all value. While Douglas did not deny that all costs ultimately relate to labour charges of some sort (past or present), he denied that the present labour of the world creates all wealth. Douglas carefully distinguished between value, costs and prices. He claimed that one of the factors resulting in a misdirection of thought in terms of the nature and function of money was economists' near-obsession about values and their relation to prices and incomes.[9] While Douglas recognized "value in use" as a legitimate theory of values, he also considered values as subjective and not capable of being measured in an objective manner. Thus he rejected the idea of the role of money as a standard, or measure, of value. Douglas believed that money should act as a medium of communication by which consumers direct the distribution of production."

      See also: []
      "On the basis of such observations, Christopher Boehm proposed the theory that hunter-gatherers maintained equality through a practice that he labeled reverse dominance. In a standard dominance hierarchy--as can be seen in all of our ape relatives (yes, even in bonobos)--a few individuals dominate the many. In a system of reverse dominance, however, the many act in unison to deflate the ego of anyone who tries, even in an incipient way, to dominate them.
          According to Boehm, hunter-gatherers are continuously vigilant to transgressions against the egalitarian ethos. Someone who boasts, or fails to share, or in any way seems to think that he (or she, but usually it's a he) is better than others is put in his place through teasing, which stops once the person stops the offensive behavior. If teasing doesn't work, the next step is shunning. The band acts as if the offending person doesn't exist. That almost always works. Imagine what it is like to be completely ignored by the very people on whom your life depends. No human being can live for long alone. The person either comes around, or he moves away and joins another band, where he'd better shape up or the same thing will happen again. In his 1999 book, Hierarchy in the Forest, Boehm presents very compelling evidence for his reverse dominance theory."

      • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Wednesday November 11 2015, @10:58PM

        by The Mighty Buzzard (18) Subscriber Badge <> on Wednesday November 11 2015, @10:58PM (#261959) Homepage Journal


        Also, don't make arguments to me with other people's words. Especially not in video format. A quote or two is fine but I'm not going to read fifty pages or watch half an hour of people spouting idiocy for the sake of an Internet argument.

        Cobra Kai
  • (Score: 4, Informative) by DeathMonkey on Wednesday November 11 2015, @07:10PM

    by DeathMonkey (1380) on Wednesday November 11 2015, @07:10PM (#261874) Journal

    There are different types of intelligence. Have you ever tried welding? Are you any good at it? "Skilled trades" are called "skilled" because they require ... skill. Welding isn't just moving a couple things across some metal. Here in Canada to get your tickets as a welder you actually have to go to college and learn a fair amount.
    Unfortunately, the majority of the welding jobs have already been automated.
    We're just an effective pipe-laying machine away from the rest going...

    • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Thursday November 12 2015, @05:25AM

      by mhajicek (51) Subscriber Badge on Thursday November 12 2015, @05:25AM (#262050)

      Ever been in a Bobcat (skid-steer) factory? I got to see one and there were hardly any humans in it. That was in 2001.