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Early Retirement Extreme by Jacob Lund Fisker
8-hour work day, active transport: walking or cycling, barriers to entry, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, delayed gratification, discounted cash flows, diversification, don't be evil, dumpster diving, financial independence, game design, index fund, invention of the steam engine, inventory management, loose coupling, market bubble, McMansion, passive income, peak oil, place-making, Ponzi scheme, psychological pricing, the scientific method, time value of money, transaction costs, wage slave, working poor
Leaving is not easy; it requires much learning and a reorientation of one's values from equating success with identifying shadows to equating success with moving around in the real world. In real life, the prisoners of Plato's Cave are those who are prisoners or slaves to their wages and their culture. A wage slave is a wage earner who is entirely dependent on their wages. While the wage slave is free to leave the current job, he isn't free to leave the job market altogether and he can likely not imagine the possibility of doing so. He is still entirely focused on the wall. The wall shows other people not as who they are, but as what they own. There goes a man in his new sports car--what is not seen is that the car is bought on credit and that the man is stressed because he is having trouble making the payments. Wage slaves have jobs where they can go and spend their most productive hours writing high-powered memos so they can be more productive, while other people spend their time ignoring memos so they can be more productive too.
The lack of return on assets to pay the interest means they must either work harder or longer for their consumption, and so they do. Add lifestyle inflation (see The pursuit of stuff, status, and happiness) and you have a process that inherently demands more and more work while quite possibly providing less and less contentment. This is the definition of a wage slave. Wage slaves are free to change their job, but they're not free to quit their job. Wage slaves are free to choose other products as long as they can afford it, but they're not capable of creating alternatives to buying products, because they're too busy working. The working man A working man is someone who doesn't collect a salary or other associated benefits. His income is uncertain, possibly because he takes on smaller projects that only last days, weeks, or perhaps months, and he knows and plans for this.
However, as people have increased their expenses, households now require two incomes, and thus, as it so often goes in our time, parents have outsourced their children's upbringing and, possibly taking a lesson from their own situation as wage slaves, they now act as managers of their children's lives and careers rather than as role models, signing them up for extracurricular activities that are so very important for their résumé to get into their dream college. What happened to spending all day kicking a rock around or catching frogs in the creek? For that matter, what happened to the frogs?7 Fortunately, most of the skills necessary for success as a consumer and wage slave are taught in the institutions of the public school system. It's not the subjects that are taught so much as it's the way they're taught. During children's typical 12-year stint in the public school system, the most "successful" (read well-adjusted) learn not to question authority, not to ask questions which don't pertain to the task at hand, to follow procedure, that trying is better than doing, to be a team player, and not to stand out.
What Kind of Creatures Are We? (Columbia Themes in Philosophy) by Noam Chomsky
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, Brownian motion, conceptual framework, en.wikipedia.org, failed state, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, liberation theology, mass incarceration, means of production, phenotype, Ronald Reagan, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Turing test, wage slave
Rather, they will regain their status as “free American citizens.” The capitalist revolution instituted a crucial change from price to wage. When the producer sold his product for a price, Ware writes, “he retained his person. But when he came to sell his labor, he sold himself” and lost his dignity as a person as he became a slave—a “wage slave,” the term commonly used. Some 170 years ago, a group of skilled workers in New York repeated the common view that a daily wage is a form of slavery and warned, perceptively, that a day might come when wage slaves “will so far forget what is due to manhood as to glory in a system forced on them by their necessity and in opposition to their feelings of independence and self-respect”—a day they hoped would be “far distant.” Labor activists warned of the new “spirit of the age: gain wealth, forgetting all but self.”
Meltdown: How Greed and Corruption Shattered Our Financial System and How We Can Recover by Katrina Vanden Heuvel, William Greider
Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, capital controls, carried interest, central bank independence, centre right, collateralized debt obligation, conceptual framework, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, declining real wages, deindustrialization, Exxon Valdez, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, fixed income, floating exchange rates, full employment, housing crisis, Howard Zinn, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, information asymmetry, John Meriwether, kremlinology, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, market fundamentalism, McMansion, money market fund, mortgage debt, Naomi Klein, new economy, offshore financial centre, payday loans, pets.com, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price stability, pushing on a string, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, rent control, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, sovereign wealth fund, structural adjustment programs, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transcontinental railway, trickle-down economics, union organizing, wage slave, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, working poor, Y2K
But if a person from the working class loses her job, she would have to find an equivalent one within the month or it’ll be fast food and junior college for everyone in the family. Working-class people are (excuse the Marxism) wage-slaves. Those in the working class live on the edge of poverty, saying to themselves that they are doing all right. They drink and watch far too much TV. They buy Lotto tickets and live moderate lives that are far beyond their means. The profit they generate flows to the rich, and they borrow to fill out the coffers. Most Americans are working-class wage-slaves, arguing that they’re better off. This fantasy, more than any other confusion, hobbles us. Because we fear to see how delicate our economic state is, we cannot motivate ourselves to demand change. Capitalism, the accrual of wealth from labor, is the religion of America; poverty our cardinal sin.
The Best Business Writing 2013 by Dean Starkman
Asperger Syndrome, bank run, Basel III, call centre, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, Columbine, computer vision, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crowdsourcing, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, Exxon Valdez, factory automation, fixed income, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, hiring and firing, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, jimmy wales, job automation, John Markoff, late fees, London Whale, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, market clearing, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, Parag Khanna, Pareto efficiency, price stability, Ray Kurzweil, Silicon Valley, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, Stuxnet, the payments system, too big to fail, Vanguard fund, wage slave, Y2K, zero-sum game
Death Takes a Policy: How a Lawyer Exploited the Fine Print and Found Himself Facing Federal Charges Jake Bernstein ProPublica Part VIII. Brave New World 24. How Companies Learn Your Secrets Charles Duhigg New York Times Magazine 25. Glass Works: How Corning Created the Ultrathin, Ultrastrong Material of the Future Bryan Gardiner Wired 26. Skilled Work, Without the Worker John Markoff New York Times 27.I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave Mac McClelland Mother Jones 28. In China, Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad Charles Duhigg and David Barboza New York Times 29. How Apple and Amazon Security Flaws Led to My Epic Hacking Mat Honan Wired Permissions List of Contributors Introduction Dean Starkman Compiling the Best Business Writing series each year reliably brings the pleasures of the eclectic and unexpected.
The engineers are confident that the robot will soon do much better than that, picking up and setting down one box per second. “We’re on the cusp of completely changing manufacturing and distribution,” said Gary Bradski, a machine-vision scientist who is a founder of Industrial Perception. “I think it’s not as singular an event, but it will ultimately have as big an impact as the Internet.” Mac McClelland 27. I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave Mother Jones When Mother Jones’s Mac McClelland took a temporary warehouse job, she ran into a woman, who offered advice: “You’ll see people dropping all around you. But don’t take it personally and break down or start crying when they yell at you.” The warehouse, designed to get online purchases to customers as quickly as possible, is a worker’s hell—made possible by people’s desperation for jobs.
Reprinted by permission “Skilled Work, Without the Worker,” by John Markoff, from the New York Times, August 19, 2012. © 2012 The New York Times. All rights reserved. Used by permission and protected by the Copyright Laws of the United States. The printing, copying, redistribution, or retransmission of this Content without express written permission is prohibited. www.nytimes.com. “I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave,” by Mac McClelland. First published in Mother Jones March/April 2012. © 2012 by Foundation for National Progress. Reprinted by permission of Foundation for National Progress. “In China, Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad,” by Charles Duhigg and David Barboza, from the New York Times, January 26, 2012. © 2012 The New York Times. All rights reserved. Used by permission and protected by the Copyright Laws of the United States.
More Joel on Software by Joel Spolsky
a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, barriers to entry, Black Swan, Build a better mousetrap, business process, call centre, Danny Hillis, David Heinemeier Hansson, failed state, Firefox, fixed income, George Gilder, Larry Wall, low cost carrier, Mars Rover, Network effects, Paul Graham, performance metric, place-making, price discrimination, prisoner's dilemma, Ray Oldenburg, Ruby on Rails, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social software, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Superbowl ad, The Great Good Place, type inference, unpaid internship, wage slave, web application, Y Combinator
Who finds out that one of your potential customers doesn’t need a shoe-shining thing but he could really use trouserspressing software, and 10. The sales guy, being a sales guy, sells him $100K worth of trousers-pressing software, 11. And now you spend six months writing a one-off “trouserspressing module” for this client, which 12. No other client will ever need, thus, effectively, 13. For all intents and purposes, you’ve just spent a year raising VC so that you could work as a wage slave writing code for a trouser company; GOTO 1. Sparky, I’m gonna have to strongly recommend clinging as strongly as possible to the shrink-wrap side of the equation. That’s because shrink-wrap has no marginal costs for each additional customer, so you can essentially sell the same thing over and over again and make a lot more profit. Not only that, but you can lower the price, because you can spread your development costs out over a lot more customers, and lowering the price gets you more customers because more people will suddenly find your now-cheaper software worthwhile, and life is good and all is sweet.
Who Rules the World? by Noam Chomsky
Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, corporate governance, corporate personhood, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, liberation theology, Malacca Straits, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, nuclear winter, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, one-state solution, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, precariat, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, Stanislav Petrov, structural adjustment programs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, trade route, union organizing, uranium enrichment, wage slave, WikiLeaks, working-age population
Then working people will no longer be “menials or the humble subjects of a foreign despot, [the absentee owners], slaves in the strictest sense of the word [who] toil … for their masters.” Rather, they will regain their status as “free American citizens.”12 The capitalist revolution instituted a crucial change from price to wage. When the producer sold his product for a price, Ware writes, “he retained his person. But when he came to sell his labor, he sold himself,” and lost his dignity as a person as he became a slave—a “wage slave,” the term commonly used. Wage labor was considered similar to chattel slavery, though differing in that it was temporary—in theory. That understanding was so widespread that it became a slogan of the Republican Party, advocated by its leading figure, Abraham Lincoln.13 The concept that productive enterprises should be owned by the workforce was common coin in the mid-nineteenth century, not just by Marx and the left but also by the most prominent classical liberal figure of the day, John Stuart Mill.
There are serious barriers to overcome in the struggle for justice, freedom, and dignity, even beyond the bitter class war conducted ceaselessly by the highly class-conscious business world with the “indispensable support” of the governments they largely control. Ware discusses some of these insidious threats as they were understood by working people. He reports the thinking of skilled workers in New York 170 years ago, who repeated the common view that a daily wage is a form of slavery and warned perceptively that a day might come when wage slaves “will so far forget what is due to manhood as to glory in a system forced on them by their necessity and in opposition to their feelings of independence and self-respect.”17 They hoped that that day would be “far distant.” Today, signs of it are common, but demands for independence, self-respect, personal dignity, and control of one’s own work and life, like Marx’s old mole, continue to burrow not far from the surface, ready to reappear when awakened by circumstances and militant activism. 13 Whose Security?
Before Babylon, Beyond Bitcoin: From Money That We Understand to Money That Understands Us (Perspectives) by David Birch
agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, bank run, banks create money, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Broken windows theory, Burning Man, capital controls, cashless society, Clayton Christensen, clockwork universe, creative destruction, credit crunch, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, dematerialisation, Diane Coyle, distributed ledger, double entry bookkeeping, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, fault tolerance, fiat currency, financial exclusion, financial innovation, financial intermediation, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, index card, informal economy, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, Irish bank strikes, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, large denomination, M-Pesa, market clearing, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, new economy, Northern Rock, Pingit, prediction markets, price stability, QR code, quantitative easing, railway mania, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Real Time Gross Settlement, reserve currency, Satoshi Nakamoto, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, smart contracts, social graph, special drawing rights, technoutopianism, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, wage slave, Washington Consensus, wikimedia commons
He said that the ‘white price’ for building work in the Netherlands is approaching twice the ‘black price’ because the builders use cash not only to evade VAT but also to pay their staff and suppliers in cash, thus avoiding income and corporate taxes as well. I joked with him saying that €200 and €500 notes were never used for legitimate transactions and he replied, entirely seriously, that he had never used a €100 note in a legitimate transaction either! No wonder the taxes I pay as a middle England wage slave are so high when half the population is on the fiddle. An old acquaintance of mine – who used to work for the police, by the way – happened to mention to me that he was having some work done on his driveway. The contractors had quoted him two grand for the work but offered him a £400 discount for cash. When I bumped into him in the town centre he had just been to the bank and had £1,600 on him.
There is a link between Minsky’s deductions from the technology roadmap and Weatherford’s comments as an anthropologist, but we’ll come back to that later. Minsky, incidentally, goes on to make some comments about the relationship between money and taxation: Taxes will be lower because of the vast amount of uncollected tax today. Given that somewhere in the region of a fifth of the economy in developed countries is untaxed and outside the formal financial system, the tax burden falls heavily on those of us who remain wage slaves, and as the post-crisis tax burden climbs to the point where it falls off the demographic cliff, so will the calls for reform grow. Minsky went on to reinforce my observations above by saying that The system of electronic currency will never be acceptable unless the laws protecting privacy are greatly strengthened. With these final building blocks, then, we have an outline of a plausible narrative for the future of money: distributed, private, community-centric and, in the long run, set to vanish.
Why Wages Rise by F. A. Harper
He can then withhold any part of it he wishes from the laborer — the one who Marx claimed was the rightful owner of all of it because he is the one who created all its value in the first place. So pay for the use of capital is like loot from theft, as Marx saw it. He said that the absolute amount of profit is equal to the absolute amount of surplus value. Persons who hold these Marxian beliefs charge that the laboring man is “exploited” by the capitalist owner; that he is a “wage-slave” of the capitalist. The term surplus value was defined by Marx, then, as the part of production which, under private ownership, is confiscated by the capitalist from its rightful owner, the laborer. That is the part which all Marxians believe can and should be reclaimed by labor. The amount of surplus value, by this concept, measures the amount that wages could rise aside from any increase in hourly output.
The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell
Berlin Wall, British Empire, Corn Laws, cuban missile crisis, full employment, James Watt: steam engine, Khartoum Gordon, laissez-faire capitalism, Louis Pasteur, means of production, Murano, Venice glass, Thomas Malthus, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, wage slave, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce
They all trembled before him and ran about whenever he spoke to or called them, because they knew that there were always a lot of other men out of work who would be willing and eager to fill their places if they got the sack. Although it was now summer, and the Distress Committee and all the other committees had suspended operations, there was still always a large number of men hanging about the vicinity of the Fountain on the Parade––The Wage Slave Market. When men finished up for the firm they were working for they usually made for that place. Any master in want of a wage slave for a few hours, days or weeks could always buy one there. The men knew this and they also knew that if they got the sack from one firm it was no easy matter to get another job, and that was why they were terrified. When Misery was gone––to repeat the same performance at some other job––the sub-foreman would have a crawl round to see how the chaps were getting on: to find out if they had used up all their paint yet, or to bring them some putty so that they should not have to leave their work to go to get anything themselves: and then very often Rushton himself would come and stalk quietly about the house or stand silently behind the men, watching them as they worked.
It would be kinder and more merciful.* 35 facing the ‘problem’ Nearly every other firm in the town was in much the same plight as Rushton & Co.; none of them had anything to speak of to do, and the workmen no longer troubled to go to the different shops asking for a job. They knew it was of no use. Most of them just walked about aimlessly or stood talking in groups in the streets, principally in the neighbourhood of the Wage Slave Market near the fountain on the Grand Parade. They congregated here in such numbers that one or two residents wrote to the local papers complaining of the ‘nuisance’, and pointing out that it was calculated to drive the ‘better-class’ visitors out of the town. After this two or three extra policemen were put on duty near the fountain with instructions to ‘move on’ any groups of unemployed that formed.
When Owen quoted statistics to prove that as far as commerce and the quantity produced of commodities of all kinds was concerned, the last year had been a record one, they became more infuriated than ever, and talked threateningly of what they would like to do to those bloody Socialists who were upsetting everything. One day Crass, who was one of these upholders of the existing system, scored off Owen finely. A little group of them were standing talking in the Wage Slave Market near the Fountain. In the course of the argument, Owen made the remark that under existing conditions life was not worth living, and Crass said that if he really thought so, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists there was no compulsion about it; if he wasn’t satisfied––if he didn’t want to live––he could go and die. Why the hell didn’t he go and make a hole in the water, or cut his bloody throat?
Half Empty by David Rakoff
When I called the fellow who’d written the Five Points novel to make sure the plaque had arrived, his wife told me that the validation of being a finalist had lifted him out of a years-long funk and he was writing again. I would never know, she told me, what a gift that was. She, in turn, would never know that the entire enterprise had been little more than a backfired prank, or that I was an over-entitled wage slave with absolutely no power and too wrapped up in my own aborted fantasies at the time to be of any help to anybody. And that the golden seals on the diplomas were salvaged from the packaging of the bathroom soap I bought in Chinatown for fifty cents a bar. I never saw the author again. Not long after the contest, she found fault with the publishing company as a whole and moved on to more lucrative pastures.
Affluenza: When Too Much Is Never Enough by Clive Hamilton, Richard Denniss
call centre, delayed gratification, experimental subject, full employment, impulse control, Mahatma Gandhi, McMansion, mega-rich, Naomi Klein, Own Your Own Home, Post-materialism, post-materialism, purchasing power parity, Thorstein Veblen, trickle-down economics, wage slave
On the way, his car morphs into a black stallion, which he rides across the wild plains. Arriving at 43 AFFLUENZA work, the stallion turns back into a car and Stallion Man miraculously finds a parking space right in front of his office. As he steps from the car an attractive woman approaches to brush from his jacket the dust that had accumulated while he was riding his steed to work. The message is clear to the most inattentive of viewers: even a nine-to-five wage slave can live out cowboy fantasies and appeal to attractive women if he buys a large, inefficient and expensive car to crawl through peak hour traffic each day. The role of persuasion and emotion in advertising was described in the following way: One of the striking tendencies of human beings is to act, judge, believe or vote on strictly instinctive, emotional grounds, and then, after the act is committed, to try to justify or defend it by intellectual or logical reasons . . .
Company: A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea by John Micklethwait, Adrian Wooldridge
affirmative action, barriers to entry, Bonfire of the Vanities, borderless world, business process, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, crony capitalism, double entry bookkeeping, Etonian, hiring and firing, industrial cluster, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, manufacturing employment, market bubble, mittelstand, new economy, North Sea oil, race to the bottom, railway mania, Ronald Coase, Silicon Valley, six sigma, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strikebreaker, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, tulip mania, wage slave, William Shockley: the traitorous eight
Whatever changes should come, whether industry is owned by capitalists, or by the state, or by the workers, it will always have to be managed. Management is the permanent function of business.” Follett’s claim might be taken as a tribal manifesto for one of the unsung heroes of the twentieth century. Company Man has not had a good press. Sinclair Lewis pilloried him as Babbitt (1922), the epitome of self-satisfied philistinism. In Coming Up for Air (1939), George Orwell portrayed him as little more than a wage slave—“never free except when he’s fast asleep and dreaming that he’s got the boss down the bottom of a well and is bunging lumps of coal at him.” Yet he helped to change companies the world over. As early as 1920, Company Man’s character had been formed by two things: professional standards and corporate loyalty. Company Man was defined by his credentials rather than by his lineage (like the upper classes) or his collective muscle (like the workers).
Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth by Margaret Atwood
Also, mills herald the coming Industrial Revolution, a thing Quixote intuits; and it, and everything it will bring with it, are bad news for a chivalric romantic like him, just as Vanity Fair is bad news for a religious romantic like John Bunyan. William Blake recognized the same infernal qualities in mills. By the time he wrote his famous poem “Jerusalem,” with its “dark Satanic mills,” those mills were grinding out not only flour but fabric, and in the process gobbling up a lot of sickly wage slaves. But Blake’s mills came with a ready-made Satanic reputation — one they’d inherited through the long hereditary line of mills. That line continued through the nineteenth century, spinning out such testaments to the Industrial Revolution as Elizabeth Gaskell’s mill-town classic Mary Barton, and, in Canada, Frederick Philip Grove’s tycoon-o-drama, The Master of the Mill. Now for millers. When I was in grade three, we still had singing in school.
3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, barriers to entry, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, Buckminster Fuller, cloud computing, computer age, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, dematerialisation, discovery of the americas, disintermediation, don't be evil, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Flash crash, friendly AI, Google Glasses, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, life extension, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, mutually assured destruction, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, Peter Thiel, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, South Sea Bubble, speech recognition, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, strong AI, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, Wall-E, zero-sum game
Human surgeons may not be required to check the diagnosis of an AI-powered medical system, and human lawyers may not be needed to interpret the advice of an AI attorney. The moment when we have to accept that most people will never work again can be described as an economic singularity. If all goes well, the AIs and their robot handmaidens will generate an economy of radical abundance, and humans will no longer be wage slaves. We will all enjoy lives of leisure, keeping fit, having fun with friends, expanding our intellectual faculties. No-one will lack a sense of meaning in their lives. We will find just and fair ways to share the munificence of this plenty, and we will make the transition from here to there without upset. Well, we can hope. Better still, we can keep an eye out for the approach of this economic transformation, review the different ways to turn it to our advantage, and work out how to avoid the negative scenarios, of which there are many.
Epic Win for Anonymous: How 4chan's Army Conquered the Web by Cole Stryker
4chan, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Chelsea Manning, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, commoditize, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Firefox, future of journalism, hive mind, informal economy, Internet Archive, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Mason jar, pre–internet, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social web, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, wage slave, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks
In order to understand why 2channel was such a raging success, it’s important to know a bit about Japanese culture. We’re talking about a society wherein face-to-face confrontation and emotional expression are actively discouraged. In the United States, straight talk and audacity are prized as character traits. In Japan, they are often interpreted as rudeness or disrespect. It’s the culture of the salaryman, the lonely wage slave who lives to work, with the few social pleasures he allows himself often related to corporate team-building. The image of a salaryman is certainly a stereotype (sleeping in a suit on a subway, late-night corporate-sponsored karaoke), but there’s no question that this socially repressed caricature represented a community that was waiting for a platform like 2channel to come along. Today, the Japanese-only site draws several million daily page views—more than four times the traffic of 4chan, which is global. 2channel gives the people of Japan a place to say what they’re really thinking, with no real-life consequences.
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich
business process, full employment, housing crisis, income inequality, McMansion, place-making, sexual politics, telemarketer, union organizing, wage slave, women in the workforce, working poor, zero day
In my own family, the low-wage way of life had never been many degrees of separation away; it was close enough, in any case, to make me treasure the gloriously autonomous, if not always well-paid, writing life. My sister has been through one low-paid job after another—phone company business rep, factory worker, receptionist—constantly struggling against what she calls “the hopelessness of being a wage slave.” My husband and companion of seventeen years was a $4.50-an-hour warehouse worker when I fell in with him, escaping eventually and with huge relief to become an organizer for the Teamsters. My father had been a copper miner; uncles and grandfathers worked in the mines or for the Union Pacific. So to me, sitting at a desk all day was not only a privilege but a duty: something I owed to all those people in my life, living and dead, who'd had so much more to say than anyone ever got to hear.
The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More With Less by Richard Koch
Albert Einstein, always be closing, barriers to entry, business process, delayed gratification, fear of failure, income inequality, inventory management, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, knowledge worker, profit maximization, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Vilfredo Pareto, wage slave
Use outside contractors for everything but your core skill 10. Exploit capital leverage Specialize in a very small niche Specialization is one of the great, universal laws of life. This is how life itself evolved, with each species seeking out new ecological niches and developing unique characteristics. A small business that does not specialize will die. An individual who does not specialize will be doomed to life as a wage slave. In the natural world the number of species is unknown, but it is almost certainly an astonishingly large number. The number of niches in the business world is very much larger than generally appreciated; hence many small businesses, apparently in competition in a broad market, can actually all be leaders in their own niches and avoid head-to-head competition.4 For the individual, too, it is better to know a few things well, or preferably one thing exceptionally well, than it is to know many things superficially.
Is It Just Me? by Miranda Hart
Can’t fathom it myself, but she flies like a swallow, hardly makes a ripple on the pool when she goes in. She says it centres her and gives her perspective. Yes, Miranda’s inspirational. She’s got an incredible work–life balance.”’ Suddenly, just as you’ve given up on ever really having one, it would be good to have a hobby again. You panic. ‘My life is meaningless,’ you think. ‘I’m just a shallow little pizza-eating wage-slave.’ So you begin to cast around for a hobby. You suddenly appear – for a fleeting moment – at a hula-hooping class. You phone the Martial Arts School then hang up in fear as soon as they answer. You start to pay a little more attention to yellowing cards in newsagents’ windows inviting you to join Nigel and Ceri and their group of aspiring vegan cooks for a demonstration at the community centre, Tuesdays at 7.30 p.m.
banking crisis, British Empire, colonial rule, energy security, informal economy, megacity, offshore financial centre, Plutocrats, plutocrats, race to the bottom, Scramble for Africa, trade route, UNCLOS, wage slave
The rest were simply ignored by drivers, turning the green men into lethal false friends of the unwary pedestrian. This Lagosian entropy was a great equalizer in an otherwise divided city. The craters on some roads were so large that they would swallow up a Nissan four-by-four and a battered old taxi equally voraciously and without discrimination, like a great whale sifting for krill. On the Third Mainland Bridge, which led to the airport, executives and commuter wage slaves alike would have to be on the lookout for cars driving on the wrong carriageway to avoid night-time traffic jams. Not for nothing did road-safety signs warn in pidgin English that ‘Life no get duplicate’. In the hands of skilful operators, Lagos’s disorder and disorientation can be turned to financial advantage. The stop-start geography of the roads is well suited to the army of street sellers who underpin the city’s dynamic informal economy.
autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Bartolomé de las Casas, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Branko Milanovic, cognitive dissonance, computer age, conceptual framework, credit crunch, David Graeber, Diane Coyle, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, full employment, George Gilder, George Santayana, happiness index / gross national happiness, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, income inequality, invention of gunpowder, James Watt: steam engine, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, low skilled workers, means of production, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, Nathan Meyer Rothschild: antibiotics, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, precariat, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, stem cell, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, The Future of Employment, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, wage slave, War on Poverty, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, wikimedia commons, women in the workforce, working poor, World Values Survey
In Chapter 2, I described how we have sacrificed our free time on the altar of consumerism. Keynes certainly didn’t see that coming. But there’s still one puzzle piece that doesn’t fit. Most people play no part in the production of iPhone cases in their panoply of colors, exotic shampoos containing botanical extracts, or Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccinos. Our addiction to consumption is enabled mostly by robots and Third World wage slaves. And although agricultural and manufacturing production capacity have grown exponentially over the past decades, employment in these industries has dropped. So is it really true that our overworked lifestyle all comes down to out-of-control consumerism? David Graeber, an anthropologist at the London School of Economics, believes there’s something else going on. A few years ago he wrote a fascinating piece that pinned the blame not on the stuff we buy but on the work we do.
For the Win by Cory Doctorow
barriers to entry, Burning Man, creative destruction, double helix, Internet Archive, inventory management, loose coupling, Maui Hawaii, microcredit, New Journalism, Ponzi scheme, Post-materialism, post-materialism, random walk, RFID, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, slashdot, speech recognition, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, union organizing, urban renewal, wage slave
She was staying at something called the Polynesian Resort hotel, and the brochure showed a ticky-tacky tiki-themed set of longhouses set on an ersatz white-sand beach, with a crew of Mexican and Cuban domestic workers in leis, Hawai’ian shirts, and lava-lavas waving and smiling. Her package included a complimentary luau—the pictures made it clear this was nothing like the tourist luaus she’d attended in Maui. On top of that, she was entitled to a “character breakfast” with a wage-slave in an overheated plush costume, and an hour with a “resort counsellor” who’d help her plan her trip for maximal fun. The bullet train came and took on the passengers, families bouncing with anticipation, joking and laughing in every language spoken. These people had just come through a US Customs checkpoint and they were acting like the world was a fine place. She decided there must be something to this Disney business.
You weren’t just happy, you were hysterical. Remember the Boogie-Woogie Elmos? The car they drove?” Perry looked away. “Yeah,” he said softly. There was a hitch in his voice. “All I’m saying is, it doesn’t have to be this way. You could—” “Could what?” he said. He sounded angry, but she thought that he was just upset. “I could go work for Disney, sit in a workshop all day making crap no one cares about? Be the wage-slave for the end of my days, a caged monkey for some corporate sultan’s zoo?” The phrase was Lester’s, and Suzanne knew then that Perry and Lester had been talking about it. Lester, leaning heavily against her on the sofa (they’d pushed it back into the room, moving aside pieces of the Calvinball game), made a warning sound and gave her knee a squeeze. Aha, definitely territory they’d covered before then.
His desire to be on TV seemed to outweigh my desire to not be, so I said, “All right.” “You mean that?” he asked. “You promise?” 142 Dishwasher I couldn’t really foresee any further TV invites so it seemed harmless to give him my word. “Sure,” I said. “I promise.” Before I even arrived in Portland, Oregon, I pretty much knew it was a prodishwasher town. After all, I’d traveled there the year before to attend the Dish Fest—a “wage slave rave” at the old X-Ray Café. Dish Mistress Melody hosted a gathering of pearl divers who played music to dish by, competed in dish Olympics and tested their knowledge in a dish-trivia competition (which, for the record, I won by answering the final question correctly: “What is the proper temperature for a rinse cycle?” 180 degrees Fahrenheit, of course). I’d left town after the Dish Fest knowing that Portland was a place I needed to return to work.
How Much Is Enough?: Money and the Good Life by Robert Skidelsky, Edward Skidelsky
banking crisis, basic income, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Bonfire of the Vanities, call centre, creative destruction, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, death of newspapers, financial innovation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, income per capita, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, lump of labour, market clearing, market fundamentalism, Paul Samuelson, profit motive, purchasing power parity, Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, union organizing, University of East Anglia, Veblen good, wage slave, wealth creators, World Values Survey, zero-sum game
Still, our ability to respect a human being presupposes that there is something in him worthy of respect, and this something could, if desired, be called dignity. * Sherman McCoy, the “master of the universe” in Tom Wolfe’s novel, Bonfire of the Vanities, consumes his salary in rents, school fees, etc., with the result that bankruptcy follows within a few weeks of his losing his job. He is in effect a wage-slave, if a rather well-heeled one. * Lord Turner admits this possibility. In his third lecture, he writes that the ends of change and economic freedom “need to be balanced against other potentially desirable objectives.” But he should add that this undermines the utility of growth as an indicator of economic health. * The precise dimensions of the British underclass are perennially hard to establish, but the trebling of incapacity benefit claimants from the late 1970s to 2.7 million in 2006 is telling (Carol Black, Working for a Healthier tomorrow [London: Department for Work and Pensions, 2008], p. 34). 7 Exits from the Rat Race What is the meaning of this never-ending, breathless pursuit of a progress that always eludes one just when one believes one has conquered it sufficiently in order to enjoy it in peace?
asset allocation, Bernie Madoff, Cass Sunstein, Credit Default Swap, David Brooks, delayed gratification, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Elliott wave, en.wikipedia.org, estate planning, financial innovation, Flash crash, game design, greed is good, high net worth, impulse control, income inequality, index fund, London Whale, Mark Zuckerberg, money market fund, mortgage debt, oil shock, payday loans, pension reform, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, random walk, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, too big to fail, transaction costs, Unsafe at Any Speed, upwardly mobile, Vanguard fund, wage slave, women in the workforce, working poor, éminence grise
—they will begin to learn the secrets of Robert Kiyosaki, the creator of the highly popular Rich Dad, Poor Dad series of books, DVDs, board games, and other assorted products designed to teach us a new way of thinking about money and real estate, a way guaranteed to ensure that we will never need to rely on a traditional nine-to-five job again. Robert Kiyosaki is only here via a prepared video, but we have a host, a young southerner named Brent, with an incredibly engaging, sincere, and enthusiastic manner, and impossibly boyish face. He’s telling us there is a way for us to go from wage slave, living paycheck to paycheck, to mega mogul, flying off on our dream vacations on a private jet. Real estate. There are, Brent says, “massive opportunities” in real estate, even in 2011 when prices are bottoming out all over the country. You just need to learn how to convince a bank to sell to you. “Being rich is a mindset,” he tells those assembled. “You tell me you’re broke and you have no credit, you’re lazy, that’s what you are!”
Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception by George A. Akerlof, Robert J. Shiller, Stanley B Resor Professor Of Economics Robert J Shiller
Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, Bernie Madoff, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, collapse of Lehman Brothers, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, David Brooks, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, equity premium, financial intermediation, financial thriller, fixed income, full employment, George Akerlof, greed is good, income per capita, invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, late fees, loss aversion, Menlo Park, mental accounting, Milgram experiment, money market fund, moral hazard, new economy, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, publication bias, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, the new new thing, The Predators' Ball, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transaction costs, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, Vanguard fund, Vilfredo Pareto, wage slave
The League inspected working conditions, as Kelley had been doing for the state of Illinois, and it awarded its “White Label” to the products that passed its inspections.19 That label further vouched for the safety of the product itself. Buying White Label would thus kill two birds: commitment to civil society and safety for the buyer’s family. In chapter 6, we saw another example of this symbiosis between concerns for workers’ conditions and for product safety. Recall that Upton Sinclair had set out in The Jungle to expose the wage-slave labor of the Chicago meatpacking houses. But the public was especially shocked by the book’s exposé of what was going into their own stomachs. To this day, the “shopping for a better world” movement still underlies one wing of consumer activism. Think our Priusbuying friends; purchasers of free-range meat and poultry; and United Students against Sweat Shops. And in 2015 the National Consumers League is alive and well, continuing Kelley’s vision: currently fighting, among other things, against child labor with nicotine abuse in the tobacco fields of the US South.20 Business Heroes Businessmen of conscience with good products have both moral and economic reasons to out the phishermen.
The Boy Who Could Change the World: The Writings of Aaron Swartz by Aaron Swartz, Lawrence Lessig
affirmative action, Alfred Russel Wallace, American Legislative Exchange Council, Benjamin Mako Hill, bitcoin, Bonfire of the Vanities, Brewster Kahle, Cass Sunstein, deliberate practice, Donald Knuth, Donald Trump, failed state, fear of failure, Firefox, full employment, Howard Zinn, index card, invisible hand, John Gruber, Lean Startup, More Guns, Less Crime, peer-to-peer, post scarcity, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, semantic web, single-payer health, SpamAssassin, SPARQL, telemarketer, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the scientific method, Toyota Production System, unbiased observer, wage slave, Washington Consensus, web application, WikiLeaks, working poor, zero-sum game
Before the revote, large signs were posted threatening that anyone who voted for the ten-hour slate would be fired. And yet the slate won again. Once seated, the legislators were able to pass a ten-hour bill through the state House, but as usually happens with progressive legislation, it was killed in the state Senate. But their writing in the Voice shows that they wanted much more than simply better working conditions. They saw themselves as slaves—wage slaves—and concluded that the solution was not simply to demand that the bosses be nicer to them or pay them more, but to abolish the bosses entirely. The laborer does not yet know what terrible odds he contends with. Concentrated skill in the form of machinery and accumulated labor in the shape of capital, both directed by superior intelligence, are arrayed against him. These powerful forces, which should be on his side, should be his servants, his tools, are crushing them. . . .
Nomad Citizenship: Free-Market Communism and the Slow-Motion General Strike by Eugene W. Holland
capital controls, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, continuation of politics by other means, deskilling, Firefox, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, informal economy, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, means of production, microcredit, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Naomi Klein, New Urbanism, peak oil, price mechanism, Richard Stallman, Ronald Coase, slashdot, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Upton Sinclair, urban renewal, wage slave, working poor
Lest we get misled by M arx’s invocation of the “self-positing and selfrealization of exchange-value” once it circulates as capital in such a multi cycle system, we should remember the so-called secret of primitive accumu lation: that despite appearances and terminology, primitive accumulation is fundamentally about the forcible dispossession of the working poor and their ensuing consignment to the status of wage slaves. In making this point about the relative importance of money and labor to the forma tion of capital, in one of the few passages in the early chapters of Capital, volume 1 (chapter 6) that refers explicitly to history, Marx insists that the historical conditions of [capital’s] existence are by no means given with the mere circulation of money and commodities. It can spring into life, only when the owner of means of production and subsistence finds the free worker available, on the market, as seller of his own labor-power.
The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, call centre, clean water, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, fixed income, follow your passion, game design, global village, Iridium satellite, knowledge worker, late fees, Maui Hawaii, oil shock, paper trading, Parkinson's law, passive income, peer-to-peer, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, remote working, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, Vilfredo Pareto, wage slave, William of Occam
PRAISE FOR The 4-Hour Workweek “It’s about time this book was written. It is a long-overdue manifesto for the mobile lifestyle, and Tim Ferriss is the ideal ambassador. This will be huge.” —JACK CANFIELD, cocreator of Chicken Soup for the Soul®, 100+ million copies sold “Stunning and amazing. From mini-retirements to outsourcing your life, it’s all here. Whether you’re a wage slave or a Fortune 500 CEO, this book will change your life!” —PHIL TOWN, New York Times bestselling author of Rule #1 “The 4-Hour Workweek is a new way of solving a very old problem: just how can we work to live and prevent our lives from being all about work? A world of infinite options awaits those who would read this book and be inspired by it!” —MICHAEL E. GERBER, founder and chairman of E-Myth Worldwide and the world’s #1 small business guru “This is a whole new ball game.
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, blue-collar work, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate personhood, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, ending welfare as we know it, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, Gini coefficient, income inequality, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, labor-force participation, land reform, land tenure, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, mandatory minimum, mass incarceration, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, moral panic, mortgage debt, New Urbanism, non-tariff barriers, obamacare, occupational segregation, Occupy movement, oil shock, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price discrimination, race to the bottom, rent control, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, Simon Kuznets, single-payer health, strikebreaker, too big to fail, trade route, transcontinental railway, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, trickle-down economics, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, wage slave, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working poor, Works Progress Administration
Kenneth Kann, “The Knights of Labor and the Southern Black Worker,” Labor History vol. 18 no 1 (1977): 49–70. 30. Pole, Pursuit of Equality, 207; White, Railroaded, 301. 31. Robert E. Weir, “A Fragile Alliance: Henry George and the Knights of Labor,” American Journal of Economics and Sociology vol. 56 no. 4 (October 1997): 421–439, at 430. 32. White, Railroaded, 342, 343; Oestreicher, “A Note on Knights of Labor Membership Statistics,” 106. 33. Helga Kristin Hallgrimsdottir and Cecelia Benoit, “From Wage Slaves to Wage Workers: Cultural Opportunity Structures and the Evolution of the Wage Demands of the Knights of Labor and the American Federation of Labor, 1880–1900,” Social Forces vol. 85 no. 3 (March 2007): 1393–1411. 34. Julie Greene, Pure and Simple Politics: The American Federation of Labor and Political Activism, 1881–1917 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 21–27. 35. See Jefferson Cowie and Nick Salvatore, “The Long Exception: Rethinking the Place of the New Deal in American History,” International Labor and Working-Class History No. 74 (Fall 2008): 3–32, at 6–7. 36.
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Crake had also located Uncle Pete’s stash of high-grade Vancouver skunkweed, kept in orange-juice cans in the freezer; he’d take out about a quarter of the can, then mix in some of the low-octane carpet sweepings you could buy at the school tuck shop for fifty bucks a baggie. He said Uncle Pete would never know because he never smoked except when he wanted to have sex with Crake’s mother, which – judging from the number of orange-juice cans and the rate at which they were getting used up – wasn’t often. Crake said Uncle Pete got his real kicks at the office, bossing people around, whipping the wage slaves. He used to be a scientist, but now he was a large managerial ultra-cheese at HelthWyzer, on the financial end of things. So they’d roll a few joints and smoke them while watching the executions and the porn – the body parts moving around on the screen in slow motion, an underwater ballet of flesh and blood under stress, hard and soft joining and separating, groans and screams, close-ups of clenched eyes and clenched teeth, spurts of this or that.
Civilization: The West and the Rest by Niall Ferguson
Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, Atahualpa, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, BRICs, British Empire, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, conceptual framework, Copley Medal, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Dean Kamen, delayed gratification, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, Hans Lippershey, haute couture, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, invention of movable type, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kitchen Debate, land reform, land tenure, liberal capitalism, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, market bubble, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, means of production, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, Pearl River Delta, Pierre-Simon Laplace, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, reserve currency, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, The Great Moderation, the market place, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, upwardly mobile, uranium enrichment, wage slave, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, World Values Survey
But the Industrial Revolution would not have begun in Britain and spread to the rest of West without the simultaneous development of a dynamic consumer society, characterized by an almost infinitely elastic demand for cheap clothes. The magic of industrialization, though it was something contemporary critics generally overlooked, was that the worker was at one and the same time a consumer. The ‘wage slave’ also went shopping; the lowliest proletarian had more than one shirt, and aspired to have more than two. The consumer society is so all-pervasive today that it is easy to assume it has always existed. Yet in reality it is one of the more recent innovations that propelled the West ahead of the Rest. Its most striking characteristic is its seemingly irresistible appeal. Unlike modern medicine, which (as we saw in the previous chapter) was often imposed by force on Western colonies, the consumer society is a killer application the rest of the world has generally yearned to download.
The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley
23andMe, agricultural Revolution, air freight, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, Corn Laws, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, falling living standards, feminist movement, financial innovation, Flynn Effect, food miles, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kula ring, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, packet switching, patent troll, Pax Mongolica, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Productivity paradox, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Silicon Valley, spice trade, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, technological singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, Vernor Vinge, Vilfredo Pareto, wage slave, working poor, working-age population, Y2K, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game
The putters-out were clothiers with a reputation for loan sharking who made a living mostly by supplying raw wool to workers in their cottage homes and paying to collect finished cloth later, minus any interest on loans. The wives and daughters of farmers, and their menfolk in certain seasons, were in effect prepared to add to family income by selling labour as well as produce. Sometimes they found themselves in debt, because they borrowed money from the putters-out to equip themselves. You can see these folk as desperate wage slaves driven off communal land by enclosure acts, the division of common land into private plots that gradually spread across most of England between about 1550 and 1800. But this is misleading. It is more accurate to see the rural textile workers as taking the first step on the ladder of producing and consuming, of specialisation and exchange. They were escaping self-sufficiency into the cash economy.
Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else by Chrystia Freeland
activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, assortative mating, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Basel III, battle of ideas, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business climate, call centre, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, commoditize, conceptual framework, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, don't be evil, double helix, energy security, estate planning, experimental subject, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Gini coefficient, global village, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, high net worth, income inequality, invention of the steam engine, job automation, John Markoff, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, liberation theology, light touch regulation, linear programming, London Whale, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, NetJets, new economy, Occupy movement, open economy, Peter Thiel, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, postindustrial economy, Potemkin village, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, Solar eclipse in 1919, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Steve Jobs, the new new thing, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tony Hsieh, too big to fail, trade route, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, wage slave, Washington Consensus, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game
On the day I visited, top bosses, including Hsieh, had posed in a dunk tank, allowing themselves to be dumped in a pool in the parking lot to raise money for charity. There are no corner offices at Zappos. The executives sit in the same rows of cubicles as everyone else; Hsieh and his then CFO, Alfred Lin, had decorated their row of desks with streamers and stuffed animals chosen to evoke a jungle theme. For wage slaves from elsewhere, Zappos exerts a powerful appeal. “I’m moving here. I’m done,” said Greg, the Virginia father, who works as a paralegal in Washington, D.C., and was in Las Vegas for a law conference. “I love that—the CFO just has a desk on the floor.” “Yeah, it’s like that at your firm, isn’t it,” Joanne, his wife, said sarcastically. Hsieh and his team have performed a miracle humanizing what can be one of the most alienating jobs in the service economy.
Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design by Charles Montgomery
2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, agricultural Revolution, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, City Beautiful movement, clean water, congestion charging, correlation does not imply causation, East Village, edge city, energy security, Enrique Peñalosa, experimental subject, Frank Gehry, Google Earth, happiness index / gross national happiness, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, income inequality, income per capita, Induced demand, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, license plate recognition, McMansion, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mortgage tax deduction, New Urbanism, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, science of happiness, Seaside, Florida, Silicon Valley, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the High Line, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transit-oriented development, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban sprawl, wage slave, white flight, World Values Survey, zero-sum game, Zipcar
.* In America, the advent of the automobile prompted innovators from Henry Ford to Frank Lloyd Wright to declare that liberation lay at the end of a highway. Private automobiles would free people to escape the central city to build their own self-sufficient compounds in a new kind of urban-rural utopia. In Wright’s planned Broadacre City, citizens would drive their own cars to all the means of production, distribution, self-improvement, and recreation that would be within minutes of their miniature homesteads. “Why should not he, the poor wage-slave, go forward, not backward, to his native birthright?” Wright wrote. “Go to the good ground and grow his family in a free city.” Together, technology and dispersal would produce true freedom, democracy, and self-sufficiency. The pursuit of happiness has never delivered anything like Wright’s Broadacre City. Instead, it has led millions of people to detached houses with modest lawns—houses purchased with loans from huge financial institutions—far from employment, in the landscape now commonly known as suburban sprawl.
The Forgotten Man by Amity Shlaes
anti-communist, bank run, banking crisis, collective bargaining, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Frederick Winslow Taylor, invisible hand, jobless men, Mahatma Gandhi, Plutocrats, plutocrats, short selling, Upton Sinclair, wage slave, Works Progress Administration
Meanwhile her family turns to questionable behavior—the appropriation of a company-developed glue recipe, and borrowing without asking from the till at work. In the end Alice prevails as the wealthy members of her town, led by her beau, recognize the error of their own ways. The employer of Alice’s father shares the wealth—Huey Long sprang to mind—by making Alice’s father more of a partner and less a wage slave. The Republicans, comprehending at least some of their own failures, were seriously considering as presidential candidate a governor from the middle of the country—Alf Landon of Kansas—to help them reconnect with citizens. But even as they planned, they doubted whether Landon was a match for the incumbent. MEANWHILE, THE ADMINISTRATION CONTINUED to craft the recovery story line. That winter Roy Stryker, Tugwell’s staffer, sent his photographer Dorothea Lange on her first RA assignment, to photograph the before-and-after experiences of families at a federal camp in Marysville, California.
Alistair Cooke's America by Alistair Cooke
Albert Einstein, Alistair Cooke, British Empire, double entry bookkeeping, full employment, Gunnar Myrdal, Hernando de Soto, imperial preference, interchangeable parts, joint-stock company, Maui Hawaii, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, strikebreaker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transcontinental railway, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, urban sprawl, wage slave, Works Progress Administration
The brains were undoubtedly those of the colonial Establishment, yet these men varied greatly from state to state – being Quakers or freethinkers or yeoman farmers in Pennsylvania, Congregational divines in Massachusetts, Anglican lawyers and landowners in Virginia, heathen shippers and merchants in New York, and so on. We should also remember that it was comparatively easier in the eighteenth century for a man of energy and talent, or energy and cunning, to ‘establish’ himself than in the great era of the industrial wage slave. Their purpose was to invent a national government that would still leave the states with the sovereign powers they had grown used to. A laudable aim that proved, as we shall see, to be a practical impossibility. The Revolutionary War did not end quite so summarily as we might gather from the pictures of Lord Cornwallis, the British commander, surrendering his sword at Yorktown on October 19,1781.
Overbooked: The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism by Elizabeth Becker
airport security, Asian financial crisis, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, BRICs, car-free, carbon footprint, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, computer age, corporate governance, Costa Concordia, Deng Xiaoping, European colonialism, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Frank Gehry, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, indoor plumbing, Masdar, Murano, Venice glass, open borders, out of africa, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, statistical model, sustainable-tourism, the market place, union organizing, urban renewal, wage slave, young professional, éminence grise
“I have no idea, honestly, what goes on there”: Author interview with Wolfgang Weinz, June 3, 2011. In the seminal investigation: “Building Towers, Cheating Workers: Exploitation of Migrant Construction Workers in the United Arab Emirates,” Human Rights Watch, November 2006. A British report was even harsher: Nick Meo, “How Dubai, the Playground of Businessmen and Warlords, Is Built by Asian Wage Slaves,” The Independent (London), March 1, 2005. considering the UAE has a per capita income: UAE per capita income was $48,821 in 2010, according to the International Monetary Fund, http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2011/01/weodata/index.aspx. Bangladeshi maid who cut off: Wafa Issa, “Maid Cuts Off Employer’s Penis After Being Sexually Harassed,” The National, April 13, 2011. Tourists have heard the stories: The National staff, “Hotel Encounter Costs Unmarried Couple a Year in Prison,” The National, June 16, 2011.
Islands in the Net by Bruce Sterling
This was the first time Sticky had used such a thick patois. “I noticed you sleep up in the castle tower.” Sticky pointed upstairs. “While they sleep down here by the kitchen.” “Oh, you reckon so?” David drawled, stung. “You want those old folks to walk up two flights of stairs, I guess. While we keep the baby down here to wake our guests.” “I see what I see,” Sticky said. “You say, no more wage slaves, equal rights in the big mother Rizome. Everybody votes. No bosses—coordinators. No board—a Central Committee. But your wife still give orders and they still cook and clean.” “Sure,” Laura broke in. “But not for us, Sticky. For you.” “That’s a good one,” Sticky said, riveting his hot eyes on Laura. “You talk a good line after those P.R. courses at the university. Diplomatic, like your mother.”
Albert Einstein, Asilomar, butterfly effect, California gold rush, Golden Gate Park, index card, indoor plumbing, Loma Prieta earthquake, Menlo Park, place-making, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, South of Market, San Francisco, supervolcano, The Chicago School, transcontinental railway, wage slave, Works Progress Administration
When James Marshall spotted those flakes of gold late in the afternoon of 24 January 1848,* the population of California was not much more than 18,000 – a five-fold increase from ten years before, to be sure, but an increase that was by no means suggestive of the gold-struck migrant invasion that was about to begin. Come the Gold Rush, however, everything precipitously and dramatically changed. It was by the purest coincidence that just nine days after the find, the territory on which the gold was discovered changed hands, and what had been Mexican became, indubitably and eternally, American. Yet when thousands upon thousands abandoned their roles as wretches and wage-slaves in faraway factories and headed off to California, they found a country that, though technically American, still had no constitution, no settled system of law, no firm notion of statehood or any timetable for it, no reliable system of justice – not even a fixed eastern boundary.* This was America raw and unprepared, and it was about to undergo as profound a change of nature as it is possible to imagine.
The Dispossessed by Ursula K. le Guin
They sat in the middle seat of the big Government limousine that Pae always had on call, the same one that had brought Shevek from the space port last summer. He now lay as they had dumped him on the back seat. “Was he with your sister all day, Demaere?” “Since noon, apparently.” “Thank God!” “Why are you so worried about his getting into the slums? Any Odonian’s already convinced we’re a lot of oppressed wage slaves, what’s the difference if he sees a bit of corroboration?” “I don’t care what he sees. We don’t want him seen. Have you been reading the birdseed papers? Or the broadsheets that were circulating last week in Old Town, about the ‘Forerunner’? The myth—the one who comes before the millennium—‘a stranger, an outcast, an exile, bearing in empty hands the time to come.’ They quoted that. The rabble are in one of their damned apocalyptic moods.
The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson
British Empire, clean water, dark matter, defense in depth, digital map, edge city, Just-in-time delivery, Mason jar, pattern recognition, sensible shoes, Silicon Valley, Socratic dialogue, South China Sea, the scientific method, Turing machine, wage slave
She was dressed in a hand-sewn frock of woven cotton, whose crispness betrayed its recent provenance in a milliner's atelier in Dovetail. If the gathering had included more veterans of that elongated state of low-intensity warfare known as Society, this observation would have been keenly made by those soi-disant sentries who stood upon the battlements, keeping vigil against bounders who would struggle their way up the vast glacis separating wage slaves from Equity Participants. It would have been duly noted and set forth in the oral tradition that Gwendolyn Hackworth, though attractive, hard-waisted, and poised, lacked the confidence to visit Lord Finkle-McGraw's house in anything other than a new dress made for the occasion. The gray light suffusing the drawing room through its high windows was as gentle as mist. As Mrs. Hackworth stood enveloped in that light, sipping beige tea from a cup of translucent bone china, her face let down its guard and betrayed some evidence of her true state of mind.
Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology by James Patrick Kelly, John Kessel
back-to-the-land, Columbine, dark matter, Extropian, Firefox, gravity well, haute couture, Internet Archive, pattern recognition, phenotype, post-industrial society, price stability, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Stephen Hawking, technological singularity, telepresence, the scientific method, Turing test, urban renewal, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, Y2K, zero day
You grew me from a zygote when you were fifty-five.” He shrugged. “I’m too busy for romance now. I just want to learn about bikes.” “You were working with bikes when you lived here with me. You had a real job and a safe home where you could take regular showers.” “Sure, I was working, but I never said I wanted a job, Mom. I said I wanted to learn about bikes. There’s a big difference! I can’t be a loser wage-slave for some lousy bike franchise.” His mother said nothing. “Mom, I’m not asking you for any favors. I don’t need any bosses, or any teachers, or any landlords, or any cops. It’s just me and my bike work down here. I know that people in authority can’t stand it that a twenty-four-year-old man lives an independent life and does exactly what he wants, but I’m being very quiet and discreet about it, so nobody needs to bother about me.”
23andMe, airport security, Albert Einstein, Black Swan, Buckminster Fuller, carbon footprint, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, correlation does not imply causation, Dean Kamen, game design, Gary Taubes, index card, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, life extension, lifelogging, Mahatma Gandhi, microbiome, p-value, Parkinson's law, Paul Buchheit, placebo effect, Productivity paradox, publish or perish, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, stem cell, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, Thorstein Veblen, Vilfredo Pareto, wage slave, William of Occam
Friedman, adviser to Jack Welch and former director of the Work/Life Integration Program at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania “It’s about time this book was written. It is a long-overdue manifesto for the mobile lifestyle, and Tim Ferriss is the ideal ambassador. This will be huge.” —Jack Canfield, cocreator of Chicken Soup for the Soul®, 100+ million copies sold “Stunning and amazing. From mini-retirements to outsourcing your life, it’s all here. Whether you’re a wage slave or a Fortune 500 CEO, this book will change your life!” —Phil Town, New York Times bestselling author of Rule #1 “The 4-Hour Workweek is a new way of solving a very old problem: just how can we work to live and prevent our lives from being all about work? A world of infinite options awaits those who would read this book and be inspired by it!” —Michael E. Gerber, founder and chairman of E-Myth Worldwide and the world’s #1 small business guru “Timothy has packed more lives into his 29 years than Steve Jobs has in his 51.”
The Making of Modern Britain by Andrew Marr
anti-communist, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, business climate, Corn Laws, Etonian, garden city movement, illegal immigration, imperial preference, New Journalism, New Urbanism, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Red Clydeside, rent control, strikebreaker, trade liberalization, V2 rocket, wage slave, women in the workforce
The twenty-year-old Bennie Rothman and five others were arrested, tried at Derby assizes by juries including two brigadier generals, three colonels, two majors, three captains, two aldermen and eleven country gentlemen, and sent to prison. Another man on the trespass was a teenage Salford communist who would later become famous as the folk singer Ewan MacColl: his song ‘The Manchester Rambler’ gives some of the spirit of the time. Its chorus celebrates the ‘wage slave on Monday’ who is a ‘free man on Sunday’ but who is confronted by a furious gamekeeper: He called me a louse and said ‘Think of the grouse’. Well I thought, but I still couldn’t see Why old Kinder Scout and the moors round about Couldn’t take both the poor grouse and me. He said ‘All this land is my master’s’. At that I stood shaking my head, No man has the right to own mountains Any more than the deep ocean bed.
Ayn Rand and the World She Made by Anne C. Heller
affirmative action, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Bolshevik threat, conceptual framework, greed is good, laissez-faire capitalism, Milgram experiment, money market fund, Mont Pelerin Society, New Journalism, open borders, price stability, profit motive, rent control, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, transcontinental railway, upwardly mobile, wage slave, War on Poverty, Works Progress Administration, young professional
On this trip or another, she smoked so heavily that the curmudgeonly old architect reportedly grabbed her cigarette, threw it in the fireplace, and ordered her to leave the lodge; afterward, he imposed a permanent smoking ban at Taliesin. When later asked if he was the model for Howard Roark, he answered, “I deny the paternity and refuse to marry the mother.” Rand’s self-confidence as a writer was at a peak. From her office in Paramount’s Art Deco—style studio lot in Hollywood, Hal Wallis became her affectionately nicknamed “Boss” and she his jocular “loyal wage-slave.” She worked for him uncomplainingly on a series of B movies that the Oscar-nominated director now, for some reason, chose to produce in the company that bore his name. During her first work term, extending from summer 1944 until late spring 1945, she wrote three screenplays. The best known is Love Letters, adapted from a novel by British writer Christopher Massie. Rand’s lifelong fondness for Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac came in handy here; the plot features an American soldier who writes a second soldier’s love letters and eventually marries the woman to whom they are addressed (although she is an amnesiac and possibly a murderess).
Understanding Power by Noam Chomsky
anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Burning Man, business climate, cognitive dissonance, continuous integration, Corn Laws, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, global reserve currency, Howard Zinn, labour market flexibility, liberation theology, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, mortgage tax deduction, Paul Samuelson, Ralph Nader, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, school choice, strikebreaker, structural adjustment programs, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, union organizing, wage slave, women in the workforce
For instance, the slave owners argued, “You take better care of a slave if you own it than if you rent it.” Like, you take better care of your car if you own it than if you rent it, so you take better care of your worker if you own it than if you rent it—so slavery’s benevolent and “free market” is morally atrocious. And the slave owners in fact said, “Look, we’re a lot more benevolent than you guys with your capitalist wage-slave system.” And if you look back at the literature by workers who organized into, say, the Knights of Labor and other working-class organizations of the late nineteenth century, you’ll also see a strain running through their position which said: “We fought to end slavery, not to impose it” [i.e. the industrial wage-labor system became dominant after the Civil War]. 43 So the point is, on all sides of debates like these, people understand that they have to appeal to the same basic moral principles, even if what they’re doing is totally venal.
accounting loophole / creative accounting, banking crisis, banks create money, barriers to entry, Benoit Mandelbrot, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, butterfly effect, capital asset pricing model, cellular automata, central bank independence, citizen journalism, clockwork universe, collective bargaining, complexity theory, correlation coefficient, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, diversification, double entry bookkeeping, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental subject, Financial Instability Hypothesis, fixed income, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, Henri Poincaré, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, information asymmetry, invisible hand, iterative process, John von Neumann, laissez-faire capitalism, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, market clearing, market microstructure, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, money market fund, open economy, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, place-making, Ponzi scheme, profit maximization, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, random walk, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Schrödinger's Cat, scientific mainstream, seigniorage, six sigma, South Sea Bubble, stochastic process, The Great Moderation, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, time value of money, total factor productivity, tulip mania, wage slave, zero-sum game
For that choice to be a reality, workers need something else: capital, his own means of production. Some workers are so endowed. Some farmers can be enticed into working as farm laborers if the wage is high enough, and if it’s not, then they can work their own land. Some office workers have the alternative of working for a wage, or operating as independent consultants out of their home offices. Some ‘wage slaves’ can make the transition from employee to employer by an innovative idea, hard work, good luck, skill or good timing – or fraud. But the majority do not have that choice – or rather don’t have it to the degree that they could avoid bankruptcy or starvation by turning to self-employment. For this majority, work is not an option but – in the absence of a very generous social security system – a necessity.
Money Changes Everything: How Finance Made Civilization Possible by William N. Goetzmann
Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, asset-backed security, banking crisis, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, capital asset pricing model, Cass Sunstein, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, compound rate of return, conceptual framework, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, delayed gratification, Detroit bankruptcy, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, double entry bookkeeping, Edmond Halley, en.wikipedia.org, equity premium, financial independence, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, frictionless, frictionless market, full employment, high net worth, income inequality, index fund, invention of the steam engine, invention of writing, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, laissez-faire capitalism, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, means of production, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, new economy, passive investing, Paul Lévy, Ponzi scheme, price stability, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative trading / quantitative ﬁnance, random walk, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, shareholder value, short selling, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, spice trade, stochastic process, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, time value of money, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, tulip mania, wage slave
But as a matter of fact the capitalist threads, which in thousands of different intercrossings bind these enterprises with private property in the means of production in general, have converted this railway construction into an instrument for oppressing a thousand million people (in the colonies and semicolonies), that is, more than half the population of the globe that inhabits the dependent countries, as well as the wage-slaves of capital in the “civilised” countries. Capitalism has grown into a world system of colonial oppression and of the financial strangulation of the overwhelming majority of the population of the world by a handful of “advanced” countries. And this “booty” is shared between two or three powerful world plunderers armed to the teeth (America, Great Britain, Japan), who are drawing the whole world into their war over the division of their booty.3 The inclusion of Japan in the list of imperialistic powers is significant.
Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Arthur Eddington, Atahualpa, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Columbian Exchange, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, defense in depth, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, Doomsday Clock, en.wikipedia.org, falling living standards, Flynn Effect, Francisco Pizarro, global village, God and Mammon, hiring and firing, indoor plumbing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, market bubble, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, New Journalism, out of africa, Peter Thiel, phenotype, pink-collar, place-making, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, sexual politics, Silicon Valley, Sinatra Doctrine, South China Sea, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, upwardly mobile, wage slave, washing machines reduced drudgery
“What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all,” Marx and Engels concluded, “are its own gravediggers … Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Workingmen of all countries, unite!” Marx and Engels believed that capitalists had brought this on themselves by fencing off the countryside and driving the dispossessed into cities to be wage slaves, but they had the facts wrong. Rich landlords did not drive country folk off the land; sex did. The nineteenth century’s intensive agriculture actually needed more field hands, not fewer, and the real reason people exchanged farms for cities was reproduction. Life expectancy increased by about three years between 1750 and 1850, and although historians cannot agree why this happened (Fewer outbreaks of plague?
Karl Marx: Greatness and Illusion by Gareth Stedman Jones
anti-communist, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, British Empire, colonial rule, Corn Laws, deindustrialization, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, fixed income, joint-stock company, land reform, land tenure, means of production, New Journalism, New Urbanism, night-watchman state, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, unemployed young men, wage slave
They represent the party of the self-conscious Bourgeoisie, of industrial capital striving to make available its social power as a political power as well, and to eradicate the last arrogant remnants of feudal society … By Free Trade they mean the unfettered movement of capital, freed from all national or religious shackles.140 The ‘unparalleled growth’ of commerce and manufacture in the following few years appeared to reinforce this conclusion. In relation to Britain’s social development, Karl felt able to reiterate, almost word for word, his description of the development of modern industry in the Communist Manifesto: In no other country have the intermediate stations between the millionaire commanding whole industrial armies and the wages slave living only from hand to mouth so gradually been swept away from the soil. There exist here no longer, as in continental countries, large classes of peasants and artisans almost equally dependent on their own property and their own labour. A complete divorce of property from labour has been effected in Great Britain. In no other country, therefore, the war between the two classes that constitute modern society has assumed so colossal dimensions and features so distinct and palpable.141 In contrast to past revolutions, Karl was pleased to claim that: ‘The so-called revolutions of 1848 were but poor incidents … Steam, electricity, and the self-acting mule were revolutionists of a rather more dangerous character than even Barbès, Raspail and Blanqui.’142 Karl was also keen to demonstrate that the impersonal brutality of laissez-faire Britain was as visible in the countryside as in the towns.
Austerity Britain: 1945-51 by David Kynaston
Alistair Cooke, anti-communist, British Empire, Chelsea Manning, collective bargaining, continuous integration, deindustrialization, deskilling, Etonian, full employment, garden city movement, hiring and firing, industrial cluster, invisible hand, job satisfaction, labour mobility, light touch regulation, mass immigration, moral panic, Neil Kinnock, occupational segregation, price mechanism, rent control, reserve currency, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, stakhanovite, strikebreaker, the market place, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, very high income, wage slave, washing machines reduced drudgery, wealth creators, women in the workforce, young professional
‘By the 1950s some of the major skilled crafts, like hand tin-hammering and wooden joinery body building, had effectively vanished,’ he writes. ‘Even in the most conservative firms, moving assembly lines were now the normal practice.’ It was, in short, a deskilled world of what one former car worker described as ‘very monotonous, terribly monotonous, repetitive work’. Or, in the words of another, ‘It was just pure drudgery. You became a wage slave, nothing else – the only thing you could see at the end of the week was your wages and that was it.’ Nevertheless, Thompson contends that this potentially dispiriting, deskilled reality co-existed in Coventry – above all at Standard – with a culture that owed much to earlier craft traditions. ‘The essential aim,’ he argues, ‘was to recapture traditional craft discretion in planning work’ – an objective made possible only through the post-war strength of the gang system, whereby ‘for more than twenty years’ there was ‘re-created in the context of mass production something of the old spirit of pride and mastery in skilled work, fused with a particular group solidarity’.
Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism by Peter Marshall
agricultural Revolution, anti-communist, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, David Graeber, feminist movement, garden city movement, hive mind, Howard Zinn, invisible hand, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, land tenure, Lao Tzu, liberation theology, Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, Naomi Klein, open borders, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post scarcity, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, sexual politics, the market place, union organizing, wage slave, washing machines reduced drudgery
But while he believed that wars of liberation and revolution are necessary, he could see no element of emancipation in the First World War.16 In a letter to Freedom in December 1914, he reminded Kropotkin that ‘anti-militarism is the doctrine which affirms that military service is an abominable and murderous trade, and that a man ought never to consent to take up arms at the command of the masters, and never fight except for the Social Revolution.’ Attacking ‘Pro-government Anarchists’ like Kropotkin, Jean Grave, Elisée Reclus and Charles Malato who supported the Allies in the war, he further declared that there was only one remedy: More than ever we must avoid compromise; deepen the chasm between capitalists and wage-slaves, between rulers and ruled; preach expropriation of private property and the destruction of States. Such is the only means of guaranteeing fraternity between the peoples and Justice and Liberty for all; and we must prepare to accomplish these things.17 When he returned to Italy in 1919 he started up the first anarchist daily Umanità Nova in Milan. It survived for two years and reached a circulation of fifty thousand copies.