Juliet Shor is the author of some incredible books about how we have become slaves to monster of productivity and consumption. Working so much we do not have time to enjoy the toys we are told we must have in order to enjoy the life we do not have because we are working so hard to afford those toys…
How everyone is afraid to slow the consumption of objects even for even enough time to play with them and enjoy them. The purchasing of the toys has become more important than having the time to enjoy them.
From Yes Magazine: http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/new-livelihoods/less-work-more-living
Earn less, spend less, emit and degrade less. That’s the formula. The more time a person has, the better his or her quality of life, and the easier it is to live sustainably.
Millions of Americans have lost control over the basic rhythm of their daily lives. They work too much, eat too quickly, socialize too little, drive and sit in traffic for too many hours, don’t get enough sleep, and feel harried too much of the time. It’s a way of life that undermines basic sources of wealth and well-being—such as strong family and community ties, a deep sense of meaning, and physical health.
Imagining a world in which jobs take up much less of our time may seem utopian, especially now, when a scarcity mentality dominates the economic conversation. People who are employed often find it difficult to scale back their jobs. Costs of medical care, education, and child care are rising. It may be hard to find new sources of income when U.S. companies have been laying people off at a dizzying rate.
But fewer work hours for people with jobs is a key step toward solving the unemployment crisis—while giving Americans healthier lives. Fewer hours means more jobs are available to people who need them. Living on less pay usually means consuming less, making more of the things one needs at home, and living lighter, whether by design or by accident.
Today, driven both by necessity and the deliberate choice to live simply, more Americans are shifting toward fewer work hours. It’s a trend that, if done correctly, could get us out of our current economic crisis and away from unsustainable economic growth.
Economists today focus solely on growth as a mechanism for job creation. But for much of the industrial age, falling hours have been roughly as important a contributor to employment as market growth.
Continue reading at: http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/new-livelihoods/less-work-more-living
The Chinese invasion tells us the true problem is that America is no longer willing or able to invest in its own future.
By David Sirota
September 4, 2011
Many economic Nostradamuses have long predicted that the epitaph on America’s tombstone will ultimately read, “Made In China.” But casual observers probably didn’t think the funeral procession would happen this fast. In the last year, though, most have wised up. Thanks to a spate of mind-blowing headlines, we are learning that the Chinese invasion isn’t just a distant possibility — it’s happening right now.
First, in February, ABC News reported that almost every Americana-themed trinket sold in the Smithsonian Institute is made in China. Then news hit that San Francisco is importing its new bay bridge from China. Then came the New York Times dispatch about the Big Apple awarding Chinese state-subsidized firms huge taxpayer-funded contracts to “renovate the subway system, refurbish the Alexander Hamilton Bridge over the Harlem River and build a new Metro-North train platform near Yankee Stadium.”
Astounding as all of that is, it was quickly topped by news last week reminding us that the new Martin Luther King monument in Washington was designed by a Chinese government sculptor and assembled by low-wage Chinese workers.
The trend is enough to trouble any American. After all, when a memorial for a civil rights leader who deplored “starvation wages” and died supporting a sanitation union’s strike is built by non-union serfs from China, it’s a good sign there’s a big problem.
But then, what exactly is that problem?
Xenophobes will say China’s ascendance threatens America’s global cultural hegemony and promises to create a dystopia forcing us all to endure the supposed horrors of speaking Mandarin and using chopsticks.
Such misguided and bigoted demagoguery, though, distracts from the real crisis staring at us in our own mirror — a crisis not of other, but of self. Indeed, for all the fears of external assault, the Chinese invasion tells us the true problem is that America is no longer willing or able to invest in its own future.
This problem is most obvious — and shocking — in our government.
By Steven Greenhouse
Sep. 5, 2011
The decline in organized labor’s power and membership has played a larger role in fostering increased wage inequality in the United States than is generally thought, according to a study published in the American Sociological Review this month.
The study, “Unions, Norms and the Rise in U.S. Wage Inequality,” found that the decline in union power and density since 1973 explained a third of the increase in wage inequality among men since then, and a fifth of the increased inequality among women.
The study noted that from 1973 to 2007, union membership in the private sector dropped to 8 percent from 34 percent among men and to 6 percent from 16 percent among women. During that time, wage inequality in the private sector increased by more than 40 percent, the study found.
While many academics argue that increased inequality in educational attainment has played a major role in expanding wage inequality, the new study reaches a surprising conclusion, saying, “The decline of the U.S. labor movement has added as much to men’s wage inequality as has the relative increase in pay for college graduates.” The study adds that “union decline contributes just half as much as education to the overall rise in women’s wage inequality.”
The study was written by Bruce Western, a professor of sociology at Harvard University, and Jake Rosenfeld, a sociology professor at the University of Washington.
From In These Times: http://inthesetimes.com/article/11887/after_9_11_was_war_the_only_option/
By Noam Chomsky
September 5, 2011
This month marks the 10th anniversary of the horrendous atrocities of Sept. 11, 2001, which, it is commonly held, changed the world.
The impact of the attacks is not in doubt. Just keeping to western and central Asia: Afghanistan is barely surviving, Iraq has been devastated and Pakistan is edging closer to a disaster that could be catastrophic.
On May 1, 2011, the presumed mastermind of the crime, Osama bin Laden, was assassinated in Pakistan. The most immediate significant consequences have also occurred in Pakistan. There has been much discussion of Washington’s anger that Pakistan didn’t turn over bin Laden. Less has been said about the fury among Pakistanis that the U.S. invaded their territory to carry out a political assassination. Anti-American fervor had already intensified in Pakistan, and these events have stoked it further.
One of the leading specialists on Pakistan, British military historian Anatol Lieven, wrote in The National Interest in February that the war in Afghanistan is “destabilizing and radicalizing Pakistan, risking a geopolitical catastrophe for the United States — and the world — which would dwarf anything that could possibly occur in Afghanistan.”
At every level of society, Lieven writes, Pakistanis overwhelmingly sympathize with the Afghan Taliban, not because they like them but because “the Taliban are seen as a legitimate force of resistance against an alien occupation of the country,” much as the Afghan mujahedeen were perceived when they resisted the Russian occupation in the 1980s.
Continue reading at: http://inthesetimes.com/article/11887/after_9_11_was_war_the_only_option/