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The Religion of Workism Is Making Americans Miserable - The Atlantic
The economists of the early 20th century did not foresee that work might evolve from a means of material production to a means of identity production. They failed to anticipate that, for the poor and middle class, work would remain a necessity; but for the college-educated elite, it would morph into a kind of religion, promising identity, transcendence, and community. Call it workism.
USA  work  labour  hours  overwork  Keynes  DWYL  identity  passion  religion  healthcare  employment  millennials  debt  students  socialMedia  pay  wages  competition  welfare  freeTime  economics 
february 2019 by petej
Why Labour is dangerously foolish to turn against freedom of movement
There are certainly reasons to criticise the institution of EU free movement. For one, it is only a partial freedom, restricted by class, ethnicity, and geography. For another, it is an extremely exclusive one, leaving thousands of migrants to perish on the Mediterranean each year.

But it is dangerously foolish to believe that the Labour Party can destroy EU free movement in order to build something better in its place. As we are about to discover, the costs of ending free movement — to the millions of EU citizens that have made homes, families, and lives in Britain — are painfully high. Allowing this to pass will be a permanent stain on the Labour Party’s record.

Instead, EU free movement should be a springboard to a more global system of open migration. Labour should be leading the way to defend EU free movement and extend it beyond Europe’s borders, shattering the fortress that Brussels has constructed around the continent.
UK  EU  freedomOfMovement  immigration  CorbynJeremy  migration  wages  pay  culture  nostalgia  sovereignty  nation-state  politics  LabourParty 
february 2019 by petej
I work at a Wetherspoons in grim conditions – and Tim Martin’s clueless Brexit bleating is driving me mad | The Independent
It is nothing short of perverse that it’s the organisation’s bar associates – the lowest-paid and most migrant-heavy layer of the workforce – who are responsible for distributing Martin’s politics in pubs up and down the country. Through content in the magazine, on leaflets and even on beer mats, we are essentially instructed to propagandise for a policy that promises to make our livelihoods more precarious.

Brexit has always been driven by the central xenophobic lie that blames the decline of living standards on foreign workers. Yet when you contrast the extreme wealth of Wetherspoon’s shareholders with what I see as poverty wages granted to all its employees, it’s all too clear in my mind that it’s not migrants who drive down wages, it’s exploitative bosses.
UK  Brexit  Wetherspoons  MartinTim  pay  wages  conditions  propaganda  Leave  migrants  rights  freedomOfMovement  exploitation 
january 2019 by petej
Brexit will hurt low-paid workers. Freedom of movement is not the problem | Jason Moyer-Lee | Opinion | The Guardian
If the question is how to deal with labour exploitation, the answer lies in improved and enforced employment rights, and a unionisation strategy based on uniting workers, vigorous campaigning and effective collective bargaining. If you don’t believe me, just ask Alex.
UK  work  labour  exploitation  employment  jobs  pay  wages  conditions  precarity  rights  IWGB  freedomOfMovement  tradeUnions  MayTheresa  ToryParty 
december 2018 by petej
Monthly Review | Marx on Immigration
Marx did not elaborate on his reasons for writing that Irish immigration reduced English workers’ wages. He implied that the cause was an oversupply of manual laborers, but his other statements indicate that he considered English xenophobia and the resulting antagonism among workers an even greater problem. The important point, however, is that he was not blaming lower wages on the immigrants themselves; for him the culprits were the colonial system that drove Irish workers to England, and the exploitation of these workers once they arrived.

The same considerations apply in the United States today. The main difference is the addition of legal status as a factor in setting wage levels—the laws that now make work “illegal” for millions of immigrant workers. Immigrant rights advocates may feel it is expedient to cite academic economists like Peri who downplay or deny the downward pressure exerted on wages by the exploitation of undocumented workers. It is not. As Columbia University economist Moshe Adler has noted, this approach does nothing to convince the many U.S. citizens who work in occupations with large numbers of undocumented immigrants and therefore “know firsthand that [exploitation of immigrant workers] puts direct downward pressure on their own wages.”16 Far from helping the movement, citing Peri only adds to these workers’ distrust and resentment toward middle-class immigrant rights advocates.17 More importantly, this approach distracts attention from efforts to address the real issues: the root causes of immigration in U.S. foreign policy, the super-exploitation of immigrant workers, and the common interests of immigrant and native-born workers.


In his 1870 letter, Marx described what he then considered the overriding priority for labor organizing in England: “to make the English workers realize that for them the national emancipation of Ireland is not a question of abstract justice or humanitarian sentiment but the first condition of their own social emancipation.” His closing words of advice to Meyer and Vogt were similar: “You have wide field in America for work along the same lines. A coalition of the German workers with the Irish workers (and of course also with the English and American workers who are prepared to accede to it) is the greatest achievement you could bring about now.” This internationalist and class-based perspective has lost none of its good sense in the century and a half since it was written.
Marx  immigration  Ireland  England  USA  Mexico  CentralAmerica  migration  pay  wages  competition  supply  demand  language  skills  racism  discrimination  legal  deportation  workingClass  xenophobia  employers  sanctions  tradeUnions  internationalism  rights 
november 2018 by petej
New study shows Brexit is drenched in fake news
The truth is that the public are grotesquely misinformed about European immigration. And that's not compared to data by a pro-immigration body but to a report which goes out of its way to justify a draconian policy.

No-one really wants to talk about this. It is unfashionable to suggest that the public can be wrong about things.

Instead of grappling with this reality, the response of the political class - including journalists and think tankers as well as politicians - is to act like the falsehoods are real. The public cannot be wrong so the whole earth must shift on its axis to behave as if they're right. And that is how we have found ourselves here, threatening to detonate our trade and diplomatic status to reduce European immigration, even though the political class knows that it doesn't actually do us any harm. It is a truly insane situation to be in. Future history students will be baffled and aghast at the mass mania we have fallen into.

There is another way, of course. It is to ask how print, broadcast and online media failed so spectacularly that the public could have ever become so ill-informed. It is to think up new ways of challenging populist rhetoric, by combining evidence and reason with passion and narrative-storytelling instead of treating them as mutually exclusive. It is by addressing the root material causes of people's discontent.
UK  Brexit  immigration  statistics  freedomOfMovement  pay  wages  unemployment  MAC  misinformation  dctagged  dc:creator=DuntIan 
october 2018 by petej
Mis-sold, expensive and overhyped: why our universities are a con | Aditya Chakrabortty | Opinion | The Guardian
For two decades, Westminster has used universities as its magic answer for social mobility. Ministers did so with the connivance of highly paid vice-chancellors, and in the process they have trashed much of what was good about British higher education. What should be sites for speculative inquiry and critical thinking have instead turned into businesses that speculate on property deals, criticise academics who aren’t publishing in the right journals – and fail spectacularly to engage with the serious social and economic problems that confront the UK right now. As for the graduates, they largely wind up taking the same place in the queue as their parents – only this time with an expensive certificate detailing their newfound expertise.
education  higherEducation  universities  expansion  fees  tuitionFees  pay  wages  salaries  marketisation  debt  class  socialMobility  UK  policy  dctagged  dc:creator=ChakraborttyAditya 
september 2018 by petej
The part of Brexit everyone’s been avoiding is finally here: immigration | Gaby Hinsliff | Opinion | The Guardian
Brexit was never really about immigration.

Or so liberal leavers fall over themselves to claim, at least. They can’t bear the idea of being associated with a racist backlash and so they insist it was really all about sovereignty; that all those inflammatory posters of dark-skinned migrants queuing at European borders and the cynical scaremongering about Turkey didn’t really have any bearing on the result, and that all they really wanted was just a fairer and more open system in which people could come to Britain more easily from Commonwealth countries.

Even Nigel Farage sounded as if butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth on the radio this morning, insisting all he ever wanted was control of our borders and equal opportunities for Indians to come here just as Romanians once did.
UK  EU  Brexit  migration  freedomOfMovement  xenophobia  Leave  impact  pay  wages  employers  skills  politics  dctagged  dc:creator=HinsliffGaby 
september 2018 by petej
Americans Want to Believe Jobs Are the Solution to Poverty. They’re Not. - The New York Times
But rather than hold itself accountable, America reverses roles by blaming the poor for their own miseries.

Here is the blueprint. First, valorize work as the ticket out of poverty, and debase caregiving as not work. Look at a single mother without a formal job, and say she is not working; spot one working part time and demand she work more. Transform love into laziness. Next, force the poor to log more hours in a labor market that treats them as expendables. Rest assured that you can pay them little and deny them sick time and health insurance because the American taxpayer will step in, subsidizing programs like the earned-income tax credit and food stamps on which your work force will rely. Watch welfare spending increase while the poverty rate stagnates because, well, you are hoarding profits. When that happens, skirt responsibility by blaming the safety net itself. From there, politicians will invent new ways of denying families relief, like slapping unrealistic work requirements on aid for the poor.

As I watched this young man identify with Smith’s character, it dawned on me that what his parents, preachers, teachers, coaches and guidance counselors had told him for motivation — “Study hard, stick to it, dream big and you will be successful” — had been internalized as a theory of life.


We need a new language for talking about poverty. “Nobody who works should be poor,” we say. That’s not good enough. Nobody in America should be poor, period. No single mother struggling to raise children on her own; no formerly incarcerated man who has served his time; no young heroin user struggling with addiction and pain; no retired bus driver whose pension was squandered; nobody. And if we respect hard work, then we should reward it, instead of deploying this value to shame the poor and justify our unconscionable and growing inequality. “I’ve worked hard to get where I am,” you might say. Well, sure. But Vanessa has worked hard to get where she is, too.
USA  economy  poverty  jobs  pay  wages  employment  outsourcing  zeroHours  insecurity  precarity  socialMobility  workEthic  welfare  workfare  TrumpDonald  blame 
september 2018 by petej
Sorry, you can’t be working class and socialist in the new authentocracy | Phil McDuff | Opinion | The Guardian
Perry’s point that “many people on zero-hours contracts actually choose that level of flexibility” was a carefully picked phrase designed to avoid acknowledging that many workers do not choose zero-hour contracts – and that low, variable incomes can force people to rely on food banks. Perry’s retort was both remarkable for its absurdity, and unremarkable because it’s such a regular catch-22 of a scam, whose logic goes like this: everyone from a working-class or poor background really cares more about national identity, nuclear weapons and protecting the border than they do about economics – even economics that would materially improve their own circumstances; so caring about this sort of economics automatically disqualifies you from being a credible person to care about it.
UK  USA  politics  SkinnerDennis  PerryClaire  Ocasio-CortezAlexandria  RebelMedia  zeroHours  pay  wages  workingClass  identity  authenticity  aspiration  commonSense  dctagged  dc:creator=McDuffPhil 
july 2018 by petej
Some praise our gig economy flexibility. I call it exploitation | Larry Elliott | Opinion | The Guardian
Language matters. There was a time when these trends would have been described as casualisation or exploitation. They would have been seen as symbolic of a one-sided labour market in which the deck was stacked in favour of employers. These days, though, it is evidence of “flexibility”, and who could object to that?
gigEconomy  zeroHours  underemployment  self-employment  casualisation  exploitation  employment  flexibility  deregulation  pay  wages  interestRates  dctagged  dc:creator=ElliottLarry 
april 2018 by petej
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