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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 
4 weeks ago 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 
4 weeks ago 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 
5 weeks ago 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-CortezAlexandra  RebelMedia  zeroHours  pay  wages  workingClass  identity  authenticity  aspiration  commonSense  dctagged  dc:creator=McDuffPhil 
12 weeks ago 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
The Conservatives are wrong – having more people in work hasn't reduced poverty | The Independent
Despite propaganda to the contrary, poverty in 21st century Britain is not the consequence of a feckless or work-shy section of the population. It is the consequence of work that does not pay enough and a labour market that is not providing the opportunities that we need it to.
UK  economy  work  employment  pay  wages  poverty  JosephRowntreeFoundation  austerity  welfare  benefits  ToryParty  IFS 
december 2017 by petej
Paul Myerscough · Short Cuts · LRB 3 January 2013
What Pret has understood, and its competitors haven’t (or not yet), is how much money there is to be made from what radical left theorists have been referring to since the 1970s as ‘affective labour’. Work increasingly isn’t, or isn’t only, a matter of producing things, but of supplying your energies, physical and emotional, in the service of others. It isn’t what you make, but how your display of feeling makes others feel. This won’t be news to mothers, nurses and prostitutes, but the massive swelling of the service economy means that emotional availability can no longer be dismissed as women’s work; it must be seen as a dominant commodity form under late capitalism.

And it has to be real. ‘The authenticity of being happy is important,’ a Pret manager tells the Telegraph, ‘customers pick up on that.’ It isn’t clear which is the more demanding, authenticity or performance, being it or faking it, but in either case it’s difficult to believe that there isn’t something demoralising, for Pret workers perhaps more than most in the high street, not only in having their energies siphoned off by customers, but also in having to sustain the tension between the performance of relentless enthusiasm at work and the experience of straitened material circumstances outside it. ‘Henceforth,’ as Carl Cederström and Peter Fleming put it in their recent jeremiad Dead Man Working (Zero, £9.99), ‘our authenticity is no longer a retreat from the mandatory fakeness’ of the workplace, ‘but the very medium through which work squeezes the life out of us’.
Pret  PretAManger  work  labour  jobs  emotionalLabour  affectiveLabour  performance  authenticity  surveillance  monitoring  assessment  coercion  tradeUnions  Pamsu  immigration  pay  wages  UK  dctagged  dc:creator=MyerscoughPaul 
august 2017 by petej
If Corbyn's Labour wants to call itself pro-worker, it must be proudly pro-migrant too
Crammed as it is with union hacks and lefties, you would be forgiven for assuming that the Corbyn project would be thrilled at the thought of workers tackling exploitation head-on — a rising tide that could lift all boats. But it’s chosen instead to bind itself to a confusing middle ground, which “refuses to scapegoat migrants” openly, but will also blithely normalise the rhetoric of right-wingers who aren’t held back by similar hangups. Strategy wonks in the Labour Party, always at the mercy of ‘public opinion’, are haunted by the spectres of the Brexit vote, fearful of combatting an insidious common sense that uncontrolled migration is a menace.

The irony is that strategically recruiting anti-migrant rhetoric isn’t a guarantee of electoral success, but a high road to nowhere. In the grand game of migrant-bashing, Labour is simply outclassed by UKIP and the Tories, neither of whom depend for their existence on retaining the good will of multi-ethnic, metropolitan city centres amongst whom this brand of crypto-UKIPpery goes down about as well as does a rousing chorus of left-wing anthem the internationale in a Young Conservatives port & policy evening.

Enough of this craven, milquetoast electioneering. Labour has not previously shied away from challenging the received wisdoms of the Tory administration; that austerity is necessary, that privatisation injects efficiency into a bloated public. It must do so again with the migration question, re-entering the debate not on the exploited migrants, but on policymakers and employers who permit this exploitation. If the Labour party wants to call itself pro-worker, it must also be brave enough to call itself pro-migrant too.
UK  politics  LabourParty  CorbynJeremy  immigration  migration  freedomOfMovement  manifesto  EU  trade  TTIP  employers  pay  wages  tradeUnions  Brexit  dctagged  dc:creator=PennyEleanor  TheLeft 
july 2017 by petej
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