labor pooling

Please fire me. I worked as a lifeguard at a water park and a mom came up to me and asked me to tell her weeping, hysterical child that there are no jellyfish in the wave pool.

And a man had his infant child 4 feet deep in the wave pool, I whistled at him and told him all guests under 48 inches must have a life jacket on. He yells back, “I’m in the Coast Guard, I am her life jacket!”

anonymous asked:

Do you have any advise on how to come up with a culture's style, in terms of architecture and clothing? I can only think in what real life cultures wear and I don't want to simply copy and paste, but invent.

Mirintala: Start with looking at what’s there and changing aspects of it. Your setting will lead to a lot of the appropriate style. If you’re building underwater in a high pressure area, that will affect how your buildings look and what your characters would wear differently from a desert area.

Constablewrites:  Real life cultures can still help you, but you want to dig past the superficial aesthetic. Yes, “because it looks cool” is a factor in style, but things also become part of the culture for a reason. It’s about the materials they have available, the traits their society prizes and the traits it shames, the function a piece is supposed to serve, their religious beliefs, the particular ways they need to keep nature from killing them, all that sort of thing.

For example, Washington DC contains a lot of Greco-Roman architecture because the founders were trying to emulate that sort of society. The original buildings they were copying were built that way because hey, look at all this marble and granite we have. Same look, different origin, different insight into the people who made it.

Bina: One thing to help get started is to figure out a culture’s “schtick,” for lack of a better word. The culture will have nuances and sub-styles within itself, but to an outsider, what stands out? For a clothes example, the Victorian era’s massive skirts, Japan’s flowing sleeves on their colorful robes, feudal Korea’s aristocratic hats (note that these are all upper-class instances, as they tend to have the money to afford those high-fashion styles despite their impracticality. But they sure are flashy!). 

For architecture, a gothic churches pointy and knobby spires and intricate stained class windows. Greco-roman columns. What stands out to the outsider when they see your culture? Pick something and run with it. (Also note that the memorable things about a culture’s architecture and fashion tend to have very strong silhouettes. You could recognize a Victorian dress or gothic church by its silhouette alone. That’s part of what makes them so memorable!) 

Once you have a centerpiece for the fashion and/or architecture it’ll help you build up around that while you find things that compliment them. An inside-out approach, you could say.

And of course, get a sense of the diversity real life has in terms of fashion and architecture. You can mix and match obscure things for ages and come up with something unique. Pinterest is good for this! Check out this link where most of the world’s nationalities/cultures have their own board (the first 7 boards are more generic but after that it’s specific to nation/culture. Some boards have more content than others):

MareeB:  Both architecture and clothing is hugely dependent on climate and culture. Before the last 100 years or so, buildings needed to be functional for staying cool or warm. Take a look at cultures around the world that share similar climates with the part of your world that you’re working on. And don’t just look aesthetically, dig deeper to get an understanding of why buildings and fashion worked the way they did.

Another factor to take into account is the technology the culture has access too. Machine made knit fabrics that we have today allow for all sorts of fashions that were simply not possible before machine knitting was invented. The same goes for other modern inventions like elastic and zippers.

Constablewrites:  Anything with textiles was HUGELY labor intensive before industrialization. Like when you see one of those massive intricate tapestries, you’re looking at literal years of work from many people. (I remember the first time I tried to cross-stitch I thought I could knock out the piece in an afternoon. It took me three months.) So if you’ve got tons of intricate embroidery and beading everywhere, you’re looking at some combination of obscene wealth, a labor pool that can be tasked with needlework, or technology that will facilitate the work.

MareeB:  The same goes for buildings. Most of the impressive architecture of our time is dependent on engineered materials. Starting with steel. Ancient peoples were amazingly skilled and had great technologies, but they were constrained by their time period, so take that into account. Of course if your civilization is futuristic, or divergent then you have a lot more open to you.

the mechanism of production, or: why fast fashion sucks, structurally

I had a conversation with a couple of friends about clothing, and how it’s made, earlier this week, and it wandered into territory I thought y'all might find interesting. So here’s what I had to say, more or less.

Basically: there is a reason the clothes you buy at H&M are so shitty, and it’s not exactly that they’re doing it on purpose. Well, it sort of is. But mostly, it’s because they can’t not be shitty. It’s because the entire production chain, start to finish, has become structured in such a way that it is actually quite difficult to produce quality clothing.

When you buy a piece of clothing at a modern retail store, you are probably buying clothing made with dubiously ethical labor, of fabric sourced to cost as little as possible, made of pieces cut on machines designed to cut as many pieces of fabric as quickly, simply, and efficiently as possible. At every step in the chain, every step that can be cut has been cut. The process of clothing manufacturing is, at this point, breathtakingly streamlined, and it results for the most part in a very specific type of clothing.

If you have any familiarity with vintage clothing, you are probably aware that they are usually of significantly higher quality than most modern clothing. When I say “vintage” I mean, in particular, clothes made before about 1965– before the offshoring of our garment industry began. Most clothes worn in the United States before that time were made domestically, by union labor– that is, skilled workers being paid a living wage. This is relevant.

Also relevant is the fact that clothes used to cost more, as a proportion of a person’s income. The average woman in 1950 had one-quarter a modern woman’s wardrobe, and paid a higher percentage of her income for that wardrobe than a modern woman does. That vintage wardrobe, though smaller, was made to a higher standard– sturdier fabrics, better tailoring, sewn from more complex patterns, adorned with more details and better finishing. That wardrobe routinely featured things like deep-pocketed skirts, matching belts, bound buttonholes, pintucks, piping. These are not things we often see in modern fast fashion.

What happened? Well, it starts with labor. When we lost the domestic garment industry, we lost that pool of skilled labor, and switched to a lower-skilled, lower-paid labor pool. We switched to an emphasis on making as many simple garments as possible, as quickly as possible, rather than fewer, more complex pieces. We chose $5 t-shirts over $250 day dresses.

Which is not to imply that I’m judging people who wear fast fashion. It’s a completely rational economic decision to buy the clothes you can afford, and there are other factors at play here, too.

For instance, the price of fabric was once much lower, and home sewing a much more accessible hobby. Due in part to environmental factors and our changing climate, the price of cotton has risen in recent years– why do you think those whisper-thin cotton knits have been the prevailing trend? Why do you think everyone who can get away with it has switched to synthetics?

This is the point I’m trying to make: at every step in the production chain, from the manufacture of fabric to the design and assembly of the clothes themselves, someone has decided to do the least expensive thing.

Shift dresses require less complex cutting than structured ones– and what, coincidentally, has been the most common shape you see in stores? Miniskirts require less fabric than long skirts– and minis are, coincidentally, in vogue. Sheer fabrics require less raw material to manufacture; machine-assisted beading and studding takes less-skilled labor and less time than other forms of embellishment that call for skill and handwork. Garment workers being paid pennies a piece earn more when they don’t have to add pockets or extra finishing, or sew buttons on too securely.

The cutting machines that stamp out pieces to be assembled into clothing? They’re loaded with as thick a stack of fabric as possible, because the more fabric you cut at once, the more clothes you can make in a day. The thicker the fabric, the fewer pieces you can cut at once; the more pieces you cut, the greater the margin for error, so better make those pieces simple. Clothes that fit close to the body need to be cut and sewn more precisely, unless they’re made of stretchy fabric. Boy, leggings sure are popular these days.

We’re seeing the end result of a garment industry that has cut itself to the bone in pursuit of profit. The clothing currently in stores reflects an industry that has streamlined every process it’s capable of. This has actually influenced trends and driven fashion in a direction that calls for cheap-to-manufacture clothing. It’s a process that is fundamentally unsustainable, because there’s only so much you can cut before you’re left with rags. And it’s built on the backs of a labor pool that has begun to protest its treatment, to demand fair wages and attempt to unionize.

If that happens– and I sincerely hope it does– we may begin to see the price of clothing rise again. With it, if we’re lucky, we may see a rise in quality. When the people who make your clothing are paid a living wage, when they have the ability to develop their skills and be fairly compensated for them, there is a ripple effect through the whole production chain.

We might end up with smaller wardrobes. But perhaps the pieces in them will be worth owning.

So I was looking for work on Craigslist the other day and I stumbled upon this ‘paid survey’ offer from a group called CrowdSource. This actually led me to Amazon’s “Mechanical Turk” project. While currently in beta, it carries itself as the “artificial artificial intelligence” due to the nature of its design.

It’s essentially a crowdsourced labor pool into which anyone can post almost any type of work they need done (provided it’s computer-based) and anyone seeking work can accept any job (provided they meet listed qualifications, if any). The work can be anything: a quick two-question survey, install an app, verify a webpage, Search Engine Optimization, audio transcription, essay proofreading, even legal document review. Each job is called a HIT – Human Intelligence Task. A HIT represents a single, self-contained task that someone can work on, submit, and collect a reward for completing. It can be very repetitive or down-right mindnumbing (ever tried to grind levels in a video game?), but they’re tasks that can’t be fully computer automated…yet. Some tasks can take a few seconds, others can take an hour or more. There’s hundreds of thousands to pick from, though.

Anyway I just thought it was really neat because I had never even heard about this before, let alone from Amazon dot com, but I wanted to share it with my readers because I believe its a prime example of what crowdsourcing can accomplish. I imagine some of you are unemployed or self-employed and would appreciate a little bit of extra money on the side, even a few bucks here or there can add up.


日本全土への無差別爆撃は? ・・・そして、
日本の家屋が木造建築であることを知ったアメリカは、何の目的?で 「焼夷弾」を作って、
何処の国も見て見ない振りですね。 欺瞞あふれる戦後の世界秩序とは誰の為にあるの?
<今も続く 力の論理>
劣っている国が殺されている時は、それは罪とは みなされるはずがないと。
戦争は誰だって嫌です、悲しい出来事です。 だからこそ 「正しい歴史」を知るべきです。
ウォー・ギルト・インフォメーション・プログラム (War Guilt Information Program)です。
70年前の世界常識 と 今の世界常識 は大きく違っているからです。
この盲点を戦後、教育者やマスコミはGHQ占領政策に従って巧みに利用し 日本国民が誤解
恣意的に ごちゃ混ぜにさせ、戦後の日本国民が ある特定の方向へと誤解する様に扇動して
それが、ウォー・ギルト・インフォメーション・プログラム (War Guilt Information Program)です。
日本は本当に侵略戦争をしたのか? ・・・連合国のABCD包囲網とは何か?
もし日本が戦わず 欧米の力に屈し、白人の植民地となっていれば今の日本は存在しません。
欧米各国の侵略(植民地政策)に逆らい、アジア圏を守ろうとする日本人を 快く思わない
家族を養っていたら、それでも家族全員に戦争反対だからと 餓死を強要するのですか?
ました。 当時の大統領ルーズベルトは戦争をしない という名目で大統領になりましたから。
当時のルーズベルト大統領は、既に 国家非常事態・臨戦態勢を宣言し、日本との戦争に
「You must understand that Japan had an enormous population of nearly 80
million people, crowded into 4 islands.
It was about half a farm population. The other half was engaged in industry.
Potentially the labor pool in Japan, both in quantity and quality, is as good as
anything that I have ever known.
There is practically nothing indigenous to Japan except the silkworm.
They lack cotton, they lack wool, they lack petroleum products, they lack tin,
they lack rubber, they lack a great many other things, all of which was in the
Asiatic basin.
They feared that if those supplies were cut off, there would be 10 to 12 million
people unoccupied in Japan.
Their purpose, therefore, in going to war was largely dictated by security.
強力な国内の勢力があります。 ・・・それが国内の敗戦利得者と呼ばれる人々です。
人々や組織のことです。 彼らはもはや、日本=悪でないと生き延びられないのです。
それを遂行する為には、日本軍=侵略=残虐非道、という 捏造の歴史!を国民の間に定着
させることが必要不可欠でした。 ・・・戦後これは大成功しました。
ウォー・ギルト・インフォメーション・プログラム (War Guilt Information Program)とは、
大東亜戦争(太平洋戦争)で アメリカは日本人が 我が身を捨ててまで祖国を守る愛国心に
しれないと危惧したのです。 ・・・それを潰す為には 日本人の精神を徹底的に弱体化させ、
日本を占領したGHQは早々、このWar Guilt Information Program.に着手しました。
占領軍GHQ民間情報教育局(CIB)の本部が NHK内に設けられ、ニューディーラー(米国民主
日本軍=侵略=残虐非道 と言う「嘘の歴史」を吹聴し、日本人に贖罪意識(罪悪感)を埋め
によって。 そしてこれも同じく、教員に地位や利権を与える代わりに、嘘の歴史を吹聴する様に
命じたのです。 最高学府である日本全国の大学には、コミンテルン教授を配置しました。
このGHQ占領体制 (国家規模の洗脳教育)は維持されました。
日本弱体化という点で、GHQの占領政策と 赤い思想の人々の思惑が一致したからです。
教育界では 小学校から大学まで、マスコミでは新聞や書籍の全てで実行されました。
本来は国民に信頼されるべき、NHKや朝日新聞は GHQが定めたプレスコードに沿って洗脳政
天皇制(共産主義者の造語)廃止を主張。 日本社会党の顧問でもあり共産主義者です。
ウォー・ギルト・インフォメーション・プログラム (War Guilt Information Program)
ですから、日本政府も「日本軍=侵略=残虐非道」という捏造を 否定できないのです。
みなさんは 「ゆでガエル」 のお話をご存知でしょうか。
ビジネスに携わる多くの方は既に ご存知かもしれません。簡単に説明すると、
カエルを熱湯に入れようとすると当然 ビックリしてすぐに飛び出します。
変化に気づかず、やがて気がついた時には そのお湯から抜け出す体力はもう失せていて、
つまり、戦後69年間の日本人が そうではないだろうか?ということです。
戦後の69年間、日本人は嘘の歴史をコモンセンスにされ「 ゆでガエル」にされてきました。
テレビ・映画 報道の場合。
番組の編成権はテレビ局にあります。 報道の自由も保障されています。
であるが故に、これまで様々な事実が 恣意的に歪曲されて伝えられてきました。
いつまでも、ウォー・ギルト・インフォメーション・プログラム (War Guilt Information Program)
「日本軍=侵略=残虐非道」、この占領体制が 今も継続されているのを知らない日本国民。
国民に疑心暗鬼を持たせる様な情報だけを わざと与えたり、誤解を招く様な言い回しの
目障りな人々をバッシングさせます。 例えば元全共闘の芸人、御用学者や極左元議員、
赤い思想の有識者などを毎回登場させるわけです。 こうすれば彼らが気に食わない特定の
日本国民を騙し、ある特定の方向へと世論誘導する為に あらゆることをやっています。
有権者である国民が目覚めなければ 選ばれる政治家も目覚めないままです。
その、国民が目覚め、日本が豊かに繁栄することを 阻止して来たのが、赤い思想の労組に
国民が 真実の歴史を知らないまま、或は、日本政府がアメリカの圧力で歴史の真実を追求でき
いますから、これまで殆ど属国に近い戦後を歩んで来た日本は 日米関係に波風を立てない
韓国人や中国人が、嘘の歴史を堂々と言って日本を罵倒し恐喝できるのは この為です。
だったからです。 その為にも 嘘の歴史は必要不可欠だったのです。
こうして属国の様にして来た日本は 69年間 見て見ない振りをしてきたのです。
お分かりですか? これを中国共産党は知っています日本はスパイ天国ですから。
GHQ占領軍による 日本弱体化政策は、赤い思想の人々にとっても好都合だったのです。
こうして彼らは労働組合を媒体として、戦後の 教育界やマスコミ、各種企業に侵入したのです。
来た人々や組織が沢山あります。 彼らにとってGHQ占領体制は保身のために維持
東京裁判を69年間 肯定し続けた日本はアメリカの属国として戦後復興を成し遂げて
これまで散々、国益や日本人の名誉を失って来た 事なかれ主義を、まだ続けたいですか?
たいのでしたら それでも私は一向に構いません、あなたの自由です。
もちろん「日本軍=侵略=残虐非道」を正当化して来た 歴史学者や憲法学者たちが
正に、ゆでガエル そのものです。
建設は永遠 破壊は一瞬、という言葉をご存知ですか?
個人の幸せも 国家全体の幸せも、築き続けて行くことで それが保障されるのです。
「日の丸の赤は血の色、白い部分は骨の色!」と教える 日教組の先生を、あなたはまだ
信じますか? 中国人や韓国人の言う日本の歴史を、あなたは信じたいのですか?
これが戦後では 糸の切れた凧の様に 風任せのまま浮遊してきました。
快く譲歩しなさい。 真実の歴史など どうでも良い、それこそが友好であり平和の礎になるのだと。
これは、今や時代に取り残された 「化石」の思考です。 しかも日本人を 捏造で呪縛して来た 醜い化石!です。
戦後レジーム(GHQ占領体制)から脱するキーポイントは、まず 「正しい歴史観」への認識から始まります。
今も占領体制を受け継ぐ 大手マスコミや教育界から、あなたが受け身の形で真実の情報を得る事は無理です。
残念ながら今はまだ、自分で能動的に知る!以外にはありません。 無知でいることは巡り巡って自分に被害を与えます。
捏造の歴史を信じ、日本を愛せず 逆に日本を貶めたり罵倒して悦に入る様な、何処の馬の骨ともわからない無国籍人と
なってはいけません。 日本国民の自由や人権、生命や財産、そして家族を守ってくれるのは我々の日本国しかないのです。

Advice on Getting into Animation by Dan Krall

I had some trouble with my webmail account and lost a recent message from someone who emailed me asking for advice on working in the animation industry. Whoever it was, I’m sorry I didn’t reply, I try to always reply to people who email me to try to repay some of the help and kindness I got when I was starting out. As I get that question a lot, for that person, and anyone else who has the same question, I thought I’d type up the same answer I always give.

Advice on getting into the Animation Industry:

When I was young and starting out someone once told me, “You’re not going to believe me, it sounds too easy to be true, but I swear to God this will work. Do good work and be nice to people. That’s it.”

I didn’t believe them, I still remember the constant feeling of frustration and hopelessness as I couch surfed and worked minimum wage jobs and stayed up all night every night drawing trying to make a portfolio that would get me a job. I remember not understanding why no one would hire me and feeling like the cards were stacked against me, and that i deserved a job but for some strange inexplicable reason was not getting one. Then eventually after years of going through that cycle I finally got a job.
In hind sight 20 some odd years later I have to agree with them and have to pass on the same advice. It is that easy. Well… “easy” might not be exactly the right word, it is a little deceptive, the “do good work part” is easier said than done.

It didn’t take but for a year or so of having worked for me to look back at my own work and see that it was no mystery why i did not get hired before I did. The answer was I was not doing part A of the formula which is “do good work”.  I thought I was, but I wasn’t. I’ve found that most of the time, myself included, when you’re young and starting out you can’t see your own work the way it is, you’re too easy on yourself and you haven’t started looking at your work with the critical eye that is necessary at the professional level. You’ve had a lifetime of being the best in your family, or the best in your class or even the best in your college, but then you get into the gigantic pool that is the whole wide world and you’re now in the same labor pool as people who are famous and who you studied in college plus thousands of people you’ve never heard of who are better than you will ever be. It’s a big world with shitloads of breathtakingly talented people in it, and they’re all available for the same jobs that you'e applying for. That’s how they make a living too. So the first thing you need to do is put your work next to the very best working in the industry and see how it stacks up. You don’t need to be better than those people, you never will be, unless you’re one of them but you would’t be reading this if you were. I wasn’t. If you’re one of those people you’re like a drawing Mozart and you figured shit out when you were a teenager and are now well beyond where I’ll ever be. I’m writing this for more normal people. You just need to be in the same ball park, like there can’t be any shitty hands in your drawings or weird broken construction, your drawings have to work and function and not look like student work, if you haven’t achieved that level of craft you will never get hired in the animation industry, there are just too many people who have the knack for it or have put in the work required or whatever, but that is the bare minimum requirement. I’ve found that, again myself included, people are always looking for shortcuts to get around the bare minimum requirement. “If i had an expensive portfolio to put my drawings in” or  "a better looking business card", or “if I connect with enough people on LinkedIn” i’ll get hired. Whatever it is, anything to avoid the 10,000 hours of drawing it takes to do the work required. There is no shortcut. So that’s what you need to do to get hired in the animation industry, do good work.

One side note to “doing good work” is, if at all possible be unique and interesting. Even if you achieve the level of drawing you need to do the work, it can sometimes be easy to get lost in the absolute ocean of amazingly talented, devoted people who have also achieved it. In that case it can really help to be unique, I think the reason I’ve stayed employed all these years and keep getting hired is that I bring to project something that no one else can, my own sense of humor and my take on the world. I think sometimes the animation world can become a little self referential and incestuous, where people only draw from things that are already in the realm of animation. Old Disney movies, Anime ripoffs, etc. It pretty much always seems to me that animation projects are desperately in need of outside influences to make them interesting, so travel around, read weird books, embrace whatever strange things you find interesting and try to use them to inspire your animation work. When I started out, not knowing this probably added years on my path to doing good work. I spent a long time in the beginning drawing what i thought other people wanted to see and what i thought would get me hired, sexy girls, motorcycles, cute characters, none of which i gave a shit about but it was just stuff i had seen people draw and what i thought was expected of someone working in animation. I spent years doing this and all of it was bad, it wasn’t until i started drawing things i felt passionate about (filthy gnomes, medieval beasts, funny things i saw in the world) that I started really doing what i considered to be ok work.

To stay hired you just need to be nice to people, that doesn’t really require any explanation. Just treat people the way you want to be treated. The one situation I’ve seen nice people become un-nice is when they’re in charge for the first time, they get their first show or their first movie or whatever and they think that “i’ve finally made it, this is my big chance” and they take everything way too seriously and start riding the people around them because they think those people are fucking up there chance. Or they’re just not used to the pressure of multitasking a thousand things at once and they get flustered and take it out on the people around them. If you find yourself in that situation watch out for those pitfalls. There is no “big chance” if you’re going to become rich and famous in this industry, as some people do, it will happen whether you are nice or mean, it will happen based on your ideas and your take on the world and your devotion, not on your ability to crack the whip. And it won’t happen at once based on your first show or movie or whatever, it will happen slowly over the course of your career, so just settle down and be nice to people. everyone around you wants to do their work well and make their bosses happy and they’re more able to do that if they’re treated nicely and appreciated. I think of animation like a jazz band where you go around the circle and every gets a moment to solo. Sometimes you are the boss and it’s your turn to solo, and other times it’s someones else’s turn and your job is to back them up.

So that’s it “Do good work and be nice to people.”

One more piece of advice I might add to that would be that after you’re work is where it needs to be, join the community. Start a blog, or Instagram or Pinterest or whatever the kids are doing these days, put art in the group shows, go to the openings, meet people. It’s a small community of people who do this and if your work is good it will be recognized and you will find yourself working faster than you can believe possible, and if you don’t your work probably isn’t there yet, keep at it and don’t get discouraged, just try to be honest with yourself about your work and figure out why it’s not there yet, what’s holding you back and jump in and fix it. It’s hard, hard work, but it’s worth it.
The Laborers Who Keep Dick Pics and Beheadings Out of Your Facebook Feed | WIRED

Inside the soul-crushing world of content moderation, where low-wage laborers soak up the worst of humanity, and keep it off your Facebook feed.

Various too-long-for-Twitter thoughts on that amazing content moderation piece.

1. Knowing that this pool of labor exists, we now know that what is policed on these networks is a matter of values rather than capability. Dick picks and gore are right out, but death and rape threats against women? Go about your business.

2. Which is not to minimize the labor/exploitation issues, of course. I honestly thought a lot of this was handled algorithmically, so it was very interesting to learn about how it actually works. It’s yet more of the outsourcing of nasty human externalities by the “clean” tech industries.

3. This is some spooky next-level shit in terms of networks, globalization, colonialism, cultural imperialism, etc. We’re now consciously and systematically abstracting our collective depravity, suffering, and cruelty into the network and outsourcing the emotional labor of dealing with it to the people of the Global South. Whoa. It’s pretty much the same as the physical global economy, but way more bizarre and postmodern.  

4. Surely there is something akin to this already in the pomo literature? A networked human depravity / suffering economy? It feels like the atmospherics of this at least are in DFW, DeLillo, and Pynchon, but I can’t think of specifics besides “The Suffering Channel.” And of course it’s there in embryo in Kafka, like most of the more macabre parts of the post/modern condition.  

5. Dostoevsky would have been absolutely obsessed with this. This is a mass machine for reproducing and confronting the Problem of Evil. It’s like the horse scene from Crime and Punishment multiplied millions of times over. I wonder what he would have made of it all?

6. If I’m picking out time capsule pieces to capture What Life was Like in 2014, this goes near the top of the list. That doesn’t speak very well of life in 2014, but well, here we are.

People who argue that equality means “equality of opportunity” and not “equality of results” are using some of the most diluted logic. These are the same people who argue AGAINST equality of opportunity by opposing universal education, healthcare, resource access, etc., never mind their opposition to a socialist economy that would actually guarantee equality of opportunity. We don’t have equality of opportunity by any stretch; a person born in a ghetto or impoverished rural area does not have the same opportunity to achieve comfort and self-actualization that a person born in a Connecticut suburb or gated community does. Reactionary reasoning is bullshit ideology designed to reinforce the status quo by any means necessary. Dude, socialists aren’t even in favor of precise equality of result; we’re in favor of democratic ownership over the means of production and typically in favor of a system where greater labor contributions to the pool generate greater rewards, with a livable floor for all regardless. Capitalism is the one that rewards ownership rather than labor, and under this system you could never achieve equality of opportunity, never mind anywhere in the ballpark of equality of results. 

If you think that’s what equality means, I implore you to do more investigating and to ditch this delusional notion that our system could ever achieve anything akin to genuine freedom and equality for all.

marx’s view of the labor market under capitalism primarily reflects his belief in the labor theory of value. therefore, the wage paid to workers is equivalent to the cost necessary to produce those workers. an unskilled laborer is paid enough to provide the most basic human needs (housing, food, clothing, etc) and no more, but also no less. this doesn’t mean that basic laborers are well-fed, but merely fed well enough to sustain themselves laboring, otherwise there would be no way for the unskilled labor pool to sustain itself and continue to provide labor. in essence, labor is no different from machinery, which capitalists also pay to produce (cost of parts, labor to put together, labor to maintain).

there are temporary variations around the fundamental price of labor which reflect either excessive or lacking supply or demand for labor, but ultimately an equilibrium is established where labor is paid what it costs to produce labor. occasionally there are also times when the cost to produce labor changes but wages are static, as in the case of famines (increasing food prices), but ultimately the market for wages and for inputs to the creation and sustenance of labor (food prices, here) reach an equilibrium. this also explains, according to marx, why skilled laborers are paid more than unskilled laborers. a doctor is well paid because her higher wages reflect the cost to produce the doctor (schooling, training, opportunity costs of not working as unskilled labor during this time).

this is all essentially dancing around the point i want to make, which is that i was thinking about the protests around raising the minimum wage for fast food, retail, and other workers. the fact is that these workers are not paid enough to sustain themselves, and thus are often enrolled in various forms of government assistance, like food stamps or medicare. they are currently paid less than what marx assumed they would need to be paid under capitalism. this is marx here, not the world’s biggest fan of capitalism’s treatment of workers, the man who argued “Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!”

In essence, these workers have even less to lose than their chains.

The problem with capitalism and the system of wage slavery is that it’s brainwashed people so fully, so totally, that very few when presented with an alternative system can even comprehend what that economical model would be. So blinded are they by the expectation of systemic abuse at the hands of those the bourgeoisie that any attempts to provide counter-example are met with blank stares and the inevitable question “But who will flip burgers, who will push brooms or collect trash?”

The answer is fairly simple, but it forces people to stop seeing that work as inherently degrading, as inherently abusive, as inherently of little worth or even necessarily needing to exist in the first place.

The thing about labor is that, at the end of the day, it will equalize with demand when not being manipulated negatively by employers. In a system with a universal basic income, there will surely still exist janitors and fast food employees and garbage collectors but they will be treated better by employers who know that their employees can afford to lose that job and still be able to survive. There will be better payment in those jobs to serve as incentives for people to work there, better benefits and less attempts at screwing over employees in little ways (like 39 hour a week schedules).

That isn’t to say, however, that all markets and labor pools will react the same way. Some will shutter up out of the inflexibility or incompetence of the employers, some will be become automated and serviced by a smaller pool of better-paid technicians (which right now I’m extremely opposed to but in an economic system where a universal basic income for everyone is guaranteed then I fully support it).

At the end of the day, there is an alternative. It’s a shame so many people refuse to see it.