The lessons learned through workplace struggles in the last 150 years have been forgotten. The notion that "you should feel lucky just to have a job" has such a firm grip on the imagination of the American worker, that we've lost all sense of class consciousness and are accepting a return to serfdom without even putting up a fight. Today you might be an engineer with a comfortable job, but the 'modern workplace' will soon eat you up just like it did the artisans.
The Luddites of industrial England were not afraid of new technology. They smashed machines in the workplace to gain a better bargaining position and prove a point to capital. And today, being against the sort of arrangement that's sprung up around the on-demand workforce doesn't mean that you're against technology. For me, it means that I am for respecting the dignity of the worker and ensuring that the sacrifices our forefathers made were not done in vain. If technology can develop within those constraints, I'm all for it. Otherwise, I say smash the machines.
People should take a look at the list of "Major armed conflicts in American labor union history" at the bottom of the page and get a feel for how many people died for the more comfortable version of wage-slavery we have to day.
But, during WW2 America was bombed (by sea plane) by this guy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobuo_Fujita
edit: It looks like at one point wikipedia more specifically claimed it was the only time bombs were dropped from american skys, on americans, by americans, but even that was wrong: http://www.reddit.com/r/todayilearned/comments/lmnng/til_abo...
For example if paternity/maternity leave and income were society provided, then an employer could only be more generous. Even if they do nothing and fire the employees, at least those employees would get the leave and some income certainty. The same principle applies to healthcare, wages (compete with minimum wages/basic incomes etc) etc.
I think that instead of making more and more laws (each of which has more and more unintended consequences, loopholes, expenditures etc), go ahead and simplify. Treat everyone in society well, and make that treatment come from society, and not some idiotic stick poking at employers who have completely different incentives and competencies.
How about having unions, guilds and professional organizations provide the social safety net you cherish so much in the abstract. I am sure there would be many problems but at least there would be no doubt where the funding would come. "You deal with one of us, you deal with all of us. And if you play dirty we will make sure you don't get the service we provide at ANY price on this side of bankruptcy"
Social safety nets were funded and provided by churches and similar organisations for quite a while. The problem with using unions, guilds and professional organisations is that different professions pay different amounts. For example fast food workers, teachers and developers are in very different brackets hence can pay different amounts into the system. Why should a fast food worker get less maternity leave than a developer? I have no problem with disparate groups providing services, but do strongly believe that a fair and just society requires centralisation of the funding.
That's not necessarily a problem. One could cut the corporate tax rate and fund benefits through income/dividend/capital-gains/sales/VAT taxes.
One big problem I see with this is that of corporate personhood. If you cut corporate taxes and raise taxes on dividends and capital gains, you are basically promoting investors to not leave their money inside the corporation. Once this happen, you have to ask the question of what corporations are for? If they do not provide benefits for their employees, and not provide dividends for their legitimate owners, and yet not provide tax revenue for the government (and indirectly, to overall society) under which they operate, then exactly why do they do what they do?
(Oddly, though, this means that it's in every government's best interests to encourage globalization, and then get their citizens to consume all their products from foreign companies, while not having to deal with having any local companies consuming local resources. Presumably, local employees would also be employed remotely by foreign companies, or by local foreign-owned corporate subsidiaries.)
Chain the bodies, and the slaves will fight you tooth and nail. Chain the minds, and they will defend their own servitude.
Companies wanting to save money on benefits while having 9-5 workers with no freedom of choice of when or how to work and no freedom to take other jobs? That's abuse of the system and illegal.
The difference is important.
you pretty much described the best case scenario here. On the contrary my dad was an independent contractor most of his life in construction (which was a also in a boom period making some people rich). For him this meant working 6-7 days / week (10-14 hrs), clipping coupons, and saving for a decade to buy a $70k house to avoid getting in debt. This while having sub-contractors working for him. He eventually did well (decades of hard work later) but I believe this situation is not so rosy for an average contractor unless you are at the top of your game in a very in demand industry
No, it depends on leverage. If you've got the most leverage, the relationship will be pleasant. If you don't, the relationship will be abusive. Just like everything else in capitalism. Supply/demand balance and friction matter far more than how "nice" your customer/employer is.
The distinction is crucially important: if relationship quality were an independent variable, everyone would be able to find decent relationships by hopping between jobs every now and again. Unfortunately, that's not how it works. The market determines what employers can and can't get away with, so someone stuck in a crummy relationship is likely to find a bunch of equally crummy relationships when they go job shopping.
Exactly. And it's not for nothing that "Workers of the world, unite!" is included in the Communist Manifesto, as uniting themselves against their employers was one of the few methods of gaining leverage for 19th-century workers.
If it counts I'm more of a Libertarian kind of guy, but even so I'm wondering for how long these growing power-unbalances will be ignored by both those "in power" (corporate employers, politicians, finance people) who just seem to crave for more and more, and also by us, the "normal people", who just carry on with our lives like things have never been better.
Because at the end of it all private property is merely a social construct, and once 100, 1000, 10000 people will find it strange that their combined earnings amount to what a "capitalist" or financier earns, then, just maybe, those people will decide to put that rich guy/girl in front of a wall and shoot him/her down. It happened before (see the Bolsheviks, for example), not sure why it couldn't happen again.
I just hope it happens before the violence starts in earnest.
Drones. And you better believe the powers that be will criminalize any movement that might level the playing field. The window of opportunity for change is closing.
I really, really hope it doesn't come to that. Horrible and messy would be the understatement of the century. Everybody loses, just some more than others. But my imagination has been drawn to this scenario more than once and I don't think the fight would be universally one-sided.
I've said this a few times before, but to pull this off takes a tremendous amount of work, effort and luck. Finding work and marketing yourself is another job in its own right that you have to do on top of existing client work. Furthermore, all of the risks that were once handled by the employer are now on the contractors shoulders. For most people, all this simply isn't realistic or sustainable.
Everything is legal as long as you don't get caught, and it doesn't seem like anyone is interested in doing any catching.
Like most things in employment crappy poor employers spoil it for the rest.
A civilization so small you can drown it in a bathtub.
(2) is what some of think is wrong with the country and capitalism (as it is popularly thought of). Such a belief leaves unresolved the issue of negative externalities. Indeed, the problem with a degradation of workers' rights is one such negative externality.
The capacity of the American worker to vote against their self interest is quite high. Should the trend continue long enough we may find ourselves unwittingly in a rather unpleasant society.
The vast majority of people who are effected by this in a negative fashion do not have the money needed to get their officials to listen.
Putnam especially makes the point that an entire generation of Americans is growing up (I include myself here) treating government and politics as a spectator sport -- the province of party hacks -- rather than something ordinary people do during their off-hours. I'd highly recommend reading both in case you haven't.
It's a meaningless phrase and simply an excuse for acting like a dick.
is profit-maximization a law? because i don't see why for example a company can't be formed for the purpose of "betterment of humanity" and if it earns some profit on the way - great - and if not - it is ok too. As long as shareholders agree to that, ie. buy shares of such a company.
I say month after month because if the company is not turning a profit, someone has to keep the lights on.
If we are talking about Public Companies, yes. Privately owned ones can do whatever they want, but in practice the ones that do'nt care about the bottom line tend to be driven out of the market by those who do.
> because i don't see why for example a company can't be formed for the purpose of "betterment of humanity"
Those are called NGOs.
> If we are talking about Public Companies, yes.
Please cite the relevant law.
(Assuming you accept the sinister premise that industry is behind defending of the IRS)
> The better our software gets, the more companies are able to hire. Good, well-paying, well-placed jobs results in happy people. That’s pretty rewarding, if you ask me.
is in direct conflict with what the market desires:
Market forces desire resources that labor that is mobile across the country, requires no long term commitment, has a low risk hiring and comes at minimum cost. I don't see how the market you are creating will serve labors need. Your goal is to turn labor pools into a commodity.
This is covered by the heading:
> “You better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone / For the times, they are a-changing” - Bob Dylan
But hey, you're touching lives.
It seems that most of the gains that we take for granted like weekends and paid vacations and so and so forth that the labor movement acquired over the years since the advent of socialism are up for grabs and at risk of evaporating altogether.
Uber, Lyft, and the whole "sharing economy" is nothing more than another iteration of line balancing. Retails centers do this during the holiday seasons by hiring temp workers and call centers are always doing this.
I'll agree normal HR is not well tuned for quickly hiring large amounts of people, so the Uber model of deploying an app, and letting people "hire themselves" is interesting case study in ways to quickly ramp up your operations, but the I think enough has been said about how this is essentially exploitation of workers.
This I not good if the economy evolves to make this marginal income system into the main and default way foe people to engage into the economy -"a race to the bottom". It also puts son pressure on producers who must now adapt to the new status where big ticket items can be shared among many (vehicles, mowers, etc). Perhaps a move to higher quality higher priced lower volume.
The labor unit granularity would make these workers, on average, less valuable. And the advantage goes to the educated, more skilled.
This devolution into a person to person economy where the main beneficiary is the "platform" will not bode well for the average person.
We're finishing up our first week of deployment with a real workforce and finding that automated shift scheduling that better fits supply to labor demand can save about 10% on labor costs, which is a huge amount. Modern workforces get better margins through efficiency and automation, and that creates the opportunity for a new generation of mathematically-driven workforce management tools like OnFleet, Instacart, and AnalyticsMD.
We're entering alpha testing with customers in the bay in the next two weeks - if you're interested in trying our product, shoot me an email - philip at staffjoy.com.
Uber and similar services raise it to another level. Things like auto liability insurance are very 20th century.
That is not ok in a HN comment, regardless of how wrong "yummy" may be. Please don't do this. The HN guidelines say:
When disagreeing, please reply to the argument instead of calling names. E.g. "That is idiotic; 1 + 1 is 2, not 3" can be shortened to "1 + 1 is 2, not 3."
This is a practical rule. Applying it, your comment can be shortened to:
A stream of people who have no long-term stake in a building do not conduct themselves in the same community-oriented way that's normal among those who do.
... which is a fine, substantive point.
I can be sure that my landlord will perform extensive background checks on any potential neighbors, and can be fairly confident that their friends and relatives are also on the up-and-up. But knowing that the standards for getting a room via Air B&B are considerably less stringent, an explosion of short-term rentals in a building means that long-term residents will find that they cannot be as trusting. To put it bluntly, hotel security exists for a reason.
In general, I think the service is a great idea, especially for properties that don't share a lot of common space with other tenants. But in cases where they do, I tend to think that opening the building to anyone doing a search on Air B&B can be a real dick move. Nobody decent should be surprised if it draws serious hostility from the neighbors.
The sharing economy is to ordinary people what strip mining is to nature.