DoomwatchTM vs. Timesizing®
Collapse trends - June 16-30, 2000
[Commentary] ©2000 Philip Hyde, The Timesizing Wire, Box 622, Cambridge MA 02140 USA (617) 623-8080
6/30/2000 omens -
6/29/2000 omens - two of the 'four horsemen of the apocalypse' mentioned in Rev. 6 -
- Let's take a flier: The return of mega-leverage to stocks, by Floyd Norris, NYT, C1.
Back in the...old days, before there was a Securities and Exchange Commission, and before the 1929 crash and the Depression that followed had given speculation a bad name...
[Actually, numerous depressions before had given speculation a bad name but every time the hard lessons were forgotten - and here we go again. And we call ourselves an "intelligent species."]
a plunger didn't need to actually buy shares to get all the excitement of the stock market. He or she could go to bucket shops, which offered the ability to [buy shares] while putting up hardly any money....
Now the basic idea is back, albeit under a fancier name. The futures markets want to trade "single-stock futures," which...are virturally identical to stocks.... Once they become legal, you will be able to buy single-stock futures by putting up pennies on the dollar, in sharp contrast to the stock market, where you have to put up half [50% of] the purchase price.... Not unlike the old bucket shops, futures markets have intraday margin calls. If your stock future declines, you must put up more cash immediately or be wiped out....
[And even that 50% margin requirement was reduced in the 1970s from the 65% level legislated during the Depression to prevent a recurrence.]
The idea that stocks are inherently risky, and that the government shoud keep people from speculating with excessive leverage, seemed obvious in the 1930's. Then people thought the 1929 crash had been worsened because over-leveraged investors were forced to sell. Seven decades later, such things are forgotten, and free-market advocates claim that if we don't allow such blatant gambling on stocks, the action will simply go to some overseas market....
[We seem to be carefully reconstructing every single depression-inducing condition of 1928 - repealing the Glass-Steagall banking bill (7/02/1999 #2), emasculating the graduated income tax, cutting margin requirements, and now, effectively restoring the disaster-inviting 1% margin requirements of the "bucket shops." Never mind "folie à deux" - this is folie en masse colossale. America the dumb. America the suicidal. "Cry the beloved country."]
With a little help from our good old Abingdon Bible Commentary, we can identify the four horsemen as:
Today's Times has the last two in 1 issue, 5 pages apart -
- invasion/conquest (e.g., Chechnya, Eritrea...)
- civil war/genocide (e.g., Yugoslavia, Lebanon...)
- (black) death/plague
6/28/2000 omens -
Mongolian animals perish, AP via NYT, A12.
A severe drought followed by Mongolia's worst winter in 30 years has killed millions of animals, creating an economic crisis for 500,000 Mongolians, United Nations and Mongolian officials said [yester]day. More than 2.2m cows, horses, camels, goats and sheep have either starved or been frozen to death, said Douglas Gardner, the UN Development Program's regional disaster coordinator. With one-third of Mongolia's 2.4m people dependent on raising livestock, "this is not just a crisis of animals," he said at a news conference.... Fewer than 10 people were believed dead, but thousands are reported suffering.
Red Cross says three diseases kill many more than disasters, by Elizabeth Olson, NYT, A17.
...although earthquakes and floods usually receive the most prominent news coverage.... The death toll last year from infectious diseases like
is 160 times greater than the number of people killed in last year's earthquakes in Turkey, cyclones in India and floods in Venezuela....
- tuberculosis and
6/27/2000 omens -
- The Internet revolution that wasn't - Web retailers still waiting..., by Syre & Stein, Boston Globe, C1, C7.
Is it too soon to say the retail side of the electronic commerce was wildly oversold in the first place and is now turning out to be a major disappointment?
It isn't just that the e-tailing world is staring to resemble an episode of the hit show "Survivor." Each week another company bites the dust.
It's that many of the assumptions that seemed to underlie the whole industry are crumbling, along with the stock prices. Chief among them: that e-tailers enjoy a critical cost advantage over traditional retailers [because they] didn't need to build stores [or] pay a huge work force to staff those stores [- now that] most e-tailers are raising their prices and shipping costs in a bid to become profitable....
[We disagree with Syre&Stein's pick for e-tailing's chief false assumption. We'd have to go with the more general one they hint at - that on the Web, profit doesn't matter. "Throw money at it, invest in it, who cares about profit?!" It was all the frenzy of a new technology that, as usual, got deified to Omnipotence and Infallibility - magically exempt from the iron laws of profitablity and sustainability - omnivorously parasitic, but without killing its host??? Note the neighboring article, "What's in store for Amazon.com - Even the mighty seem vulnerable as markets punish no-profit dot-coms," by Stephanie Stoughton, Boston Globe, C1. The accompanying chart calls Amazon's stock drop from $106.69 on Dec. 10/99 to $36.50 on Jun. 27/00 the "Amazon basin," and the article lists two other examples we have mentioned (Boo.com and Toysmart.com) and one we haven't (gift site Violet.com).]
6/25-26/2000 weekend omens -
- Poverty on rise, by Elizabeth Olson, NYT, A8.
The number of people living on less than a dollar a day is rising, the UN General Assembly was told as it began a weeklong meeting in Geneva to examine poverty. Since 1995 those living in absolute poverty has grown to 1.2B f rom about 1B, according to UN figures. The UN, the World Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the IMF issued a report detailing poverty's spread and urging measures to halve the proportion of those living in poverty by 2015.
[And "dollars to donuts," timesizing aka work&skills sharing is not among the measures they are "urging." But it is the only comprehensive and efficient one. (Theirs are probably variations on a theme of international charity aka foreign aid. How long and low do we have to keep sinking on these tired old liberal sugarpills before we see them for what they are and dump them for a much more strategic approach? And charity has an incredible stifling effect on consumer-base growth and the growth of markets.)]
[The American medical profession is clearly a sick, sick bunch of sado-masochists. No wonder we have so much medical malpractice litigation, insurance and in-hospital mortality. "Physicians, heal yourselves!" These sociopaths have fallen hook, line and sinker for the "I'm overworked and crisis-oriented, therefore I'm important" crock.]
- 6/26/00 Hospitals reassessing intern hours - Monitors say overwork rising - Hospitals eyed over long hours by young doctors, by Anne Barnard, Boston Globe, front page.
At a time of increasing concern about medical errors and young doctors' long working hours, the number of hospitals being cited for overworking their interns and residents is on the rise, according to the group that sets standards for doctor training...the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education [ACGME]..\.. Sensing that this long-term, high burnout problem is reaching crisis levels, teaching hospitals from Massachusetts to California are reassessing their residency programs. Of the 86 teaching hospitals reviewed last year by the private organization that accredits residency training programs, 17 - nearly one in five were cited for violating the organization's work-hour standards.
[They have standards??? Yup, right out of the 1840s, and since they're not paying them, we're talking slave plantations in the 1840s -]
The standards...call for
cruelty [oops, we mean] specialty....
- one day off out of seven
- overnight hospital duty no more than once every three nights...
- workweeks of 80 hours or more, depending on
The accreditation council and other medical groups have renewed their interest in the problem of exhausted doctors, particularly in the seven months since a National Academy of Sciences report, "To Err is Human," said that more Americans die each year from medical errors than from car accidents..\..
Still, the group found violations in 28 of 92 training programs in internal medicine and 25 of 69 general surgery programs. "The citations related to work hours and working conditions are more frequent now than they have been in past years," said Dr. David Leach, president of the [ACGME].... There are many possible reasons...
[Excuses, excuses - which come down to two things: bad management and an unbalanced, sociopathic professional culture. Who wants these zombies or zombie masters presuming to heal you? What a boost for alternative medicine!]
- A budget crunch has forced teaching hospitals to lay off support staff and rely on residents for routine tasks.
- An increased array of medical options gives residents more to learn and more to do.
[Apparently they changed the name of this article between when they commissioned the cover picture and press time - ironically pressed for time?]
Blown away - Buffeted by the 24/7 wired-and-working culture, many Americans feel they're losing their grip, by Laura Pappano, Boston Globe Magazine, cover.
Running out of time - Are you working more and playing less than you used to? Or does it just feel that way?, by Laura Pappano, Boston Globe Magazine, 12-13.
[Laura is a visiting scholar at the Murray Research Center at Radcliffe Institutes for Advanced Study at Harvard.]
Something about the company's Leather District office lends it the cozy feel of a day-care center for grownups, edged with the focus of a college library at exam time....
[...suggesting we've lost the grownup's ability to set limits, distinguish, and draw lines - we've sunk back into college cramming mode, or never left it.]
Maybe it's because everyone is so...so damned absorbed.... The atmosphere of this workplace - like so many today - is less formal but more intense. Viant is one of those Internet companies where the walls have come down, literally and figuratively.
[The walls and the boundaries. We've lost our parents' hard learning about "Good fences make good neighbors."]
CEO Bob Gett has no stately office, no lunch hour, no secretary.
[No stately office is fine - Lincoln Electric's CEO has deepsixed that too. But no lunch hour and no secretary? Here we're starting to lose perspective and get seriously unbalanced ("qoyannosqatsi" as the Hopis have it), and questionably "efficient."]
In the new work culture, Gett (pronounced jet) oversees the thing that matters most: his time.
[This isn't a "new" work culture. This kind of work culture existed on the worst slave plantations in the Deep South before the Civil War - the slaves were liable to be called upon any hour of the day or night for any service, business or personal. Lincoln fought to free us from the tyranny of the unlimited workweek, and we're recreating its hell and calling it "new."]
He scarfs down his midday meal - half an egg salad sandwich - in the two minutes or so it takes to walk from the reception area to his work space, a large cubicle on the corner of the floor. If the phone rings or his pager goes off, Gett gets on [or jets onto - ed.] the phonen himself, checks his schedule, and sets up his own meetings. "I want to be able to make the decision about how I spend every minute of my day," says Gett.
[What in the world has made him so defensive about this?]
...No wonder. Work commands virtually all of his waking minutes. He puts in 12 to 16 hours a day during the week and another eight hours on Sundays.
[Let's see. Call it 14 hrs/day times six plus 8 = a 92-hour week. Not even in the darkest mills of Dickensian Old or New England in the 1830s did the girls have to work these hours. These were slave hours, and not on the plantations with the "good massas."]
And he travels a lot. "My family has been extremely supportive, extremely tolerant of the fact that I haven't been there much, certainly not for the last 10 years," says Gett, who is married and has four children. "This is sad, but I have resigned myself to the fact that I will never be able to enjoy any significant quality time until after I retire."
[This is not "sad." This is pathological. What if this moron - like so many people - dies as soon as he retires? "What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own life?" Life is passing him by, his children's childhood is passing by without him - all because he has bought the illusion that because he is overworked, he is important.]
For now - he's only 49 - even vacations are peppered with morning conference calls and a half-dozen pages a day. This is not your father's job. Gett is doing a new kind of work, and doing it in a new way.
[No he isn't. Don't flatter him. There've been people who've lost it and become work-obsessed in every generation. But there are a whole slew of them today, a folie en masse, a sociopathy, a crowd mania, a mass frenzy.]
...Is work taking over the space once occupied by real life? A report issued last fall by the International Labor Organization, a UN...agency, certainly made it seem so. It concluded that Americans put in the longest working hours among the industrialized nations, an average of 1,966 hours in 1997, the most recent year studied. That is up 23 hours from 1990 [1,943 hrs]. The Japanese, by contrast, have cut work hours: In 1995, the latest year of comparable data, they put in 63 hours a year less than Americans [1,966?-63= 1,903 hrs?]. In 1990, they averaged 88 more hours than Americans did [1,943+88= 2,031 hrs].
[And the Japanese are the folks that brought us "karoshi" = death by overwork - estimated to be running 10,000 cases a year in the early 1990s.]
Couple that with the news reports of employees running amok and shooting co-workers, the fact that road rage is not novel but normal, and that so many people walk around chronically late, holding cell phones to their ears. Harvard economist Juliet Schor, whose 1991 book, The Overworked American, brought the issue of work hours to public attention, calculated then that the average American worker was putting in the equivalent of a month more each year than workers 20 years earlier. She says today that data from the early 1990s show the trend continuing, and she expects work hours to increase even more dramatically when figures for the late '90s are available, given the current money-making frenzy.
The numbers tell a complex story. Government statistics show that the length of the average workweek has remained fairly stable since 1970, at about 42 to 43 hours for men and 36 to 37 hours for women. But Jerry Jacobs, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania, says that more people are out there working those average hours: There are more dual-income couples and more single mothers holding jobs.
The numbers also show a striking rise in the ranks of workers like Gett - those logging 49 or more hours a week. The percentage of working women ages 25 to 54 who put in long hours more than doubled between 1976 and 1993 and continued to rise between 1993 and 1998.... The number of men in that age bracket working long hours rose 31% over that time and in 1993 accounted for more than 29% of the male workforce, a figure that has risen since 1998 but is not directly comparable because of changes in data collection, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- New government figures...show that between 1969 and 1998 the percentage of married couples with both spouses working 35 or more hours per week rose from 24 to 43%. Put another way, married couples spent, on average, 14 more hours per week working in 1998 than in 1969.
- Likewise, more mothers, including single mothers, are working. In 1969, only 23% of women with children under 3 were in the workforce; by 1998 that figure had jumped to 63%. "If you look at the change..." says Jacobs "There is nobody at home to take care of things."
More people are also working more weeks during the year. So when work hours are calculated over a year instead of a week, the totals show that
In the end, we have a picture of a nation that in the past half century has gone from a 9-to-5 to a 24-hour culture, where households - even on the same street - may reflect vastly different amounts of work and very different work schedules....
- men added 100 hours of work per year, and
- women 233 hours per year, between 1976 and 1993.
- And, according to new government figures, married couples worked 717 more hours per year in 1997 than they did in 1969.
[...where people have split between those with time and no money and those with money and no time - and that, in turn, has given us our ever-widening income gap.]
There are many reasons why people - save a minority of so-called "down-shifters" - are working more.
[We think this last group is calling the tune. And we think it's because real wages, over the last 30 years especially, have been stagnant or sinking. And we think that's because more and more labor-saving technology has been pouring into the economy with no corresponding reductions in the workweek. Result? More and more of the nation's (and world's) workforce has been marginalized. From 1776 to 1940, the workweek came down - from above 80 hrs/wk to 40. It wasn't far enough fast enough, but it kept things in rough balance, especially with several wars to "help" it - wars have the same effect as hours reductions although they do it in a much worse way - they remove labor hours from the job market and the resulting decreased surplus of labor hours engages market forces in raising wages and benefits. Wars and plagues have always had a positive economic effect because they "mop up" surplus labor and give the survivors, if any, an incomparable gift - scarcity in the market. Hours reductions "mop up" surplus labor in a much more intelligent fashion. World War II succeeded where the New Deal failed in "mopping up" the surplus labor of the Great Depression, whose major but unrecognized cause was the failure to cut the workweek fast enough during the Roaring Twenties in the wake of the tremendous technological efficiencies that came out of World War I. But the gory glow of World War II wore off by 1970 and labor surplus again became the dominant context and conditioner of wages. Of course, increasingly spoiled employers always spun it as a labor shortage, but that was only because they increasingly dropped training from their budgets, raised job requirements, and either pushed jobs to cheaper labor in other countries or whined for more visas to bring cheaper pre-trained labor here. So starting around 1970, families began to feel they couldn't maintain their lifestyles by continuing their same schedules. Fathers felt they needed more overtime and mothers felt they needed to get a job and help out with the bread-winning. The rest is history - our own recent tragic history -]
- Some because they want to get rich.
- Others because it's fun.
- Or because they can't stop.
- For still others - a great many, in fact - working more hours is not a matter of choice but of survival.
Doug Fahey's father supported a wife and nine children with his job as a mover. But for Fahey, 45, it takes two jobs to provide for his wife and two children.... Although many clocking long hours are in managerial and professional jobs, Schor says a decline in real wages since the 1970s means it takes more hours of work to support a family....
[But perversely, more labor hours in the job market tends to lower wages even further by worsening the labor surplus. And remember, labor-saving technology is still pouring into the economy and the legislated national workweek maximum - yes, that's how the law is actually written - is still sitting rigid at the 1940 level.]
According to [Schor's] calculations, it takes production and non-supervisory workers [today] like Fahey, who make up to 80% of the workforce, six more weeks a year to equal the same standard of living such workers had in 1973. (The number of people holding two or more jobs increased 50% between 1980 and 1991, to 7.2 million.)
[Sounds low. Many of these part-time jobs may be "cash economy" and "under the table."]
...[Mike] Durant, 42, a father of two from Malden [Mass.], works as the business agent for [a union] (his wife has a paying job, too). "A good year for me is $46,000," he says. And even though such earnings nearly match the US median income for a family of four - $47,757 - Durant says it's hard to cover the essentials, sports for his children, and leisure. The family vacation to Tennessee last summer, with a stay at a Marriott, lingered for months as a credit card debt. [Although some surveys show that two thirds of the American workforce would take a pay cut to have more time - ed.] the high cost of living has Durant and his fellow workers eager for more ways to make money - even it it means longer hours and less leisure. "Guys are jealous of the guys working seven 10-hour days," says [Medford, Mass.'s Steve] Brewin, referring to those offered overtime pay.... Schor says the current economic boom is driving longer work hours, in part because employers want to avoid hiring more workers, who cost more in company training and benefits.... Those who recall recessionary times appreciate the chance to work - even it it feels like too much of a good thing right now....
[There is so much confusion and ambivalence here. We need an explicit reconciliation between the viewpoints of wanting more work and wanting less work. How much of the overwork is really by choice and how much by pressure? How much on the assumption of permanence, how much in the hope of retiring in 5-10 years, and how much in the fear that the "boom" may not last another 2-3 years?]
This urgency...feeds the frenzy around work.
[This urgency and frenzy characterized the Roaring Twenties.]
Increasingly, leisure time is not for relaxing but for getting ahead, that is, improving your marketability or productivity in some way....
[And employers have been only too glad to sluff off the costs of training onto employees - or government. And where are all these saved costs going? Wealth may be trickling down, but it is POURING up - to the top income brackets. Hence the widening income gap.]
The flip side of this is that little of your time is truly your own....
[How ironic that a culture that has become obsessive about freedom - at least freedom from government - has so completely overlooked the most basic freedom, free time, aka time of your own.]
...[Art] Taylor [of] Northeastern University...says his daughter, just married last summer, works 60-90 hours a week, while her husband works 80-90 hours a week.... "What they miss are the quiet dinners, the times to relax. They haven't found a way to see each other except for intense physical activity" [such as] intense working out.... Collis Brown, a 37-year-old father of two from Marshfield [Mass.] says he tries not to think about \the fact that\ he may go days without seeing his wife or his daughters, who are 7 and 11...because it kills him. Three more years of this time-starved existence, he tells himself.... What Brown want - and is working toward - is something that no one can give him... a little leisure time.
6/24/2000 omens -
6/23/2000 omens -
- Amazon takes a beating, pointer summary (to B1), NYT, A2.
Shares of Amazon.com, the Internet industry's bellwether stock, plummeted 19% as investors grew nervous about the company's financial health and its prospects for profitability. Other Internet companies, like eBay and America Online, were sucked into the downdraft.
6/20/2000 omens -
- 15 countries [incl. Israel, Philippines, Russia] named as potential money laundering havens - Illegal transactions are mushrooming and disrupting financial markets, by Joseph Kahn, NYT, A4.
[Maybe that's because financial markets have such UNlevel playing fields that there isn't much to choose between market irrationality and criminal irrationality. Timesizing.com proposes levelling the playing field by centrifuging wealth from Wall Street into wages and making it possible for our consumer base to support our concentration of investment capital. As it is today, with virtually no limit on capital concentration, our Black Hole top income brackets are suctioning the markets away from their own mega-investments. "The more concentration, the less circulation."]
...The [rest of the] listed countries are the Bahamas, the Cayman Is., the Cook Is., Dominica,...Lebanon, Liechtenstein, the Marshall Is., Nauru, Niue, Panama,...St. Kitts & Nevis, and St. Vincent & the Grenadines....
- Meat inspectors are shot down at a factory, AP via NYT, A14.
SAN LEANDRO, Calif...- Three meat inspectors were shot to death on Wednesday at a sausage factory here, and the plant's owner has been charged with the killings. The owner, Stuart Alexander...had complained that he was being harassed by the government over health violations.... Mr. Alexander had recently reopened the plant, Santos Linguisa, after it had been closed for health violations. He has a history of legal and financial problems....
[So disastrous workplace stress happens, and not just on the employee side. Incidents like this keep popping up and fueling the cause of gun control in America. Just today, an eloquent gun-control brief appeared in the Boston Globe -]
Second Amendment is irrelevant today, letter to editor by Ellsworth Barnard of Amherst MA, Boston Globe, A24.
For the benefit of Ken Santello ("Cartoon wasn't funny," letter, June 5) and other opponents of gun control who base their opposition on the Constitution, let me refresh their memory as to the exact text of the Second Amendment: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
Not knowing the historical context of the amendment, they fail to realize that the premise is obsolete and that the conclusion is now inapplicable. In 1787, memories of Lexington and Concord were still fresh; a potentially hostile British colony lay to the North; unfriendly Indian tribes threatened settlers [and vice versa - ed.] on the western frontier; there were no permanent, professional, effective security forces at any level of government. Hence, the amendment made sense.
But an honest reading makes undeniably clear that the framers' only concern was collective security. There is not even a hint that they intended to affirm an abstract, general right of an individual to own or carry a firearm.
And of course, in an age of muzzle-loading muskets and pistols, they could not have imagined a small, semi-automatic handgun with a clip of 10 or more cartridges.
In the year 2000, the Second Amendment is irrelevant. Let us therefore argue the issue of gun control [on] its merits.
[Well said. The one caveat we have is that our gun laws of the 1960s were based on Hitler's gun laws in the 1930s, and those gun laws disarmed the population prior to the disenfranchisement and extermination of German minorities such as the Jews. This has to be the ultimate specter in the back of the mind of gun control protesters. "Paranoia"? "Couldn't happen to us civilized folk today?" That's what many very civilized Germans thought in the '30s. Our government has been taken over by the very wealthy. The amount of effort it takes on the part of the rest of us to really make our will known let alone enacted is humungous. Our "representative" democracy is drowned in money. In Massachusetts, it's taken for granted that you must be a millionaire to run for U.S. Senate, for example. A millionaire candidate, no matter how irrelevant to Massachusetts and the nation, gets massive free media. Candidates of average means, no matter how relevant, get ignored. Whenever the government and the media are co-opted by an minority, any minority, trouble is on the way. And when that ruling minority is as insulated, naive, short-sighted and unresponsive as our wealthy class, what's to prevent us from getting back into a situation such as Germany's in the '30s? We like to forget that Hitler got his ideas from our own American wealthy - from Henry Ford's ideas as expressed in his newsletter, the Dearborn Independent, in the late nineteen-teens, which Hitler quoted in Mein Kampf. Even Ford's pal, our otherwise heroic Thomas Alva Edison expressed a number of anti-Semitic sentiments from time to time. One book on all this is Albert Lee's "Henry Ford and the Jews" (Stein & Day: New York, 1980). We've had the definitive statement from a gun owner on the hysterics of the NRA (see 3/21/00). Above we have the definitive statement on the constitutional context. Now we need an Ellsworth Barnard to discuss the holocaust fear with the kind of eloquence displayed above.]
6/18-19/2000 omens -
- [More on America's massive under-employment problem, plus our "Dark Ages" health insurance.]
A million parents lost Medicaid, study says, by Robert Pear, NYT, A12.
...and have probably become uninsured since Congress and the states began overhauling the nation's welfare programs in 1996, a consumer group [Families USA] said in a study today. ...The number of low-income parents enrolled in Medicaid in 15 states had declined by...27% - to 2,557,673 in Dec/99 from 3,503,553 in Jan/96. Those states are home to 70% of the uninsured adults who are under the age of 65 and have incomes less than twice the poverty level, or under $28,300 for a family of three.
When it passed a landmark welfare law in 1996, Congress tried to guarantee continuation of Medicaid coverage for people losing cash assistance. But many states did not carry out the requirements of the law, and until recently federal officials said they were unaware of serious problems.
[Isn't this what they call an "unfunded mandate" - or better, "passing the buck." So what? So what if we have a fast-acting plague. Plagues are not remarkably concerned about whether you have health insurance, and with our chaotic "system" they'll find us slumped over a table covered with papers indicating we were in the act of trying to figure out if and by whom we were insured.]
...Families USA did not trace individual families who left welfare, but other studies have found that adults in such families typically take low-paying jobs that do not offer health benefits. Even if parents are offered insurance by employers, they are often unable to pay the premiums.
[Hey, so nobody had health insurance in the Roaring 20s, right? So what's the problem? We just had a time warp here for a few years.]
Ronald F. Pollack, executive director of Families USA, said: "Our study shows that [nearly a million (945,880)] low-wage working parents were cast adrift without health insurance when they did the right thing and found jobs"....
[Didn't we capitalists used to boast that we had superior incentives? Maybe that was back in the 1950s when we still had win/win capitalism. Guess it was sometime in the Me Decade of the 1980s that we switched back to win/lose capitalism. That's when the global labor shortage (or balance?) of World War II finally really wore off and America really started serious downsizing, merging and wealth concentration - basically the same scene as after World War I but then we went through it all in 'fast forward' because we were a much smaller economy then with NO centrifuging socialism 'in the basement.']
6/16/2000 ominous qikis -
- 6/18 Communism gains acceptance in Japan - Economic problems turn voters away from mainstream parties, by Sharon Moshavi, Boston Globe, A21.
...In Japan these days, being a communist is nothing to be ashamed of. Communism may be out of favor with most of the world as it rushes feverishly to embrace free-market capitalism, but the 78-year-old Japanese Communist Party is gaining popularity in the world's second-largest economy.
[What a surprise - not. If big capitalists unilaterally cancel the social contract, break Japan's decades-old, American(Deming)-forged promise of lifetime employment, and declare class warfare, the party of class warfare reappears. "Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind."]
The party is attracting an increasing number of disaffected Japanese - young voters...as well as older ones who are tired of politics as usual. The Communist Party's populist preaching about workers' rights and social welfare is finding an audience in a country from an economic rut that has destroyed financial security for many....
[If we capitalists can't climb back out of win/lose capitalism to win/win capitalism and restore a balance of centripetal and centrifugal forces on income and wealth, not only will we have a lot smaller markets to share, but we'll have to refight the battle with socialism and communism all over again. The Timesizing program offers a step-by-step approach to the minimum necessary adjustment of free-market capitalism - centrifuge the high-demand skills and employment.]
- [Futile battle #1]
6/19 Battle over minimum wage, by Steven Greenhouse, NYT, A19.
A push by labor unions to lift New York State's minimum wage to $6.75 an hour, from $5.15, has turned into one of the last major battles in this year's legislative session in Albany as small businesses lobby fiercely to block an increase....
[Unions picked the wrong horse in the 1930s - they picked minimum wage (and other mixed blessings), with which they've been losing ground ever since (and creating a widening gap chasm facing people struggling back into the job market and small businesses struggling to survive), instead of maximum workweek which would have given them everything by keeping technologically displaced labor from flooding the job market. They should have timesized instead of trying to jump to paysizing with no system in place for sharing the skills and the work.]
- [Futile battle #2]
6/19 Seniority under fire in contract dispute - Somerville [Mass.] workers face off with city, by Sarah Fishman, Boston Globe, City 1.
In an unusual display of solidarity, about 130 city workers rallied outside City Hall earlier this month to protest changes proposed by the administration in the city's seniority system.... "We will not give up our seniority or any other benefit," said the union president, Rita VanSteensburg, at the rally....
[Seniority is being outflanked by versatility. Seniority is based on the tried and true principle that "practice makes perfect," but it ignores the countervailing principles that "repetition makes for boredom" and "boredom makes for sloppiness." Versatility will not be able to prevail, however, in any economy that does not implement continuous training in the workplace. The only core design for such an economy of the future yet available despite the dawn of the Third Millennium is Timesizing (especially its 2nd and 3rd Phases).]
For earlier collapse stories, click on the desired date -
- Drought bakes much of South, periling crops, by Jo Thomas, NYT, front page.
[Shades of the Dust Bowl in the '30s.]
- Mr. Putin and the plutocrats, editorial, NYT, A30.
The shape of Vladimir Putin's presidency could well be determined by the unfolding clash between the Russian leader and the small group of business titans who control much of their nation's wealth....
[Why does this sound so familiar to Americans at the dawn of the Third Millennium? Need a hint? Check out the gutsy article by Paul Krugman, our "glimmer" on 6/14/00 titled "Death and taxes," and giving an easy-to-remember rundown on America's own concentration of wealth. Past a certain point, "the more concentration, the less circulation."
[And the next day 6/17/00, the Times had an editorial "The Russians are coming," A26, praising a program that brings Russians here to see the American political and economic system at work. Are they sure that's such a good idea? Are the Russians going to see also our working poor, welfare cases, disabled, homeless and 2,000,000 incarcerated? Or are we now going to do what we used to criticize them for doing - just show them the good side?]
Aug/98 and before.
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