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Showing posts from September 4, 2015

The Dawning of the Age of Flex Labor

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[Why you will never again have a full time job. And, incidentally, why most of our traditional employment statistics are increasingly meaningless. See also: Low-Income Workers See Biggest Drop in Paychecks and This Was to Be the Year of Bigger Wage Gains. It’s Not (and, though these are US articles, wages increases during Harper's time in office have averaged 0.9% per year). *RON*]

Andrei Hagiu and Rob Biederman, Harvard Business Review, 4 September 2015


The prevailing paradigm of people working as full-time employees for a single organization has outlived its usefulness. It produces excess volatility over the business cycle, resulting in measurable economic costs — both to people and to the companies they work for.

Our vision is straightforward: most people will become independent contractors who have the flexibility to work part-time for several organizations at the same time, or do a series of short full-time gigs with different companies …

David Cameron: UK to accept 'thousands' more Syrian refugees

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[Cameron is bending slightly in response to great public pressure. Canada only agreed to sponsor 200 Syrian refugees in 2013, and didn't meet its goal until March of 2014 (in the end they sponsored 434). Harper likes to say that his government has admitted 2.5 million 'new arrivals' to Canada - these are almost all economic immigrants, refugees of all kinds make up less than 10% of this number. *RON*]

BBC News, 4 September 2015

The UK is to provide resettlement to "thousands" more Syrian refugees in response to the worsening humanitarian crisis, David Cameron has announced.

No figure has been decided but the prime minister said the extra refugees would come from camps bordering Syria, not from among those already in Europe.

Britain, he said, would act with "head and heart" to help those most in need.

He also announced a further £100m in humanitarian aid for those in camps in Syria, Turkey, Jordan and the Lebanon.

The Moneyless Man who gave up on cash and embraced foraging and farming

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[Interesting fellow. Mark Boyle chose to go without money for three years. Now he has begun a community smallholding that is as cash-free as possible – and is opening the world’s first free pub. I like how he is encouraging people to not buy his book from Amazon! :-) *RON*]
Miles Brignall, The Guardian, 4 September 2015
Mark Boyle proved how, in a world dominated by money, he could live in Britain surviving entirely without cash – by bartering, swapping and connecting with local communities. And after three years, what was his first cash purchase? A £4 pair of trainers from a charity shop.

“It was such a weird moment. Living without money had eventually become completely normal for me, and there I was standing in a charity shop handing over a piece of paper and walking out with this really useful pair of runners. It felt as strange as giving it up in the first place had,” he says.

Boyle is the unlikely hero among those who feel consumerism in the w…

Refugees are Australia's most entrepreneurial migrants, says research

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[This finding from one of the least refugee-friendly nations in the world. Far from taking jobs away from "real Australians," refugees make twice as much money from their own businesses as people arriving on skilled and family visas, says statistics bureau. See also: Migrant crisis: Australia PM says stopping boats key for Europe. *RON*]

Michael Safi, The Guardian, 4 September 2015
Refugees are not taking Australian jobs, they are creating new ones, according to new government research that reveals humanitarian arrivals are the country’s most entrepreneurial migrants.

People from the UK and India – most of whom arrived on skilled or family visas – contributed the largest share of the $38bn earned by migrants in Australia, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, released on Friday, reveals.

But it was migrants who arrived as refugees who reported the highest proportion of their incomes in 2009-10 “from their own unincorporated busi…

Czech police haul migrants off trains to Germany and 'write numbers on their arms in ink'

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[From my friend Harry who comments: "Good to recall that, in 2000, the Czechs planned to build a wall around a part of Prague that housed Gypsies, and only backed down when the EU told them they will not admit them if they go forward with this plan." Also note: China's Xi lauds Czechs, only Western leader at war parade. *RON*]
Adam Withnall, The Independent, 2 September 2015
Czech police have reportedly begun removing refugees from trains headed to Germany, detaining migrants and numbering them in pen written on their arms.

The Czech prime minister has called a meeting with his counterparts in Austria and Slovakia to discuss the growing influx of refugees in eastern and central Europe.

According to local media, in the early hours of Tuesday morning around 200 were arrested on trains arriving from Austria and Hungary in the southern Czech region of Moravia.

Pictures in Czech media showed police officers writing registration numbers on t…

The evolution of anxiety about debt and deficits

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[On the Canadian origins of austerity and debt and deficit hysteria. *RON*]
By Rick Salutin, rabble.ca, 4 September 2015

2400 B.C.: The king of Lagash, part of ancient Sumerian civilization in what is now Iraq, declares a general cancellation of debts. Peasants have come under great economic pressure with the rise of agriculturally based empires. It is the peasants who panic and the monarch who gives them relief, showing that debt hasn't yet become the source of an indelible moral stain, unlike our own time. Debt happens and if it becomes too heavy, the government simply cancels it.

Regular forgiveness becomes the pattern in the ancient near east. In 1761 B.C., King Hammurabi of Babylon cancels debts, so that "the strong might not oppress the weak." Over 1,000 years later, the Jubilee law of the Hebrew Bible joins this tradition of routine debt cancellations. The Egyptian Rosetta Stone of 196 B.C. also…

U.S. county clerk Kim Davis jailed for contempt over same-sex marriage licences

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[Good! Evidently, however, it's very difficult to actually fire her - it would take an act of the legislature to do so - and it is unlikely that the right-wing Kentucky government would be willing to take this step. *RON*]
Associated Press / CBC News, 3 September 2015
A defiant county clerk in Kentucky was sent to jail for contempt Thursday after insisting that her "conscience will not allow" her to follow a federal judge's orders to issue marriage licences to gay couples.

"God's moral law conflicts with my job duties," Kim Davis told U.S. District Judge David Bunning. "You can't be separated from something that's in your heart and in your soul."

The judge said she left him with no alternative but to jail her, since fines alone would not change her mind. A deputy escorted her out of the courtroom, although not in handcuffs, to be turned over to the custody of federal marshals.

"Her good faith be…

Stephen Harper Ditches B.C. Event, Addresses Photo Of Drowned Syrian Toddler

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[With a little catch in his voice for the cameras (though he never mentions Alan Kurdi's name, only his own son Ben's name), this duplicitous so-and-so utterly ignores the fact that it was his government that refused this family admission to Canada. He then refuses to commit to any increase in support for Syrian refugees! Creep. See also: 'Aylan Should Be Here': Protester Arrested At Harper Event In B.C. and Canada's Response To Syrian Refugees Contrasts With Historic Role and Nova Scotia Willing To Accept More Refugees, No Reply From Ottawa and Refugee crisis gives Conservatives a well-earned black eye. *RON*]
By The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 3 September 2015


SURREY, B.C. — Stephen Harper was in his hotel room in suburban Vancouver on Wednesday night when he first saw the picture of the dead Syrian refugee child that has riveted the world's attention.

Harper had tears in his eyes Thursday morning as he reflected …