Posts tagged capitalism
Posts tagged capitalism
Maybe public higher ed really can be free …
The first step is to calculate how much it would cost to make all public higher education free in the United States. In 2008-9, there were 6.5 million full-time-equivalent undergraduate students enrolled in public four-year universities and 4.3 million enrolled in community colleges. In 2009-10, the average cost of tuition, room, and board for undergraduates at public four-year institutions was $15,014; at two-year public colleges, it was $7,703. If we multiply the number of students in each segment of public higher education by the average total cost, we discover that the cost of making all public universities free would have been $97-billion in 2009-10, with an annual cost of $33-billion for all community colleges—or a total of $130-billion.
While $130-billion seems like a large figure, we need to remember that in 2010, the federal government spent more than $30-billion on Pell Grants and $104-billion on student loans, and the states spent at least $10-billion on financial aid for universities and colleges and an additional $76-billion for direct support of higher education. Furthermore, looking at various state and federal tax breaks and deductions for tuition, it might be possible to make all public higher education free by just using current resources in a more effective manner.
(Employees) are regarded as “costs.”
And “costs,” as we all know, are supposed to be reduced as much as is possible (except the “costs” of the salaries of senior management and investors — those are supposed to be increased).
This view of employees was expressed succinctly yesterday by a Twitter user named Daryl Tremblay, who was appalled by the suggestion that McDonald’s should increase the wages of its restaurant workers and fund this by making a bit less money. (I was arguing that McDonald’s employees should not be treated as “costs,” but instead as valuable members of a successful team who shouldn’t have to work that hard and still live in poverty.)
Here was Daryl’s take on employees:
They are costs. Full Stop. They don’t have a stake, they hold nothing. They trade their labor for money.
— Daryl Tremblay (@DarylT) July 30, 2013
This’s fascinating, and accurate. I literally worked at a place a few years ago where the 2 owners were confronted by a mass group of their management-level (retail store managers) employees about how much less they were paid than people in comparable positions for similar businesses in the same market, and the owners responded “You’re all a bunch of monkeys. Easily replaceable monkeys. If we pay you better you won’t work more, or harder, or smarter, you’ll just be better paid monkeys.”
This is where the mindset that a corporation is ethically obligated to return money to its shareholders and has no ethical obligation leads: no responsbility to employees, customers, or the general public.
Open, online courses increase inequality and do not confer the necessary credentials to students that take them.
MOOCs - massive open online courses - have been heralded as inaugurating an inevitable transformation in higher education. They have been called a revolution, a boom, and, in the favoured jargon of techspeak, a “disruption" - a term that at first invokes a welcome alternative to the stagnation and elitismof the American university.
But the best word to describe MOOCs - at least in terms of their capacity to replace traditional education - is “failure”. Most MOOCs have completion rates of under 10 percent. At San Jose State University, a programme to offer course credit for MOOCS from Udacity, a Silicon Valley-based company, was halted when over 50 percent of students failed.
MOOCs have been criticised by education experts who see their impersonal nature as a detriment to student learning. In MOOCs, students usually cannot ask their professors questions and sometimes cannot even receive answers, since MOOCs deliver the same recorded lessons to numerous groups of students. There is little way to prevent cheating or provide individual feedback. Some MOOCs have no assignments or required readings, and nearly all evaluation is done by machines - including the grading of essays.
Critics of MOOCs are often lambasted as Luddites. But it is not the technological aspects of MOOCs that they tend to find troublesome. MOOCs fail because they are massive, not because they are online or open. Students fail MOOCs because MOOCs fail students. They replicate some of the worst aspects of large universities - enormous courses, inaccessibility of professors, absence of mentoring or individual feedback - while capitalising on the desperation of students drowning in debt. MOOCs are not a cure but a symptom of the disease.
As a supplement to education, MOOCs have value. They can enhance student learning - much in the way libraries, videos, and the internet enhance student learning. But MOOCs do not replace traditional courses in terms of knowledge gained or in the prestige and connections a degree provides.
Because MOOCs are inexpensive, they are often recommended for students who cannot afford to pay for a traditional education - a category which, in an era of skyrocketing tuition, now includes almost all Americans. But this only exacerbates inequality. MOOC peddlers answer a social crisis - that a college degree, required for most well-paying jobs, is unaffordable - by accepting that crisis as normal. MOOCs cheapen education in every respect.
Prison labor booms as unemployment remains high; companies reap benefits
July 28, 2013
Russia Today filed a report on Sunday that said hundreds of companies nationwide now benefit from the low, and sometimes no-wage labor of America’s prisoners.
Prison labor is being harvested on a massive scale, according to professors Steve Fraser and Joshua B. Freeman.
"All told, nearly a million prisoners are now making office furniture, working in call centers, fabricating body armor, taking hotel reservations, working in slaughterhouses, or manufacturing textiles, shoes, and clothing, while getting paid somewhere between 93 cents and $4.73 per day,” the professors write.
And some prisoners don’t make a dime for their work, according to the Nation, which notes that many inmates in Racine, Wis. are not paid for their work, but receive time off their sentences.
The companies that do pay workers can get up to 40 percent of the money back in taxpayer-funded reimbursements, according to RT.
That not only puts companies that use prison labor at a distinct advantage against their competitors, but, according to Scott Paul, Executive Director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, it means American workers lose out.
"It’s bad enough that our companies have to compete with exploited and forced labor in China,” Paul told the Nation. “They shouldn’t have to compete against prison labor here at home. The goal should be for other nations to aspire to the quality of life that Americans enjoy, not to discard our efforts through a downward competitive spiral.”
Companies like Chevron, Bank of America, AT&T, Starbucks and Walmart all take advantage of that so-called “competitive spiral.”
One of Walmart’s suppliers, Martori Farms, was the subject of an exposé by Truthout in which one female prisoner described her typical day working for the private company.Currently, we are forced to work in the blazing sun for eight hours. We run out of water several times a day. We ran out of sunscreen several times a week. They don’t check medical backgrounds or ages before they pull women for these jobs. Many of us cannot do it! If we stop working and sit on the bus or even just take an unauthorized break, we get a major ticket which takes away our ‘good time’.
In response, Joseph Oddo, Martori Farms’ human resource director, told the Guardian that the company is no longer using inmates because prisons are not always able to provide workers on call the way they need. Oddo also said that workers were provided enough water, but the prisoners didn’t sip it slowly enough.
In a press release on Walmart’s site, Ron McCormick, vice-president for produce, said, “our relationship with Martori Farms is an excellent example of the kind of collaboration we strive for with our suppliers.”
This is why unemployment is an inherent part of capitalism. But what happens when you can’t blame foreigners or undocumented workers for “taking” your job? Now you can ONLY blame the capitalist.
All that stuff you’ve been hearing about college grads falling behind, and student loans killing the middle class? Yeah, that shit’s for real.
Let’s all pay attention to the scale on that there Y-axis, as well. There is a $20,000 difference between men and women. Twenty. Thousand. Dollars.
Tell me we don’t need feminism and I’ll just keep showing you stuff like this.
Not only that, but the highest point on the women’s graph is still fucking lower than the lowest point on the men’s graph. Fuck the world.
Mhm. I clicked through to see the graph bigger so I could read the numbers; men went from 73k in 2000 to 59k in 2010 (about 81% of their best). Women went from 56k in 2003 to about 47k in both 2005 and 2010 (about 83% of their best). Women’s best is about 77% of men’s (there’s that 77% figure again), and women’s worst about 80% of men’s.
They don’t break it out over race, unfortunately.
Also women’s pay has basically been stagnant 2007-2010, so over that period, men made more even if you normalize to their minimum/2010 pay.
unpaid internships are illegal and every company with an unpaid internship program should be sued into bankruptcy
braidsbraided replied to your post: Did you actually read the article? It’s not defending the whole thing by any means, & it makes the point that budgeting is an important tool/helpful, WHICH IS TRUE. Because it’s McDonald’s we’re supposed to hate it, though.
Yes, I did read the whole thing. Allllll the way down at the end they say budgeting is an important life skill. Which is true. (And is also what I said earlier today.) It’s the fact that McDonald’s put this program together in response to their workers protesting low wages that is so condescending and degrading. Context matters. McDonald’s is saying, “No, it’s not that we don’t pay you enough, it’s that you just don’t understand how to make a budget!” Which is bullshit, because poor people budget more carefully than most people I know.
And it *does* defend the whole thing. It says $600 a month for rent is TOO HIGH, because the author once lived somewhere where he paid less. The WaPo piece, like the original McDonald’s budget, doesn’t allocate any money for Internet service. And then they have the audacity to say, ok, working two jobs for 75 hours a week is terrible but some people do it so it must be ok! It’s an apologist piece for the terrible system we live in and *that’s* why I hate it, not because McDonald’s is involved.
By Ezili Dantò
When the U.S. overthrew Haiti’s government in 2004, Washington proclaimed the invasion a “humanitarian” enterprise. Now it turns out that Haiti’s earth and waters are filled with gold and oil. The U.S.-controlled World Bank has volunteered to help rewrite the Haitian constitution, to allow easier access for foreign extraction corporations. Haitians must, as always, look out for themselves.
Poorly-regulated pipeline, railroad, and electric utility monopolies cost an average American family $1090 a year. Unless they kill you