Today Democratic Party presidential candidate Kamala Harris announced her version of Medicare for All, but over the weekend, she perked ears by issuing an oddly-specific policy proposal on Twitter:
student loan debt forgiveness program for Pell Grant recipients who start a business that operates for three years in disadvantaged communities.
Mockery of such thin-sliced bet-hedging came quickly—with about 7m Pell Grant Recipients and an approximately 8% total entrepreneurship rate with an approximately 60% failure rate within three years and then throw "disadvantaged communities" into the mix, it's ... not a great many people, especially compared to Bernie's promise of "everyone."
Enter The Neoliberal Project with the Oddly specific Kamala Harris policy generator, pefectly capturing her angel-dancing-on-a-pinhead blend of moderate wokeness that tries to appeal to everyone but ends up, well, you know.
Yesterday, I announced that, as president, I'll establish a basic income program for federal prosecutors who open a toy store that operates for 15 days in Silicon Valley.
Yesterday, I announced that, as president, I'll establish a school prayer program for single fathers who open a market that operates for 7 years in California.
Yesterday, I announced that, as president, I'll establish a net neutrality program for non-union members who open a drugstore that operates for 16 weeks in a food festival.
Photo: shutterstock / Karl Sonnenberg Read the rest
Howard Schultz, the Starbucks billionaire and aspiring independent presidential candidate, tweeted a link to a column describing Democrat candidates Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris as "fauxcahontas" and "shrill" respectively. Then he deleted the tweet.
“Thank you @Rogerlsimon for a thoughtful analysis of what’s possible. #ReimagineUS,” Schultz tweeted, along with a link to an article on PJ Media by Roger L. Simon titled “Howard Schultz Could Actually Win the Presidency."
“Current frontrunner Kamala Harris is far from reassuring,” Simon writes in the column. “She’s a shrill (see the Kavanaugh hearings) quasi-socialist promising pie in the sky — Medicare-for-all, debt-free college, guaranteed pre-K, minimum basic income, confiscatory taxes — and she’s just getting started. Bernie [Sanders] and others will soon be following suit. Fauxcahontas already has, competing in a game of socialist one-upmanship.”
I've been thinking a bit lately about how Schultz embodies the appeal of a centrist pro-business candidate to a media obsessed with narratives of partisan extremism and which habitually poses itself at an equidistant point between opposed sides, and how this affinity contrasts with the visceral revulsion almost everyone has for his candidacy and the limitless wealth that could sustain it to the bitter end.
Thing is, though, Schultz is a moron. Read the rest
If you live outside province you likely haven’t heard much about our new government, but here in British Columbia changes are happening fast, and you should know about them.
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In a new essay, Douglas Rushkoff examines Universal Basic Income, writing that it's not a gift but a "scam" and a "tool for our further enslavement."
Here's a snippet:
To the rescue comes UBI. The policy was once thought of as a way of taking extreme poverty off the table. In this new incarnation, however, it merely serves as a way to keep the wealthiest people (and their loyal vassals, the software developers) entrenched at the very top of the economic operating system. Because of course, the cash doled out to citizens by the government will inevitably flow to them.
Think of it: The government prints more money or perhaps — god forbid — it taxes some corporate profits, then it showers the cash down on the people so they can continue to spend. As a result, more and more capital accumulates at the top. And with that capital comes more power to dictate the terms governing human existence.
...As appealing as it may sound, UBI is nothing more than a way for corporations to increase their power over us, all under the pretense of putting us on the payroll. It’s the candy that a creep offers a kid to get into the car or the raise a sleazy employer gives a staff member who they’ve sexually harassed. It’s hush money.
Read: Universal Basic Income Is Silicon Valley’s Latest Scam
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Two competing (or, possibly, complementary?) proposals for resolving income inequality and the hole that four decades of demand-side Reaganomics has dug us into are Universal Basic Income and a federal jobs guarantee (the former being a kind of "venture capital for everyone" that provides enough money to live without having to work for an employer; and the latter being a guarantee of a good, meaningful job of social value in sectors like infrastructure, education and caring professions).
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Boing Boing favorite Steven Johnson (previously) has written at length about the emerging politics of "liberaltarianism" in Silicon Valley, which favors extensive government regulation (of all industries save tech), progressive taxation, universal basic income, universal free health care, free university, debt amnesty for students -- but no unions and worker acceptance of "volatility, job loss, and replacement by technology."
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Universal Basic Income isn't just one proposal: it's a whole spectrum of ideas, with different glosses and nuances coming from the right and the left, from libertarians and those of a more paternalistic bent. Read the rest
Last year, according to a recent study by Oxfam International, just eight people owned as much wealth as half of the world’s population. That's bad. Many people suggest Universal Basic Income as a way to help solve that problem. My friend and Institute for the Future colleague Marina Gorbis suggests that we need something more -- Universal Basic Assets. From her provocative essay on Medium:
The answer may be in the concept of Universal Basic Assets (UBA), which in my definition is a core, basic set of resources that every person is entitled to, from housing and healthcare to education and financial security...
In designing Universal Basic Assets we take into account access to traditional physical and financial assets like land and money, as well as the growing pools of digital assets (data, digital currencies, reputations, etc.). We also recognize and assign value to exchanges we engage in as a part of maintaining the social fabric of our society but that do not currently carry with them monetary value (caring, creative output, knowledge generation, etc.).
In essence, we need to look at the concept of assets in its broadest sense, considering three classes of assets: private, public, and open.
‘Universal Basic Assets’: A new economic model that could save the other 99% Read the rest
Every year, Bruce Sterling closes the SXSW Interactive Festival with a wide-ranging, hour-long speech about the state of the nation: the format is 20 minutes' worth of riffing on current affairs, and then 40 minutes of main thesis, scorchingly delivered, with insights, rage, inspiration and calls to action. Read the rest
A new International Labour Organization report called ASEAN in transformation: How technology is changing jobs and enterprises predicts that "sewbots" -- sewing robots that can piece together garments with little or no human intervention -- will replace up to 90% of garment and footwear workers in Cambodia and Vietnam in the years to come. Read the rest
The annual "Sex, work and tech" show comes back to San Francisco, Oct 2-4, at the Center for Sex and Culture, featuring "talks, performances, games, workshops, machines and systems." Read the rest
To celebrate the release of my new book, Information Doesn't Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age
, I've invited some of my favorite creators and thinkers to write about their philosophy on the arts and the Internet. Today, Molly Crabapple
presents her 15 iron laws of creativity. -Cory Doctorow
As "outsider" teenage readers of Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea's classic Illuminatus! Trilogy in the early 1980s, it seemed to some of my friends at the time (all big Kurt Vonnegut, Richard Brautigan and Philip K Dick fans, too) that the novel's authors were trying to communicate something "in code" to their readers, like it was a message about "the conspiracy" that was coming from an underground resistance group. I thought that was bunk and fanciful nonsense, but it goes to show how strong of an effect that book had on kids' imaginations back then.
Illuminatus! was a touchstone for freethinking weirdos of that era, one of the rare books that even attempted to make sense of being born into an ever increasingly surreal world still reeling from things like the JFK/MLK/RFK assassinations, Watergate and the Vietnam war and where Ronald Reagan, a bad actor who once worked with a chimpanzee, had just become President.
It was also an interesting experiment in mass occult initiation -- sold at shopping malls across America -- that satirically tore away the veils of the modern world and (actively, not passively) imprinted a skeptical worldview on the reader. Read those books from cover to cover and there was virtually not a chance in hell that you'd be a normal person ever again. The Illuminatus! trilogy really made quite an impression, let's just say.
Wilson's non-fiction work, Cosmic Trigger, was of even greater interest to me with its cheerful speculations on Timothy Leary's channeled communications from "holy guardian angels," psychedelic drugs and Aleister Crowley. Read the rest