Fired by an algorithm, and no one can figure out why

Ibrahim Diallo was eight months into a three year contract with a big company when its systems abruptly decided that he was fired: first it told his recruiter that he'd been let go, then it stopped accepting his pass for the parking and the turnstyles, then his logins stopped working, and at each turn, his supervisor, and that person's boss, and the HR people, were at a loss to explain or reverse the steady, automated disappearance of Ibrahim from the company. Read the rest

Across America, the Poor Peoples' Campaign is building steam and refusing to be intimidated by crackdowns

We're into the fifth week of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival, a national uprising over the state of the richest nation in the world, where 140,000,000 people live at or below the poverty line (America is history's first rich poor country). Read the rest

It's often cheaper to pay cash for your prescriptions rather than the co-pay, but the pharmacy is legally prohibited from suggesting it

America's health care is totally screwed up, Part Ten Gazillion: in many cases, the medicines your doctor prescribes are cheaper than the co-pay your health insurance charges, which means that if you just buy the meds instead of charging them to insurance, you save money. Read the rest

Employees who practice mindfulness meditation are less motivated, having realized the futility of their jobs

In the NYT, a pair of behavioral scientists describe a forthcoming Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes article (Sci-Hub mirror) that studied the effect of mindfulness meditation (a trendy workplace moral-booster) on workers' motivation and performance. Read the rest

GDP vs human thriving: a "healthy" economy means debt-haunted people, desperately searching for housing

GDP and stock market performance are the two metrics that economists (and politicians) use to measure the health of a nation's economy, and by those metrics, Trump is doing a hell of a job. Read the rest

Full time minimum wage workers can't afford the rent on a 2-bedroom apartment anywhere in the USA

In the US, states and cities have their own minimum wages, keyed to the local cost of living -- but every one of these minimum wages is insufficient to provide that most basic of needs: a roof over your head. Read the rest

UPS Teamsters ready to stage America's biggest strike since 1997, with solidarity as the main sticking point

Unionized UPS Teamsters -- 260,000 of them -- are set to strike in the biggest American strike since UPS's unionized drivers walked out in 1997. Read the rest

America: where rising productivity means longer working hours

In most countries, rising productivity means fewer working hours: but US workers, among the world's most productive, put longer hours than other rich-country workers, especially nordic workers -- if America's productivity/hours curve worked like it does in Denmark and Norway, American workers would get an additional 2.2 months of vacation every year. Read the rest

Private equity bosses took $200m out of Toys R Us and crashed the company, lifetime employees got $0 in severance

Private equity's favorite shell game is to take over profitable businesses, sell off their assets, con banks into loaning them hundreds of millions of dollars, cash out in the form of bonuses and dividends, then let the businesses fail and default on their debts. Read the rest

Bernie Sanders rallies Disneyland employees for a $15 minimum wage

Disneyland employees' average hourly wages have decreased in real terms every year for more than 15 years, while the company has taken in record municipal subsidies from the city of Anaheim and soared in profitability, returning high dividends to its shareholders. Read the rest

Amid wage stagnation, corporate leaders declare the end of annual raises triggered by increased profitability

It was once the standard that firms that performed well would give all their employees an annual raise, in part to acknowledge workers' contribution to the business's fortunes, in part to ensure that wages kept pace with inflation (otherwise workers would be suffering a real-terms pay-cut every year). Read the rest

Student debt crisis watch: pay $18,000 of your $24,000 loan, owe $24,000

Kaitlin Cawley finished grad school with $95,000 in student loans, including a $24,000 variable-rate loan that started at 9.4% and now stands at 11%, a loan that the US government lender Sallie Mae brokered for her when she was 20. Read the rest

New York surpasses Brexit London as the world's second-hottest luxury property market

If you are an oligarch or criminal looking to exfiltrate and launder your money, London property markets have been your go-to asset class: London lux is real-estate that behaves like cash, thanks to the long line of oligarchs and criminals who'll pay cash for your safe-deposit box in the sky on a few hours' notice, should you need to liquidate ahead of a purge or an indictment. Read the rest

Trump's Labor Department is planning a rollback of teen labor laws, allowing kids to work in "hazardous" jobs

Under a leaked draft plan from Trump's Department of Labor, 16- and 17-year-olds would be permitted to work for extended periods in "Hazardous Occupations" as apprentices; at present, these apprentices are only allowed to train on machines like chainsaws and meat-slicers for short periods under close supervision. Read the rest

Chinese law professor: AI will end capitalism

Feng Xiang is a prominent Chinese legal scholar with an appointment at Tsinghua University; in a new Washington Post editorial adapted from his recent speech at the Berggruen Institute’s China Center workshop on artificial intelligence in Beijing, he argues that capitalism is incompatible with AI. Read the rest

An upcoming Supreme Court ruling could force all workers into forced arbitration, deprived of the right to class lawsuits

One of the cases that the Supreme Court heard this season was NLRB v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc. which rolls up several cases where employers are hoping to establish that they can force prospective employees to sign a mandatory arbitration waiver as a condition of employment; if they prevail, the majority of workplaces in America will likely adopt the practice. Read the rest

An excerpt from "Bullshit Jobs," David Graeber's forthcoming book about the rise of useless work

Anarchist anthropologist David Graeber made a landmark contribution to the debate about inequality, money, and wealth with his massive 2012 book Debt: The First 5,000 Years (a book that helped inspire my 2017 novel Walkaway). Read the rest

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