I was driving home from picking up sushi the other night, and another car was tailgating me. I was really annoyed. I was on a curvy road, it was icy out, and I was going the speed limit, 25 – and this guy was riding my bumper, with those new really bright halogen headlights shining right into my rear-view mirror. I was not going to speed up to satisfy him, and anyway I was just going a couple more blocks. But when I turned onto my block, the tailgater turned with me, and when I pulled into my driveway, he parked next to my house. Now I was kind of freaked out. Was the guy going to get out of his car and scream at me for slowing him down? He did get out of his car. No chance of avoiding a conversation. He came up to me and asked where a certain address on my street was. He was a DoorDash delivery guy. Tailgating me because his ability to make enough money to live on depends on getting a certain number of deliveries done per hour, and that means that it’s an economic necessity for him to drive too fast on icy roads.
Ugh. Yet another reason not to use DoorDash. Or GrubHub. Or Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, TaskRabbit, or Instacart. Do it yourself or hire a real person to do it and stop patronizing these sleazy gig economy “platforms.” And you can probably buy stuff somewhere other than Amazon while you’re at it.
The family income for tens of millions of families is $40k or less. Even assuming a tax rate of zero it’s hard (impossible?) for me to see how a family of 2 – much less 3,4 or more- can live on that income. So I’m not even talking about what the census bureau calls poverty (about $27.5k for. a family of 4). Something is going wrong .
When It Reigns It Poors
Corporate-owned financial institutions pull off the most massive theft of the Common Wealth in American history and the corporate-owned media wring their hands about the “economic downturn”. We are told it’s time for “austerity measures” and “shared sacrifice” — all the while we stare a tidal wave of slush funds in the face that corporate lords have been stashing away for a reigny day, the day they finally bust us down to the estate of serfs and guildless peons once again.
Neo-cons, Neo-libs, and their Neo-speak economists — their snoots so full of theory they long ago lost the sense it takes to “follow the money” no matter how bad it stinks up their audit trails — divert the People with tales of the Invisible Hand while light fingers lift the loot in broad daylight from under their noses. “It’s an Act of God, a natural disaster. No one mugged thee, Nemo did it.”
But the game is up. We see it now. Irresponsibility is its name, it’s out of control, it’s past the tipping point, and it just keeps howling for more, more, more.
Also Sprach 0*
Scenario: Obstacle appears in the road, Jordan taps brakes, tailgater jams on his, skids into Jordan’s car shoving it over the side. Jordan badly injured. Police cite corporate America — CEOs lose their drivers’ licenses.
the swerve of history is glacial, but it bends toward jailing ceos …
When someone makes not enough money to live on, the market is telling us that most of us would be very slightly better off, in material terms, if that person and their dependents were raptured. Automation is leaving many people unable to make a net contribution to other people’s well-being in material terms, because they are unable to do anything that can’t be done by a machine (or a combination of a machine and a small amount of input from a highly-skilled human) using fewer resources.
How we respond to that fact is up to us (collectively).