Author Topic: Workshy  (Read 3979 times)

touchingcloth

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Re: Workshy
« Reply #60 on: September 08, 2021, 03:51:38 PM »
Returning to the sub-topic of the current employment landscape, this sort of thing happens too often (from someone I follow on Twitter but don't know personally):

This person is a good creative writer with an MA in creative writing and shouldn't have to look for "permanent admin roles" full stop let alone face this sort of shit.

Similarly (or oppositely?), my partner has to interview for her own job today. She doesn't expect to get it because she thinks it's all part of a ploy to move her to a far shittier branch office so that someone else can be moved into hers as a way to eliminate an historic job-share complication (which she objected to at the time).

Basically, we all too often have to beg for work that is beneath us (but we can't say it is because that's taboo for some reason) and which we only "want" because we have bills to pay. And then be treated like shit by managers. And all the while have act professionally and to pretend to love our work and are grateful for it.

My partner is a good creative writer, but we don't have any sort of a safety net for her to write speculatively so she does her own projects when she can and random bits of copywriting, proofreading and "admin roles" to earn money to pay for fripperies like staying alive. It's a recurring story in the creative industries, because talent alone isn't enough to find yourself gainful employment, and almost everyone working in those industries will have some kind of financial support to allow them to pursue a career, especially in the early days.

Re: Workshy
« Reply #61 on: September 08, 2021, 03:52:44 PM »
There is the UBI that pays you a base wage regardless of your whether you are working or not; this is very expensive and advantageous to richer people (it's like the winter allowance for people that don't need it); for them it becomes stored as excess capital and tends to not go back into the economy.

That's not right. Sorry. One of the main appeals of UBI is that everyone gets it, even the rich. But the rich lose it again through progressive taxation. The advantages of everyone, including the rich, getting it are that (a) we rid the world of the expensive, onerous and undignified systems currently in place for administering and policing a complex welfare state, and (b) it removes the stigma of receiving state "handouts".

You can probably see why the above is interesting to Libertarians and Socialists alike.

Folks, I know quite a lot about UBI. Not everything (it's an emerging field) but quite a lot. I am willing to answer questions if people are really interested. I can be a little slow to respond though, so bear with me if you do.

I like your thoughts here, Trenter, sorry to pull you up on that one.

Exactly; the idea that all work is worthless is problematic; work is supporting the elderly, disabled and infirm, its educating children,  performing surgery to restore someones eye sight, allowing people to travel and see loved ones, making sure the water in your taps keeps flowing and is safe to drink.

It isn't that work is bad it is that how the rewards and better working conditions work in the world is badly skewed toward the pursuit of financial gain and not the productive useful societally improving things.

I agree with you there, 100%. We need to end the ridiculous stigma that those jobs are menial. And we need to pay those people well.

Where the "work is worthless" attitude comes from is that much work in the UK and US really is worthless and increasingly so. Graeber's Bullshit Jobs book shows how most jobs over the last 50 years have slid from Primary, Secondary and even Tertiary Industry into Quaternary ("knowledge economy") work, most of which is bullshit. We're talking here about desk labour to improve someone else's financial lot or to play a very small role in a very silly and unnecessary (even malign) larger machine, usually a bureaucracy. It's a problem. UBI might be the solution - though there are good reasons to be skeptical.

I enjoyed Bullshit Jobs, but Inventing the Future by Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams is the book I'd recommend for getting to the bottom of UBI and the problem of work today. The manifesto on the front cover of the book makes their outlook very clear, but it's all backed up quite rigorously with hard data and qualitative research inside. https://www.versobooks.com/books/2315-inventing-the-future

Re: Workshy
« Reply #62 on: September 08, 2021, 03:56:10 PM »
My partner is a good creative writer, but we don't have any sort of a safety net for her to write speculatively so she does her own projects when she can and random bits of copywriting, proofreading and "admin roles" to earn money to pay for fripperies like staying alive. It's a recurring story in the creative industries, because talent alone isn't enough to find yourself gainful employment, and almost everyone working in those industries will have some kind of financial support to allow them to pursue a career, especially in the early days.

Yup, that about sums it up. UBI claims to take that problem away. Small business and creative industry become viable.

touchingcloth

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Re: Workshy
« Reply #63 on: September 08, 2021, 04:06:24 PM »
Yup, that about sums it up. UBI claims to take that problem away. Small business and creative industry become viable.

We sort of had it for a time, even without UBI. Alternative comics (to name a random example) often talk about how the government support they received in the 80s allowed them to move to London and make a start in a seemingly financially nonviable career. There would have been a lot of "worthless" stuff produced thanks to that, but is it worse to have a comic writing a show that's enjoyed by a small handful of people than it is to have someone working in a bullshit knowledge economy job where the benefits are seen only by the employer?

Lemming

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Re: Workshy
« Reply #64 on: September 08, 2021, 04:12:19 PM »
I'm seeing two slightly-related things recurring in this thread:
Conflation between inherent benefits of work and inherent benefits of stability.
"I need some form of [occupation, stability, routine, social contact etc etc] and so do other people too, so that's why we should keep work"

I think point 2 could greatly be satisfied on ones own terms by providing point 1 and the removal of the stigma of being jobless (and the conditioning that only jobs can provide point 2). I think if you remove the need for people to work, people will be more selective, so businesses that want to employ people and commune-like self-organising groups that want to do stuff will begin to appear somewhat similar.

Agreed, I've had the "oohhh god no my life and youth are just slipping away while I'm sat doing fuck all" thoughts while unemployed too, but having a job often induced similar feelings. Social contact and some form of structured activity are definitely the big things that are needed to stay in a good mood and good mindset. Annoyingly, society is currently structured in a way where work is the easiest way to accomplish both of these, but you can still achieve them yourself.

I was very happy being unemployed while I was in a relationship and had someone to come over and hang out every other day. Less so when I was sat on my own scrolling through the same five websites for 16 hours a day with nothing to do, no one to talk to and nothing to work on. But finding things to work at is easy when you look - I honestly think documenting and reviewing the history of FPS games for a very small audience here on CaB has been more meaningful/fulfilling than any paid work I've done in my life.

I did fill my time with "hobbies of the unskilled kind", which I continue now that I am a *productive member of society*, but I still think that my hobbies are as useless as when I did them as when I was unemployed. Would your average wage slave, if freed from the drudgery, suddenly decide to create art, or read classic literature, or develop themselves? Some would, but I suspect that a lot of people would just go to the pub.

Nothing wrong with a life spent going to the pub! I had my "I'm going to read all the Great Works of literature, I'm going to watch the entire Criterion Collection, I'm going to find all the best music" phase years ago and concluded that, on balance, it's more fun and rewarding to watch The Chase while shoveling cereal into my gaping mouth.

I suppose the argument is that people would sort of "stagnate" without work, but a lot of jobs essentially offer the experience of stagnating in slow-mo while also having to get up at 7 AM. It says a lot about the way society is currently set up that we have a hard time imagining what kind of worthwhile things people might do in the absence of paid employment. It's a question we'd have to confront collectively, and I suspect our answer might end up one day being "well, there's nothing wrong with a life spent going down the pub/reading the internet/watching those reality shows about fat people, as long as you're enjoying it".

Sebastian Cobb

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Re: Workshy
« Reply #65 on: September 08, 2021, 04:17:31 PM »
Agreed, I've had the "oohhh god no my life and youth are just slipping away while I'm sat doing fuck all" thoughts while unemployed too, but having a job often induced similar feelings. Social contact and some form of structured activity are definitely the big things that are needed to stay in a good mood and good mindset. Annoyingly, society is currently structured in a way where work is the easiest way to accomplish both of these, but you can still achieve them yourself.

I think the thing about social contact is while you may have colleagues whom you actually get on with, who you enjoy working with, how often do you see them once you change jobs? and what proportion of people you've worked with fall into that category?

It might be better than abject loneliness, but often the social contact is not exactly voluntary and quite often perfunctory.

Re: Workshy
« Reply #66 on: September 08, 2021, 05:59:40 PM »
The 'hard, labour intensive' jobs they are referring to often have awful pay and conditions and the only reason the associated businesses operate is because of being able to recruit people for whom the pay is still superior than a better job in their home country.

Precisely. I have zero sympathy for the employers who created working conditions so vile that they can’t recruit native UK replacement staff.

Alberon

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Re: Workshy
« Reply #67 on: September 08, 2021, 07:29:19 PM »
I don’t feel I’d miss the structure of work, the last eighteen months of Furlough, Lockdowns and working from home has shown that.

Admittedly, I’d probably be nine to fiveing Final Fantasy 14, but it wouldn’t be negatively affecting my emotional state.

Sebastian Cobb

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Re: Workshy
« Reply #68 on: September 08, 2021, 07:37:23 PM »
I don’t feel I’d miss the structure of work, the last eighteen months of Furlough, Lockdowns and working from home has shown that.

Admittedly, I’d probably be nine to fiveing Final Fantasy 14, but it wouldn’t be negatively affecting my emotional state.

Which 9 and 5? When I get time off work I typically end up nocturnal, not sure why that's inherently bad though.

Alberon

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Re: Workshy
« Reply #69 on: September 08, 2021, 07:42:18 PM »
Even through three months of lockdown I couldn’t help but wake up at 6.30am no matter how late I went to bed. It’s bloody annoying, especially when I know I can sleep in till mid morning and I need to catch up on it, but I’m still awake long before seven.

imitationleather

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Re: Workshy
« Reply #70 on: September 08, 2021, 07:46:58 PM »
Which 9 and 5? When I get time off work I typically end up nocturnal, not sure why that's inherently bad though.

Me too. I'm awake through the night so regularly that I might as well start doing day trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Sebastian Cobb

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Re: Workshy
« Reply #71 on: September 08, 2021, 07:47:44 PM »
Even through three months of lockdown I couldn’t help but wake up at 6.30am no matter how late I went to bed. It’s bloody annoying, especially when I know I can sleep in till mid morning and I need to catch up on it, but I’m still awake long before seven.

Unlucky mate. I thought I was getting set in my ways and my weekend lie-ins were getting closer and closer to my normal waking up time but I managed to drift in and out of sleep on Sunday, waking up and dozing off, and when I finally summoned the energy to look at my watch it was 5pm.

Got a mate who worked as a postie for a bit when in Uni and that permanently changed him to an early riser though.

Re: Workshy
« Reply #72 on: September 08, 2021, 07:52:11 PM »
read through all this and come to the conclusion work is a fucking complete waste of time invented by cunts thats now too far into the game to tell people who work at wankzones* that they've wasted their and everyones elses time

*stupid jobs

Sebastian Cobb

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Re: Workshy
« Reply #73 on: September 08, 2021, 07:57:26 PM »
read through all this and come to the conclusion work is a fucking complete waste of time invented by cunts thats now too far into the game to tell people who work at wankzones that they've wasted their and everyones elses time

It's a bit like the obsession with home ownership. The 'advantages' of owning a home are foremost a rights and stability issue, Germans have leases which let you do things that are often heralded as examples as to why owning a house in the UK is good. But too many people have sunk money into the financialised debt ponzi to admit it.

Re: Workshy
« Reply #74 on: September 08, 2021, 08:02:55 PM »
I apreciate anyone who wants to work in the way you have to say that now but not mean it so people believe or consider everything else you say after it, so I appreciate anyone who wants to work and the hard work they do but every second ive woked i've wanted to kill someone or go home. Every shift with the most basic understanding of what it is I had to do at the job peformed in the most rudimental, shitarse manner so people wouldnt talk to me any more because they'd think I was boring or weird or whatever you need to get people away from you. Just hate hate hate. If you went through school with an ideal job lines up or found something you love I can get this, but work - fuck off, get 100% to fuck, money aswell, id fuck both off at the same time

Sebastian Cobb

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Re: Workshy
« Reply #75 on: September 08, 2021, 08:13:02 PM »
Occasionally I do get passionate about solving a problem or learning something new at work, and it grips me. It's usually followed by me not doing much afterwards or sometimes the thing I get drawn into isn't even something remotely important.

And the workplace itself is constantly at odds with with that. Many people have ruined "hobbies" and interests by turning them into real jobs.

I've got a mate who is a music producer, he used to make his own music but now makes a pretty good living ghostwriting stuff or making sample packs and he's totally happy in the sense that he's freelance, at home, with his family but also freely admits turning it into a job means he doesn't want to make music for himself any more "the work aspect makes me not enjoy doing this myself any more but it's the most enjoyable job I've ever had", and he's one of the LUCKY ones.

icehaven

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Re: Workshy
« Reply #76 on: September 08, 2021, 08:24:22 PM »
Precisely. I have zero sympathy for the employers who created working conditions so vile that they can’t recruit native UK replacement staff.

Exactly. If your business model relies on paying your workers less than it costs to live a comfortable life in the same country then your business shouldn't exist.

TrenterPercenter

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Re: Workshy
« Reply #77 on: September 08, 2021, 09:00:04 PM »
That's not right. Sorry. One of the main appeals of UBI is that everyone gets it, even the rich. But the rich lose it again through progressive taxation.

Yes that is the kind of additional aspects that need to be added that I was alluding to but it still has big problems.  So you need aggressive taxation, something that generally doesn't go down well.  Giving rich people UBI and then taking it away via taxation, basically just adds another amount of money rich people can claim is being taxed from them.  This is basically the same as means testing UBI prior to handing it out; and by recouping UBI after by taxation you are essentially making a set of bullshit job.......someone that is having to take back money that didn't need to be given in the first place.  I've got a question for you on this; what benefit does giving rich people money you are later going to remove have? are there not potential logistical problems in ensuring the money is returned?

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The advantages of everyone, including the rich, getting it are that (a) we rid the world of the expensive, onerous and undignified systems currently in place for administering and policing a complex welfare state, and (b) it removes the stigma of receiving state "handouts".

Why is this an advantage to the rich? How is this not more expensive than the current system? the cost savings are in a streamlined service that deposit money into accounts; like Uber for social security (non-health related ESA doesn't cost a lot; it never did; there is no grand scale benefit fraud team and there never has been - unemployment benefits amounts to 1% (£2bn) of welfare expenditure). 

What it does is sound great for people that just do not want to work, receive a citizens payment and take up hobbies or personal interests; this is not the whole population, it doesn't' fit in with lots of other problems; like the very well known relationship between inactivity, poor mental health and early death.

Quote
Folks, I know quite a lot about UBI. Not everything (it's an emerging field) but quite a lot. I am willing to answer questions if people are really interested. I can be a little slow to respond though, so bear with me if you do.

I'm be interested to know the problems with it; most things have consequences and it is the consideration of these consequences and solutions to them that are interesting

Quote
I agree with you there, 100%. We need to end the ridiculous stigma that those jobs are menial. And we need to pay those people well.

Yes but you need people to do them; how do you construct a society that on one hand gives out money for people to live comfortable lives, with no stigma of not working and pay people enough to look after people that need that support?

Re: Workshy
« Reply #78 on: September 08, 2021, 09:26:25 PM »
Quote
Yes but you need people to do them; how do you construct a society that on one hand gives out money for people to live comfortable lives, with no stigma of not working and pay people enough to look after people that need that support?

clapping once a week

Sebastian Cobb

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Re: Workshy
« Reply #79 on: September 08, 2021, 09:30:30 PM »
Yes but you need people to do them; how do you construct a society that on one hand gives out money for people to live comfortable lives, with no stigma of not working and pay people enough to look after people that need that support?

Round up the rich people and take all their stuff.

Lemming

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Re: Workshy
« Reply #80 on: September 08, 2021, 09:32:18 PM »
Yes but you need people to do them; how do you construct a society that on one hand gives out money for people to live comfortable lives, with no stigma of not working and pay people enough to look after people that need that support?

On a purely hypothetical level, UBI might provide a "basic"[1] standard of living, which wards off destitution and - when combined with robust state services like housing and healthcare - provides a person with whatever we consider essential for a decent quality of life in the 21st century. But it wouldn't be enough to provide people with luxuries and the types of consumer goods that people already strive towards today - cars, tech gizmos, whatever.

But with a guaranteed minimum standard of living, people would theoretically be able to approach jobs more on their own terms. I'm not sure what that would look like for most people - perhaps part-time work would become the norm, or working at a job for a year or two before leaving to enjoy your earnings. It might lead to upward pressure on wages, too, as we briefly saw glimpses of in America recently where McDonald's suddenly boosted wages in order to lure people in.

Otherwise, I assume many people will work high-stress, unpleasant jobs for the same reasons they work them now - the desire to hang onto what they've got, the desire to attain more, the desire to save enough to move to a new place, the desire to leave their children in a better position, genuinely enjoying the job, etc. I don't mind there being some stigma against (long-term/permanent) unemployment, as long as unemployment isn't accompanied by the threat of destitution.
 1. tough to define

Zetetic

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Re: Workshy
« Reply #81 on: September 08, 2021, 09:45:14 PM »
This is basically the same as means testing UBI prior to handing it out;
It really isn't, not least in terms of establishing a principle of universal services and a state that works for everyone - rather than hard-working families subsidising dolescum, the latter of which must be subjected to humiliating and distressing processes to prove their scummery (as Mobbd outlines).

Quote
and by recouping UBI after by taxation you are essentially making a set of bullshit job.......someone that is having to take back money that didn't need to be given in the first place.
This makes no sense. Having functioning income and wealth taxes requires jobs[1], yes - the rate at which you set them won't make much difference to how many jobs are needed.

The idea that people working against tax avoidance have more bullshit-y jobs than means-testers - a job which in practice exists only to make difficult lives more difficult - is… difficult to comfortably hold in my head.
 1. I don't think these are bullshit, myself

TrenterPercenter

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Re: Workshy
« Reply #82 on: September 08, 2021, 10:02:56 PM »
Round up the rich people and take all their stuff.

Now we're talking

TrenterPercenter

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Re: Workshy
« Reply #83 on: September 08, 2021, 10:04:49 PM »
On a purely hypothetical level, UBI might provide a "basic"[1] standard of living, which wards off destitution and - when combined with robust state services like housing and healthcare - provides a person with whatever we consider essential for a decent quality of life in the 21st century. But it wouldn't be enough to provide people with luxuries and the types of consumer goods that people already strive towards today - cars, tech gizmos, whatever.

But with a guaranteed minimum standard of living, people would theoretically be able to approach jobs more on their own terms. I'm not sure what that would look like for most people - perhaps part-time work would become the norm, or working at a job for a year or two before leaving to enjoy your earnings. It might lead to upward pressure on wages, too, as we briefly saw glimpses of in America recently where McDonald's suddenly boosted wages in order to lure people in.

Otherwise, I assume many people will work high-stress, unpleasant jobs for the same reasons they work them now - the desire to hang onto what they've got, the desire to attain more, the desire to save enough to move to a new place, the desire to leave their children in a better position, genuinely enjoying the job, etc. I don't mind there being some stigma against (long-term/permanent) unemployment, as long as unemployment isn't accompanied by the threat of destitution.
 1. tough to define

Agree with all of this; but it comes then down what is the bar for living.......which leads us back to social security or a UBI system in which money given to people that don't need it is reclaimed (via taxation).

TrenterPercenter

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Re: Workshy
« Reply #84 on: September 08, 2021, 10:07:56 PM »
It really isn't, not least in terms of establishing a principle of universal services and a state that works for everyone - rather than hard-working families subsidising dolescum, the latter of which must be subjected to humiliating and distressing processes to prove their scummery (as Mobbd outlines).
This makes no sense. Having functioning income and wealth taxes requires jobs[1], yes - the rate at which you set them won't make much difference to how many jobs are needed.

The idea that people working against tax avoidance have more bullshit-y jobs than means-testers - a job which in practice exists only to make difficult lives more difficult - is… difficult to comfortably hold in my head.
 1. I don't think these are bullshit, myself

Sorry none of this makes sense.  UBI is not the only way of removing the problems you cite and means testing does not exist to make people with difficult lives more difficult; it is there to stop people that don't need these funds exploiting the system and directing resources away from those that need it.

Zetetic

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Re: Workshy
« Reply #85 on: September 08, 2021, 10:28:43 PM »
means testing does not exist to make people with difficult lives more difficult; it is there to stop people that don't need these funds exploiting the system and directing resources away from those that need it.
Is this a "bit"?

touchingcloth

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Re: Workshy
« Reply #86 on: September 08, 2021, 10:29:43 PM »
Sorry none of this makes sense.  UBI is not the only way of removing the problems you cite and means testing does not exist to make people with difficult lives more difficult; it is there to stop people that don't need these funds exploiting the system and directing resources away from those that need it.

There are already things which aren’t means tested in the UK (I should maybe say England) like bus passes for over 60s, winter fuel allowance, basic child benefit.

Means testing isn’t cost-free to administer, so I think it makes sense to avoid the burden in certain cases, and I can see why it’s easier to run things with a set of universal benefits on one side of the ledger and universal taxes on the other, because the alternative is the costs and inefficiencies of means testing everyone, or at least the costs of random audits on some people, like with self-declared tax.

I could probably be persuaded by an argument for not including UBI in taxable income, which is how child benefits work as far as I understand.

I think the past decade of Tory-led austerity has put me heavily off means testing. Too many stories of eligible people receiving their benefits too late, or having to jump through an unnecessary number of hoops at the least.

Sebastian Cobb

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Re: Workshy
« Reply #87 on: September 08, 2021, 10:30:38 PM »
I sense a semantic discussion involving the words 'need' and 'means' coming.

TrenterPercenter

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Re: Workshy
« Reply #88 on: September 08, 2021, 10:31:57 PM »
Is this a "bit"?

No I really don't see what you said answers any of the questions I posed.

Zetetic

  • I wasn't supposed to be around this long, so…
Re: Workshy
« Reply #89 on: September 08, 2021, 10:32:25 PM »
Means testing isn’t cost-free to administer
Or to be subjected to, far more importantly.



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