Rolling Stone: Capitalism, Landlords, Working -- It All Blows; Free Everything For Everbody!
Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out
Trey Sanchez |
Rolling Stone is looking for its own social utopia - one that kicks capitalism to the curb and ushers in free things for millennials!
Contributor Jesse A. Myerson is really bummed out. Millennials like him are watching other people get rich while they drown in personal debt and labor at their low-wage grunt jobs. Certainly the blame does not lie upon them and their life choices -- or even the simple fact that, hey, everyone starts out at the bottom. No, as they see it, they live in an unjust, unfair society - an "economic hellhole our parents have handed us."
To combat this, Myerson has some suggestions. Number One, "Guaranteed Work for Everybody."
Unemployment blows. The easiest and most direct solution is for the government to guarantee that everyone who wants to contribute productively to society is able to earn a decent living in the public sector.
A job guarantee that paid a living wage would anchor prices, drive up conditions for workers at megacorporations like Walmart and McDonald's, and target employment for the poor and long-term unemployed.
The program would automatically expand during private-sector downturns and contract during private-sector upswings, balancing out the business cycle and sending people from job to job, rather than job to unemployment, when times got tough.
Imagine a world where people could contribute the skills that inspire them – teaching, tutoring, urban farming, cleaning up the environment, painting murals – rather than telemarketing or whatever other stupid tasks bosses need done to supplement their millions. Sounds nice, doesn't it?
Sure, but it sounds expensive, too. How about working hard at telemarketing or other "stupid tasks" to pay off personal debt so that you can work your way up the ladder, earn your way to the top AND do something you love at the same time. Nah, that is the wrong order for millennials. Get paid first, work later.
Number Two, "Social Security for All."
But let's think even bigger. Because as much as unemployment blows, so do jobs. What if people didn't have to work to survive? Enter the jaw-droppingly simple idea of a universal basic income, in which the government would just add a sum sufficient for subsistence to everyone's bank account every month.
In the words of Duke professor Kathi Weeks, 'time to cultivate new needs for pleasures, activities, senses, passions, affects, and socialities that exceed the options of working and saving, producing and accumulating.'
Put another way: A universal basic income, combined with a job guarantee and other social programs, could make participation in the labor force truly voluntary, thereby enabling people to get a life.
And "socialities," too, whatever they are. But is Myerson ready for the government to decide the sufficiency of his pot allowance each month?
Number Three, "Take Back the Land."
Ever noticed how much landlords blow? They don't really do anything to earn their money. They just claim ownership of buildings and charge people who actually work for a living the majority of our incomes for the privilege of staying in boxes that these owners often didn't build and rarely if ever improve.
Think about how stupid that is. The value of the land has nothing to do with my idle, remote landlord; it reflects the nearby parks and subways and shops, which I have access to thanks to the community and the public. So why don't the community and the public derive the value and put it toward uses that benefit everyone? Because capitalism, is why.
Municipalities themselves can be big-time landowners, and groups can even create large-scale community land trusts so that the land is held in common. In any case, we have to stop letting rich people pretend they privately own what nature provided everyone.
Would this mean living with Myerson in a common land trust and sharing in inspiring, daily tasks with him? Or maybe "socialities"? No thanks. In his limited scope of city life, he must not think that he can purchase his own private land anywhere in the country. Of course, that might take a meaningless job to earn enough money, which is out of the question.
Number Four, "Make Everything Owned by Everybody."
Hoarders blow. Take, for instance, the infamous 1 percent, whose ownership of the capital stock of this country leads to such horrific inequality.
Stop there. Myerson is saying that stocks and bonds of private companies should be bought up not by individuals but by the government, and allow the feds to pay out dividends to Americans "in the form of a universal basic income." Wow.
And last but not least, Number Five, "A Public Bank in Every State."
You know what else really blows? Wall Street. The whole point of a finance sector is supposed to be collecting the surplus that the whole economy has worked to produce, and channeling that surplus wealth toward its most socially valuable uses. It is difficult to overstate how completely awful our finance sector has been at accomplishing that basic goal. Let's try to change that by allowing state governments into the banking game.
There is only one state that currently has a public option for banking: North Dakota. When North Dakotans pay state taxes, the money gets deposited in the state's bank, which in turn offers cheap loans to farmers, students and businesses.
Sounds nice, doesn't it?
No, it never sounds nice to borrow your own money from the state, who took it away from you in the first place, and then get charged interest for the privilege of getting it back.
All of this socialist thinking brings Myerson to offer one last ironic directive to his millennial readers - "Let's get to work." Work? What's that again?http://www.truthrevolt.org//news/rolling-stone-capitalism-landlords-working-it-all-blows-free-everything-everbody