What would it really cost to cut poverty in the US in half? $3,000 per person, estimates Demos Institute’s Matt Bruenig. If you’re not thinking seriously about Universal Basic Income, you should. On a related note, this thread on Reddit discusses whether a Basic Income program in the US would cause more automation in the US workplace. Money quote? “Most of the workforce is already robots, just of the meaty variety.”
If you’re in New York, and you’re interested in single-subject news sites, check out this conference at Columbia next weekend. I may just pack the kids in the car and make them come with me, depending on the soccer schedule.
What’s Going on in the Workforce?
How will we measure jobs, and economic impact, as the sharing economy grows? If it’s true that Airbnb hosts in NYC earned an average of $7,500 a year, does that count as a part-time job? Don’t think Airbnb is a real job? Here’s a first person account by a guy who bought an apartment in Vegas exclusively to rent it out on Airbnb.
These seven workers took the money they got for being laid off when their company closed, and used it to reopen their factory as a worker-owned co-op.
A great, long read about Amazon’s business model, where Jeff Bezos is described as an apex predator.
We’ve come a long when from the Agricultural Revolution—but farmers still have things to learn. This engineer just created a farm bot. It’s open source. Sort of like migrant farmer labor.
If you’re in a line of work where you talk to a lot of manufacturing employees and skilled machinists, you may want to read this article about why this company switched to using robots, instead of hiring more workers.
Are you trying to design an office that maximizes collaboration on creative tasks? The results of this survey may surprise you. Spoiler alert—millennials do not want more videoconferencing.
The Singularity Approaches
In all likelihood, you’ve never given one single thought to the security of your car’s computerized control system. Bad news–neither did the engineers who programmed it, so they’re pretty easily hackable. That can’t end well.
Not sure how you might use a 3D printer? Check out this helpful info graphic on the things that they can make, these days.
Privatizing job developers—yay or nay? Good Jobs First has a new report out, showing it’s a bad, bad plan. Unless what you’re trying to do is further enrich the wealthy at the expense of the unemployed…
Here’s a really good, interesting look at the failure of one part of Mondragon’s cooperative businesses, by Gar Alperovitz. As Alperovitz points out, it’s necessary to decide if co-op developers are trying to succeed inside the current economic system (as Mondragon largely has done), or to make an effort to fundamentally change the way businesses relate to the economy.
Great, in-depth article about the pressures that cause medical residents to want to unionize, by Sarah Jaffe.
Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability
Can I get an umlaut with that? IKEA recently started a platform for reselling your second hand, no-longer-wanted furniture. Not clear if it comes with used cursing for assembly, or if you have to add your own.
There’s been a lot on this blog about Greeks fighting austerity—here’s a group of Greeks who have banded together to support indy media, to make sure that news is getting out.
Last weekend, European activists held a conference to discuss debt, rights and democracy—check the website for video of their discussion.
Reputation, reputation, reputation
It’s possible that the Amazon review you’re reading was written by someone who didn’t pay anything for the product in question. Should we demand that reviewers disclose this kind of thing? Guess that apex predators don’t always feel the need to be transparent…
Are you a creator or a curator? Or both? Check out this new Pew Study on the rise of both kinds of behavior by American adults.
You might not think that the way the internet is structured has much impact on our economy—I know I didn’t, until recently. But the way we share things online (hello creators & curators!) right now advantages the people who own the servers our data is stored on—so what happens if the data gets stored and shared differently? We might be able to make a new model of how to pay for content.
This vending machine bills itself as a 24-hour library. While I’m all for people getting books in malls, I’m reserving judgement till after I see it calm a roomful of unruly toddlers during storytime.
In the words of my 10-year-old: “That’s really crazy. And lazy.” Pizza delivery by robot. When will it need two-step authentication?
Happy Guy Fawkes Day, to our UK readers (follow #millionmaskmarch on Twitter today)…and for those of you on the other side of the pond, don’t forget to vote!