Timesizing® Associates - Homepage
Good News, January, 2001
[Commentary] ©2001 Phil Hyde, The Timesizing Wire, Box 622, Cambridge MA 02140 USA (617) 623-8080
1/30/2001 glimmers of intelligence -
1/29/2001 weekend glimmers of intelligence -
- Cyber-serfdom - Let my people go, op ed by Thomas Friedman, NYT, A27.
[Oh yes, the "economic forum." Ever wonder how so many so highly paid people can spend forum after forum, summit after summit together without solving humanity's worst problems of unemployment, poverty, and hunger, despite the fact that we've got enough technology to get men to the Moon and back safely, and print microcircuits on the head of a pin? Listen to this -]
The Davos World Economic Forum is always useful for gauging global trends. In recent years much of the buzz...was about what technology will do for us. This year...the buzz has been what technology is doing to us. If Davos is any indicator, there is a backlash brewing against the proliferation of technology in our lives.
[Well, number one, it's what CEOs are making technology do to us by introducing it to make people's lives easier and then making their own employees' lives harder by chopping jobs instead of trimming working hours with no loss in pay. Result? Recession, as we're finding out.]
When participants arrived at Davos this year they were given yet another gadget...a Compaq pocket PC.... The Washington Post columnist...said...."I have so many devices not to make my life easier that I need someone just to carry them all around for me."
Then there was this panel about the 21st-century corporation, during which participants described this age of digital Darwinism in chilling terms: The key to winning in business today is
Finally, during the question time, Howard Stringer, chairman of Sony America, stood up and said: "Doesn't anyone here think this sounds like a vision of hell? While we are all competing or dying, when will there be time for sex or music or books? Stop the world, I want to get off."...
- adapt or die.
- get wired or get killed,
- work 24 hours a day from everywhere or be left behind.
I heard a lot of new phrases this week [at Davos]: "device creep," "Machines don't serve us, we serve them," and "My identity is now less important than the data that is stored about me." Have a nice day....
[Back at the beginning of the industrial revolution, CEOs thought they could divert the social benefits of technology and channel more profits to themselves - by downsizing instead of timesizing. They thought that this would never affect them in a negative way, but now, after 200 years of blocking technology's true purpose of enabling your present workforce to work less to produce just as much and buy just as much, it clearly is, because they would NOT let their present workforce work less. Instead, they got mean and they reduced their present workforce, did not reduce hours, and took the pay of the layoffees for themselves as extra technological profit - even though they already had more than everybody else and they didn't have time to spend it. Result? More and more products, less and less markets. Brilliant.]
I am struck at how many people call my office, ask if I'm in, and, if I'm not, immediately ask to be connected to my cell phone or pager.... The assumption now is that you're always in.... And when you are always in you are always on. And when you are always on, what are you most like? A computer server.... The problem is that human beings simply are not designed to be like computer servers. For one thing, they are designed to sleep eight hours a night. So there is a big misfit brewing here.... Jeff Garten, dean of the Yale School of Mgmt...said: "Maybe it's not time for us to adapt or die, but for the technology to adapt or die."
[Well, gentlemen, look in the mirror. You're the ones treating technology the wrong way. The technology is designed to make life easier, not harder. That means, and this is not optional, that the technology must be used to enable (1) your present workforce to produce (2) the same amount (3) for the same wages (4) in fewer hours. You have broken every single term in this contract in the wrong direction, just like we broke every treaty we ever made with the American Indians, and guess what, once again it's not working the way it should. What a surprise!? You didn't USE it the way you should!
[With this much miraculous technology, there is absolutely NO REASON why every single one of us should not be living in heaven. Instead, we're exploring "visions of hell." It is no longer optional. We must stop downsizing, and start timesizing.]
1/25/2001 glimmers of intelligence -
- Memo to business: layoffs cause pain, letter to editor by Industrial Relations Prof. Gary Chaison of Clark U's Grad School of Mgmt in Worcester MA, A26.
Re "Downsizing isn't a dire warning," by Bruce Tulgan (op-ed, Jan. 26):
[We ragged this story too - see our treatment on 1/26/2001, 2nd item.]
Once again, we read how downsizing may not be all that bad because it enables companies to become more competitive and adapt to global markets, though it may have some regrettable effects on those workers who lose their jobs and can't find similar ones elsewhere.
This common apology for major work-force reductions is seriously flawed when we regard workers as valuable assets rather than as simply operating costs to be cut. Why should a company that has shed well-trained and experienced workers and increased the workload of the remaining ones be considered more efficient [or competitive]?
Layoffs should be the last, desperate move of struggling companies,
[on the verge, as we would say, of bankruptcy,]
not the first step of those that see some possibility of hard times ahead.
[Hear hear! Especially when they're cutting their customers' customers if not their own, and actually generating recession.]
1/22/2001 glimmers of intelligence -
- World needs to add 500 million jobs in 10 years, report says, by Christopher Wren, NYT, A13.
...to accommodate new arrivals in the jobs market and help reduce global unemployment by half....
[Notice how they never question the crucial time definition of "job" - and they only want to take care of half the unemployed. Timesizing can take care of all the un(der)employed. All we need is to open up our imaginations and use the oldest human recourse in the book - sharing; for example, sharing our lot; for example, "for better or for worse"; for example, sharing market-demanded employment among all of us, whether for more or less. Won't it reduce pay? No, because there'll be no "army of the unemployed" desperately jobseeking and keeping pay down, as now. Then a war-level labor shortage, without the war, will push wages up and centrifuge the fabulous sums now concentrated in the top income and wealth brackets.]
1/20/2001 glimmers of intelligence -
- New economy - The updated context notwithstanding, the issues behind unionization drives at dot-coms have a familiar ring, by Tim Race, NYT, C4.
...The labor issues of the dot-com era seem to involve the time-honored antagonisms between capital and labor - issues like pay, schedules, promotions and management's willingness to listen....
During the last few years of exuberant irrationality in the Internet industry, the old rules...seemed no longer to apply. With a frontier mentality, trailblazing entrepreneurs led pioneering teams that traveled fast and light and whose members packed bedrolls for the all-nighters that came with staking a claim to the new economy. Any disgruntlement tended to be diffused by gauzy hopes for stock-offering wealth or by the caffeinated excitement of building something insanely great, or maybe just insanely.
But with submerged stock options, dot-com closings and widespread layoffs, comes the realization that the old issues of managing and motivating people never went away.... "People are no longer being scheduled to work 10 days straight or being forced to work overtime," \said\ Eric Anderson, a customer service worker at Etown who has been active in the union effort [there]....
1/19/2001 glimmers of intelligence -
- A global gap that open markets can't close - The billions living in misery are not so distant from us, op ed by Samuel Berger, NYT, A19.
...Open markets alone will not close..\..the gap between rich and poor [and] the Internet will not narrow the gap when half the world's people have yet to make or receive a telephone call....
[No, we need an automatic mechanism for sharing the vanishing work as technology pours in, rather than turning a blessing into a curse by downsizing our workforce and our consumer base. The most advanced such mechanism? Timesizing.]
- Immigration economics, letter to editor by Prof. Vernon Briggs of Cornell labor economics, NYT, A18.
...The one group whose interests should be paramount is the citizen workers with whom most immigrants compete. Our immigration policies (including lax enforcement) have generated a flood of unskilled, poorly educated job seekers. The oversupply of any economic resource means it will be underpriced and therefore actively sought.
When poor immigrants accept lower wages and fewer benefits and job protections, immigrant workers are exploited and the well-being of citizen workers is imperiled. Cheap labor has led to a perilous widening in wage disparity. The ensuing income inequality has been the Achilles' heel of the recent economic boom and will be the nightmare of the next recession.
[No matter how high your standard of living, it can always be brought down if you don't control the leaks posed by the "population variables" - imports, immigrants & births (20-yr delay). Timesizing handles this problem in Phase 5.]
1/18/2001 glimmers of intelligence -
- [1 UNtakeover]
40 lawyers leaving Burns & Levenson, by Dolores Kong, Boston Globe, C6.
...and start their own [practice], to be called Donovan, Hatem.
[Great marketing! This should bolster public impressions that lawyers are hateful. Shades of the Tappett Brothers' law firm, "Dewey, Cheatem & Howe."]
...The 40 lawyers, to be joined by a few from other firms, will specialize in corporate, real estate, professional practices, general trial, employment practices, and environmental law....
[With "specialization" like this, who needs generalization?]
The 40 lawyers represent 35% of Burns & Lenvinson's attorneys, and 42% of the revenue....
1/17/2001 glimmers of intelligence -
- [1 UNtakeover]
Italy blocks takeover of television network, Bloomberg via NYT, C4.
...Telemontecarlo by Seat Pagine Gialle, the country's largest Internet company....
- 150 nations start groundwork for global warming policies - Updated findings add urgency to a meeting on reducing greenhouse gases, by Craig Smith, NYT, A9.
SHANGHAI - Scientists from 150 governments began a 4-day meeting here [yester]day...to finetune a summary of..\..a thick report..\..drafted \by\ the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change....
1/16/2001 glimmers of intelligence -
- American dreams, for immigrants, too, letter to editor from Ronald Angel of Bellevue WA, NYT, A24.
Re "Americans (a) love (b) hate immigrants" (Week in review, Jan.14):
America can't function without immigrants as a source of cheap labor, people who will do the jobs nobody wants at wages nobody else would accept.
[Or that's what TPTB (the powers that be) would have us believe.]
Yet we have the "American dream," in which no one stays at the bottom of the economic ladder. Within one or two generations, the descendants of immigrants are supposed to become business people, lawyers or doctors.
However, we can't have it both ways. A steady supply of cheap labor implies a permanent underclass. If today's immigrants move up the ladder, who will harvest the raisin crop, scrub the floors and watch the babies tomorrow? Do we want a stationary underclass that will never realize the American dream,
[we've got a big chunk of that anyway]
or an upwardly mobile society in which an endless stream of immigrants moves in to fill the bottom rungs?
[Well, aside from the fact that the dilemma in this form is going to be definitively settled for us in the decades ahead by ecological factors if we don't have the sense to get a grip on it ourselves, there is a third alternative which could give us the the high-level stateside living standards of World War II without the waste of war. It would mean actually installing an economic mechanism to do what many wrongly assume happens automatically = adjust the workweek downward as our levels of technology move upward - a mechanism like our Timesizing program.]
1/14-15/2001 glimmers of intelligence -
- [1 UPsizing]
State will soon be dunking Krispy Kremes, AP via Boston Globe, D7.
A Cranston [RI] company will open and operate 16 full-service franchises of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.... Krispy Kreme currently has 175 stores in 28 states....
[So, unspecified new jobs - but only low-pay "McJobs."]
- [Clinton good -]
Closing door to illicit riches, pointer blurb (to A8), NYT, front page.
The Clinton administration plans to announce measures that banks may take to deter foreign leaders and their associates from hiding money in the United States, a leading destination for ill-gained wealth.
- [Clinton bad - but a reader alerts us to another angle on this -]
A global greenhouse, letter to editor by Bela Liptak of Stamford CT, NYT, A26.
John Podesta, Pres. Clinton's chief of staff, defends the administration's record on global warming (letter, Jan. 10). But...economic globalization [which Clinton has pushed] and the resulting loss of manufacturing to less regulated regions beyond our borders has increased the total generation of greenhouse gases on our planet.
1/13/2001 glimmers of intelligence -
- [1 UNtakeover]
1/15 British retailer says it still plans spinoff, Bloomberg via NYT, C2.
LONDON...- Kingfisher PLC, Britain's 3d-largest retailer [after Tesco, Asda & J. Sainsbury? - that would make it 4th - see story on Wal-Mart's Asda chain below on 1/04/01] is continuing with plans to split..\..its Woolworths and Superdrug unit...from the faster-growing home improvement and electronics division. \It also\ will consider offers for [the unit, but is] not actually in talks at this time....
- [Sh-arr yawshoov! (she'ar yashubh) - "A remnant shall return" says the Good Book (Is.10:21) and the remnant of both our once-great major political parties should return to the values that made them great, the Republicans to the true conservativism of conservationism and the Democrats to their true base in the labor movement -]
1/15 Our campsite is the planet Earth..., letter to editor by Steve Roth, NYT, A18.
William Cronon ("When the GOP was green," op-ed, Jan. 8) hints at the key contradiction in the Republicans' approach to the environment. How can these self-styled conservatives claim that moniker when their agenda is to deplete the limited resources our country has remaining?
Remaining old-growth trees constitute only 3% of our forests. Is it conservative to cut them down to address this generation's job issues, ignoring the next generation's?
[Besides, we supposedly have a "tight job market" anyway, right? RIGHT???]
Oil supplies will be gone within a couple of centuries. Is it conservative to provide incentives to tap them at an increasing pace for the sake of this decade's economy?
[Excellent question, Steve.]
Ralph Nader and the Green Party should stand up and tell the truth: They, not the Republicans, are the true conservatives.
[Hear, hear! This has always been Phil Hyde's feeling, considering the uphill battle being waged by the valiant Martha Marks and the "green elephants" in her *Republicans for Environmental Protection movement. Somewhere down the line from Republican conservationist, President Teddy Roosevelt, Republican leadership got very stupid, short-sighted, and, far from conservative, wastrel and spendthrift with our natural resources. Steve Roth's is the last of a group of three letters. The first letter-writer in the group, John Sitter of Atlanta, nails the conservative-conservationist issue just right -]
In "When the GOP was green"..., William Cronon rightly points out that many Republicans have lost touch with traditional conservative - and conservationist - values....
[The second letter-writer, Owen Cylke of DC, strums the harp of Bucky Fuller's "doing more with less" -]
...We need to transform the way in which we go about economic activity - to shift to new understandings, approaches and technologies that will dramatically reduce environmental impact per unit of prosperity....
[The Republicans need to wake up and get their butts and brains back into their conservationist past and our ecologically challenged present, let alone future. And lest you think that the Democrats "smell like a rose," check out a dumb quote from a writer to the Globe editor today -]
What does Nader think now?, letter to editor from Patrick Gilligan of Brookline MA, Boston Globe, A10.
Now that George W. Bush has named his Cabinet nominees, where, I wonder, has Ralph Nader gone? Does he still claim that there would be no difference between an Al Gore presidency and a Bush one?....
[It's time the Democrats stopped with their pathetic, boring, on-and-on-and-on fingerpointing and took responsibility, either
The fact of the matter is, the Democrats were too bland too win: not good enough or bad enough, and not representive enough of either
- for not winning the 3% of the voters that Nader won fair and square, or
- for not being as crooked as the Republicans in stealing Florida and the presidency.
- the right - which they halfheartedly (and gratuitously) moved toward - or
- their traditional base in the labor movement, which they abandoned - or
- the green future which must be in store for all of us if we have any serious plans of surviving for the long haul, which Nader tried to represent, though he doesn't seem to realize the centrality and urgency of workweek reduction any more than Hoover or FDR did in the 1930s.]
- [And speaking of "sh-arr yawshoov," here's a courageous remnant in Israel that has returned - to their senses -]
1/14 Increasingly, Israeli soldiers chafe at West Bank duty, by Tracy Wilkinson, Boston Globe, A23.
JERUSALEM - For 28 days in October, Noam Kuzar sat in Military Prison No. 4. Kuzar...had violated once of the most vaunted principles of the Israeli experience.... He had refused orders, in this case, to deploy in the West Bank.... "My whole life I've been against the Israeli army and the state being in the occupied territories," Kuzar said. "What right did I have to be there? I couldn't do something I so strongly object to."
..\..Since Israel began its confrontation with Palestinian stone-throwers and gunmen three months ago,
[and Israel definitely started it this time]
Israeli soldiers have been refusing to serve in the mostly Palestinian-ruled West Bank and the...Gaza strip. Kuzar and several other soldiers ended up in jail, having turned against the deeply entrenched, half-century-old call to the duty of serving their country's army.... Despite accords with Egypt and Jordan, Israel sees itself as a country surrounded by enemies....
[And we're subsidizing this nation of heavily armed paranoids to the tune of $5,000,000,000 a year? We must be crazy! (Not to mention the "fairness" gesture of subsidizing Egypt to the tune of $3,000,000,000. American taxpayers, arise!)]
But some are uncomfortable with the duty increasingly thrust upon infantry soldiers confronting demonstrations in which minors are on the front lines. The resistance of a handful of regular soldiers, and of a larger number of reservists, reflects changes in the way some Israelis view their army, and changes in the army's role....
Most objectors have no problem with serving in the army, and if Israel were threatened by an external war...they would not hesitate to report to duty. But..\..Ishai Menuchin, a paratrooper in the Israeli army and a veteran of the Lebanon war...refuses to be sent to the West Bank and the Gaza Stripo, where more than 350 people have been killed since Sept. 28 in clashes between Israelis and Palestinians. Menuchin runs a[n] organization called Yesh Gvul, which means "There Is a Limit." It helps conscientious objectors. \And\ Menuchin hands out pamphlets urging recruits to think carefully about whether they want to serve in what he calls an occupation army. A war to protect Jewish [squatters], the pamphlet declares, "is not our war!" "Hey, soldier. Where are you headed?" the pamphlet reads. "On your way to serve in the occupied territories?... Maybe to prevent the Palestinian people from declaring independence?..." With no external wars to fight, the average infantry unit these days will be stationed for a longer period in the West Bank or Gaza, Menuchin said.... "My refusal is part of a public-education campaign" concerning "the duties of citizens in democratic society," [he added.] "You should not do everything just because the government and commanders decide. You have to think and criticize.... It is important to democracy to criticize."
[More power to you, Ishai Menuchin and Noam Kuzar and kindred spirits. You got a lot more guts than the guys who just "go along to git along." The concept of loyal opposition is vital to democracy. And it is harder to get democracies into wars, thank God. Even Sid Meier's great computer game, Civilization, registers that fact. So not even some of their own soldiers agree with Israel's paranoid aggressiveness and the illegal, treaty-breaking squatters who have crossed into the West Bank and set up settlements. Sh-arr Yawshoov (she'ar yashubh in written form) - a remnant shall return, and it's time for Israel to lighten up, abide by its treaties, and make friends with its neighbors. If it keeps on the way it's been going the last few months, it's in danger, through paranoia, of turning itself into its most hated enemies, the Nazis. And remember, what gave the Nazis their opening to power was the isolation of Germany at the end of the Great War (WW1) and the resulting feeling of the Germans that they were "a country surrounded by enemies." Let's not have the same thing happen in Israel. "A strong army" may indeed be "essential to Israel's survival" - but breaking treaties and squatting in the Left Bank and sending troops to protect the illegal settlements is definitely not "essential to Israel's survival" - on the contrary, it's vaguely reminiscent of the Nazi push into Austria.... She'ar yashubh - turn back, O Israel, to thy treaty borders. You have a loooong time to live there, and your status is going to be secured by friendship and generosity toward your neighbors. "What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" (Mic.6:8)]
- 1/15 Reich is talking about shortening the workweek, Chris Lydon's The Connection, Boston FM 90.9 WBUR, 10-11 am, repeat 8-9 pm.
[Caught only the last 20 minutes but apparently former Labor Sec. Bob Reich has a new book out in which he talks about work-family balance and cutting the workweek. However, he seems to have it mixed up with the irrelevant and comparatively trivial issue of self-employment vs. working for a company. He's a little behind the times on this too, because he's on about how everyone today either works for themselves or wants to, and the latest headlines in the papers have been quite the contrary - people are going back from self-employment to working for companies again. Colleague Kate was in on the beginning of the reversal back in the early 90s. Our Timesizing position on this is simply that we get overtime enforced on corporations first (in Phase 2) so we can provide a groundswell of great on-the-job training opportunities throughout the economy, and then we enforce overtime on individuals (in Phase 3) so people can't indefinitely exceed their share of market-demanded employment by working for multiple employers, who together give them over 40 hours a week without any single one of them exceeding 40. The self-employed would come under Phase 3, though we may have to cushion application of the law upon them as France has done in enforcing its new 35-hour workweek on small businesses.]
- 1/14 Clinton hatches an idea, Boston Radio News 102.5 FM WCRB 9:05am.
Pres. Clinton suggested that election day be made a national holiday to enable people to get out and vote more easily....
[This idea is soooo intelligent and obvious (and it's probably already in practice in some other countries, like Australia for example, where they fine you if you don't vote) that we're almost willing to forgive the Schlickmeister his many failings on the strength of this idea alone.]
1/12/2001 glimmers of hope -
- [1 UNtakeover]
Pharmacia to create separate biotechnology company, Bloomberg via NYT, B3.
...in Sweden this year that would focus on treatments for obesity and diabetes. The new company, to be called Biovitrum and to be partly owned by Pharmacia, will employ 900 workers, mainly researchers who are now working for Pharmacia....
[But Biovitrum will hopefully become an employment engine in its own right.]
- ["Good, but..."]
Internet jobs double to 3m in 18 months, by Kimberly Blanton, Boston Globe, C1.
...ended in June..\..as Internet use by households and businesses exploded...according to...an annual study prepared by the University of Texas at Austin for Cisco Systems Inc..\.. The increase, seemingly overnight, of dot-com and e-commerce enterprises - as well as of Internet operations inside traditional operations...has had an enormous economic impact since the mid-1990s.... Net-related jobs at the end of June employed 3.088m workers, compared to 1.204m at the end of 1998 - a 156% increase....
Internet employment grew far faster than jobs overall [which only] grew 3.4%, according the the US Bureau of Labor Statistics' [figure for nonfarm employment]....
The [Austin] study's estimate of Internet employment accounted for [only] about 2.3% of the US workforce last year. That is far smaller than the health, services, financial, or retail sectors, according to federal data....
[And "Big But" #3]
Since the survey was completed...dot-coms have failed, filed for bankruptcy protection, and laid off hundreds of workers....
[Make that "thousands." As they say, "easy come, easy go."]
- [Another 'voice crying in the wilderness' -]
Too many people, letter to editor by David Soshoux of Sioux City Iowa, NYT, A30.
Re "Europe's demographic time bomb" (editorial, Jan. 7): Yes, changing demographics will strain, if not bankrupt, some European countries' current pension schemes, but there is a larger phenomenon that argues in the opposite direction.
Today's capitalist mantra is expansion - of profits, consumers and economies.
[But contradictorily, not workforces.]
The basis for this properity model is continuing population growth.
But declining birthrates in Western Europe and a few other mature industrialized societies reflect a contrary view. In these communities, people increasingly regard the ills of modern industrial society - global warming and pollution, environmental destruction, species extinctions - as the direct consequence of continuing population growth.
Expectations may have to change, together with the way affluent societies provide for their elderly. Sooner or later, we must face the bottom line [i.e., nature's?!] and halt the population bomb.
[Hear, hear! Our Timesizing program is carefully designed to avoid dependency on population growth - it provides a way of avoiding crises by simply sharing whatever is available, whether for more or for less, instead of some people with grotesque excess while others go without. The variable that Timesizing operates upon, of course, is worktime or employment. But it also covers skills, and its five phases can be applied to an infinite series of variables that we'll eventually need to balance subsequently, such as income, payments, wealth, debt, credit, disrepute, credibility, ....]
- [The authors didn't intend it as such, but this is actually very good news -]
Rule by referendum weakens political parties, op ed by Jerome Mileur and Jeffrey Sedgwick, Boston Globe, A15.
[The Mileur and Sedgwick "brothers" are prof and asst prof of political science at UMass-Amherst, one a Dem & one a GOP. We note that both are members of the Demublican/Republicrat stranglehold on American "democracy" and are trying desperately to put a scary spin on a development that is extremely positive.]
Over the last quarter-century, no reform movement has been more destructive to political parties than the push for initiative petitions and referendums. Championed in the name of [pretty long name comin' up!] giving voters direct control of legislative and constitutional change, petitions and referendums have instead empowered special interests, especially those with great sums of money to spend.
[Oh like the Dems & GOP have not "empowered special interests...with great sums of money to spend"?! Give us a break! It will be a lot harder for "great sums of money" to buy the decisions on thousands of referendums than to buy only 534 US Reps and Senators of only 2 political parties! The only one who isn't a Demublican is Barney Sanders of Vermont who is the only Independent in Congress, and we'll wager he's one of the hardest to buy.]
Political parties, meanwhile, have been undermined....
[Only the Demublicans, and they badly need undermining, and plenty of it - there's little to choose between them and neither of them talk about the real problems of the country. Moreover, the founding fathers never mentioned parties anyway, and had no use for them. Initiatives and referendums provide a method of realizing their vision of a fuller, direct, partyless democracy. Besides, a country that never matures beyond two political parties, as this one hasn't because the top two have passed all kinds of sneaky legislation designed to facilitate their duopoly and hobble any other competition (despite their lip service to competition), is locked in inefficient confrontation - witness this last presidential "election" - where all too quick and easy, allegiance is to The Party rather than the country.]
Students of American politics have long argued that political parties make popular democracy possible.
[Maybe they MADE popular democracy possible, past tense, but now they're holding it back. Buckminster Fuller's vision of issue-oriented, 24-hour telephone referendums would unleash democracy. These two self-serving political science professors are rightly scared for their jobs if referendums continue to grow and break through the confrontational logjam in Congress of nincompoop 2-party winners of popularity contests. Referendums give us the chance of doing an end run around the whole corrupt mess in Congress and actually getting some legislation passed that would benefit the population at large and not just the top 5%. Policy mistakes that are made by a majority of the population will, unlike the mistakes repeated by each incoming adminstration, not be repeated. We recommend referendums as Phase 1 of our Timesizing program. The fact that business-as-usual political "scientists" like these two specimens are starting to squeal is a good sign that referendums are doing their job of creating some real competition and a real alternative to the crock of corruption we currently facetiously refer to as "American democracy," and thank God we had this fiasco in Flori-duh lately to wake us up to it.]
1/11/2001 glimmers of hope -
- Most Americans surveyed support shorter drive times for truckers and are willing to pay for it, PRNewswire 01/11/2000 09:31 EST via AOLNews.
A recent survey of Americans conducted by the Insurance Research Council [* http://www.ircweb.org ] found that a majority of the public (57%) believes that increasing from 10 to 12 the number of hours a truck driver is allowed to drive with no break is unsafe. More than half (56%) said they would be willing to pay more for goods and shipping to have truckers' total working hours reduced to no more than 12 hours per day....
[Ah, how about EIGHT?!]
Most (81%) oppose allowing bigger tractor-trailers on the road, which would increase the trucking industry's efficiency but would be harder to control and potentially threatening to highway safety....
[How about just going "back" to trains to ship all this stuff?! They've got their own roads that rarely mix with motorists. The NYT counterpart today to this article off the Web was definitely bad news -]
Drowsy truckers find no room for their rigs - [foto caption] Overcrowding at Interstate rest areas...only adds to a nationwide safety problem caused by sleep truck drivers, by Matthew Wald, NYT, A12.
[So now this runaway industry of "rugged individualists" wants the government (i.e., us taxpayers) to pay not only for their high accident rates during overtime and their high wear&tear on our passenger-car highways, but now also for more rest areas.]
...Said Walter B. McCormick Jr., president of the American Trucking Associations, who called the space shortage "shameful."...
[Hey, if truckers are such "rugged individualists," how come they're so dependent on coat-tailing on passenger travel and covert subsidies from government and taxpayers? Time to start taxing trucking to pay for all their own huge true costs, and subsidizing railroads again for the sake of passenger travel safety. Get the commerce of this nation back on the track - their own tracks with all their obsession with "efficiency," i.e., giantism.]
- [You've heard of The Good Death ("euthanasia")? We give you The Good Move -]
Odwalla to close Maine juice plant, Bloomberg via Boston Globe, C5.
...that makes Fresh Samantha juices and move the operation to Southern Florida.... The Saco plant employs fewer than 100 workers and only one job will be eliminated in the move, Odwalla CEO Stephen Williamson said. He said every Saco worker was offered a job in Florida with a relocation package and a signing bonus. Odwalla wants to be closer to fruit-growing regions to cut costs..\..
[Of course, the whole rigmarole would have been moot if, as in the future, we simply rule out takeovers, less than 50% of which achieve their goals, and as for "efficiency" - ya gotta rationalize a lot of turmoil ("creative destruction" yeah right) & close your eyes to a lot of meta-economic dimensions like "corporate culture clash" salvage any dregs of that obsessive compulsive perfectionist's dream -]
Odwalla acquired closely held Fresh Samantha Inc...last May....
[Like our trucking industry, American CEOs have confused giantism with efficiency and come up with merger manias and nightmares. And where are our trusted antitrust regulators? "Giant media merger approved by FCC" - AOL & Time Warner - whatta disaster in the making. As we've said on the Timesizing Wire before, no enemies could destroy America better than we've doing it ourselves in FDR's well-meaning world with its blizzards of reality-blocking bandaids, instead of just sharing the vanishing work across all our population and having each company stand or fall on its own without taking others - and jobs - down with it.]
- 2 Montrealers opt for family time -
hey, maybe "work smart, not hard" is spreading from Old France to New France - here's hoping New France spreads it to New England and the rest of the continent! -
- Abrupt departure at Alcan, by Timothy Pritchard, NYT, W1.
Jacques Bougie...resigned late Wednesday after seven years as president and CEO of Alcan Aluminium Ltd. of Montreal, citing a "desire to spend more time with my family," taking analysts by surprise....
- Quebec separatist resigns his premier and party posts - Leading politician's exit stuns Canadians,
by James Brooke, NYT, A10.
...Lucien Bouchard...cited strains on his young family, and party infighting over his condemnation of a veteran separatist for comments that the premier contrued as anti-Semitic and intolerant....
- [Wal we'll be hog-tied! - some gov't dismantling is sloppin' over from the pigsty to that Big Sty in DC -]
Hog farmers to halt 'other white meat' ads, AP via NYT, A14.
Farmers unhappy with paying a fee on their hogs...45 cents for every $100 of a hog's value..\..have voted to kill the federally supervised program that promotes port as the "other white meat," the government said today. Opponents of the $48m program, which pays for research as well as advertising, say it has done little to stimulate pork consumption and benefits mostly meat processors and large corporate farms....
[And hey, if mad cow disease keeps popping up, pork will be seeing droves of us refugees from beef anyway.]
- [But as long as we balk at assuming responsibility for our immigration policy in the light of long-term ecological constraints, we might as well enlarge government to teach them English -]
City launches English language initiative, by Katherine Zezima, Boston Globe, C11.
[ESL = English as a Second Language]
...Yesterday...more than 100 immigrants, community leaders and philanthropists gathered at [Boston's] Dreams of Freedom Museum to witness Mayor Thomas Menino announce the English for New Bostonians Initiative, a 4-year, $4m program that will grant those who do not speak English easier access to English language classes and coordinate job training and an English-language volunteer corps. The public-private partnership will serve the 2,400 people currently on a waiting list to take English language classes....
[If we don't like this kind of government enlargement, there are plenty of people wanting to migrate here who already know English, and then of course, we might eventually wake up to what our current record immigration rates mean for our American ecosystem - ground water constraints, pollution, energy demand,... - little things like that. Can any one country, however big and rich (top 10% anyway), "solve" the political backwardness (tho' Flori-duh dissed our illusion that we're the most advanced) and absorb the population carelessness of all the rest of the world?]
- Bill would allow lawsuits against biotech food makers, AP via Boston Globe, C5.
Consumers who believe they have been made sick by eating biologically engineered food would be able to sue the manufacturers under a bill filed on Beacon Hill [in the Massachusetts State House]....
1/10/2001 glimmers of intelligence -
- [1 UNtakeover]
Chip maker will spin off unit, The NEC Corp. of Japan [will] convert a division that makes processors for network equipment into a wholly owned subsidiary in preparation for taking the unit public. The unit handles design, development and sales of chips for mobile phone handsets and optical communications equipment....
[Mobile phones don't sound very much like 'network equipment.']
- New rules propose tax-shelter limits, pointer blurb (to C4), NYT, front page.
The Treasury Dept. proposed rules yesterday to take some of the financial incentives away from the lawyers, accountants and investment bankers who promote abusive corporate tax shelters and from the big companies that use them.
The proposals, if adopted, would increase the likelihood that companies would have to pay penalties when found to have violated tax laws and would prohibit tax shelter advisers from collecting fees contingent on how much they save a company. Tax lawyers would also be subject to disciplinary action if they were found to hve written opinions blessing dubious deals....
1/09/2001 glimmers of intelligence -
- Canada: doctors strike, by James Brooke, NYT, A6.
Virtually all of the 1,300 doctors in New Brunswick's provincial-run health care system have gone on strike, demanding pay raises totaling 30% over the next 4 years, nearly triple the province's offer. The doctors are also demanding 200 new doctors to cope with mounting workloads burdened by an aging population and a drain of doctors to other provinces and to the United States, where pay levels are higher.
[The Timesizing program harnesses the incidence of overtime throughout a corporation, industry or an entire economy, to automatically target, trigger, and finance training and hiring - in short, to automatically substitute hiring for overwork, with all its heightened error-prone vulnerabilities and liabilities, especially in the healthcare and transportation industries.]
1/04/2001 glimmers of intelligence -
- Business rules, letter to editor by Ezra Hausman of Auburndale MA, Boston Globe, A18.
I find it amusing that the incoming Bush team finds a pressing need to release the shackles on business ("Bush nominees seek to ease federal rules," page A1, Dec. 8.)
If the business community has been so hobbled for the last eight years, how did they get so rich?
- Electric assistance to improve mileage on Ford Explorers, by Keith Bradsher, NYT, front page.
DETROIT...- The Ford Motor Co. will announce plans [today] to install electrically assisted gasoline engines to sharply increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions in a large proportion of the Ford Explorers it sells in 2004, company executives said. The plans are the broadest yet in the auto industry to introduce electric technology - specifically, starters that turn a vehicle's engine on and off automatically, eliminating idling - into the mass market. The new technology will help Ford raise the fuel efficiency of the Explorer, the nation's best-selling family vehicle in recent years, by 42%, to 27 mpg from 19....
[Just in time, as OPEC is mulling a cut in output.]
1/02/2001 glimmers of intelligence -
- [1 UPsizing]
Wal-Mart to invest $675m in British expansion, Bloomberg via NYT, C4.
...to build 13 Asda supermarkets in Britain, creating 5,000 jobs. Last month, Wal-Mart's 241-store Asda chain [which] has been expanding aggressively since Wal-Mart bought it in 1998..\..overtook J. Sainsbury to become the 2nd-largest British supermarket chain...by sales volume..\..behind Tesco....
[Lotsa jobs, but these are only low-wage 'McJobs' - stocking & cashiering at sprmkts. They won't get decent pay until we seriously start timesizing to centrifuge spending power by engineering a real labor shortage.]
- [1 UNtakeover]
Regulators overturn Interbrew's deal with Bass, by Suzanne Kapner, NYT, W1.
LONDON - ...British regulators [ruled] that the [$3.5B] purchase of Bass would allow Interbrew...to dominate the beer market....
[Hey at least one economy's anti-trust pro-competition people are doing their job! (Philippine manufacturers story is on our glimmers of timesizing page.]
1/1/2001 weekend glimmers of intelligence -
- Telemarketing law considered, AP via NYT, A14.
...Connecticut's do-not-call list took effect yesterday. New York's becomes effective April 1..\.. Currrently, [NY] residents may demand that an individual company take their names off the company's calling list, or they can place their names on industry no-call lists. The latter works only on telemarketers that belong to industry groups, however..\..
Under a proposed [NY] state bill..\..telemarketers could be fined $2,000 for calling people who have placed themselves of a do-not-call registry....
- Agenda 2001 - It's still the economy, editorial, Boston Globe, A10.
- ...the nation's economic difficulties
- ...the economy...slowing
- ...not enough oil anywhere in the nation to end dependence on foreign supplies....
- The plight of part-timers, letter to editor by Eric Weltman of Citizens for Participation in Political Action, Boston Globe, A10.
...Nationwide...families are being stressed as parents work increasingly long hours....
- The surplus and the tax cut, editorial, NYT, A18.
The Clinton administration released projections last week showing that the estimated federal surplus will hit $5 trillion over the next 10 years.... Supporters of President-[appointed] Bush say that the bigger surplus...will provide [for] Bush's proposed $1.9 trillion tax cut....
But...start with the fact that $2.5T of the projected surplus comes from Social Security and another $500B or so comes from Medicare. Both pots of money are essentially off limits....
- Hitting the road, and the rails, on I-95, letter to editor by Richard Carpenter of East Norwalk CT, NYT, A18.
Re "I-95, a river of commerce overflowing with traffic" (front page, Dec. 29): ...Some of this commerce, but not yet nearly enough, is now moving by rail.
Freight railroads could move more if track capacity were increased at key points, overhead clearances raised and key tunnels built or enlarged. The construction costs would be minimal compared with the costs of highway widening and more new highways.
An added benefit would be a welcome reduction in heavy truck air pollution, an issue that has recently received needed attention from the EPA.
- [alert reader detects flaw in political chest-thumping -]
What is poverty?, letter to editor by urban planner Howard Slatkin of NYC, NYT, A16.
Re "A war on poverty subtly linked to race" (front page, Dec. 26): You say Bill Clinton "will leave office having helped more Americans escape poverty than any other president since Lyndon B. Johnson." While many of Pres. Clinton's policies have indeed helped poor working Americans, we should in fact be cautious in reciting official figures describing a decline in poverty.
Many sources have documented how poor a measure of actual poverty the official "poverty line" is. It should be modified to account accurately for the cost of living, including the skyrocketing cost of housing in many urban areas.
We cannot afford to fight the war against poverty with accounting tricks.
[In fact the only way to fight poverty is with better sharing or centrifuging mechanisms. And we can't start by centrifuging income or wealth per se. That just generates dependency. We must start by centrifuging skills and employment. Better than any other approach, that gets spending power into the hands of people who actually have time and need to spend it. The Timesizing approach is just such a mechanism for sharing or centrifuging skills and employment. By Timesizing, we can make it much easier for everyone to support themselves at a much higher standard of living, and harness market forces to eradicate poverty, including working poverty, on an unbelievably diverse, gradual but effective basis.]
- Study: Net use is more social than commercial - E-mail more popular than [Web] gift-buying - Women and men now access the Net in equal proportions, by Dolores Kong, Boston Globe, C1.
...findings from the ongoing Pew Internet & American Life Project....
Click here for good news in -